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

Rooted in Discipleship

This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. – (John 15:8, NIV)

Show that you are my followers by producing much fruit. This will bring honor to my Father. – (John 15:8, ERV)

Your abundant growth and your faithfulness as My followers will bring glory to the Father. – (John 15:8, VOICE)

 

Yesterday, our pastor continued in a series that is unpacking our foundational beliefs. The focus this week, was on discipleship. Pastor Omar opened with the question, “Is being a disciple of Jesus about what we do or who we are?” As he continued, it became clear that who we are as a disciple, permeates into everything we do. However, it is less about “what” we do specifically, and instead, whether or not we bear fruit; the fruit being that of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) The fruit found in our lives, is what demonstrates discipleship to the world. He went on to talk about what it takes to actually bear fruit; for a seed planted will not grow if it is not set in good soil, nourished and cared for properly. Soil that is rich in what is right and intended for our good growth exists when we are planted in the Presence of God, the Word of God, and the Family of God. Each of these three are necessary to grow our faith and spur one another on into all that we have been called to become. May we ever be intentional to invest in the soil of our lives, so that we may be bearers of the fruit of God.

 

It is to God’s glory, Rooted in What is Real

When we bear much fruit;

It shares of His story,

His grace, resolute.

Choose to plant in good soil,

Enriched with the things;

That grow and establish,

Deep roots and strong wings.

Roots grown in God’s presence,

With time in His Word;

And wings to keep flying,

Surrounded and heard.

Our peace, patience, kindness,

And gentleness too;

Love and faithfulness,

Show growth that is true.

A life with self-control,

Too, tells the story;

Of a most faithful God,

And brings Him glory.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You desire for each of us to be Your disciples – not by what we do, but rather in who we are. Thank You that You show us what it is to grow and invest in good soil so that we may establish deep roots in You and bear much fruit. Forgive us for the times that our fruit has been bruised or rotten, as we allowed our own egos or agendas to get in the way of what You were doing in or through us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are intentional to invest time in Your presence, Your Word, and in the community to which You have called us. Show us how to love well and bear fruit that lasts. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we love You and choose to follow You as life-long learners. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

From Heavenly Throne

Therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them. – (Hebrews 7:25, NIV)

So, Christ can save those who come to God through Him. Christ can do this forever, because He always lives and is ready to help people when they come before God. – (Hebrews 7:25, ERV)

From such a vantage, He is able to save those who approach God through Him for all time because He will forever live to be their advocate in the presence of God. – (Hebrews 7:25, VOICE)

 

We have a Savior, seated in heaven at the right hand of God, who continually contends for all who seek Him. His sacrifice covers our iniquities, and His love restores us to righteousness before the Father. On our own, we are sinners, destined to die. With Jesus, we are redeemed and made right with God, and granted the promise of eternal life with Him. This gift is freely given, and we need only to receive. As we do, our hearts are changed and our minds renewed, so that we may walk in the freedom that God’s favor and forgiveness provide. Without the weight of our former sin, we are empowered to forge forward in love. May we ever seek the Lord and embrace the grace He freely gives, so that we too, may extend His loving kindness to all.

 

On heavenly throne, The Hope of the World

Jesus does reside;

To contend for us,

And make all things right.

He covers our sin,

Our shame and our doubt;

Restores and renews,

His love is devout.

This love we’re given,

So abundantly;

Is so we too give,

And set others free.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for making the way for us to be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You Jesus, for Your life, death, resurrection and ascension to take Your rightful throne in heaven where You contend for us before the Father. Forgive us for not recognizing the enormity of Your sacrifice, or for not receiving what You freely offer. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would receive Your goodness and grace, and in turn, extend the same to all those around us. Show us how to love others in the same way that You so lavishly love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive Your mercy and grace, and offer the same to all those around us, by Your love. Amen.

 

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

 

But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God. – Luke 22:69

Why We Gather

“For where two or three gather in My Name, there am I with them.” – (Matthew 18:20, NIV)

“Yes, if two or three people are together believing in Me, I am there with them. – (Matthew 18:20, ERV)

“And when two or three of you are together because of Me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” – (Matthew 18:20, MSG)

 

This verse is a reminder of why it is so important to gather with other believers. Church is not about religion and rules, it is an opportunity to join together and recognize the presence of God. Yes, God is with us, always, but there is something powerful that transpires when a group of people gathers to seek the heart of God. His presence is made known, and those in the midst of it are strengthened, encouraged and equipped to go out in His power. We were created for relationship. Isolation for too long, causes the heart to grow weary, and faith to become frail. God is faithful and loving no matter what, but He invites us to lay hold of the power of His presence through gathering together with others who seek Him. May we ever pursue opportunities to gather with others who are seeking the Lord, so as to mutually encourage and edify one another as He makes His presence known.

