The One Who Hears.


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This Morning Briefing has two points: the true Source and what keeps us from him. Yes, it is true – I regularly look for opportunities to talk about God . . . but the reason I wrote about encounters I had with various folk was not to polish my halo, but rather to explain how much prayer matters. While I could not rush into heal the grief of one mother, regularly ‘be there’ for the mother of the heroin-addicted boy or open the womb of my seatmate’s wife, I knew the One who could. I could access him through prayer and offer that same relationship to my new friends. [The last briefing--https://conta.cc/3fk83bT] You see, prayer is not about the words we utter… Prayer is about the One who hears. It is about connecting with the Father, building relationship with him and then, because he invites us, taking everything to him in prayer. God alone can hear and answer our prayers, can step into situations that we never could, bring about ‘serendipitous’ meetings, drawing folks to himself. He alone can comfort in the middle of the night when no one else knows, and miraculously heal when the doctors cannot. Praying to the Almighty God and Father of the Universe is unparalleled--the reason Paul said, “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”1 People take solace in the act of praying, just hoping someone is listening, but other than making them feel better, words go into thin air. The reason I referenced the disciples asking Jesus to teach them to pray is because therein lies the truth about prayer – prayer must be offered to the one true God. We are given access to the Father through Jesus Christ; you see, when Jesus was dying on the cross that Friday afternoon outside of Jerusalem, something very significant took place—the veil (a heavy curtain) in the Temple literally ripped from top to bottom. God was showing that we who walk with Jesus have direct access to him. No longer would the faithful need the High Priest to represent them to God. But some of us erect curtains between us and God on a regular basis – those things that get in the way of us and Him, those things that either keep us from praying or hinder our prayers. One such thing is regularly taking offense at things. ‘What—surely you can’t be serious? Are you saying because I get offended, my prayers are affected?’ And my answer is ‘yes, I think so, mostly because your heart has been affected.’ You see when we are easily offended, we keep score of what ‘this one’ said or ‘that one’ did… and then like the Thanksgiving diner who makes walls out of mashed potatoes to keep everything separate, to make sure nothing touches, we separate our self out, we isolate. . . When I think of times I have done that, I realize that at the root of it all, what I think of as my insecurity is really thinking too much about myself. We call it protecting ourselves or making boundaries, putting a wall around our heart so we won’t get hurt again. But are these just excuses for living in a state of unforgiveness? Huh, I have noticed it can build on itself. Unforgiveness leads to mistrust and oft to bitterness -- sin that snarls our faces and strangles our hearts, hinders our prayers. For even David knew, ‘If I had regarded sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.’2 Whoa. I am teaching through Embracing Trust, a great read about letting go and hanging onto a forever-faithful God.3 The author, Joanna Weaver, artfully wove together a chapter on the Unoffendable Heart, citing such scripture verses as: “It is to one’s glory to overlook an offense,”4 “Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”5 And I remember from my youthful days memorizing truths about love from 1 Corinthians 13 including this powerful verse: [Love] is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.6 I could go on, but suffice it to say because prayer is so powerful, we must --pray to the one true God – the God of Creation, Salvation and Restoration --let go of anything that hinders our prayers, including offenses, unforgiveness and bitterness... There's only love in the heart of God. Listen-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbPxZPsjhbg Truly, this life with Christ is the greatest adventure ever! Christine 1 – Ephesians 6.18, NLT 2 – Psalm 66.18 3 – Thursdays, Facebook group THRIVEOC, 10 am PST 4 - Proverbs 19.11 5 - Colossians 3.13, NLT 6 – 1 Corinthians 13.5, TLB

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