Prayer Walk (Mark 10:46-52)

Jesus and his disciples are walking from Jericho. Sometime today, tomorrow and the next day, I invite you to take a walk. Place yourself within this passage. It may be helpful to have a time limit, if you’re not used to doing an exercise like this.

I used to not enjoy reading when I was younger. So in my early twenties, I picked up some audio books and listened to them. This was something I enjoyed and found when I heard the story, I was able to remember it better and place myself within the story to picture it. One day I decided to pick up some books and read them. I began to picture the story line and the books began to come alive to me. This is one of the reasons I love to read the Bible: many stories in there that can actually tell our story.

So, this is an exercise to try and make the scripture come even more alive, in our imagination. I have found it is too easy to sit and read and not let the Word take root in us; but if we move like the people in the Bible, we’ll be able to experience more.

The exercise:

Read. Read the passage a couple times before heading out for a walk. (passage is below). If you have an audio version you can take with you on the walk, awesome.

Pray. Pray before heading out asking God to reveal himself to you in a new or different way.

Walk. This is one of my favorite parts. Walk and reflect on the passage. As you find yourself walking, picture the story happening right where you are. Imagine Jesus, the disciples, a crowd, a shouting person asking for help. Do you keep walking? Do you stop and just watch? Do you call someone else? Is it time to make fun of or chastise the person? Do we pray and ask God to send someone else so they can help?

Imagining the story like this helps me to be able to see God working in our day to day life. This also helps to remind me to look for opportunities to be present and see God, his people and his mission wherever I am.

Journal. I recommend journaling what you experienced, what God showed you on your walk. This way, it is easy to remember and we have a record we can go back and read later.

Pray. Pray again. This is a simple prayer of thanks. Thanking God for the opportunity to see the world as he sees it. Also, asking God to help us see the world and his people this way in all aspects of life.

Prayer walks are enjoyable to me. I hope God reveals himself to you as you try this exercise.

Next week, we begin a new series on “Giving Thanks.” We’ll have one devotional each week for the month of November, but there will be 7 things to pray for (one for each day of the week). I’m excited about this upcoming series and seeing what will happen when we take intentional time to thank and praise God, even the trials we experience.


Mark 10:46-52 (CEB)
Healing of blind Bartimaeus
Jesus and his followers came into Jericho. As Jesus was leaving Jericho, together with his disciples and a sizable crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, Timaeus’ son, was sitting beside the road. When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was there, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, show me mercy!” Many scolded him, telling him to be quiet, but he shouted even louder, “Son of David, show me mercy!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him forward.” They called the blind man, “Be encouraged! Get up! He’s calling you.” Throwing his coat to the side, he jumped up and came to Jesus. Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said, “Teacher, I want to see.” Jesus said, “Go, your faith has healed you.” At once he was able to see, and he began to follow Jesus on the way.

Prayer of the Righteous

James 5:15-16 “Prayer that comes from faith will heal the sick, for the Lord will restore them to health. And if they have sinned, they will be forgiven. For this reason, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous person is powerful in what it can achieve.”

Do you believe in the power to be healed by faith? I do. Before someone tries to counter this, let me explain. First of all, we have to consider what “sick” means. I believe this can affect so many aspects of our life (physical, mental, emotional, relational, spiritual).

Physical healing can be done by God, and there are cases this has happened. Most of the time, I believe God works through doctors and medical professionals. It is amazing the work they do and I believe it is a gift of God they have the wisdom, giftedness and the calling to do that work. I say calling because I think it is a calling that someone answers whether or not they know it is God. Through the prayers of the community, it is amazing what God can and does in and through people who are physically sick.

Now, physical healing can take place instantly; but it can take time too. Sometimes complete healing comes after this life. But there is a kind of healing that can take place instantaneously. These verses can and should take us back to the healings Jesus did. Most of the time when Jesus healed a person physically, he also forgave their sins.

A question we should ask is, “does sickness come from sin?” The answer is yes and no. Not all sickness or diseases come from sin. We live in a fallen world, so diseases are prevalent among us. There are sins that do cause diseases. If we knowingly do something that is bad for our health, then we live with the consequences.

