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PrayerCenter - Devotionals

Prayer is the practice of the presence of God. It is the place where pride is abandoned, hope is lifted, and supplication is made. Prayer is the place of admitting our need, of adopting humility, and claiming dependence upon God. Prayer is the needful practice of the Christian. Prayer is the exercise of faith and hope. Prayer is the privilege of touching the heart of the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7

Father, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

Devotionals
 
Our Daily Bread
Daily Devotionals

Where Are You Headed?

What determines our direction in life? I once heard an answer to that question in a surprising place: a motorcycle training course. Some friends and I wanted to ride, so we took a class to learn how. Part of our training dealt with something called target fixation.

“Eventually,” our instructor said, “you’re going to face an unexpected obstacle. If you stare at it—if you target fixate—you’ll steer right into it. But if you look above and past it to where you need to go, you can usually avoid it.” Then he added, “Where you’re looking is the direction you’re going to go.”`

That simple-but-profound principle applies to our spiritual lives too. When we “target fixate”—focusing on our problems or struggles—we almost automatically orient our lives around them.

However, Scripture encourages us to look past our problems to the One who can help us with them. In Psalm 121:1, we read, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?” The psalm then answers: “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. . . . The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore” (vv. 2, 8).

Sometimes our obstacles can seem insurmountable. But God invites us to look to Him to help us see beyond our troubles instead of letting them dominate our perspective.



The Beauty of Love

The “Jarabe Tapato,” also known as the Mexican hat dance, celebrates romance. During this upbeat dance, the man places his sombrero on the ground. At the very end, the woman grabs the hat and both hide behind it to seal their romance with a kiss.

This dance reminds me of the importance of faithfulness in marriage. In Proverbs 5, after talking about the high cost of immorality, we read that marriage is exclusive. “Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well” (v. 15). Even with ten couples dancing the Jarabe on stage, each person focuses on his or her partner. We can rejoice in a deep and undivided commitment to our spouse (v. 18).

Our romance is also being observed. The dancers, while they are enjoying their partner, know someone is watching. In the same way, we read, “For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths” (v. 21). God wants to protect our marriages, so He is constantly watching us. May we please Him through the loyalty we show to each other.

Just like in the Jarabe there is a rhythm to follow in life. When we keep the beat of our Creator by being faithful to Him—whether we are married or unmarried—we find blessings and joy.



Worshiping with Questions

It’s not uncommon during a long (or short!) trip for someone in a group of travelers to ask, “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer?” Who hasn’t heard these universal queries coming from the lips of children and adults eager to arrive at their destination? But people of all ages are also prone to ask similar questions when wearied because of life challenges that never seem to cease.

Such was the case with David in Psalm 13. Four times in two verses, David—who felt forgotten, forsaken, and defeated—lamented “How long?” “How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” (v. 1). Psalms that include lament, like this one, implicitly give us permission to worshipfully come to the Lord with questions of our own. After all, what better person to talk to during prolonged times of stress and strain than God? We can bring our struggles with illness, grief, the waywardness of a loved one, and relational difficulties to Him.

Worship need not stop when we have questions. The sovereign God of heaven welcomes us to bring our angst-filled questions to Him. And perhaps like David, in due time our questions will be transformed into petitions and expressions of trust and praise to the Lord (vv. 3–6).



What Can’t You Give Up?

“What’s one thing you can’t give up?” the radio host asked. Listeners called in with some interesting answers. Some mentioned their families, including a husband who shared memories of a deceased wife. Others shared they can’t give up on their dreams, such as making a living in music or becoming a mother. All of us have something we treasure dearly—a person, a passion, a possession—something we can’t give up.

In the book of Hosea, God tells us that He won’t give up on His chosen people Israel, His treasured possession. As Israel’s loving husband, God provided her with everything she needed: land, food, drink, clothing, and security. Yet like an adulterous spouse, Israel rejected God and sought her happiness and security elsewhere. The more God pursued her, the further she drifted away (Hosea 11:2). However, though she had hurt Him deeply, He would not give her up (v. 8). He would discipline Israel so as to redeem her; His desire was to re-establish His relationship with her (v. 11).

Today, all God’s children can have the same assurance: His love for us is a love that will never let us go (Romans 8:37–39). If we’ve wandered from Him, He yearns for us to return. When God disciplines us, we can be comforted that it’s a sign of His pursuit, not of His rejection. We are His treasure; He won’t give up on us.



Sharing More Than Stuff

“But I don’t want to share!” wailed my youngest child, broken-hearted that he would have to part with even one of his many LEGO pieces. I rolled my eyes at his immaturity, but truthfully, this attitude is not limited to children. How much of my own life, and really all of human experience, is marked by a stubborn resistance to freely and generously give to others?

