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Complete Guide to Prayers of Jesus (1).jpg

When I was crossing a corner as I prayerwalked in our small town in the Sierra Valley, I remembered the gist of a passage from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount about not praying on the street corners to be seen by men. Instead, we are to pray privately behind closed doors.

That moment led me down a twenty-year path of studying the Bible for teachings on prayer—focusing a lot on the prayer life of Jesus. Only secondary to his teachings on eternal life, his teachings on prayer provide much direction as we strive to live a prayer-focused life.

  • Pray simple prayers. The purpose of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) was to teach us to pray simply. Jesus prefaced the prayer by telling the listeners not to babble on and on (Matthew 6:7-8). As a former journalist, I find this refreshing and reassuring, because I believe in short and simple. Jesus taught us that we do not need elaborate vocabulary. We cannot impress God with the number of our words. After all, he knows our heart already. The simple fact that we go to him is a prayerful act already.
The simple fact that we go to him is a prayerful act already. Click To Tweet
  • Pray with a clear conscience. Forgiveness seems to be crucial to answered prayer. Jesus said that if we do not forgive others, our Father will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15). He also said we should be reconciled with others before making an offering (Matthew 5:23-24). I know that if I’m harboring ill feelings toward someone, I’m focused on myself—not God. So forgiveness shifts me from my single viewpoint to God’s bigger one. If we want the Father to forgive us, we need to forgive others’ offenses toward us, but we also need to be proactive in seeking others’ forgiveness when we have hurt them.
...if I'm harboring ill feelings toward someone, I'm focused on myself-not God. Click To Tweet
  • Be persistent. In Luke 18 Jesus told a parable about a woman who kept bugging a judge to make a decision in her favor. Because she was persistent, that unjust judge granted her request. Jesus said, “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7). The Father wants our hearts to bend to him—persistence in prayer makes that happen. No matter how bleak a situation looks, our Father wants us to continue to take our heart cries to him.
No matter how bleak a situation looks, our Father wants us to continue to take our heart cries to him. Click To Tweet
  • Pray boldly. God also wants us to pray beyond our reach. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). Big, bold prayers are statements of our big, bold faith in our God who can do the impossible (Matthew 19:26). Last year I had a HUGE prayer need relating to the restoration of a relationship. Things looked bleak, and I had about resigned myself to a negative outcome. But then one day I saw a wooden sign that said “pray big.” So I bought that sign and kept approaching God boldly with my prayers. A couple months later in a series of the miraculous, the relationship was restored. Don’t pray small: pray big.Don't pray small_ pray big..png
Don't pray small: pray big. Click To Tweet
  • Pray with faith. When Jesus healed a boy from demons after the disciples had failed, he said that we can move mountains if we have faith as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:14-21). Faith is belief and trust in a God who has created and sustained all living things. We need not trust in the miracle; we simply have to believe God can do the miracle. One of my life verses is Matthew 19:26: “With man this is impossible, but all things are possible with God.” We simply need to believe that God can move that mountain.
We need not trust in the miracle; we simply have to believe God can do the miracle. Click To Tweet

I do not pray aloud on street corners in my little town; I pray silently for whatever God puts within my eyesight. And I’ve been privileged to see marriages saved, sick people healed, and hearts moved to faith. Jesus prayed, so I do, too.

Janet gold at rock wall.jpg

Janet Holm McHenry is a speaker and the author of 23 books, including the best-selling PrayerWalk and her newest book, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus: What He Prayed and How It Will Change Your Life Today (Bethany House, June 5 release). A former educator, she lives in the Sierra Valley in northeastern California, where she prayerwalks for her town and where she taught high school English. Featured in Health, Family Circle and First magazines for her prayerwalking, Janet is convinced that prayer is the best problem-solving strategy.

 The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus is the only comprehensive guide to the prayer life of Jesus. It is an engaging, vivid journey through Jesus’ prayers, as well as his teachings on prayer and his prayer practices. With reflection questions for small groups, it is available at local bookstores and online sources.

https://www.facebook.com/JanetMcHenryAuthor/

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We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

From the time we rise until the moment we exhale sleep’s first breath, nearly 50,000 thoughts will have tracked through our minds. Of those rapid-fire notions, 80% are negative. Repetitive. Even bordering on obsessive.

Our minds are landmines pockmarked with negativity and habitual skepticism–self-sabotaging sink holes that entrap us in an unhealthy, joy inhibiting mindset that blocks blessedness and hinders happiness.

We tumble into the black hole of comparison, worrying whether we’ll ever be as smart, put-together, or beautiful as the woman in the mini-sized yoga pants at the gym or the young mother whose makeup is as perfect as her smile.

Clambering from one hollow only to trip into the next, we desperately seek love and approval like a small child lost in a department store searches for her mother. Our efforts to earn the notice of others, though, fails to satisfy. Instead, they clutter our minds with silent recriminations.

If I’m successful she’ll tell me I’m important to her. Why doesn’t he love me? I must not be good enough.

I know. I’m a self-confessed-personal-critic and reforming people pleaser. You, too? Perhaps Martha was one of us. Consider these passages.

