Lent 2016: Day 14

The Practice of Prayer (2 of 3)

by

Today's Text: Matthew 6:5-13, Matthew 6:19-24, Luke 18:1-8, Luke 18:15-17, James 4:2-3, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Text: Matthew 6:5-13, Matthew 6:19-24, Luke 18:1-8, Luke 18:15-17, James 4:2-3, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I woke up this morning thinking of the prodigal son, the one who demanded an inheritance and got it, and the elder son who stayed home minding his father’s business but not partaking of the father’s blessings (Luke 15:11-32). There have been many times where I know I’ve taken all the good my heavenly Father has given me and squandered it, finding myself face-down in a pigpen. But today I am the elder son, staring at the fatted calf and not daring to ask for it.

Lest you think I have never asked for the fatted calves of God’s blessing, let me correct you because I have. I have asked for them a thousand times and a thousand times seen them paraded before me and given to others. It is difficult to resent when God gives to those you love, but it is not often difficult to resent the God who gives it to them.

James said, “You do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). But I find more often that I do not ask because I do not have—nor do I have reason to believe I should have. I have swallowed the scant riches of the poverty gospel, certain I will never deserve nor get what I want, and so why even ask? I know others, though, who are prone to ask for wild things and then get them too—scarred and battle worn, but always, always, always winning. They ask because they have proof that the getting happens in the asking.

I cannot think it is wrong to ask boldly, but neither can I bring myself to ask boldly, so I am often caught in the tension of simply not asking at all.

How do we bring our petty petitions to the owner of everything and ask for a pittance of His favor? I reread the passage from James again and again, and each time I envision a God who withholds until my motives are right. But every time I think my motives are right, I trip myself up on the high ground of good motives. I come up short with my righteousness and I come up short in what I receive. How do I practice prayer when I fall short in the asking and in the receiving?

When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He said to pray like this:

“Give us today our daily bread . . .”
-Matthew 6:11

Today. Daily. Theologians espouse that a repetition of words is meant to convey, “Listen to this, really listen to this.” What was Jesus saying to His disciples? It would be more efficient and just as clear to say, “Give us our daily bread,” or “Give us today our bread.” But it would not convey something more important than efficiency and clarity—a posture of dependency.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray with the confidence of those who believe their God gives bread daily, and with dependance on the God who brings just enough for today.

Remember the Israelites and the manna? They were instructed: Gather only enough for one day, except for the day before the Sabbath, then gather for two days. Anything more will spoil (Exodus 16). Here, in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus is saying, Take your empty hands to the God who fills them with exactly what you need exactly when you need it.

Ask for that fatted calf. Ask for your Father’s gifts. Ask for whatever you want in His name (John 14:13), and ask regularly, faithfully. But ask for it knowing this: He gives exactly what you need when you need it. Daily bread, not a lifetime’s worth. Today’s portion, not tomorrow’s. Thanks be to God.

Lore Wilbert is the Director of Community and Formation at Park Church, Denver, and writer at Sayable.net. Find her on twitter @lorewilbert.

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  • Jesse Grillo

    I enjoyed your write up. I am impressed!

    http://foodspotting.com/4312011-danny-keller

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  • tech adviser

    Thank you for writing this great post. You could survive a Zombie apocalypse. My dad would like to be a mentor in this issue. Babies and small animals probably love you.

    https://www.scribd.com/speaker1utihn

  • Caroline

    This is a really powerful message. I keep rereading these words. For whatever reason, they really hit home today.

  • travelinglite

    Excellent.

  • I’m so behind on this devotional, and yet this devotional was exactly what I needed in this moment; God’s reply to my heavy heart and exhausted cry for help. He gave me exactly as much as I needed for today. He is so good!

  • Devoted God Girl

    Thank you for your article on prayer. I have been a Christian for 23 years, but I struggle with my views of God. I grew up in a cold, abusive family and married a man who abused me more. I left when my son was a baby, and raised him by myself. I’ve prayed for years for a loving husband, all the while watching while my friends got married and had the babies I longed for. I’m glad for them, I just want to be part of the club! My son is a college freshman, and I’m still single. I’ve seen people around me get all the things I’ve been praying for and I just stopped asking for anything from God at some point. I love and serve God, but struggle to believe that He really loves me; really doesn’t get tired of me asking for things. I think I confuse my earthly father with my heavenly one! When you grow up with a distant or abusive parent, it is hard to get an accurate view of who God is. Your article has inspired me to begin talking to God again, confiding my deepest heart to Him…whether He gives me what I want or not, I miss the intimacy of prayer.

  • Sometimes I felt ashamed for asking God for the desires of my heart because I didn’t think it aligned to His will. I had to remind myself that it always came down to God’s timing. My husband and I prayed and tried for multiple years to have children and now, after 12 years of marriage we have a precious 6 month old. Saints, we need to pray without ceasing.

    • Rae

      Wow! Thank God for this baby! And thank you for giving the glory to God! This is such a testament.

