Christine Duncan

Precepts & Life Preservers

Tag: Prayer (page 1 of 2)

There’s A Name For Your Answer To Prayer

There's a Name For Your Answer To Prayer...

God’s been teaching me about how I define an answer to prayer lately.

Again.

Because as we so often do with life lessons, we quickly forget when a crisis is over, the things He reveals in the midst of struggles and battles at the time.

And I’d forgotten this simple truth;

As believers, it’s so easy for us to make life about our circumstances.

And when that happens, we often make our faith about our circumstances.

“Lord, I have faith that my circumstance will change soon! Lord, I have faith that this situation will be removed. Lord, how soon before the hard things grow easier?”

Not that the Father can’t meet us in our need, because He certainly can.

But often His plan to meet our need and our ideas of His plan to meet our need are two very different things.

This is what I’ve been learning on my personal journey anyway….

**************************************

Will you join me today as I continue sharing my heart on what the much needed name for our answer to prayer is?
I’m continuing this conversation over at my dear friend Lauren Gaskill’s site “Making Life Sweet” and we’d love to have you come along to hear the rest and be encouraged for your day.
You can do so by clicking right here!

**********************************************************************

It’s another grand linkup day in the blogosphere! Will you also come discover all the goodness over at Holley Gerth’s
#CoffeeForYourHeart linkup? Would love to see you!

It’s All About The Reach

Been thinking about the huge potential of prayer.

About how sometimes my prayers seem to well up powerfully from inside without hesitation and yet many times my prayers resemble something decidedly more feeble and short on fumes.

Barely lifted up.

Barely able to make it off the ground.

The Psalmist described it like this and I know I can relate;

“… my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed.”

“… I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land.  Answer me quickly, Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit!”

And you don’t need to be a sufferer of chronic depression or other mood disorders to understand. Some days it just feels as if our cries and pleas can’t get any traction, catch enough air, and lift off.

And I’m outside on the deck getting ready to write down these thoughts and suddenly one simple act invades my thought process and I begin to wonder.

Maybe it’s not about how feeble or huge or heavy our prayers are.

Maybe it’s all about reach.

Funny the little life lessons that happen through the day, but without them I’d be blogging my grocery list for you all some days or how many socks I’ve managed to work a hole into. (18 for those of us keeping track.)

So I take a moment to really pay attention.

I’m watching my husband trim the Silver Maple in our backyard. It’s a decent size and was here when we got here 13 years ago. It gives off the most lovely shade, and as the wiry branches mature, they droop lower and lower with masses of leaves.

So it towers over the yard and starts stretching out to touch the gazebo and deck which is a problem. And you can stand on the deck and trim some of the branches but how to get to the bigger taller ones?

Turns out it’s all about your reach.

My husband doesn’t trim the branches he can reach first. As I watch, he pulls down on the first branches and bends them down to his level. And as he does this, the impossible-to-reach branches come closer until he trims them all while holding on to the first branches.

The great tree bends close, and my husband has access to what should be inaccessible. 

And I catch a visual.

Our great God bends close, and our prayer-filled hearts have access to what was once inaccessible.

But instead of this being about our reach, this is about His.

So I realise, sitting here in the approaching dusk, lights starting to come on, fireflies starting to dance, what my mistake has been.

“Lord, sometimes I’m so distracted by my need and the enormity of my prayers, that I get swept away in trying to foist it on You, to climb and scramble and fling my faith upwards to make sure my cries will reach You properly. When really I could simply make my requests known and You bend close, and Your reach is never insufficient.”

We are always heard. And nothing is too much for Him.

He will reach through your circumstance and provide exactly what you are supposed to have, moment by moment.

And His reach is never insufficient.

He gives us unlimited access to His goodness and faithfulness and completeness and peace. His great love for us reaches across the heavens and defies all barriers.

And like my husband standing within the shadow of the looming Maple, all that is required of us is that we enter into His Presence. Where His reach will be intimate and restorative, and really, it’s where we give Him access too.

Access to the parts of us no one else has sometimes.

His reach goes there too.

We are granted access to the King of Kings, the throne room of the Most High, and as a result, in His presence, we can’t help but grant Him access to all of us.

