Daniel 6:10 NKJV – Matter of habit

“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.”

Recently, I was impressed by something I heard while having dinner in an old fashioned diner. There was an elderly couple who announced when their friend had arrived to join them, “Well, it’s about time you got here.” Now I don’t really know what their intentions were. It may have been a way they greeted their friends. (????) Or maybe, they had developed a habit of eating at the same precise time every day and they were running a little late.

This got me to think. I pondered what some of my habits are. Well, first, I must say that I believe we are a habitual culture. We like to have habits to put order in our lives. We like when we do something so much that we don’t have to think about it. Like driving the same way each and every time we go to the mall, or the grocery store, or even to church. I am a habitual man. I like the routine I go through at bed time. There are certain things I do that are the same each and every night. The certain way I have to arrange the pillows. The certain place I have to lie to be comfortable. When I used to cut my lawn, it was cut the same identical way each and every time. I found the most efficient way to cut it and never changed my pattern. No I don’t have to cut my lawn. Someone else does that for me. (Thanks, Austin.)

Anyways, there are a lot of habits. Some good, some ridiculous, and some not good. Yes, we may still have habits that we would love to be delivered from. This is where we need to continue in prayer. It’s all a process, but I would love to lose those bad habits. And I know that the Lord will deliver me of those bad habits as a result of my prayer.

And then there are the good habits like our foundational scripture talks about with Daniel. He knelt to pray three times each day giving thanks to God. And it says that, “as was his custom since early days.” Daniel had a habit to pray. Hallelujah!!! And that habit was established early in his days.

Having a prayer habit is so good. Keeping in the attitude of prayer helps develop that prayer habit. It also keeps your relationship with Jesus current and ongoing. One of the most precious times I have in daily prayer is when I pray with my wife, Nancy. Each night we end the day in prayer with and for each other. And even when we have been apart (like sometimes when I’m out of town on business), we have called each other and prayed together. We have a prayer habit of praying for our families and lost loved ones each night. We habitually pray for our pastors and church leaders.

Friend, there are good habits and bad habits. We can make the choice what to keep our focus on and what to be delivered from. It’s like this. Choose wisely.

Dear Lord, thank You that we can come to You to deliver us from those habits in our lives that do not honor You. Deliver us from critical hearts, judgmental minds, and unkind thoughts and actions. May we not just react to circumstances but stop to ask, “Does what I’m about to do or say honor You.” Help us always to choose wisely. Help us to grow in good habits like continual prayer and seeking a relationship with You. May You open up even more time in our lives to spend with You. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV – What is prayer?

“Pray without ceasing”

Thank You, Lord. “Short and sweet.” But the more accurate description is “Short but so powerful.” This verse really packs a punch. What is the definition of prayer? Well it’s fellowship and relationship with God through Jesus Christ, expressed in love, thanksgiving, and intercession through which believers can draw near or nearer to God and learn more of His will for their lives.

That’s a lot of words. Too many to memorize if you’re inclined to do. Simply put it’s two way conversation with God through Jesus Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit with the sole purpose of developing a relationship.   Prayer is based on God’s love for His children. Through His grace, God gives to us things which we do not deserve, while through His mercy He shields us from those things which we do deserve.

Praying without ceasing is having an attitude by which a constant relationship between God and us is developed. Always wanting to be in His presence. It’s focusing every thought and action toward honoring God. As prayerful believers we are to continue praying earnestly and this requires patience and determination. Jesus taught His disciples to persist in prayer. Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:6-8 NKJV)

Our foundational Scripture today doesn’t need more to say. It’s easy to read and memorize, but probably one of the most powerful commands in God’s Word. It’s that important. Scripture commends a life of prayer, characterized by simplicity of expression, sincerity of heart and trust and belief in the promises of God.

Precious Lord, thank You that You do not need fancy words or catchy phrases in prayer. What You are looking for is simplicity, sincerity, humbleness, and trust that You hear our prayers and will answer them. Help us to always have the attitude of prayer and focus every thought and action toward giving You honor and praise. Teach us to pray, Lord, this day. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NKJV – What is God’s will for you?

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

We sometimes ask God, “What is Your will for my life?” I know I have asked God that question. Here in 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 5, verses 16 to 18, we get the answer.

“Rejoice always” – Well that’s hard to do sometimes. I know it is for me from time to time. But let’s talk about this. Rejoice. According to Strong’s it means to be exceedingly glad, to be well and thrive. Wow. It’s not just a happy party. Sorry, but sometimes people think being happy and rejoicing are the same thing. But what we see here, they are not. It’s like the difference between standing still and jumping up and down. To be well and thrive sounds like something we would be interested in.

“Pray without ceasing” – Prayer is nothing more than a conversation with God. A conversation is two-way communication. Back and forth. God desires to have that kind of relationship with us whereby when He speaks we can hear because when we pray He listens. Praying continually means to have the attitude of prayer with you at all times. To be mindful that God awaits your call. God knows your name and you know His voice.

“In everything give thanks” – Oh, Oh. To be thankful in ALL things. God has designed you just as He desired and has set you upon the path that He has ordered. It is sometimes hard to be thankful in the midst of pain, sickness, trials, and heartache. But God wants you to know that you are not alone. He walks with you though it all. He never leaves you or gives up on you. And when you call on the Name of Jesus, He responds. And He gave His life for you because He has an everlasting love for you. He wants nothing more than to spend eternity with you.

So when someone asks you if you know God’s will for your life or you ponder the will of God, remember that the answer is in these short verses. God wants to make His Word real to you. Not complicate it with a lot of stuff.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word, the light unto our path. Help me desire to seek and do Your Will. To rejoice and not complain or be bitter, to have the attitude of prayer at all times so that when you call me we can have a conversation. And help me to be thankful for Your Son’s shed blood and forgiveness, for always being with me, and for never giving up on me. I love You Lord and pray in Your precious Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!