When Jesus forgave sins, he was doing something that happens instantaneously. The condition of the soul can manifest itself physically. For Jesus to forgive sins, he was healing the person from the inside out, not just the outside appearance. This kind of healing can and does happen instantaneously.

When we are forgiven of our sins, we no longer are bound by the sin that held us down. We have been given the chance to leave a way of life that was not healthy for us and move into a new way of life, one that is filled with joy (even though life is tough at times), filled with peace (even among the turmoil around us), filled with love (even though we don’t see people acting out of love).

This is why it is important to confess our sins to one another. A simple reminder that we are not in this life alone and that our actions do have consequences that affect more than just us. Confessing our sins puts us back on the path that God intends for us. Not only that, we have people to walk alongside us!

This can happen all at once and it is amazing the power of God at work in and through a community of faith.

Faith Is All It Takes

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Galatians 2:15-18 15 We are born Jews—we’re not Gentile sinners. 16 However, we know that a person isn’t made righteous by the works of the Law but rather through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. We ourselves believed in Christ Jesus so that we could be made righteous by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the Law—because no one will be made righteous by the works of the Law.17 But if it is discovered that we ourselves are sinners while we are trying to be made righteous in Christ, then is Christ a servant of sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild the very things that I tore down, I show that I myself am breaking the Law.

In this passage today, Paul is still confronting Peter in his hypocrisy because Peter stopped eating with Gentile (non-Jewish) people when people from the Apostle James (Jews) came to meet with him.

This is a passage we all should remember. Maybe this could help remind us of the joy that Christ gives. Here is the basic message of the gospel (good news) of Jesus Christ: we are saved and made righteous by faith not by our good works. In other words, it is not something we do that makes us earn grace. This is something that God freely gives. The only part of this done by us is believe it. That’s it.

How does this sit with you? How do you like to receive a gift “just because?” This is how God is. We tend to think that we need to prove ourselves and the gifts are the reward. God does not work this way. We need to stop trying to make ourselves look good and realize God is not concerned with what we do, but what is in our hearts (our motivations).

So what is “righteousness?” According to Webster dictionary it is “acting in accord with divine or moral law : free from guilt or sin, morally right or justifiable.” Do you feel this way everyday? I don’t. There are times where I do not feel I deserve to be in God’s presence as well as there are times I do not feel I am good enough to do what I am doing. Both of these are lies that stop people from doing what God calls them to live.

We do not have to have everything perfect, because God has made us righteous because of Jesus Christ. We all, like Paul, have a sullied past; but God sees us like he sees Christ. You and I are made holy and righteous because of Christ.

Now, it is possible to have this knowledge and our lives are not changed. We can tell is we are allowing Christ to work within us to transform our lives when we exhibit more and more the fruits of the Spirit Galatians 5:22-23. Going back to living for ourselves and not allowing Christ to reside in our hearts rebuilding a wall that we need to tear down. This means we lose time for God to make transformations in our hearts.

We do not need to “earn” God’s favor or grace, we simply accept it. Then we should allow this grace to live in us to make us more and more like Jesus Christ.

These are all things I am continually striving for with God’s help.

#LiveFreeInChrist

Advent Devotional 2014: Prepare (December 10)

Luke 1:57-66 When the time came for Elizabeth to have her child, she gave birth to a boy. Her neighbors and relatives celebrated with her because they had heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy.  On the eighth day, it came time to circumcise the child. They wanted to name him Zechariah because that was his father’s name. But his mother replied, “No, his name will be John.” They said to her, “None of your relatives have that name.” Then they began gesturing to his father to see what he wanted to call him. After asking for a tablet, he surprised everyone by writing, “His name is John.” At that moment, Zechariah was able to speak again, and he began praising God. All their neighbors were filled with awe, and everyone throughout the Judean highlands talked about what had happened. All who heard about this considered it carefully. They said, “What then will this child be?” Indeed, the Lord’s power was with him.

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What stands out to you when you read these verses? If we remember what has happened before this time, Zechariah and Elizabeth have been prepared for this day their son would be born, They were given a glimpse of how the child’s life would be and what he would stand for. They trusted the Lord to provide in their circumstance and that his word would come true. Zechariah and Elizabeth’s heart was prepared and ready for this day.

