PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Proverbs 3:13 says, “Happy is a man who finds wisdom and who acquires understanding…”
If you move on to chapter four, Solomon wrote, “Listen, sons, to a father’s discipline, and pay attention so that you may gain understanding,” (Proverbs 4:1).
Then, in 4:5, he begins again on the importance of wisdom, “Get wisdom, get understanding; don’t forget or turn away from the words from my mouth.”
Solomon should know.
He was the wisest king thanks to God’s answered prayer (1 Kings 3:5-12).
But I have to wonder, especially in his admonition to the “sons” of 4:1…
Did they readily listen?
Or did they, like so many do, make a determination to do things the hard way before they figured out that Solomon really did know what he was talking about?
Aren’t we all like that to a degree?
Let’s look at Rehoboam.
He was Solomon’s son / David’s grandson.
He obviously had some seriously big shoes to fill.
And like many, he wanted his own identity.
He wanted his own signature on a situation.
We can relate to that, right?
So when an assembly of Israelites came to him in 1 Kings 12 and asked for a lighter load, he sought counsel from the advisors who had served his father and also from a group of friends he had grown up with.
In verses 13-14, he rejected the wisdom of the elders and went with the really bad advice of his friends.
The result of this poor choice is found in verse 18 when we learn of the Israelites rebellion against Rehoboam’s rule.
Wisdom really is a valuable commodity, not to be taken lightly.
Just as God gave wisdom to Solomon, so will He give it to us when we ask.
James 1:5 affirms this, “Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God—who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly—and it will be given to him.”
And if there’s anything else we can learn from Rehoboam…
Choose your advisors carefully.
Today, as you pray, thank God for the gift of wisdom.
Ask the Holy Spirit to equip you with Godly wisdom and to bring wise, godly advisors in your life.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Luke 18:1 says, “Now he told them a parable on the need for them to pray always and not give up.”
The passage goes on with Jesus sharing a parable about a persistent woman who relentlessly put her case before the judge before he eventually ruled in her favor.
It’s hard to pray repeatedly for the same thing.
In these situations when it feels like God is silent, we have to pause and reflect on our request.
Are we praying for something within God’s will?
Psalm 37:4 tells us that “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.”
When we truly seek, worship, praise, and love God—in other words, when we’ve taken delight in the Lord—His will becomes our will and we will naturally pray accordingly.
But what if what we’re asking for isn’t that clear?
Maybe we’re asking for a new job.
Something that isn’t really bad for us, but we’re not sure if God wants us to accept it or not.
Or we’re praying for a new car.
We can make an argument that the one we have is older and needs some repairs, but is the request for a new car legit or is it a way to keep up with social status?
Motives matter in prayer, according to James 4:3, which says, “You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
God knows our hearts and motives.
And also, God will never endorse sinful requests.
But if the prayer we’re praying does line up with God’s will, and we know that then pray, keep praying, then pray some more.
Never give up.
Jesus’ parable is one of encouragement.
Keep showing up at the Throne of Grace with your prayers.
Keep petitioning God.
Pull from Scripture and remind Him of His promises.
He doesn’t need the reminder but it reassures your heart and motivates you to keep praying.
Today, as you pray, thank Jesus for the story of the persistent woman and the encouragement to keep praying.
Ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen you and if necessary, search your heart and motives.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I’m reading a book called “Handle with Prayer,” by Charles Stanley.
He wrote, “Our prayers are the link between God’s inexhaustible resources and people’s needs.”
That little sentence packs a powerful punch, doesn’t it?!
When it comes to powerful prayer, my go-to verse has always been James 5:16b.
But let’s read a bit more today.
Verses 16-18 say, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.”
The reminder of Elijah’s powerful prayer is wonderful and can be referenced in 1 Kings 17-18.
But I love that James wrote, “Elijah was as human as we are.”
If you’re like me, it’s sometimes hard to read about these people in the Bible without relegating them to the role of a character.
Yet, these were real people, with real flesh and blood, and real problems.
And when we remind ourselves of that truth, it’s easier to realize that we too can have powerful prayer, strong faith, and wonderful relationships with God.
After all, times may change, but people—eh…
Not so much.
The sins of the past are still sins that people wrestle with.
The hurts and pains of the past are still dealt with today.
The faith of yesterday can still be realized today.
If Elijah could pray with the faith to stop the rain, why can’t you and I pray a prayer strong enough to move the mountain??
God’s resources are endless.
And as Christians, we are called to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Today, as you pray, thank God for the power of prayer.
Thank Him that He has no limits and our prayers can tap into His limitless resources.
Ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to pray with the kind of faith that Elijah had…
Ask Him to help you remember the people of the Bible whose prayers made powerful impacts because of their faith in God.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Prayers are being heard and answered!
Please forgive the tardy update.
While I’ve been posting updates on my personal Facebook page, I failed to update this one.
I know from comments that some of you who may be strangers to my family have paused and prayed for my son and our family.
Charlie woke up around 8 this morning and began the process of breathing on his own again within 30 minutes.
He was very upset about the breathing tubes and we spent over two hours encouraging him to resist the temptation to fight them.
