Come on – admit that you sometimes feel jealous, your skin a strange color of green because of envy. I’m not like crazy Herod Antipas jealous or envious, and I’m not one to stomp my feet or say ‘that’s not fair’ … that is, until now. As I consider what it might have been like to live close to Jesus for three years, I am hard pressed not to feel disadvantaged.
You have only to see the changes in Peter, who went from simple fisherman to disciple (student) of Jesus -> to healing teacher -> to preaching leader of the first Christian church, to realize how being close to Jesus changed everything. Put yourself in the stories the gospels tell. Just imagine that you were in the crowd when the woman lunged to touch Jesus’ garment and she was healed! Imagine that you were in the boat on the rough Sea of Galilee, scared you might meet your Maker that night… but Jesus quieted the storm. Seriously—who could do such a thing?! Imagine that you watched the demon-crazed calmed down and at peace. See yourself sitting on the hillside when the people came streaming up from far and wide to hear Jesus teach.
On and on we could go as there are so many stories of Jesus’ teaching, miraculous power, great love and compassion … what would it be like to look into Jesus’ eyes? I am guessing they were a greenish-brown…hmmm, or maybe dark brown like mine. What would it be like to hear him laugh?
There is no doubt that reading Jesus’ teachings leads to greater wisdom, understanding, peace and character change… confidence that He truly is the Way, the Truth and the Life. John 14.6.
One day we will see Jesus face to face, and what a day that will be! All will be well.
Until that day, we read the divinely inspired words of God, seeking to understand them to find our place in the world that he will one day set aright. Until then, we seek to know the Lord through prayer.
Ah yes, prayer . . . Today, I taught the first week of pray first: the transformative power of a life built on prayer.1
Because I am always looking to be more consistent, creative and faith-filled in prayer, I read quite a lot on the subject. Most of the books I have read have been exciting and inspirational because they are about the amazing, sometimes miraculous, results of prayer, but this one is different. Hodges’ book is more of a ‘how to’, and what has worked for him; he has some great, proven tips.
The mantra pray first is already coming to mind for me regularly; he writes “God wants us to pray first in any and all situations….”
· When you wake up in the morning, pray first and thank God for the day ahead.
· Before you go to sleep at night, pray first and praise Him for getting you through the day’s demands.
· When you’re leaving your home for school, Tiffany, pray first.
· Merging onto the busy highway, Judy, pray first.
· About to lead the Zoom meeting at work, Jay, pray first.
· About to lead your team onto the Marlins’ homefield under the bright MLB lights, pray first.
· Helping your kids with homework, pray first.
· Waiting in the doctor’s office, pray first.
· About to see a patient, Dr. Norma, pray first.
· Paying for groceries at the store, Roger, pray first.2
Spending time talking to your Father is meant to be meaningful, conversational, alive and all throughout the day. Ah, prayer is such a gift, don’t you see?
“call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you”3
You are invited to join us online at Facebook THRIVEOC, Thursdays 10 am PST, when I teach live on pray first from North Carolina (ha, today you can hear one of my hens laying an egg!) or watch the posted recording at your convenience. Cuz we gotta get prayer right!
Listen to this song: Run to the Father – Why this one? Cause some of you have been away too long--https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcpeLDp0Foo
Time spent praying is never wasted~
The Footsteps of Jesus in the gospel of Mark, 20
1 – pray first by Chris Hodges
2 – Hodges had a list of ‘pray firsts’ but I personalized a few
3 - Jeremiah 29.13