Feeling anxious?

 

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” – Psalm 94:19

Entering the stillness,
My folded hands
Remind me to slow.

Much to lay down.
Soiled garments of worry
one by one
worn too long.
Leave them.

Distractions of life
unwelcome intruders,
cluttering noise.
Turn them away.

A few deep breaths,
Air into the lungs, out of the mouth.
Refreshment coming in.
All that hinders going out.
The holy enters.
The mundane leaves.

The stillness begins to come.
Quieted mind,
Slowed body,
Ready just to be where He is.

After the stillness,
Cleaner, lighter, purer, quieter.

Distractions return one by one.
I recognize them for what they are and
Know I will need to return to the stillness;
To the One who meets me there.
Soon.

“Collect yourself in His presence with the one purpose and intent of loving Him. . . Rest in love and come to Him in . . . faith, coming for no specific claim, request, or desire.” – Molinos

“Real prayer is nothing more than loving God.” – Fenelon

Life-Changing Prayers

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“God listens to those who are godly and who do His will.” – John 9:31

Prayer is a mystery to many of us. Why pray if God already knows what we need? Or, if we do pray, why don’t our prayers get answered? There’s no formula for effective praying, but today I will share some insights others have given me that may be helpful to you, too.

Sitting: Prayer is our response to God’s invitation to be with Him. He wants us to come confidently, joyfully, consistently, knowing we will always be welcomed. So let’s not barge into His presence brashly asking for things. First, we just sit for awhile, enjoying the pleasure of His company.

Confessing: We often will find thoughts coming into our minds during this time about things we do that hurt Him. We have to be willing to give up anything that blocks friendship with God. He knows we will never be perfect, but He requires that we acknowledge our sin and commit to being better. When we confess, He always forgives, makes us clean, and gives us strength.

Asking: Now we are ready to tell Him our troubles, pray for others who concern us, and ask Him to answer as He wishes.

Listening: Then we quietly wait for any message He may give. Sometimes it is a direction or an idea. At other times, a sense of peace, contentment, or joy. Listening, though, is the best part of prayer. Let’s not hurry away without hearing what He may have to say.

Now we are ready to face our day:  refreshed, clean, calm, energized, and prepared to serve Him and others. Let the adventure begin!

“God’s presence calms your spirit, gives you restful sleep, and quiets your mind. But you must give yourself completely to Him.” – Francois Fenelon

 

As a Little Child

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“I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant and their faces shall never be ashamed.” – Psalm 34:4

God invites us to come as little children, to be close, to let Him hold us. When we turn toward Him, He calms our fears by saying something like this:

Come close to Me. It’s OK. You’ll like it here.
You’re little, but I’m big.
You’re weak, but I’m strong.
You know some things, but I know everything.
You’re needy, I am generous.
You’re afraid, I am your protector.
You’re lonely, I am Love.
Just come to Me and receive everything you need.

God’s great desire is for His children to be close. He loves us infinitely and wants us to soften our hearts so we can receive His love. We do that by thinking about Him, reading His Word, praying about everything, and listening for His voice. It is always a voice of love, never criticism or condemnation for those who know and follow Him.

Let’s respond to Him with the anticipatory trust of a little child. We will never be sorry we did.

“When we hear him whisper into our souls, ‘You are my beloved child’, we can finally begin to shake off the striving and obsession that drives us. . .” – David Timms

Freedom

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“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

Feeling like there is too much to do? Too many loose ends? Lots to worry about? There is a spiritual exercise helpful to me when I am feeling that way and I thought it might help you, too.

I begin to tell God my concerns, and He invites me to lay them down one-by-one. They became an imaginary pile beside me. Then I see myself walking toward Him, leaving the pile behind. I see it getting smaller and smaller as I move closer to Him.

I sense God’s pleasure as He has my complete attention. Just the two of us – lots of smiles, joy. I know I am free, lighter, less serious, more transparent, and I can sense His response, “I have redeemed you so you could be free from bondage to your own desires, from pleasing others, from feeling burdened or stressed. Live lightly.”

