The world is my prayer closet

Keep calm and prayWe have some wonderful ministry friends, Pastor Jim and Ireta Willoughby, who I adore. They are a great family, and they are real people, my favorite kind of people. Ireta was a guest on Lindsay’s program (Make Your Day Count) a few days ago and she said something that stopped me cold. She said, “God doesn’t want you to carbon copy somebody else’s prayer; He wants to hear from your heart.”

Sometimes when I hear ministers give wordy and highfalutin prayers, I admit I get kind of irritated… maybe because somewhere inside me I feel a little less qualified. But in my heart, I know that God doesn’t care how fancy the words are, He just wants to hear from me. I also feel funny when I hear people talk about their prayer closets. I don’t have a prayer closet. I really can’t pinpoint a place where I do my praying. I guess the world is my prayer closet.

I pray in the car, I pray in the shower, I pray at work, I pray while I’m doing dishes. I pray when I need to, I pray when I want to. I just pray. And I think that’s the key. God wants to hear from us, anytime and all the time.

He wants to hear from us when we are in trouble or triumph, when the day is awesome and when it’s not. I know that I don’t like it when people only reach out to me when they need something. I imagine God doesn’t appreciate it either.

My friend Ireta reminded me that my Heavenly Father is my friend. He is tuned into my heart. He speaks my language. And He speaks yours too.

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Draw the line

 

I talked to the sweetest lady today on the phone. The devil was beating up on her and she didn’t even know it. She had been given a car, a good car, and she really needed one. She had asked God to provide her with a good car and He did. Then this person who made it possible for her to get the car started trying to get something from her. She did not have anything to give him and began to feel that he was expecting something in return. Mind you, he helped her acquire the car with no strings attached… or so he said.

She was so upset by this, and so tormented, that she was trying to figure out if she should get rid of the car. She didn’t want to drive it, she was unable to enjoy it. She was being robbed.

Isn’t that just like the devil to try to steal the joy out of a situation that God provided for you? Isn’t it just like him to twist and turn the situation so badly that you’re tempted to get rid of the blessings of God?

It straight ticked me off.

I prayed for this woman… for peace, for wisdom, for strength, and most importantly, I rebuked the devil from tormenting her. As I prayed, I was reminded of the parable Jesus teaches in Luke 8. The sower sows his seed and immediately, the devil comes to steal it. That’s what the devil does. He steals. He’s a thief. And he’s also the bringer of condemnation. That’s what this woman was experiencing. The devil was lying to her, stealing from her, and condemning her.

Together, she and I drew the line.

If God tells you something, or gives you something, or promises you something, draw the line on the devil. Fight back with the Word of God. Put him in his place… under your feet.

Talk ain’t cheap

Talk ain't cheapWhen the devil is at your door and fear is breathing down your neck, you must be prepared to fight. When the devil comes at you with both barrels, you have to reach into the armory and pull out the biggest weapon you have, and that’s the Word of God in your mouth. The Word of God on the pages of your Bible will only get you so far, but the Word in your mouth will put you over the top.

And you have to do it when you don’t feel like it. You have to do it when you don’t want to, you have to do it even when you don’t believe it. In fact, that’s the most critical time to do it. And as you continue to say what the Word says, your attitude will begin to change, your heart will begin to change, and pretty soon, you will start to believe it. That’s when victory is right around the corner.

Say what the Word says; that’s the key.

Sometimes it happens quickly, sometimes it moves slower than molasses. Sometimes it happens so subtly, you don’t even realize it, but you wake up one day and say, “Wow, I’m not struggling with that issue any longer.” That’s how it seems to work with me a lot of the time.

People say that talk is cheap, but it’s most definitely not. It’s power, it’s medicine, it’s ammunition, it’s your way out.

God created the universe with His words. You are made like Him. What are you doing with your words?

Jump or dive

My sisters and I used to love this game called Jump Or Dive. It was a hilarious game that our Dad played with us when we would go swimming where ninety percent of the time, someone would end up doing a belly buster . . . or five.

Dad would sit by the pool and one of us would stand on the diving board, all the way at the back. We would take our running start and spring into the air, and at the moment we would get airborne, Dad would yell either Jump! or Dive!

You can imagine the myriad of disastrous entries into the pool we would achieve.

It was nearly impossible to not try to guess what he was going to say, and no matter how hard you tried, you would have your decision made by the time you got to the end of the diving board and bounced. You were either going to jump, or dive, or land flat on your face, or a combination of the three.

I was reading a blog today, (imagine that!) Actually, it was a blog about blogging and knowing your audience, and providing them what they want, and all that jazz. It was a little “selly” for my taste, but it had a winner of a one-liner that has stuck with me all day. This blogger encouraged writers to, “Be willing to zig, even if you are 100% certain you are going to zag.”  I immediately thought about this game.

It’s a question of commitment! You have to be totally committed to obeying a command with only a split-second warning. You are literally in the air and the water is coming up to meet you quickly, and you have to hear the instruction and do it. It’s kind of like being a minister. And not just the kind that stands in a pulpit or travels the world preaching the Gospel, but a born-again believer who knows the Lord and shares Him when the opportunity arises.

The Bible instructs us to, “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2) We need to be ready to move if the Holy Spirit tells us to We never know when our paths might cross someone who desperately needs what we have. The Jesus we show that person with a smile, a kind word, a hug, might be the only Jesus they ever see. (I try to remember this concept when I run to the grocery store with no make-up on.)

So I’m reminding myself as well as you, be ready to jump or dive. Be ready to zig or zag. Be ready for the open door to share the love of God. The more you are ready and willing to be a blessing, I believe the more opportunities will come your way. People can sense when you’re open to sharing with them, they can also sense if your door is closed and your blinds are drawn. Keep yourself in ready-position in the spirit and in the natural. You never know who God may use you to influence for eternity.