Great Reunion!

It was a joy for me to gather with so many of you this morning for our DPP Reunion! If you missed it—you missed it!

I hope you were encouraged, maybe even reminded of some things. I also hope you can see how many other precious people have gone through the project as you have.

Of course, as I have said from the start, the Daily Prayer Project is not a one time class or event, it is an initiation into a community.

In 2018,

  • I hope to develop DPP 2.0 for those who have completed the initial project.
  • I am looking forward to a youth version of the project
  • Looking for our first young adult group
  • Will schedule a spring and fall reunion.

So,

  • be encouraged.
  • Take the DPP again.
  • Look for some of these developments to come about.
  • Participate on the website. (I will soon post a how-to video for those who have struggled with posting on the blog.)

Remember:

  • No guilt
  • Be honest with yourself about your efforts to pray
  • Keep the vision in focus

When You Think You Have Surrendered It All

Phil 3I have been struggling lately in prayer and not able to pinpoint the problem.

There’s not always a problem just because you don’t feel a certain way in prayer. The lack of emotion in your prayer time is not always a reliable indicator of how your prayer time is going. Think about it: My connection to those closest to me does not disappear just because I have a day where I don’t feel emotionally close to them or am distracted by the details of life. Genuine love and intimacy persist through such temporary things. But after a while, if things don’t get back to normal, it is wise to prayerfully examine your own heart and thinking.

In my case, I️ have been suspecting that the problem was distraction. Not phones ringing, or interruptions, but, in this case, a competing distraction.

This particular distraction is noble, useful, and, in my case, done for upright reasons. Yet, because it is something I️ also happen to enjoy immensely, it can be a distraction.

I️ have been praying for a few weeks now, asking the Lord to show me what He would have me do about this noble distraction. I feel that He gave me Philippians 3:7-8 (which you can see in context in the attached graphic).

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.As a result, I am examining the distraction in light of what really matters. Will He teach me to pursue this noble activity in a different way or give it up altogether? If He has me to give it up, what will have me do instead? Perhaps it is the doing that is the problem! We will see. For now, I am still wrestling but I understand the struggle now and will continue to pray about it until He wins!

Why wait until we get to heaven?

The following are two journal entries from Amber Floridia. Amber participated in The Daily Prayer Project online and has stayed with it ever since! She posts every week about her prayer times and I asked her to share something I could post. Be blessed by thisPraying young lady glimpse into the spiritual pursuit of this precious young lady.

9/28/17

As soon as I opened my eyes this morning I heard what sounded like a choir of women singing, “Obedience to the Lord brings forth many blessings.” Hallelujah! As I was worshiping Him this morning I was singing “Not in a hurry” by Will Reagan. As I was singing to Jesus I saw a sick man and I felt Him remind me of Matthew 25:40&45. I felt Him say don’t be in a hurry to spend time with the sick, the hurting, the dying, the lost etc. Thank you Jesus for Your words! Please help me to not be in a hurry when the opportunity comes up to help those like in Mathew 25:35-36. In Jesus’ name amen!

Later on today as I was getting ready to leave I was walking around my house I was praying for my Grandpa and his aid. I was rushing on my way out to get a pedicure. But my grandpa’s nurse’s car was blocking me in the driveway. So I kindly went to her to ask her to move it for me and when she came back we got to talking about her situation. She was telling me how badly she needed prayer and that she was tired of people saying they would pray for her and then not do it. I told her how the Lord already led me to pray for her from my house that morning and I got to pray for her right then and there and she was so grateful. Then we started talking about how awesome Jesus is and how when she gets to heaven and sees Jesus face to face she’s going to dance and dance. I told her I’m going to just sob and sob at His feet and then dance around. Thank you Jesus for already giving me and opportunity to love on people who are hurting and feel lonely! Wow!

 

9/29/17

At the Table tonight we were singing “Good Good Father” a song I’ve probably heard/sung a thousand times. Tonight though was different. We got up to the verse “love so undeniable I, I can hardly speak. Peace so unexplainable I, I can hardly think.” And I couldn’t even finish singing the verse because I felt His love fall on me in such a strong way I just started laughing out of joy. Then the laughter turned into sobs of Joy and I fell onto my knees and just sobbed and laughed out of joy and His overwhelming love. It was so amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever felt His love that strongly before and I’ll never forget it! Then Olga challenged us to not hold back in our worship to Him because He deserves it! And I thought to myself YEAH HE DOES! So I danced around the room and didn’t hold back or care about anyone else in the room but Jesus.

 

After writing all of these things in my journal I realized that the conversation I had with my grandpa’s aid about meeting Jesus face to face in Heaven came full circle at the Table. Me falling at His feet sobbing and then dancing around. That actually happened! Right here on earth! As I realize this I feel Him telling me that there’s no better time to worship Him and love Him with all our hearts than right here and now. Spirit to spirit. He lives in us so why should we wait to worship Him face to face? (Romans 8:11, Galatians 2:20) Why wait until we get to Heaven? (1 Peter 2:9)

Come to the DPP Family Reunion!

Did you attend the Daily Prayer Project this year? If so, then you are part of the DPP Family and you are invited to attend the Daily Prayer Project Family Reunion.Family Reunion 2017

We will have refreshments, a chance to reconnect, and maybe pick up some fresh encouragement. THIS IS NOT A CLASS! Just a chance to stay connected with those you went through the project with and to meet some others who went through it as well.

I hope we will see you on Sunday, December 3, at 10:30am, in room A-207 (next door to where we held the project)!

