Just Pray

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” – (Luke 11:1, NIV)

One time Jesus was out praying, and when He finished, one of His followers said to Him, “John taught his followers how to pray. Lord, teach us how to pray too.” – (Luke 11:1, ERV)

One day, as Jesus was in prayer, one of His disciples came over to Him as He finished and said, “Would you teach us a model prayer that we can pray, just like John did for his disciples?” – (Luke 11:1, TPT)

 

Yesterday, after having been away last weekend, I finally had the opportunity to listen to the podcast from Sunday’s message. This week, Pastor Omar continued his DNA series (A review of our foundational values). The message was about prayer, and spring boarded from the passage in Luke 11, verses 1-13. First and foremost, Jesus lived and modeled a life of prayer. He set the example of what we were designed to do to be in communication with the Father. When asked by a disciple to teach them to pray, Jesus did not rattle off some eloquent prayer, nor give a formula to be repeated; rather what we have come to know as the Lord’s prayer, is really a reminder of things to keep in mind as we pray. We need to acknowledge and praise God for who He is, ask Him to meet our needs; seek forgiveness and His help forgiving others, and His protection from temptation. Jesus went on to tell a story of a person seeking their neighbor in need, and pointed out that the neighbor would get up and help the friend, not because of the friendship, but because of their boldness to ask when it was inconvenient.  The heart of God is so much more than that of our friends, neighbors and family members. He gives the Holy Spirit to help and guide us, and hears every word that is raised heavenward, as He meets the needs we know, and even those we may not be aware of yet. Most of us, if asked, would respond that our prayer life could use a lift. Pastor Omar gave some practical reminders of how exactly we can do just that.

To strengthen our prayer life:

– Ask Jesus to teach us how to pray.

– Walk with the Holy Spirit.

– Find a rhythm for prayer. (Discover when your best time to pray is, and use it!)

– Recognize that there are seasons in life, and as life ebbs and flows, what our prayer life looks like will too.

– Understand that we each have our own personality and relate to God individually. Just as children interact and relate to their parents uniquely, so too, do we with our Heavenly Father.

– Commit for the long haul. Change, habits, lifestyles all transform over time, not overnight.

– Be okay with silence. Sometimes, prayer is sitting silently before God and waiting, listening, or resting in His presence. All are good things to grow in Him.

– Lastly, just pray. To strengthen a prayer life requires praying.

May we remember that prayer is not just a thing that we do, but rather it is a place we go to be in the presence of God to communicate with Him.

 

As for mom, today is the day!!!! After two months and eight days, I will see mom tonight! The moment I arrive home from work, Mark and I will hop in the car and head south to my sister and family’s home in Oregon. Typically, due to traffic, it is a six-plus hour drive. We are praying for traveling mercies and lighter than usual traffic, but no matter what, we will have each other and a great destination awaiting our arrival. The anticipation of seeing Mom and witnessing her progress with my own eyes is making the thought of working a full day prior to our departure, a bit painful. I am praying that today is one of those days that flies by before you even feel like you can blink, sort of days. 😊

 

Jesus has taught us, img_2019-10-18_04-57-472496001443635161835.jpg

The power of prayer;

To touch and change lives,

And show that we care.

It’s crazy to think,

That each time we pray;

He who gave us life,

Hears each word we say.

Holy is the Lord,

Who hears all our needs;

Forgives us our sins,

And in His way, leads.

Make time to reach out,

Spend time with the King;

It’s how lives transform,

As His love He brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege of prayer. Thank You that You, the Creator of the Universe, care and have time to hear the heart and prayers of each of Your created; individually. Forgive us for not making prayer a priority, as communication is key in any relationship. Teach us to pray in a way that is comfortable and natural and sustainable. Show us how to love those around us well, as we lift each up to You in prayer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You and pray to You, asking, seeking, and listening; for You are amazing and it is a gift to grow in relationship with You. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:7

Just Believe

Jesus heard this and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid! Just believe and your daughter will be well.” – (Luke 8:50, ERV)

But when Jesus heard what had happened, He said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith, and she will be healed.” – (Luke 8:50, NLT)

 

