How to Pray as the Spirit Leads

Jesus tells us we don’t pray as we ought to at the very beginning of his ministry (Matt 6:5-18).  But, thanks to Pentecost and the descending of the Holy Spirit, we now have direct access to the Father through the Spirit who is continually interceding on our behalf. (Romans 8:26)

People pray all of the time.  We pray for little things, we pray for big things, we pray when people are sick, we pray when we don’t have enough money, we pray when we feel we need something and God doesn’t seem to be providing.

“The Lords Prayer” is a simple version of trusting and relying on God for the bigger things.  And it’s quoted daily and weekly by different groups of people.

Are you praying that prayer for ritual?  Are you praying in the Spirit? Are you meaning every word as you say it?  Do you even know what that prayer means?

What does praying in the Spirit look like?

Is it in tongues? Is it quietly in a closet where no one can see? Is it knelt down in mass together for meaningless repetition of Scripture references turned into prayers?

Praying as led by the Spirit is simply a quiet heart before God, and open ears ready to listen as He moves in your heart.  And it can be in any setting you’re apart of, whether you’re in a prayer group, or in church, your heart and mind are open to pray as the Spirit directs.  While everyone else is chattering on in tongues, or while everyone else is ritualistically repeating words written over 500 years ago, even in the middle of a crowded sidewalk, you can stop and pray as the Spirit leads.

People say, “The Holy Spirit is always with us, we don’t have to ‘invite’ him to join us.” But this is not true.  Inviting the Holy Spirit to join you is an intimate experience that invites people to encounter God.  Being entirely directed by the Holy Spirit gives God room to move as He wills, and when God is on the move, hearts are changed, lives are reached, needs are met.

The Church of Acts had everything in common, because the Holy Spirit was in their midst and they were open and willing to be used by God, to worship God, to spread the message of Jesus Christ, and to help each other out as they had need.

The modern church lacks so many of these essential characteristics.  Satan got ahold of the church far too early into the game, and it took 1500 years for God to change the face of the Church, through Martin Luther, who became a catalyst for the Holy Spirit to get back into the doors.

Sadly, there was already a mindset established, and so many denominations have yet to break free from the “roots” of traditionalism to fully embrace God as He desired us to.  As the Early Church did.

When the Holy Spirit shows up, there is a definite Change in the atmosphere.  The presence of God is sweet, and refreshing, like living water to soothe the soul.  The air is fresh, you can smell the sweetness of heaven.  Those with the gift of Discerning Spirits can sense the presence of Angels in the congregation.

The Holy Spirit can show up anywhere.  Anytime.  His presence is undeniable.  When Jesus said His sheep know His voice, it’s true.  Especially when the Believers are pressing in together in prayer, entirely focused on Him, the Holy Spirit is undeniably in the midst.

Sadly, the Flesh can wrestle against the foreign voice, and impose it’s own will over the Spirit. (Genesis 32:22-32)  We’re taught to question the things we supernaturally sense, hear and feel, with good reason! (I John 4:1) Look at the Charismatic branches of Christianity!  The “slain in the Spirit”, the “drunk on the Spirit”, mass babbling on in tongues, and false prophecy is not of God.

However, when you KNOW it is God moving, it is so important to listen.
I have personally witnessed in my Spirit when people have wrestled against the Holy Spirit and imposed their own Will over church.  I’ve been called to intercede on behalf of pastors, when God wanted to change the sermon last minute, or do something different in service– and the pastors missed it.  I even stopped going to a church because of this, and God led me to a different place, one that I most certainly needed during that time in my life.

So how do we pray as led by the Spirit when so many different perspectives of Prayer and the Holy Spirit exist?

It’s simple.  Just listen.  Give your heart directly to God, and seek His voice.  And then be willing to pray as He directs.

Even if it means you’re praying against what you would wish for.  While everyone else in the room is praying for healing, and stumbling over their words, and you know you’re supposed to pray that God will provide for the people who are going to be left behind.  ((I’ve done this.  It is heartbreaking, but praying for God’s Will includes praying for the hard things.))

