- Praising God Amidst Brokenness July 15, 2013
The HCSB calls it
A Hymn of Praise
and it is found in
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”
Paul has just spent the previous 3 chapters, 86 verses, discussing Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, and what that means, to them and to Gentiles. In much of these 86 verses, you hear Paul’s heart breaking for his people…and it is in THAT context that he praises God.
- APPLICATION…Can you praise God when your heart is broken…for your loved ones, for your nation? Can you praise God when you are broken through being laid off, being divorced? Can you praise God when brokenness comes because of sin, that you let get out of hand, that you “hid” from God, that you lied to a loved one about?
- Pray Paul’s prayer with me, applying it and using our own words where appropriate… Father, the depth of Your riches, of Your wisdom, and of Your knowledge…Oh Lord they are too wonderful, too overwhelming to me. And yet, it is THAT wisdom and knowledge of the riches You have given me, through Your Son, that allows me to approach You in praise, in the midst of my brokenness. Lord, I praise You for I don’t need to know exactly how You plan to work, I don’t need others to give You “advice” as they pray, for I trust You. In fact it is foolish for me to think You owe me any explanation. I trust and know that You do ALL things, and they are all done for Your glory, Amen.
- When is Worry Like Fasting? July 11, 2013
I was up early this morning talking to the Lord about upcoming events and then wrote the following to the Lord, about 3:00 am, I said, “Lord, I want a new memory verse, but I think that I will go back to those I have already memorized.”
The more I looked back into the passage, the more I saw how Christ was using His previous words to lay the foundation for what He was going to say about worry…and then I saw it, the connection between fasting and worry…and not a “good” connection.
At the time of this writing, in my notes, I still didn’t know what I’m going to memorize, but I loved seeing this truth from the Sermon on the Mount.
If you want to read it ALL in context, go to Matthew 6:16-34 and read it in the NASB. It’ll take a few minutes, but it is worth it. Here are my notes from this morning:
- I don’t think I ever noticed this before, but in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus discusses fasting, to set up His discussion about worry. He describes the person fasting, and fasting in a way that gets “their reward here on earth” (Matthew 6:16), their “treasure.” He is talking about the Pharisees who liked everyone to see their sorrow, like, unfortunately, so many people today, who give their prayer requests, for the purpose of allowing others to see their sorrow. The are, forgive me, simply having a gloomy pity party!
- As I think about it, I realize that often, no, OFTEN, people share their prayer requests in a way that “demonstrates” to themselves (and they think to others), that they have a right to worry about their situation
- I suppose one’s motivation (and only they can deal with that) gives away whether or not they are seeking accuracy in prayer, or if they just want everyone to know every detail of their problem. In this case, their motivation is “getting their reward here on earth” which, is no different than that Pharisee. Jesus then directly compares this action, gaining pity, as storing up an earthly treasure (Matthew 6:19).
- Jesus then goes on to talk about the reasons we do not have to worry. You can read all of the reasons you don’t have to worry (Matthew 6:20-32), and in reality, you will see that you already know them.
- But here’s the key, verse 33, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…It’s counter intuitive isn’t it? Jesus is saying that instead of worrying about this which you are praying about, instead of focusing on that “terrible” prayer request, we are to focus on, seeking His kingdom, and His righteousness. It truly is counter intuitive.
- What is Jesus saying? Simply this, take the focus off yourself! And THEN He says in Matthew 6:34, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will take care of itself, each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Wow, you know what? Because He is sovereign, because His throne is above the heavens (Psalm 103:19), I really don’t have to worry, do I? And neither do you my friend.
I need to make two notes here:
- I am not saying that church isn’t where we are to bring our prayer requests, or that we are not to sorrow, especially in church. This IS one of the GREAT characteristics of church…just check your motivation.
- Don’t judge! You may hear one’s prayer request and label them a Pharisee. You can’t do that, rather, help them, encourage them, cry with them, as Jesus did in John 11:35 just a few verses before He brought Lazarus back to life.
