God’s like a tattoo. Once He’s under your skin, He’s there for good. And that is a very lovely thing.
God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?
“Let Go!” (Genesis 22:1-24)
“Let Go!” (Genesis 22:1-24)
Study By: Keith Krell
From the Series: The Book of Beginnings: Genesis
A man was walking along a narrow path, not paying much attention to where he was going.1 Suddenly he slipped over the edge of a cliff. As he fell, he grabbed a branch growing from the side of the cliff. Realizing that he couldn’t hang on for long, he called for help.
Man: Is anybody up there?
Voice: Yes, I’m here!
Man: Who’s that?
Voice: The Lord.
Man: Lord, help me!
Voice: Do you trust me?
Man: I trust you completely, Lord.
Voice: Good. Let go of the branch.
Voice: I said, let go of the branch.
Man: [After a long pause] Is anybody else up there?2
Like this dangling, cliffhanger, are you ever afraid that God might ask too much of you? Consider for a moment what would be too much? Our daily lives are built around people and things we enjoy: a spouse, children, friends, a job, a hobby, possessions, and future plans. These are the pillars and beams of our earthly support system; and if one of them is removed, we sometimes feel as though the framework of our lives is collapsing around us. But there are times when God says “Let go!” and the nuts and bolts that hold our world together suddenly snap. If you’ve ever been in that situation you know the pressure a test like that can exert on your faith.3 Abraham was well acquainted with such strenuous tests. In Genesis 22, we come to one of the greatest chapters in the entire Bible. It is also one of the greatest crises in the Bible. This crisis is a crisis of obedience and it is structured in three flowing segments.
1. The test of obedience (22:1-8). Our passage begins with the phrase, “Now it came about after these things.”4 This phrase looks back over Abraham’s pilgrimage of faith.5 During these years, Abraham encountered several tests; some he passed and others he failed.6 Abraham was quite human, like you and me. Yet, despite a mixture of success and failure, God sought to mature Abraham and use his life powerfully. Maybe you have had your share of success, but you’ve also experienced some failure along the way. You need to know today that God has not discarded you, nor is He finished with you. In fact, He wants to take you to your next spiritual level. He does this through tests. Notice the next phrase “God7 tested8 Abraham.” The word “test” still conjures up nightmares for me: burning the midnight oil to memorize volumes of facts, noticing my increased heart rate as the instructor passed out the test, staring into space and trying to remember a name or a date. We have all been through the stress of tests.9 Yet, it is wrong to assume that tests only take place in school. The real tests take place in the course of our lives. In these tests, whether we pass or fail is of the utmost importance.
We must keep two things in mind here:
First, there is a vast difference between God’s purpose in testing a person and Satan’s purpose in testing a person. God tests to confirm and strengthen. Satan tests to corrupt and weaken. In the New Testament, James lets us know that God was testing Abraham so his faith could be “perfected” before men (Jas 2:22). The word “perfect” means complete or mature.10 Persevering through tests and being obedient to God made Abraham’s faith visible to an on looking world. God tested Abraham in order to give him an opportunity to display his true character.11
He will do the same for you. Every test God brings into your life is an opportunity for you to shine and advance to another spiritual grade level. This ought to excite you. Even if spiritual tests are difficult, they have a wonderful purpose: to make you more like Christ so the world can see God’s greatness revealed in you (Prov 17:3; Jas 1:2-4, 12-14; 1 Pet 1:6-7).
Second, we need to be aware that Abraham had walked with God for about 35 years before God tested him in this most severe way.12 God did not give him this severe test until He knew Abraham was equipped for it. One of the great things about God is that He does not give us tests we cannot pass. His tests come when we are prepared. Furthermore, He supplies an extra measure of grace to help us through times of testing (1 Cor 10:13). God is not like some of our former teachers who gave us premature tests or pop quizzes on information they had never covered in lectures. He is gracious and faithful. He wants for us to receive the highest grade possible!
We are told from the very first verse in this chapter that Abraham will be tested. Notice when God calls Abraham’s name, Abraham responds with, “Here I am” (22:1; cf. 22:11).13 He was willing to hear from God and be moved to action. Howard Hendricks, the great Christian writer and teacher, likes to say that great leaders must be “FAT: faithful, available, and teachable.” Do those characteristics define who you are? Obedience and discipleship demand that you be a person who is FAT. Sometimes people and things can become too important to us. We grip them with closed fists and white knuckles, so God has to pry open our fingers to loosen our hold.14 This is not ideal. Are you in the midst of a test? Is something that is important to you at risk or being taken from you? A job? A dream? A friendship? Your finances? Don’t let God take it from you; give it to Him! Be a FAT person for the glory of God.
