Categories
Christian Living Prayer

Pencil, or Permanent Marker?

A video devotional from Our Daily Bread talks about the purpose of prayer. The clip shares how an interviewer once asked Mother Teresa what she said to God when she prayed. The Catholic nun and missionary replied, “I do not say anything. I listen.” The bewildered reporter followed, “Well, what does God say to you?” The tiny woman ended the conversation with this: “God doesn’t say anything. He listens.”

For all the prayers I’ve thought or said, there have been times when words simply wouldn’t come. Listening was my best option.

I know… we should approach God’s throne with confidence (Hebrews 4:16). But acting with such bold consistency isn’t always easy. Some life situations can (and do) leave you speechless. Especially when you don’t see them coming. So what should you do when you’d rather not pray to God in all CAPS with a permanent marker?”

Lord, do You accept prayers in pencil?

I say He does. Penciled prayers are “listening” prayers, spoken with groans that words can’t express (Romans 8:26-27). Is this what Mother Teresa meant when she said, “I listen?”

Yet Jesus said when a person prays in faith what they ask for happens (Mark 11:22-24).

But must we chisel our prayers in stone?

Nope. I’m not a “stoner.”🥺There are plenty of times in the Bible when folks on the ground got it ALL wrong. God makes it clear that He doesn’t think or work the way we do (Isaiah 55:8-9). Pencil and eraser prayers are fine by me, thank you. I may need to edit.

The devotional also noted that Jesus often went off by himself to pray. He spent the whole night like this before choosing His disciples (Luke 6:12-13). I bet He did more listening than talking.

“Prayer is spending time with the One you love,” concluded the woman on the video. AMEN! Permanent marker or pencil –speaking or listening–it’s about quality time with the Father.

“So let’s learn, let’s press on to know the Lord. His appearance is as sure as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, as the spring rain waters the earth.” – Hosea 6:3 (NASB)


Photo by Matheus Bertelli on Pexels.com

Categories
Christian Blog Prayer

Let Down Your Ear

When our oldest son was about four years old, he came up to me one day. Motioning with his little hand he said, “Daddy, let down your ear.”

I knelt down and he told me something–about one of his toys–and I nodded in agreement. But the rest of the day I kept thinking about what he said (let down your ear), until it dawned on me: that’s how it feels sometimes with God! I have something to tell Him, but I can’t tip-toe that high. It’s feels too far. “Father, let down your ear.”

My neighbor is an avid cyclist. One day last year, out on a ride before dawn, he hit the end of a concealed culvert and went over the handlebars of his bike–breaking his neck.

He was care-flighted to a trauma center. Things did NOT look good. Three upper vertebrae were broken when he smashed face first into the pavement, and because he only had limited use of his arms, spinal cord damage was suspected.

I remember thinking, “God, this just can’t be happening. My friend goes on 100 mile rides–just for fun–and now he can’t even feed himself!?”

Our little town quickly mobilized in prayer and support for my neighbor and his family. What a pastor friend calls, “carpet chewing” prayers were going up for my injured friend, but were they reaching God’s throne?

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

1 John 5:14 (NIV)

Of course, He hears our prayers, but have you ever been desperate for good news that was slow to come?

“Father, let down your ear!”

My cycling buddy underwent surgery to fuse the broken vertebrae, and after months of physical therapy, made a almost complete recovery. However, he now rides a three wheel recumbent bike (like pedaling a recliner) on orders from his family!


Young children say the most profound things! Their innocent, literal thinking brains aren’t fogged over by adult cares and responsibilities. At times, they even speak for God (1 Samuel 3).

As a line from the song, Thank God for Kids says, “🎶The closest thing to heaven is a child.🎶”

A few months after my son said, “Daddy, let down your ear,” I opened my bible to Psalm 86, and there it was–almost word for word:

Bow down your ear, O Lord, hear me; For I am poor and needy.

Psalm 86:1 (NKJV)

God used a four-year-old to say the same thing King David prayed over 3000 years ago!

Amazing!

Categories
Christian Blog Faith Security

The Little Girl and God

Photo by Kevin Fai on Pexels.com

Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:13-14 (NKJV)

My wife and I used to teach Sunday School at a shelter for abused, neglected or abandoned children. One particular morning we encountered a sparkly eyed five-year-old with a perpetual grin.

When we started the Bible story, about Jesus and the little children, she seemed particularly attentive. So I asked her, “Have you heard about Jesus?” She said no. Still sensing a connection, I gently probed, “Have you heard about God?” “Oh, I know God,” she said. “We take naps together!”

I said something like, “Oh, you do?!” and then continued with the story. But the rest of the day I tried to wrap my mind around what this sweet little girl said about God–“We take naps together!”

I pictured a home, chaotic and out of control; a prison where a frightened little girl tried to escape the negligent adults who were her “caregivers”. She’s hiding in a closet (or lying UNDER her bed) sobbing inconsolably, but then God Himself comes and comforts her until she falls asleep. And THIS is what she calls, “Taking naps with God.”

The miracle of God’s little slumber party friend was still on my heart when I said my prayers that evening. I started by thanking Him for looking out for her and for letting me in on the secret, but then I just couldn’t hold it:

“God, do you take naps with big people?”


This story was originally published on Sept 3, 2018–when I had exactly 14 followers.😀