Archive for God

Touching the Heart of God in Prayer

There are many things I have been learning about prayer through the years. In particular, that God “likes” to hear me pray, because He wants to spend time with me, and me with Him.

Furthermore, there are ways I can pray that “touch His heart”. Here are 2 suggestions I would give you that I often use that I believe touch God’s heart when I pray. They are questions I ask the Lord when I pray:

“Lord Jesus, what is on Your heart that you long for me to become?”
“Lord Jesus, what is on Your heart that You long for me to do for You?

After I ask Jesus these 2 questions, I wait and listen expectantly believing that He actually wants me to know what is on His heart for me.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Denny Finnegan
Associate Pastor, CPC

“The Family” – God’s Primary Small Group

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (Exodus 20:12, NIV)

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 “Honor your father and mother”– which is the first commandment with a promise– 3 “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:1-4, NIV)

Have you ever wondered “why” the 10 Commandments are in the order that they are? I have!

In fact, the 5th Commandment – “Honor your father and your mother – seems rather strange to me. You have the 1st four commandments on Honoring and Loving God before it, and 5 commandments after it about Honoring and Loving our Neighbors. Yet this seems to be the only commandment about Loving and Honoring our Family. Parents seem to be the “bridge” between “Loving and Honoring God” and “Loving and Honoring Our Neighbor”.

Here are some reflections on “why” I think that God put the 5th Commandment right in between:

  • We cannot truly love and honor our neighbors until we truly learn to love and honor God.
  • “Loving and Honoring God” and “Loving and Honoring Our Neighbor” is an activity of faith.
  • “Faith”, in the bible, is an activity of “community” as much as it is for the individual.
  • God expected parents to be the primary “faith-instructors” for children within the community of faith for Israel (e.g. Deuteronomy 6:1-7).
  • God wanted to ensure, through the 5th commandment, that the primary faith-instructors for the people of Israel – our parents – were loved and honored in a similar fashion as He is.
  • Families are meant to be smaller models and representations of the “community of faith”.

Therefore, “the family” is God’s Primary Small Group for each one of us where we are to learn what it means to live a life of faith.

If nothing else, this becomes one of the many significant reasons why the church should be “family-friendly” and “parent-friendly” – we need to be a place where we can support parents in leading the “community of faith” of your family.

Maybe a small group in your church can give you both the resources and the perspective of what a parent can bring back to their homes.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Denny Finnegan
Associate Pastor, CPC

Prayer Encouragements

“Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:4

Many of us may believe that God LOVES us… that’s God’s job! He’s SUPPOSED to love us. But, do we believe that God actually LIKES us? Or do we think of God “loving us” more out of toleration than desire.

This verse from Psalm 37:4 is just 1 of many that God has used to challenge me in my attitude in prayer. Here is a thought: “If God actually makes it possible for us to delight in Him, so that He will give us the desires of our heart, then does it also not make sense that God also delights in us FIRST?”

The next time you pray, begin with the perception and attitude that God actually LIKES you and DELIGHTS in you, and see how it affects your prayer time. You may be surprised by how much you start enjoying your time in prayer/relationship with God!

Faith Lesson: Can You Pray After You’ve Had Surgery?

On July 28, 2010, I had a total knee replacement. What I had been trying to put off for several years finally became necessary as I struggled with the reality of the surgery in light of the many prayers that had been offered on my behalf for healing for at least the past 15+ years. But that struggle is for a different article at a different time.

If you have had surgery – and I have had 4 other knee surgeries – there is a lot to deal with in post-op recovery, much of which is centered around the anesthesia they use and the pain medication you may need to take once you are home. This time, my take-home medication was Vicodin.

One of the “faith lessons” the LORD has been trying make real in my life before the surgery, was learning how to “abide in Him” and in His love. After the surgery, I had forgotten about that – wish I could blame the anesthesia or the pain meds! But, the LORD is faithful “in-surgery” and “out-of-surgery”, and taught me some new ways to look at my prayer time alone with Him through the surgery. I’d like to share with you at least 2 “faith lessons” I am in the process of learning “post-op”:

      1. God wants my “presence” more than my “productivity in prayer”; and, …
      2. God is capable of “multi-tasking.”

Read More→

May I Have $3 Worth Of God, Please?

Some years ago in one of my seminary classes, we were asked to read a little booklet that began with, “May I have $3 dollars worth of God, please?”  The booklet then when on to present to the readers a conversation between what sounded like a little boy talking to the clerk at the “heavenly candy counter”.

“May I have $3 dollars worth of God, please?” 

The content that followed went on to reveal a Christian-world-view that seeks only enough of God to make one “feel good”, but not enough to change one’s life; that seeks just enough of God to “inspire”, but not “perspire” one’s self for the Kingdom of God; that seeks just enough to God’s goodness to comfort, but not enough to become changed or to become transformed into God’s “godliness”.

“May I have $3 dollars worth of God, please?” 

Isn’t this how prayer to God can be at times?

And because of this type of “mind-set”, there are many who would give up on prayer altogether.  Have you ever heard someone say they were  “giving up on prayer”, because God did not answer a prayer that was very important to them; that God “let them down” at a great (or greatest) time of need? 

Maybe even you have felt that way… I’ve been tempted too! 

“May I have $3 dollars worth of God, please?”

What is prayer about?  Is it about what we get, or for Who we are with?  How we pray manifests in how we answer this second question. When we pray, do we think of God as our heavenly ATM? Or as our Abba-Daddy Who is in heaven?

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

(Matthew 6:9-10)

When we pray, do we come to God with our grocery lists like walking down the aisle of our local superstores with our shopping carts, picking and choosing the things that “strike our fancy” or that give us just enough to keep us going for the week?  Or do we come to the Father as the One who is the source of every good thing we need for true life? 

“Give us today our daily bread.”
(Matthew 6:11)

When we pray, do we treat Jesus as the Father’s “customer service rep” when we want to lodge a complaint?  Or as our Lord, Savior and Deliverer?

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

(Matthew 6:12-13)

I have been learning that we can view prayer either as what’s in it for me, or as Who is waiting there for me. 

First and foremost, prayer is about our relationship with God and letting our time in prayer become the context by which we nourish our personal and intimate understanding of His character.  It is the garden where we experientially come to know and grow in the knowledge that “God is good and His love endures forever” (e.g.,1 Chronicles 16:34).  And then we give thanks!

Then, it is from this position of assurance and trust in God’s love, faithfulness and Holy Character that we pray… that we ask, “May I have You, God, please?”  That we begin to believe…

32 “For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:32-34)