The Lord speaks again in 22:2: “Take now your son,15 your only16 son, whom you love,17 Isaac,18 and go19 to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains20 of which I will tell you.” This verse is not made up of a series of gracious requests. Instead, God gives three blood-curdling commands (“take, “go,” and “offer”) without an explanation.21 Abraham was not simply to wound his son and then nurse him back to health.22 He was to offer his son as a burnt offering. Can you feel this man’s pain? It must have been horrific!
The question that is often asked at this point in the text is, “How could a God of love command Abraham to offer up his only son as a sacrifice?” For family devotions, Martin Luther once read this account and his wife, Katie, said, “I do not believe it. God would not have treated his son like that!” “But, Katie,” Luther replied, “He did” (see Isa 53:10).23 Thus, we are forced to the conclusion that the sacrifice of Isaac could not have been wrong, whether only attempted or accomplished, because God is incapable of evil (Jas 1:13-15; 1 John 1:5). Much more than this, as Luther recognized, it could not be wrong to sacrifice an only son because God actually did sacrifice His only begotten Son (see John 3:16).24
Shortly after our first child, Joshua, was born, as his father I dedicated him to the Lord. I’ll never forget that moment. I had just finished getting him ready for bed when the Lord impressed upon me that he did not belong to me. While little Joshua was lying on his back on our changing table, I got down on my knees and acknowledged to the Lord that Joshua was His. I told the Lord that He could have His sovereign way with him. I love Joshua with all that is within me, but I told the Lord He could take him from me at any time if that was in accordance with His perfect will. I pray that will not be the case, but Joshua is not mine; he is not Lori’s. He belongs to God and God alone! You see, it’s one thing to say, “The Lord blessed me with a child,” but the question is, what do you say when the Lord asks for your child back? Life is merely on loan to us, both as parents and as children. God can ask for its return at any time. Are you living with this realization? I challenge you today to hold loosely what God has given you.
In 22:3-4, we see that Abraham obeyed God’s commands immediately and unquestioningly. Moses informs us that Abraham “rose early in the morning.” Now, if I had been Abraham, I would have spent at least a day or two praying and fasting. I would have talked things through with my wife. I would have sought the best pastoral counsel available. But not Abraham…he obeyed (Ps 119:60). Scripture does not say, but I suspect his decision to get up early may have had more to do with torment than eagerness.25 Notice Abraham “saddled his donkey” and also “split wood for the burnt offering.” This is a man who is over 100 years old and has numerous servants. What was he thinking? My guess is he was probably trying to occupy his mind with activity so he wouldn’t have to think about what lie ahead. Yet in spite of all of this, he “arose and went to the place of which God had told him.” What is even more unbearable is that he could not finish the deed quickly; he was given time to think about what lay ahead. It was a three-day26 journey from Beersheba to Moriah27 (50 miles). Three days in which to think about what he must do. This was all a part of the test of obedience.
In 22:5-8, we see that Abraham’s obedience was based on faith. After seeing the dreaded destination, Abraham spoke. He instructed his servants to stay behind with his donkey. Why didn’t Abraham bring the servants up the mountain with him? He knew his servants would try to stop him. They would have kept him from placing his son on the altar. They would have concluded that he had lost his mind and would have tried to subdue him “for his own good.” Granted, they would have done this out of ignorance. Nevertheless, they would have attempted to foil God’s plan for Abraham. We must show the same wisdom that Abraham did. If we want to be faithful followers then we must be diligent in removing every obstacle. Sometimes we must eliminate people that keep us from holy living. We must constantly be evaluating our friendships because some people will lead us in the wrong direction.28 Sometimes effective discipleship begins with subtraction. Here is another test of obedience. Are you willing to do whatever you can to walk with God?
