Ephesians 6:18-24

challenge
Pray.

That is your challenge.
Pray.
Pick a number of days and let it be your goal. Count the days, and if you blow it and skip a day, then don’t skip the next one. Time moves forward. You cannot go back. But you have now. You have today. I will be returning to my own devotional time and writing (Meditations from Zion blog). It is time to pray. For me. For you.

We can read about prayer all we want and we can listen to teachings about it. But in the end, prayer is a personal encounter. I’m calling on the heavens and the earth to be the witnesses. I give you the choice today between life and death, between being blessed or being cursed. Choose life! [Based on Deuteronomy 30:19]
Amen.

Advertisements

Ephesians 6:18 – 24

Scratchboard by Leo Hartshorn

Scratchboard by Leo Hartshorn

In the Voice translation, Ephesians 6:18 reads this way: “Pray always. Pray in the Spirit. Pray about everything in every way you know how! And keeping all this in mind, pray on behalf of God’s people. Keep on praying feverishly, and be on the lookout until evil has been stayed.” With my favorite phrase being “pray . . . in every way you know how!” This is so important that we experiment and operate in all kinds of prayer and not to get stale by repeating over and over again the same thing. Unless the mind and spirit are alive during ritual prayer, one loses the point. There really isn’t a right or wrong way, but it does require our intention.
Mark Herringshaw writes on the Belief Net website about 21 different ways to pray: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Prayer/2009/10/21-Ways-to-Pray.aspx
For the newer believer, this website, Church on the Net, has very good article on prayer: http://www.church-on-the-net.com/reference/waystopray.aspx
And sometimes, we need others around us to pray or to keep praying. The Pioneer Church from Michigan, has laid out these ideas for praying in groups: http://www.pmchurch.org/article/531/grow-groups/leader-resources/different-ways-to-pray
Finally, for those who would like to experience a more ritualized type of prayer, here is a wonderful guide: http://www.emptybell.org/articles/three-ways-to-pray.pdf
Read through one or two of these web articles and think about trying one of these types of prayer. How is this different from what you have always done? How did that feel? Did you have a new experience?

Ephesians 6:17-24

ShemaAnd finally, as we come to the end of this study and this book, there is one last direction:  pray. Do we pray? What hinders our prayer? Considering that prayer is a way to commune with the God of the Universe and we are promised access to God, why don’t we pray more than we do? I want to encourage you in this way: if you find yourself flying through the days without a word or thought or moment in silence, with your heart steered inward to God, then  pray, at the least, the Our Father. And if that is too much, then pray the Shema: “Hear, O Israel: the LORD is our God, the LORD is one.” It is a beginning.

Ephesians 6:10-24

 truth augustineIn Wikipedia, the essay on truth begins this way:
“Truth is most often used to mean in accord with fact or reality,or fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal.

The opposite of truth is falsehood, which, correspondingly, can also take on a logical, factual, or ethical meaning. The concept of truth is discussed and debated in several contexts, including philosophy and religion. Many human activities depend upon the concept, which is assumed rather than a subject of discussion, including science, law, and everyday life.

Various theories and views of truth continue to be debated among scholars and philosophers. Language and words are a means by which humans convey information to one another and the method used to recognize a “truth” is termed a criterion of truth. There are differing claims on such questions as what constitutes truth: what things are truthbearers capable of being true or false; how to define and identify truth; the roles that revealed and acquired knowledge play; and whether truth is subjective or objective, relative or absolute.

Many religions consider perfect knowledge of all truth about all things (omniscience) to be an attribute of a divine or supernatural being
.” [emphasis mine]

And so, this is my truth: God is Truth and God reveals truth to us through scripture, through nature, through revelation. However, even though God is “revealing” it to me every day, does NOT mean that I, using my limited human senses, always understand it.

In the end, we must all choose “what is truth”, because it is truth that girds the soul.

Ephesians 6:10-24

A Brave And Startling Truth by Maya Angelou

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

And when we come to it
To the day of peacemaking
When we release our fingers
From fists of hostility
And allow the pure air to cool our palms

When we come to it
When the curtain falls on the minstrel show of hate
And faces sooted with scorn and scrubbed clean
When battlefields and coliseum
No longer rake our unique and particular sons and daughters
Up with the bruised and bloody grass
To lie in identical plots in foreign soil

When the rapacious storming of the churches
The screaming racket in the temples have ceased
When the pennants are waving gaily
When the banners of the world tremble
Stoutly in the good, clean breeze

When we come to it
When we let the rifles fall from our shoulders
And children dress their dolls in flags of truce
When land mines of death have been removed
And the aged can walk into evenings of peace
When religious ritual is not perfumed
By the incense of burning flesh
And childhood dreams are not kicked awake
By nightmares of abuse

When we come to it
Then we will confess that not the Pyramids
With their stones set in mysterious perfection
Nor the Gardens of Babylon
Hanging as eternal beauty
In our collective memory
Not the Grand Canyon
Kindled into delicious color
By Western sunsets

Nor the Danube, flowing its blue soul into Europe
Not the sacred peak of Mount Fuji
Stretching to the Rising Sun
Neither Father Amazon nor Mother Mississippi who, without favor,
Nurture all creatures in the depths and on the shores
These are not the only wonders of the world

When we come to it
We, this people, on this minuscule and kithless globe
Who reach daily for the bomb, the blade and the dagger
Yet who petition in the dark for tokens of peace
We, this people on this mote of matter
In whose mouths abide cankerous words
Which challenge our very existence
Yet out of those same mouths
Come songs of such exquisite sweetness
That the heart falters in its labor
And the body is quieted into awe

We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines

When we come to it
We, this people, on this wayward, floating body
Created on this earth, of this earth
Have the power to fashion for this earth
A climate where every man and every woman
Can live freely without sanctimonious piety
Without crippling fear

When we come to it
We must confess that we are the possible
We are the miraculous, the true wonder of this world
That is when, and only when
We come to it.

Dig for truth inside of you. Where are you hiding it?

Ephesians 6:11-24

armor of god 2There are several “weapons” or tools identified in this passage. Which one is the most meaningful to you? For me, it is truth and my choice in this matter is reflected in my deeper questions. But we should all look at these elements and consider their place in our lives: Truth, Righteousness [right living], Peace, Faith, Trust and Submission to God [the essence of “salvation”], and Knowledge.

Ephesians 6:10-24

hear no evil pigs

 

Spiritual warfare is an internal activity. Do you see yourself as a warrior in this type of warfare or an observer?