Friday, February 4, 2011

Praying in the Present ~ Prayer Lesson #1

A few weeks ago I mentioned Joanne, the daughter of our dear friends Chuck and Kay.  LINK  Many of you has inquired about how Joanne is doing and have assured me of your prayers.  Thank you.  Joanne has been moved to an LTAC ~ Long Term Acute Care facility.  She is making progress.  Her family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of prayer support.  If you would like specific requests, Joanne’s husband Toben updates their prayer requests regularly of her blog,  As well as knowing how to pray for Joanne today, you will be ministered to by reading his words.

Joanne, her family, and many of you who have allowed me to walk with you in the hard things you are in the midst of have been a big part of my prayer life in this new year.  And you are also part of some of the lessons I’m learning about prayer. You are helping me to pray in the present.

Joanne’s stroke was a flashing red light on the topic of praying in the present.  I guess a crisis has that effect.  But I’m thinking, doesn’t God want me to trust Him every day with all that is happening around me, even if it’s not a crisis? 

I have been thinking about praying in the present and it’s implications for the past four months.  God brought it to mind as a corrective.  I was worrying too much ~ especially over one situation.  As I prayed over this worrisome situation, I was praying way into the future.  “What ifs seemed to be controlling my prayers and fueling my worry.  NOT good. 

As a child I learned the Lord’s Prayer recorded in Matthew 6.  The fourth petition says, “Give us this day our daily bread”.  This day!  God is instructing me to ask for my needs for this day.  According to the notes in my Bible this phrase by implication includes all of the believers physical needs.  I wonder if God is pleased when my petitions that go beyond physical needs  focus on this day as well.  Just a thought.

Throughout the Scriptures, God refers to Himself as “I am”.  John 8:58, Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am”. In Exodus 3 Moses and God are having a conversation during and after the incident with the burning bush.  Several times God refers to Himself as I am. 

In the New Testament, many times Jesus uses the phrase, “I am” to speak of himself.  I am the way; I am the light; I am the bread of life; I am the good shepherd; and there are others.  When I think about these claims, I realize they speak to just about everything I pray for. 

I am memorizing Psalm 46.  It starts, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  Until I started memorizing this Psalm and until I started thinking about praying in the present, those words slipped off my tongue without me thinking about the wonderful truth they are conveying.  God IS ~ and I am working on praying in the present.

“fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; …” Isaiah 41:10


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