Don’t miss the last phrase in 22:5: “we will worship29 and return to you.” Abe is saying, “God told me to go kill my son, but we are coming back.”30 He was prepared to kill Isaac, burn his body as an offering and then watch God raise him up off the altar. Why? Because he believed God was able.31 Now I’m sure he must have been praying his heart out, but he was obedient in the midst of great anguish. Abraham’s response is rather remarkable when you realize that God’s command was illogical. From every human viewpoint it was contradictory and inconsistent. God had promised Abraham He would establish His covenant with Isaac and it was to be “an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him” (17:19). So at the ripe old age of 100, Abraham became a father and now God wants to take his son. This doesn’t make sense. Yet Abraham was obedient and did what contradicted logic (Heb 11:17-19).
There will be times in your life when obedience will not make sense. Are you prepared to obey God even in these cases? I confess there are many things in the Bible that I wish were not there—life would be easier. I could blend in better with our culture. But the real test of surrender isn’t when I obey commands I like. If I say to my kids, “Eat your ice cream,” that is not a good test of how well they obey me. The true test is when I ask them to do something difficult.32 If God is calling you to something difficult today, will you say, “Here I am?” Will you obey? If God is calling you to let go of something today, will you?
Abraham’s test intensifies in 22:6-8 when he has to take the wood of the burnt offering and lay it on his son. As Abraham and Isaac are trekking along, it dawns on Isaac that the most important element is missing. So Isaac finally breaks the silence and speaks to his dad: “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (22:7) Who can imagine what went through Abraham’s mind when Isaac asked that question? What could he say? “You’re it! I love you, son, but I’m going to sacrifice you.”
Rather, Abraham replied, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (22:8). Not only did his response shroud the truth from Isaac, it also demonstrated faith in God.
What he was saying is, “Let’s let God take care of it.” I want to come to the place in my own life where I can confidently say, “God is big enough to take care of me.” If I’m faithful to obey Him in all He asks of me, He will provide for me all that I need.33 The only way this kind of obedience can be pulled off is by walking with God and knowing His heart.
[Abraham passed the test of obedience, but now we come to…]
2. The commitment of obedience (22:9-12). In 22:9-10, we see that Abraham’s obedience was thorough and complete. The whole procedure is drawn out like a slow-motion replay. It has taken three days to get to Moriah. Once Abraham finally arrives, he has to climb Mount Moriah. Then he has to build the altar,34 arrange the wood, bind his son, lay him on the altar, stretch out his hand, and take the knife to slay him. Now, on my best spiritual day, I probably would have had faith to build the altar but not to kill. Abraham did everything yet heaven remained silent. I’m sure as he raised that knife, every bone in his body must have wanted to disobey. But if Abraham had not raised the knife he would not have heard from God. Did you catch that? It took raising the knife of obedience with intent to kill (that’s commitment), and then Abraham heard from God. Many of us may be willing to lay something on the altar but when we do we take along a rubber knife. Yet, our obedience is not complete if there are some strings attached.35
One thing is very clear: Abraham could not have offered Isaac without Isaac’s consent and cooperation. Isaac, as the bearer of the wood, was the stronger of the two. As a young man he was also the faster of the two. Clearly, he was strong enough and big enough to resist or subdue his father. Apparently, Isaac had decided to obey his father whatever the cost, just as his father had decided to obey God whatever the cost (cf. Isa 53:7).36
At this point in our story it is often our tendency to object to God’s demands. We wonder why God wants such sacrifice from us. We may ask ourselves, why does He want all of me? Well, let me try to put this into perspective. Husbands, is it inappropriate for your wife to want all of you? Is it wrong or unfair for her to not want to share you with other women? How much more so with our heavenly Father? He wants all of you!37 Remember, total obedience is not only measured by what you give God; God also takes into account what you keep for yourself. Can God get close to the most important things in your life: your possessions, business, plans and dreams, and relationships? Are you willing to let go (Luke 14:26-27)? Sometimes the supreme test of our faith will be a matter of putting obedience to God above something we have lived for all of our lives. Sometimes it will involve something that might to everyone else seem foolish and ridiculous.38 Are you willing to be sacrificially obedient to God in every area of your life?