  • couldn’t help but feel the author of today’s devotional had some resistance as she possibly is asking something from the Lord but he hasn’t given it to her and she is wrestling with that?
    i struggled through trying to figure out what the point of today’s writing was in light of the heading… the practice of prayer is? to ask him only for daily stuff because he gives what we need daily? i almost feel like the beauty of asking our father for anything was missing. yes he says no or wait often, but that shouldn’t limit then how big and how much we ask him for.
    just my thoughts. hope it doesn’t come across negative :-)

    • Kara

      I agree with this statement. I feel like we have a God of the impossible and the practice of prayer means we should come to God with open hearts and expecting. For me personally I have seen God working more than ever because I have been giving everything to him and praying about it and I’m seeing things that to me seemed impossible come into the light. We have a God that loves us and wants to bless us. I’m not denying that we need to come before him with pure motives but our God truly does care about the desires of our heart!

    • Marilyn

      I agree, Bek. The writer seems conflicted. But she does get to the point at the end: The practice of prayer is…daily. God provides for our needs one day at a time, just as he provided manna each day in the wilderness. So whether he chooses to answer our prayer all at once or just gives us the strength to wait on his timing, he still hears and gives us just what we need for today.

  • So true. Thank you.

  • Michelle

    Adore this today.

  • Veronica

    This is exactly what I needed today, right now, for my shallow and hopeful heart. I struggle with seeing God’s daily provision, I so often want to look ahead. Even now, I am so worried about rent next month and the finances we don’t have. But today, he gives us food to eat. Today, he gave me this as a reminder that he has my life in the palm of his hand. Tomorrow, who knows what I need or how he will give it to me? But I do know that whatever provision he sees fit is the one that is perfect for me.

  • Such a great reminder! Thank you!

  • Lauren Fulcher

    A very good reminder, thank you for sharing. I was reminded of this quote from Mark Batterson “God honors bold prayers because bold prayers honor God.”

  • Bailey Ashlyn

    I pray God would give me the strength and courage I need to make it through today! I need to only focus on today

  • Wow.. I felt like Lore was reading my mind. I too can be afraid to ask, since I know my motives are not always pure. But there are some big things I really dream of, deep desires I’d love God to fulfill. I need not be afraid of asking, while simultaneously being aware that God gives in His timing. He wants us to ask though – that blows my mind. He doesn’t want us to hold back.

    • Laci

      Love this! I’m in the same boat! My mind cannot even wrap around how God wants to listen to those prayers dredged in sin and fear. I know for myself before I pray, I think “It’s too petty” or “I don’t need that” and then I just don’t pray at all. But God wants our prayers and heart, sin and all.

  • jessiechatchat

    I get this feeling like I have to be coy with God, like he can’t really handle what I really want. Also to say it out loud would be shameful if He says no, like I would be revealing he can’t do what I’ve asked, especially if it feels a righteous request. But I also think it’s maybe preventing the intimacy and nearness I so desire. Pray for me. And how about I also pray for me?! ;)

  • NorthbySouth

    This message spoke directly to me and what I’ve been thru over the last few years. No one understood as they looked at my life nor could I explain. Over time I realized (with the spiritual mentors He graciously sent my way) it was not the enemy of my soul doing this to me but My Lord.

    It’s called: being in the belly of the whale, a waiting period, a forging and pounding of dross out of gold…and it hurts. I can even tell when I’m “going ’round the mountain” again. Through it all God has shown me 1. He provides. 2. Its important to keep praying especially for others. 3.There’s sins in me that regularly rears its ugliness and it needs to die. 4. Praying brings us closer and He is ALWAYS near. 5. I need to TRUST Him…more and more, even when its hurts.
    I’m still learning and gaining wisdom. This is not what you typically hear sermons on but all believers go thru this…but its how we act in the wilderness that determines what’s next. First you need to recognize if it is God forging you into gold.
    If it is, say “Here I am Lord. What would you have me to do”. And watch Him work in your life and sphere of influence. I am sure this is the abundant life that Jesus talked about.
    I wouldn’t trade it for nothing…..thanks SRT

  • When I pray for something it usually is something very important like delivernce form hard times show me and end to what ever it is I am going throug then I set back and wait God does answer prayer sometimes at that moement and other times in different seasons but God is always on time always delivers ,The
    Lord has also shown me to write down how he answer my prayer then I look back what he did for me for me in the past. I dont ask for riches but I do ask for peace of mind ,when trials come I ask to set him to set me free from this pit or what is it you are trying to teach me,its in moments like that when God gets your attention he has something he wants to show you to transfrom you into what he has call you out to be for his plans your you are higher than you could think of .at God always gives us
    our heart desired . But we must be presistent and humble. God is always talking to us asnwering prayer through the people you live with or friends or maybe someone you dont know he is always saying something to us through other people but we are not looking for the signs thats why so many times one may feel like God never answers but he dowe we are just not listing and who knows maybe he will bless you with riches beyound you could think.

  • Jesus doesn’t love us in a way that isn’t best. Your will be done Father, because I am confident it is better.

  • Jesus doesn’t love us in a way that isn’t best

  • These verses are definitely coming as a blessing to me and a challenge as well. How to be so confident in God’s promises, to pray like we will receive them.. well I guess that’s easier said than done. I’m so grateful that God does show us through His Word that His faithfulness does endure. His blessings are upon His children, and I definitely want to embrace them. : )

  • He gives us exactly what we need nothing more nothing less. I love that.