 

Let us seek gather,

Peace Through Understanding

With others, pursue;

The heart of the Lord,

As His word is true.

When people choose join,

Their hearts and their minds;

To seek our Savior,

His presence, they find.

Our God is faithful,

His word ever true;

He makes Himself known,

Collective pursuit.

Let’s seek with intent,

And join together;

For God will be found,

Most gracious treasure.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to join together to seek You. Thank You that You are faithful to make Your presence known, each time we gather to pursue You. Forgive us for thinking that we can handle life on our own, rather than joining with others to seek and find Your faithful presence. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would invest in relationships that support and encourage a life lived in pursuit of You. Show us how to love and encourage those around us, so that they too, would want to pursue Your heart with others to experience the power made known as we gather. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we gather in Your Name, recognizing the power of Your presence that comes when we join together to seek You. Amen.

 

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

 

Save us, Lord our God, and gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to Your Holy Name and glory in Your praise. – Psalm 106:47

Our Words Are Heard

For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy the true one; He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. – (Hebrews 9:24, NIV)

Christ went into the Most Holy Place. But it was not the man-made one, which is only a copy of the real one. He went into heaven, and He is there now before God to help us. – (Hebrews 9:24, ERV)

The Anointed One did not enter into handcrafted sacred spaces – imperfect copies of heavenly originals – but into heaven itself, where He stands in the presence of God on our behalf. – (Hebrews 9:24, VOICE)

When we pray, be it a praise, a petition, a confession or a cry for help, our words make way to the very throne room of God. Because Jesus came and made way for us once and for all, we can approach His throne of grace, knowing that He hears and is moving on our behalf. I am so thankful that there is no go-between, nor series of rituals or requirements necessary to come to Christ whenever we need. So often I find myself offering up a quick prayer, unaware of the power and majesty present in the gift of grace to freely speak to the Creator of the Universe with the closeness of a loving father and faithful friend. May we appreciate in awe, the blessed gift granted through Christ, that endows unto us the opportunity to come before God for help, knowing that Christ is for us, moving on our behalf.

 

We need not worry,

dsc095756042808195682943428.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

The way has been made;

Free to approach God,

The price has been paid.

Christ went before us,

And sees us with love;

So now without fear,

We seek God above.

Let us not forget,

This grace we have found;

All thanks be to God,

Who makes love abound.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to make the way for us to approach Your throne of grace. Thank You that You hear every word uttered, both in our hearts and with our voices. Forgive us for the times that we have not sought You in our need, or have neglected to give You gratitude for Your unending faithfulness. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would seek You in all things and give You thanks for all that You have done, are doing, and shall do. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they may come to know of Your unending faithfulness. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You and pray to You, trusting in Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. – Psalm 34:17

 

 

Finding Full Armor

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. – (Ephesians 6:12-13)

 

The battles we’re fighting and the opposition we are facing, come not from the hearts of mere men. Deeply rooted in the deeds of darkness, lie the the workings of those cast from the presence of God. Though temptations and trials surround us on all sides, far greater is He who is in us, than those who are in the world. The armor of God that we have with which to adorn ourselves, is the very Spirit of God, Himself. When we ask, He enters in, and empowers us to stand our ground and do the good that God intended us to do. As we stand firm in His truth and righteousness, ever ready with His gospel of peace, we are able to withstand whatever comes against us. Let us rise up and hold fast to the truth, allowing Christ to adorn us in His full armor.

 

Fight not flesh and blood,Marvelously Made

but through Christ’s power;

spiritual forces,

seeking to devour.

Each day as we rise,

let us be well armed;

clothed in the Lord’s strength,

so we won’t be harmed.

A heart that is true,

adorned in the Lord;

will stand in the end,

with Him we adore.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we seek You, You grant us Your strength and power to stand strong against the powers and principalities that would come against us. Thank You that You arm us in Your truth and righteousness, and make us ready with Your gospel of peace. Thank You that faith in You is our shield against all that would come against us, and our salvation sets our minds secure in You. Forgive us for attempting to fight battles that are not ours, or for folding when You call us to stand. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will listen well for Your voice of truth, and hear clearly what You are calling us to do in every situation. Lead us to love others well, just as You so wonderfully love each of us. May many come into a saving relationship with You, Lord. Be glorified O God, as we seek to arm ourselves in Your full armor, and listen to You as to how to stand firm. Amen.