As his knife was raised to slay his son, something amazing happened: “But the angel of the LORD called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.’” (22:11-12). What a relief this interruption must have been. Abraham must have wiped his tears and jumped for joy! The angel of the Lord informs Abraham that Isaac was spared because “now I know that you fear God” (cf. 20:11). This verse cannot mean that God discovers by knowledge, in finite time, that Abraham fears Him as a result of Abraham’s faithful actions with Isaac. For that would make God less than one who is omniscient. The Bible teaches that God decrees all things and has done so before the creation of the universe; so certainly He need not wait until Abraham is faithful in deeds in order to “know” that Abraham fears God (cf. Ps 139:1-4, 16).39
The angel of the Lord is saying to Abraham, by your faithful actions I experientially know that you fear God. The language is accommodated to the human understanding, uttered, as it were, from man’s point of view. For example, a chemistry professor, lecturing to his class, says, “Now I will apply an acid to this substance and see what the result will be.” He speaks in this way, although he knows perfectly well beforehand. Having performed the experiment, he says, “I now know that such and such results will follow.” In saying this he puts himself in the place of the class and speaks from their standpoint.40
We must differentiate between knowledge as cognition and knowledge as experience. Although God knew ahead of time what Abraham was going to do, there is still ample evidence throughout Scripture that God desires us to act out our faith and worship regardless of the fact that He knows our hearts. God wants us to pray even though He knows what we’re going to say and may already have the answer in motion. He wants us to praise Him even though He knows how we feel. God asks us to express our faith and love. It is honoring to Him for us to demonstrate those things that He knows exists because it pleases Him.41 Are you willing to worship and fear God? Will you let go of people, things, or dreams that you’ve been holding on to? Will you commit to holding these things loosely?
[We’ve looked at the tests and commitment of obedience. Now our story shifts gears and transitions into…]
3. The blessing of obedience (22:13-24). Obedience is rewarded in three ways:
First, God blesses us by providing the things which He demands of us (22:13-14). Moses writes, “Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of42 his son. 14 Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, ‘In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.’” When Abraham demonstrated that he was willing to go all the way in his obedience to God, the Lord provided a solution to his crisis.43 Remember, God was testing Abraham (cf. 22:1). He didn’t want the sacrifice of a son; He wanted the surrender of a father. Fittingly, Abraham named this place “The Lord will provide” (Yahweh Yireh) or literally, “The Lord will see.” In English there is a cliché that says, “The devil is in the details.” Typically, people who are not administratively inclined or detail oriented like to use this line. However, if the devil is in the details we are in trouble. Fortunately, in this verse Abraham is saying, “God is the One who is in the details.” He is the One who will “see to it” that everything is appropriately cared for.44 The name he chooses does not draw attention to himself but to his Lord. He does not name the place “Abraham was obedient.” He focuses on God’s mercy and faithfulness, not on his own obedience.45 Abraham wanted there to be a record for Isaac. He wouldn’t have any problem trusting God again. Here we see that God is both tester and provider. When God tests you He will provide for you.46 What you release to God, He replaces with something even more valuable. Do you believe that? One more important note: If you’re observant you may have noticed that Abraham stated that God would provide a lamb for the burnt offering. However, it wasn’t a lamb caught in the thicket, but a ram! The ram could not provide the once-and-for-all sacrifice that Abraham prophetically spoke of in 22:8. That high calling was reserved for God’s own dear Son, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time (1 Tim 2:6).47 He is our substitute…our Savior. Salvation is recognizing your need of a Savior and placing your faith in that Savior Substitute, Jesus Christ.
Second, God blesses us by providing assurance of His promises (22:15-19).48 In 22:15-18, we have the final recorded instance of God speaking to Abraham.49 God here says, “By Myself I have sworn” (22:16) in affirming the promises, which He has already given to Abraham. God has to swear by Himself because there is no one greater He can swear by (Heb 6:13-14). It is unusual for God to speak with an oath. Abraham’s supreme act of obedience drew forth God’s supreme assurance of blessing.50 If you lack assurance of God’s promises to you, obey Him! He gives His greatest assurance to those who obey Him most fully.51 We are not told whether or not God spoke to Abraham during his three-day journey to the mountain. But once he arrived and was performing the sacrifice, God spoke commanding Abraham to stay his hand and then again to give a word of promise. It is a good word. It is as though He told Abraham, “Well done, good and faithful servant…enter into the joy of your master” (Matt 25:21).52 It is worth noting, it is “the angel of the Lord” who speaks to Abraham. As it will be at the judgment seat of Christ, Jesus commends Abraham.
