Archives For prayer

Since God knows and sees all, He understands what we need before we ask, right? And if God planned our lives before the world began, isn’t it too late to ask Him to change anything now?

After reading Scripture and quotes from great Christian thinkers and wrestling with these questions, the answer I came up with is “Yes . . .

. . . and No.”

S. D. Gordon, a wise theologian said it this way, “Prayer does not influence God’s purpose, but it does influence God’s action.”

Does Prayer Influence God?

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In other words, every good and right thing, God has already purposed to do. But sometimes He waits for us to ask.

That’s why Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Thy will be done as it is in heaven.” They were asking to bring God’s will to earth.

Why would God ever wait for us to ask?

Here’s the illustration I came up with . . . Let’s think as caretakers or parents . . . 

When a baby is first born, communication is limited to wordless cries.

Does prayer influence God 2Most moms or aunties (me), try to anticipate the baby’s every need. Not only do we wish to avoid those crying jags that build to mind-boggling intensity, we also want to keep that baby we adore happy.

As the child ages, he/she figures out how to ask for things. So there comes a day, when even though mom or dad knows the child is thirsty or hungry.

They wait for their child to ask. This helps the child to develop communication and builds relationship.

At first, the child tapping the frig might be enough to show he/she wants a drink. But eventually we teach the child to say, “May I have a drink, please?” And even better, when they’re able to say, “Thank you, Mommy.”

The child learns that all good things—juice boxes and chocolate milk—come from Mommy and Daddy.

To take this illustration even further, there also comes a day when Mom stocks the frig and leaves it to little Johnny or Susie to make their own lunch. She anticipates their needs and buys all their favorite things. Then they’re free to dive into the goodies themselves.

But when special circumstances come up—they want some new food or they’re too sick to make lunch for themselves—they have to make their request known to Mom anew.

Here’s what Matthew 7:9-11 says in The Message:

“If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? You wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children.

So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?”

No illustration or metaphor fits biblical truth perfectly.

But this one helps me remember that prayer is communication with a Heavenly Father who wishes to give me all good gifts and helps me imagine how He views my supplications—all my supplications.

Rich & eloquent. Simply stated. Wordless cries.

No matter what form they take, the Bible assures us that our prayers touch God’s heart.

May that truth sustain us through our doubts and dry spells and any hard days of waiting for answers to our requests. Blessings, friends!

***I’ll Tweet your post! I enjoy tweeting the posts and/or graphics of my visitors. If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Let me know in the comments how to find you in the Tweet-world!

***Photo Backstory: I used another iPhone pic of my niece’s garden as background. Of course, PicMonkey is my tool of choice for tweaking the pic & adding the quote!

Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.) Continue Reading…

Cover 1“In the same way the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” Romans 8:26

I’m so glad I said ‘yes’ to reviewing Beth Moore’s Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer. Working through this book—which is part devotional and part prayer journal—has strengthened and changed me.

If you do nothing else today, enter my giveaway for a copy of the book. You just might win!

Truly, God is using Beth’s words to whisper hope to my heat. Here’s a passage I found especially touching   . . .

“Imagine this poignant scene. The child of God musters her last bit of strength to collapse before the throne of God. Words do not come—just groanings.

They are not her groanings, though they emerge from so deep within, she thinks they are hers.

The Spirit of God searches her heart, gathers her pain, and lifts it to the Father of all comfort. The Spirit of God, knowing both the depth of her agony and the will of the Father, can bring forth glory from even this. He insists that the Father issue overflowing comfort. He urges the child to let the Father have His way.

He prays for things that she could not bear to pray.

That she lacks the courage to pray.

He prays for glory.

How long does the child lay before God’s throne?

Until strength comes.

Until she identifies the heart of the Spirit’s intercession for her and can make it her own. Perhaps this is one of life’s finest hours for the believer—when the will of the Father and the will of the child converge as one—and the cloudy pillar of God’s glory settles on her shoulders like a down comforter.