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

And the Lord said, “I will cause all My goodness to pass in front of you.” – Exodus 33:19

Prepare for His Presence

May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May He strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all His holy ones. – (I Thessalonians 3:12-13)

 

Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians, is an encouragement for us still today, as well. As we invest our hearts in Him, He increases the love that we have for one another, and strengthens our hearts. If we come to Him and keep short accounts, we remain blameless and holy before Him, ever prepared for the day when we meet our Maker – be it when our days are done, or when Christ returns with all those who have trusted in Him before us. May our love increase and our hearts find peace, as we pursue Him even more…

 

Pursue the Lord,Prepare for His Presence

passionately;

love will increase,

and sin shall flee.

Our hearts made strong,

in God’s power;

the Protector,

from what devours.

Remain in Him,

blameless, holy;

to be prepared,

for when we meet.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You grow Your love in us to overflowing, as we increase our dependence on You. Thank You that You strengthen our hearts and make us blameless and holy in Your sight, not by being “good enough”, but by our repentant hearts that are ready to receive what You freely give, and love You, who gives all unto us. Forgive us for thinking any of it can be done in our own strength, and help us to be completely reliant upon You. Be our Strength and our Source, our Hope and our Peace. Let Your love be what is most evident in us. May many come to know the holy hope that is held in You alone, as we live and love as You call us to do. Be glorified in all that we say and do. Amen.

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

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

Plan to Pray and Remember to Rest

“After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray.  When evening came, He was there alone.” – Matthew 14:23

copyright Shannon E. Moreno 2012

Jesus was intentional to set aside time to be alone in the presence of God in prayer.

If Jesus, who is our example of how we ought to live, was intentional to make time to meet with our Maker, how much more are we meant to be intentional in our time spent alone with Him?  Though corporate worship and fellowship with the body are good and benefit in the building of our faith, the true intimacy in a relationship with our Redeemer, comes through our intentional isolation, spent seeking and sitting still before Him as we present our praise and prayers.  We cannot hear if we are never quiet, and we cannot gain deeper insight, if we do not spend time in His word.

Real relationship is formed through prayer, patience, praise and persistence in His precious presence on a regular basis.  A wise friend recently gave me an acronym for rest as a reminder that yes, He does want my time and energy spent studying, praying and being obedient to Him, but He also wants me to take time to REST in Him as well.

RRelax

EEnjoy

SStillness

TTrust

Seeking is good.  Studying is good.  Resting and enjoying Him in stillness and trust, are also necessary, yet seemingly foreign in this fast-paced existence.

Jesus was busy too.  Wherever He went, crowds would find and follow Him.  When He wasn’t teaching a crowd or healing the hurting, Jesus was training the disciples in truth and trust, so that they too could stand strong and share the good news.  In all the perpetual motion, the Majestic still made time to be before our Maker, alone, so that His heart and mind might be refreshed and refueled, and His heart be made ready for the rough road ahead.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be our example and to make the way for us  to pray and rest in You.  Forgive us for the times that we are not intentional to set aside time to spend in prayer alone with You, and for not remembering to also take time to REST in You.  Teach us to be intentional in our prayer, and to rest in You, so that we might be refreshed and renewed and made ready for our road ahead.  Lead us to love others as we are loved by You, so that others too, might find truth and rest in You.  Amen.

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

Silenced by the Son

“Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of His Christ.  For the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.” – Revelation 12:10

photo by Werol

Salvation, power and authority are ours, as kids of His Kingdom, by the sacrifice supplied by His Son, Jesus.  Because Jesus died on our behalf, the accusations uttered day and night by the deceiver are dismissed.  The head of hell has been hurled from heaven, and we have been freed from false witness against us.

There is no power or authority in heaven or on earth who can compare to the Creator of all.  Our hope is the promised presence of our Provider, and our help is held in the holy hands of God.  Though chaos will come, for it is seemingly inevitable, we will not be crushed nor abandoned as we dwell in the shadow of our Savior’s wings.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us Your kids and You supply salvation, power and authority to all who call You King.  Thank You that every sound of hell is silenced by the blood sacrificed by Your Son.  Teach us the truth, and allow our hearts and minds to begin to understand just how great You are.  May our obedience to You and authority in You, lead many to make You the Lord of their lives.  Use us as Your hands, heart and voice, I pray.  Amen.

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