Aaron Summers

Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

7 Prayers of a Wise Heart

In Gospel Living on February 16, 2017 at 11:28 am

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  1. Lord, purify my mind, my heart, my voice, and my hands. May you bring innocence to my life once again.  Make me holy and right in your sight.  Cause my mind to wander into your presence.  Create in me a clean heart, O Lord.
  2. Lord, free me from anxiety. In the mess in which I live, help me see your path to peace.  Help me to lay my burdens at your feet and then leave it there.  I cannot always fix what is around me, but I can let you fix my heart during the storms.  Create in me a calm heart, O Lord.
  3. Lord, free me from legalism and the hurt it causes others. Help me to see others as you do.  Help me to know the situation before casting judgment and spewing criticism.  Help me be gentle, not lenient, in my dealings with others.  Create in me a considerate heart, O Lord.
  4. Lord, adjust my mind to be open to you. Help me to be willing to listen to your Word and adjust myself to its demands.  Help me to be submissive to your ways and not my own.  Create in me a compliant heart, O Lord.
  5. Lord, may I produce the good, good fruit of mercy to those in need. Help me to see the need.  Help me to meet the need.  Help me to be kind.  Let my actions show concern, even if I don’t feel they deserve it.  Create in me a compassionate heart, O Lord.
  6. Lord, free my judgements from prejudice. Help me to live out the truth that you created all mankind and we are all equally guilty of sin and in need of a Savior.  Help me to see beyond the outside and sense the heart of a person.  Help me to shed the hypocrisy I have clothed my life with by allowing the culture to drive my belief and behavior.  Create in me a consistent heart, O Lord.
  7. Lord, let my life be an open book for all to read and see your great love and life. May I be sincere in my words and deeds.  Help me to be authentic.  Help me be genuine.  As you call me to love, laugh, and live may it be real.  Remove all the fake from my life.  May it be burned off as dross from silver to reach purity once again.  Create in me a committed heart, O Lord.

But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

James 3:17-18

I Love My Church

In Church, Gospel Living on January 21, 2017 at 11:11 am

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Here are 5 actions and prayers your church needs to become more like what Jesus has envisaged.

God, place in me the desire to love my church in the way YOU see fit.  Father, help me:

  1. To see her be spiritually fit. What do I need to do to be spiritually fit?
  2. To see her function with excellence. What part do you want me to fulfill?
  3. To see her financially stable. Help me reach my tithe and joyfully give more as you lead me.
  4. To know what Jesus finds in her. Am I where I need to be in relationship to you, O Lord?
  5. To see her be a healthy family. Help me to lead in unity and love for our family.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139.

I Want a New Drug

In Gospel Living on November 3, 2016 at 8:16 am

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The 80’s were filled with musicians singing about life and love.  Through breakups and breakdowns that make Taylor Swift seem normal, we came through a wonder-filled time of life.  Huey Lewis made famous the song for which this article is titled.  Here are the lyrics.

He wants something that can make him feel like he does when he is with his girlfriend.  He wants to feel that magic.  He wants to feel his heart racing in romance and love.  Has your relationship with God ever been a pulse-pounding, exciting, can’t-wait-to-be-together relationship?  We don’t think about God that way do we?  We don’t consider loving God in an exciting way.  We view our love for God in much more reasonable ways.  Have we ever considered that our  lack of power spiritually and the spiritual atrophy in our churches could be a result of a lack of passionate love for and with God?

In Psalm 85, I sense that the writer WANTS a fresh inflow of the life, love, and power of God.  The term I will use today is “revival”.  I DO NOT mean a series of 3 days, 7 days, or 14 days of meetings where a speaker and musician come to guide us through.  What I am discussing today is our individual and personal responsibility toward experiencing a renewal and restoration of our lives, our churches, our cities, and our country.  America can only be great again by the power of God.  A choice for hope is a choice for Jesus.

What must be done?

