A F.I.T. Prayer Life

Prayer

 

F.I.T (Frequency, Intensity and Time)

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16 – 18 (NIV)

Several years ago I hired a personal trainer. One of the first things he told me was, “I believe in F.I.T., which stands for frequency, intensity and time. If you really want to better your health and fitness you need to work out frequently, be intense in your workout and give ample time to complete the workout.”

The philosophy of F.I.T has stuck with me through the years. I found it to be true in every facet of life. If I want to save money, I have to monitor my spending frequently, be intense about self-control and make routine assessments (time) about where I am with my financial goal. The same thing is true for my spiritual life.

In the King James Version of the I Thessalonians scripture mentioned above says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing”. In this scripture the Bible sums up our F.I.T for prayer. It speaks to how often we should pray, how intense our prayers should be and how much time we should spend in prayer.

Daniel is a wonderful example of praying continually. He prayed three times a day whether he was under attack or not. David and Paul are also good examples of F.I.T. prayer. But the best example is Jesus. When he was about to be delivered into the hands of the Roman soldiers he prayed until he cried blood. But when he prayed to raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead, the prayer wasn’t nearly as intense as the one he prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

F.I.T is the key is to key to a rich prayer life:

 

Frequency: You set aside time that is specifically dedicated to having a dialog, not a monologue, with God on a routine basis. Dialog means everyone in the conversation gets to talk and everyone gets to listen. Unless you are a late night talk show host, none of your conversations should be monologues.  Your prayer life is not hit or miss if you are practicing frequency.

Intensity: Intensity means the correct amount of effort to achieve your desired results.  Some people think that intensity means flat out all the time. That’s not the case. Every day I work out I’m not a sweaty mess. Some days I’m lifting weights, which don’t require as much intensity from me as floor exercises or cardio. What I am trying to achieve determines the amount of intensity I use.

Sometimes you may be praying, crying and lying prostrate on the floor. Other times, you may be praying while you’re driving, while you’re working or during an event. Your intensity will be different because your amount of effort is different.

Time: How much time are you willing to carve out of your daily routine to devout to communicating with God? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? An hour? How much time you devout to your communication with God will determine your relationship with God! The more time you spend with Him, the better you get to know Him.

So, how F.I.T. is your prayer life?

 

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Prayer for Today

 

C S Lewis Quote

June 30, 2015

Father, at the beginning of the year, we made plans, set time lines and set goals for what we wanted to achieve this year. As we look at our plans we see some plans are behind the schedule we had set or some things we wanted to do have not been done at all. These realizations can cause us to feel like failures or to feel like we’ve not obtained everything we’ve been pursuing and, if we’re not careful; these feelings will cause us to give up. Remind us that our plans must take a backseat to the plans You have for us. Nothing we’ve planned is better than what You have already ordained.

Everything is not going to go the way we’ve planned, but we’re sure that everything will go the way You’ve ordained. Help us mature to a point that, when what You’ve ordained overrides our plans; we do not fret, complain or grumble. Instead, we rejoice knowing that You have our best interest at heart.

You planned our perfect path long ago and You know what’s best for us. You will perfect us until we fit into Your perfect plan. Thank You Lord for caring so much about us that You planned for our greatness. Therefore; we press towards the higher calling, which is in Christ Jesus!

In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Scripture References:

Proverbs 19:21

Psalms 65:9

Isaiah 25:1

Philippians 3:14

 

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Being Destroyed from the Inside Out

 

Japanese beattle on rose

I Corinthians 3:16 – 17

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.”

I HATE, HATE, HATE Japanese Beetles!!! Can I say it again, I HATE JAPANESE BEETLES!!! They destroy everything in their path but they love roses. NASTY LITTLE CRITTERS!!! Okay, I feel better.

Japanese beetles grow underground where you can’t see them and hatch in late spring, early summer when my roses start to bud and bloom. They fly, crawl and have a hard shell which makes them difficult to kill. They get inside the rose buds or underneath the rose leaves and eat my roses from the inside out.  I can check my roses in the morning and they will look fine but, when I go out to look at them later the same day they have holes straight through the heart of them.

