Prayer & Supplication

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone  The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:4-7

These three verses keep coming up.  Last week, on Wednesday morning, I put a little photo from She Reads Truth with a reminder of this scripture on my phone and computer.  It’s a beautiful reminder, and this was the third time this scripture had popped up over the past two weeks.  So, I decided to work on committing it to memory.  I knew the idea, not the address.  And, felt I needed to remind myself.   

Thursday evening, while visiting with a girlfriend, the scripture came up again!  Praise God!  He is so cool to use common threads to tie His daughters together.

Today, it’s back, in my daily devotional.  I want to understand this verse!  So what exactly is supplication?  The definition I found was the action of asking or begging for something earnestly or humbly.  It comes from Latin supplicationem, from supplicare “plead humbly”.  The Greek word here means a petition: prayer, request, supplication.  I love the latin roots of the humility piece, I believe this is a key component. 

When we come before God with something that we are worrying about, there is a humility as the worry is placed before His throne.  Sometimes, it’s a challenge to leave it there.  We place it before Jesus, and then go and pick the thing back up! Like a treasured possession, I hold on to worry.  It’s like being able to be in control of the circumstance.  If I can worry about it, it’s mine. But if I place it at the throne, there is some humility and surrender involved and I allow God to have it.  Then, I experience His peace in trust.

“In prayer” (verse 6), comes from a Greek word meaning ‘to pray to God, that is supplicate, worship’.  Prayer is a form of worship!  In speaking to our Creator, we are worshiping Him.  I told someone once that I wanted them to help me learn how to pray.  And the truth is, we pray each and every time we worship.  Sometimes, I think we put human parameters on what worship looks like.  But in reality, I believe we can worship in anything we do! To pray is to worship!  I’ve spent so much time wanting to know how to pray better, but in reality I simply need to worship God!  Worship God and speak to Him with the voice He gave me.  And, this worship is as diverse as His creations are.  But we are to worship and pray with thanksgiving.   

A sister-friend of mine shared with me something she was being shown about walking in the blessing.  Living in the blessing, instead of always asking for it when we already have it!  For example, at dinner time we pray to “bless the food”.  Well, the food is already blessed; it’s already a blessing to have it in front of us, when so many are without.  All we have to do is receive it!  It’s easy when it’s food on a plate and we’re hungry.  But sometimes, I wonder if God sets blessings before us and we simply don’t see or receive it as a blessing.  Perhaps we don’t “feel” worthy.  That is a lie from The Accuser. We are worthy, because God loves us.  We are worthy because God created us.  We are worthy, because as long as we have breath in our lungs there is a purpose beyond what we can see, that we are created for.  We are worthy, because God creates worth.  The blessings are there, we have to open up and receive them.   As Believers in God, we are His blessed children.  Walk in the blessing that He has already provided a way, it is finished.  Done deal!

We are to pray (worship) and make supplication (humbly ask, beg) for our requests from God, with thanksgiving.  It’s hope.  It’s being thankful; with gratitude, and that thankfulness is also an act of Worship.  Worshiping the One who gives a peace that passes all understanding.  Being thankful. 

Sometimes when I’m feeling one of those moods, I go down the drain in a fast spiral.  And I’m miserable to be around.  Honest.  Just ask Gabe or my kids, they go outside and leave me alone.  One of the quickest ways to get myself out of the muck is to praise God, go outside, or get out piece of paper and start with the sentence “I’m so grateful…”  or “Thank you, LORD….” .  And I use the capital LORD version because that reminds me He is a covenant God.  He has made promises that I can claim and hold on to with hope and joy.  

chickensI want to worship God in everything.  Worship Him by playing with my children, His children.  Worship Him in loving my husband.  Worship Him with singing and dance!  Worship Him in talking to Him! Worship Him when I fold laundry, wash dishes and enjoy the sunshine or rain.  Worship Him in his creation when I’m pulling weeds or mulching flower beds or cleaning up chicken poo (I get really worked up with chicken poo sometimes, this will be a challenge).  Maybe it will bring a new dimension to my connection with Him!  I’m guessing it will, and that makes my heart smile.  

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Becoming Obedient (part 2)

Continuing from Becoming Obedient (part 1), I wanted to split it up as to not bore or draw it out too long.  Even time to think about how you listen!

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:8

There is something called active listening, it’s taught in some communication circles.  But here’s a few ideas of how we can listen to God based on the idea of active listening, or at least ways I try to listen for the Lord.  This is by no means a complete list, but perhaps a starting point.  I’m just going to touch on three points, because I think it’s applicable to our relationship with God as well as others.  The first is to remove distractions.  By removing distractions we’ll be able to hear more clearly and pick up on the sometimes quiet voice of our Creator.  Sometimes when praying I just sit quietly with a blank mind, not asking or talking about anything. 

