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Kids Love to Pray Too because God Speaks!

February 20th, 2009

New Curriculum for Kids available!

Pebbles and Stones has three curriculum packages currently available for use with neighborhood groups, Para church organizations, families, and churches interested in the “intergenerational/journaling/listening/” approach that makes Pebbles and Stones uniquely beautiful in connecting people with our God. The packages include lessons based on the Pebbles and Stones model, an accompanying journal book. Each packet also contains a music CD with songs specific to the lessons and instrumental tracks for the group contemplative time. Please call or email us if you would like to talk to Kathleen about using one of these packages in your area of interest. Our new Introduction Packet has an overview of all three for you.

Kids Love to pray TOO! is based on Love to Pray by Dr. Alvin Vandergriend. The eight lessons are designed to encourage loving to pray. They lead to the conclusion that prayer is about the friendship between God and his children.

God Speaks: The Bible is full of stories about God’s friends who spent time with God, talking. God Speaks explores the various ways that God spoke through Adam and Eve, Abraham and others.

What to do next? Submit your prayer requests in our Prayers Requests Site.

Praying Backwards: Transform your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus’ Name

February 19th, 2009

Praying Backwards
Transform your Prayer Life by Beginning in Jesus’ Name
by Bryan Chapell
published by Baker Books 2005

{Phil’s underlines from reading Praying Backwards. . . }

How would your prayer change if you began where you normally end?

Often we focus on asking god to ease our worries and satisfy our wants before adding”in Jesus’ name” as an obligatory spiritual seasoning to make our petitions palatable to God.

But Jesus is not like a genie in a bottle whom we can command by invoking his name.

We ask for his blessing based on God’s wisdom, not ours. We trust in his faithfulness, not in the adequacy of our faith.
So why wait to the end of a prayer to tag on Jesus’ name?

When Jesus’ priorities come first, our prayers will change. They will be less self-oriented, more Christ-directed, more blessed, and ultimately most satisfying to our hearts.

Praying entire prayers in Jesus’ name profoundly alters our priorities and powerfully sends our requests to God.

Our prayers are not more powerful because we chant our Savior’s name like a magic spell. If we use Jesus’ name as some sort of spiritual incantation, then we fall into the error of the sorcerers in the book of Acts who thought that using Jesus’ name was just another way of saying “abracadabra” or “shazam” (see Acts 19:13-16).

Praying in Jesus’ name is automatically a confession our unworthiness and a proclamation of his worthiness.
…Prayer in Jesus’ name is not an incantation to make us worthy of divine attention; it is a confession that we are unworthy of even approaching God apart from the mercy and merits of our Savior. We pray in the name of Jesus to profess our need of him and to proclaim our trust in the provision of righteousness he made for us.

Praying backwards helps clarify the priorities of our prayers so that we can distinguish childish from mature petitions.
…pray backwards means we back away from making ourselves, our wishes, or our wants the primary concerns of our prayer. We always put the purposes of Jesus first. We echo in heart if not in actual words the attitude of the psalmist who prayed, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us but you your name be the glory” (Ps.115:1).

Praying in Jesus’ name requires seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness with the absolute trust that God will then add all that is best for us (Matt. 6:31-33).
..do not let anyone make you feel guilty or ashamed for praying as Jesus did in the Garden Gethsemane.

Prayer is more than a conversation with God.
Praying in Jesus’ name is not merely the postscript to a good prayer; it is the prelude to God’s providing the best of all things for his loved ones. Putting the name of Jesus first when we pray is not really praying backwards. Such prayer is actually putting first the purposes of the One whose glory and delight it is to give us the best of earth and heaven forever. By praying backwards, we always move forward with the assurance God will use whatever life brings for the Savior’s glory and our good. He can do no less than provide his best for those who offer prayer in Jesus’ name. Such prayer is our great privilege, power, and peace.

What to do next? Submit your prayer requests in our Prayers Requests Site.

Praying Together, Together

February 17th, 2009

A Symphony to God’s Heart
Francis Frangipane

During seasons of prayer, when congregations unite for intercession or groups meet in homes to appeal to God, it is important we stay united in Spirit, supportive and passionate with the goal of touching the heart of God. Even though we pray differently or come together with different styles or burdens, our unity plays an important dynamic in obtaining spiritual success.

