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Archive for the ‘On My Knees’ Category

O God of my Exodus,

Great was the joy of Israel’s sons, when Egypt died upon the shore,

Far greater the joy when the Redeemer’s foe lay crushed in the dust.

Jesus strides forth as the victor, conqueror of death, hell and all opposing might;

He  bursts the bands of death, tramples the powers of darkness down,

and lives forever.

He, my gracious surety,

apprehended for payment of my death,

comes forth from the prison house of the grave free,

and triumphant over sin, Satan and death.

Show me herein the proof that his vicarious offering is accepted,

that the claims of justice are satisfied,

that the devil’s scepter is shivered,

that his wrongful throne is levelled.

Give me the assurance that in Christ I died,

in Him I rose, in his life I live,

in his victory I triumph, in his ascension I shall be glorified.

Adorable Redeemer,

Thou who wast lifted up upon a cross

art ascended to highest heaven.

Thou, who as Man of sorrows wast crowned with thorns,

art now as Lord of life wreathed with glory.

Once, no shame more deep than thine,

no agony more bitter,

no death more cruel.

Now no exaltation more high,

no life more glorious,

no advocate more effective.

Thou art in the triumph car leading captive thine enemies behind thee.

What more could be done than thou hast done!

Thy death is my life,

thy resurrection my peace,

thy ascension my hope,

thy prayers my comfort.

From The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers

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In desperate times, people pray.

 

Certainly these are desperate times in Japan, in New Zealand, in Ivory Coast, in Congo, in Sudan, in Libya, in Bahrain… In fact, these are desperate times for our world.  With modern technology we are so interconnected that what happens in some far away place is not only known to us—it has impact on us.

 

We pray for safety and protection, for peace and resolution, for solutions and even miracles.  We pray because life is bigger than us, beyond our control.

 

I pray for these reasons.  And for others.  Here are a few of the things that drive me to my knees:

 

1. God  Himself desires fellowship with me!!!!!!!!! How can I turn that down!?!

 
2. I am so grateful for what God has done for me, so I respond to His love and desire to be with me.

 
3. I am desperate–in my own sinfulness, inadequacy, unworthiness. He is the only way to forgiveness and hope and purpose.

 
4. When I listen to Him–through His Word, in stillness and quietness–He lavishes love and grace and affirmation on me.  And gives me wisdom and guidance and courage.

 
5. The work of God is done on our knees. Then we go find out what happened.

 
6. The task of living the Christ-life is way beyond me–I must go to Him.

 
7. I have so many people I want Him to touch–I must keep bringing them to Him.

 
8. The world is so dark and lost.  He is the light and the way.

 
9. Satan is a roaring lion, seeking to devour, deceive, and destroy. He loves to go after God’s servants, and especially their children. I feel compelled to stand against him, and the best way to do that is kneeling.

 
10. I recognize my own total dependence on God for everything in my life and ministry. Prayer is the way I express that dependence and access His provision.

 
The needs and possibilities are so great that I find I pray about everything.  I must, as Paul instructs, pray without ceasing!

 
C 2011 Judy Douglass

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I love that many nations set aside a day to say “Thank You” to God, who continues to provide for us in remarkable ways.  I have decided to make sure I am reflecting on God’s goodness to me and my family, so 3 times a day during this upcoming Thanksgiving week I will thank God for one of the specific blessings He has given me.

Here is the list I have, though it is meager compared to God’s great generosity.  I’m sure I will be reminded of many more things to be thankful for and will be on my knees, even on my face, expressing my gratitude.

May you be blessed as you say “Thank You, Lord” for things like this:
1.    God’s relentless pursuit rescued me and redeemed me and restored me.
2.    God sings a love song to me, with one verse telling the good news that Jesus died to give me abundant and eternal life.
3.    God is God–sovereign, and God is good–always looking for ways to do good to me.
4.    When I was a foreigner and alien, God adopted me as a child in His own family.
5.    God remembers that I am dust, and has mercy on me.
6.    Jesus sent His Holy Spirit to live in me and remind me of all that He taught while He was here on earth.
7.    God gives mercy for the past, grace for the present and hope for the future.
8.    I have the most amazing, loving, Christ-like and fun husband in the world.
9.     I love having my delightful children and their spouses as friends!
10.     My grandchildren are beautiful, brilliant and so much fun.
11.     The Holy Spirit comforts, encourages, teaches and empowers—all that I need to live the Christ-life.
12.     The Father has extended an open invitation to talk with Him anytime—about what’s on my heart and His heart.
13.     I have a place to live, clothes to wear, food to eat–more than enough–so I can share with others.
14.     Truth that was embodied in Jesus is transforming my mind via the Spirit.
15.     God asked me to be His partner in building His Kingdom.
16.    I have good health that enables me to keep serving God all over the world!
17.    I get to work with remarkable people who love and follow Jesus.
18.     My church is filled with women and men who are seeking to be True Followers of our Savior.
19.    Many hard things/times in my life have caused me to throw myself completely into the loving arms of my Father.
20.    God doesn’t let me settle for the easy and comfortable, but always calls me to the MORE He has for me.
21.    As long as God leaves me here on earth, He still has a plan to use me to touch lives for Him.

Give thanks!

c2010 Judy Douglass

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I love the Puritan Prayers from The Valley of Vision. This one is a profound call to grasp my sinfulness and God’s grace.

 
O God of Grace,

 

Thou hast imputed my sin to my substitute,
and hast imputed his righteousness to my soul,
clothing me with a bridegroom’s robe,
decking me with jewels of holiness.

 

But in my Christian walk I am still in rags;
my best prayers are stained with sin;
my penitential tears are so much impurity;
my confessions of wrong are so many aggravations of sin;
my receiving the Spirit is tinctured with selfishness.

 

I need to repent of my repentance;
I need my tears to be washed;
I have no robe to bring to cover my sins,
no loom to weave my own righteousness;

 

I am always standing clothed in filthy garments,
and by grace am always receiving change of raiment,
for thou dost always justify the ungodly;

 

I am always going into the far country,
and always returning home as a prodigal,
always say, Father, forgive me,
and thou art always bringing forth the best robe.

 

Every morning let me wear it,
every evening return it in,
go out to the day’s work in it,
be married in it,
be wound in death in it,
stand before the great white throne in it,
enter heaven in it shining as the sun.

 

Grant me to never lose sight of
the exceeding sinfulness of sin,
the exceeding righteousness of salvation,
the exceeding glory of Christ,
the exceeding beauty of holiness,
the exceeding wonder of grace.

 

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I have the privilege of helping to lead an online prayer community for people who have loved ones who are wandering from God, being prodigals, making poor choices.  There is so much pain and loss.

 

Last night I wrote the letter below to our community.  You may not be living with a prodigal, but all of us have difficult events and eras in our lives that make it hard to say, “Thank You, Lord.”  May you be encouraged for whatever the challenge you might be facing.

 

Dear Lover of Prodigals,

It’s Thanksgiving.  For many of us, Thanksgiving is a hard time.  Because life with a prodigal can be so challenging, because fear often haunts us, because conflict can be a way of life in our homes—we find it difficult to be thankful.
But that is exactly what we need to do.  Give thanks.

 

God is so clear in Scripture:  Pray about everything, with thanksgiving.  In all things, give thanks.
Why does He say this?  How can we do it?

 

He says it because He knows giving thanks is the fastest way to change us.  When we say, “Thank You, Lord,” we are saying, “I believe You are God and I believe You are good.  It doesn’t feel like it right now, but I choose to believe it”

 

That step of faith and obedience does a couple of wonderful things.  It begins to change my focus.  Instead of centering on the pain caused by my prodigal, I center on God.  That changes so many things in my mind and my emotions.  I begin to experience peace in the midst of turmoil, hope when there seems to be none.

 

And in ways I don’t fully understand, it begins to open doors—sometimes just a crack, sometimes wide open—for God to work.   We begin to get glimpses of answers to our prayers, of more steps forward than backward, of new attitudes.  And occasionally of outright transformation.

 

So my encouragement to you this Thanksgiving season is to do just that:  Give thanks.

 

How?  Every day, name or write down at least one thing for which you are thankful about your prodigal.  Can’t think of any?  Then start with things in your own life and relationship with God.  Try adding one more specific “thank you” each day.  By Thanksgiving Day you would have named 10 different things you are grateful for.

 

But if one is all you can manage, God will gladly receive that.

I am grateful to God for you—that we can be on our knees together and hold each other up.

 

With love and gratitude,
Judy

 

If you are interested in our PrayerforProdigals.com community, click over and request an invite.

 

c 2010 Judy Douglass

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First I talked with Sarah (not her real name). Sarah’s husband was in prison for speaking the truth about Jesus. He and others were sentenced to five years in prison. It was appealed, but in the meantime, Sarah and her two children waited.

A stray tear rolled down her cheek as she told me that they were proud of their husband/father, but they miss him terribly. They were proud that he was sharing in the Lord’s suffering and telling others about Him. They were determined to keep their faith strong and continue to serve God. They were demonstrating real courage.

Then I met with Julia (not her real name). She too shed tears as we talked. She and her two children also missed their husband/father. He was murdered for speaking boldly about Jesus. They didn’t understand why this happened. The pain was humanly unbearable. But they knew he was a brave man who loved God. Julia was determined to continue in ministry—to honor her husband and to honor her Lord. Courage is a word that applies to her also.

My good friend Karen (not her real name) has spent most of her working life traveling to the places where believers are persecuted to tell their stories.  She exposes place after place, situation after situation, where Christ followers are arrested, tortured, discriminated against, even killed.  I marvel that she is still alive.  You can read these stories at www.compassdirect.org.

Please join me today–the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church–and every day in bringing these sisters and brothers before the Lord.  Their faith in Christ matters enough to them that they say, “Today I am prepared to die for Christ.”  Can we stand beside them on our knees?

Here is a great article to encourage your prayers, including a list of ways to pray: Praying for Persecuted Brothers and Sisters.

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I spend a lot of time on my knees lately. Three things seem to drive me there:

1. The work of God is done on our knees. Then we get up and go see what happened. The impossible task God has given us to build spiritual movements requires supernatural enabling.
2. Satan is a roaring lion, seeking to devour, deceive, and destroy. He loves to go after God’s servants, and especially their children. I feel compelled to stand against him, and the best way to do that is kneeling.
3. Increasingly I recognize my own total dependence on God for everything in my life and ministry. Prayer is the way I express that dependence and access God’s provision.

The need for and importance of prayer has pushed me also to do a lot more study of prayer—in the Word, in books on prayer, in the lives of prayer warriors through the centuries, and of course in the teachings and life of Jesus.
Though there are conditions, approaches and models that imply depth and complexity, at its essence prayer is a conversation with God. With that as a starting point, God gave me a simple acrostic to guide me in my praying: TALK.

T—Tell the truth. I need to be honest with God. I need to tell Him my true feelings, desires, fears, etc. He already knows it all, of course, but He desires that I worship Him in spirit and in truth.
A—Ask boldly. God invites me to boldly come into His presence and ask for what I need and desire. He says we don’t have because we don’t ask. Of course, He wants me to come in humility, with thanksgiving, in Jesus’ name. But He tells me to ask.
L—Listen. He wants to be a part of the conversation. He will speak through His Word, in my worship, with a still, small voice. But be assured—He has something to say if I will listen.

K—Keep at it. He exhorts me to keep on asking. Don’t give up. I often wish that weren’t necessary—I feel like giving up way too often. But He seems to have great character-building purposes in persevering prayer.
There is so much more to prayer. I’m definitely still learning. Won’t you join me? Let’s get on our knees and talk to our Father.

c Judy Douglass  2010

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I don’t pray because I should.  I pray because I have to.
That is, I am so desperate and needy for God that I have to seek Him with all my being.  Which leads me try to have a prayer retreat every few months.  I need focused TIME with God.

I started out with weekends, but the older I get, the more I need.  Now I’m up to 4-6 days.  So do I pray for 4-6 days?  All day, every day?  Yes and no.  Let me explain.

I almost always go to the beach.  I love the sound of the waves, watching the waves, walking on the beach, and I have several friends with beach houses they loan to me–all within an hour away.

My days are mostly the same:  Mornings (and maybe into the afternoon) are for time in the Word, praying, walking on the beach, listening to God, writing in my journal.  Afternoons would often be writing or working on a message.  Evenings are for reading—which I love but rarely have time for.

Prayer walks are really a good way to break it up–people probably think I’m crazy as I carry on conversations with “no one.”  At least they can’t hear me over the waves.

Alternating time in the Word, praying, reading and walking help to keep me from getting bored or falling asleep.

The focus is different each day.  The first day is always focused on me and the Lord.  I try to listen to what He wants to say to me.  I tell Him all that is on my mind and heart.

On day 2 I focus on my family—spending deep and extended time bringing them before the Lord.  Sometimes I write a blessing for one or two of them.

Day 3 is for those in my immediate sphere:   staff and their families, prayer teams, friends, church.  And Day 4 is for the rest of the world.  If I get another day, I just keep going or I focus on specifics the Lord leads me to.  And if the Lord leads in another direction, it can all change.

I usually fast for 1-3 of the days, depending on different things.  That adds an additional depending-on-the-Lord dimension.

These are not rules—there is no required structure.  Having a plan helps me get the most out of the time, but flexibility is key to hearing from the Lord and enjoying the time.

I often get asked how I can be alone for that long.  Well, I’m an introvert in an extrovert job, so this time alone is essential for my recharging and refreshing.  Do I get afraid being alone?  No.  I have others things I get fearful of—going over high bridges, for one–but being alone at the beach is not one of them.

These days are treasured time for long conversations with my Lord,  hearing from God, asking Him for what is on my heart, reading, reflecting, refreshing.    Highlights of my life!

c Judy Douglass

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Probation.

One of the best things that happened to our son was to be put on probation for two years for a minor incident.  The consequences were much greater than the offense.
But it was an answer to prayer that we could never have anticipated.  We had prayed that he would receive some real-life accountability for some of his poor choices in his late teens.  Two years of probation put the fear of jail in him.  Every time he was tempted to make another bad choice, he stopped to think about the possibility of getting caught.

That was one of many answers to prayers prayed on a June 2 Worldwide Day of Prayer for Prodigals.  For the past five years, every June 2, hundreds of people from around the world have joined together in a day of prayer for those who are walking away from God.

The objective of this day is to come together before God to petition Him for the redemption, restoration, deliverance of those we love. Most often these prodigals are our children, but they might also be grandchildren, a spouse, parents, relatives, friends, coworkers or anyone we care about.
Our theme this year is By the Spirit.  In the weeks leading up to June 2, we are looking at the many ministries Jesus foretold for the Holy Spirit in chapters 14-16 of John.  His role as comforter, encourager, truth and many others all strengthen us in our difficult journeys as well as help us pray for our wanderers.

You can join us.  We are compiling a list of first names for whom prayer has been requested, which will be posted on our Prayer for Prodigals site.  You can submit as many names for prayer as you desire.  Feel free to tell many others about this special day. In just five years this has grown to include thousands of pray-ers around the world.
You don’t have to join our prayer community to pray, or to submit names.  But to access the list, to post specific requests or to browse through our many resources, you will need to join PrayerforProdigals.com.
For June 2, you can download and print out the list of hundreds of first names. Specific requests will be available at the Prayer Center, but we will use this list on this day. You can pray by yourself or gather with others in your church or neighborhood. You can pray for all the list or a few of the list. You can pray for an hour, several hours or all day. You can choose to fast or not.
Whether or not you have a prodigal in your life, I hope you will join us in praying for the return of those on a destructive path.  And if you do love a prodigal, you will find encouragement and help and hope in our community.
Come to www.PrayerforProdigals.com or write us at prayerforprodigals@gmail.com.

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This beautiful Puritan prayer from The Valley of Vision gives a powerful picture of all that Jesus gave and endured at Calvary, and all His death gained for us.

LOVE LUSTRES AT CALVARY

My Father,
Enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips,
Supply words that proclaim ‘Love lustres (shines) at Calvary.’

There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on thy Son,
Made a transgressor, a curse and sin for me;
There the sword of thy justice smote the man, thy fellow;
There the infinite attributes were magnified,
and infinite atonement was made;
There infinite punishment was due,
and infinite punishment was endured.

Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
cast off that I might be brought in,
trodden down as an enemy that I might be welcomed as a friend,
surrendered to hell’s worst that I might attain heaven’s best,
stripped that I might be clothed,
wounded that I might be healed,
athirst that I might drink,
tormented that I might be comforted,
made a shame that I might inherit glory,
entered darkness that I might have eternal light.

My Savior wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,
groaned that I might have endless song,
endured all pain that I might have unfading health,
bore a thorny crown that I might have a glory-diadem,
bowed his head that I might lift up mine,
experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,
closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness,
expired that I might live forever.

O Father, who spared not thine only Son that thou mightest spare me,
all this transfer thy love designed and accomplished;
help me to adore thee by lips and life.

O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise,
my every step buoyant with delight,
Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed,
sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood,
hell’s gates closed, heaven’s portals open.

Go forth, O conquering God, and show me
the cross, mighty to subdue, comfort and save.

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