Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mueller on trusting God, not men, in hard times

"There is scarcely a country, from whence I have not received donations; yet all come unsolicited, often anonymously, and in by far the greater number of cases from entire strangers, who are led by God, in answer to our prayers, to help on this work which was commenced, and is carried on, only in dependence on the Living God, in whose hands are the hearts of all men."

"Our Heavenly Father has the hearts of all men at His disposal, and we give ourselves to prayer to Him, and He, in answer to our prayers, lays the necessities of this work on the hearts of his stewards."

"We should not trust in the Reports, and expect that they would bring in something, but trust in the Living God, who has the hearts of all in His hands, and to whom all the gold and silver belongs."

"Remember also, that God delights to bestow blessing, but, generally, as the result of earnest, believing prayer."

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Sabbath Rest

"There remains therefore a rest to the people of God." – Hebrews 4:9

It is important. It is the way of the Master. It is God’s prescription for a deep abiding awareness of the presence of God. It cannot be substituted. There are no shortcuts, no bypasses, and no artificial substitutes. No seminars or classes can replace its eternal worth. There is nothing like it.

It is terrifying, frightening, and just plain hard to do. But it is worth it. God waits to be waited for, longed after, search for with all the heart, and found in the secret place of the Most High.

There is a process at work here. It cannot be hurried. Slowing down is the essential ingredient and the core virtue of the matter. It is not a retreat so you can get caught up with all the work you have let accumulate. It is not a place of refuge so you can write, prepare sermons, or arrange a plan for that coming year. It is not a vacation. This is a God-pause. This is a prolonged, timeless and extended day in which the sons of God present themselves before the Lord.

There must be a deliberate weaning of oneself from the morass of mental chaos and fidgety nervous energy that characterizes our day to day existence. It cannot be the exchange of one nervous habit for another. Yet, there must be order. Creation has order. The Creator is orderly.

The way one organizes himself for this kind of pursuit of God will be a reflection of his personal paces, rhythms, and idiosyncrasies. Your retreat to God is not the same as mine. It cannot be. You are unique. Your needs are unique. The imprint of God’s heart upon your heart will be as different as fingerprints or snowflakes. God wants this to be very personal.

Sometimes to get started in the right direction one needs to follow well worn paths, or at least the footprints of one who has gone before. Once you are well on your way you may and will choose different side paths and circuitous routes to arrive at the same destination – God’s heart. He will lead you. He is the Good Shepherd. His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. He leads, you follow.

My role as a prayer coach, or you might call me a spiritual director, is to get you started, to lead you up the mountain and drop you off in solitude of His Presence. Where you go from there will be the Master’s leading, not mine. In the end you must climb alone. You must yearn after the Shepherd. He hides himself so that you will chase Him. He wants to be found, but the pursuit is part of the reward. It is not the arrival that you seek, but the joy of the pursuit of God. He waits to be found. Look for Him.

Your footprints will not fit mine exactly unless you are five feet nine and a half inches tall, and weigh about 190 pounds, and have a gait of three two inches per step. I walk fast, but not as fast as others, too slow for some and too fast for others. My pace is not your pace. Follow me to get started then settle into your own pace.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Thinking About Jesus' Prayer Life

I have been thinking and reflecting on Jesus life of prayer. We often get carried away with the ministry of Jesus as though his public life was all that he did. We forget that he spent vast amounts of time walking with his disciples the 90 miles from Nazareth to Jerusalem and beyond. We also conveniently forget the slower pace of life for everyone in Jesus' day. Yet, even in that slower paced life Jesus found time, or rather made time, for long periods of solitude in prayer.

The Gospel writers are careful to record the quiet side of Jesus of Nazareth. I think it is worth looking at each of those references and reflection on the solitude of Jesus heart. I will link this article to those references at the end of this article. He longed to spend time with His Heavenly Father. No matter what was happening, no matter how busy he was, no matter how exciting the miracles and ministry, Jesus made time to get alone with God.

The same was true of all men of God in the Bible. They were not men of God because they were men of the Word, or men of miracles, or men of great ministries, or men of war. They were great men of God because they spent lavish times alone with God in the wilderness, the desert, and on the mountains. I stand amazed recently as I studied the life of Elijah. He spent a whole year alone by the brook where ravens fed him. What did he do all day? Then Moses spent long hours and days in his wilderness and mountain retreats alone with God. Even busy Paul said he spent three years in Arabia after his conversion. We are not told that by Luke in the Book of Acts. Luke focused on the public ministry of Paul. In Galatians one Paul defends his knowledge and revelation as coming from Christ alone while in the desert of Arabia. Whether that was 40 days, 40 weeks, or a full three years, it was significant alone time to hear from God.

OK. How about you? How about me? Are we men or women of God? How so? Is it because you love to study and teach? Are you a great preacher? Are you an active elder or woman's leader? Do you have some miraculous gift? What marks you as a man or woman of God? According to the Scriptures it can be nothing but your time alone with God. You don't become a man of God by thinking about God. You become a man or woman of God by spending lavish amounts of time alone with your Heavenly Father. It is God's way of branding us with the image of His person deep in the silent recesses of our hearts.

AW Tozer said it well, "You cannot be a man of God if you spend all your time with people." Prayer Today exists to help you find strategies to make prayer an enjoyable lifelong journey into the heart of God. Join us online to discover new disciplines of prayer.

Dick LaFountain
Prayer Coach

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thinking About Prayer

I have been thinking about prayer. Being a pastor, a prayer coach, host to a web site on prayer, and prayer retreat leader, and a speaker on the subject of prayer I ought to know a lot about prayer. There is a danger though to thinking about prayer. Thinking about prayer, talking about prayer, writing about prayer can become a substitute for prayer. Thinking about prayer is not prayer. Knowing a lot about prayer is not prayer. Reading a lot about prayer is not prayer. Talking about prayer is not prayer.

Prayer is praying, talking to God, nothing less and nothing more.

My Prayer Today:

"Lord, help me not savor truths about prayer more than I savor time with you. You are my focus, not prayer. You are my longing desire, not to be being published, popular, or clever. I want my thought to be about you, not just about prayer. Teach me to pray as Jesus prayed. This I ask in the Name above every name. Make it so Jesus! Amen"