Archive for February 5th, 2008
Most of my long term friends know that I am a Dr. Pepper lover – a Dr. Pepper freak might be more appropriate some would say, so much so that a friend gave me a model airplane made out of Dr. Pepper cans! Unfortunately, my waist line and sleep have driven me from being quite the Dr. Pepper hog I once was. In the early days, Dr. Pepper was marketed as “the friendly Pepper-Upper.” You could find the numbers 10 – 2 – 4 on each bottle. The implicit idea was that we all needed a little boost in our day mid-morning, mid-afternoon, and late afternoon. For years, I gladly took part in the three times a day ritual – or just got one big one for the whole afternoon and sipped away as I finished my day.
So when I came to Acts 3 this morning (Acts 3 is our chapter in our daily Bible Reading Plan), I couldn’t help but notice that the closest followers of Jesus had a similar routine to pep up their day. They kept the regular times of prayer they had learned growing up in Judaism.
//Inspiration: Acts 3:
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer – at three in the afternoon.
This seemingly innocuous sentence occurs at the beginning of a chapter where a lame man is healed, God is praised by a man leaping and walking through the temple, Peter and John confront people on what they did with Jesus, Jesus is described with incredible titles (God’s Servant Jesus, The Holy and Righteous One, The Author of Life, Messiah, and Jesus), Scripture is explained, and the Holy Spirit and refreshing times are promised. So why choose this little bitty and seemingly inconsequential verse at the beginning of the chapter? Why did this verse capture my heart when there are so many others that are powerful and significant?
I look at what the people of God are doing today – or maybe better said, what we are not doing today – to honor God, to carry on the mission of Jesus, and live out the Kingdom of God. What I see are good intentions, some significant efforts, and a lot of money being spent. But I also wonder what more could be done if we simply would get on our knees and pray more. If rather than caffeine or a ginseng spiked soda pop, we found our “friendly pepper upper” each day during three regular times of prayer. One of the powerful graces found in the early followers of Jesus was their devotion to prayer (Acts 2:42). And while we are to always be in a constant walk in prayer with God (1 Thessalonians 5:17), nothing I know could bless us and our efforts more than committing to pause and refresh ourselves in the Holy Spirit and the presence of God through a moment of devoted prayer.
So many great things come out of this one trip to the Temple to be in prayer. The chapter unfolds, as does the next, and God’s wonders and power are demonstrated – see how the story ends in 4:31 – because God’s people were devoted to prayer. So I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be more committed, more devoted to praying regularly for God’s power to be released in us and through us as I seek His presence with more commitment in my daily life.
So before I finish with my prayer for the day, my “invitation” for God to rock my world, I’d like to ask for your help. You may know that I am leaving in less than a week to go on a trip to Uganda. This is not a pleasure trip, but a vision trip: a trip to sharpen my vision and hopefully give you some about a way we can help children know Jesus and have the basics of life. I want to ask you to pray about two specific things in this regard: First, the effectiveness of our trip and safety for everyone involved – click on this phrase to learn about joining our prayer team. Second, ask God to guide you in knowing whether or not should become a monthly sponsor for a child in need – our family sponsors two right now, one of whom I hope to see on this trip. You can find out how to sponsor a child in Uganda by clicking on this sentence!
O Father, please forgive my past when I was not more devoted to spending time in your presence. Open my heart, reveal your presence, and fill my life with a yearning to know You, to spend time with You, and to be shaped by You in prayer. In Jesus’ name and because of Your grace I pray. Amen.