Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Word Study Wednesday: Prayer and Supplication

I've decided to start a series on prayer. Prayer is our way of communicating with our Heavenly Father, therefore it is a necessity. I believe there are different types of prayers - prayers for healing, warfare, emergencies, daily conversation, and needful prayers. Today's study explains one way of presenting our requests to the Lord.

Phillipians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (ESV)

I've heard this verse many, many times - so much so that I never really paid attention to the meaning of the words anymore, but rather recited them from memory. As I prepared for this study, I became curious of the word supplication. The Greek word for supplication is "deesis" (pronounced deh-ay-sis) and it means "prayer, request, supplication" (Strong's Exhaustive Concordance). So, reading the verse with this definition, it sounds like "...but in everything by prayer and prayer..." but that seems a bit repetitive. I then looked supplication up on and it defined it as a "humble prayer."

I also looked up the definition for prayer and it seemed to make the verse a bit clearer. The Greek word for prayer is "proseuche" (pronounced pros-yoo-khay), meaning "prayer (worship)."

Now I read the verse as "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by worshipful prayer and humble prayer and thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

This is how Jesus prayed when He was in the garden before His arrest. Mark 14:36 says "And he said, 'Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what You will." He worshipped the Lord by acknowledging His power - "all things are possible for You..." Then he humbly asked the Lord to take away his cup, but "not what I will, but what You will." Jesus didn't list off his accomplishments or say why he deserved not to die. He put aside his will and prayed for God's will.

Present your requests to God in a humble and worshipful matter. Most importantly, pray for His will, not yours.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Word Study Wednesday: Help

Isaiah 41:10: "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (ESV)

My daughter struggled with me as I tried to help her write the number eight. "I can do it," she said as she pulled the paper away from my reach.

After a few moments, I pulled her aside for a talk. "Honey, why don't you like it when I help you?" No comment. I continued. "Is it because you feel like you're a big girl and can do it yourself?"

"Yes," she said sheepishly.

I then went on to explain that it's okay to ask for help. Then it hit me. I'm just as guilty. I think that since I'm a woman in my mid-30s, I should be able to do it all without help. The truth is, I can't.

I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed the past few weeks. Occasionally, I may have prayed for help, peace, guidance, and rest, but not consistently. It's during those times of inconsistency where I feel like I'm drowning.

The word "help" originates in Hebrew as "azar" (pronounced aw-zar). According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, it means "to surround, to protect or aid: help." Using that definition, I imagine the Lord surrounding me, helping me with my issues. Maybe like the way I stood behind and surrounded my daughter, holding her hand while helping her write eights.

Times are tough - bad economy, a lot of stress and anger, distrust of others, disappointment, and fear. Add those to personal issues and it's enough to make one feel helpless - but God is here. "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." All we have to do is ask and trust in Him.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Using Talent for Worship

"Mommy, I have a dance for you," my daughter told me. She performed pirouettes and arabesques, and twirled her way across the kitchen floor. She held nothing back as she performed her ballet for me as a birthday gift from her heart.

Isn't this how we should be as we present our gifts to the Lord? Carefree, full of love, and from the heart? There's a freedom in knowing that if I present my talent to my heavenly Father as a gift of worship, He will not reject me. In fact, I imagine His reaction to be like mine to my daughter's dance - full of joy and delight.

He gives us talents not only to minister to the world, but also as a way to worship Him. As long as I use my talent and present it with love, I'm not only obeying His will for my life, but I'm also worshipping Him.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

No Internet? What? Will I Survive?

“What? Are you serious? Oh no!” Dread filled my mind as I wondered how I would function without access to the Internet for the next week. No news, no blogs, nothing. I knew I was supposed to be on vacation and, in fact, I gave my husband a hard time for wanting to bring his work computer along (he didn't), but I didn’t consider surfing the net as work. After throwing my little tantrum, I resigned myself to the fact and decided to find other things to do during my free time.

Oddly enough, after a couple of days with no access, I found myself less stressed and more energized. I became care-free. It’s been awhile since I felt that way. I then realized I spend too much time on the Internet. I need to moderate my time. But how can I moderate my time, especially when my urge to visit the web hit me as soon as I came home?

I’m still thinking through this. I do have a few changes coming up in my life (more on that later), so I need to rethink my whole day. One way is to schedule specific time periods for my recreational surfing and follow it. Another way to moderate it is to cut back on what I read. I read a lot. I read news sites, blogs, online magazines, emails, and social networks. I need to review and weed out the material not edifying my soul (for example: entertainment magazines).
These are just a couple of ideas I’ve come up with so far.

What about you? Do you find yourself spending too much time on something? What do you do to moderate it?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Word Study Wednesday: Pleasing God

Ephesians 5:8-10: "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord."

"Mommy, come look at my room," my daughter yelled down the stairs. She wanted me to see her clean room.

"Great job, Sweetie," I said looking at her room. Her smile beamed across her face as I expressed my delight in a job well done (granted this was the third time to look at her room, but it was finally done). As children of God, we should want to please Him, just as children long to please their parents.

So what pleases the Lord? Jeremiah 9:24 gives us a hint: "...but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight." Just as the LORD exercises kindness, justice and righteousness, we should as well. He delights in those who practice His ways and live as children of light. Of course, living as children of light, we should shine in the darkness.

What's the reward for pleasing the Lord? Psalm 37:23 - 24 says: "If the Lord delights in a man's way, he makes his steps firm; 24 though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand." My favorite part of those verses is the phrase "...the Lord delights in a man's way" My prayer is that He delights in my ways and that my ways are His ways. I imagine Him watching me, smiling and delighting in my way of living. A smile beams across my face.

Back from Vacation and Back to Blogging

I am back from a wonderful vacation with my family in New Hampshire. We didn't have Internet access, which turned out to be a blessing (I'll post about that later). I feel rested and ready to start blogging again. Let's start with Word Study Wednesday.