Confession, Adoration, Gratitude

The mighty and living God wants a relationship with you. One of the ways He relates to you is through prayer. There are different kinds of prayer because each one brings you closer to Him in different ways. Each one creates different opportunities to experience His love. A.C.T.S. is a simple acronym to help you remember several key elements of prayer, which include adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

You can see these elements in a marriage. I adore my wife, so I tell her all the reasons why she’s beautiful. That’s adoration.

I also confess things to my wife. I’ll tell her, ”Honey, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that.” Or I acknowledge where I’ve offended her, and I apologize. That’s confession.

I thank my wife for everything she does for me and our family. “Honey,” I say, “I’m thankful to you for raising our kids. I’m so thankful for how good you are to me. Thank you so much for how you serve this family.” That’s thanksgiving.

Finally, I will ask her for things. I’ll say, “Honey, this is what I need from you right now.” That’s supplication.

In our marriage, we regularly give adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. This is relationship.

If we want to be in a relationship with God, we need to do the same thing with Him. Prayer is conversation with God. In prayer, we adore, confess, give thanks, and supplicate.

David adored God.“God,” he said, “you are so good. Look at all the wonderful things you’ve done!” David listed them in beautiful songs that we still use today, just to adore God.

David also confessed. Look at Psalm 51, where he said, “God, man, I messed up. I tanked it. I killed this woman’s husband so I could be with her. I blew it. Please do not take your Spirit from me in my stupidity.”

David was also very thankful. “Thank you, God! I can see how you rescued me from my enemies. You let me hide in the cave of Adullam. I was in a cave of all places! But you still rescued me from Saul and his mighty army. Thank you, God.”

David also asked for the things he needed, and we can do that, too. We can say, “God, I need you to provide for my needs. I need you to show me the things I need to know. I need you, in your goodness, to talk to me, teach me, and encourage me. God, I need wisdom. I can’t do this on my own.”

It’s important to ask God for the things you need, but it’s too easy to go straight to prayers of supplication and forget about other ways of praying. We’re only human after all, and life is tough! We need a lot of help! But if we don’t pray beyond asking for things, we miss out on a much more complete relationship with God. God is our wisdom, our strength, our shield, and our fortress. So let us adore Him, confess to Him, and thank Him. That’s relationship!

God is the ultimate giver of life, right? So let’s give Him thanks and adoration today. Let’s go to Him and say, ”We adore you, God, for giving us life. Thank you!”

And then, let’s experience His love.

Making Room

Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. Matthew 18:19-20

When you meet Jesus, the first thing you learn is that He loves you. He loves you so much that it blows your mind. His love is amazing! He redeemed us! He is our brother!

Love as deep and faithful as His is so life-changing that you start reading about Him. That’s how you find out what an incredible life He lived. You learn about all the things He did, all the things He said, and all the wisdom He taught. Once you know this, you just want to be wherever He is. You want to follow Jesus. You want to run after Him! And you want to do what He did. You want to take care of people. You want to bring them life, and faith, and health. You want to meet their needs and comfort them.

So you go out in order to help people, and you find out right away that the world is difficult. It’s a really complicated place. It is really wounded. And it can be scary. You want to help people and you discover that their needs are pressing, urgent, and overwhelming.

How do you know what to do?

You ask God. He will give you wisdom. You find a quiet place to pray, like a prayer closet. You can sit there and just talk to God. We all need to do this.

I also really like prayer rooms. Prayer rooms are so cool because they are all about intercessory prayer. When you go to a prayer room, you pray the prayers that other people have requested. You pray for people you don’t even know!

I started one of these in Spokane one time, and the energy was unbelievable. People were putting their sins in a shredder right in front of a cross, because that’s what the cross did. It shredded our sins. We told people, write what you’ve sinned about, and put it through that shredder. We wound up with a bucket spilling over with shredded paper.

We also invited people to write their prayer requests on the walls, and everyone honored these requests. We prayed. We created a place where people got away from focusing on their own needs, and began praying on behalf of others. We created a place dedicated to intercessory prayer.

Later, we heard stories about healing. We heard about a woman who needed people to pray for her so she wrote it on the wall. She wrote her anger and she asked for release. Everybody that came into that prayer room was praying for that girl. And all of a sudden, that week, she was reunited with her father. In joy and forgiveness!