When I first moved to Maryland and started caring for my roses I didn’t know what Japanese beetles were because I didn’t have to deal with them in California or Texas. I was talking to a friend one day and telling him about this bug that was eating my roses and nothing I used got rid of them. He identified the pest and told me to get some Sevin and that would do the trick. That afternoon I went to a nursery and picked some up. My friend was correct. As soon as I started spraying my roses with Sevin the beetles began to fly away and die.

Now that I’ve lived in Maryland for over 20 years I know how to deal with the beetles. As soon as the humidity starts, I begin two-a-day spraying; once in the morning and again in the evening. The humidity seems to be the trigger for the beetles to come out and destroy.

We have things that are eating us from the inside out. Things like hate, envy, jealousy, pride, low self-esteem and feeling less than are just a few things that eat at our spirit persons.  There is also the spirit of control, you have to control everything and everyone or everything is wrong. Then there’s a competitive spirit, you have to win and be first in everything even when no one else knows there’s a completion underway.  The list of things eating us from the inside out goes on and on but there are three solutions; The Word of God, prayer and professional help.

We need to identify the triggers that cause our internal bugs to start their eating frenzy within us. We need to pay attention to our feeling and emotions when this happens, also called self-awareness and we need to spray our internal bugs with the God’s word and prayer. If necessary, we need to seek professional help to deal with our internal bugs. It’s okay! The goal is to kill that which is destroying you from the inside out.

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other; so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Galatians 5:16 – 17

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They’re Baaack!!!

 

Ephesians 6 12

Romans 6:6 – 7

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”

It’s easy for me to get discouraged when I’m doing something new and old problems, issues and even some old people seem to pop up in the midst of my new stuff. It’s just like weeds popping up in my yard in the same places that I’ve evicted them no too long ago. The truth is I evicted them but I couldn’t eradicate them.

I worked hard to get rid of the weeds and grass from my new rose bed. I dug, pulled and trenched around the new bed so I could remove the unwanted stuff and keep it out. Unfortunately, after a heavy rain, the weeds are back and the grass is trying to return to where it used to live.

I looked out the window of my home office and saw weeds and grass growing and all I could think was, “they’re baaack!!!”

I was feeling sad, frustrated, let down and discouraged. All my heard work down the drain, then, I resigned myself to the truth; this is going to be an ongoing battle, not a one time effort. So, I went out, grabbed my garden tools and headed to the yard. This means war!!!

The same scenario is true when we start obeying God and begin to live our lives according to His will. We dig up doubt, fear, concerns about money, unforgiveness, past pains and disappointments. We dig up the pain of hurt feelings, envy and jealousy, guilt and shame. We pull them out, remove and evict them from the soil of our hearts with fasting, prayer, reading and studying God’s Word. We think we’re good, and then one day something or someone sends rain on our lives. Before we know it, we are battling the same weeds we removed from our lives because we evicted them but did not eradicate them.

We must resign ourselves to this truth: This is a never-ending battle! We will continue to contend with fear, doubt, guilt, shame, etc. as long as we live in these bodies. The good news is we have already won the war through our relationship with Jesus Christ.

So grab your spiritual gardening tools; your Bible, your favorite Christian authors’ books and Bible studies. Turn down your plate or, turn off the television or your computer and get to work clearing out those weeds. This means war!!!

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

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Worry, Waste, Want

 

Faith plus patience

 

Matthew 6:25

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes?”

After a farmer or a gardener plants their crops they have to wait to see what, if anything is going to grow or bloom.  I planted six new roses in the backyard. They all came from the same reparable rose seller that I’ve used for years. I have several roses from this same place that are over 15 years old so I know the roses are of good quality.

