A recurring theme in my life: I talk about doing things more than I actually do them.
Currently, I do this with prayer. It’s this ‘I need to pray more’ statement that keeps circling my thoughts but never seems to land. I know God is nudging me to focus on this spiritual discipline. But, I find myself distracted and challenged to invest the time.
And the more I think about needing to pray, the more I feel like I’ve actually prayed! It’s crazy! But, isn’t this true of so many things? How about exercise? We tell ourselves that we need to exercise so much that we convince our subconscious we’ve already done it. This is deception at it’s finest!
James 1:22 tells us, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Ok, I get it. Quit talking about it. Just do it. Follow through. Be intentional. Plan. Live on purpose.
Every new year, we all begin with grandiose ambitions about what we want to accomplish, what we hope will happen throughout the year and how we wish to change. But more often than not, we quit halfway through.
Why is this?
Why is it that our greatest intentions become our biggest struggles or disappointments?
Here’s where I fall short. I try to “do it” in my own power. Whatever the “it” is; praying, eating healthy, serve more, speak kindly, love better, stop yelling at my kids.
But do you want to hear some AMAZING news? God never intended us to live a life of obedience in our own strength and power! Yay, God! He knew we’d fail. He knew we’d fall short-way short sometimes. He looked upon us with compassion and love and when he said he’ll never leave us or forsake us, he meant it! He knows I have great intentions, and a pitiful ‘follow through-er’. So, he knows I want to pray, he also knows I can’t do it in my own strength for very long. But at the end of me, is where His strength begins.
In Acts 1, the disciples were listening to Jesus after his resurrection. They had to be wondering, “Ok, what now?” They asked Jesus, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”(v. 6)
Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Then he left them.
Acts 2 tells us that when Pentacost came they were all together in one place. With wind and fire…”All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”
As the Spirit enabled them.
All we want to do or attempt to accomplish, as in the words of Solomon, are “meaningless” without God’s power.
I certainly am not saying that making plans and striving to achieve them is meaningless. Creating goals and plans is imperative for a well-lived life. However, much of my planning, doing, and striving are devoted to my own desires and wishes, not giving much effort into searching God’s will and plans for my life.
My verse for this year is Matt 6:33, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be given to you.”
I tend to do the planning and thinking, before I do the seeking and praying.
Do you want to stop feeling powerless to change your life and see lasting transformation? Do you want peace and a rest from your striving?
God is showing me I am lacking in two of the most important spiritual disciplines: prayer and meditation.
2 Powerful Ways To Change Your Life
- Prayer. Prayer is nothing more than communication with God. It was meant to be an ongoing conversation. However, much of the time, I’m the only one talking. I tend to use way to many words. The Bible instructs us to ‘pray without ceasing’. I see this as a daily humble dependence on God’s grace.
What is God telling me? Stop talking. Use less words. Less of everything-really. Strip away all that is unnecessary. Listen for the whisper of God’s voice. Away from all the distractions. Talking to God is important, but so is being quiet.
In Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”
- Meditation. To think intently and at length on God’s word. I read the Bible. Probably more inconsistently than I’d like. I know it’s important to memorize scripture. But I’ve never put forth much effort into it. For me, it’s always… “somewhere in Ephesians I think it says something like this.” Not exactly what God had in mind.
In Old Testament times they didn’t have the written word. It was ALL memorized! So what’s the difference today? My mind is too full, too cluttered. So, how can I give my mind a rest? Fill it with the words and messages of God.
Isa 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”
What is God telling me? If you want change, peace and a mental rest, meditate on my word. Pick a verse a week to memorize and believe. Stop reading everything else right now and read the Bible only. Oh…I’ve been battling this one.
I love to read but I need to love to read God’s word more. I’m not telling YOU to stop reading. And I sure hope God isn’t telling me to stop reading books. But for now, it’s about emptying my mind of all the unnecessary clutter and filling it with His truth and peace.
Through prayer and meditation we unleash the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for it!
Joshua 1:8 (NLT) “Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written inn it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. This is my command-be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”