What’s not to love about a God who towers over the universe, who has no beginning and no end, defies all time and space, but dips down to our level so as to hear our every word, see every tear, and hold us close, no questions asked.

And it is declared time and time again.

“Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!” Psalm 116:2

” I call on you, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer.” Psalm 17:6

Turn Your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.” Psalm 31:2

” I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1

We don’t have to rocket launch our prayers up into the galaxy. We only have to enter His courts and believe and have faith that His reach will accomplish whatever He answers us.

And take it to new heights for us.

If I’ve learned anything from returning time and time again to the Psalms, and the Word as a whole, it’s that God is an all-access God. Ready to reach into the hardest of places and reveal what He is about.

It's All About The Reach

One can get worn out trying to lift and hoist prayers for optimal responses, solutions, and answers.

What He waits for is us to stop wearing ourselves out, and understand that within His presence, it’s all about the reach.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Today’s post is being linked in with {A Tiny Mix Of }’s #WordsOfComfort linkup!
Will you join Tayrina and others as we share God’s comfort
and His Word? See you there!

So They Might Seek Mercies

Even The Strongest Believer Needs Support

Even the strongest people of God need support.

Honest to goodness, alive, in-the-flesh support.

I know, I know, there is the illusion of being surrounded by friends.

Facebook, forums, link ups, groups, fans, follows, you name it.

I know we have our tribes online, I know we have our pals, and our families, and our church body, worldwide even, and it’s a beautiful thing.

But sometimes even the sturdiest soul warrior needs just a few people alongside of them who are ready to drop everything and congregate on their knees, and forget everything but the lifting up and the calling out to the One True King.

Souls bared, a laying out, a single focus, lifting and calling and thanking and battling, no questions asked, no holding back.

I don’t know about you, but I want that kind of support.

For when the battles are scary big and overwhelming and feeling impossible. For even when they’re not but just feel that way.

I’ve been spending personal time in the book of Daniel. I don’t know that I’ve really known the accounts there in any great depth. Sunday school stories rehashed how many times in my 40 years. So I’m going verse by verse, gleaning the purpose behind the words, looking into every history, stopping and conversing with the Father over it all.

And its such an arresting book. How did I not know? These are turbulent times for the captive Jews in vile Babylon, and how well we can relate to turbulent times these days, yes? Well it’s intense, with a king who’s on a massive and pagan ego trip, and a government who is willing to kill on command the very people he’d groomed to be his hundreds of wise men and advisors, because he doesn’t like his nightmares suddenly.

And there’s Daniel in the thick of it.

Keeping his head down and his faith up.

Refusing all influence but God’s. And scripture tells us that even the egotistical king has to admit that Daniel, and three of his closest friends, are the wisest and most skilled and understanding of all the captive young men. And they join the ranks of advisors to the court. (Daniel 1:7-21)

And we keep being reminded into the second chapter that Daniel’s faith is pretty impressive. If anyone can take on such turbulence, it should be him. This is the guy we know will one day hang with lions like they’re best buds because of his loyalty and faith in Yahweh. He’s been grounded in God since before the age of 18.

That’s an impressive man of God.

And yet, the verse that catches and holds my attention within this riveting account is tucked into the second chapter.

Nebuchadnezzar is suffering insomnia of the worst kind. Dreams of a very troubling nature keeping him awake, he’s got unacceptable amounts of bags under his kingly eyes, and no amount of prayers to his favourite moon-god are ending the pit of exhaustion and panic growing.

And in a fit of rage, after being told his desires for someone to divine his dreams without actually telling them what he’s dreamt can’t be done by anyone in the legions of his worshippers, he decrees they’ve all breathed their last breath, and begins to wipe out the very people he schooled for this very purpose.

And Daniel hears of the mass killing about to proceed, and steps forward and offers to do the impossible. Not because he wants the rank and popularity, but because here is the chance to allow God to do what no one else could ever do.

The king in his desperation says yes. At which point we all think, wow Daniel rocks, he’s the man!

And here’s the verse in the middle of this incredible account that stopped and grabbed me.