We can choose who and what we listen to.  What we listen to (what goes in) will be shown in our actions (what comes out).  Listening to music is a good example for me.  Now, I tend to listen to Christian music for the most part.  A couple years ago as I was listening to the radio in the car, some of the songs I enjoyed listening to and signing along with were not exactly appropriate for little ones.  What they thought was simply calling someone on a cell phone actually had more to do with a late night phone call for sex.  They didn’t understand, but I did.  And the “information” they were listening to didn’t line up with the values I wanted to teach them and live by.  So we changed what we were listening to, removed a distraction.

Being in the Word, reading my bible is also a good way for me to focus and shut out distractions.  And, not just reading but attempting  to put what is read and understood into action.  If I don’t understand I can ask God for clarity, talk to others I trust, or seek more information on my own.  I get curious.  And then be open to allowing those words of truth to change my life.  James 1:22 says, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves.”  I don’t want to just hear what Jesus taught, but do what Jesus taught.

The second point is listening to the speakers signs and sounds.  When we’re face to face with someone, this is much easier to do and pick up on little nuances.  However, as I have come to know the Lord more, I can hear His voice a little easier and know where to look and what to listen for.  He speaks in the voice of my husband, friends, parents, in nature, sermons at church, and “coincidences” throughout the day.  There are little clues all over the place if I start looking, kind of like crumb trails in the story of Hansel and Gretel.

The third point is giving feedback with what you have understood, for me this is very different when I’m listening to God versus when I’m listening to a person I’m communicating with.  Sometimes, I’m so not clear on what I am understanding and need to ask for more information or confirmation on what I think I’ve heard from the Lord.  “Father, I think you are calling me to do ___.  If that’s correct, I would really love for you to confirm that so I don’t miss step.”  Or “Lord, I think are are calling me to ____.  I’m going to step out and ____, please close that door or make it clear that we’re going in the right direction.”  It’s a little different when your face to face with someone, but I feel this is a way I can give and get some feedback from my Creator.

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I don’t know about you, but I want to know the voice of my Creator.  To know His voice, I must listen and pay attention.  There is peace and patience when I’m still enough to listen.  If listening is an important part of becoming obedient I want, and will, stop to listen.

Becoming Obedient (part 1)

“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  For this reason God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Philippians 2:8-11

Becoming obedient.  Sounds like a process to me, and I hear the Lord’s grace and mercy.  It’s not that I am obedient, but I am becoming obedient.  I want to be obedient because I love the Lord.  As my love for Jesus grows, I become more and more obedient.  So what exactly does obedient mean? 

I think perhaps we loose sight of the true base of obedience, and instead see the present day definition of obedience which is complying or willing to comply with orders or requests; submissive to another’s will.  I go to a place and automatically think that you either obey or you do not obey, and there is someone around to enforce it or at least dictate what you are supposed to do.

I think we get caught up in the action of the command, for example “I always obey my father,” that we forget the origins of this word.  The Greek word in Philippians 2:8 is hupékoos (G5255) which is attentively listening, (by implication) submissive.  It is derived from two words ‘hoop’ (G5259) which means under and ‘akouo’ (G191) which is a primary verb and means to hear, understand.  To me this makes sense because “under” represents the submissive portion and “to hear” is the attentively listening portion.

‘Obey’ is similar in latin with its origins; ‘ob’ is in the direction of, and ‘audire’ is hear. 

All this time, I’ve thought of the words obey or obedience to have action behind it, from following directions.  However, in the action of following directions I forget the first action is actually listening. To obey is to listen, it’s the first step of obedience.  Listening. Oh, that’s hard sometimes.  When every cell in my body wants to know what’s next, I take action into my own hands and forget to listen.  If I don’t listen, I can not be obedient.

“But I don’t want to listen!” my upset child says while arms flail.  They hear, but it’s not followed by the action of what they’ve heard, obedience.  The submissive listening, understanding.  Lowering themselves, humbling themselves, to do what’s been asked is hard sometimes.  We can choose to humble ourselves and be obedient.  Choosing to take everything and everyone, including ourselves, off of the pedestal.   

In Acts 22:8-10, Saul (Paul) asks two questions.  “Who are you, Lord?” and “What shall I do, Lord?”  If we ask God these questions, we should be willing to listen for the answers if we want to obey.  If I want to be obedient I must first ask the question and listen, so I know what to do.  My 9 year old son has had a habit his entire life of asking a question and not listening for the answer.  It’s frustrating as a parent!  We will answer his question only to be tuned out immediately and have it asked 30 seconds later, multiple times in a row.  He gets frustrated because he thinks we don’t answer him, and we get frustrated because he doesn’t listen.  It’s insanity!  I wonder if our Creator experiences a similar situation with us sometimes.

I can show my love for the Lord by being obedient.  If I am to be obedient, I must first listen.  So what does listening look like?  How do I listen?  Especially, how do I listen to the Lord?  

The plan is to continue this on the next post, don’t want to get too long winded here.  But be thinking! I’m curious as to how you listen to the Lord.