Today marks 13 years. Everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when the news reached their ears. For most of us, the memory still sears our thoughts like it were only yesterday.
For many, though, it’s far deeper than anything we could experience watching the news. The events of 9/11 tore apart many families, took thousands of lives and still stains the hearts and lives of many in emotional and physical repair. It seems insufficient to pay my respects and go about my day.
Today I will not only remember, I will pray for those involved. I will pray for those that survived and the families left behind. I will not simply reflect for a good couple of minutes and carry on my life. I am immeasurably blessed and undeserving to have been spared my life during such a time when thousands weren’t. It’s amazing what we don’t foresee in the future and how much we are saved on a day to day basis. We may never know why…why this person died and why this person now suffers every waking moment to get past that horrific day. It’s a constant struggle, still, for many.
Today I want to remember them- all of them. I want to pray for every life that’s been sacrificed since then as a result. Let us not forget the events on 9/11/12…
Today I want to live for those that were lost on 9/11. Their lives can be lived through each of us. I want to be living proof that hate can be overcome by love. God’s love knows no bounds, it’s unconditional and forgiving. I want to share that as best as I can and know how.
I want to live in peace and harmony with those around me. I want to be a living proof that not only does tragedy awaken fear but that fear can be overcome and defeated. We cannot live behind our bolted doors every single day. We cannot live in fear for the next tragedy either. Let’s live this legacy for America. The enemy cannot win the hearts of those grounded faithfully in Jesus. Let us not succumb to fear but to have joy in knowing that to die is gain and to live is Christ.
Today I remember, live fearlessly, pray and spread God’s love.
We should live our lives as though Christ was coming this afternoon. – Jimmy Carter
Your Relationship With God: How-to
The human race has always longed to have a spiritual connection with a higher entity. It started with Adam and Eve each having a relationship with God, before given the ultimate test of true love and faith. In the end, they were not faithful; they did not trust God and they didn’t obey Him. All of these things impaired their relationship with God and sin entered the world. Ever since, we’ve had a deep yearning to fellowship with Him.
Now how can we, imperfect sinful creatures, ever have fellowship with God, who is holy and perfect? Through Jesus Christ. God sent His son to die on the cross, paying our debts and allowing us the gift of eternal life. Not only did God give us this opportunity in the beginning with Adam and Eve, He decided that His love for us was so great, He sacrificed His son to die so that we may be forgiven of our sins and so that we may have a relationship with Him.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV)
Having a strong relationship with God is crucial to being receptive and emotionally available to all of God’s Blessings, Lessons and Love. Like any relationship we cherish, we must make the efforts necessary to not only grow in the relationship but in maintaining it. A relationship with God is truly a gift and a blessing in itself. You’ll find that to begin and develop a strong relationship with The Lord, you’ll need to do a few things:
First, we must ask for forgiveness of our sins.
“I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:3)
Many will argue that receiving the Holy Spirit should come before repentance, but there are scriptures in the Bible which support otherwise. Sometimes people must accept Christ and accept the Bible as the inspired Word of God, to feel convicted of any sins. But in reality, it’s always the CONVICTION of your sins which brings you to God in the first place… But that’s a different topic.
“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 NIV)
Receive the Holy Spirit:
This may seem like an obvious point but when you want a relationship with God, you have to accept and genuinely believe that He is eternally existent in three persons: The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. You must also accept that God sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross and forgive us of our sins.Only through Christ can you receive this gift, thus, allowing you to be close to Him.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me…” (John 14:6)
Another tip that may seem obvious to some of you is to pray. What I mean by “to pray”, I’m not talking about a quick “hello” and “please do this for me”. I’m talking about long, in depth, personal conversations with God. Talking is essential to any relationship, so how would that be different from God? All of this shows your love for Him.
The great thing about prayer is that there is no script.
There is not necessarily any “right way to pray.” But there are a few verses of the Bible which guides us in prayer. Check out this article on Prayer. It’s important to always be thankful to Him, for anything past and present and future. Other than that, let your heart pour. He wants honesty, trust, obedience and sincerity. He wants that special bond with you.
