Tag Archives: prayer

Prayer of the Confused

Prayer of the Confused

Prayer of the Confused

I thought I’d do something a little different this week.  Today, I thought I’d share a poem that I wrote back in April 2010.  I wrote it for a close friend of mine who was really confused, struggling and making some poor life choices.  I imagined that I was writing from their perspective and what they would pray.  Most lines are based on several different scriptures (as I often do when writing prayers).

I’m very happy to report that this friend has made some monumental life changes and is now on the right track in their relationship with God! 🙂

Prayer of the Confused

By Tracy Robbins, 4/19/10 Continue reading

What are the benefits of corporate prayer?

What are the benefits of corporate prayer? Is praying with others better than praying alone?

What are the benefits of corporate prayer? Is praying with others better than praying alone?

Not long ago a friend of mine approached me and asked about the benefits of corporate prayer (in other words, praying with one or more people). Previously, she had been having a discussion with some other friends on the topic. They were pondering the power of two or more prayers and why it would be more advantageous than praying alone if the individual praying had great faith. They brought up the point that the bible says that if one person can have faith as small as a mustard seed anything is possible for them. If one person can have faith as small as a mustard seed and get their prayers answered, then what’s the benefit of praying with someone else?

“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in Heaven will do it for you. For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:19-20 (NLT)

“’You don’t have enough faith,’ Jesus told them. ‘I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.’” Matthew 17:20 (NLT)

It’s a GREAT question! So today I thought we could talk about that.

It’s more about us than God’s power

I pointed out what Matthew 18:19-20 says about the tremendous power available when believers pray together in agreement because God’s presence is right there among them.

Then another good, and very wise 😉 friend in my small group, Michelle, had even better insight. She pointed out that it doesn’t necessarily mean that corporate prayer is more powerful than praying alone but that we feel more empowered ourselves when we pray with others. Michelle said, “It doesn’t have to do with God’s power. It’s more about us. It helps us.” So, the benefit is more for us, not for better chances of the prayer being answered.

Corporate prayer is not a magical power enhancement button that we push. Praying with others does not necessarily mean that these prayers are more powerful than individual prayers. However, they do have their benefits! 

Benefit #1: Corporate prayer helps us to build each other up and strengthens us.

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Prayer to Help Understand the Bible

Say this prayer to help you understand the Bible better...

Prayer to Help Understand the Bible

Sometimes it’s hard to understand the Bible, which can be very frustrating. Often this will tempt us to just stop and give up trying. This is especially true if we’re not in a habit of reading it on a regular basis. However, I will say it gets easier the more consistent we get in our reading habit. Today, I’d like to share some scriptures and a prayer based off of scripture that we can pray to before we begin reading in order to glean the most out of our reading session.

God wants us to read our Bible. He also wants us to understand the Bible. He doesn’t want it to be difficult or overwhelming for us. We should be at peace and not in a state of confusion. God is not a God of confusion. Scripture is given to us to help us, not to hinder us. It’s meant to be useful for us to help us lead a successful, happy, healthy and prosperous life. It is effective and powerful and always relevant to any and every situation we face.

“For God is not a God of confusion but of peace…” 1 Corinthians 14:33 (ESV)

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT)

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) 

There is simplicity in Christ

Beth Jones explained once that we don’t have to understand all of the complex parts of the Bible to learn about Jesus and have relationship with him. Beth compared it to driving a car. You don’t have to understand all of the inner workings of a car engine to be able to drive the car.

Similarly, you don’t have to be all deep and philosophical and intellectual when reading scripture. He’ll help you out along the way. You’ll grow in knowledge and understanding as you walk with him. In fact, Jesus liked to keep things simple. It was the other religious leaders of the day that tried to make things confusing, complex, and super formal. He’ll meet you where you are and help you to understand little by little.

“But I fear, lest somehow, he serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3 (NKJV)

 Scriptures to use when we need to understand the Bible 

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A Prayer For Lost Hope: Follow This Example of How to Write a Prayer Based Off of Scripture

A Prayer For Lost Hope: Follow This Example of How to Write a Prayer Based Off of Scripture

A Prayer For Lost Hope: Follow This Example of How to Write a Prayer Based Off of Scripture

I received a nice comment recently on a blog post for a prayer for those who make bad choices. The reader mentioned as a person who struggles with prayer, she was enjoying fill-in-the blank prayers.