Need has an interesting way of breaking down barriers as people reach the point of desperation. Jairus, despite being a high official in the synagogue, did not hesitate to drop to his knees in need before Jesus on behalf of his dying daughter. The desire to see her healed was greater than his concern about societal norms. Faith and hope brought Jairus to Jesus, and it was likely the comforting words that Jesus offered upon hearing the news that his daughter had died that kept him from losing his mind with grief. What Jesus says, He will do, and Jairus had to choose to either trust Him and believe, or lose hope and his only daughter to death forever. I can only imagine the wrestling match that must have been going on in his mind as they walked the long road back to his home to where his dead daughter was waiting. “Can He who healed the bleeding woman with the hem of His garment, bring life back to my dead daughter?” My mind’s eye imagines that Jairus gained a bit more boldness with each step, as he recalled what he had just witnessed with the woman who had suffered for twelve long years and then was healed by her unwavering faith. Perhaps each step was taken to an internal cadence that he simply spoke to himself, “Believe, believe, believe!” Regardless of how Jairus traveled, when Jesus and the disciples went up to his daughter with he and his wife, their daughter was brought back to life, and their lives were never the same. May we listen for the voice of Jesus in the midst of our scary spaces, and hear Him as He reminds us to have faith and just believe.

 

In uncertainty,Our Map and Our Guide

Trial or in pain;

We’re called to believe,

Trust in Jesus’ Name.

For the Lord is good,

He alone can save;

Bring comfort to fears,

When we feel afraid.

God of all wonder,

Your power and might;

Is what we can trust,

To set all things right.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and faithful and loving. Thank You that You move mountains when we have but a mustard seed of faith. Forgive us for the times that our faith falters because we rely on what we see, rather than what we know to be true in You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would have faith, even when things do not make sense, as You see the entire outcome. Help us to live and love in such a way, that our faith is infectious to all whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we believe and have faith, no matter what we see; for You are alone are the One who directs our path. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort. – 2 Corinthians 1:3

Freedom from Fear

I prayed to the Lord, and He answered me. He freed me from all my fears. – (Psalm 34:4, NLT)

 

Typically, I don’t think that people who know me would consider me to be fearful. In fact, often my sense of adventure leads people to believe that fear is seldom on my radar. Unfortunately, fear has a way of creeping into unexpected cracks, and wreaking havoc where we least expect it. Strength, courage and boldness come more easily in areas that the Lord has shown His faithfulness before. However, there are spaces where prior experience sends up all sorts of red flags, and fear fights to prevent forward momentum where we are called to move. This, this is the place where persistence in prayer is the only way past our past. As we pray, He is faithful to meet us, take us by the hand, and lead us forward into the freedom that He intended for us all along. When we find ourselves face-to-face with fear, may we pray to the Lord for His help; for He is faithful to meet us in our need and lead us to the freedom He designed for us for all our days.

 

No one is fearless,photo (10)

For fear finds a way;

To rise and threaten,

Where peace ought to reign.

We’re not to be stuck,

Nor crippled by fear;

For God will answer,

Each prayer, He hears.

He grants us courage,

To face the unknown;

Provides new freedom,

Where our faith is grown.

Rise up warriors,

Pray, for He is near;

The Lord will answer,

And free us from fear.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can pray to You, and You answer us. Thank You that You are the One who will take us by the hand and walk us through the places that we are held captive by fear. Forgive us for not calling on You for help and staying stuck in the spaces where fear holds us prisoner. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring each fear before You as it is identified, and trust You to lead us forward, despite what we see or have experienced in the past. Show us how to walk beside people in the strength of Your love, so that they too may find freedom from the fears that keep them captive. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give our fears to You, and trust You to set us free. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

 

Patience Produces Bravery and Courage

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. – (Psalm 27:14, NLT)

Waiting, bravery and courage do not naturally go hand-in-hand. A moment of bravery or courage is far easier to muster, than the sort of strength that must be sustained when we are in a space of waiting. It is an interesting position to be in, as we need God’s strength to be courageous and brave while we wait on Him to answer or move on our behalf. His timing is not our own, and recognizing that alone, takes courage. So often, it would be our ideal, if He would just answer, RIGHT NOW. However, it is in the seasons of waiting, that the Lord is building our bravery, and calling us to be courageous in new ways. As we trust in Him, He shows us more of Himself, and how we can trust the Father heart of God. Each season that we learn to patiently wait on Him, He further grows us and builds in us, bravery, strength, and boldness that was not there before. May we wait patiently for the Lord, choosing to be brave and courageous in Christ; for He is our strength and shall see us through.

To wait patiently,Gentleness for the Weary

we must choose be brave;

not in our own strength,

in the Lord, always.

For courage shall come,

through trusting in Him;

He’s faithful and just,

when invited in.

The challenging part,

is to trust His time;

for what we want now,

may not be what’s right.