I planted them at the same time, in the same area and at the right time of the season but, only two out of the six am showing signs of life. I don’t know what could have gone wrong! What if the four die? I will have wasted my time, great effort and energy plus the money I paid for them. Plus, I’ll want four more roses to replace them.  I am worry about the possible loss of the four roses.

Yesterday, I was on my way back to look at the four roses again to see if there was ANY sign of life when a thought struck me; with all my worrying I couldn’t make the roses live! I could worry and fret over the four dead looking roses but I don’t have the power to make them live; only God has the power of life and death. So, why am I worrying and wasting my time and emotions on something I had no control over? Because I wanted the roses to live!

My want for something I had no control over drove me into worry and waste while I tried to figure out how I could get what I want. Have you ever been there?

Maybe you’re there right now. Maybe you want something so bad that you have forgotten who is the Source and Giver of all things. Maybe you are so concerned about finances, a wayward child, or the loss of a job or the closing of a family business. It doesn’t matter what you’re worried about; this is just a reminder to never forget God, who has controls everything and everyone. It is easy for lose focus on the Giver when you are only looking at the gift.

Patience combats worry. God knows what we need even before we need it and puts everything in order to meet us at our point of need. We must stay focused on Him and be patient, not worry or fret ourselves over things that we want but may not need and not waste our time trying to get things God hasn’t ordained for us.

With patience there is no worry. With trust there is no waste. With obedience there is no want. Therefore; combat worry, waste and want by patiently trusting God while you obey His commands for your life.

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:7 – 8

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No Longer Needed

 

Uprooted Grass

Isaiah 43:18 – 19

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

 

Three more days of digging in my backyard! My back, legs and arms are all sore and I’m not done yet! The weeds are out, for now, and the roses are in place but, I have to battle the grass that I have removed and displaced.

When I decided to put the roses in the back yard not only did I have to remove the weeds, but I had to remove the grass that had been growing there for years. Unlike the weeds, the grass had been needed and wanted in that area of the backyard but now, its services are no longer needed. The grasses usefulness has run its course and it’s time for it to go.

The grass, unlike the weeds, was not a bad thing; it’s just no longer useful in the area where I planted my roses. Grass is useful in other places, just not with my roses.

This is how it is with our lives. There comes a time when things and people who were needed in our lives are no longer needed AND, sometimes, we are no longer needed in someone else’s life.

When God starts doing new things in our lives, He replaces the old stuff with new things and sometimes, He replaces old people with new people who can help us get where God is taking us or can help us mature so we can move forward to the next place God has for us. The old stuff can only keep us where we are, it cannot help us grow into the people God has for us to become.

Some people take an exception to the concept of letting go of things and people that/who are no longer useful fixtures in our lives. But, let me put it this way, if you have a friend who is still doing all the things you are trying to get away from or trying to leave behind as you press to be more like Christ, can you still hang out with them AND achieve your goal? If you have someone in your life who is happy and content with just enough to get by but you want God’s promise of abundance, can you still hold on to them AND receive your abundance?

To move out of the old and into the new takes work! To leave behind that which we have grown accustom to in order to become something more than we are today takes diligence, dedication and determination. Can we take the old with us as we change and progress in our lives and walk with Christ? The Bible states, “No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.” Mark 2:21 – 22.

What do you say?

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Stop, Drop and Roll

stop drop and roll

June 9, 2015

Matthew 6:31 – 32

”’So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat? Or What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”’

Sometimes, just trying to do the right thing can be stressful! Have you ever been in a spiritual place in your life where your only goal was to please God and fulfill His purpose for your life? Doesn’t it seem like everything stands in your way or blocks your path to getting where you want to go? You just want God to stop the madness and just let you do what you want to do. It can be so frustrating!

Then, you see a clear path to get you where you want to go. You take the path only to realize it’s under construction- something has to be fixed or repaired in order for you to use the path to get where you want to go. Your credit score has to be fixed, your GPA has to be repaired or something else has to happen before you can take the path! Now, you’re irritated!

I’ve learned in times like these to Stop! Drop! And Roll! I stop what I’m doing, I drop to my knees and I roll my cares, concerns, irritations and frustrations onto Jesus.