  • This entry was exactly what I needed to hear today. As we wait for our biggest blessing, we watch as that same blessing comes so easily for others. Not 10 minutes ago did this happen exactly again. It was a wonderful reminder that our prayers are not going unheard. God knows his timing is best and again – I must trust and be patient – because God’s going to give us the best gift ever.

  • Lauren S

    How many times do I see my circumstances and affliction from the world as being not God’s best? How many times do I confuse the evil, hurt, and despair as God holding out on me?
    I feel like a lot of times I don’t ask for God’s best is because I don’t see that in my life, so I don’t really expect it to happen. I see myself as a receiver of left-overs day after day; and while they are good, they’re never the best. When I ask for God’s best, I have to trust that He’s giving me that. God is the best gift giver! I forget that so many times when I look at my life. I see it as missing out on the best too often.

    Anybody else feel like this?

  • Charlotte Buckle

    After reading the verses for today and this entry, I now have more trust in God than ever before! I needed someone to show me that “He gives exactly what you need when you need it” and no more. If something is not given to you, you do not need it. He will show me what my husband and I need. We just have to be faithful, each and every day!
    http://atlantic-c.blogspot.ca/

  • Maybe it’s our culture, maybe it’s our own hearts (or probably a mixture of both), but we have a habit of thinking the bread God offers are just scraps. I wish I were strong and thinking “I will wait this out Lord; I will continue to seek your face.” But I know that it is a lie. Life can go horribly wrong. Suffering can last so long and get so much worse, that the biblical promise of character refinement soon begins to mock you rather than encourage you. Graduate school, career, church involvement, marriage, house hunting, kids, etc – that is a life most of us expect (at least guys). But for me, in my last year of graduate school (physical therapy school), I had some major issues that prevented me from exercising. Then symptoms began to worsen – impacting my daily life – working, studying, and simply walking and standing were difficult. Had surgeries, praying for healing, and it got worse. I was sent to academic medical centers, having surgery after surgery (alone in the process), hospitalization after hospitalization, and nothing but more disappointment and physical disabilities. I was housebound, and years laters, friends have moved away, I wasn’t able to go to church for over 10 years, had no christian fellowship, unable to work or have any purpose, contemplated suicide often, and had over 80 surgeries. I was able to go back to school part time throughout all of this and eventually get my MBA but cannot find any work. Still getting medical treatment – having to travel to washington DC once a week and unable to have any stability.
    This process slowly wore me down – once a God-fearing children, humbly trusting in your Son, life has beaten me and spit me out. Asking for daily bread in wake of all this often seems like a lie. Have no idea what lies ahead, but often reflect on “how did this happen? how did I end up this way? I certainly did not want it to happen, but it has.” Sorry to ramble – it just seems so hard to reconcile reality with these promises. Surely, after a few years, God would answer prayer for friendships to encourage, someone to stand with you during these trials (at least after a few years), or a job to financially support yourself, right? But so it goes. I readily admit I have not given up on the Lord completely, but have no idea what “daily bread” means anymore. I’m just someone wrestling with the truth like everyone else, I guess.

    • Janie

      My prayers are with you. I too have looked at life through the lens of my pain. The best advice is hard but works: help someone else. Do anything even praying for someone here.

    • Kara

      David, what are your symptoms? Perhaps it is too much to pen here. I also had some very disabling medical issues a few years ago, though not certainly to the extent you’ve had. If you’re in the VA area, there is a provider in Charlottesville who may be worth looking up. They have helped me and have had phenomenal results with people and in many different types of illnesses. I have a friend who has struggled greatly for decades with a myriad of things, has had multiple surgeries, and she has experienced such significant healing with them, it’s amazing. Anyway, you may want to check them out; Revolution Health Center, revyourhealth.com, 434.321.5257 or 888.987.7381

      • David

        It is also very different dealing with something for 10-20 years that affects every single part of your life – finances, social life, church life, career, mental well being, etc. than going through something for a short season. I started out really well in dealing with this, but after about 10 years, things started to unravel. I can’t explain it, but something changed. I began to see the emptiness of pastor’s words, began to see the futility of it all, and began to look at this life in a far different light. It takes far more strength to read 2 verses in the Bible and prayer for one minute than it did reading chapters in the Bible and praying for a hour years ago.

    • Kaite

      Thanks for being real and honest, Chronic illness has left me asking similar questions. I don’t have wisdom yet but know you’ve touched my heart and are truly in my prayers.

      • David

        It is all really complicated really. Kara, I actually traveled to UVA and had 3 surgeries there, which made things far worse. It started when I was a long-distance runner – primarily in legs (too makes things easier to write about, but far more complicated). Leg began to swelling and “go dead.” Then symptoms began occurring when walking then standing, and affecting every part of time life. I couldn’t do my job as a physical therapist anymore… doctors couldn’t figure out what it was. After many surgeries, found out it my main artery/vein were getting compressed by a few muscles. Tried numerous releases, including a bypass surgery, rerouting arteries, taking the bypass out, MRSA infections, and many other problems and still not better. This started when I was 23 and am 36 now. Still going through it – lost friends, family, church, career… all due to this issue. I’ve come to learn that all suffering is not the same and the practical help most offer is really no help at all. Very difficult to process theologically, especially when you have no other positive encouraging friends around to help process and help during these dark hours. Thanks for your words, Kaite. There are no easy answers to the daily burdens that many of us face.

  • Amy Dunham

    I find myself right there with you. I often start my prayers off with “I probably shouldn’t even ask this…” I don’t know why I feel like I need to do that – I know the truth that God wants us to ask freely and without reservation, but I just feel greedy sometimes, thinking there are bigger, more important things to pray for. Thank you for this reminder, “Ask for that fatted calf. Ask for your Father’s gifts. Ask for whatever you want in His name (John 14:13), and ask regularly, faithfully. But ask for it knowing this: He gives exactly what you need when you need it. Daily bread, not a lifetime’s worth. Today’s portion, not tomorrow’s.”

  • Caroline @ In Due Time

    I love that the questions we ask show how much we trust God. Are you going to ask him bold prayers?
    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • What about our husbands? When he gives us a husband it is for a lifetime. How do we know?

    • Allison Hoog

      God always had a plan for man… In Genesis 2:18 He says “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” He created woman from man so that she could then be with him… Also in Genesis 2:24 it reads “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Marriage is sacred in the eyes of God so yes, I do believe that it’s for a lifetime. :) There is so much scripture on marriage in the Bible. This was just the tip of the iceberg.

  • This is very encouraging and just what I needed to read. There are so many things I wish to have and I need to remind myself that God provides for me every single day.

    SarahJaiheLee.com

  • “I need you oh I need you. Every hour I need you. My one defense, my righteousness. Oh God how I needs you.”

    • Megan

      I’ve been singing this song all day. Such an amazing song!! So encouraging. Some mornings during my quiet time I find myself just singing this song out to God.

  • Julia Lawing

    Oh, this–and yesterday’s –so good! This is exactly where I am right now, too! Thank you, ladies, for sharing your hearts and struggles in your journey with the Lord. I am encouraged; I am not alone. Let us take heart and believe that we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Ps 27:13

  • Lore, thank you so much for your honesty in the last couple devotions. It has resonated in my heart and has been so convicting all at the same time! I have struggled with treating God like a vending machine in my prayer life. Prayer goes in, blessing comes out. But on the flip side, I often don’t feel like I am deserving to come to him with requests, especially big ones. All because I’m seeking what will be for my pleasure instead of His. What will give me a comfortable life instead of a life honoring Him. Because I seek something from Him instead of relationship with Him.
    Thank you for giving me much to ponder and discuss with my Abba and Saviour!

  • I am enjoyed this devotion today…and based on the comments that appeared yesterday about prayer- it was needed. Also I loved the scripture readings. I really like how you remind us that we need to ask for daily bread….not just bread. We need different bread every day and new mercies every morning. What we need today….may not be what we need tomorrow.

    • Brittany Dawn

      Gina I like the idea that part of the reason we need to ask for bread daily is because our needs change and we will always need something from God and will constantly need to ask for his grace. I completely agree with you that the form of Grace or guidance I need from God changes daily if not hourly. Thank you for your insight.

  • “It is difficult to resent when God gives to those you love, but it is not often difficult to resent the God who gives it to them.” I’m a bit lost on this sentence. Are you saying that you don’t resent your friends when they’re given gifts, but you do resent God for it?

    In a similar vein, my husband and I are both freelance artists and were talking last night about how some people seem have work just placed in their laps, and the disappointment that comes with that. Sometimes my husband gets down because he works so hard, but the job could go to someone else. It’s difficult to celebrate for your friends who received the gift (the job) instead of you! Just like the elder son, you want to lash out a bit and question what’s going on. We never feel gipped by God in these situations, and never resent Him for it… but it does take some personal effort not to resent our friends who are indeed chosen. I’m thankful that we do get work, and it all comes from God who is providing for us. We know it’s complete nonsense to be envious of those friends who get the gig, for it’s a gift God has given to them! We get wrapped up in who’s directing our life sometimes… it’s not a client, production company, gallery, etc… It all comes from God, who desires the best for us.

  • I am just wowed by this. Here is midday and I had started my day reading the verses but didn’t get to read the application. Then things at work flooded in and I was brought to a narrow place in which I bursted into tears, then after crying out to God I had the chance to talk to a work colleague and just ‘vent’ all my thoughts out. She shared Isaiah 30:19-22 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+30%3A+19-22&version=ESV) and it was so encouraging in so many ways that it would be to long to type. Then, I read this! The Lord certainly gave me my daily bread! And He is teaching me this day by day WITH HIM way of life. I’m so thankful for this study!

  • Danielle

    This spoke to me so much this morning. I have the opportunity to wait for my fattened calf. But I’m so impatient. I take matters into my own hands; almost as a distraction of sorts. Thank you for the reminder that God’s timing is perfect.