The truth we can hold,

is the love we know;

God’s timing is best,

and in wait, we grow.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we wait patiently for You, You make us brave and courageous. Thank You that anything that You have us wait for, is well worth the wait. Thank You that You are good and worthy of all of our trust. Forgive us for our lack of patience and our fearfulness, when we cannot see answers or an end to our waiting. Teach us to trust You more, as You are good and You have good plans for each of us. Lead us to love others in such a way, that they may see You through all that we say and do. May many come into a lasting relationship with You, where they too may find their courage in You. Be glorified O God, as we wait on You with bravery and courage that You grow in us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

The Works Required

Then they asked Him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent.” – (John 6:28-29)

 

God does not have a laundry list of works that we must perform in order to qualify to come to Him. The only “requirement” that He has, is that we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and we will be saved. When we know Christ, we invest in our relationship with Him. As we grow in His wisdom and grace, we are compelled to serve Him. More than anything else, God wants our hearts. He longs for us to seek Him with all that we are, trusting that He is who He says He is. When we believe, we are doing the work that He requires. May we go forth in boldness, confident in the truth that our lives profess, that Jesus Christ is Lord.

 

Oh Lord, here I am,Confidence in Christ

I humbly ask;

what do You require?

Lead me to the task.

All that the Lord wants,

a heart that is true;

that believes in Him,

faithful to pursue.

One that seeks His face,

all throughout the day;

who trusts He is Lord,

the Truth, Light and Way.

Help me be faithful,

in all that I do;

with my heart and mind,

fixed wholly on You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You do not require us to do enough nor be enough to somehow qualify for Your kingdom. Thank You that You receive us as we come, when we believe. Thank You that faith is not something that we can muster on our own, but rather is a gift that You grow within us as we pursue You and trust You more. Forgive us for attempting to earn Your favor, or feeling like we somehow need to work for that which You freely give. Help set our hearts right so that the works we do are out of a heart of gratitude, not out of obligation. Lead us to love well, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship this season with You. Be glorified O God, as we offer our gifts of gratitude unto You. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things.  Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Boldness Before Them

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. – (Acts 4:13-14)

 

Even the most skeptical Sadducees could not deny the truth when it was standing before them. With their own eyes, they had seen the man both before and after his healing. They heard the wise words spoken by men who had not the upbringing nor the schooling to speak in such a manner. The power of the living God dwelling in the hearts of the men, was irrefutable. Astonished and dumbstruck, they had nothing to say, and could not silence the boldness before them, as the power in the hearts of Peter and John was far greater than the futile attempt to silence the faithful from speaking the truth. In the heart of every believer, lies the same Spirit, with the same power to speak the truth. Christ will make us brave before all brethren, if only we choose to allow Him access to our whole heart, and place our trust completely in Him. May we invest our hearts and minds in the truth of God, so that we too, may be bold before all who draw near. Let us speak truth without fear, for far greater is He who is in us, than that which is in the world.

 

Ordinary men,IMG_0268

so faithful to Christ;

stood strong in the truth,

they did not think twice.

All trust in the Lord,

for they knew His strength;

were willing to risk,

their lives at great length.

Boldly the men spoke,

the truth about God;

they could not refute,

nor call them a fraud.

For they too had seen,

the clear evidence;

of Christ’s mighty hand,

awestruck reverence.

We too are the same,

with access to God;

He grants us boldness,

that fills us with awe.

Allow His Spirit,

to move in His might;

He shall grant all things,

to go and shine bright.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You make us brave. Thank You that You take ordinary people and do extraordinary things through us, if we are only willing and available unto You. Thank You that it is not by our own strength nor wisdom nor power, but anything good that we do for You, is by Your grace, equipped by Your Spirit in us. Forgive us for thinking that we do not have the proper training nor ability to go forth and do what You ask of us; for even the most learned among us would not be enough without You. Teach us to trust and rely on You completely in all things and at all times. Lead us to love others as You so completely love each of us. May many come to know the power present in a life lived with You. Let those who are looking, find and choose You. Be glorified, Lord God, as we trust Your Spirit within us to strengthen us to go forth with boldness. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Listen… be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. – Proverbs 23:19

Hidden No More

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in Him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” – (John 4:39)

 

This verse from the often told story of the woman at the well, struck me anew this morning. Not only was she powerfully impacted by her encounter personally, but she found a new boldness where she had previously remained hidden, and that boldness in stepping out to speak of what she had experienced compelled many from her town to go and see Jesus for themselves. She was so dramatically different, that those who had shunned her, gave ear to her words. What a powerful testimony indeed! God used her transformation to tell others of Christ’s goodness and grace. Imagine the interactions at the well after the town’s two days with Jesus!

