Alphabetical Prayer

Alphabetical Prayer - A method for keeping your focus in prayer
Prayer should be spontaneous and natural. But sometimes we need help focusing (Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2).

Recently I woke in the middle of the night, feeling God wanted me to pray for a friend, but I couldn’t really pray beyond a sentence or two. 

I admit I was tired, but sometimes I have this problem when I’m wide awake. 

So I decided to do an alphabet prayer, praying through the alphabet.

For example:
A – Attitudes, Abilities, Acceptance, Alertness
B – Balance, Beliefs, Boldness, overcoming Bitterness
C – Courage, Comfort, Creativity, Commitment, Contentment
D – Decisions, Desires, Discouragement, Dependence on God

If I couldn’t think of something fitting for a letter, I went on to the next. But as I prayed, I discovered more areas where prayer was needed.

Next time you’re having difficulty praying, why not give it a try. It’s also a great way to "count your blessings" or list characteristics of God for thanksgiving and praise (Philippians 4:6).

Alphabetical Prayer - A method for keeping your focus in prayer
See also Prompts & Prayers and Set Your Mind or Set Your Alarm
Some additional examples of praying the alphabet:
E – Effectiveness, Enthusiasm, overcoming Evil
F – Friends, Family, Favor, Faithfulness, Fear, Forgiveness, Fruitfulness
G – Graciousness, Gratefulness, Gentleness
H – Help, Holiness, Health, Humility, Hope
I – Influences, Inspiration, Insight
J – Joy, Justice
K – Kindness, Knowledge 
L – Love, Loyalty, Losses
M – Meekness, Motivation, Modesty
N – New life, Needs, spiritual Nurture
O – Overcoming sin, Optimism, Obedience
P – Peace, Purpose, Patience, overcoming Pride
Q – Quality of Quiet times, gentle and Quiet spirit
R – Relationships, Righteousness, Resisting the Devil
S – Self-control, Self-denial, Stability, Submission, Service, Strength
T – Trust, Thankfulness, Teachable
U – Unity, Uncompromising, Understanding
V – Victorious, Values
W – Wisdom, Work, Weariness, Witness
X – Xenial (hospitable)
Y – Yielding to God’s will, Yearning for God’s truth
Z – Zeal, Zest for God
Can you think of other good prompts from the alphabet?

Jesus Invites Us to Come, Take, and Learn

Jesus Invites Us to Come, Take, and Learn- Matthew 11:28-30
I sometimes lose my peace, burdened with things I can't change.

Jesus speaks to all of us who find ourselves in this condition in Matthew 11:28-30:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Come, Take and Learn.
  • Come to Jesus and quit seeking answers elsewhere.
  • Take His yoke by surrendering ourselves to His will in our lives.
  • Learn from Him how to handle the trials. And learn that He is all we need to have joy and peace.
If you also lose your peace at times, I suggest you join me. Together let’s Come, Take, and Learn.
copyright 2012, Gail Burton Purath
Resource: Wiersbe, W. W. (1996, c1989). The Bible exposition commentary. "An exposition of the New Testament comprising the entire 'BE' series"--Jkt. (Mt 12:1). Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books.

These 1-minute devotions can also be helpful:
Worry: Fact or Fiction 
"Aha" Moments
Jesus Invites Us to Come, Take, and Learn- Matthew 11:28-30

Sexual Purity Matters to God

Sexual purity matters to God and it should matter to Christians.
Years ago, a young woman in a Bible study told me I was old-fashioned to think that genuine believers wouldn’t live together before marriage. 

If I’m old-fashioned, so is God. 

God always knows what’s best for us, and Scripture defines all sex outside of marriage as sinful

What happens when Christians sin sexually?

They'll be deeply troubled and prove their repentance. They'll get help from more mature Christians and avoid all situations that cause further temptation.(1)

“No one who continues to sin has either seen [Christ] or known him.” 1 John 3:6

"Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

God says sexual sin is serious.

He forgives the repentant (Acts 3:19).

(1) Christians have the power (Philippians 4:13) and the motivation (Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) to overcome these sins because "God has called us to live holy lives, not impure lives" (1 Thessalonians 4:7). 

And check out today's Bite Size Bible Study for more on this subject.

Stand Up and Die

Are You Willing to Stand for Christ? 1 Cor. 16:13
A soldier entered an underground church and raised his gun.

“Deny your faith and go home, or stand where you are and be shot.”

Scores of people fled while a remnant of scared but faithful believers slowly stood to their feet.

When they were alone, the soldier lowered his gun and explained that he himself was a believer, but he couldn’t take the chance of identifying himself among those who feared man more than God.

Dear Christians, would you have stood or fled?

We answer this question every day in subtle ways:

Will we stand up for Biblical truths regarding salvation, hell, repentance, Christian values, abortion, transgenderism, homosexuality, pornography, premarital sex...

Or will we scurry out the door to the false security of our fallen culture?  

"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong." 1 Corinthians 16:13

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." Ephesians 6:11

Let's stand!
For more on this subject: Is Jesus Likable? and Hard Teachings 
Note: I heard this story many years ago and it was said to have occurred in a Communist country. I believe it to be true, but I no longer have the source. Even if it is not true, it makes an excellent point.
Next week Bible Love Notes will address sexual immorality, not a popular subject in our degrading culture, but it's important for believers to understand what Scripture says so we can take our stand as Christ-followers.

4 Signs of Childish Faith - 1 Corinthians 13:11

4 Signs of Childish Faith - 1 Corinthians 13:11
It's good to be childlike, but bad to be childish.(1)

We're born with folly bound up in our hearts (Proverbs 22:15). Children are egocentric, thinking they're the center of the world.(2)

Becoming an adult means putting away childish selfishness and learning self-control, self-denial, and discipline.

"When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me." 1 Corinthians 13:11

Mature faith is evident in:
1. Whom we honor.
Do we admire people for their faith or for worldly, selfish, childish reasons (James 2:1-9; 1 Corinthians 15:33)? 
2. What we value.
Are we pursuing God's purposes or youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2:22)?
3. What we believe about ourselves. 
Are we self-esteeming and self-defensive or humble and teachable (Romans 12:3; Proverbs 15:31)?
4. What we believe about God. 
Do we expect God to be our servant or do we seek to be His servant (Romans 12:1; Colossians 3:23)?

May God help us identify areas where we need to put childish ways behind us.
(1) Being childlike is being humble and dependent Matthew 18:4
(2) See Created and Born
Additional resources and Scriptures for each point above:
1. See "Who's Your Hero?" and "Christians Look at Hearts"
2. See "Needs and Desires" (for parents) and "8 Narcissist Problems"
3. See "3 Reasons the Centurion Amazed Jesus" and "Feeling Good or Being Good"
4. See "3 Lies That Take Our Focus Off God" and "God is an Equal Opportunity Employer"
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