“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”(1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6 NIV)
One thing you have to understand about prayers is that God ALWAYS ANSWERS THEM, but it may not be in the way you desired. You have to understand that God is all-knowing which means when He has control over your life and You pray for His Will, things will change that you may not understand.
“Pray without ceasing. “(1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV)
Obedience starts with listening to God. Listen to Him through the Bible, His commandments and listen to Him when He speaks to you. Check out the Sunday Sermon Journal on listening to god to determine God’s voice. Once we start listening to Him, we start drawing ourselves closer to Him. There is no gray area of right and wrong in the Bible.
“If you love me, keep my commands.” (John 14:15 NIV)
Prayer: How-to Pray According to Scripture
Although there is no “right way to pray”, there are a few tips that the Bible gives us which helps God to hear us. Yes, it’s true that harboring sin can hinder your prayers.
God commands us to not harbor-or- cherish sin:
“If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;” (Psalm 66:16 NIV)
When we hold sin in our hearts, sit on unforgiveness, and most importantly ignore repenting to God, He will not feel inclined to listen to your prayers. It may seem a bit harsh, but would you continue to listen to someone who never takes your advice? God instructs us to repent of our sins, let go of a sinful lifestyle or behavior, and in doing that we are heeding His commandments. In turn, God won’t be thinking “Wait a minute. You’re asking me for this when you haven’t even done what I asked?”
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2 NIV)
God detests the prayers coming from those who deliberately ignore Him:
”If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.” (Proverbs 28:9 NIV)
Remember, God knows your heart, if you’re coming to Him based on a tradition your family instilled in you, you should pull back and re-evaluate how you truly feel. God says your heart is far from Him, and this will not get your prayers heard.
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught…” (Isaiah 29:13 NIV)
“By offering defiled food on my altar. But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ By saying that the LORD’s table is contemptible. When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 1:7-9 NIV)
This verse can easily be taken to another level. Who are you to offer yourself to me when you haven’t even made an effort to obey My commandments? This is unacceptable- I need more from you than words.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-6 NIV)
Do not be hypocritical or public in your prayer. Often times when someone prays publicly they are seeking outward attention, with no eye on The Heavenly Father. If you’re tempted to pray in a room full of people, and your motives are for personal gain in any way, your prayer will not be heard.
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14 NIV)
This is probably my favorite verse of this message. It speaks volumes of a topic which I feel is so important. Those who “exalt themselves will be humbled,” which means that those who applaud themselves will be humbled. And those who humble themselves, will be applauded. It speaks to the truth of being humbled in everything you do and say. And prayer counts.
“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:3 NIV)
Again, the Bible tells us here that your motives should never be selfish.
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6 NIV)
Many Christians forget this verse and admittedly, I do too. Sometimes when we pray, we pray earnestly and we’re humbled, yet we forget the confidence in knowing that our prayer will be answered. This ties in to trusting the Lord to carrying out your prayers according to His Will.
I hope this clears up some things with regard to Prayer. Often times, we may be so focused on praying about one person or one thing, that we forget to stop and say Thank You to The Lord who has blessed us in so many ways. No matter your circumstance, the Bible commands to ask all things, in thanksgiving. (Colossians 1:12 NIV)
Additionally, we may be focused on praying for one person and their faults and wrong-doings, when God wants you to change.
Try focusing on being thankful, humble, ask for His Will, and be confident it is done.
Today’s Prayer Topic: Children
Lord, help me in raising my children. I’m feeling so overwhelmed, and I simply need You to step in and give me the wisdom to teach them, guide them and love them all in the right ways. I want them to continue to grow and serve You. I have made many mistakes in my role as their parent, and I pray that You restore any doubt that I’ve given them as a result. I love them so deeply and I cannot do this alone. Thank You for all Your blessings, Father. I pray this in Your precious name, Amen.
The purpose of our Daily Prayer:
-For new believers coming to know Christ who are new to prayer.
-The daily topics can highlight on issues that you’re currently struggling with.
-While there is no “perfect way to pray”, these prayers are great to be added to your own prayers each day.