  1. We must confess our need for revival.
  2. We need to accept the historical reality of revival.  In the first 3 verses of the Psalm, the writer lays out 6 items of historical reality.  A study of these words reflects wonderful insights into the heart and character of God.  God poured refers to taking pleasure in bringing a blessing to His people.  God restored refers to bringing His people back to the original position with Him.  God forgave refers to His lifting and carrying away of the guilt.  God covered refers to the act of removing something from view by placing between the two (That’s Jesus!!).  Holding back refers to gathering back and letting something die, while keeping back refers to turning away from.  The writer wants us to see that, in the past, God has removed the heat of his anger and turned away from it so that we could enjoy a season of refreshing and renewal.
  3. We must recognize who brings revival.  When we look to man, we get what man can do. When we look to money, we get what money can do.  When we look to an organization, we get what organization can do. When we look to denominations, we get what denominations can do.  When we look to God, we get what God can do.
  4. We must pray for revival.
  5. We must tear our hearts for revival.
  6. We must remove the obstacles to revival. This indicates fellowship, walking with God, agreement with God (Amos 3:3) –- being right with God. The greatest barrier to revival is sin. Are you right with God? Is there sin in your life? Are you living in disobedience to the Lord? Face up to this!  Many years ago D. L. Moody heard Henry Varley say, “The world has yet to see what God will do with one man who is fully surrendered to Him.” Moody said, “By God’s grace, I’ll be that man!” Will you be another? Will you begin now to pray the same prayer for your church, that the world may see what God can do?
  7. We will then enjoy the fruit of revival.  The rest of this Psalm expresses the wonderful fruit from revival.  Just read it for yourself!
8I listen carefully to what God the lord is saying,
for he speaks peace to his faithful people.
But let them not return to their foolish ways.
9Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
so our land will be filled with his glory.
 
10Unfailing love and truth have met together.
Righteousness and peace have kissed!
11Truth springs up from the earth,
and righteousness smiles down from heaven.
12Yes, the lord pours down his blessings.
Our land will yield its bountiful harvest.
13Righteousness goes as a herald before him,
preparing the way for his steps.

No Tag Backs

In Chrisian Life on January 25, 2016 at 8:48 am

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Do you remember playing “punch bug”?  Every time you see one of these you call out the color, ie “white bug”.  The first to do so punches the other player in the shoulder.  Ahhhh…good times.  Then, someone decided it was cool to add “no backsies” or “no tag backs”.  Basically, the way we played it meant that the car was unusable for a period of time.  For us, it was the rest of the day.  The point was this:

Once something has been called it is not to be called back.

As I am reading through scripture, I came across the moment Pharaoh was getting tired of the plagues on him and his country.  He called in Moses and made a grand declaration,

27 Then Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron. “This time I have sinned,” he confessed. “Thelord is the righteous one, and my people and I are wrong. 28 Please beg the lord to end this terrifying thunder and hail. We’ve had enough. I will let you go; you don’t need to stay any longer.”

If you don’t know the whole story, I suggest reading it.  Let me say this, he was caught and he knew it.  In that moment he wanted to say whatever was necessary to get out of his problem.

Punch bug, no backsies!

Often, our prayers are just 911 or “Get me out of this” statements.  We know what got us in that mess.  Now, we want to be out of it.  So we pray.  We beg God to help us.  Like Moses, God knows we don’t really mean it.  We are only saying it to remove the pain and pressure.  Once that is gone, we go right back to where we were before.  What we must realize is that God doesn’t honor backsies.  Pharaoh had to endure more costly moments because he did not truly believe.  We like Pharaoh let things get in the way:

  • His pride got in the way!
  • His politics got in the way!
  • His prejudice got in the way!

We do the same.  Start today my stopping “backsies” with God.  Make your confession.  Mark your repentance.  Mean it.

Blow the Trumpet

In Gospel Living on April 6, 2015 at 8:19 am

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What am I supposed to pray about?  How am I supposed to pray?  What is prayer anyway?

I hear these questions a lot.  You may have also asked these questions.  As I was reading through Numbers, I ran across an interesting part.

“When you arrive in your own land and go to war against your enemies who attack you, sound the alarm with the trumpets. Then the lord your God will remember you and rescue you from your enemies. Blow the trumpets in times of gladness, too, sounding them at your annual festivals and at the beginning of each month. And blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and peace offerings. The trumpets will remind your God of his covenant with you. I am the lord your God.”

God wants us to realize that this thing we make mountains out of called prayer is relational communication.  He wants us to have chats, talks, discourses, and discussions with Him.  The idea of blow the trumpet here is that God wants to be a part of our everyday life.  Theologically, I know that He KNOWS everything.  Yet, I need to blow the trumpet on several types of occasions.