    • She Reads Truth

      I’m so impatient too, Danielle! Grateful for the reminder of truth today. Praying for your time in God’s Word!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • I am reading Audacious right now. It ties so well with this and the book is straight up life changing. This is from the book: Because the eternal purpose of God was fully accomplished in Jesus, we are authorized, urged, exhorted, and expected to approach His throne with absolute boldness. Confidently. Audaciously. Like we believe what He says. Like we receive what He’s done. Like we accept who we are. Like we know what it took. The exorbitant price He paid for our access is worthy of nothing less.

  • Kasey Summers

    “Take your empty hands to the God who fills them with exactly what you need exactly when you need it.” So thankful for our God who supplies all that we need exactly when we need it.

  • Brittany Dawn

    Today I am going to meditate on God gives me enough for today. I have a tendency to want to plan for the future and not live in today. But I cannot fully plan for a future without the gifts and blessings God will provide me with ALONG the way. When I ask God he will answer and I need to trust that God has provided me with everything I need for the path he has set me on. But if he gave me everything I ask for now then I would probably end up as the younger Son, still loved by my Father but having squandered all the wonderful blessings he provided me with. I am praying to accept Gods plan and to live in the day God has provided me with and let God worry about what I need for the future.

  • Thank you! This was just what I needed to hear today.

  • Hannah Greer

    “Today’s portion, not tomorrow’s.” Praise God that he is the one true God that knows my needs and provides my needs as I need it!

  • He provides. I have to remind myself this over and over. I’m in highschool but have been on homebound since November due to dizziness from a concussion I had almost four years ago. I’ve truly been awakened in my faith, but I do know the price of waiting and seeing others take what I dont have. I dont get to go to school but they do. They get to be in chorus but I dont. I dont get to go to life group. But recently, I’ve learned more and more that I shouldn’t be saying those things. I wish, I want….I have to tell myself God has a plan and a purpose. And as I read through what other struggles are going on, I feel so selfish. I could be in a worse situation. I should spend my time thanking God for my blessings, not complaining about my problems. God uses my problems to help me grow and give glory to him. He will give me exactly what I need, one day at a time. Lord, help me believe it, help me live it.

    • Desi

      I’m so impressed by the strength of your faith, at such a young age. May God bless you as you seek to know and love Him more.

    • Melani

      Amen Sarah.

    • Molly Jenkins

      Will be praying for you Sarah! It sounds like you miss having a sense of community; this time will absolutely strengthen your independent faith.

    • SarahMarieT

      Hi, Sarah! I think Lauren Daigle’s story would be really encouraging to you in this time! Look it up! God is not a wasteful God and will use this time, even thought it’s hard right now. Hugs to you!

    • Brittany

      Oh, sweet girl. When I was in high school, I was also homebound with horrible headaches. I remember all those emotions so well. God sees you, loves you, has not forgotten you and will never waste your pain. I am and will be praying for you!!

    • Louise

      Hi Sarah, my daughter is 15 and has some similarities to your situation … I see God using her so strongly in her music and composing this year and am encouraged that despite and out of her infirmity (she injures very easily) this wonderful gift has had time to grow and flourish. I pray that these years of illness will be redeemed into something beautiful and blessed in your life too, and that God would heal you and release you from your dizziness so that you can now go forth into the healthy life you desire.

      • Sarah

        Thank you so much! I hope your daughter gets well soon.

        • Louise

          She is seeing several specialists and doing well though I keep seeing symptoms that I have to train myself to not assume are the worst but in faith pray these are in fact more simple issues until we know for sure. I have 6 children and they all prayed for you today ( well except the toddler)

  • I so needed this. I am totally the older brother! Why would God give me anything when I already have enough?? I can’t even fathom asking for anything- really, I have what I need. I look at the world, at all the war, poverty, sickness, death, and destruction and I think, “I am so thankful for my hot shower and my hot cup of coffee.” But then I think about my kids, and how much I love to bless them; the joy it brings me to see them light up with an unexpected gift is hard to put into words.

  • I really love this verse in Thessalonians:

    16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

    I take it as a call to action, an incessant way to talk to God. I used to think I was pestering Him, but now I know He appreciates this constant communication.

  • “He gives exactly what you need when you need it. Daily bread, not a lifetime’s worth. Today’s portion, not tomorrow’s.” Definitely something worth remembering!

  • This was so timely for me. As I approach graduation, money is becoming more of a concern. I have a job next year but it is part time. I also have to raise money in order to participate in the program. Yesterday, I had an old acquaintance message me about giving to him as he raises support $ for ministry. This feels like the wrong time…I already give monthly to someone and have a couple of other people I’d like to give a one time gift to. I have enough for a small gift but if I am being honest I’d much rather keep the money and say no.
    However, God is a God of radical generousity. He provided for me on the cross. He provides for my physical needs as well. These verses make it clear he calls us to radical generousity too! “For where your treasure is your heart will be also.” SO thankful for these words and the reminder that we can ask him for what we need without shame. He will provide just enough. Humility is dependence on God.

