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My prayer agenda tends to happen in a number of different ways.

First, I want to make time and space to respond there and then to anything God puts on my heart. I want to be open to His promptings several times during the day.

I remember hearing of some well known Christian in modern history who was asked how long he prayed for at a time. His response was "about 20 minutes", which shocked the guy asking the question who was expecting to hear that he prayed for hours, until he added "and I never go more than 20 minutes between prayers". That's how I feel we should be - not legalistically, but simply learning to abide in Jesus throughout the day, no matter what else we are doing.

I also have lots of notes on pieces of paper scattered all around the house with topics for prayer, whether requests received from others, things that have occurred to me, or things God has said to me. Every now and then I go find them all, sit down before God and offer them all to Him. I pray through them all and really focus on those that He impresses upon me for specific intercession. I wish I could say this was a regular thing, but I really do mean "every now and then".

So this year, I've started a prayer journal which replaces all the bits of paper, allows me to track ongoing topics better, and will help me to make focussed intercession a more regular thing. It may sound a weird thing to ask, but I'm asking Holy Spirit to nag me about this!

A PRAYER to our almighty god is one of great method and way to empower and strenghen our relationship with god without openning our heart and all ourself to god in a natural way we will not be able to reflect his shinning light through us sometimes i feel i need to spend all the day speaking to god about everything requesting a lot of things for me and for others ,so we need to learn more from hesus life how he pray to the father . i think a good way to express yourself and speak to god is to write my prayer request and worshping god and how lovely to go back to our prayers and to see how god is responding to our prayer request and when and in what condition and state we are in .

Prayer - interesting topic. I pray every opportunity I get, walking down the street, washing the dishes, driving somewhere. I don't have a prayer agenda, I pray whatever comes to my heart or whatever is bothering me, or whatever needs prayer. BUT we should not just pray, but we should listen to God talking to us. God spoken to Abraham almost face to face, God doesn't do that now because we go through Jesus, he gave us the way to God by going through Jesus. We are often asked what is God calling us to do in our life? We need to listen and ask Jesus for an answer. I found out that when I am doing what God wants me to everything just goes smoothly with no complications, but if I'm doing what I want to do, there are stumbling blocks, things go wrong, it just didn't work out. Talking to God is very important. We must never stop talking to God. God is the only person I can talk to and share with at the moment.

I really love the verses in Matthew 6:18-21 that talk about storing up treasures in heaven. It is important to have that eternal perspective and not to get so tied up in our day to day cares. Interesting that it says where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. So your heart is more and more with God the more you store up treasures in heaven. Sometimes I think there will be nothing left when God tests my works - that nothing will have been done by the leading of the spirit.

Thanks guys....good food for thought. No, I don't think it is weird Mark, for you to ask the Holy Spirit to "nag" you. I think He is honored whenever we seek Him and when we beg Him to seek us...reminds me of David when he prayed about revealing any unclean thing in him....

All of your comments bring to mind the classic book "Practicing the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence. I think that's the title....I read it years ago when I first became a Christian and would love to sit down with it again. It's written by a monk and full of his reflections on practicing the presence of God (prayer) throughout his day, in the ordinary things of life. For him, conversation with the Lord was woven throughout all he did on an average day.

This seems to be the most natural prayer posture for most of us and I think is especially good for mothers with small children (who particularly need to exercise the grace of God throughout the day and who lack large chunks quiet time because they are continually at the mercy of the immediate).

I would definitely recommend that book; it's a quick read, not heavy or difficult but thought provoking.

Regarding prayer in my life...

When I was exercising daily (a subject of an earlier post), I was able to be very faithful in intercessory prayer because I had that block of time I could count on and my brain was free (body trapped "on the rack" as I jokingly called it!)

I have not been as faithful since then in this area and long to be more disciplined. It's pretty miraculous and amazing how the Lord allows us to be active in the lives of others through prayer. What a privilege if you think about it!

I really welcome and yearn for the Holy Spirit's voice to be first in my mind throughout the day, in the daily ins and outs of parenting, mommying, and teaching. This is where I fall short (put my agenda before His), so that would be my prayer (or as Mark put it, area where I'd like the HS to nag me ; ))

On another topic, with regard to Abraham entertaining strangers (Genesis 18) I have always loved that verse in Hebrews about hospitality:

Heb 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

Certainly Abraham was found faithful in this small act--it revealed big things about his soul. To me, it speaks of a certain "interruptibility" that is so important and which I often lack. I think also of the good Samaritan who was also interruptible. It is so easy to be "self" centered (even if what we are working on is a good thing), to resist switching gears, so that we can be immediately "there" for others. Like that commercial says "life comes at you fast" and I feel like that's how the Lord often brings people's needs into my life. There is a piece of me that resists stopping whatever "important" thing I'm doing, and it takes time to really SEE others needs and be emotionally present for them.

And, I love that Abraham was open to whatever God threw at him. He really was. He kept his schedule wide open for small things like unexpected guests, for BIG things like child at an advanced age, or living in a land not of his own choosing, and for a promise that must have seemed so "over the top" at the time (to have descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sands on the shore...WOW!) Now, I know Abraham wasn't perfect, but for me, he's a little window into what it looks like to live life on the Lord's terms, to just throw it all out there...

Matthew 6

WOULD LIKE SOME INPUT

In today's reading Jesus refers to God as Father 10 times. Each time, in the Greek, there is an explicit personal pronoun in front of Father (pater)thereby personalizing the idea of God as the individual's Father.