Third, God blesses us by providing for our future needs (22:20-24). Our narrative closes with the happy news that Abraham’s brother Nahor has become the father of 12 sons. They would later become the ancestors of 12 Aramean tribes.53 The central purpose of this list is to introduce the future bride of Isaac, Rebekah (22:23). No doubt Abraham had wondered where he would find a wife for Isaac so that his son would not be absorbed into the Canaanite culture. God had already taken care of the matter in the person of Rebekah. When we obey God fully we can trust that He is looking farther ahead than we are. He is already taking care, not only of our future needs, but also of the needs of our children!54 But please recognize that God has not promised Christians great physical blessings, but whenever we make a sacrifice for Him He gives us a deeper relationship with Himself at least. For this reason we should not fear making personal sacrifices for God.55
Several years ago, a pastor’s family was driving along Interstate 94 in Wisconsin. Their gas tank was hit by a piece of road debris—a 5-by-18 inch hollow piece of steel bracketing used to hold mud flaps on trucks—weighing 20-35 pounds. The parents were in the front of the minivan. Six of their children were in the back. The vehicle burst into flames, killing five of the six children and injuring the sixth. The parents survived. What is most memorable about this tragedy was this Christian mother’s response when she watched her children die. She said to her husband, “This is what God has been preparing us for all of our lives.” I need to tell you: This kind of trust does not generate at the moment of impact. It had been developing for a very long time. It is the conviction that God can be trusted no matter what happens.56
A nail would certainly question the value of a hammer. To the nail, the hammer is a cruel instrument. But what it doesn’t see is that each blow forces the nail to bite deeper and hold more effectively. Without the hammer the nail would not be effective. Tests are like the hammer. Sometimes they come suddenly…other times they appear over the passing of many months, slowly as the erosion of earth.
Are you a “nail” that has begun to resent the blows of the hammer? Are you at the brink of despair, thinking that you cannot bear another day of testing? As difficult as it may be for you to believe this today, the Master knows what He’s doing (Heb 4:14-16). Your Savior knows your breaking point. The hammering process is designed to reshape you, not ruin you. Your value is increasing the longer He lingers over you.57
God wants you and me to hold people, things, and dreams loosely. To help us in this pursuit, He uses tests. He will test your obedience and your commitment. If you pass His tests, He will bless your life.
1 Copyright © 2005 Keith R. Krell. All rights reserved. All Scripture quotations, unless indicated, are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1977, and 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, and are used by permission.
Read this. It’s awesome. It’s everything.
SOAKING HEALING PRAYER
I COME AS MYSELF JUST AS I AM, AT THIS MOMENT MY FEELINGS, MY FEARS, MY JOYS, MY SADNESSES…..