There are other times when we can get wrapped up in praying and focusing in on the things that are extremely important to us, and God has already done them!
A great example of this kind of praying is when the Believers are gathered together petitioning on behalf of Peter, and Peter was let out of prison by an Angel, and was at the door knocking, and they were so wrapped up in their prayers and petitions they didn’t even believe the servant girl when she said, “Peter is here, guys…..” (Acts 12:1-19)

We don’t know the mind of God.  We can’t see the bigger picture.  The Holy Spirit guides us in our weaknesses, even our weakness in prayer and not knowing what or how to pray.

There is a time to pray in tongues.  I pray in tongues from time to time.
There is a time to be still before God.  There is a time to petition Him with all of your heart.

Jesus told us to pray for His Will.  And His Will is most important.
To pray for His provision.  To pray for His forgiveness.
To pray for His Kingdom to grow.

And thanks to the Holy Spirit, we have a helper who can guide us into deeper, stronger relationship with God, to have glimpses of the Mind of God, in order to pray for the things we need, the things He wants for us, and the things we know those around us need. (Luke 24:45; John 14:16-18; Romans 8:2-6)

The veil has been removed, the Temple curtain torn in two.  We have access to GOD!  Why would you not take advantage of that, and draw into a deeper, personal, meaningful relationship with Him, by the overwhelming and glorious presence of the Holy Spirit?

If you are His, and He is in you, the Spirit is with you, and the Spirit will not guide you wrong.  Listen.  Quiet your heart before God, and give Him the ability to direct.  To speak. To move in your heart in a way you’ve never known before.

The Lord is in the silence.  (I Kings 19:1-15) This is why Fasting is so important.  To give up of yourself and your needs to press into an intimate and quiet time with God.  Honing in completely on the Voice of the Shepherd.

You do not always need to fast to have an intimate moment with God, however, fasting is powerful and necessary.
When driving out demons one time, the disciples went to Jesus and asked why the demons wouldn’t leave, and Jesus said some only come out through prayer and fasting. (Mark 9:14-29)

Why do you think that would be?

Because when you wrestle against spiritual warfare, Jesus Christ is the only way out.  Pressing into Christ without distraction, or futile satisfaction is imperative to overcome.  We can fulfill our bodies needs and desires, but only God can satisfy our spirit.

Why would you NOT give that part of yourself to Him?

The beautiful thing about God, He will not establish in your life anything outside of Himself and His word that has been passed down since the Early Church so that you may see and know His excellent works, know His will, and know the depths, height, love and power that He desires to have over your life.

We were created for His glory.  Giving of yourself entirely to Him is the best sacrifice you can make, after the Sacrifice Jesus Christ made of Himself for you.

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Acoustic

Cheyenne sang loudly with the small group sitting around the room, as the melodious reverberating sound of an acoustic guitar filled the space around them.

It brought warmth and a deep-seeded joy to hear the sound of Austin’s voice singing as he played. His eyes closed, his head fell back occassionally as he bobbed his head and body in rhythm to the music.

Cheyenne felt the presence of the Spirit stirring in the room as they worshipped in song together.

Tonight was simply a night of reflection and worship, to the glorious sound of an acoustic guitar, with their closest of friends. The fellowship that drew their hearts together like nothing could ever break them apart, was overwhelming in the deepest of ways.

Austin began to slow the tempo and his strum became gentle as the song came to an end, right before the next started.

Nothing in the world brought more delight to Cheyenne than hearing an acoustic guitar fill the expanse of a small room. It was certainly her most favorite sound in all of the world. Nothing could compare to it. Each chord humming in enchanting rhythm with the next, sustained evenly as a sound that pleased the ears, with gentle vibrations she could feel in her chest.

Closing her eyes, taking in the moment, Cheyenne was at peace, and all was right with the world, in a supernatural way that only the presence of God could provide.

In this moment she thanked Him for the guitar, and for music. For the mystical way an acoustic guitar could romance the soul, and for the talent God had given to Austin to master the technique.

And then she praised God from the depths of her soul, taking nothing in the moment for granted, knowing that this time she spent with her dearest of friends and the mingling of the Holy Spirit was special. She hoped the others felt as connected in Spirit as she did.

They spent time together long into the early hours of the night enjoying each others company, singing together, praying for one another, and abiding in love and joy, comforted to know the things that mattered most to their broken hearts were easy to share with one another, in a way that brought healing and hope.

And when they had said goodnight, Cheyenne curled up in bed content, reflecting on the time they had spent together, still filled with peace and joy. Still remembering the enchanting lull of the guitar as Austin played for them.

And it was the sound of the acoustic guitar seered into her memory as she fell asleep.

A Letter to God

Dear God, it’s me.

I don’t know if you remember who I am. But I remember you.

I’ve kind of fallen back, and as I’ve fallen, found my faith gone slack.

I’m trying to find who I am, out of who I used to be.

Times have changed. I’m divorced, but I’m still a parent, and I’m about to be a bride again.

I’m afraid of your grace, and your judgement. Trying to find your plan in all of this– it isn’t easy to set aside all that I’ve been taught, and trust you.

I want to trust you, but every time I do, something seems to go wrong. Do I do it?

I’ve not been looking for you, while I’m finding myself. I don’t know what’s wrong with my failing heart, losing hold of everything I love.

Motivation, desire…. I fade slowly into nothing. The corner of the room is right where I fit best, self-inflicted woes to bear my scars out loud.

This is not who I was, and it’s not who I want to be– help change me to who I am meant to be. Because all I know is I want more than this hollowed shell I’m existing in.

Consume me. Make me yours.

Finding Love Again

Just when a broken, frustrated heart wants to throw in the towel, love can come from the most unexpected of places.

Life kick-dropped you to your knees, all one can do is breathe around the pain.

On the edge of a parking garage, temptation reaches out – it whispers to jump.  Tears roll slowly down your cheeks as you consider who would actually miss you.

No one. The voice in your head assures.

Closing your eyes, two small children flash through your mind. Almost convinced they won’t even remember you in three years.

The person you chose to marry is a selfish liar.  Your heart screams for hope.  But hope has faded.

What once was yours, belongs to someone else.

All of the dreams you had, lay desolate as wasted space in your head.

Darkness clouds your hopes, you gave up on wishing for this to be different.

However, something keeps you from jumping tonight, and you return home to the baby who needs to nurse and the toddler who screams for their grandma instead of you.

Lonely nights in an empty bed, lying next to shadows on the wall.  Anxiety imagines they’re alive.  Anxiety fed to you by the man who says he loves you.

The same one who neglects his children and only needs you when it conveniences him.

As life continues to turn to rust, the bridge down the street calls out.  You imagine the water embracing your weary soul as it runs steady along the edge of another lonely town.

And that’s when you cry out for help.

The holidays pass.  The following year does not improve, and you find yourself standing on that brink again.

In your weakest moment, a hand stretches out, beckoning you from the brink of catastrophe.

A voice of reason and hope snaps you into reality.

Strength gently draws at you.  A promise that you’re going to be okay.

Two very specific prayers reach the Heavens, and within the next few weeks, you’re moving out of the darkness into a field of sunlight you didn’t even know exists.

Fear. Guilt. Anxiety. Each demon gnaws at you, pressing you to turn back.

The hope and love you found?  You’re not deserving of them. The voices snarl.  You’re an adulterated whore who “gave up”.  What makes you think you’re allowed to be happy without him?  The man who says he loves you?  The one you married?

Wrestling with searing guilt, doubt rises.  You question the God who rescued you.  You question your worth while holding the hand of the one who called you out of the darkness.

Gentle assurance warms your heart.  Love peaks for the first time.  Hope for a future where you’re adored.

After being used and forgotten.  Manipulated.  Tormented with fear.  Riddled by anxiety.  Reasoned into doubting good people exist.  Convinced people are watching your every move.  Terrified by suggestions put in your head.  Lied to countless times.  Blindsided. Emptied out and frail.


Degraded.  Berated. Forced to swallow your own hurt to take on someone elses.  Never being good enough. Questioning your worth.  Ignored.  Looked over.


What hope does a shattered soul have left for themselves, when everyone succeded to take it away?

Making excuses for the people who hurt them.  Trying to change and forced back by someones illusion of authority.

How terrifying it is to be left weak and helpless.

Without him, I wouldn’t have made it this far.  Someone to hope for me, when I didn’t want to hold on anymore.

Someone to persuade my worth was greater than I believed and I was worth holding on to.  Even when it hurt him.