  • This is exactly what I’ve been struggling with. I’m single, and have been for a long time, and the thing I most desire is a husband and family. Sometimes it seems as though this is something that will never happen, and I get mad at God – why give me this strong desire to be a wife and a mother when it’s not happening?! When I see my friends find someone and get involved in relationships and I’m left to myself?! Lately though, I keep coming across these verses – and so I’ve changed my tune. I’ve begun asking. At first I felt a little guilty – why should I ask for anything? But I realize God desires our happiness, and so I’ve changed my attitude. I am working to develop myself into a better woman and a better servant of God – and I know He is bringing me closer to my husband. I’m asking.
    And the next part is going to sound crazy – but it’s the Internet and I’m relying on the anonymity of it to give some courage. I began to change my attitude about six weeks ago. And about a month ago, I was browsing through Pinterest when I saw a picture of a wedding dress. Exactly the style I wanted – A-line with a full skirt and 3/4 length sleeves. At first I felt the frustration and sorrow, tinged with jealousy, that always comes when I see wedding things – “I want what that represents!” But just a second later, it was replaced with a feeling of peace, and I felt like someone was in the back of my mind whispering “Sometime this year.” Now, whether that was from God or a sign I need medication, I don’t know – I prefer to think it’s the former! But I’ve kept that feeling of peace and it’s been so much easier this last month. Even Valentine’s Day didn’t bother me like it usually does. I’m going to keep asking.

    • Joanna

      I feel like I’m reading something out of my own life! I’m turning 34 soon and one of the last single ones among my friends. I have a deep yearning to find a faith-filled husband and have children. I dated online for years unsuccessfully and over the last 6 months turned away from it and have focused on getting to know Jesus. When I think about Him and His glory, I don’t feel so bitter anymore. I don’t ask “why” but instead am working to fill my heart with Him. What I believe is that Jesus wants to be enough for us and the wait happens because God changing our hearts and getting us ready (and maybe our future partner too).

      I’m so happy you’ve made this positive progress, and I love your change in attitude! Ironically enough, I’m planning on making a vision board this weekend and was going to put a wedding dress on it.

      Stay strong, sister! God knows the desires of our hearts and He would not put something in us that strong so it would not come to pass.

      Because of your message this morning (my best friend’s name is Kate!) I am going to start asking more boldly as well.

      Blessings to you. Hopefully this is our year :)

    • Christine

      I understand this so well. All I wanted was to be a mom. I got married and I have three beautiful step children I love dearly, but that wasn’t enough for me. I thought it was the one thing my life was missing and I didn’t understand why God would withhold it from me. I thought I would never have peace over it. But God knows me. 5 years later I am a mom – to those 3 kids. I also have the freedom to run business and ministry and see my friends and go to yoga and all those things one gives up for very small children and babies. Not all lives look the same and we don’t all contribute to the next generation with our bodies. There are other, just as fulfilling and Godly ways. Trust Him to know what is best for you sister.

    • Kristi

      I think many of us can relate. I know I sure can. If there is one thing God has taught me over the past few years as a single woman, it’s that He is in control. Sure, I KNEW that. But I didn’t fully surrender to that truth. Not until five months ago. And let me tell ya, it was a painful realization.

      I’ve asked God for years. And still became frustrated. But when I quit being frustrated and surrendered to His control, I found His peace. God has been whispering His words from Psalm 37:4 to my heart the last several days as He has shown me and reassured me His plan in another area of my life, and He has stilled me in knowing that He also has a plan for my heart. “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”. He’s given me my heart’s desires when I stop chasing them and start delighting in Him. He is so good to us, sister! Many prayers that this is His year for you!

    • SusieT

      Kate, I know a wonderful Christian lady who, years ago, having prayed for a long time for a husband, sensed that God wanted her to start making her wedding dress. She already knew how to sew, so began her big project and by the time she’d finished, had met at church the man she would marry. How’s that for an amazing story? They’ve now been married nearly 25 years!

    • Jen

      I don’t think you are crazy! I love that still small voice, though plenty of time I’ve thought that I was crazy! One time praying about a crush of mine, I heard ‘August ‘ and he finally asked me out the last day of August! :) ( we are married now) Also while praying for a child, I heard ‘January’. Though that was several years ago, we battled infertility and miscarriage. I got pregnant again and her due date was in February- however I just knew she’d be early- and she was- Jan 15! All that to say, you can trust that quiet voice :) prayers to you!

  • Churchmouse

    “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” It’s not the other way around.
    When I truly treasure God, I cannot get enough of Him. I can’t spend enough time with Him. I cannot converse with Him long enough. When He is my treasure, my heart follows. I fall more and more in love with Him because I know Him more and more.
    And if, in that conversation, I ask Him for something, I know He will answer. He will give. I know He will because I know Him. He will give. He loves me so much that He will give at the perfect time in the perfect way. It may be a daily gift I need. It may be a once in a lifetime gift. I don’t have to understand how it will all work out or how long it will take. He’s handling it. He’s got the answer. The gift is in His hands. My treasure is Him and He is my King. And, get this! I am His princess! It’s all about the relationship!
    And so sweet sisters, we can relax in the asking. We know Who He is and who we are to Him. All is well.

