Aloha Friday Message – August 12, 2016 – One Day

1633AFC081216 – One Day

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Psalm 40:1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry

Aloha pumehana, ʻŌmea. Today I want to bring together two characteristics about our relationship with God and with each other. The first is LOVE. The Second is PRAYER. God loves us unconditionally. Jesus commands us to love each other as he loves us – unconditionally. We tell God – the Divine Trinity – about our LOVE in prayers of adoration, thanksgiving, and praise. In our prayers we also ask God to be mindful of the persons we LOVE. I want to look at both of these biblically and also share some practical ways these actions – loving and praying – work together.

First, I want to share with you some verses about God’s LOVE. It is so amazing that, if I did not believe in it, it would be incredible. It is credible, however, because we can see it and feel it in our lives, in our hearts and minds, and in the love we share among each other. Here are some – only a few – of that wonderful things we know about God’s love – and we know them because they are things HE told us!

It is an Everlasting Love
Jeremiah 31:3b I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.

Isaiah 55:3b3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.

It is a Manifested Love
1 John 4:9-13God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.

It is a Redeeming Love
Isaiah 63:9bIt was no messenger or angel but his presence that saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

Jude v. 21  21 keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.

It is a Preserving Love
Romans 8:38-39 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now, this next one isn’t exactly in the Bible, but maybe you are familiar with it.

It is Way-Cool Love
Isaiah 54:10 10 For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 49:15 15 Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.

1 John 2:5-6 – 5 but whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has reached perfection. By this we may be sure that we are in him: whoever says, “I abide in him,” ought to walk just as he walked.

And we can. We can live just as he lived, walk as he walked, love as he LOVED if we live in his LOVE.

We share LOVE, we grow LOVE, and we grow in LOVE through prayer. In today’s opening verse from Psalm 40, the Psalmist declares he waited patiently for the LORD. Sometimes we find that difficult as in the prayer, “LORD grant me patience right now!” Sometimes we just can’t seem to make what we want to say come out in a way that makes sense; we think God needs an interpreter to understand us. Let’s take a quick look at a couple of biblical statements about prayer (two out of thousands).

Romans 8:38-39 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ʻŌmea, use this link to see this quote in full context.)

Hebrews 4:1616 Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Heb4.16

Yes, it is true. Nothing can separate us from the Love of God, and that means – since God is Love, he places no obstacle between us and Him. And yet, we stumble through prayer sometimes as if it were a terrible ordeal, or breeze through prayer as if it were a recitation of some sort with no depth of meaning. Paul tells us to approach the throne of grace with boldness. Sometimes we feel that we need to learn how to pray so that when we pray we don’t just babble and we don’t recite platitudes and we don’t go away thinking, “Well, if that didn’t work, I don’t know what else will!” Really? Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a prayer. For instance, how do you start?

Dear God … Ummmm, Hi God, it’s me. You know, “The Sinner in Apartment D-316?”
Jesus, I come to you today to ask for your help with my nut-case neighbor.
Almighty God, we come to you today to thank you for sparing us during this latest winter storm.”

So what kinds of “things” go into a prayer, and how can we learn to build a prayer that flows, that is both Biblical and relevant, and one which isn’t so convoluted we don’t even remember what we said? I’m going to suggest a simple outline and give some examples. Here’s the outline:

  1. Greeting
  2. Praise
  3. Thanks
  4. Petition
  5. Confession/Profession
  6. Closing

#1 – Greeting: Name the person to whom you address your prayer: God, Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Blessed Trinity, Lord, Master, Gracious and Loving or Almighty or Holy (plus any of the preceding), any opening like that is fine. I have said before my favorites are My El Shaddai-Olam and Abba.

#2 – Praise: Hallowed be thy name, you alone are Holy; you are our awesome God, Omnipotent and Omniscient Creator, Lover of my soul, source of all that is Good, Great, and Just Judge of all mankind, and so on. What is there in my heart and mind that just totally wows me when I think of Him? How can you combine that with the Greeting? They can work together. Here is one that was inspired by a popular contemporary Christian music group – the Hemphills – in the 80’s:

Father, we worship you as One in the Love of the Spirit and the Son.
Jesus, we honor you as Lord by all of Heaven and Earth adored.
Spirit, we love you as our Friend and giver of Love and Gifts without end.

