Archive for prayer

God Promises Us Unfailing Love

Click the link below to listen to a sermon on Psalm 130 given on July 28th.


“God Promises Us Unfailing Love”

Psalm 130:1-8

I. Learning to Pray Better…

A. Where Our “DEEP STUFF” May Come From. (Psalm 130:1)

Deep Stuff #1: The “DEEP STUFF” we get ourselves into:

Deep Stuff #2: The “DEEP STUFF” others do to us:

\Deep Stuff #3: The “DEEP STUFF” that “just happens” to us:

II. “God”: Four Reasons WHY We Can Trust God With Our “DEEP STUFF”

A. Reason #1 to Trust in God: God Offers Us “Grace”. (Psalm 130:2)

B. Reason #2 to Trust in God: God Offers Us “Forgiveness”. (Psalm 130:3-4)

C. Reason #3 to Trust in God: God Offers Us “Unfailing Love”. (Psalm 130:7a)

D. Reason #4 to Trust in God: God Offers Us “Redemption in Abundance”. (Psalm 130:7b, 8)

III. “You & We”: Our Part is to “Wait on the Lord”. (Psalm 130:5-6)

1. “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits”:

2. “And in His word I put my HOPE”:

3. One Suggestion for what we can do “while we wait”: LET THE SPIRIT HELP YOU PRAY!  (Romans 8:26-27)



Our Attitude in Prayer – Part 2

Reflections on Psalm 130:1-2

The Lord has been challenging me about my prayer life through Psalm 130.  For the past few weeks I have “camped out” at verses 1-2, where the Psalmist
writes as inspired by the Holy Spirit,

  1. [A song of ascents.] Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
  2. O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.

I sensed the Lord asking me, “What are my depths?”  I felt led to answer that question by looking at 1 John 2:16, which says,
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the

As I reflected before the Lord about these 3 areas of “lusts of the world” – of the flesh, of the eyes and of the pride of life – I realized that the
Lord wants to do an “on-going-emptying” of the container and vessel that is my life.  These “depths” include:

  1. What we do and are doing to ourselves
  2. What others have done and are doing to us

But whichever it is of the 2, I need to let the Holy Spirit show me “the depths” of my life where God’s mercy is needed to set me free; where God’s mercy needs to dig out the garbage so that there is a bigger place for “holy habitation”.

What are your “depths”?

Our Attitude in Prayer – Part 1

Reflections on Matthew 19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25

While there is disagreement about what Jesus meant by, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the
kingdom of God” (cf.mat.19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25), I would like to share a few thoughts on what challenges me:

  1. If Jesus is talking about a literal “eye of the needle”, then it is clearly letting us know the impossibilities of earning salvation on any merit of our own, and;
  2. “riches” are NOT necessarily a sign of our righteousness and blessing.

If it relates to a particular gate that livestock went through, then I see a strong word-picture of surrender and humility that Jesus presents us with.  And there are three components to getting through this livestock gate:

  1. We need to surrender and humble ourselves to “the gate” – Jesus said that He is the “gate” for God’s sheep (John 10:7);
  2. We must yield and surrender to the “gate-keeper” – God, the Father is the “gate-keeper” (cf. Psalm 24:7-10); and,
  3. We must yield and surrender ourselves to the Spirit of God who leads us through the gate and sets the pace for us (Galatians 5:25).

“Was Jesus Only Teaching About Prayer?”

Luke 11:1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come…

The Lord’s Prayer – the “Our Father”  – as it is found in Matthew 6:9-15, is a passage I have studied quite a bit.  But recently the Lord helped me realize something that comes out more clearly from the passage in Luke 11:1-2 – Jesus did not just them about prayer, but was also teaching them about how they should live.  In fact, when we look at the “Our Father” – the “Lord’s Prayer” – we are actually looking at a “model for life” God, the Father, was giving through Jesus, the Son. And I believe Jesus, Himself, modeled this prayer 2 different ways. First there is …

1. Jesus’ Model of the “Only Begotten Son” with His Heavenly Father.

In this prayer we see how Jesus “modeled” how a “child of God” is supposed to pray.  In fact, Jesus is probably giving us His own personal model for the types of things He asked and shared with God, His Father (reread Luke 11:1). As Jesus said about His relationship with God, the Father in John 5:19-20:

19 … “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.

I believe that in these verses Jesus is revealing the type of closeness and longing Jesus had for the Father.  And Jesus is probably revealing some of what went on all those mornings and nights Jesus went off by Himself to pray and be alone with the Father.