How difficult it was to step out of the box and believe God wanted more for me than the mess I made for myself.

We are not without Hope.  The struggle is real.  But it’s inevitable that this broken heart was meant for more.

And love got me through.  Love I felt unworthy of.  Love that was persistent and strong enough to hold me, when I couldn’t hold myself.

That man who became my best friend, gave my broken heart something to live for.

Me.  My purpose.  My hope.  My own strength.

Nurturing and growing me when I had given up on my own dreams.

I struggled long and hard with the views of God we all know.  God hates Divorce.  God hates adultery.  God hates sin.

Yes.  It’s true.  He does not like these things.

But he is also a loving God, and does not want us to live abused and neglected.

I prayed specifically for God to remove me from the marriage I hated.

He did.

What do you need from God?

On Faith and Spirituality: What Is The Bible For?

Everything in our world requires a manual to understand it.

The Bible is the written evidence, and instruction book, to understand God.

Surely if there is a God, he’d impress on his creation to write about him, yes?
Some people believe in the Mystical forces of Nature communing with us.  Through ancestors, through nature, through the elements around us– why wouldn’t the Creator of the Universe whisper to the hearts willing to hear him?  Why couldn’t we attribute the callings and impressions to BE from that Creator?

The bible records several key moments when Man communed intimately with God, and God reached out to Man.

In recent centuries, Science and philosophy has done a number on drawing mankind away from the concept of God.  The need for God.

The bible is not a history book.  Or a science book.

It has one purpose.  That purpose is to study and understand the amazing, powerful El who has created all things, lives and breathes in all things, and to equip the followers of Christ with what they need to understand.

It is foolishness, Paul states in Corinthians.  It doesn’t make a lot of sense that we’re stuck here on the planet, with an invisible God somewhere across the Universe, watching over us.  And the only way to get to this God is by believing in Him and His son, Jesus Christ.
In the book of Job, that God, somewhere across the Universe, stands up and says WHO are YOU – little man – that you can know me?  ((Job 39-41))

Job was without the bible.  He had the oral traditions of his fathers, and his Faith.
For 6,000 years, people have been believing in God.  For 6,000 years they’ve been passing down the oral and written accounts of that God.  And in the early turn of a new Era, less than 2,000 years ago, it was decided that God’s word would be in the hands of the people.  He moved on the hearts of man, and together they decided which written scripts, carefully preserved through years and years of re-recording, would end up canonized to become what we call today, The Holy Bible.  The Word Of God.

One, CONSISTENT invisible being, after shedding the blood of his own son, gave mankind a book so they could learn about Him, get to know Him.  Understand Him-even if just a little-and come back to Him and his undying love.

His words are consistent.  Sin separates us from Him.  But following hard and fast after Him is enough to save our broken souls.

In our broken, hurting world, it’s obvious none of the religions we’ve established for ourselves are getting us anywhere.  Perhaps if we turned Religion aside, and just spend time studying the Bible, taking it at Face Value for what it is – the written account of the Creator of the Universe, and treated it as the Manual to understanding God, we could finally grasp a handle on Hope.  On what is Right, and what is Wrong.

Stop picking and choosing what you want to read, and contorting it into reasons why you DON’T want to follow God.  If you truly want to know, then read beyond the book of Dueteronomy.  Read the books of the prophets.  Read the New Testament.  Read the first four books of the New Testament.  Anybody can pick up a manual, read the first five chapters, and claim they understand the whole picture.

That’s not what the Bible was designed for.  The Bible was designed to study.  To cross reference.  To examine.  To underline.  To search.  To know.

And God says you don’t need more scripture beyond that book to know who he is.  Because HE established the writing of it.

 

Either you take it.  Or you leave it.  It’s a personal biography of a great and mighty God, who exists beyond the Universe.  And it’s there.  For you.
Don’t know where to start?  Start with Jesus.  Start with Ephesians.  Start with Romans.  Start with Proverbs. Start with someone you know.  Start alone.  Wherever you start, don’t let what you’ve already decided get in the way.
Read it for yourself.  God is so much more than the box Liberal America has Him in.
Discover it for yourself.  You never know what will come from opening the pages.

Writing Prompt Response

Writing prompt: In 500 words, There’s an island where all lost things end up.  Today, you wake up, cold and wet, on the beach of that island.