And for just a moment, heaven comes to earth.”

My favorite quote–well, it’s actually a poem Beth Moore wrote:

Morning Star 1

Gift Alert: This book is pretty enough to give as a gift. The deckle edge pages give the impression of age, and the cover gives the illusion of being hand stamped. The cover flaps are just as charming & make useful bookmarks—as you can see in my photo.

Pop a copy of Whispers of Hope into a gift basket or Christmas stocking & bless someone special to you!

Flaps 2

Giveaway: Enter here to win a copy of Whispers of Hope. Once the contest ends, I’ll set the widget to choose a winner and send that name to Icon Media Group. IMG will send a copy directly to our winner. I’ll run the giveaway until Sunday, December 1st.

 

If you don’t want to wait for the results of the giveaway, you can follow this link to purchase your copies of Whispers of Hope. ***Thanks to Beth Moore and Icon Media Group for providing both review & giveaway copies.

About the Author: Beth Moore has written many best-selling books and is a dynamic teacher and a prolific Bible-study author whose public speaking engagements take her across the United States to challenge tens of thousands. Beth is focused on teaching women all over the world and is known and respected wherever she goes. She is a dedicated wife and mother of two adult daughters and lives in Houston, Texas, where she leads Living Proof Ministries and teaches an adult Sunday school class at her church.

You can connect with Beth at Living Proof Ministries, on her Facebook page, and on Twitter. Continue Reading…

He hears us . . .

Renee Ann Smith —  March 28, 2012 — 4 Comments

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.” ~I John 5:14&15~

How often do you pray? When Jesus was on earth, He taught His disciples to pray for everything from forgiveness to their daily bread. But if God knows what we need already, why pray? Today’s under-a-minute vlog answers the question, “Does prayer influence God?” (Under-a-minute because your time is valuable!) This is #4 in my series Top 5 Reasons to Pray. Check it out here . . .

~Jesus’ words from Matthew 6~“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray . .

“‘Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from the evil one.”

Do you have a favorite verse on prayer? I’d love for you to share!

This week I’m linking with Soli Deo Gloria, The Better Mom, God Bumps, Teach Me Tuesdays, Gratituesday, Living Well Wednesday, Hearts 4 Home, Thought-provoking Thursday, Beholding Glory, Your Thriving Family.

That’s When I Talk to God by Dan and Ali Morrow is a sweet story of one little girl’s discoveries concerning prayer. The story begins with a bedtime conversation between the girl and her mom . . .

“Praying is just talking to God,” Mom explained. “Do you only talk to me once or twice a day?”

“No,” I giggled. “That’s silly—I talk to you all day long!”

“Exactly!” she said. “And you can talk to God all day long too.”

I thought about that for a minute. “But what would I talk to God about?”

“Anything you want to,” Mom said. “Try it tomorrow. I bet you’ll find all sorts of things to talk to Him about.”

Thus begins the child’s eye-opening journey as she finds more and more things to share with her Heavenly Father. We see her turn her failures, successes, concerns, questions, and feelings into conversations with God. By the end of the book, she’s eager to hear what God has to say to her—through His Word.

This book brought to mind my first conversations with God. I remember struggling to find the right words in spite of that niggling suspicion that the things in my life weren’t worthy to put before Him. Then I learned that I could simply pour out my heart and trust my Heavenly Father to sort through it all. I was older than the girl in the story when I learned this lesson, but aren’t we all encouraged to become like little children in our faith? (Matthew 18)

This is a great story to give to any child. I think it would provoke interesting questions and conversations about how little ones can know God and be close to Him. I love the idea of children making God a central part of their lives early on. Dan and Ali have given us a wonderful tool for helping to make that happen.

***Thanks to B&B Media Group for providing my review copy. Follow this link to purchase the book for a precious little one in your life.

Dan and Ali Morrow have a very fun website! Follow this link to check it out. Here are a few things I learned there . . .

Dan tells the story of how they met: Continue Reading…