So, when Jesus tells us to pray, “Our Father”, Jesus is inviting each one of us to enter into relationship with God as Our Father, through the intimacy of prayer, in similar ways to how Jesus talks to the Father.

To summarize: “Prayer” is NOT a “tool” so much as it is an “activity of relationship-building” with God, the Father, through Jesus, the Son.  “Prayer” – and the “Our Father” in particular – is God, the Father’s own personal “model for life” that we are being given as “children of God” because of God’s great love for us!

In the “Our Father”, Jesus models what He has received from the Father… that He now passes onto us.

But there is also a SECOND “model for life” that we are receiving through Jesus; that is …

2. Jesus’ Model of a “Rabbi” with His Followers.

– To call Jesus “Teacher” was a Jewish way of calling Jesus “Rabbi” (cf. John 1:38).  Jesus is primarily called “Rabbi” instead of “teacher” in the gospels of Mark & John, because they are written primarily to Jewish readers.  So when we look at the Lord’s Prayer, we also need to consider what Jesus was modeling as a “Rabbi”.

In particular, a Rabbi was someone who was known amongst the Jewish people for how they lived “righteously”.  And “Righteousness”, to a Jew, is how you LIVE the truth of God, not just how much you “KNEW” about the truth of God.  Rabbis did NOT just “teach” the truth about how to live righteously – they LIVED it… that’s why people followed Rabbis.

Even though Jesus taught this prayer early on in His ministry, these words – and Jesus’ own personal actions – would constantly be watched by all those who followed Jesus.  They would be watching to see if Jesus actually did not just “teach” this prayer… but would Jesus LIVE this prayer?

To summarize: If you want to learn more how to pray the “Lord’s Prayer” AND how to live for God, you need to study Jesus’ life very closely!  And look also at the “Our Father” as a model for how you should live.

How we pray can reveal a lot about how we live; but how we live WILL reveal a lot about how we pray.

How Should I Pray ? – Ephesians 3:17a

“How Should I Pray?”

Ephesians 3:17a
… so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

Verse 16 powerfully concludes in this first part of verse 17 with a truth about one of the many ways that the Holy Spirit has been given to empower our lives – “ … so that Christ may dwell in [OUR] hearts…”!

The Holy Spirit translates “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us” (John 1:14) into, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling IN ME!”

Do you realize the power of this truth? But that is often the problem… making true the promises of God so that it affects how we live. That is why we need the Holy Spirit of God to give us the power to live upon this promise “through faith”.

When this truth changes from “principle” to “power, it transforms the very way we live that I believe is encapsulated in Mother Teresa’s Daily Prayer:
“Dear Jesus,

Help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy Spirit and love. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus. Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as You shine, so to shine as to be a light to others.”

God blesses us down to our very core! … And then invites us to pray this blessing upon others just as the Apostle Paul – and Mother Teresa – prayed it!!!

We should pray with the confidence that we have the strength and power of God “to manifest the Presence of Christ” from within “our hearts through faith”.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Pastor Denny

I Cannot Be Seperated From God’s Love

“Why Pray?”

Because I Cannot Be Separated from God’s Love!

“35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:35-39

The devil is all about lies! In Romans 8:33-34, satan will try to lie through CONDEMNATION, and in verses 35-36 the Apostle Paul says that the devil will try to lie through INTIMIDATION. But, AGAIN, Paul answers the devil’s “lies through intimidation” with POWERFUL reasons why we should not be “intimidated into prayerlessness”:

1. Promise #1: “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”
-Everything satan hates seeks to destroy, God’s love will conqueror and overcome FOR us and THROUGH us.
2. Promise #2: “NO-THING… will be able to separates us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”.
– Whatever “created thing” satan might be able to twist or distort to bring against us, the grasp of God’s love will NEVER weaken to lose or loose us. The “Creator” sustains His “creation”. The power of God’s love will NEVER fail.

Satan hopes to strip away our desire to pray by lying to us about God’s love for us in Jesus Christ. The devil will try to get us to be more impressed with his ability to bully than in Jesus’ ability to save. So…

Why pray? Because Jesus offers His Love to all who feel “battered and bruised by life”; because Jesus offers us His life, death and resurrection as His proof of His unfailing and all-powerful love; because Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is proof of His power to overcome and conquer any scheme of the enemy against us. So …

Why Pray? … Why Not?!

Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Pastor Denny

How Should I Pray? Part 2

Ephesians 3:15

“… from whom His whole family in heaven and on earth derive its name.