 

In isolation,Hidden No More

alone and afraid;

there is a Savior,

Who will come your way.

He’ll always draw near,

no matter your past;

He’ll wash you anew,

grant peace that will last.

The Granter of hope,

the Giver of grace;

Restorer of life,

He’s present always.

All that is hidden,

is already known;

He’ll use it for good,

story of your own.

The glorious thing,

as you choose to share;

others will seek Him,

trade hope for despair.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek You and allow You to move in our lives, You do a deep transformational work that others can see. Thank You that even the ugliest part of our past can become the most triumphant part of our testimony, by You grace. Thank You that when others see change in us, they want to know why. Forgive us for not being quick to answer, or for not always modeling the internal transformation that has taken place. Teach us to trust You in the transformation, and grant us strength to stand strong in all things and at all times so that Your will be done. Help us to love as You love us, and may many come to seek You as a result. Let the lost be found, and testimonies of transformations abound. Be glorified as we go forth boldly as You have made us to do. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

In One Accord

lighted pathThough his friends pleaded,

begged him to not go;

Paul knew he was called,

no pain he’d forgo.

All knew what waited,

in Jerusalem;

they wept at the thought,

of losing their friend.

Paul answered, “Why weep?

You’re breaking my heart.

I’m ready for this,

I will do my part.”

When his friends did see,

he could not be swayed;

they at last gave up,

blessed him on his way.

Imagine knowing,

such trials await;

would we still go forth,

or would we debate?

His boldness a gift.

His spirit, assured;

for all of his trust,

and hope was secured.

All that was in him,

relied on the Lord;

so too his actions,

aligned in accord.

(Responding to Acts 21:10-14)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Holy Spirit, Whom You sent to dwell in us as our Counselor and Friend. Thank You that Your words for us are whispered within, through Your Spirit, and are always available for us to hear if we are willing to slow down and silence ourselves before You. Forgive us for the times that we have not acted on what we have heard, and help us to overcome the fears that create the barriers preventing us from becoming all that You are calling us to be. Strengthen our hearts and minds, while keeping us truly tender towards others. Let us love as You love – giving generously of ourselves – our time, talents, and resources, shared in love, just as You so lavishly have poured into each of us. May many come to know You, personally, as a result of our outpouring. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Our Sovereign Savior

Our Sovereign SaviorGod, our Creator,

dwells in hearts of man;

not in a building,

made by human hand.

He made land and sea,

from one man, made all;

determined the place,

each border would fall.

God gave with a choice,

yet that choice is plain;

if we look around,

creation proclaims.

It summons we seek,

and reach out for Him;

when we truly look,

He will enter in.

The Lord’s always near,

close as our next breath;

our life is in Him,

and hope after death.

For in Him we live,

and have our being;

empowered to move,

vision for seeing.

 

(Responding to Acts 17:24-28)
 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are sovereign over all, yet at the same time, You are close and personal.  Thank You that You love us so much, that You allow us to choose.  Thank You that You have always chosen us; that Your love for us is unending.  Thank You that there is evidence of You, all around us.  Forgive us for the times that we were silent when we should have spoken, and please birth in us, a new boldness for You.  Lead us in Your love, and let Your light be evident in all that we say and do.  May many come to know the sweet space of knowing You as their Savior.  Help us to have a heightened awareness of Your nearness today.  Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Only You

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASalvation is found,

through Jesus alone;

who lived, died and rose,

now sits on the throne.

The power to heal,

the great grace to save;

the hope that breathed life,

from an empty grave.

Able to equip,

the ordinary;

to move in His Name,

extraordinary.

No one can silence,

the truth of His word;

for if we speak not,

from rocks it’ll be heard.

All of creation,

boldly testifies;

intricate beauty,

His heart to our eyes.

May we each go forth,

lay hold of His grace;

share well the wonders,

and hope to embrace.

“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” – (Acts 4:12)

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example set before us by Your early church. When I read of the faith and courage found in Peter and John before the Sanhedrin, I am inspired to trust You more, especially when my fear of speaking lies before an audience of friends. Forgive us for our fears and hesitation, and birth in us a new boldness for You. Teach us how to share of Your love and grace in a way that is natural to how we have been designed, so that those who hear it, might be ready to receive. May many come to know You personally, as a result of the loving kindness we extend. Use our willing hearts to touch lives and transform communities. All glory and honor to You. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.