It was a nice confirmation to hear that because I had actually been thinking lately that I need to start writing some more of those. I have always loved Stormie Omartian’s prayers like this (i.e. Power of a Praying Wife, Power of a Praying Husband, Power of a Praying Parent, Power of a Praying Grandparent, etc.). If you have never read or used any of her material I HIGHLY recommend it.

I thought today I would take you through the process of how I come up with and write these prayers. It’s easy! Anybody can do it. I’ll show you how by giving you an example of writing a prayer for lost hope.

Take the Same Practical Steps I Take in Order to Write a Prayer Based Off of Scripture with this example of A Prayer for Lost Hope:

Step 1-Decide what I need to pray for and make a list of specifics.

For example, I pray for my students in my college classes each semester. Sometimes there seems to be a theme of what I’m praying for a particular group of students. This semester the word that keeps coming to mind for this group is “hope”. I get a feeling that many of them lack a sense of hope or that they feel hopeless. Therefore, some specifics I’d like to pray for them are:

  • That God would give them a sense of hope
  • I want them to see a hope in me, something that they desire, and I’d even like them to ask me about it, giving me an opportunity to tell them why I can hope even in seemingly hopeless situations
  • That they can see a hope in their future and that they don’t give up

Step 2-Find verses and promises in the bible that correlate with the specifics that I want to pray.

To do this, Continue reading

Do you use Prayer Cues?

Do you use prayer cues?  Try some of these reminders to use throughout your day...

Do you use Prayer Cues?

The bible instructs us to pray constantly…

“Pray constantly.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (HCSB)

Previously, I wrote about when and where to pray and several posts on how to pray. Sometimes this can be difficult to remember to do throughout your day unless you have reminders. I know some people who set reminder alerts on their phones to pray at specific times of the day. I think this is a great idea. Something that I have found to be extremely helpful though is to use prayer cues.

Prayer cues are simply visual or auditory reminders to pray for something as you see or hear it. These can be specific things or topics on that you have a heart for, certain people in your life, emergency or crisis situations, or even things that frustrate or annoy you. 

A few examples of prayer cues I use

My kids and I started using sirens, emergency vehicles, and/or accident scenes as prayer cues to pray for the potential victims and emergency responders. When we hear sirens or see flashing lights or drive past an accident we say a short prayer for the safety of all involved. We pray for wisdom and guidance for the responders to act quickly and to know exactly what to do. We also pray that God’s presence is evident to those involved.

Some other prayer cues I use are Continue reading

Sometimes I Thank God For Answered Un-Prayers

Sometimes I Thank God For Answered Un-Prayers... Ever had God give you something that you wanted but never even prayed for?

Sometimes I Thank God For Answered Un-Prayers

Do you guys remember that old Garth Brooks song “Unanswered Prayers”? The song tells a story about a man and his wife bumping into an old high school girlfriend. Years before he would pray that that old girlfriend would one day be his wife. Then he goes on to say that some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers. Well, today I’m not actually going to talk about unanswered prayers but about another gift from God: answered un-prayers.

I’ve discovered that God often answers “prayers” that we’ve never actually even prayed. I often look back and see how God has worked things out, and I didn’t even have to pray! I don’t know why I get so shocked by it sometimes. 

A potential scheduling fiasco

The Story of Christmas...as told by kids!

The Nativity Story…as retold by the kids!

Recently, I experience some answered un-prayers. My mom had asked me to get a hold of my siblings and arrange a date to do our family Christmas party. We do a separate gift exchange for the adults where the adults get together and play Dirty Santa. While the adults are playing all of the kids get together and organize a play or a retelling of the Nativity Story (ALWAYS entertaining).

Dirty Santa invite

My family Dirty Santa invite I sent out

Sometimes it can be a bit stressful trying to arrange a function that accommodates everyone. I was having trouble trying to find a date that would work for everyone. We had already been struggling to find a day and time to do the annual Christmas pictures of all the grandkids. Then it’s also occasionally difficult to work around families with shared custody with ex-spouses in order to work with what weekends they have the kids.

