Prayer

Interesting question came across my radar last week. Ashton was in a room full of worship leaders for a nationwide series of summer camps. For 8 weeks they will be leading the same songs, doing the same things, week after week. Her question:

What advice would you give to us on how to remain renewed and refreshed every week? How do we not get into a cycle? Even when it is week 4 for us and we have sung the same songs every week… how do we fight that?

It’s a valid question, and the Fuge worship leaders aren’t the only ones who face it. The truth is, everybody in spiritual leadership has the task of “handling the holy things” week in and week out. Ashton’s “holy things” may be music and microphones. Yours may be a Bible or a lesson plan. Someone else’s may be the routine schedule of meetings you attend or lead. Regardless, Christians gathered in the name of Christ for any reason have an occasion to invite and expect His presence.

Until we don’t.

Until we drift into a routine or rut – what Ashton calls a “cycle.”

Now it’s time for this. Next – that. Then back to this. Then the other.  Before long, not only can we get bored with the whole thing, we telegraph that boredom to the very people we’re supposed to be leading.  As a result, the “gospel” no longer feels like “good news” and we lose our sense of wonder and gratitude.

(If that sound a lot like your Sunday morning experience, I’m sorry. But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to remain that way.)

My response to Ashton was one of those things that startled me with how fast it came. (That’s usually a sign that I didn’t originate the answer.)  The key to avoiding the rut:  Play, Stay, Away, and Pray. [click to continue…]

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Christmas 2016

As your heart gathers around memories of Christmases past and delights of Christmas present, as the busyness and stillness collide in something called “holiday,” I pray that like all those involved in the first Christmas, this would be a day of wonder for you.

I pray you would embrace joyfully the beauty of mystery – knowing that the mysterious is a cousin to the miraculous – and you are gloriously free from being able to explain everything in 140 characters or having to control any and every outcome. [click to continue…]

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Clasped hands on troubled man

It was the revival that almost never was.  It took place in New York City, back in the late 1800s.  By then the Salvation Army, under the leadership of William Booth in England, was becoming a global force.  Two young officers had been dispatched to the U.S. to establish a work in New York, and nothing was working. Frustrated and tired, facing nothing but hostility and opposition, they sent a telegram to “the General,” requesting that he close the mission.

They received a two-word reply:  “TRY TEARS.”

They did. [click to continue…]

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My 2015 Christmas Prayer for You

by Andy Wood on December 25, 2015

in Prayers

Lubbock Christmas Card

As the night gives way to glorious light and the angels declare the glory of God as they war –

As wise men pursue a heart of worship and shepherds share the good news of great joy for all time and eternity…

As jealous kings and underlings cling to power and the world still groans with sighs of the taxed and moves along mindlessly…

I pray for you to the God who can still make the darkest of skies a canvass for His glory on this day. [click to continue…]

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Disappointment Prayer

“If only I could see them again.”

Night and day he thought about that.

Obsessed about it.

Prayed and prayed and prayed for it – night and day and night and day.

“Please, God, let me see them again.”

God had other plans.

Again, he asked – night and day and night and day, he asked.

Please God, let me see them again.”

God had other plans.

I should point out that as well as anybody can know the motives of the heart, his intentions were honorable. He didn’t want any of their money. He wasn’t fishing for a stroke to his ego. He wasn’t needy or, best I can tell, all that lonely. But he was anxious, if not desperate, for more face time with these people.

Why?

Because on their last encounter, there were some missing pieces that were left hanging. And these people were in a vulnerable spot. They just needed more time together, and he knew if only he could get back there, his concerns could be resolved. It would be a win-win for everybody. Couldn’t the Lord see that?

Apparently not. He had… well, you know. [click to continue…]

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Stand at Sunset

God grant me serenity to call the impossible, possible with You,

Vision to see the achievable in obviously-hopeless situations,

And wisdom to discern the difference.

Give me faith to boldly ask You for the unthinkable, [click to continue…]

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Rainstorm Prayer

Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7, NET).

It’s one thing to be prayerless and anxious.

You can pray, though, and still be anxious. [click to continue…]

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Woman Sitting Down in Prayer Silhouette

If you ask God to do something and he doesn’t – or hasn’t yet – what’s your next move?

Assume the answer is a permanent “no”?

Ask again, but stop at that magical number of three?

Give up praying altogether because you’re disappointed? Maybe there’s another way. [click to continue…]

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CelebrationThink fast…

When was the last time you asked the Lord to do something for you and He graciously did it?

Think faster…

Why did He do that?

Sorry for being presumptuous, but let me guess at some typical think-fast answers…

  • Because He loves me.
  • Because I asked.
  • Because He said He would.
  • Because He wanted to (it was “His will”)

I’m sure there are more, and I’m quite sure that whatever you came up with has at least some measure of truth in it. But I’m not sure we’ve landed on the ultimate prize.

Slow down your thinking a little and read this carefully (the emphasis is mine): [click to continue…]

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Dusk shilouette

The promise is so simple, so straightforward and true, it’s easy to dismiss it.

“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

What if He meant just what He said? What if the circumstances and signals all around you were echoing the same refrain? Maybe it’s time to take Him up on His promise…

When it seems as though you’re arguing with everybody in sight, it’s time to draw near.

When you’re lost in a war of wills, and it feels as though the whole world is pushing against you, it’s time to draw near.

When you life is a continuous array of unacceptable disappointments, it’s time to draw near.

When divorce or disowning is not an option, but murder is looking pretty good, it’s time to draw near. [click to continue…]

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