Praying from a humble heart

Praying from a humble heart

In Luke 18:9-14 Jesus tells the story of two men who went to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a dishonest tax collector. The Pharisee was so full of himself. He proceeded to pray the “perfect” prayer, telling God how wonderful he (the Pharisee) was. He was sure to point out to God that he was not like everyone else. He drank his own Kool-Aid through the entire prayer. He gave God his spiritual resume if you will. I don’t sin, I don’t cheat, I don’t commit adultery, I fast not once but twice a week and to top it all off God, I tithe!  Aren’t I wonderful?

In contrast, the dishonest tax collector recognized his brokenness. He prayed from such a humble heart. He acknowledged that he was a sinner and begged God to have mercy on Him. His prayer was not filled with platitudes. Instead it was filled with humility. That pleased the Father.

If we are going to be honest (and honest is good); we can admit that we have been guilty of praying like the Pharisee. Telling God how wonderful we are in prayer and reminding Him of all we have done can be an avoidance strategy. We somehow feel that focusing on our “spiritual” accomplishments, keep the spotlight off of all that we are not doing. We may give our money but do we give the gift of forgiveness to the one that hurt us? We don’t cheat on our taxes but do we cheat God by not giving Him our time in prayer and the study of His word? Instead we waste our time on social media and unfruitful activities. Checked boxes on our spiritual to do list does not address the issues of our hearts.

It is also easy to compare ourselves to others in prayer. The question should never be, “how am I doing in comparison to others?” Instead we should ask, “how am doing in comparison to God’s righteous standards?”  An honest answer to this question sets the stage for a posture of humility in prayer. It reminds us of our DAILY need for God’s mercy.

Is it easy for you to admit your need for God in prayer? Which one are you most like in prayer, the Pharisee or the tax collector?

 

 

Prayer Is My Superpower

Prayer is my superpower!

I cannot fly or leap over tall buildings but I have another superpower…PRAYER!

When I pray the prayer of repentance from a sincere heart.  I am promised eternal life.  I live forever, I NEVER DIE!  Now that’s superpower!

I am in a war with unseen forces.  With prayer I can stop the forces of darkness, speak against generational curses and command them to be broken; I can change the course of my life!  I can speak life to dead situations. Don’t believe me?  Ask Lazarus who was brought back to life after being dead for three days!  That is superpower!

I can pray for the sick to be healed.  Don’t believe me? Ask the woman who constantly bled for 12 years. She spent all of her money going to doctors but they could not heal her.  However, after touching the hem of Jesus’ garment she was immediately healed.  I also have my own personal testimonies from my last two children Isaiah and Faith.  They were both in need of healing, we prayed and Jesus answered.  That is superpower!

Prayer coupled with praise can free us from the prison the devil tries to put us in.  Don’t believe me? Ask Paul and Silas. They did not complain or hold a pity party when they were imprisoned for the sake of  Christ.  They PRAYED and PRAISED which broke their chains and set them free!  That is superpower!

Prayer allows me to transcend my natural circumstance and enter a state of contentment and true joy. I never have to worry about anything.  When I pray according to God’s will there is an overflow of confidence that He hears me and it is done.

If all of the above is not super enough.  In prayer the one who created the universe, speaks to me PERSONALLY!  He tells me His heart and His will.  Don’t believe me?  Ask Abraham.  The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah were great and God shared His intentions to destroy these cities with Abraham.  In this dialogue, Abraham is given the opportunity to intercede for Lot and his family.  That is superpower!

Is prayer your super power?  What miraculous things have happened in your life as a result of prayer?

Worrying is overrated…try praying!

 

If I am not careful, I can think too much on a situation of concern.  I have been guilty of overthinking things which leaves me spiritually and emotionally drained.   Someone offends me and I play the offense over in my mind.   I said something to someone, and later start to think if I said too much.  Did I say it in the wrong way? Has this ever happened to you?

Thinking too much opens the door to worry.  If I am not careful I can find myself worrying through the pain, instead of praying through it. Worrying allows your emotions to get the best of you.  Living in your emotions can be deceptive.  Trust me, I can tell you stories on this one.  Worrying is an insult to God.  It says, “I do not trust you.  I do not believe you have my best interest at heart.  You do not know what you are doing so let me worry my little finite heart out and come up with a solution.”  Worrying makes no sense!

The Lord invites us not to worry about ANYTHING but to pray about EVERYTHING!

Worrying is tragic while praying brings a peace that is out of this world.  Prayer says, “Jesus not only do I want you to take the wheel but I want you to pick up this vehicle and carry it.”   I cannot even sit in the passenger seat yelling out which way we should turn because I don’t know.  Prayer is a liberating experience.

  • It lifts burdens that are too heavy to carry
  • Brings order where there is confusion
  • Gives hope for what seems hopeless
  • Affirms me when human words have torn down
  • Gives strength when my strength has failed
  • Reminds me that nothing is too hard for God
  • Helps me to close my mouth and allows God to do the explaining

God’s word tells me to mix in thanksgiving with my praying. When I begin to thank Him, I am reminded of all He has done in the past. This builds my faith and creates an expectation for what He will do in the future.  Thanksgiving chases worry away and welcomes in the peace of God, one that will guard my heart and mind.