  • This is my struggle, not wanting to appear grateful for what He has blessed me with daily by asking boldly for things I desire to happen or be done/given. Yes, He already knows my desires and heart so why don’t I express directly to Him instead of keep to myself? I may be content but do I truly believe in faith that He desires to bless my socks off if I will boldly ask and receive daily? Help me Lord to come before You in boldness and humility and thankfulness, trusting You to daily bless my requests as You know are best for me. Thank you!

  • My husband struggles with mental illness and has not held a job in almost a year. We are stressed financially but even more emotionally. On Sunday God challenged me to ask Him for our daily bread, believing that He can provide for each of our needs each day. I’m a future thinker, so that’s hard. He also challenged me to find my peace only in HIM, not in my husband and his health, not in our finances. My plea this week is that He will day by day and moment by moment give me daily bread, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I trust Him for that for me. I plead that my husband will want God’s provision and peace, His bread, so that He will finally be full, not trying every other “food” to try to fill him. Jesus is enough. Each day. Each moment. We just have to ask.

    • Melissa

      God Bless You as you minister to your husband.

    • Joanna

      Praying for you and your husband, Eunice.

    • Adrienne

      Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. -Luke 6:38

      Thank you for your example of love and service to your husband and your Father. May you be filled to overflowing with God’s grace! Prayers for you, Eunice!

  • We are in the middle of selling a house and we have already purchased another. Every day that goes by and my prayer for this house to sell goes unanswered I have to sit back and wonder am I asking for too much or maybe too little? Usually the answer is that I do not know precisely what to ask for in the first place. But my challenge daily is to pray that today God will prepare the people who will come and fall in love with this place and want to call it home. My prayer is bold for today but my challenge is to remember He is the one with the plan that will unfold in His timing and not my own.

    • Kim

      Amen! I can relate as we are in the same situation. Paying with and for you!

    • SusieT

      Sooz & Kim, I so easily relate to you both, having been in your shoes half a dozen times. Be encouraged: God knows your needs and will meet them, and then some. Yes! Continue praying that prospective buyers will see your homes, love them and want to call them home. …I particularly recall a house that we’d really enjoyed, but a change in employment required us to move a great distance. We began praying for the house’s next owners, and my oldest daughter specifically prayed they’d be Christians who would use the house as a warm place of hospitality and ministry. The “for sale” sign went up…weeks went by, becoming months. We lowered the price a little once…then lowered it again. A particular family came and saw it, and immediately believed it their next home. And it sold…and to a Christian family. He was a young pastor, and they thought it would well serve their purposes for lots of fellowship gatherings! …So, though it took a while longer to sell [and admittedly at a lower price] than “I” had originally expected, God orchestrated all things together for His good…and His glory! [And our Lord, being One who provides, amply took care of us as we relocated and moved into a house in our new town.]

  • Ashley Echevarria

    This was very raw and real. Very much appreciated. I very often find myself thanking God for what he has provided but not asking because I don’t feel worthy.

  • I am a puddle on the floor. I don’t ask. I don’t feel worthy or sure. It’s better to not say it than to say it and be disappointed, right? But He knows. He knows what is hidden in the depths of my heart. Like a kid standing outside the window of the candy store, He sees me eying the goods, wishing I could taste the sweetness of His blessing. Oh, God! I need You to show me how to ask for my daily bread. Help me be confident in your presence. I do not want to doubt your love or provisions for me.

  • Megan Gilley

    Amen sister. Completey and utterly my heart you described just now. Needed this.

  • I’m so amazed at how God speaks to my heart and soul. I’ve been struggling with some “unanswered” prayers lately but perhaps my perspective is wrong. Every day I have prayers answered. He has provided for me another day. But I want more…I want that lifetime’s filling. NOW! I pray that every day I will ask from Him what I want and be grateful for the day and what He has provided. Thank you Father. You are so good to me. Forgive me for not recognizing that daily. I love you and today I will be grateful, now and always.

  • I saw a quote that said, “God invites us to pray in such a way that it scares what is scared within us. If you are not praying the type of prayers that scare you they are certainly not frightening our enemy.”
    I want these kinds of prayers – prayers that scare what is scared in me. I don’t want “safe” prayers anymore. I want sacred and powerful and holy. I want His glory to so shine thru me that there is no doubt that He is working.

  • “Daily bread, not a lifetime’s worth. Today’s portion, not tomorrow’s.”
    My tendency is to look too far ahead and worry about the future. “How will I be able to do that?” “How will I cope if that happens?” This reminds me that God gives us exactly what we need when we need it. All I need today is enough for today and God will provide for the future when it comes.