“Then Daniel, departing to his house, made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, that they might seek mercies from the God of Heaven concerning this secret, and so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.” Daniel 2:17, 18

Daniel, sure of his God, yes, decides this still requires unparalleled support from his best and closest soul warriors. His companions, the Bible says.

He’s not going into this alone!

They’d fought on their knees before. Together. With purpose.

As teenagers growing up. During the war that takes their land from them. During the Jewish people giving up their traditions and beliefs in order to live in harmony, as captives. And now during their stay in the courts, the last place they wanted to be.

If he had to ask God for the impossible, he was going to do it with these three men. And they don’t turn him down. They don’t question whether he’s off his nut to propose an answer to an unhinged King. They get down to business.

Seeking mercies from the God of Heaven. Together.

Supporting Daniel on a spiritual level, but borne out of friendship built on hearts locked on Him.

This isn’t about a great show of miracles. This isn’t a chummy, “oh yes, I’ll pray for you through the day, bro.” This isn’t about rising to popularity. It isn’t about showing everyone up.

It’s about seeking mercies.

Mercies for the men about to lose their lives. Mercies for the land. Mercies for a king who needs to be convicted and changed. Mercies that will come in the form of the answer of secret dreams.

Companions that pour hearts before God until they see an answer.

And they get it. Daniel watches as God reveals the dreams and visions, and their meaning. And then he raises instant blessings to God. I’m sure they all did. Because Daniel was about to supply an answer to the turmoil. It was huge.

You know who those three young men were, his companions?

Their God-given names may not be familiar.. but they would also be labelled with three other names so the king would not be reminded they were of Judah.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.

And later they would go on to be tested, not on their knees, but in an executioner’s furnace. And live to tell about it, and the God they never stopped praying to.

Still seeking mercies.

Do you have someone who will drop everything and seek mercies with you? A network or people who will seek God’s face, and not just the ideal solution?. As a friend of mine said one day, “seeking God’s face before you ever seek His hand?”

Seeking mercies. Together.

If you don’t, it’s not hard to find. Because I can promise there are others out there hungry for the same support. Start asking the people around you to meet up for prayer. Three or four even. And don’t hold back. Share your looming battles and watch God connect you all together. Because it won’t be about you.

It’ll be about Him.

We all need a network. We’re hungry for it.

It’s a hunger blazing through communities even now with groups like IF:Gathering, just to name one, and so many others where people are sinking into prayer and support on fresh levels in small groups, in person.

Where we’re alive, and in the flesh.

Where you can hold the hand of the person beside you.

Where you can hear the desperate cry in their voice.

Where you can pass a tissue and a smile.

Where you all kneel on the same floor in the same room.

So that you might seek mercies.

So you can celebrate answers in real-time.

Even the strongest Daniels need companions on their knees.

Don’t seek alone anymore.

God has amazing support waiting for you. And incredible mercies.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Today’s post is thrilled to link up with Suzie Eller’s #livefreeThursday!

When To Run

Maybe I should have been a Quaker.

For anyone who really knows me, let me give you a moment to picture that little gem.

But seriously. When it comes to confrontation, I transform into this pacifist who only wants peace, love, and strudel for all.

My first reaction to contention, my knee-jerk reaction to being intimidated or pushed around, has been to run away. Avoid it. Keep the peace so I’m not in pieces.

Maybe I’m not quaker material, on second thought.

Maybe I’m just a wimp.

When it comes to fight or flight, flight wins more than half the time. Immediately I think of a line from the old western movie Maverick that says, “He who fights to run away… can run away another day.”

So… I’m a smart wimp. Okay then.

I know I’ve made all this sound amusing, but when I think about defending myself from the things in life that threaten to bully me, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, my natural inclination is to look for the closest exit, find somewhere to hide, and someone to hide behind.

I vividly remember one brutal week back in highschool. A classmate wandered into english class one morning and promptly informed me that a gal pal of his wanted to, and I quote, “smash the living daylights out you..” You could have knocked me over with a feather! I was the geeky, friendly, everyone-sing-Michael-Row-Your-Boat-Ashore-while-holding-hands-type student! Out of the blue I’m faced with a girl who he gleefully informed me was built like a linebacker, that I’d never even met, who was ready to wipe me from the planet! Over lunch period no less! And for no apparent reason, except that she didn’t like the sound of me! I didn’t even run in this questionable guy’s crowd and I think I weighed 90 lbs soaking wet. I’d never faced a thing like this in my whole young life.

