From: Rich Carlson
Date: January 9, 2019
Subject: It's January 9; Good Morning Union

“Create in me a clean heart…”           Psalm 51

Today we start the 10 days of prayer initiative at the church and on campus. I keep wrestling with prayer and “how to do it!” I do NOT believe there is only one way to pray or that there is a magic formula to prayer. But I must admit, I still struggle with the things to pray about because I keep coming back to how much of my prayers end up being filled with asking for things—for me!! I don’t think it’s wrong to ask for things, even if they are for me, because as God is my loving heavenly Father, I think He knows how to sort through those things and do what is best, all things considered.

My struggle comes from my perspective as I ask for thing—for me, and then don’t get them in the way I want them, when I want them, or even get them at all! I am, at those moments, as tempted to give up on prayer as I’m guessing many of you have been. I cannot harmonized the God of the universe as my genie in a bottle with magical powers to give me what I want when I want it.

So my “at this point” conclusion regarding prayer continues to be, I try not to ask for anything that is just for me and focus on what He wants me to ask for and seek. These thoughts positively consumed significant time over Christmas break, and I was thinking about them again this morning on my walk. So here’s something to chew on for today—What if, at least for the next 10 days, I only went to God’s word and only prayed for the things God says to pray for, and pray for only the things that the authors of the Bible prayed for??

As I looked last November at the Psalms, David and others had a lot of direction for me. So, first my prayers are about being thankful and I couch my thoughts in “thankful” language. “Thank you for…. And thank you for…. And I see how many of those I can string together as I talk with my God.

And then I ask for the things He says to ask for and that His authors/spokespersons asked for. Here are some of the gems that keep coming back each morning our on my porch swing where I spend some quiet time with God:

            “Create in me a clean heart… and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

            “Search me O God and know my heart, test me and know my inner thoughts, and see if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

            “Teach me your ways and I will walk in your truth. Give me an undivided heart that I may honor you.”

            “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

More than a new job, or a new car, or a good grade, or a special friend, He wants me to have a clean heart and a steadfast spirit toward Him. More than a nice day for a picnic (or a snow day midweek) I want Him to search me, test me, and lead me in the way HE wants me to go. More than peace in the world (which really is kind of a silly thing to pray. Not that it wouldn’t be nice, but because it can’t happen without everyone accepting God as their Savior!) I want Him to teach me HIS ways SO THAT I can walk in His truth (which, by the way, would include bringing peace to all of the world that I can impact!) And He knows the importance of me having an “undivided heart,” SO THAT my life is focused entirely on Him—THAT brings honor to Him which is much more important that trying to bring honor or glory to myself. And more than being a polished professional in this world, I want my words and my thoughts to be acceptable to HIM more than anyone else.

Prayer is a hard thing for me to understand sometimes but right now I find great connects with my Father in heaven as I use the examples in His word to guide my conversations with Him. I highly recommend at least experimenting with the idea!

Have a great day communicating effectively with your Father,

Pastor Rich

Quote for the day: “Pride at its highest meets God at His lowest, and God always wins.”   Harold Alomia

PS        10 Days of Prayer: January 9-18, at CVC. Prayer meetings will gather every day at 12 p.m. in the prayer chapel and every evening at 7 p.m. in the Heritage Room. But wherever you are and whenever you can, uplift your hearts in prayer to God. Our God hears! “You will find me if you seek me with all your heart.” Jer 29:13. Or join us in Campus Ministries @ 1pm each school day for 10 minutes of prayer time. And if you can’t be at any of those places, what if you just stopped and prayed by yourself or with the friends you are with at the time. Let’s see what can happen to our campus this semester as we focus on prayer.

PPS      If you want to be a part of HeartScan this semester be sure and pick up your form in Campus Ministries. Deadline for submitting them is next Monday.

PP..S    Be sure and visit with the guests from China today at their table in the Ortner lobby if you are interested in being an SM there after you graduate.