For instance, when my wife and I pray together, I like to pack all the meaning I can into a couple sentences. I might pray a simple prayer, “Lord bless and fill my kids,” What I mean, is Lord touch them, forgive them, provide for them, guide them, use them and protect them. My prayer is like a “zip file.” It’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It appears small, but when God opens it up, there’s a lot of meaning in my prayer.

My wife’s prayers are longer than mine. She tells the Lord everything He needs to know about the kids, as though He were just meeting them for the first time. She explains what they need in life and offers suggestions to the Lord on how to get them into their future. She touches God’s heart because she is so compassionate about her children.

The main thing is, we agree with each other when we pray. We don’t judge each other. We listen and appreciate our different approaches and styles. Usually, when we are finished praying together, she will continue interceding alone. I can hear her in the background: “Lord, remind the boys to wash their bed sheets and help them to get enough sleep, and don’t let them eat junk food.” It’s okay, as their mother, she’s consumed by her love for them.

When we get together in a group at church, the same principles apply: we all agree with each other. It doesn’t matter if one person prays longer or with more detail than another. We pray for our nation along with other nations and their leaders. Some pray for the governmental leaders of nations; another might pray for gang leaders, while someone else will pray for business leaders. We’ll stand in repentance for the sins of our nation, asking God to forgive our national sins of pride, injustice and murder (especially concerning the unborn); we ask for mercy concerning our greed and national arrogance, and we ask for forgiveness for the immoral nature of much of our entertainment industry. We each may have a different burden or focus, but with passion we agree with one another’s prayer.

Jesus promised that whatever we agreed upon in prayer, it would be done for us by our heavenly Father (Matthew 18:19). Our agreement is as important as our prayer. It’s okay that we have different styles: I pace. A dear friend of mine rocks back and forth. Another karate chops the air. Yet, even though our styles are different, our hearts burn together in strong agreement.

Interestingly, the word agree as used in the Gospels was the Greek word sumphoneo. From it we get the English word symphony. In other words, God hears our prayers of agreement not so much as a tolerance of one another’s quirks, but as a symphony of passionate voices - each voice as a unique instrument, yet all participating in the same glorious song.

Beloved, let us stay in agreement when we pray. Avoid strife at all costs. Whether our expression is one of weeping or rejoicing, warring or worship, our prayer of agreement can be symphonic to the listening heart of God.

What to do next? Submit your prayer requests in our Prayers Requests Site.

The Power of Prayer

February 17th, 2009

God is the love that upholds the universe—the ocean of life and power that pervades all creation. Through scientific methods of prayer, we can consciously attune ourselves to that Infinite Power, and bring healing to body, mind, and spirit. The methods and principles described here may be used by anyone, regardless of religious affiliation, for they are based not on dogma or belief, but on application of universal laws.

Doubters regard prayer as a vague and ineffective exercise in wishful thinking. The ordinary person resorts to prayer only when in dire trouble and when all other options have failed. But Paramahansa Yogananda taught that true prayer is scientific — being based on precise laws that govern all creation — and is a daily necessity for harmonious living. He explained that our physical bodies and the material world we live in are condensations of invisible patterns of energy. That energy in turn is an expression of finer blueprints of thought — the subtlest vibration — which governs all manifestations of energy and matter. The whole of creation was brought into being by God first in thought or idea form. Then the Divine Consciousness willed those thought-patterns to condense into light and energy, and finally into the grosser vibrations of matter.

As human beings, made in the image of God, we are different from the lower forms of creation: we have the freedom to use these same powers of thought and energy. By the thoughts we habitually entertain and act upon, we create the circumstances in which our life unfolds. Scientific prayer is based on understanding of this truth, and on application of the universal forces of creation: It tunes in with God’s thought-patterns of health, harmony, and perfection — and then uses will power to channel energy to help materialize those patterns.

Prayer is the science by which we can attune the human mind and will to the consciousness and will of God. Through prayer, we form a loving, personal relationship with God, and His response is unfailing. We read in Paramahansa Yogananda’s autobiography:

“The Lord responds to all and works for all. Seldom do men realize how often God heeds their prayers. He is not partial to a few, but listens to anyone who approaches Him trustfully. His children should ever have implicit faith in the loving-kindness of their Omnipresent Father.”

By patient and persevering application of God’s unlimited power, we can, with His love and help, create whatever circumstances we desire, and dissolve difficulties and disease — not only for ourselves, but for others.

Sources: Worldwide Prayer Circle Booklet

What to do next? Submit your prayer requests in our Prayers Requests Site.