I always knew something was wrong with me. From the moment I started to cry as a baby, to the moment I laid down to sleep last night.
The voices of my parents never quite matched the rumblings of murmurs I had heard in my nine months of watery incubation. Between being born, and going to the hospital nursery, I had somehow ended up with the wrong family.
I’d been lost my entire childhood. I was lost during the trying adolescent years when I started to realize I looked nothing like my brothers.
Some people say it was “adoption”, irregardless, I call it lost.
Especially when I opened my eyes an hour ago to find myself in a place cluttered in lonely socks and other miscellanious items.
All your life, you wonder where mismatched socks, bobby pins, hair ties, buttons, shoes, slippers, and family pets end up. Well, wonder no more – they still exist, stranded on a surreal island in the middle of nowhere.
After blinking several times, relentlessly pinching my arm, and roughly smacking myself across the face once or twice, I decided to spend my time a bit more productively and find out where the heck I was, and if I was the only one here.
“Have you seen Joe?” I heard a voice ask.
“Shelley? Shelley where did you go?” Another cried from somewhere behind me.
It was certainly an odd sight, the endless piles of things scattered about everywhere.
A dog ran past my legs, bumping into me as he went. He was shaggy and gray, with a floppy ear hanging down, and the other perked, listening. Barking this way and that as he threw his head side to side, looking for something.
I knew a great deal about what that was like. The anxious pounding of the heart, as you plow through a crowd of people trying to find something—
The voices caught my attention again as someone else called out for Frank.
Curiosity piqued, I hurried in the direction of the voice.
For being an island of lost things, you will immediately understand the irony which ensued, as I /never/ found the sources which belonged to the voices I heard.
I pursued them until I felt my sanity begin to drain from me. The oddest part of all was the magical sort of “poof” sound that happened right after their cries cheered up.
Cheered up. That was the best way to put it. Almost as though they had been found again, and no longer needed to be here.
Some people try to “find” love, others try to “find” God. In a way, everyone feels just as lost as I do. At least, in one way or another. Unfortunately, I had never known the cheer I’ve just described to you. Nobody has ever made me as happy as the voices that have come and gone in the last two hours.
I wonder how people end up here anyway. In fact, as I stand on this strange island now, I still want to know how on earth *I* got here….. I wasn’t /really/ lost, I was just trying to get from 52nd street to Broadway, and stopped to ask for directions.

Shattered Pieces Never To Be The Same

Lost.  Empty.  Frozen.
I’m going to break now, I’m feeling a break down.
Wandering alone, broken.
I’m going to melt now, I’m feeling the melt down.

I want to destroy everything you built.
I want to burn your horizons until you start to wilt.
Shattered, doesn’t even matter
Nothing stops this bleeding
Battered, heart-wrenched torn and tattered
I can’t keep from bleeding
Nothing stops this bleeding
What are we going to do?
(Can you feel how much I hate you?)
Where will we go from here, now?
(I’ve lost my way from here now)
Hopelessly bound, no light shining through
(What are we going to do?)
As darkness hides the way out, what are we gonna do?

In broken faith I look up to the one who turned away
Holding my breath with a prayer I don’t have the strength to say
It’s so daunting to have to look towards the empty sky
When I’ve never felt like God has ever heard my cry

You’ve destroyed my hope in reaching out for help
When it all broke down you were just trying to save yourself
I hope someone will call you out for all your lies
That someday everyone might see through your righteous disguise

I want to destroy everything you built.
I want to burn your horizons until you start to wilt.
Shattered, doesn’t even matter
Nothing stops this bleeding
Battered, heart-wrenched torn and tattered
I can’t keep from bleeding
Nothing stops this bleeding
What are we going to do?
(Can you feel how much I hate you?)
Where will we go from here, now?
(I’ve lost my way from here now)
Hopelessly bound, no light shining through
(What are we going to do?)
As darkness hides the way out, what are we gonna do?

What’s left to trust,
When it’s clear you’re not like us?
What’s left to hold on to,
When the world’s filled with people like you?

Empty. Hopeless. Frozen.
Shattered pieces none can fix.
Abandoned. Volatile. Broken.
Karma will make you pay for this.