“As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

 The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.” (Luke 10:38-42 MSG)

How many of us effectively set aside our plans, problems or performance? With 50,000 thoughts cluttering our minds with to-do's-and-haven't-done's, a woman like Mary is relatable. Understandable. Confined by her view of performance… Click To Tweet

While we may all wish to be the Mary in the story, how many of us effectively set aside our plans, problems or performance? With 50,000 thoughts cluttering our minds with to-do’s-and-haven’t-done’s, a woman like Mary is relatable. Understandable. Confined by her view of performance comparison, she’s overwhelmed by the day’s demands and longs to be worthy of love and approval.

Flustered and frustrated, Mary prods Christ, perhaps hoping for praise or recognition of her efforts to serve him. Yet Jesus reassured, “Only one thing is essential.”

Serving Christ and others? Important. Futile worry? Unnecessary. Embracing the Word? Essential. Click To Tweet

Serving Christ and others? Important. Futile worry? Unnecessary. Embracing the Word? Essential.

Our happiness, Friend, resides in Christ–the Word eternal who was present in the beginning and who has no end. We can forgo all of the non-essentials from the One thing–a relationship with Jesus.

 

Let's cleanse our negativity with his truth. Capture our thoughts and transform them to reflect his promises. Invite the joy of relationship with the risen God into our hearts . Click To Tweet

Let’s cleanse our negativity with his truth. Capture our thoughts and transform them to reflect his promises. Invite the joy of relationship with the risen God into our hearts that we might begin to grasp the happiness we can begin to experience even now–without concerns about comparison or earning love and approval.

We already know that when the Father rest his gaze upon us, He sees Jesus’ beauty and incomparable perfection. Because of him, we are loved and accepted into heavenly arms.

As Philippians 4:8 (MSG) exhorts, “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me [Paul], what you heard and saw and realized.”

 

Mind Over Negative Chatter Challenge 

1. Record 3 positive occurrences, circumstances and thoughts you had each day this week. Consider sharing them in the comments section or on my Facebook page, Tammy L. Kennington.

2. Share 9-10 meaningful photos throughout the week. Photos could include anything that brings you joy–family, favorite places, mementos.

3. At the end of the week, reflect on the ways in which the positive, recorded thoughts and/or images impacted your happiness and life experience.

4. Share this challenge with friends and family!

 

 

 

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Happiness. Joy. Blessedness. It all begins and ends in our relationship with Jesus..pngIt’s the American dream. The subject of Time magazine’s recent expose’. And Hollywood’s driving force lived out loud in a string of movie star marriages, breakups, and over-the-top living.

We pine for it in the same way a widow longs to be reunited with her spouse. The here-and-then-gone-again feeling of happiness. We search for it like we might a treasure buried in the sand, hoping the next marriage, new house, or upgraded tax bracket will soothe the cry of our hearts for something more. Searching for a salve to soothe the realities of the divorce papers strewn across the countertop, the prescription medicines filling our cabinets, or the anxiety skulking in the corners of our minds. We yearn for it and hold out our cup of need, “Just a little bit of happiness please. Fill it up.”

...the joy we’re searching for isn’t discovered in the pursuit of more toys, more money, or more indulgence.  Click To Tweet

Friends, the joy we’re searching for isn’t discovered in the pursuit of more toys, more money, or more indulgence. It won’t be found at the bottom of an empty bottle, a scorched credit card and pretty things, or in promotions and accolades.

Happiness. Joy. Blessedness. It all begins and ends in our relationship with Jesus.  Click To Tweet

Happiness. Joy. Blessedness. It all begins and ends in our relationship with Jesus. We may walk through the fire, wander in the desert, or stumble around the darkest valley and still hold to an abiding sense of blessing regardless of circumstance.

I kind of feel like life is like that 'whack-a-mole' game. I think I can catch my breath after some life jag and then something else pops up. Click To Tweet

A woman once commented, “I kind of feel like life is like that ‘whack-a-mole’ game. I think I can catch my breath after some life jag and then something else pops up.”

Have you ever felt the same way; as though a reprieve from all of the challenges and set-backs lies just beyond the horizon only to realize another fear inducing obstacle is poised to pounce in the distance between here and there? Desperately attempting to manage, you aim wildly at the hurt or heartache, hazard or hardship.

Once in a while, your dodging and parrying succeeds. A nuisance is eliminated. A potential problem avoided. But, most of the time? The issues resurface or something new thrusts itself onto life’s landscape.

Where is happiness in these situations? Is happiness even possible?

During the next several weeks, we’ll explore several keys to fostering joy and discovering happiness that extends beyond circumstance. Will you join me, friend? In the meantime, may I pray for you?

Father, we live in a world that would steal all of our joy if it could. We long for a taste of hope and know that you are the answer. Would you fill my sisters’ cup of need today with your love and faithfulness? Prepare her heart for today’s challenges and open her eyes to the beautiful gifts that surround her. Help us to seek you above all else and to exchange our burdens for Christ’s blessings. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen

 

 

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