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Praying for Stuff, part three

Psalm 73:9 

“Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.”

Prayer is easy. It’s not what you think. You don’t have to learn a Christian vocabulary in order to make God do what you want. Prayer isn’t about the struggle of getting God to do something. It’s the struggle of getting us to do what God wants.

Prayer is the communication of a parent and child. I came to this realization because I’m a parent. I’ve tried to be a good parent. My children have been raised to believe that they will be corrected and given appropriate consequences for their bad decisions and attitudes. I haven’t let them grow up thinking they can have anything they want and can do anything they want.

Psalm 73:9 is a description of the arrogant. They need correction because they think there is no consequence for their evil. This verse follows:

Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. They say, “How would God know? Does the Most High know anything?”

Prayer isn’t about getting. It’s about getting to know someone. Those who say, “How would God know?” don’t realize God’s listening.

Have you ever spoken about someone and then realized they were in the room. You realized that when they said, “I can hear you.” I think it would freak out people who use God’s name in vain if God would respond in their hearing, “I can hear you.”  

When you’re looking for stuff to add to your prayer list, consider asking God to grant repentance to those around you who fit the description of the arrogant. You know who they are. They’re the ones with the bad attitudes. According to Psalm 73:8, they “scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression.”

When you see the arrogant around you amassing their wealth and living like no consequence will ever affect them, remember to stay humble. Stay in communication with God, and stay obedient to him. He may ask you to speak to the arrogant, using helpful words.

Praying for Stuff, part two

Psalm 73:3 
“For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
Has anyone accused you of being “perfect”? Has anyone been thankful that you’ve been “real” with them?

Most true Christians are simply trying to be obedient to God. We don’t get it right all the time. God knows that. We know that. And our neighbors know that.

When you are asked to say the mealtime prayer at a family gathering, don’t be worried that you won’t live up to your relatives’ expectations. Don’t worry about getting your prayer “right”.

Be real, not fake. God knows you.

Maybe you’re not the richest person in your neighborhood. Maybe there are some real needs on your Christmas list. Don’t you think others envy your relationship with God? Isn’t that what should be happening? Others should desire to have a real relationship with God because of what they see in you.

If you have a good relationship with your neighbors, consider walking down the street and asking them if they want you to pray with them. Many of us feel a lot of stress because of the jumbled, frenzied schedules we have this time of year. Your neighbors are no different.

Some of your neighbors are concerned about many things and may welcome your prayers for them. Allowing them to join you in prayer is helpful in building their faith. Let them believe God’s word with you.

When you see your neighbors’ wealth and are tempted to wish you had all their stuff, remember to fight envy with compassion. Envy is from the fleshly part of you, but compassion is from the heart. According to Psalm 73:26, God is the strength of your heart.

We can ask God to speak through us to our neighbors. Without him, nothing good will happen. We can also take action on that prayer by choosing to be free of envy. That is a choice that will make room for God to work it out. As you listen for God’s direction this season, keep an obedient spirit.

This is one way to pray for stuff.

Praying for Stuff, part one

Psalm 73:25  
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
When Jesus was explaining to Martha in Luke 10:38-42 about her sister Mary’s priorities, he said, “few things are needed—or indeed only one”. If only one thing is needed, shouldn’t we desire that one thing? What is that one thing?

Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, getting to know God. Jesus said that the time she spent focusing on what was important will not be taken from her. Are you and I doing what Jesus considers important? Do we have the same priorities as Jesus?

What would Jesus tell you to pray for this Christmas?

I think Mary had the right idea. I think we should all pray to be closer to God.

However, we should never pray for something we aren’t willing to do something to get. If we pray for a promotion at work, then we should be willing to do what it takes to look like an acceptable candidate for that promotion. If we pray to be closer to God, we should be willing to change our priorities so something on the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book isn’t topping our list – and God a close 2nd.

Pray to be close to God, but take action by desiring God above all else.