I stop what I’m doing because obviously God wants me to do something else or, I’m working in my own strength and leaning on my own understanding and not allowing God, through the Holy Spirit, to direct my path (Proverbs 3:3 – 5).

I drop to my knees, maybe not physically but spiritually, because I need to humble myself under God so he can guide me and teach me His ways (Psalm 25:9).

I roll my cares; financial, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual cares onto Jesus because He cares about everything that concerns me (I Peter 5:6 – 7).

So, if you’re in a place where you need something fixed, repaired and reconstructed I suggest you stop stressing and stop what you’re doing, drop to your knees and pray,  and while you’re in prayer, roll the issues, circumstances or situations off your shoulders and onto Jesus’ shoulders. He carried the cross for us; surely He can care this too.

 

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Coming Out of Someone Else’s Normal, Into My Destiny – II

failure success decision

 

Romans 8:29 – 30

For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified he also glorified.”

No one wants to get to the end of their live and consider themselves a failure. In fact, most people don’t want to fail at anything they endeavor to do. But, do we feel the same way about fulfilling our God-given purpose? Are we willing to fail at what God has predestined us to do in order to fit into someone else’s box? Are we willing to forego our calling so we can be liked? Are we willing to neglect our predestination in order to get along with others? Are we willing to fail God so others can feel good about us?

In every family everyone has a role. Some of us are the “go to” person. You know, the one everyone calls when things are falling apart. The one everyone expects to have all the answers and take care of everything even when it’s not their responsibility. Then you have the “baby” of the family. Not that they are a baby or the youngest in the family, they just act like a helpless, hapless baby. They expect to be taken care of by everyone else because that’s their role. And of course, you have the irresponsible one. We all have them in our families, they are the ones that no one can count on for anything, and usually, they are the lazy one that does nothing but expects a share of, or a free ride to, everything that goes on in the family.

But what if your family role was not the role God has appointed for you? Are you willing to give up the role your family expects you to play in order to fulfill your God given appointment?

Sometimes, we are called out of our current situation and into our destiny like David, but other times, we’ve got to walk into our destiny in spite of what others may think or say.  We’ve got to know that if God called us to our destiny, He’s made the way for us to fulfill our call and, our gifts will make room for us.

Are you struggling with knowing you’re more than others give you credit for?  Or, are you fighting within yourself to move past your fears and reach for the unknown because you know that God has ordained greater for you?

If you answered to either of these questions is “yes” then you have a bigger question to answer; Are you willing to be a failure in God’s plan for you, rather than being the success He’s already ordained you to be?

The biblical meaning of success is summed up in Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

Not succeeding at our God-given task means hundreds, possibility thousands or event millions of lives will not affected by the eternity plan that is in you.

To fail or to succeed, the decision is yours.

 

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Prayer for Today

 

faith possible not easy

May 26, 2015

Lord, I thank You for my history with You.  You have been with me from the beginning. You appointed everything in my life; my birth, all the circumstances surrounding my birth and every day of my life have been appointed and approved by You.

Father as I face hardships, difficulties and heartaches, help me to remember my life was set apart by Your appointment, Your will, and everything that You ordained for me shall come to pass.

Lord, help me not to view my hardships, trials or tribulations as permanent; thereby causing me to deal with problems as a permanent fixtures in my life.  Help me to view the difficulty with a Christ-like understanding and Godly wisdom, knowing that the problem is temporary and it is working for my good because I love You and have been called according Your purpose.

Lord for help me to see I do not have to worry about life or body because You have already prepared a plan to take care of my every need.  A plan to prosper me not to hurt me – You are my hope and my future.  I pray in Jesus name.  Amen.

Scripture references:

 Psalms 139:13 – 16                           II Corinthians 4:17

Zephaniah 3:17                               Proverbs 2:6

I Peter 2:9                                          Romans 8:28

Matthew 6:25 – 34                       Jeremiah 29:11

 

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