When Battle Lines are Drawn
During times of battle, the trumpet would be sounded to gather the army and begin war.  It was the sound all would wait for to begin battle.  We need to sound the alarms when needed.  I am thankful that in our denomination we have the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission to help us spread the word about moral and ethical issues we face today.  Yet, we also have our personal spiritual battles with money, family, and choices.  If we are to be as united as Jesus prayed in John 17, we must sound the alarm.  An easy way to do this is in your Sunday School group.  These groups are designed to help meet needs on many levels.  Don’t be afraid to blow the trumpet in prayer.  It is healthy for us to bring to God our battles.  God has not forgotten us, but we often forget God.  Prayer connects us.

When Life is Good
God reminds us here to sound the trumpets during the good times of life.  When the trumpet is blown, the details are not as important as is the public announcement of praise to God.  The private prayer moments of praise are also critical.

When the tax refund is more than expected.
When the kids do well in school.
When the doctor gives a clean bill of health.
When the bills get paid and money is left.
When your teen volunteers information in a conversation.

There are many reasons why we should sound the trumpet in prayer.  Our relationship is more than handouts.  We are to be grateful.

When You Don’t Want To
God includes here those times when you might not want to blow the trumpet.  When we have made poor choices, messed up, or walked away, we might not know how to return.  The prodigal son finally just walked back in humility and the father held a celebration.  Blowing the trumpet during these moments means that you are recognizing your relationship with God even thought you have messed up. You are not flaunting your sin, but flaunting the grace of God as he cleanses you from your stain.   Coming to God in these moments of the burnt or peace offerings is a sign of understanding our humanness and His holiness. 

When There is No Special Occasion
At the beginning of each month, is added in this reminder.  Interesting.  We are to blow our trumpet regularly in order to maintain that line of communication and understanding.  If we make God out to be a 911 call we lose sight of the relational aspect.  Think romance here.  Our marriages get stale because we forget to do the little things when there is no special occasion.  We can get up for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays but do we get excited about Thursdays?  What about Tuesdays?  No?  Why?  We forget that a relationship is not just about recognizing those special moments, but all the not-so-special ones too.

Trust me.  Your relationship with God will become more rich if these are included in your process of life.  Blow the trumpet.  Wait for God.  Watch your joy increase!

12 Ways to Pray

In Chrisian Life on January 7, 2015 at 9:52 am

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1.  To Love God is to Get to Know Him—by Studying His Word and Praying to Him

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced

of because you know those from whom you have learned it, and how from infancy you

have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation

through faith in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14-15

“Be joyful always, pray continually,give thanks in all circumstances, for this is

God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

2.  To Love God is to Put Your Trust in Him.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in

all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

3.  To Love God is to Choose to Obey Him.

“Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will

love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.’” John 14:23

4.  To Love God is to Thank Him In Everything.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with

thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

5.  To Love Each Other is to Serve Each Other.

“You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge

in sinful behavior, rather, serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

6.  To Love Each Other is to Encourage Each Other.

“But encourage each other daily, a long as it is called Today, so that none of you

may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13

7.  To Love Each Other is to Submit to One Another.

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21

8.  To Love Each Other is to Share One Another’s Burdens.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

9.  Our Love for Others is Demonstrated When We Show them Compassion.

“When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because

they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.” Mark

10.  Our Love for Others is Demonstrated When We Show them Mercy.

“Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to

others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted

flesh.” Jude 22-23

11.  Our Love for Others is Demonstrated When We Build Relationships with Them.

“When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zaccheus, come

down immediately. I must stay at your house today.’” Luke 19:5

12.  Our Love for Others is Demonstrated When We Share the Gospel with Them.

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will

be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

 

**Thanks to Vicki Hooker and our Prayer Team at Coulter Road Baptist Church for developing these for our year.

Getting Answers

In Chrisian Life on June 23, 2014 at 9:29 am

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Our son developed a debilitating pain in his stomach.  We went to our pediatrician and was referred to a specialist at Children’s Hospital.  After a brief look, it was determined that his tonsils needed to be removed and the pain would be fixed.  That worked for a while, then the pain came back with what seemed like a vengeance!  We returned to Children’s through the ER because of the pain.  After spending a night and day doing tests we had no answers. After we did every imaginable test and scope we still had no answers.  The doctors basically told us that they recognized the reality of the pain but could not determine its cause.  We were referred to other doctors that could help teach him how to manage the pain more effectively.  The problem was that we still had no answers.  My wife and I were very stressed as we watched our child writhe in pain and scream to God for an answer.  After 6 months we were desperate for answer.  Our prayer changed from wanting to know the cause to just finding some solution.  We did not even care any longer if we ever knew the reason as long as our child could be relieved of this issue!