Then I go on in my prayer time, honestly sharing my heart and my needs, interceding for others as He calls me to do. Turning to go back, I see in the distance the things I laid down. As I get closer to the pile, I realize that I must be very careful what I choose to pick up again. Much of it I will simply leave in His hands. God has made us free. Free to be His.

“In almost everything that touches our everyday life on earth, God is pleased when we’re pleased. He wills that we be as free as birds to soar and sing our maker’s praise without anxiety.” – A. W. Tozer

 

“Come, talk to me.”

Once in awhile Warren will offer me a cup of coffee with the invitation, “Come, talk to me.”

"The Lord takes pleasure in His people." - Psalm 149:4

“The Lord takes pleasure in His people.”Psalm 149:4

And we do talk. Sometimes an hour can go by as we share our lives, thoughts, ideas, plans, and concerns. When we are ready to get up, he often says, “Thanks for sitting with me. Sometimes I just like having your attention.”

Isn’t that how we build relationship? We spend time together – often in the company of others. But the best times of connection are when we shut out the outside world and focus for awhile on one another. That’s how love grows.

That understanding has taught me a lot about building relationship with God. He, too, likes having our focused attention – the special times when we shut out distractions and sit alone with Him.

When we sit with Him, we get to know Him.

When we get to know Him, we realize how much He loves us.

When we receive His love, we can’t help loving Him in return.

When we love Him, we are most blessed because that is exactly what He created us to do.

Our time with God might be in praying or just thinking about Him. At other times we give thanks, present our needs, sing, or listen. What is most important is that we are there: Alone with God.

I have found that when we get to the end of that quiet conversation, He seems to whisper, “Thank you for sitting with Me. Sometimes I just like having your attention.”

“I simply want to be in touch with the Divine Lover . . . the closer I get to Him, the gentler His voice becomes.” – James W. Goll

 

Just What I Needed to Hear

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“Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.” – Psalm 31:24

God is always ready to talk to us. Sometimes He just has to wait until we slow down enough to listen. Then He whispers to our hearts words especially suited for whatever situation we face. I have found that, most often, His messages are variations of one of these:

• I love you.
• I will never leave you.
• Don’t be afraid.

Which do you need today? To know how much He loves you? To be secure in His faithfulness? Or to experience the peace that comes by trusting Him?

You can start the conversation by praying with honesty and sincerity about your need. You could even ask Him to awaken your heart to be ready to hear what He wants to say in response. Then just wait in quietness. His message will be perfect to meet what the ancients called your “pressing necessity”. He always knows just what we need to hear. Sh-h-h. Listen.

“He hath never failed thee yet.
Never will His love forget.
O fret not thyself nor let
Thy heart be troubled,
Neither let it be afraid.” 

 – Amy Carmichael

 

 

 

Being Still

"Do everything with the awareness that you are acting before God and for His sake. At the sight of God's majesty, calmness and well-being should fill your spirit." - Fenelon

“At the sight of God’s majesty, calmness and well-being should fill your spirit.” -Francois de Fenelon

“Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

Have you ever tried being still? It’s hard to do! When I was talking to God about that one day, it felt like He was telling me that I was going at it backwards: I was trying to be still so I could know Him. He wants me to know Him so I can be still.

“When you know that I am God, you will be still.

Behold Me. Look at Me. See Me for who I am.

You will find I am much, infinitely much, bigger than finances, accidents, cancer, relationships with toxic people, or any other problem you face.

I am God. Just stop for a few minutes and think about who I am. Being still is the only possible response to My glory.”

It seems that the secret of being still in God’s presence is beginning to understand who He really is. When we stop to view Him with amazement and wonder; when we accept the mystery of what we do not know of Him; and when we begin to glimpse His holiness, power, and love, the issues of our lives fade away and awed stillness is our only possible reaction.

Try changing your focus from your restlessness to God’s greatness and see what happens. It helps me a lot!

“Collect yourself in His presence with the one purpose and intent of loving Him.” – Michael Molinos