This is part of the journey we are in this Advent (season of preparation and expectation) as we examine our hearts to see how the story of Jesus’ birth will continue to shape and transform us. Zechariah and Elizabeth were different after the meeting with the angel, and we should be different (being able to stand out from the crowd) after any meeting we have with God.

They were able to confidently tell the people around what their child’s name would be even though it did not make sense to the rest of the crowd. What is God asking you to do that seems other people don’t understand? Will you be bold and confident in your faith and the calling God has placed on your life?

Dear God, You have guided us to this place and this time. Help us in any unbelief we might have so we can celebrate this season of Christmas with boldness and confidence of your presence and your calling in our lives. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.

Destroying Bridges to Build New Ones

Watching this bridge being destroyed so a stronger one would be build in place of it made me think about the bridges we have built in our lives that need to be destroyed. Think about that for a minute. What bridges have you or I built that we need gone, or to be redirected? Is there a bridge of lust? of greed? of pride? of despair? of insecurities?

When we can recognize these bridges only lead us toward the darkness of life, we are ready to search for the Light. Where is it we need to destroy these bridges? The crews to help us rebuild a stronger bridge toward the Light are those around us: our family, our friends, our pastors, our youth directors, etc.

We do not live this life on our own; we live life in community. Community strengthens and reminds us we are not alone. Our community is there to strengthen and to carry burdens and to help rebuild the right bridges in our life.

The call today is to recognize and see the paths we are on may not lead us to complete peace and complete joy. The Light, Jesus Christ, is calling us to work with him to rebuild the bridge on the right path toward life with freedom, life with hope, life with peace, joy and real love.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live in my body, I live by faith, indeed, by the faithfulness of God’s Son, who loved me and gave himself for me. ~Galatians 2:20

Open your ears, my God, and listen! Open your eyes and look at our devastation. Look at the city called by your name! We pray our prayers for help to you, not because of any righteous acts of ours but because of your great compassion. ~Daniel 9:18

For this reason, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous person is powerful in what it can achieve. ~James 5:16

Full armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-20

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Journaling In Our Prayer Life

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This prayer exercise is a great tool to use to remember to see how God is working in our lives, answering prayer, or guiding us through situations. This is not like a diary; but how God has been communicating to us.
INTENTION: To keep a record of communication with God.
THE EXERCISE:
  • Decide how you want to keep this journal. You may purchase a blank book or use loose-leaf paper held in a ringed notebook.
  • Decide how often you will make notations in your journal. You may want to record insights from other prayer practices or write your prayers in the journal or both. Some people even keep notes from their dreams in their journal. It’s a book that belongs to you and God. Do with it what feels best.
  • Begin by asking God to be present and alive in this journal-keeping experience.
  • To explore spiritual growth based on events in your life, write about a significant event or happening in your daily life.
    • How do you feel about that event?
    • Where was God at work in the event?
    • Where is God leading me now as a result of this event?
    • How do my feelings change as I view the event in the light of God’s love?
  • To notice how God is active in your life, review your journal at regular intervals.
    • What patterns or common themes do you notice?
    • How does God get your attention?
    • How has God answered your prayers?
    • Assess how your relationship with God is emerging.
  • Make notations about any common themes or patterns.
  • Close each journal session with a prayer of gratitude.

TIP: Even if you feel you are not a writer, give this exercise a try. This is a prayer exercise, not a writing exercise. No one but you has to see what you’ve written. Even if you share journal findings with a group, it matters little how you wrote what you discovered. Share it in your own words instead of reading it from the page.

~Taken from the book 50 Ways to Pray: Practices from Many Traditions and Times by Teresa A. Blythe

Communication & Prayer

It is easier to internalize everything than talk about it. We find it easier to talk with people than to speak to God.

“Just pray about it.” We hear this a lot, but why?

*What is prayer? How do I know what to say?
*What posture should we use for prayer?
*Public or private prayer?
*How can I live a life of constant prayer?

This is the video about Saturday worship. Hopefully these thoughts can help us improve or begin a deep prayer life with our Creator.

Click here for video message.

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