The Blessed Space of Prayer

When Solomon took the throne to lead God’s people, he found himself in a dream hearing the voice of God. God told Solomon, “Ask what I shall give you.”

Solomon responded to this invitation by recalling that God had been generous with him in the past. This dream for Solomon became an opportunity for Solomon to remember the gracious God that was blessing him and the people of Israel. He knew of the steadfast love of the Lord because of the witness of his father David. From hearing the psalms and prayers of David, Solomon learned that the God that created the heavens and the earth is our Lord. Our Lord leads us with steadfast love and care.

When we pray to God, we are responding to the invitation of God to call upon him. In Psalm 50 we read that the Lord invites us to call upon Him in our day of trouble and trust  that He will deliver us. Indeed the name of the Lord is glorified when we call upon Him in our joys and sorrows. Our Lord is alone the one true God to whom our prayers ascend.

Solomon did not pray for long life or riches. Solomon had a long perspective on his relationship with God. Solomon may live a long or short life. He may be rich or poor. No matter the circumstances of his own life, Solomon wanted God to equip him to lead the people. Solomon prayed, “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”

Solomon prayed that the Lord would equip him to do his job. Solomon did not perceive his throne as an opportunity for people to serve him. Solomon trusted that the Lord was placing him upon the throne to serve people. Solomon trusted that his life was blessed by God so that he could be a blessing to other people.

I believe that in our prayers we can be confident that God has invited us to seek from him wisdom, an understanding mind, so that we may be equipped to serve the people that God has placed into our lives.

The ability to seek the blessings of God in our prayers comes from the confidence that we have a gracious God whose steadfast love will embrace us daily. If you find the blessed space of prayer difficult for you to step into, I invite you to step into that space with trust in the steadfast love of the Lord. Do not step into prayer with confidence in your own works or merit. You and I do not earn the ability to approach God. Our prayers are not withdrawals from a treasure of our own good works. Prayer, conversation with God, builds on the merits of Jesus Christ. The blessed space of prayer is built on the foundation that our Lord God is gracious and merciful. If I live a long or short life, I can trust the Lord will equip me this day for what the Lord has placed into my hands.

Friend of God

John 15:9-17 reminds me that I am not a servant or slave to a capricious God who moves me around like a puppet. I am not in the dark about God’s purposes in my life.

I am a friend of God. Jesus reminds me, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)

I think it is amazing that He lays His life down for me and calls me a friend.

Getting Dressed for Marriage

I am preparing a wedding sermon for Friday afternoon. The text of Scripture is Colossians 3:12-17.

Paul tells the people that they are chosen, holy and beloved and they should put on the clothing that God has given them in Christ Jesus.

When I  got dressed for my wedding, I don’t know if I was ready to get dressed for the marriage? I know that the tux I wore at my wedding was rented and I returned it back to the store. So for my marriage I have had to wear something else besides that tux.

I can try to put on different clothing, but it seems that when I pick out what to wear it doesn’t always match, it wears out, gets dirty. I find myself overdressed or underdressed for the occasions. My fashion sense in marriage is skewed often by my own arrogance.

Instead of putting on bitterness, frustration, score-keeping, or arrogance, I rejoice that God has chosen me to wear a perfect wardrobe of compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. I am glad that I can look at what my wife is wearing bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven me.

In Jesus my wife and I are dressed for marriage. We sometimes begin the day wearing the wrong clothes, but God is full of unconditional love and care for us. We turn away from our clothes and we put on the clothes of love that we have been given in Christ Jesus.

Getting dressed for marriage does not involve a lot of fittings at the dress shop. Getting dressed for marriage involves letting the word of Christ dwell in us richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom.