Even When You Don’t Have Words: Faith

There are times when words simply fail us. Praying in these moments can seem unimaginable. And yet—remarkably—God makes provision for us to pray even when we have no clue what to say.

In Romans 8, Paul acknowledges that we live in a broken world. We experience suffering now. Loss. Sometimes the brokenness comes at our own hands; sometimes we are the ones who are broken by outside factors. Paul first encourages us that things won’t always be this way. We were made for a whole, healed world, and one day that will be reality. In the meantime, we groan. And all of creation groans along with us.

Then Paul says that even when we don’t know how to pray as we ought, the Spirit of God intercedes for us with groaning that are too deep for words. In a broken world, we often don’t even know what to ask God for. But he still wants to be with us. He still longs for that conversation. So in these moments, his Spirit will pray for us. We don’t know what to say, but he does. We may not even know what we truly want or need. But the Spirit will do the talking. Our role is to simply enter his presence.

This is praying in faith. We don’t have the answers, but we know the one who does. The specific requests are not as important as the conversation. So we keep coming back to God in faith, not because we know how he should solve our problems, but because we know he is the only one who can. Sometimes the conversation is quiet and tear-filled, but it matters even then. Perhaps especially then.

From a devotional by Echo Prayer

Affirm Others By Accepting Them

This is a message from Better Together Devotional by Rick Warren

Here’s a little secret: Everybody is looking for affirmation. Have you noticed that? People will do almost anything to get it. If you don’t believe that, just watch some of the reality shows. Look at what people do to get on TV, just so people will applaud them.

God is an incredibly affirming and loving Father. When you affirm other people, you are showing love and representing Christ. Jesus affirmed people as he ministered, so you are ministering like Jesus did. You’re showing the world a little bit more about what God is like.

One of the best ways to affirm people in everyday life is to show them acceptance. Romans 15:7 says, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you” (NIV).

The easy choice sometimes is to snub and belittle and demean people, especially when they don’t measure up to our standards. We all have a tendency to take our strengths and project them on other people, and then put them down when they don’t meet our expectations. For instance, you may be someone who is always punctual, and when other people are late, you tend to look down your nose at them. At the same time, it makes you feel good about yourself because you’re better at being on time. Or maybe you’re a very tidy person who can’t help but notice when you go to other people’s houses how messy everything is, and it makes you feel better about yourself. We tend to project our strengths on other people, forgetting that we have weaknesses in other areas.

Let me tell you a better way to feel better about yourself. Instead of doing it by putting other people down, why not try lifting other people up? It gives you a thrill like nothing else.

The Bible says in Romans 12:10, “Love one another with brotherly affection [as members of one family], giving precedence and showing honor to one another” (AMP).

In order to do the work of God, you and I have to value the God given differences among us and the way we are uniquely shaped. Here’s how you know when you’ve accepted someone: You stop insisting that they be just like you. You realize and rejoice in the fact that they’re different. The truth of the matter is, the world would be a boring place if everyone were just like you. So God has made us in all different kinds of ways to do all different kinds of things so everything can get done in this world.

The goal of a family, a small group, a church family, or any community group is not to mold people into your image but to accept and affirm each other and help each other discover who God made you to be.

VERSE OF THE DAY

“God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, And, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.” God created human beings; he created them godlike, Reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. God blessed them: “Prosper! Reproduce! Fill Earth! Take charge! Be responsible for fish in the sea and birds in the air, for every living thing that moves on the face of Earth.””

Genesis 1:26-28 MSG

VERSE OF THE DAY

“GOD, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can’t take it all in!

Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute— you’re already there waiting! Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!” It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.

Your thoughts—how rare, how beautiful! God, I’ll never comprehend them! I couldn’t even begin to count them— any more than I could count the sand of the sea. Oh, let me rise in the morning and live always with you! And please, God, do away with wickedness for good! And you murderers—out of here!— all the men and women who belittle you, God, infatuated with cheap god-imitations. See how I hate those who hate you, GOD, see how I loathe all this godless arrogance; I hate it with pure, unadulterated hatred. Your enemies are my enemies!

Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:1-24‬ ‭MSG‬‬

VERSE OF THE DAY

“For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above–spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].”

‭‭EPHESIANS‬ ‭2:10‬ ‭AMP‬‬

SING YOURSELF INTO GOD’S PRESENCE!

“On your feet now—applaud GOD! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence.

Know this: GOD is God, and God, GOD. He made us; we didn’t make him. We’re his people, his well-tended sheep. Enter with the password: “Thank you!” Make yourselves at home, talking praise. Thank him. Worship him. For GOD is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever.”

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭100:1-5‬ ‭MSG‬‬