Contractual . . .

Hosea 13:4-6

“Yet I have been the LORD your God Since the land of Egypt; And you were not to know any god except Me, For there is no savior besides Me. I cared for you in the wilderness, In the land of drought. As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, And being satisfied, their heart became proud; Therefore they forgot Me.”

I read, ‘ . . . And being satisfied, their heart became proud; therefore they forgot Me.” And I think that Christians need to remember those words. Not because we need to tell others about the words of warning God spoke, but because Christians need to warn each other. God makes a promise and we all know he’ll keep it. We certainly balk if we feel he hasn’t or won’t; yet how easily we forget that long ago we agreed to uphold our part of a binding contract.

We are a government, people, society, even world of contracts. Paper work to verify other paper work to ensure promise of words written and said in processes of purchases, acquisitions, and agreements of all kinds. And we have laws that force any who would dare usurp such paperwork as this.

How hypocritical we all are. Christians descended of Jews who are descended of Abraham, Father of nations made a promise. To follow God, worship only Him, and to do so by obeying His will. Which, I might add, only looks to provide us the best and safest option. In other words, His will would never wish His people harm or leave us wanting. Yet we’ve strayed, and forgotten over and over that our God loves us and that we also made a promise. We have grown comfortable by the blessings He gives and in our comfort and satisfaction we forget who gives it. We think it must have been our own doing. That the ‘stars aligned’ and all our efforts came to bear fruit of prosperity and peace. But from where did we get the money? A job, the employer, the company, a city, the state, country; have all those things including the political web of red tape and regulations, with the world chess pieces of military power all been a product of our own hand?

God might ask us as He did Job if we laid the foundations of the earth and hung the stars and moon. No, we simply reap the benefits if we only obey putting one foot in front of the other. We must be cautious, and not forget when we sit on our soft couch in our warm homes just who made it all possible. Good for us we have a really big note a.k.a. the Bible, so that we can read it and remember not just God’s promises which are faithful, but our own.

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Many Ways to Pray

“Does God have a set way of prayer, a way that He expects each of us to follow?  I doubt it.  I believe some people, lots of people pray through the witness of their lives, through the work that they do, the friendships they have, the love they offer people and receive from people.  Since when are words the only acceptable form of prayer?”

Dorothy Day

Years ago I took a two year course in spiritual direction.  We spent a lot of time reading spiritual classics and learning about prayer.  The first thing I learned is that most of us, like Beth Ann, are not completely satisfied with our prayer lives.  Remember, even the disciples asked Jesus, “teach us to pray.”(Luke 11:1).  The second thing I learned is that there are many ways to pray, and that we should pray as we can, not as we can’t.

This month in my posts I want to tell you about some different ways to pray.  Beth Ann has already mentioned three:  having a quiet place and time to pray, sending up quick prayer arrows throughout the day, and writing in a journal. All of these are good.  Give them a try.  You don’t have to do them all at once, and you don’t have to keep doing what doesn’t work or isn’t comfortable. See what fits into your life, and what works fits your personality. In my own life  I’ve  found that a method of prayer will work for me for a while, and then it just doesn’t. Maybe that’s just me or maybe that happens to you, too.  I used to feel this was a kind of failure, but now I’ve learned it’s just time to change and try something else, at least for a while.

Frank Laubauch, a Christian missionary, once said, “I really do believe that all thought can be conversations with Thee.”  I’ve come to see that in all my busy thinking, I’m constantly talking to God.  I tried to describe to my husband once how God is always on my mind, and part of my thought processes, even if it’s not completely obvious.  He said, “so it’s as if God is your operating program, always running in the background?” I guess that comes pretty close to explaining my experience. And if God is my operating program then, I can say that in some sense, my whole life is a prayer.

I hope this doesn’t sound conceited.  I fall down in my prayer life all the time.  Sometimes that operating program is running and I still ignore for a while. Saying my thoughts and my life are prayer doesn’t excuse me from other kinds of prayer:  corporate prayer, intercessory prayer, studying the scriptures prayerfully, singing prayerfully, etc..  In fact, I think I need to be doing some of these things regularly in order to keep my mental conversation with Christ going.

Anyway, in all this rambling, what I really want to say is KEEP PRAYING. Don’t beat yourself up because you’re not doing it right. It doesn’t matter how you do it,  what matters is your earnest desire to know Jesus and be with Him.

I hope this month we’ll get lots of feedback about the prayer life of other Christian women.  What have you tried?  What worked or didn’t?  We’re interested in hearing from you.