Certainly Father is used of God some in the Old Testament, but my research from an orthodox Jewish standpoint is that Father when used is in a corporate covenant relationship with Israel - NOT as to individuals.

Some Jews in Jesus' time personalized God as Father. They would be the Hassidic sect today - but the Pharisees looked down on this practice.

So, I am not 100% sure but I think Jesus was ruffling some feathers during His sermon when personalizing God as Father.

Anyone have a website or personal knowledge about this?????

Matthew 6

I go along with most commentators that Matt 5-7 is a compilation of different sermons preached by Jesus. Matthew is just putting them here in one place.

In Matt 6 Jesus is advocating on the attitude things are to be done with: Giving, praying, fasting, saving. They are all doable with those attitudes, although it would be easier for a believer who is submitted to God's Will and led by the Holy Spirit to do with these attitudes than a non-believer.
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Lord's Prayer

Just a note on evil (one). Some dispute over this and by the Greek texts it can be in the neuter case making it general evil, or the masculine case with a definite article making it personal (satan - evil one).

Your choice, but since Jesus went through personal temptation with Satan in Matt 4 - leaning to evil one is not a bad idea.
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14For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Is Jesus saying you earn your forgiveness by something you do?????

Not really. In the Greek construct, the idea is - if you are not capable of forgiving another's sins, then you are not displaying a regenerated heart. You are not saved, and of course your sins would be then not forgiven.

It is by reflecting the characterstic of God (forgiveness) that one can be assured that your sins are forgiven. If you cannot forgive at all (there will be stumbling in some instances) then you might want to rethink how it is you came to Christ. Was it turning back to God, repenting, and believing and receiving Christ or was it a superficial prayer due to circumstances.

Same explanation goes for debtors in verse 12.

Genesis 16

Sarai gets impatient and makes a decision with long range implications.

Giving Hagar to Abram for conception on the surface appears a self-less act - a sacrifice, and it was an acceptable act in the societies of the time. But was it acceptable to God?

Sarai was guilty of "self" as was Abram. Sarai knew God's promice, but she got impatient. She knew God's Will, but was unable to wait for God's Way (timing). They got fruit, but it was the fruit of the flesh (self) not fruit of the Spirit. Has this ever happened to us as Christians????

Abram was more culpable than Sarai. He knew better. Abram had depended on God for so long, and now all of a sudden he was going to do the "son thing" his way. Abram fell into the "self" trap in not waiting for God's timing.

The results of Hagar's pregnancy - bitterness between Sarai and Hagar, Unreasonableness by Sarai (this is on you Abram), and irresponsibility by Abram (this is your problem fix it however you want). All resulting in harshness and rebellion.
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It is apparent that God did not want Hagar and the baby dying in the desert. So he intervened. God's plan is so intricate: no Hagar, no Ishmael, no Arab nations, etc. all the way to Revelation. What satan meant for evil, God will ultimately work out for good.

Genesis 17

flash forward 13 years and Abram has been living with Sarai, Hagar, and Ishmael and any resulting problems - Abram had learned from his mistake.

God comes with a new name - El-Shaddai - the God who is sufficient. He is in control. Now Abram is ready to walk forward under God's protection and plan - God says good. Do so and be whole, perfect, blameless. It is not that Abram is any of these things, but because he believes and trusts that is how God sees Abram. How can God do that? Because He IS Sufficient :)

Name changes reflect God's promises, and the growth of Abram and Sarai. For Abram it is not about being an "exalted" Father of one, but Abraham a "Father to multitudes". Sarai is no longer "contentious" but now Sarah - a "princess" serving the Lord.
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Chapter 18

Abraham did not know who the visitors were at first. In an unexpected time and way Abram was getting a test. Did Abraham have the circumcised heart of a believer. His preparations of food and hospitality remind me of Christ saying at judgment

"...for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me." (Matthew 25:35-36 RSV)

Abraham passed. Then when the Lord used Sarah (her new name) and mentioned a "son" Abraham probably got it. Sarah did not.

When confronted with her laugh - she denied, as we also sometimes do regarding sin. The Lord just says - "you did". come on admit it Sarah, and lets move on.

Account ends here but the rest of the story is in Hebrews.

By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews 11:11 RSV)

Sarah had time to reflect and advanced in her walk realizing God is Sufficient.

my prayer life was strongest when I was breastfeeding my kids. The 'wasted' time spent sitting with each child was used to pray... and pray for not only them but for the future for them. I really miss those days of almost non-stop prayer to be honest.

Currently, with school going kids, my life is so filled with to-ing and fro-ing, that time to really pray has become scarce. Its better this year as I have the afternoons free but I still have to make it priority (as referred to in today's Proverbs reading) for there is lots to fill up the hours.

I do jot down my prayer items in a journal but need to become more consistent at doing so.

btw, getting to read my Bible today really took an effort. Sigh... baby steps baby steps... and it takes 21 days to make a habit.

keep going everyone!

I pray the Lord's Prayer sometimes, but I mainly pray in the morning during my quiet time, and as the Lord leads throughout the day. I used to pray specific things each day of the week, but I found it was too structured, so now I just pray as I am prompted by the Holy Spirit. However, I think intentional prayers are important too. And I take part in a 40 days prayer and fasting every year to pray for my city through transforming melbourne - www.transformingmelbourne.org.

Proverbs 2 verse 2 stood out to me today. Tuning to God in wisdom and understanding is not easy to do in our busy lives, but it's so important! wisdom & understanding.
I have a tendancy to go fast and act quickly. Proverbs 2 reminds me once again to slow down and "tune in" to God.

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