YOU SEE ME AS I REALLY AM YOU KNOW ME THROUGH AND THROUGH…YOU SEE ALL THAT I EVER AM AND EVER HAVE BEEN…..EVERY EXPERIENCE IN MY LIFE IS LAID BEFORE YOU, EVERY IMAGE I HAVE SEEN, EACH TOUCH, EACH SENSATION, EVERY WORD I HAVE EVER HEARD OR SPOKEN, EACH IDEA, EACH THOUGHT WHICH IS IMPRINTED IN MY SOUL AND IS KNOWN TO YOU……YOU KNOW ME BETTER THAN MY CLOSEST FRIEND YOU KNOW ME BETTER THAN I KNOW MYSELF…YOU KNOW…..AND… BECAUSE OF WHO I AM AND IN SPITE OF WHAT I AM YOU LOVE ME…..I AM OF AN ESTIMABLE VALUE TO YOU….. YOU LOVE ME THROUGH AND THROUGH … NOTHING AND NOBODOY CAN REMOVE ME OR SEPARATE ME FROM YOUR LOVE OR PRESENCE..YOU KNEW ME AT THE MOMENT OF MY CREATION AND EVEN THEN YOU LOVED ME, YOU KNEW ME AND LOVED ME IN MY MOTHERS WOMB…..MY NATURE WAS KNOWN TO YOU,… YOU CALLED ME BY MY NAME YOU HELD ME IN YOUR ARMS, YOU EMBRACED ME, YOU BREATHED UPON ME, YOU GAVE ME YOUR LIFE AND YOUR LOVE, YOU WATCHED OVER ME FROM MY EARLIEST CHILDHOOD, YOU WERE PRESENT AT ALL TIMES AND IN ALL PLACES, MY UNSEEN WORKMATE, PLAYMATE AND UNSEEN GUEST AT EVERY MEAL…. YOU SHARED IN EVERY ENCOUNTER, YOU WATCHED OVER ME SILENTLY, EVEN IN THE LONG HOURS OF THE NIGHT…. YOU SHARED IN EVERY JOURNEY, YOU TRAVELLED WITH ME, YOU WERE AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH JOURNEY, YOU WERE MY COMPANION ON THE WAY, WITHOUT YOU I WOULD LOOSE MY WAY AND MY JOURNEY WOULD HAVE NO PURPOSE…. I BECOME EXHAUSTED ON THE WAY, BUT YOU ARE MY ALPHA AND OMEGA, YOU ARE MY LIFE AND THE WAY ITSELF…. THE WAY OF LIFE…
SO LORD I LAY BEFORE YOU MY LIFE, ALL MY YESTERDAYS, MY TODAYS AND TOMORROWS, I PRAISE AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRESENCE IN MY LIFE…. I LIFT UP IN GRATITUDE, ALL THE GOODNESS AND ALL THE JOY AND I OFFER YOU ALL MY HURTS, MY BRUISES, MY REJECTIONS…. I OFFER YOU ALL THOSE THINGS FOR WHICH I AM ASHAMED, ALL THOSE THINGS THAT I HAVE SAID, DONE AND THOUGHT, ALL THAT HAS BROUGHT HURT TO YOU AND TO OTHERS….. LORD POUR YOUR CLEANSING STREAMS OF LIVING WATER ALL OVER ME, MAKE THE PARCHED DESERT OF MY BEING SPRING TO LIFE, REFRESH ME AND RENEW ME….
LORD BREATHE IN ME AFRESH NOW AND I WILL RECEIVE YOUR LIFE …. LORD REACH OUT AND TOUCH ME AND I WILL RECEIVE YOUR HEALING…. EMPTY ME UTTERLY OF ALL THE RUBBISH THAT IS IN ME AT THIS MOMENT ….LORD TAKE AWAY ALL THE DISTRACTIONS, ALL TEMPTATIONS, ALL EVIL THOUGHTS AND DESIRES, REMOVE ME FROM ALL MY ANXIETY, TAKE AWAY EVERY HIDDEN FEAR, HELP ME TO KNOW THAT YOUR PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT ALL FEAR…. BRING ME NOW INTO THE DEEP SILENCE OF YOUR PRESENCE, I GIVE YOU MY BODY AND ASK THAT IT MAY BECOME YOUR DWELLING PLACE …..AT THIS MOMENT MAY EVERY PART OF MY BEING BE AT PEACE, LET MY HEART BEAT BE IN HARMONY WITH YOUR HEART BEAT, LET EVERY PART OF MY BODY BE FILLED WITH YOUR SPIRIT, TAKE EACH BLOOD VESSEL, TAKE EVERY PART OF MY NERVOUS SYSTEM, EACH MUSCLE, EACH ORGAN AND FILL ME NOW WITH YOUR STILLNESS AND WITH THE REALITY OF YOUR LIVING PRESENCE….. HELP ME NOW TO PRAY EVEN WITHOUT WORDS, HELP ME TO PRAY WITH MY BREATHING AND TO BREATHE IN YOUR LOVE AND PEACE TO BREATHE OUT MY PAIN AND SADNESS, TO BREATHE IN YOUR CLEANSING AND FORGIVENESS, TO BREATHE OUT MY GUILT AND IMPURITY……………….. SO IN MY BREATHING, MAY MY BODY AND SOUL BE AT ONE WITH YOU, IN HARMONY WITH YOU, AT EASE WITH YOU, MAY I BE STILL AND KNOW THAT YOU ARE GOD, MAY