Thursday, March 9, 2017

Who is Hearing My Prayers?

This morning I woke up early- for some unknown reason my body decided that I was done sleeping.  I am in the middle of a few days where I have purposed to set aside some things in order to focus on prayer for our nation.  (You can find out more about this national call to  prayer and fasting by clicking over to TheCall.)  So I said in my mind, "Ok God, if you want me to pray right now, I will pray."  I proceeded to pray silently, inside my mind as I lay there in bed. (I was tired, remember...)  It wasn't too long into my prayer time that I started to think about what I was doing- this silent praying.  I thought about Jesus, and how he prayed.  I know he prayed silently sometimes, but whenever he was confronting something, whether it be disease, demons, or death, he prayed out loud.  Paul, Peter, the rest of the apostles?  I can only think of examples where they prayed out loud.  I then thought about confrontation.  When we need to confront someone, how effective is it if we only confront them silently in our head?  It's not.  In order for effective confrontation to happen there has to be verbalization.


Much of our prayer life is spent in confrontation.  We may be confronting lack, fear, stress, hopelessness, sickness, relationship issues, despair, etc.  All of those requests on your prayer list, all of those things you are interceding for, it's confrontation.  We are confronting the devil and his plans and declaring God's truth and God's kingdom over the situation.  Yes, God hears your prayers when you pray silently, but its time for the devil to hear your prayers too!  Beyond this though, there is supernatural power attached to our words.  

God made mankind in his image, we are created in his likeness.  When God speaks, the world is created.  The spoken word has power.  As his image bearers we too carry power in the words we speak.  When Ezekiel was confronted with a valley of dry bones, this is what God said to him:

Then he told me to speak (prophesy) to the bones and say: “O dry bones, listen to the words of God, for the Lord God says, ‘See! I am going to make you live and breathe again! I will replace the flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you shall live and know I am the Lord.’”
So I spoke these words from God, just as he told me to; and suddenly there was a rattling noise from all across the valley, and the bones of each body came together and attached to each other as they used to be. Then, as I watched, the muscles and flesh formed over the bones, and skin covered them, but the bodies had no breath. Then he told me to call to the wind and say: “The Lord God says: Come from the four winds, O Spirit, and breathe upon these slain bodies, that they may live again.” 10 So I spoke to the winds as he commanded me, and the bodies began breathing; they lived and stood up—a very great army.  (Ezekiel 37:4-10, TLB)

In the same way Jesus spoke to the wind and the waves and told them to, "Be still!" (See my previous blog post for more about storms!) We are to speak to life's situations and command them to line up with the word of God.  What does God's word say about your situation?  Speak it over that situation and believe for God to do what his word says.  

There is also something supernaturally faith-building and encouraging that happens when we hear ourselves speak faith over a situation.  The fact is, how we speak about something affects how we think about it.  And how we think about it affects how we feel about it.  Your whole perspective can change when you align your words with God's.

If praying out loud is not already your habit, I want to encourage you to start praying out loud as much as possible
Proverbs 18:21 "The tongue has the power of life and death"
Psalms 71:8 "My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long."
Matthew 21:21 "Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.”

God Bless You,
Lisa


Friday, February 17, 2017

Sometimes He Calls Us into the Storm

I was listening to this song today, and it made me think about the story where Jesus sent his disciples ahead of him, to cross a windy lake. 


Matthew 14:22-33 Living Bible (TLB)
22 Immediately after this, Jesus told his disciples to get into their boat and cross to the other side of the lake while he stayed to get the people started home.
23-24 Then afterwards he went up into the hills to pray. Night fell, and out on the lake the disciples were in trouble. For the wind had risen and they were fighting heavy seas.
25 About four o’clock in the morning Jesus came to them, walking on the water! 26 They screamed in terror, for they thought he was a ghost.
27 But Jesus immediately spoke to them, reassuring them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said.
28 Then Peter called to him: “Sir, if it is really you, tell me to come over to you, walking on the water.”
29 “All right,” the Lord said, “come along!”
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. 30 But when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
31 Instantly Jesus reached out his hand and rescued him. “O man of little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” 32 And when they had climbed back into the boat, the wind stopped.
33 The others sat there, awestruck. “You really are the Son of God!” they exclaimed.
 

I was thinking to myself, Jesus may have known that a storm was going to come and he sent his disciples into it anyways.  There was another time the disciples were faced with a storm, with Jesus sleeping in the boat this time.


Mark 4:35-41 Living Bible (TLB)
35 As evening fell, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.” 36 So they took him just as he was and started out, leaving the crowds behind (though other boats followed). 37 But soon a terrible storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water and about to sink. 38 Jesus was asleep at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. Frantically they wakened him, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are all about to drown?”
39 Then he rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Quiet down!” And the wind fell, and there was a great calm!
40 And he asked them, “Why were you so fearful? Don’t you even yet have confidence in me?”
41 And they were filled with awe and said among themselves, “Who is this man, that even the winds and seas obey him?”

Sometimes God may call us into a storm.  Sending us into the storm does not make him unkind or uncaring.  We may not know all the reasons for why we are in the storm, but the ultimate reason would be for His glory to be shown.  If you feel like you are in a storm I wanted to encourage you: its OK.  God sees you.  He knows.  He knows it's hard and how you are struggling to keep your boat upright in the midst of the wind and the waves.  He knows you're bailing hard and it really does feel some times like this boat is going under and everything will be lost.  In spite of how you feel, it is possible to keep trusting in God.  It is possible to praise Him.  It is possible to believe for light in the midst of darkness.  Remind yourself of who God is, not how big your storm is.  Remind yourself of the love and care that he has for you. The best way to do this is spending time in His word and in worship and prayer. 

Sometimes we really do feel like those disciples, we're about to sink and we wonder, "God, don't you even care?"  And God's patient reply is once again (after all you've seen, after all you've learned), "Don't you even yet have confidence in me?"  What has God brought you through already?  Remember where you have been.  And remember where you are going. 

The lyrics to the song "Captain" can be seen in this video, please watch it:


Hold on friend.  Every storm will eventually pass.  It won't last forever.  Peace will come.

God Bless You,
Lisa


P.S.  If you want to read more thoughts about being in a storm, you can read my previous blog posts here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).