Daily Offerings (Coffee Roastery) and Distracted Prayer

In a struggle to connect with God this morning, I needed a framework for prayer that would bring me through scripture.

Truth be told, there are a lot of distractions happening – 

1) I’m in a great coffee shop.

2) I missed my best time to be with the Lord because I was in the YMCA in Lexington.

3) Puppies are in the coffee shop.

4) My meter is about to run out in 4 minutes.  So this post / my time with God is being cut short.

As I said – I needed a framework to take me to the Lord. I wasn’t getting there with my scattered mind.  Fortunately, I copied down a great framework from John Piper a few weeks ago.  It’s called APTAT and has a subsection that I will include:

APTAT Prayer Framework

Admit without Christ you can do nothing. John 15:4 
Pray for whatever you need. Matthew 7:7
Trust in a specific promise of God. Isaiah 41:10
Act. Philippians 2:12
Thank. Ephesians 5:20 

IOUS (Under the P in APTAT)

Incline my heart. Psalm 119:36 (God take over my wants)
Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things from your law. Psalm 119:18
Unite me, unite my heart so that it will be satisfied and not distracted. Psalm 86:11
Satisfy me (my heart) in the morning with your steadfast love. Psalm 90


That’s what I have for you.  One minute left on the meter & M. Ward song on the radio = majorly distracted, but so in awe of the Lord’s love! Jamming on everything.

Boldness & prayer, Acts 4:23-31

23 When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25 who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
    and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers were gathered together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

27 for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29 And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30 while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Acts 4:23-31

The believers pray for boldness.  

And I am left in amazement: how often I forget to pray with other believers.  Prayer is not something that should be left to leadership behind church doors.  Believers pray for boldness.  This is inclusive – all who believe in Christ pray. 

Yes, prayer is work.  Prayer takes time and effort.  When praying with others, prayer requires unity of purpose and direction.

But look at the fruits of prayer…

31 And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Filled with the Holy Spirit, moved & unified, speaking with boldness.  These are the fruits of prayer. 

The question I must raise for myself is – how long have I been praying for something individually that needs corporate prayer?  And, what have I not been praying for at all? 

Lord, boldness – first to gather with others and pray.  Second to the ends of the earth. Reveal to us the first step we need to take. Amen. 

New York City, Habakkuk 2:1-3

It’s funny how sometimes you plan on doing one thing and you receive a completely different outcome. 

Today I spent the entire day in New York City.  Bright lights.  

I went to the city to attend a selection of photography seminars, aiming to advance my knowledge and career.  I came home reflecting on my identity.

Lord, help me understand that my identity is not found in what I do or am, but in what You’ve done for me through Christ.

I will take my stand at my watchpost
    and station myself on the tower,
and look out to see what he will say to me,
    and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

And the Lord answered me:

“Write the vision;
    make it plain on tablets,
    so he may run who reads it.
For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
    it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
    it will surely come; it will not delay.

Habakkuk 2:1-3

If you have spoken with me at length recently, you may have heard that I have been stuck in Luke, the middle chapters – roughly 12 through 17.  They keep rolling over in my head & I feel the earnestness of Christ as he tells parable after parable, urging fruitfulness and reflection on heart condition and those deserving of the Kingdom.  

And I am moved.

Way beyond the point of idly being a photographer: making memories, capturing moments, or witnessing (both history or evangelically) through my work.  I love people, I want them to know Christ and realize (to bring to fruition) their talents.  I love discussing their dreams and seeking a way to make them happen. 

So there you have it.  It’s not a perfect vision, but I want to walk that out.  I want to run it in the appointed time.  As slow as it seems. 

Let me be on watch.  Do not let it delay Lord. 

Again, make still my identity in what You have already done for me.

A thought on prayer, Luke 11:32

…for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

Luke 11:32, in part

Today I heard an interesting point on prayer.  And it’s not about bringing a list to God.  But something much more fundamental – your place before the Creator.  

For they repented…

I often find myself struggling to pray.  Enter thought here: because my position is that of want. I usually come with a list and am unprepared in my heart. An approach with repentance & a humbled, thankful heart is a more true place. 

This is not to detract from a loving God and the joy in knowing Him.  But to understand our true place before the Creator of the universe, our Savior, and the Forgiver of sins.  We have failed, yet He loves!  Why wouldn’t we desire to honor Him?

Look at the scripture – 

…for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.

The men of Nineveh got the message of what God did for them and their true place long before Christ shows up on the scene!  It’s about time that I understand the weight of what God’s done for me.  Let me begin with a proper perspective on prayer.  

Report, Luke 7:13, 17

And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” … And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

Luke 7:13, 17

Lord.

Thank you for this morning!  I desire to wake up and meet with this God of compassion. Yes, here we see the depth of compassion when we read the word ‘report.’

It’s not a memo, not a tweet, not a text, not a blurb, not a short article, not a whisper, not a casual conversation, not a rumor, nor gossip, but a report that precedes Christ and spreads throughout the surrounding country.  

Let’s pause to reflect on the construction of a report… A report is factual, lengthy, structured, composed, checked and rechecked for error, reworded, practiced, and then shared, perhaps extolled.  It is reasonable to say that people spent lengths of time preparing the presentation in order for the listener to receive it fully.  As well they should. 

Here’s the report version of the scripture we just read…

Soon afterward he went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a great crowd went with him. As he drew near to the gate of the town, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and a considerable crowd from the town was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then he came up and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. Fear seized them all, and they glorified God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and “God has visited his people!” And this report about him spread through the whole of Judea and all the surrounding country.

 Luke 7:11-13

Would a tweet do?

Going, Luke 7:1-10

After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him.When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying,“He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

Luke 7:1-10

I love this parable. 

Today it has me thinking in parts.

Listening. Do I hear the word of authority? Maybe the better question is, do I recognize that I am under authority?

Following. Am I willing to act on these words, in faith and humility, to bring about the work of God? 

The role is reversed
Christ is King
and I am 
going