#3 – Thanks: We thank you for all your gifts, thank you for hearing my prayer, thank you for all your blessings, thank you for subduing my enemies, thank you for this day / this life / this world / this family / this spouse / this (everything). To borrow a line from a Gospel chorus … “Thank you, Lord, for saving my soul / Thank you Lord for making me whole. / Thank you Lord for giving to me / Thy great Salvation so rich and free.” Yes. You can quote another’s prayer as part of your prayer especially if it’s a song!

#4 – Petition: This is the part we’re pretty good at. In fact, truth be told, this is almost always where most of us start. Even if we don’t usually pray the “gimme” prayer, we pretty much expect God to pop up like the genie in the bottle and grant our wishes. A bicycle, a house, a victory over an enemy, something to suit our passions, you know what to ask, and the Bible tells you how to ask – with faith, believing that you will receive it, and in Jesus’ name. But we’re not quite to that closing part yet. Sometimes the best petition is to ask God for guidance, for the grace to see and do his will, or for direction about what he would have us do next. Another is to prepare your heart for his Presence. (Please use these links.)

#5 – Confession/Profession: “Wait a minute, I’m not Catholic.” “What is there to confess, and to whom?” “What do you mean, ‘confess’? And what could I profess that God doesn’t already know?” You know that part in the Lord’s Prayer “Forgive us our debts (trespasses) as we forgive our debtors (those who trespass against us)? That is a confession of our sinfulness. “Lead us not into temptation (Do not put us to the final test): That is a confession of our weaknesses. But deliver us from evil (from the evil one): That is a confession of our awareness that we are sinners redeemed by Grace through the loving protection of God. What does that sound like outside of the Lord’s Prayer? When you pray the Apostles or Nicene Creed, your profession of faith, you declare publicly what you believe. You can declare that privately in your personal prayer as well. Here’s a little example:

Master, I do not know how to pray so that my prayers are pleasing to you, but send me your Spirit to pray with me. You are my hope and my Joy. In you alone do I find comfort and peace. You alone are worthy of Praise, O God my strength and my redeemer! In you, O LORD, I am made whole. I know my sinfulness. Grant me faith to overcome sin and to live in your presence at all times. Look into my heart, Holy Spirit, and remove all that is offensive to you. Cast me not out from your presence O God, but in your mercy save me from my sins. I confess my love for you, my Lord and my God. I place my trust in you. Jesus, I trust in you. Jesus, I love you above all things and persons, and I desire to receive you into my heart and soul. Sprit of the Living God, I surrender my entire life to the Holy Trinity without reserve. O God, you are my God and I will always praise you. I offer this prayer in the name of Jesus, the Christ who lives and reigns with God the Father Almighty, in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Giver of Life. Amen.

#6 – Closing: Jesus told us to pray in His name, and that’s pretty easy: In Jesus name. Amen. In your most precious name, we pray. As the Lord taught us, we pray in His name, Amen. In faith believing, we place our trust in you, Jesus. As you have commanded through your Son, Jesus Christ, we pray in His name, AMEN. In the Power of the Blood of Jesus we humbly pray. Amen.

We don’t always have to be so formal, though. Here’s one that circulates around the Internet every so often:

=*+*=*+*=*+*=*+*=*+*=

Heavenly Father, Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic tonight is a single parent who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry. And spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can’t make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking  our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, remind us each day that, of all the gifts you give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity. Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.

=*+*=*+*=*+*=*+*=*+*=

And once we learn to converse with God instead of simply giving him a To-Do list, then our prayer life becomes a source of constant joy. Therefore, Beloved, pray for one another that God will give all of us “the will to do small things with great love.” Remember, God – all three Persons – knows everything, is everywhere, and is all-powerful. Knowing these things, we also know God is always with us, around us, and in us, and we have no need to shout or doubt. We can be confident He reads and hears our heart’s longings. It only takes a moment for God to answer our prayer. One day it will happen. Wait patiently on the LORD. Pray in gratitude without ceasing. God Will Take Care Of You. (↔ Music Link) He will lean in to reach you and hold you in his LOVE.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Share a Prayer

  • MBN Member CK made this request Wednesday:  A close friend of ours had a stroke today and is currently paralyzed on his left side.  Please pray for a miracle of complete recovery.
  • Pray for the family of JWG whose sudden death Wednesday night was under difficult circumstances. He was a precious godson.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Creative Commons License
Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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