- ALWAYS Pray A.C.T.S.? July 6, 2012
I want to use a teaching tool that R. A. Torrey utilized, that of asking questions…
- Why do we pray in the form of A.C.T.S.?
- Did Christ expect us to follow His “model-prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13) every time we prayed?
- What did Paul mean when he said we should pray with all kinds of prayers (Ephesians 6:18)?
- Have you ever looked at the way David prayed, when he was in the midst of difficulties (cf Psalm 3-7, 10, 12, 13, 16, 17, 22, 25, 27, 28, 31, 35), just to name a few?
- How did David start all of these prayers?
- Why didn’t he begin with adoration?
- When you are in distress, do many of your prayers start off like David’s too?
- Did you notice that many of his OTHER Psalms do, in fact, start off with praise (cf Psalm 8, 18, 19, 23, 29, 30, 32, 34), just to name a few?
- How did he end all of his prayers that STARTED in great distress?
- Why did David praise God at the end of all of these prayers?
- When you pray, in the midst of troubles, do your prayers end like David’s?
- Do your prayers end with hope?
- Do you get off your knees with the problems gone?
- Do you get off your knees with the problems still there, but the anxiety gone? Why or why not?
- Look again, in every one of these prayers, how did David end them?
- Look again at your prayers, do you end them the same way as David? Why or why not?
- Do you think it is possible to get off your knees with the problems STILL in your face, but the anxiety gone?
- Looking at Psalm 5:1-2, how has David been praying?
- Have you ever prayed with groaning (or meditating), and with crying out to the Lord?
- Assuming David has been praying, groaning, meditating and/or crying out to the Lord all night, how is he praying in verse 3?
- If your version says, “eagerly watch,” “looking up” or “keeping watch” or a derivative of any of those, how would you say David was praying, if “wait in expectation” was the way your version ended?
- When you pray, and are in the midst of distress, what is your expectation?
- What do you think 1 John 5:14-15 says your expectation should be?
- What is David doing in Psalm 5:4?
- When you are praying because of great distress in your life, do you remember God’s character?
- How do you think, remembering God’s character, would help you in your praying?
- Look at James 1:6, do you doubt (or waiver) when you pray, in the midst of distress?
- What does James 1:7 say about doubting when you pray?
- Going back to Psalm 5:4, what do you think will keep you from doubting?
- In Psalm 5:8, what is the “twist” that David takes in his prayer?
- How does Psalm 5:8 agree with and support 1 Thessalonians 5:18?
- How does Psalm 5:8 agree with and support Philippians 4:6-7?
- When was the last time you thanked God for your distress?
- In verse 8 was David looking to God for relief from the distress he was in?
- What was he looking for from God?
- The last time you were in distress, calling out to God, did you seek direction from the Lord, BECAUSE OF the distress you were in?
- Do you see how you can thank God, FOR the distress, and still not LIKE the distress?
- Jumping to Psalm 5:11-12, can you figure out what David is doing?
- His problems aren’t gone, why is he rejoicing?
- Maybe a bigger question is, why aren’t you rejoicing when you get to the end of your prayers?
- What do you think would happen if you stayed on your knees until God told you to get up?
- Have you ever stayed on your knees AFTER you said, “Amen?”
- Can you think of a reason this might be good to do?
- Can you think of other ways you can hear from God?
- Have you ever prayed with God’s word open, and next to you?
- If verses 11 and 12 show us what David knew of God’s character, what does that say of your knowledge of God’s character, regarding how you end your prayers?
- When was the last time you prayed with God’s word open, next to you, and you in it, reading it…yes, while you were praying?
This was fun to write, let me know if it was helpful, okay?
In His Name, with great thanksgivings,
Mark S Mirza
Here is my new book
- Prayer in a Hotel Room? January 27, 2012
I posted this last time I stayed here. I forgot about it, until I checked in this week. In every room, this hotel owner puts this prayer next to the bed.
Kuddos to the Ramada Inn, in Cordele GA