I wonder if we sometimes feel like that with God.  Life happens and we often do not know the ins and outs or reasons.  We are a culture that demands an answer.  When we do not get an answer, or one that we like, we are ticked off and start searching for second, third, and fourth opinions until we find one that we like.  When it comes to our spiritual life I fear that too many are doing the same thing.  We search for a god who will give us the answers we want rather than the answer that just is.  Getting answers to our prayers can be tedious.  Our patience runs thin and we start scrambling around like the quarterback who escapes the pocket and tries to run for the first down on his own.

Tucked away in Numbers 21:1-3 is a small episode that uncovers for us a pathway for getting answers.

Then the people of Israel made this vow to the  lord : “If you will hand these people over to us, we will completely destroy  all their towns.”  The  lord  heard the Israelites’ request and gave them victory over the Canaanites. The Israelites completely destroyed them and their towns, and the place has been called Hormah  ever since.

A Right Request

Israel came to God based on a covenant.  They had been chosen by God to be the light to the world.  He had already provided a spectacular escape plan out of Egypt.  God had already displayed His protection at the Red Sea, His guidance by the pillars of fire and clouds, and His faithfulness at the Jordan River when they refused to cross over.  Now they come before God based on the covenant relationship.  Do you approach God based on your faith in Jesus Christ?  Have you accepted God’s spectacular provision of escape from sin and death?  Have you given your life to God for Him to direct and lead?  Often I find that people cry out to God based on someone else’s relationship and wonder why things don’t happen and they are not getting answers.  The right request is made based on a covenant relationship.

A Right Attitude

Israel is not whining here, though some have been taken prisoner.  They come humbly before God.  They make a request and they are prepared to honor their part of the process.  Attitude makes all the difference.  My kids make requests all the time.  They already know my answer and sometimes quote it, “Depends on your attitude.”  We are for more prepared to help someone when they come to us with the right attitude.  However, if someone comes and begins demanding we are turned off.  When someone comes with an attitude of expectation rather than humble request we are turned off.  I believe God is gracious and kind.  I also believe that God deserves our respect.  Getting answers depends of the right relationship and the right attitude.  Think back on times when you have not sensed a response from God.  What was your attitude?  Think back on those moments when you felt you were not getting answers.  Did you go in search of them yourself and forget God?

A Right Response

Israel made the request properly and God, in His sovereignty, knew they would act accordingly.  God knew they would actually do what they said they would do and answered their prayers.  Did you know that God already knows how you will respond?  Were you aware that God already knows if you will live up to your promise?  We get backed into a corner of our own making (sin) and become willing to make all kinds of promises we will not keep.  Let us not be fooled that just because we make an empty promise that God will have to answer the prayer.  God is always looking out for our best interests.  If getting answers or granting requests will only harm you then He might not.

Most of us have our grocery list of requests for God.  We throw them all up and wait to see what the “benevolent grandfather” will give us.  It is like the child who points and grandma buys.  When we pray, ask, request, desire answers let us come out of a right relationship, with a right attitude, and a right response.

 

How to Change Your World

In Chrisian Life, Life and Culture on May 7, 2014 at 11:00 am

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A simple question.  A simple answer.  However, the process is not that simple.  Sometimes I wish changing my world would be that easy, but it is not! The question remains, how should we a Christians relate to the world/culture around us? Richard Niebuhr offers a few observations. I will touch briefly on 2.

1. Separate from the world around you. This option has been used by many over the years. The view of culture is so negative that it is better to separate from it altogether. Those who adhere to this usually speak against everything the world offers but also rarely have a better solution. To separate from the world denies the power of the incarnation. Jesus came into the world, shouldn’t we?

2. Saturate in the world around you. This option is very popular today. We have seen a drastic reduction in the differences between those in church and those outside of church; the believer and the unbeliever. Statistics have been out for years that reveal little to no difference. Churches have affinity worship. Denominations plant affinity churches. Other churches have a concert and a nice little ditty to pump you up for the week. To saturate in the world denies the righteousness of Jesus. He came into the world but did not let the world adversely affect him.

What is our option? How can we change the world? Instead of the 2 extremes above, let us look at another option by Niebuhr: transform the world. We, as believers, as supposed to make disciples of all the nations. In other words, change your world. How do we do that exactly? Here you go:

1. Let God change you first. Come to the cross. Drop your sin. Walk by faith. Be forgiven. God must change you and empower you with the Spirit before you can do anything.