Worry too much?  Today I invite you to join me in changing those thoughts to prayer and get ready to be overwhelmed with God’s peace.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Be Blessed,

Anika

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep Calm and Pray On

 

As you all know by now, I am expecting…great things from God.

In my first and only birthing class over 12 years ago, I learned that I should not let my emotions get the best of me when the pain from the contractions during delivery came.  It was recommended that I use a breathing pattern to help to keep me calm through the contractions. I did not understand why there was such a strong emphasis on staying focused and breathing until that faithful December morning over 11 years ago.  I had NEVER felt pain like that before, it was unreal.  The temptation was there to scream and totally lose it but I REMEMBERED!  I made up my own unorthodox breathing pattern when the excruciating pain from the contractions overwhelmed me.  The” breathing instead of screaming like a mad woman” approach did not cause the pain to go away but it helped to put me in a zone.  I knew that there was no going back, the baby had to be delivered.  The pain was a part of the package for life to come.  THE. PAIN. WAS. A. PART. OF. THE. PACKAGE. FOR. LIFE. TO. COME.  And so it is with life…

 

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Tyrone and I holding our first baby Naomi in 2003. Our 2nd day as parents, if we only knew what was ahead.

 

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Naomi meeting Joel for the first time in 2005.
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Naomi and Joel meeting their new sister Hannah in 2007.

 

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The older three hanging out with their new baby brother Elijah back in 2009.
The older 4 with baby Isaiah in 2011
The older 4 with baby Isaiah in 2011

 

 

Naomi's first time holding Faith. She was beyond thrilled!
The older five with our caboose, Faith Serenity in 2013

Many of my revelations come from my experiences as a wife and mother.

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God reveals so much to me in what may appear to be mundane.  But in my barefoot and pregnant, wiping noses, potty training, nursing, “I said no for the 10th time,”  “what do you want for dinner” seasons of life   I have come to get a greater revelation of Jesus.  Making the mundane magnificent. In life Jesus is teaching me not to get distracted by pain.  He is teaching me to keep calm and pray on.

The pain of waiting for an answer to prayer can cause you to lose it.

The pain of uncertainty and the realization that control is an illusion can cause you to lose it.

The pain from a negative diagnosis from the doctor can cause you to lose it.

The pain from too little money and too many bills can cause you to lose it.

The pain from lost dreams and disappointments can cause you to lose it.

The pain of life is inevitable. If you are not careful, you can be distracted by the pain.  You can forget that you are in labor and though the pain is great, something beautiful awaits you on the other end.  Do not get stuck in the middle of delivery and lose what God has promised.  Screaming and letting your emotions get the best of you can prove to be detrimental.  Today I encourage you to refocus, breathe in the goodness of God, and stand on His promises. Get in a zone and keep calm and pray on!  Prayer indeed birth great things!

“…The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”  James 5:16 NLT

 

Guess what? I am expecting!

I am expecting!  I know you have questions, so do I?  When do I deliver?  How far along am I?  What am I having?   I am not sure of any of the above answers. I don’t know when or specifically what, but I know it is going to be big.  It is going to be great.  Bigger than what I can do in my own strength.

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The pain has been intense, at times unbearable. I have had moments where I thought miscarriage was inevitable and I just needed a hug.  I needed reassurance that it was going to be ok.

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But today the life within me kicked.  I am overflowing with purpose, infused with hope, running on faith.

I will give birth to this thing.  I will. I will.  I will.  In the name of Jesus I WILL. Speaking of will, that is all I want to give birth to, His will.   I am pregnant with the promises of God, I want His kindgom to come in my life.  I take on the best birthing positon ever…PRAYER! You did not know? Prayer births things.  Big things. Great things. Impossible things.  Don’t believe me?  Ask Elijah, Hannah, and my personal favorites Isaiah and Faith.

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Are you expecting as well?  I invite you to join me in prayer as you prepare to give birth.  Be Blessed!

Anika

 

 

Praise God Or Go Mad

Today was one of those days that I wish never happened.  It was hard…more than.  I cried till my eyes were swollen.  I tried to pray but could not even make sense of my thoughts.  Thank goodness He is able to interpret my tears.  It was not supposed to play out like this.  Shocked.  Numb.  A dark cloud was hanging over me most of the day.  I had three concerned ladies pray for me.  They prayed and I said Amen but the cloud did not go away.  All the “what ifs” ran through my mind and then the tears started to flow all over again.  I read devotionals, I put on hymns and back to trying to pray again. The cloud was still there.   THEN something happened, I began to praise.  Not because my circumstances had instantly changed but because I came to my senses.  God is good.  PERIOD.  And because He is good He is deserving of my praise.  As I began to praise, I was reminded that He is in control and I can trust Him.  COMPLETELY!  I can go mad playing out the ifs or receive His peace that comes through praise.  My praise brings back to remembrance how He has come through for me in the past, how He kept me even when He did not answer the way I wanted.  My praise put God in His rightful position and allowed me to take a seat in His peace.  Oh Lord, let your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Amen