  • This so is for me today…I am so going to hold out my hands today…

    Let me begin at the beginning, some of you may remember a month ago or so whilst visiting my bereaved friends, I was saved from an accident that could have proved not so good for me personally.. my car was hit by a drunk driver at 50+ miles an hour, the back was damaged beyond repair, with the wheel half way down the road, not to mention the bumper which also was strewn across the road, the stuff that was in the front of the car, were thrown to the back…I can only praise God for covering me with angels to protect as I could so easily have been in that wreck, had I not stopped to pray with my friends…
    Rewind a couple of hours before, I am driving to these friends and on route, I see 5/6 of the car I would love in replacement for the one I owned.. so a dialogue goes on between God and I ..with each one I see, I jest with God that He is having a laugh, or was He hinting that one day sooooon this will come to pass…I am smiling when I reach my destination, finishing my conversation with, ‘Lord, …thy will be done..’ over to you Lord. Then I pray protection and Grace and peace as I enter my friends house….
    I have to say, I was almost not surprised when the accident happened..I even jokingly told my friend of the conversation with God on route…
    So here we are today, 5/6 weeks later and the dream car has not arrived, it is still no where near my grasp, and yet …But God…But God…I know, I have to believe, He has a plan, He has this gift, ready wrapped for me to collect, but I am lost in the collecting…I cannot quite ask in the right way, yet I know and so truely believe, there is a blessing, a gift of Love and faithfulness waiting, if I could just hold out my hands to take receipt of it…you will probably laugh at me…I am that convinced, and yet in my wildest dreams, with the insurance that I got for my car, I could never afford this dream car..I’ve even said maybe God is tell me ..’not this time but it’s coming..’ but when I move forward with getting a run around, I am literally stopped in my tracks..
    God has a gift He wants to bless me with that is bigger than my wildest dream, I, like the persistent old woman will continue to ask, through conversation with my heavenly Father..my hands open to receive , when the time is right….

    For now I ride the buses..what an experience…

    I love my God, and I will wait..knowing…and praying…

    Sorry for the missive…worth a smile, if nothing else..
    Love you all, Be Blessed, always..xx

    Just to say ,the dream car is not a rolls Royce, just an average Nissan juke…lol..x

    • candacejo

      Why not? :) Nothing wrong with asking…just as if we were going to our parents as a child, all they can do is say, “No, it is not what is best for you.” “The time isn’t right.” “Wait.”
      Praying with you for clarity and a special miracle. In Jesus’ name! ♥

    • Joanna

      Oh Tina! I wish I made big bucks because I would buy you the car myself! You are such a pure example of a woman in Christ, motivating all of us every day. I pray that God provide provision for you as you need it.

  • Michelle

    On prayer.

    Why can’t I let God fill the space? The space that is taken up by regret and resentment and if-onlys? Why must I allow shame and embarrassment and rejection to linger? He is the Great I Am. Why don’t I let Him be great in me? “You desire and do not have…you do not have because you do not ask…” James 4:2-3.

    Father – live in me. Occupy me. Guard the far-reaching, dusty corners of my thinking. The memories that should remain objectively thus – because they are not to be altered no matter how often I obsess over them. Please diminish their power and reign over them instead.

    The truth is, I take pride in my plans. It is possible I may idolize them a bit without admitting it outright. But I don’t want superiority. I want humility and grace and mercy. Wisdom and love for others. Remind me you know exactly what I need, exactly when I need it.

    • candacejo

      “He is the Great I Am, why don’t I let Him be great in me?” So true! I think we’ve said it here before that we trust God for our eternal salvation, He’s got that covered. Then why do we struggle to trust Him for the day to day? He is all we need, in every situation. ♥

    • Sarah

      Wow Michelle – thank you for that comment. It’s perfect

    • K

      I want humility and grace and mercy. Wisdom and love for others! Amen!

  • God_Is_Good

    As that part of Matthew said, money will come and go, do not save earthly treasures but freely give to ones in need so you can receive true treasures in heaven.

    Lore encouraged me to keep asking father CONTINUOUSLY for what I want. We will receive it if we truly believe that he is capable of delivering. But in that situation the most important thing is to understand that He is the one who controls the time. I remember once I really wanted something at that exact moment, I believed that I can’t move on without it, I needed that ‘sign’, but my timing was off. I wanted it, but I didn’t truly needed it. Months after, when I finally need it in his eyes, He deliver!

    As my mother always said, God will give you the cross to carry as heavy as you can handle. He knows how strong each one of us is, and He will push us and challenge us to reach our potential. It is not an easy journey, but only with Him next to us it is reachable.

    I’m going through a stage in my life where I’m trying to find my calling with what I always struggled the most. And it has never been clearer as it is now because I have kept continuously praying for it. And once agin our savior deliver! He cleared my mind of selfish acts and directed me toward the ability to finally accept the truth. And no matter how much it hurts, He has helped me to find the way to contribute to the life of others rather then crying over my own situation.

    I believe that He is using me to spread his love and kindness to others as I have opened my heart to Him and prayed for Him to use me in his ways! He delivered! God is good!

    • Kellynpowers

      “He has helped me to find the way to contribute to the life of others, rather than crying over my own situation.” Thanks for these words. When I take my eyes off myself and serve others, it in turn blesses me. Also when I choose to worship and praise God no matter how down I am, it is an act of surrender and through the process I feel God love again.

  • Kapungwe Chabu

    Definitely puts prayer in a better perspective with more clarity and understanding. I’m gonna
    take away that God gives daily as in he gives us our daily bread, not too much not too little but just enough and I pray that I have the grace to recognise when this happens because it does.

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