Heart of Refuge

Unveiling The Hidden Beauty Of Your Heart

Category: Prayer

God’s Best Kept Secret ~ Lorraine Spence

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Image from Lorraine Spence

I have often heard it said “I am not called to prayer” well I would like to challenge that comment as I don’t know where that comes from or what would make any believer even believe such a ridiculous theory. Well if there is one thing we are ALL called to is PRAY so hopefully by the time you have finished reading this you will realise that we are ALL, including you called to pray.  Real prayer is a 2-way activity, which consist of speaking and listening, not the type where you come to God with your list of I wants, Matthew 6:33 tells us to ‘see you first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added’. Real prayer is, praying the heart & the will of God, Matthew 6:10 ‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done’ Luke 22:42 ‘nevertheless not my will but Thine will be done’.

There are approximately 650 prayers in the bible and the actual word pray is mentioned over 300 times (KJV), that’s right, that alone should let you know how important prayer is to every believer and your relationship with the Father. Prayer or praying should be the most natural action every ‘born again’ believer should participate in regardless of their position or title, whether you serve in ministry or not, whether it’s congregational, group or alone, whether it’s in church or out of church – prayer is key.

Did you know that babies say their first words roughly at about 6 months and string together their firs 6 or so words by about 18 months? So I’ll just about give you the first 6 months to find your feet and adjust to the change, but after that you should definitely be speaking to the Father on a daily basis. There is absolutely no excuse not to develop a consistent prayer life as it is an integral part of your development and relationship with God. Imagine for a moment that you have a child which never cries, speaks or interacts with you in any way, what would you do? I know for a fact you would not just sit here and accept it, no you’d probably rush to the doctor’s surgery or to the baby clinic looking for answers, not only that what, what would you say to family and friends? Surely not “my child is not required to react or communicate with me”. This wouldn’t prevent you from loving your child and neither does it prevent God from loving you, but you would long for the interaction, as does God.

The dictionary describes prayer as ‘a solemn request for her or an expression of thanks’ well that is pretty sad because prayer is so much more. Prayer is how we interact with God, how we communicate, how we build our relationship and see Him as our father. Without interaction through prayer a real meaningful relationship cannot be properly cultivated or developed. The bible tells us in Luke 18:1 men ought always to pray, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to ‘pray without ceasing, James 5:26 tells us the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man avails much, in Matthew 6:9 – 23 Jesus instructs the disciples how to pray and again in Luke 11:1 the disciples even though having spent a lot of time with Jesus, were asking Jesus to teach them how to pray. So having read this do you still believe that you are not called to pray?

 

Lorraine’s Bio

Born 2nd of 4 children of Jamaican parentage, I grew up in an area
what was considered quite suburban. I grew up going to the local
Baptist church with my siblings where we were taught all the bible
stories and basic prayer.  I wasn’t taught anything about the gift of
Salvation nor my need for it. I remember about a year or so before I
gave my life to the Lord having a ‘strange’ desire to go to church & I
didn’t know why, nor did I know my life was about to change – forever.

I gave my life to the Lord aged 28, on my 2nd visit to a local
Pentecostal church & have not looked back since. It was at Alpha &
Omega Christian Fellowship where I discovered prayer & naturally
gravitated towards it. I used to listen to the Pastor & the older
church members pray and with all my heart wanted to be able to pray
like them. so I started to attend prayer meetings & arrive at church
extra early, the same time as the ‘Prayer Warriors’ (yeah that’s what
they were called) so I could join in the prayer. I was recommended a
book called The Joy of Prayer by Larry Lea, after reading this book I
was well & truly hooked. My desire is to see all nations come back to God through the power of prayer & intercession.

I currently serve as team leader of an Intercessory prayer team. I
love to train people & help them develop their  God given gifts but
more so help ‘believers’ understand that their natural should be
‘supernatural’ & this is possible through understanding the Word of
God & relationship with God through the Holy Spirit via prayer.

 

Do you have idols in your Heart?

www.1stfreewillbaptist.church/media/sermon-archive.html

Ezekiel 14:4-5       Colossians 3:5     Isaiah 44:9-20     Leviticus 4:19         Psalms 16:4 

As Christians it is so important for us to do consistent heart checks on our selves so that we do not allow idols to form in our heart. An idol is anything that takes the place of God in our heart.

Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines an idol as  “a picture or an object that is worshipped as a god”.

There are so many things that can be constituted as an idol such as our families, jobs, money, worries and cares, needs and desires and even our self.

In Tim Keller’s book “Counterfeit God’s: The empty promises of money, sex and power and the only hope that matters”, makes a powerful statement about “heart idols” in today’s society. He states that

…….Life only has meaning or I only have worth if …..

  1. I have power over others (power idolatry)
  2. I am loved and respected by …….. (approval idolatry)
  3. People are dependant on me and need me (helping idolatry)
  4. I have a particular kind of look or body image (image idolatry)
  5. I have a certain level of wealth, financial freedom and very nice possessions (materialism idolatry)

These are statements that we may have said or thought at one time or another. Do we secretly feel discontentment take root in our heart because we crave “nice things” and feel resentful about not having them. Materialism is not  necessarily about having nice things it is also about craving them. The discontentment can also prove to be an idol in our heart.

Ezekiel 14:4 the word “setteth up”  translates to transcend, to be high, to mount, arise up, to cast upward and to offer up. It also carried the connotation of an upward movement or an ascension to a higher place.

After reading this can you think for a moment and ask yourself the question, when I come to God in prayer do I come based on the multitude of idols in my heart?  Does  bitterness, unforgiveness, malice, pride or my own self importance occupy my heart more than who God is to me?

I try to check my heart daily  and clear my heart iof anything that wants to exalt itself greater than my father. It is not always an easy process but it can be done and must be done because in the end these things destroy and the things of God will always build.

Take a moment now and check your heart and prayerfully ask God to show you any idol or idols you may  have that is competing with HIM in your heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The President of the United States of America – The Pressures

obama1Living in London and observing what is currently going on in The United States has made me consider what it  must be really like being the President.

The daily pressure and extreme scrutiny from media outlets and social media must be excruciating. Not to mention the pressure from groups lobbying for their causes, national and personal security, international affairs, daily consistent criticism and the daily threats from opposing factors at home and abroad. What a workload! Of course he has a team around him to help carry the weight but the overall responsibility is his and his alone.

Barack Obama has set a precedent with the use of social media in terms of using it at grass root levels to gather support and momentum for his campaigns and it has worked well. He has broken so many barriers the first being the first African American to become president.

But I always wonder behind his great smile and charisma what are his pressures and challenges that we don’t see. When he leaves his day job and retreats to his private quarters, what pressing issues trouble him the most? The secrets he has to carry must be a burden.

I was watching Sky news last night and a news pundit stated that they did not like his policies but they admired the way he has stood up underneath the pressure of the job. The pressures and stress comes with the  territory.

It’s easy to criticise but how would you cope with the daily responsibility of approximately four hundred million people not including those abroad, trying to make  decisions for the best and being a fair representative for all the people. Not easy! The decisions made may go against his personal convictions but because of the nature of the job and the people his represents he has to make them.

Some of us manage small teams in the work place and have to balance out the team needs. How would you feel managing a few hundred million people and the fact that they all want something from you? What happens when you don’t deliver?

The bible encourages us to pray for those in authority.  If you are someone that prays lets pray for our leaders and their families on a regular basis because they are under pressures that we would never in a million years understand.

1st Timothy 2:1 – 2a

“… I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings

and all who are in authority…”

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Sow in Tears Reap in Joy

Nearly all of us at one time or another have shed tears about situations or people close to our heart. Our tears are a reflection from the overflow of pain.

Pslams 126:5 says “They that sow in tears shall reap in Joy”. The bible also says that God shall wipe all tears from our eyes. When the reaping season comes our tears of pain and anguish will be wiped away and replaced with tears of Joy.

Your tears are never wasted they ascend to God as a living memorial of your request to him. Psalms 56:8 says that God collects our tears and keeps them in a bottle. Can you imagine the amount of bottles God has and yet he is intimate with each tear drop in each bottle.

Do you remember the tears of anguish Hannah cried to God in 1st Samuel chapter 1? She desperately wanted a child and the chapter states that she was in “bitterness” of soul about her longing.

What ever situation you have lifted up to God in prayer, your tears of sorrow will be turned to tears of Joy. Continue to cast that burden up to God, release your heart to him in prayer because he has you and the situation you are going through in his hand. He has promised to never leave you or forsake you. He has said that his name is written in the palm of his hand.

The Lord is your glory and the lifter of your head (Pslam 3:3). Be encouraged dear heart for The Lord himself is your refuge and strength. Your time to reap is around the corner.

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