I BE STILL AND KNOW THAT YOU ARE THE LORD THAT BRINGS HEALING…… HELP ME TO HEAR YOUR STILL SMALL VOICE LORD JESUS, MAY I NOW HEAR YOUR WORDS OF “ PEACE BE STILL”…. MAY ALL MY STORMS SUBSIDE, AS I ACCEPT YOUR REAL PRESENCE, AS I KNEEL BEFORE YOU, I GIVE YOU MY HEART AND ALL MY EMOTIONS, ALL MY DEEPEST FEELINGS THAT LIE HIDDEN WITHIN ME, I GIVE YOU MY STILLNESS, BUT I ALSO GIVE YOU THE TURBULENCE AND THE CROSS-CURRENTS OF MY LIFE…. MY FEELINGS OF FAILURE AND REJECTION, I GIVE YOU EVERY RELATIONSHIP, EVERY SITUATION IN MY LIFE, ALL MY REACTIONS ALL MY OUTBURSTS OF JOY AND OF ANGER, ALL MY MOMENTS OF ELATION AND DESPAIR….. LORD I GIVE YOU MY INTELLECT, I LAY BEFORE YOU ALL MY FREE THOUGHTS AND IDEAS, I GIVE YOU ALL MY SEARCHING, STRIVING AND MY GRASPING AFTER TRUTH,…. I GIVE YOU ALL MY IGNORANCE AND CONFUSION, ALL MY QUESTIONS AND DOUBTS, I ACKNOWLEGDE YOU TO BE TRUTH…. TRUTH IN ITS ENTIRITY…. THE TRUTH THAT CAN SET ME FREE IN MY BODY AND MIND AND FREE MY SPIRIT FROM ALL THE BONDAGE I AM IN…THE TRUTH THAT CAN SET ME FREE FROM ALL THE LIES AND DECEIT OF THE WORLD, FREE FROM MY OWN SELFISHNESS PRIDE AND GRIEF AND CAN BREAK THE CHAINS WHICH HOLD ME BACK …….LORD BREAK OPEN THE DOOR OF MY PRISON, THAT I WILL PASS FROM THE DARKNESS OF MY WORLD AND WALK OUT INTO THE LIGHT OF YOUR PRESENCE….. FATHER, MAY I NOW FEEL THE RADIANCE OF YOUR LOVE UPON MY LIFE, MAY I FEEL THE WARMTH OF YOUR FATHERLY LOVE UPON ME, YOUR CHILD.
HELP ME TO KNOW THE JOY THAT MY RESPONSE BRINGS TO YOU, GIVE ME THE GRACE IN MY WEAKNESS TO CRY “ABBA FATHER”… HELP ME TO KNOW THAT BENEATH ME ARE YOUR EVERLASTING ARMS, BEARING ME UP….. LORD JESUS BE THE LORD OF MY LIFE , MY THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS, MY MEMORIES AND HOPES……. I ACCEPT YOUR AUTHORITY OVER EVERYTHING THAT I HAVE BEEN, AM OR WILL BE, I BOW DOWN BEFORE YOU, ……………..AS I SEE YOU ON YOUR CROSS HELD DOWN BY CRUEL NAILS, I SEE YOUR ARMS STRETCHED OUT SEEKING TO EMBRACE THE WHOLE WORLD, SEEKING TO EMBRACE ME, TO LOVE ME, TO FORGIVE ME, TO MAKE ME WHOLE…………….. I PRAISE YOU, THAT YOU DIED FOR ME…. HELP ME TO KNOW THAT BECAUSE YOUR LOVE FOR ME WAS SO GREAT, I TOO MUST LOVE MYSELF, I MUST RECOGNISE MY GREAT WORTH TO YOU….. LORD JESUS COME TO ME NOW, GENTLY AS A DOVE AND QUIETLY AS A SUMMER BREEZE….. OR EVEN AS A MIGHTY ROARING WIND ….COME AND DWELL WITHIN ME AND ENABLE ME NOW, TO DO THOSE THINGS THAT BEFOR E WERE IMPOSSIBLE…. FATHER GIVE ME THOSE GIFTS THAT I CAN USE TO YOUR HONOR AND GLORY AND WILL SHOW FRUIT IN MY LIFE……. GLORY BE TO YOU FATHER, GLORY BE TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST…AMEN
How to pray in Hope by Henri Nouwen.
Courage (n): Being scared on the inside but brave on the outside.
Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed king. He will answer him from his holy heaven and rescue him by his great power.
Our spiritual life is a life in which we wait, actively present to the moment, expecting that new things will happen to us, new things that are far beyond our own imagination or prediction. This, indeed, is a very radical stance toward life in a world preoccupied with control.
In times of trouble we’ll have a tent party.
“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the LORD.”
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.