Prayer rooms get you outside of your personal needs. When you get outside of yourself, you begin to ask, “What do other people need right now?” You see all these different prayer requests and you start praying. You start praying for people you’ve never met, and maybe never will.

Intercession is very powerful. You will see all kinds of good things come out of intercessory prayers. You’ll see empowerment, reconciliation, and healing. You will see revival! Let’s pray!

Wounded Prayer

The power of prayer is huge. I’ve mentioned the ACTS method of prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. It’s so easy to get caught up in supplication, especially when we’re feeling troubled. But think of the power of confession!

You can sit there all day and say, “God, give me this. Give me that, and give me this other thing too. This is what I need, God.” You can do that. But what if God is saying, “I can give you all of that, but it’s not going to help your anger issue. It’s not going to make you less fearful. It won’t make you feel less alone. All those things you’re asking for? I can give them to you, but they won’t help me heal your pain. It won’t let me heal the wound that I see gaping in your soul right now. Ask me for healing. That’s what you really need.”

Of course God could heal all our wounds on His own, but why would He? Something so precious is lost when we don’t ask. Prayer is relationship, and when we go to God with our pain, we experience His power and grace in the most awesome way. Confession is a prayer of yearning. You open up your heart, all the way. Maybe all you can say is, “God. God!” But when He hears that, He smiles. He says, “Ahhhh. Now you’re real. Now you’re alive. Now I pour into you. Let’s release that pain. These are the wounds that I want to heal.”

You need to release your deepest hurt because it’s good for you. It’s okay to go to God and ask Him, “Give me this, give me this, give me this, give me this.” It’s okay. But all that stuff you ask for will pile up on that wound and you won’t be able to feel the pain. Then a little gaping wound can become a stronghold. “Give me this,” you’ve said, but all you’ve done is ask God to put something on top of your wound. You’ve asked Him to put a Band-aid on your soul so you can keep going. So sometimes God says no, because He doesn’t want you to be in pain. Satan’s just pulling at that wound. He’s ripping it open more and more, and the pain is going deep. Next thing you know, your internal world is a world of pain. That’s just what the Devil wants.

That’s why Jesus says, “Your wound needs to be healed. Come to me. Show me. Say, ‘This is my wound.’ We’re going to heal that wound together, but I need you to feel it. You’ve got to know it’s there. You’ve got to confess it, so you know it’s there.”

Jesus isn’t telling you to confess because it’s the only way to be good enough for Him. He doesn’t tell you to confess it so that He can forgive you. Confession is for you, not for God. He’s already forgiven you. You’re forgiven!

Jesus tells you to confess so that you will know your wounds. He wants you to ask Him to heal you. It’s for you. It empowers you. It’s your release. Jesus sets you free.

The power of prayer is huge. Yearn for Him, because He hears your cries. Confess to God, and let Him pour into you. Then everything will mean something. We just need to heal that wound.

See you Monday.

Prayer is Relationship

Last time, I talked about grace. Those who understand what Jesus did for them live a Spirit-led life in grace. It is a life conceived by God. We live in His kingdom already and not yet. I was very emphatic about this! So you might ask, “Well then, Jeremy, what is prayer for?”

To begin with, prayer is seeking wisdom. The Bible says, if you want to know what to do, then ask. I think prayer is also to encourage. If you use the ACTS method of prayer, you’ll understand. Prayer is for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. Above all, prayer is relationship.

I adore my wife, so I tell her all the reasons why she’s beautiful. That’s adoration. I also confess things to my wife. I’ll tell her, ”Honey, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that.” Or I acknowledge where I’ve offended her, and I apologize. That’s confession. I thank my wife for everything she does for me and our family. “Honey,” I say, “I’m thankful to you for raising our kids. I’m so thankful for how good you are to me. Thank you so much for how you serve this family.” That’s thanksgiving. Finally, I will ask her for things. I’ll say, “Honey, this is what I need from you right now.” That’s supplication.

In our marriage, we give adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. This is relationship.

God is our wisdom, our strength, our shield, and our fortress. If we want to be in a relationship with God, we need to do the same thing with Him that we do with our loved ones. Prayer is conversation with God. In prayer, we adore, confess, give thanks, and supplicate. It’s the ACTS method of prayer.

Sometimes I just look up and say, ‘You are good, God. You are so good. Here’s why. Here’s what reminds me how good you are. Here are all the things you’ve done.” I list everything I see that reflects His goodness. That’s adoration.