What’s a gal to do?

This was to be my first lesson in picking my battles. There’s a time to stand up to the bullies, to the threats, and to fight for what you believe in, this I know!

And what I believed in, in that moment, was that I was dearly attached to all the moving parts of my body and wanted to keep it that way. And my naturally straight teeth. One must have priorities, people!

I know my mother is reading this right now and wondering why this account of terror never came up in conversation.

Guess it will now.

I remember being terrified of this unknown threat. I remember spending the next two classes coming up with a plan. There was no way I could take her, nor did I want to. Princess Warrior I was not. But she wasn’t from my school. I could use that to my advantage! I promptly ran through all the places I could hide out. The groups of people I could lose myself in, blend into the crowds in only the heaviest and busiest of hallways at lunch. Run from the property before the bell went. The list went on.

She never did show up. I waited all week. I found out later she had other more important people to pummel, that beating me up would have done nothing for her rep, I was too insignificant for her. And that the only reason she even felt like torturing me was because this classmate I never really talked to had a crush and she found out.

And that folks is how easy it can be to become public enemy #1 in the world of teenagers. But that’s a post for another day.

I think about all this because there are way more important battles that wind up in our laps. Some we cause ourselves, and some that come looking for us. And as a child of the Almighty, how do we know when to fight, and when to run? To stand or to hide?

Might I offer that our questions could be premature?

Might I offer that it all hinges on running first.

But not a running away.

Our first action should be a running to.

One word changed makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

It’s okay to run. Straight to the One who is the Answer. Straight to the Father of all wisdom. Straight to the One who does battle for us. The Beginning and The End. The Great I Am is more fully equipped to handle the threats, put our concerns into holy perspective, erase our fears.

We run to the Rock that is higher. We take it straight to Him. A strong and mighty Fortress is our God.

And this running to is followed by seeking His face. Placing our eyes on Him rather than focusing solely, soul-ly, on the looming battle. On who He is and not just on what He can do for us. That is the key. Then searching His heart. Hooking into His will. What the Spirit is saying. Where He might equip, and where He would instruct.

Otherwise known as prayer, and His Word.

Unlike the less than stellar plan my sixteen year old self mapped out that day, we have a holy decision-making process we can utilize, bank on, trust.

And if we take a stand, we are not meant to do it alone. His precepts demand that He goes before us. That He makes a way. That He will never leave or forsake. That He will be with us.

And if we battle, we are not meant to battle unarmed, if we’re meant to battle at all. There are words spoken to Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:7 that carry a weighty promise through a prophecy he received, and what a promise it was…

“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.”

We run. To Him.

And He asks us to stand. To seek and He’ll reveal. To be obedient and He’ll equip. To trust and He’ll deliver.

“Stand firm and watch Me change the circumstances.”

He’s going to do all the heavy lifting.

He just wants us to place feet on the firm foundation, and stand up. And when surrounded by the enemy, because we’ve sought Him, He provides the full armor, and the strength, to keep standing.

Because the battle against His children means the battle is His.

Everyone loves to quote Ephesians 6:10-18 when they talk about doing battle. But it doesn’t ever tell us to fight all alone. It tells us the armor is so we can STAND.

Are you growing weary of looking for the next attack? Are you tired of always having to put your dukes up and brawl with every hard thing? Have you tried running? To the Great I AM? So you withstand what the enemy tries to throw at you? What the depression tries to knock you down with. What the anxiety tries to capture you with. What the cancer wants to weaken you with. What the poor finances want to defeat you with.

Run to God, let Him outfit you with armor to get you through unscathed, and watch Him deliver the victory you never knew was coming. Hallelujah.

When do we run?

Always.

Without fail, without hesitation.

But make sure you know Where or Who you’re running to.


P.S. This post is glad to be a part of #livefreeThursday and I hope you click on over to see all the other wonderful posts being shared! Read and scroll down and be touched today!

Older posts

© 2019 Christine Duncan

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: