One of my motivations to pay attention in high school English was when my sophomore teacher told our class: “There will times in your life when you’ll want to sound educated. There are times when you want to sound like you have some sense.” I didn’t like people thinking I was an uneducated fool (even if I was then…and maybe, still a little bit). This is true in the lives of most people. Usually, it doesn’t matter how you talk. But, once in awhile, you want to sound all “educated-like.”
Have you ever been to a church where when the people pray out loud they sound grandiose and eloquent? Let me tell you this:
If you are approaching God, try to sound eloquent, then stop it…and be yourself.
God doesn’t care. Praying is just conversing with God. It’s talking. You’re not all formal and smooth-tongued when you talk to your spouse, or your friends. You just talk! Normally. That’s what prayer is. There are no special words, no special phrases, no special rules.
There are no requirement to pray to God. No membership fees. Here’s exactly how to do it: Open mouth. Speak words. Wait for answers.
Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and he will hear my voice. Psalm 55
Do you spend your Sundays watching NFL football? I am constantly amazed at the speed of the game. A quarterback has literally seconds to decide who to pass to. Some of the rookies with bad offensive lines have to just take the ball and heave it…get rid of it as fast as possible, or they end up getting sacked.
Life is like that sometimes. You have to make decisions so quickly you barely have time to think. How do you go about making those decisions? The fast ones. You might try running every decision through the 10/10/10 test. What’s that you ask? It’s taking a minute to consider: How will I feel about this choice in 10 minutes, 10 days, and 10 years from now? In other words, what are the immediate consequences, the near future consequences, and the long term consequences of what I’m about to do.
God can help you there. He knows your future. Pray about that decision. One of those arrow prayers that you just shoot up to God quickly because the decision has to be made now. He’ll still honor that prayer. He’ll let you know if you’ll be at peace with the choice in 10 minutes…in 10 days…in 10 years.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29
Making those quick decisions is not easy, but by praying and using the 10/10/10 test, you can be more at peace about what you choose to do. Try it.
Life can come undone. It can unravel. And it can happen in a flash. In the morning you walk out the door and everything’s okay. But, by evening you don’t know where you’re going to turn or how you’re going to make it. Are you looking for some hope? The dictionary definition of hope is “a feeling of expectation for a certain thing to happen.” Yet, you want more than just a feeling. You want the hope that’s described in this Emily Dickinson poem:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops—at all.
A hope that enters your soul and “never stops.” Never stops. At all.
Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. Romans 12
That’s the kind of hope that’s offered by God. In the verse above it says “rejoice in our confident hope.” Rejoice. Be glad. Be thrilled. Be elated. Be euphoric. Man, be on cloud 9! Because you have hope, and not just hope, but “confident hope.” Sure, certain, positive, no doubt hope! And how do you make it through those times when you’re falling apart? Be patient. Keep praying. God will listen and he will get you through it. Maybe he’ll console you, comfort you. Maybe he’ll connect you to a person who can help you. I can’t tell you exactly how, but he will.
Sometimes life is exhausting. Where do you get relief? There’s hope. Confident, assured hope that takes up residence deep in your soul. And sings without words. And never stops. At all.
And when things have gotten straightened out again…here’s how you’re gonna feel!!!