Prayer prompts for the week of Jan. 31

I was just about to upload next week’s posts when I realized that I missed all of last week! :/  Here ya go …


Journey or Destination?

In your opinion, which is better: the journey or the destination? I can think of occasions when both answers were true in my life. On a cruise, the ports of call are lovely, but the journey is also a lot of fun. On a road trip, the drive can be exhausting, yet some of my favorite memories were made on the highway, so I guess that one kinda depends. On a flight, the arrival tends to be more enjoyable to me than the getting there part.


What about your life, in general? Are you focused on the day-to-day, or do you have your sights set on eternity? Don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of wonderful things to experience in life. My question, though, is whether that should be our focus. Check out what the apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 3:12-21. He referred to the Christian life as striving toward a goal, using the imagery of a race with a heavenly prize at the finish line.


We would be doing ourselves a disservice if we only thought about the finish line and neglected the steps we need to take along the way. However, I think more often than not, we take side trips, detours, or stop to take a nap (spiritually speaking) and distract our minds from the ultimate destination of spending eternity with the Lord. In Philippians 3:20 (NLT), Paul explained, “But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.” We don’t belong here; we’re just visiting.


King Solomon put this idea in different words in Ecclesiastes 2:1-11. He described how futile it is to chase after pleasure, because such things don’t last. As a man who had everything his heart could desire, he still experienced much emptiness. Here was a man who had more wealth, fame, possessions, relationships, and accolades than any of us could ever dream, but at the end of the day, he considered it all meaningless.


Life is fleeting (Psalm 39:4, Isaiah 40:6-8, 1 Peter 1:24). I would encourage you to keep your eye on the prize, yet still live for Christ in the here and now. This life is our opportunity to share the love and hope of Jesus with others, and we ought to be making the most of our time here.


(Sunday) James 4:14 describes our life like the morning fog: here only temporarily. What will you do today that matters for eternity?


(Monday) My yard is dead/dormant for winter. Isaiah 40:6-8 describes our lives like grass that withers away, but the word of God lasts forever.


(Tuesday) Job 14:5 tells us that God knows the exact length of our lives. Commit each day like a marathon trainer, with a heavenly prize awaiting you.


(Wednesday) In Psalm 39:4, King David asks God to remind him how brief life is. Too easily, we can get ensnared by the world and lose our eternal focus.


(Thursday) We read in Genesis that God breathed life into Adam. Psalm 39:5 reminds us that our lives are a breath – a mere moment compared to eternity.


(Friday) We who are in Christ have our names are written in the Book of Life, and our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:20, Rev. 3:5). Praise God!


(Saturday) Job 14:2 describes life as a passing shadow. May we keep our eyes on the Son and reflect his light to the world around us.


Is Jesus Just Enough? (Prayer Devotional for the week of December 22, 2013)

I read a comic recently about a man asking his wife to pick up something at the grocery store, except he spoke to her in the way that a lot of us Christians pray nowadays. The conversation went something like: “Honey, if you could just, you know, maybe just pick up some milk, Honey. I want to just thank you, Honey, if you would, for just getting the milk.”

It sounds silly in that context, but isn’t that what our prayers sound like more often than not? We hem and haw to try to get the words right, instead of speaking our hearts. We box God in (maybe without meaning to) with our “ifs” and “justs.” We cut to the chase about what we need (perhaps more often, what we want) and gloss over praise, thanks, and confession.

What if we spent a day talking to God in prayer about how awesome and wonderful he is, without asking for a thing? In Psalm 103:20-22, David described how he wanted his soul to praise God like the angels in heaven. We could learn a lot by reading how the angels worship God. There are some very beautiful examples in the book of Revelation. In Revelation 7:12 (NIV), the Bible describes how heavenly hosts fall down in worship before God, exclaiming: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” Earlier in Ch. 4, we read about heavenly creatures who repeat day and night: “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”

24/7, these heavenly citizens praise God. I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to find 24 minutes to pause and pray. As we go through this week with the hustle & bustle of Christmas, let’s ask ourselves: Is Jesus “just” a feel-good story to think about once a year? Is he “just” the one you go to when you need something? Or, is he your all in all? Instead of getting caught up in the distractions of the season, let’s find time to reflect on God’s glory, wisdom, honor, power and strength, and praise him as the angels do.