As believers in Jesus, we’re called to share our very lives with one another. Ruth did just that with her mother-in-law, Naomi. As a destitute widow, Naomi had little to offer Ruth. And yet Ruth connected her own life to her mother-in-law’s, vowing that they would press on together and that not even death would separate them. She said to Naomi, “Your people will be my people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). She freely and generously gave to the older woman—showing love and compassion.

While sharing our lives in this way can be difficult, we should remember the fruit of such generosity. Ruth shared her life with Naomi, but later she bore a son, the grandfather of King David. Jesus shared His very life with us, but was then exalted and now reigns at the right hand of the Father in heaven. As we generously share with one another, we can be confident that we will experience greater life still!




 
RSS | My Utmost For His Highest
Daily Devotionals By Oswald Chambers

Are You Fresh for Everything?

Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." —John 3:3

Sometimes we are fresh and eager to attend a prayer meeting, but do we feel that same freshness for such mundane tasks as polishing shoes?

Being born again by the Spirit is an unmistakable work of God, as mysterious as the wind, and as surprising as God Himself. We don’t know…



Vision and Darkness

When the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. —Genesis 15:12

Whenever God gives a vision to a Christian, it is as if He puts him in “the shadow of His hand” (Isaiah 49:2). The saint’s duty is to be still and listen. There is a “darkness” that comes from too much light— that is the time to listen. The story…



“It Is the Lord!”

Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" —John 20:28

“Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink’ ” (John 4:7). How many of us are expecting Jesus Christ to quench our thirst when we should be satisfying Him! We should be pouring out our lives, investing our total beings, not drawing on Him to satisfy us. “You shall be…



The Call of the Natural Life

When it pleased God…to reveal His Son in me… —Galatians 1:15-16

The call of God is not a call to serve Him in any particular way. My contact with the nature of God will shape my understanding of His call and will help me realize what I truly desire to do for Him. The call of God is an expression of…



The Voice of the Nature of God

I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" —Isaiah 6:8

When we talk about the call of God, we often forget the most important thing, namely, the nature of Him who calls. There are many things calling each of us today. Some of these calls will be answered, and others will not even be heard. The call is the expression…




 
Max Lucado


Max Lucado
A Step Toward Healing

(Note from Max: Last month on December 13, 2018, I participated in the GC2 Summit on Responding to Sexual Harassment held at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. What follows is an adapted version of my comments). My name is on the list of grateful participants in today’s conference. I, too, am a survivor. I was sexually abused by a member of our community when I was 12-years of age. Being here, reminds me of the great healing the Lord has done in my soul. Listening to the presentations today has alerted me to the occasions in which I have underestimated… Read More

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.



Hope Still Comes

We banter the word “hope” about carelessly. We hope the Red Sox will win the world series. We hope the store will stay open late. But the hope of Christmas is a greater hope. The message of Christmas is simply this: a good God is up to good things in our world. It often feels impossible to remember in the chaos of our world. Christ came! 
In spite of sin and scandal, Christ came.
 In spite of racism and sexism, Christ came. Though the people forgot God, Christ came. 
In spite of hopelessness, Christ came. In spite of, and out of,… Read More

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.



Breathing Room Vol. 2 Issue 6 — by Andrea Lucado

My daughter, Andrea, has some great thoughts on the meaning of waiting in the importance of Advent. Thought you would enjoy this guest blog– I spoke at my church the first Sunday of Advent. We’re following the narrative lectionary for the season and that Sunday’s passage was from Habakkuk. I had never read Habakkuk, and I was struck by the prophet’s candor before God—”How long shall I cry for help, and you will not listen?” (1:2)—and his honesty when looking at the desolate landscape around him—”Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines” (3:17).… Read More

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.



The Secret to the Good Life

The widest river in the world is not the Mississippi, Amazon, or Nile. The widest river on earth is a body of water called If Only. Throngs of people stand on its banks and cast longing eyes over the waters. They long to cross but can’t seem to find the ferry. They are convinced the If Only River separates them from the good life. If only I were thinner, I’d have the good life. If only I were richer, I’d have the good life. If only the kids would come. If only the kids were gone. If only I could… Read More

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.



Healing at the Table

(photo Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images) The news of yet another shooting leaves us stunned. Violence, it seems, has taken up residence down the street and we are left unnerved, undone and insecure. An uneasiness sits over our country like a midnight fog. We hear of opioid abuse, increasing numbers of suicides and this, a former Marine turned gunman kills 12 people in bar rampage. What are we to do? We feel like locking our doors and never entering society again. But it is time for us to do just the opposite. It’s time for us to reach out to one… Read More

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.