2. Have prayer that shakes. When was the last time you were shaken up in prayer? When was the last time you cried for the unbeliever in your office, class, or home? Sincere prayer is about others, for others, and requests what pleases God.

3. Be filled with the Spirit. Exchanging every part of you for the power of the Spirit of God. Filled people seek to be used by God to transform people and places around them.

4. Empowered Proclamation. The Word of God is powerful, dynamic, and true. Everywhere we turn we find people who have lost control and hope. We have the opportunity to speak life, love and truth into the lives of those around us. God’s Word is life. Following its ethic leads to life. Making decisions with it leads to life. Going against it leads to stress, anxiety, hopelessness, and more. God’s Word is love. We see the red line of the Gospel from Genesis 3 on.   God has loved you from the beginning. God’s Word is truth. Richard Dawkins may believe God is a delusion, but I put my life on what Scripture teaches because it is the very Word of God for us.

5. Unity in the Church. Being of one heart and mind raises the effectiveness of the local church in her community. We all draw strength from one another. We offer hope when we can love and forgive one another. We offer an option when we stand side-by-side despite our differences.

The rest is up to you. Go. Change your world!

3 Critical Prayers to Pray

In Chrisian Life on April 28, 2014 at 2:18 pm

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What would you ask for if you found a genie-in-a-bottle and were granted three wishes that were bound to come true?

Have you heard the story of a young man who found a genie-in-a-bottle? This young adult is walking down the beach and comes across an old bottle. He picks it up, pulls out the cork and out pops a genie.

The genie says, “Thank you for freeing me from the bottle. In return I will grant you three wishes.” The man says, “Great! I always dreamed of this and I know exactly what I want. First, I want one billion dollars in a Swiss bank account.” Poof! There is a flash of light and a piece of paper with account numbers appears in his hand. He continues, “Next, I want a brand new red Ferrari right here.” Poof! There is a flash of light and a bright red brand-new Ferrari appears right next to him. He continues, “Finally, I want to be irresistible to women.” Poof! There is a flash of light and he turns into a box of chocolates.

As Christians, we know that there are no genies to be found in bottles. We should also know that God is not a genie, or the benevolent grandpa as some would purport. However, God does care for you and wants you to communicate with Him. We have the awesome privilege to bow before our Heavenly Father in prayer to ask him for what we need. What will you ask for? Let’s take a look at 3 things God would love for you to ask:

  1. “I want Jesus to rule my life more today than yesterday through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
  2. “I want to know and share the love of Christ wherever You take me Father.”
  3. “I want to experience the very best that You have for me and to never settle for less.”

These are three things Paul prayed the Ephesians would have as a result of their relationship with God and with him. May we help one another understand that greatness of our God. May we stand with arms high and heart abandoned before the One who stood for us!

Tweetable Prayers

In Life and Culture on December 19, 2013 at 7:00 am

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We have all been there. In fact it is probably happening right now. You are perusing Facebook and Twitter and then it happens. Someone needs prayer. On my own timeline in the last day or so there were many needs for prayer.

  • A child is sick.
  • A mom has cancer.
  • A dad is having surgery.
  • Kids are having tests.
  • There is a need for moisture/no more frozen moisture.
  • A disaster just happened.

The typical response is “praying”. I have typed it just like you. But do we? Are we really? I have not always and neither have you most likely. Do we just put that because of social media peer pressure? What if you don’t put it and someone asks you about it? Do you not care? Do you not understand the need? So we put it out there. However, are we putting out false hope by typing “praying” but not actually engaging God? Certainly some of you do pray. I just wonder if it wouldn’t be better to just type a prayer…a tweetable prayer. What if there were 160 character prayers that could be helpful? Never fear, here you go.

Sickness – “God please bring your healing hand to this situation. Give wisdom and ability to the Drs and nurses. Give us assurance of your Spirit. Amen.”

Cancer – “God bring pain relief. Give a desire to fight and to eat. Give patience to the family and healing in the body. Build our faith in you. Amen.”

Surgery – “As this surgery approaches, steady the hands and strengthen the mind of the Drs. Give your assurance, presence and peace to the family. Amen”

Weather – “You made the stars and sky. You hold the world in Your hands. As it turns Your breath is the wind.  See our need and meet it please. Amen.”

General – “May the Lord bless and protect you. May He smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace. Amen”

Instead of typing “praying”, let us pray!

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