Thank goodness one arm is broken and the other was restrained because he would have undoubtedly yanked them out himself if he could have.
After about 2 1/2 hours of independent breathing and a new set of X-rays, his doctor approved the removal of the tubes.
He is in pain but honestly, I think he’d go through the excruciating process of having his dislocated bone reset than face those tubes again.
We have been shellshocked by this experience.
No one expects a broken bone to end up in ICU.
This was, we think, a freak accident.
The doctors think that he may have bruised his lung when he fell and broke his elbow.
During the surgery, they laid him on his side.
Bleeding began in that injury, resulting in fluid build up.
Charlie is still in ICU but will be moving to a regular room later today.
I cannot thank you enough.
Your prayers have made a difference.
This crazy, insane, who-would-have-ever-thunk-it situation, is under control, thanks first to God the Divine Healer, and second, because of your prayers.
Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:20).
While this is traditionally viewed as an “in person” gathering, thanks to the Internet, I truly believe that collectively through Facebook, Instagram, email, and this blog — hundreds have gathered together in Jesus’ name to pray for my son.
It’s incredibly humbling and I’m grateful beyond words.
I thank you for being a part of the truth found in James 5:16b, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I’m asking for your prayers today. I need a swat team of prayer warriors covering my son. He fell on a skateboard on Sunday and broke his elbow. He had surgery yesterday afternoon, but complications have put him in ICU. He’s on a respirator and I’ve never been more terrified in my life. My son’s dad and I have wrestled all night with this… how do you go from a broken arm to the ICU?!?!?!?! I’ve prayed constantly and am begging you to please join me in prayer.
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
James 5:13-15 ESV
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• When I was in elementary school, I found the idea of a time capsule to be fascinating.
My friends and I would bury boxes of toys and notes in the yard, with the intent that someone, someday, would discover our own little time capsule.
But over time, my tender young heart’s fascination for time capsules receded.
And for a very long time, I haven’t heard of anyone making them or finding them.
However, there was big news about a time capsule in my community yesterday.
Our oldest (and one of the busiest) shopping centers opened a 50-year-old time capsule, the contents of which will go on display later this week.
From the pictures and video footage I’ve watched, it looks incredible.
While I didn’t go myself (homebody, rainy day, big crowd—choose your favorite reason), I am eager to see the contents.
It’s like discovering a self-written history book by the ones who put the time capsule together.
As I’ve thought about the anticipation of opening said time capsule, I wondered about the people who would be there to remember it.
And I wonder what they think about the things that are unearthed.
To be honest, to sit down and talk to one of them would be as fascinating (if not more so) than the contents.
It all ties back to my lifelong love of history.
And the history we write every day.
While you and I may never make a history book, we are a collective part of the humanity of history.
We all contribute our own part to the overall story that God ordained when He created the world.
Yet, as James wrote in James 4:14, “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
Our lives are brief when you consider the timeline of the world.
As one who believes in the Biblical creation and the 6000-year-old earth—my 44 years don’t amount to much when you break out the calculator to get a percentage.
But what if I did leave a time capsule of my life, what would be in it?
Would I leave behind a collection of bad memories or would those who remember me recall a woman who loves Jesus?
Would there be those who could testify to the changes Jesus made in my life as I went from Christian teenager to adult prodigal to recommitted Christian?
Is the work I’ve allowed the Holy Spirit to do in my life of significance?
When my life is over, and my eternity begins, will my time capsule be impactful enough for others?
We may be a mist but even a mist can make an impact.
Don’t believe me?
Leave a piece of paper outside during a misty day and then look at it again.
Our lives may be a mist but that doesn’t mean we can’t leave behind a legacy.
But God lets us choose what will be in our own personal time capsules.
I know what I want people to find in mine.
What do you want found in yours?
Today, as you pray, thank God for giving you a part in this whole story.
Thank Him that He’s given you the gift of another day, so you can add to your story.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you write one that is worth remembering.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Do you ever wish you could just pick up the phone and call heaven?
I think most of us would love to do exactly that.
Sometimes, I just want to hear God’s voice say, “Denise, this is exactly what I want you to do… step 1… step 2… step 3…”
Then I could say, “Thank you, that’s exactly what I needed…”
It’s a lovely idea.
The truth is that all the answers we need are in Scripture.
But sometimes, we’re still not 100% clear.
Or you just want to open the Bible to have the exact text glowing off the page, with maybe a pop-up neon arrow that points at the text and says, “This is the answer you’re looking for.”
Clarity in the Christian walk is often crystal clear, but sometimes, things get a little foggy.
I’m not talking about sin.
Sin issues are always black and white without any hint of grey or fuzziness.
Sometimes, when a little fog gets in the way of being confident about the next steps, we’re well-reminded by two verses.
The first is from 1 John 5:14 which says, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”
The words “according to His will” are key.
God is never going to bless sin.
But anything we ask for that lines up with His will, He hears and will answer.
The second verse is Philippians 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.”
We don’t need to worry about it.
We just need to pray about it.