The Apostle Paul takes his posture of humility and attitude of gratitude for God’s grace (vs.14), then proceeds to declare another 2 reasons for his sense of awe, humility and gratitude towards God:

Reason #1: Paul has been a member of an eternal family that has members both in heaven and earth… and so have you and I!  Think of the “family reunion of joy” we will have when Christ’s Kingdom is fully established on earth.  And those people of faith who you have admired from afar, are not a part of your eternal family.  For me, that means I get to rejoice with King David as just 1 of many people of faith I admire, and not get to call a “brother in the Lord”.

Reason #2: God gives us “His Name” through Jesus Christ.  No matter how much you like – or dislike – your family heritage, you NOW have a heritage of eternal glory and honor.  “Child of God” will be put on your “eternal resume”!  WOW!

We should pray with the knowledge that we have the support and encouragement of our eternal family of God; and with the support of “Our Father Who is in heaven”; with the support of Jesus Christ, who is Friend, Brother and Lord; and with the support of God’s Eternal Spirit.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Pastor Denny

Why Pray? Part 2

Because God Works for Our Good!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

This could be a very comforting thought, as well as, a strong encouragement for prayer IF our experiences of life consistently confirmed the truth of this statement.  But the reality is we often struggle with praying, because not everything we pray for seems to be answered in the way we would like God to answer our requests.

So, when we are caught between the truth of Scripture and the “perception of truth” from our experiences, we wrestle with the uncertainty of whether it is worth it to pray or not.

That is why were constantly reminded to “remember” – to “remember what God had done for them in the past” as a foundation for the scary and difficult circumstances they were encountering in the present.  That’s why they were also constantly exhorted to place their trust in God’s character rather than in their circumstances.

God is good!  And God will ALWAYS be “for our good” if we will also trust God with our love no matter what circumstance may assault us.

Where have you placed your confidence to pray?  In your circumstances, or in God’s Character of holiness, goodness and sacrificial love?

Why Pray? … Why Not?!

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Pastor Denny

Why Pray?

Because I Have Been Redeemed and Forgiven All My Sins!

“… in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Colossians 1:14

I’d like to give you share with you some famous quotes about prayer.  I will let you look up who they are.

And Satan trembles when he sees, the weakest saint upon his knees. – William Cowper

When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles. When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devil shouts for joy. – Corrie Ten Boom

The Prince of the power of the air seems to bend all the force of his attack against the spirit of prayer. – Andrew Bonar

When the devil sees a man or woman who really believes in prayer, who knows how to pray, and who really does pray, and, above all, when he sees a whole church on its face before God in prayer, he trembles as much as he ever did, for he knows that his day in that church or community is at an end. – R.A. Torrey

Why have I included all these quotes on “The Power of Prayer”?  Because satan and his servants will do anything they can to keep us from praying… including the use of “guilt and shame” to keep us from praying.  As the Apostle John wrote in his first letter:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9”

Why Pray?

Because, through confession before God, THERE IS NO GUILT OR SHAME to keep us from enjoying and rejoicing in God’s Presence through prayer… BECAUSE we have “the forgiveness of sins.”

One last quote… not sure where it comes from:

When satan reminds you of your past, remind satan of his future!

Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Pastor Denny

How Should I Pray

Ephesians 1:22-23
“22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”

In this last part of the Apostle Paul’s prayers from Ephesians 1:15-23, how Paul ends this prayer is also very important.  While, on the one hand, Paul is continuing the praise and exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ like a “psalmist” would, yet on the other hand Paul is making a very strong theological statement about the authority of Jesus to answer our prayers – because the Father has “placed all things under [Jesus’] feet”!

Have you ever thought about how you end your prayers?

Do your prayers end in “the victory of Jesus Christ” on your behalf?  Or more of a sense anxiousness and uncertainty?  I struggle to end with a sense of victory and confidence, maybe like you also do.

Here is why I have to continue to remind myself of Jesus’ victory on my behalf:

  • I surrender to Jesus my control by placing it “under His feet” so that He can have the control.
  • I believe that the Father has “appointed everything” – all resources for the answer to my prayers – “at Jesus feet” trusting in both Jesus’ ability and resource to answer according to my need (not necessarily according to my want.
  • The “fullness of Jesus” is more than enough to fill and fulfill “everything in every way” for me.

The temptation I fight in my prayers is to “maintain my control” over the answer.  But God’s desire for me – for us – is found in “the fullness of [Jesus] who fills everything in every way.”

When you pray include “surrender”.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Pastor Denny