On top of that, it’s hunting season, so we have to accommodate the hunters in the family. Then we also have to schedule around volunteering for the church Christmas functions, attending church Christmas services and the rest of the holiday obligations (Christmas concerts, work parties, other family gatherings, gatherings with friends, and so on). It’s a lot to try to fit in this time of year!

The dilemma 

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Prewritten Prayers Are Not Less Heartfelt

Learn how Prewritten Prayers Are Not Less Heartfelt...

Prewritten Prayers Are Not Less Heartfelt

I mentioned previously that I get some negative comments and emails from time to time. One that I had received was criticizing a post that I had written on how to pray for your unsaved loved ones. I had made an image graphic where you could just plug in a name into prewritten prayers. It’s been pretty popular on Pinterest which is where this particular individual ran across it.

This person claimed to be an atheist and found my image/prayer offensive. Since engaging in debates and arguments like this are not typically very productive, I didn’t respond to their comment. I just deleted it (per my policy). However, there was a statement this person had made about prewritten prayers that I wanted to address here. An accusation like this could cause some people to question whether their prayer is truly genuine. So I’d like to share my two cents on the matter to hopefully alleviate some doubts.

“Prewritten prayers are hardly from the heart.

This commenter stated “Prewritten prayers are hardly from the heart.” I think that there might be a lot of people who would buy into this theory. I COMPLETELY DISAGREE WITH THIS STATEMENT. Therefore, I would like to address why prewritten prayers are not only okay but often beneficial.

Memorized and recited prayers can indeed be less than heartfelt at times. However, that does not mean that they are automatically or always lacking sincerity. Just because somebody else wrote the words doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the exact same way. Sometimes I can look at a prayer and think, “that describes my thoughts and feelings exactly”. 

Prewritten prayers have changed MY life

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Prayer For Those Who Make Bad Choices

Do you have children or people that you care for that are making bad choices? Try this Prayer For Those Who Make Bad Choices...

Prayer For Those Who Make Bad Choices

I was recently talking with a friend about the bad choices our kids make sometimes.  We talked about how it breaks our hearts as parents to have to not only see them make bad choices but then to have to watch them experience the consequences.  Then we discussed how similar God must feel when He has to do this with us when we make bad choices.  I remembered journaling about this very thing a few years back.  I went back through my journals, and here is what I had written: 

August 3, 2010

A Good But Just Parent…

My sister and I were just talking tonight about how I was frustrated with my kids lately.  They seem to be misbehaving a little more than usual.  I think they may be having a bit of cabin fever.  Summer is nearly over and school is going to start soon.  We haven’t been able to do as many of our usual activities as I would like due to the extreme heat we’ve been experiencing.  It’s been miserable to do outside activities like the zoo, Big Splash, the pool, the park, golf, etc.  Anyhow, I’ve been planning and wanting to do some fun stuff with them before the summer gets out, but it never fails that when I have a fun activity planned, they misbehave.  I end up canceling and postponing our fun.  I don’t really want to reward them when they’re behavior is bad, but at the same time it makes me so sad because I really want to do nice things for them and fun things with them.  All of a sudden I had the thought, “I bet God feels like this sometimes.”  It made me laugh because of how true it was.  How many times has God wanted to bless us or do nice things for us, and we’ve just tied his hands?  As much as we love and want to bless our children, our heavenly Father wants to do even more for us. 

“So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” Matthew 7:11 (NLT)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

He’s a better parent than we are, yet still very just.  Our sin separates us from God.  His hands are tied by OUR wrongdoing. 

“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2 (NIV)

“Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing…” Habakkuk 1:13a (NIV)

We need to rid our lives of sin and be obedient to God’s word.  In return, God can shower us with blessings.  God’s will is to bless those who do right.  God wants more for us than we can ask or even imagine for ourselves.  Our job is to obey and follow his guidance and directions and to make good choices, not bad choices. 

“You bless all those who follow your commands from deep in their hearts.” Psalm 119:2 (CEV)

“Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right.” Psalm 106:3 (NIV)

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)

We have to make choices, between good and bad/life and death, every day.  Who we are depends on the choices we make.  We are also where we are now because of the choices we have made in the past.  The choices we make will determine the circumstances we end up with in our future.  Our choices will hold responsibility and consequences.  We will be held accountable for the choices we make.  We are not victims.  We are not a product of our environment–We are a product of our choices.  So how can we help people we care about that are making bad choices? 

 

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