And keep praying, asking for wisdom (James 1:5) and for the Lord to guide our steps (Proverbs 3:5-6).
We need to be dependent on the Holy Spirit. He is, after all, our Counselor.
And in Romans 8:26-27, we are reminded that the Holy Spirit will search our hearts and minds and pray for us too, “according to the will of God” (verse 27b).
When things get a little foggy, cling to the promise that God has good plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11).
Today, as you pray, thank God for hearing our prayers.
Thank Him for always answering, even for the “waits” and the “no’s.”
Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in your walk that no matter what, you’ll always seek God’s will above your own.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Today is my son’s 21st birthday.
Once upon a time, during what I call “The Invasion of the Body Snatcher Years,” I foolishly thought that I’d stop worrying about him once he was an adult.
I now laugh at the idiocy of that naive thought…
I worry more than ever.
At this point, it’s a daily surrender to God.
Because as much as I love him, I know God loves him more.
My son has always marched to his own drumbeat, but I miss the days when I could strap him in a car seat or put him in a playpen and make sure he was safe.
Not that a car seat or playpen ever stopped him.
He was known to climb out of them…
But I digress…
Today, we’re talking about Romans 15:5, which says, “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had…”
I love this.
We often quote about God giving us strength (Philippians 4:13) and wisdom (James 1:5).
But I love this verse about God giving us endurance and encouragement.
For me, as I reflect on my years of motherhood, I thought the race ended at 18.
I knew my relationship with my son would continue, obviously, but I had in mind that my role would switch.
But as a mother with control-freak tendencies, I should have seen the writing on the wall.
I had in mind a finish line, while God was probably sitting back laughing and thinking, “Oh no, Denise… you crazy girl, you’re just getting started.”
But no matter what the situation we face, He gives us what we need.
Many misquote Scripture and say God won’t give us anything we can’t handle, but He does exactly that.
He does it so we will turn to Him because with Him, we endure.
With Him, we grow stronger.
With Him, the impossible becomes possible.
And He sets the example for us so that we too can encourage one another.
So that we can share experiences and empathize with one another.
So that we can experience God’s kindness and grace together.
As brothers and sisters in Christ, we are called to love one another as Jesus loves…
And encourage one another.
Whether it’s encouragement through the various phases of parenthood, encouragement through important decisions, or encouragement in marriage or singlehood.
Today, as you pray, thank God for both His gifts of endurance and encouragement.
Ask the Holy Spirit to help you extend the same to others, and to remind you often to lean on God in all circumstances.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Romans 2:13 says, “For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous.”
To be honest, I have avoided writing on this kind of Scripture.
It gets into that whole “good works” conversation which is important…
But for someone who hasn’t accepted Christ, it needs to be piggybacked with the truth of our salvation by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).
And I’m not a theologian and I’ve never been to seminary.
So it feels intimidating to me to try to explain it.
But this morning, the Holy Spirit finally got through my thick skull and helped me understand that I’ve been making this way more complicated than it needs to be.
Plus, I’ve been way too self-reliant when I should have just been trusting His guidance on this topic all along.
The verse is telling us that it’s not enough to just hear about God and know about His rules.
We have to obey them.
It’s the same truth behind James’ words in James 2:14-26 which boils down to “faith without works is dead.”
And the central point that I’ve struggled to wrap my brain around is found in the middle of Romans 2:13, “those who obey the law…”
When Jesus was asked which of the commandments was the greatest, He replied, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment” (Matthew 22:37b-38).
That commandment is the core part of the law.
Every other law points back to it.
If someone hears the law and doesn’t apply it, it’s not good enough.
But if we love God with our whole being, then we obey the law.
Because when we genuinely love God, our faith creates in us a yearning to do the good works that Scripture talks about.
It’s not what saves us, but it’s what drives us, fueled by the love we have for Jesus.
Today, as you pray, thank the Holy Spirit for revealing truths about God’s word.
Ask Him to help you be obedient so that your good works aren’t a credit to you, but a reflection of His great goodness in your life.
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• I saw some mind-blowing news yesterday and if you haven’t heard it yet — brace yourself because this is huge!
You can now get seven-pound buckets of Nutella at Costco!
That would last the average household at least a whole month, right?!
Because seriously, who doesn’t love some Nutella?
All joking aside, we get excited about things like this, often forgetting that what is very best for us is available for free and in unlimited quantity: God.
In fact, 1 Chronicles 16:11 says, “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!”
We can never get enough God.
In our world where we’re encouraged to limit ourselves and show self-restraint (a feat that often falls apart around a jar of Nutella), the truth is that we can never overindulge ourselves on time with God.
Romans 12:11-12 tells us, “Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
When we make God a part of everything we do, having Him present in every thought, we can rest assured of the promise found in James 4:8a, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
Today, as you pray, thank God for actually wanting a personal relationship with you!
Praise Him that He—the infinite, all-powerful, all-loving, and all-knowing Creator of the universe—actually WANTS to spend time with you!
Ask the Holy Spirit for a heart that seeks God’s presence continuously and that you will be constant in prayer with our Heavenly Father.