David did it all the time. “God, he said, “you are good.” David also confessed. Look at Psalm 51, where he said, “God, man, I messed up. I tanked it. I killed this woman’s husband so I could be with her. I blew it. Please do not take your Spirit from me in my stupidity.” In prayer, David confessed.

David was also very thankful. “Thank you, God! I can see how you’ve rescued me from my enemies. You let me hide in the cave of Adullam. I was in a cave, but you rescued me from Saul and his mighty army. Thank you.”

And David asked for the things he needed. We can do that, too. We can say, “God, I need you to provide for my needs. I need you to show me the things I need to know. I need you, in your goodness, to talk to me. God, I need wisdom. I can’t do this on my own. I need these things.”

It’s easy to go straight to the S part of ACTS. Sometimes people just ask for things and forget the rest. Why don’t you adore Him? Confess to Him? Thank Him? That’s relationship!

God is the ultimate, man. He’s the giver of life. Go to Him and tell Him, ”I adore you God, just for that. Thank you!”

That’s what prayer is for. See you Monday.

Yes, No, Maybe

For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. 2 Corinthians 1:20.

When God asks you to do something, be content with it. But if you want to do something else, ask. Don’t be afraid to ask. Sometimes you have to keep knocking, but that’s okay. God will answer.

And I don’t think His answer is “maybe.” I really don’t. God says yes, and God says no, but I don’t think He ever says maybe.

I don’t believe in a God that says maybe. What would that even mean? Suppose my son says to me, “Dad, can I have a candy bar?” I don’t say, “Maybe.” What sense would a child make of ”maybe”? Maybe what? Maybe when he’s good enough? It doesn’t mean anything! I really try not to do that. I tell him yes, you can have a candy bar, or no, you can’t.

When I tell him no, it might mean “no, not at this time.” He might say, “Well, when can I have a candy bar?” I tell him, “When the time is right.”

And I think that’s what God will say. He could say yes or He could say no. And He could say no, not at this time. But there is no “maybe.” I don’t think “maybe” ever comes into play with Him. God already knows what’s right.

Scripturally, “maybe” doesn’t make sense. I think sometimes the church resorts to “maybe” because it doesn’t know what else to say when the news is bad. Sometimes we think a loving God would never say no. Sometimes we can’t understand that. And when you can’t understand it when the answer is “no,” you might get confused or upset. When you ask for something and it doesn’t happen, you might be tempted to stop worshiping God. The church wants to save you from that, so it might tell you that God said “maybe.” But you can’t back “maybe” with scripture.

Sometimes, God says no. And you just have to be okay with that. God knows a whole lot more than you do. God might say no because allowing you to do what you want could corrupt or hurt you. Sometimes God says no because He loves you. I say no to my boys a lot. It’s because I love them!

The scripture says that all things in Jesus are yes and amen. It doesn’t say, all things that you ask. It says, all things that are in Jesus. Anything that allows His will to be accomplished in your life is yes. Always yes. “Can I have this, God?” “Yes my child, you can, because I think it’s going to be good for our relationship.” God will never say, “It would be good for our relationship, but no.” That’s just not how God works. Sometimes He says no, because it will not benefit you. Sometimes He says no, because it will not promote your relationship with Him. But if it’s in Jesus, He will say yes. In Jesus, it’s always yes!

Whatever You Request: Say a Prayer for Prosperity

“Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.” John 14:11-14

Sometimes when we read this passage in traditional translations, we only hear Jesus say, “Whatever you request, I’ll do it.”

That can produce a lot of skepticism! You hear people say, “Oh really, so if I want a Mercedes Benz, all I have to do is ask Jesus, and I’ll get one?”  Or, “I can pray to win the lottery, and if I really believe I’m going to win, then I will?” Continue reading

Sacrifice

Do you see someone skilled in their work?
They will serve before kings. (Proverbs 22:29)

Sacrifice is an intimidating word, but I’m here to tell you that it is a major component of success. God wants you to give some of what you earn to help others. That’s your sacrifice. He wants you to give cheerfully, but that shouldn’t be hard. After all, He’s promised to give you what you need.

It’s amazing, when you think about it, the way God has made the world. He doesn’t need people to push the Gospel. He could do it however He wants to do it. But that’s the way He set things up. He wants people to bring the Gospel to the nations. He wants us to use our own resources to love our neighbor. This is genius! It’s how we learn to serve. Continue reading