Good Insight from Hannah Whitall Smith

IMG_1114“To illustrate all this: suppose I were to be describing to a person, who was entirely ignorant of the subject, the way in which a lump of clay is made into a beautiful vessel. I tell him first the part of the clay in the matter, and all I can say about this is, that the clay is put into the potter’s hands, and then lies passive there, submitting itself to all the turnings and overturnings of the potter’s hands upon it. There is really nothing else to be said about the clay’s part. But could my hearer argue from this that nothing else is done, because I say that this is all the clay can do? If he is an intelligent hearer, he will not dream of doing so, but will say, “I understand. This is what the clay must do; but what must the potter do?” “Ah,” I answer, “now we come to the important part. The potter takes the clay thus abandoned to his working, and begins to mould and fashion it according to his own will. He kneads and works it, he tears it apart and presses it together again, he wets it and then suffers it to dry. Sometimes he works at it for hours together, sometimes he lays it aside for days and does not touch it. And then, when by all these processes he has made it perfectly pliable in his hands, he proceeds to make it up into the vessel he has purposed. He turns it upon the wheel, planes it and smooths it, and dries it in the sun, bakes it in the oven, and finally turns it out of his workshop, a vessel to his honor and fit for his use….The lump of clay, from the moment it comes under the transforming hand of the potter, is, during each day and each hour of the process, just what the potter wants it to be at that hour or on that day, and therefore pleases him. But it is very far from being matured into the vessel he intends in the future to make it….The apple in June is a perfect apple for June. It is the best apple that June can produce. But it is very different from the apple in October, which is a perfected apple….God’s works are perfect in every stage of their growth. Man’s works are never perfect until they are in every respect complete.”

Taken from Hannah Whitall Smith’s, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, Chapter 1

Click to access The%20Christian%20Secret%20of%20%20Happy%20Life.pdf

 

 

 

Until There is Room to Run!

Picture the Secret Place as an immense wilderness.

You enter into it for the first time only to find that there is only a small square of grass on which to stand. There is more land, to be sure. Abundantly more! But it is fraught  with thorns and thistles, dangers and difficult places, and even enemies! It is overwhelming. You repeat a few perfunctory prayer requests and leave in discouragement.

But then somehow word comes to you of new possibilities for the Secret Place; at least they are new to you.

“The Secret Place is yours,” someone said. “It only needs to be cultivated!”

“How?” you have the presence of mind to ask.

“The Secret Place is about intimacy with Him!” you are told. “In fact,” the messenger says, “if you can receive it, the Secret Place is a reflection of your intimacy with Him. It cannot be cultivated by more and more petitions, and intercession won’t do it either. The Secret Place is cultivated by pursuing intimacy with Jesus!”

Seeing that you still could not understand, the messenger continued,

“You see, there are three ways we can look at the Secret Place that can help us to understand why it is so important and why the enemy fights so hard against anyone who would try to tarry there.

“First, the Secret Place is actually the Holy of Holies.”

“Hebrews 10:19-22 says,

19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith (NIV84)

“When Jesus died, a ‘new and living way’ was opened for us ‘through the curtain.’ The curtain refers to ‘the veil’ that hung between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies–a room only the high priest could enter and then only once a year. That curtain or ‘veil’ was torn into two pieces, from top to bottom, as it hung there on the day Jesus was crucified.

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (NIV84).

“So now, because of Jesus, we are allowed to enter into the Holy of Holies. But don’t stop there in your understanding. Yes, in the Old Testament, the Holy of Holies was a room, but now, when we enter into the real Holy of Holies, we are entering into the Presence of God! But what is the Presence of God if not God Himself?

“So, the second way we can look at the Secret Place then, is to see it as Christ Himself!”

“We are entering into Him. Because we have been saved and called righteous by faith, we are already in Him. But that is akin to only standing in the doorway: we are ‘in’ but we can go so much deeper! However, petitions won’t take us further, nor are intercessions the path to deeper places! Those must flow out of our intimacy with Him!

“The third way we can see the Secret Place is to see that it is a reflection of our own hearts.”

“In other words, our hearts are the wilderness we encounter in the Secret Place and as we allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate the wilderness of our hearts into a place where He can move freely we find that the Secret Place becomes a place where we can run!”

 

There is a Reason it’s Called Contending!

Sometimes in the Project someone will describe the difficulties they had in praying IMG_1062the week before every day/set time/set place, and I remind them “that’s why I named the book ‘Contending for the Habit of Daily Prayer.” It is a daily battle.

When you have had to struggle for prayer or you feel you have been attacked by the enemy because of prayer, don’t be surprised! That’s contending!

Be Encouraged!

I’m sitting here on Monday evening, reading a recent post on the accountability page, and thinking “I wish we could all touch base so that I know you are still pressing in!”

So, I fully intend to have an occasional reunion, but for now just know that you have done well and regardless of the difficulties God will give you prayer. He will give you the Secret Place if you do not allow yourself to become pulled back to the old way or to get discouraged. Also know that I am thinking of you and praying for you!

i would really love to see you guys talking to each other and responding to each other’s posts. You can start by responding to this one: let me know you are there and still going hard after the Secret Place!

My Favorite John Donne Sonnet

Batter my heart, three-person’d God
BY JOHN DONNE

Batter my heart, three-person’d God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;

That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend

Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town to another due,
Labor to admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be lov’d fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy;
Divorce me, untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

Rewritten for better understanding:

Batter my heart, three-person’d God!

For you as yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend.

That I may rise and stand: Overthrow me, and bend your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like a usurped town to another due, labor to admit you [into the usurped town, i.e., “me”], but oh, to no end!

Reason—your viceroy in me—should defend me! But instead is captivated and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved yes!
But am betrothed unto your enemy!
Divorce me! Untie or break that knot [of betrothal to the enemy] again!
Take me to you, imprison me! For I,
except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.