RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Pray

Getting Your Emotions Under Control

One of Israel’s former kings describes time in the context of seasons. Just as Christmas is associated with winter in the northern hemisphere, every month brings with it a series of emotions. In Ecclesiastes 3:4, King Solomon follows sorrow with laughter. Since nobody knows what tomorrow will bring, James 4:13-14, you have to be ready to keep your emotions under control at all times.

Do not fret or have any anxiety about anything, but in every circumstance and in everything, by prayer and petition ([b]definite requests), with thanksgiving, continue to make your wants known to God, Philippians 4:6.

In a letter to the Church at Philippi, the apostle Paul touches on mental health. Apparently, members of this church with dealing with a growing amount of anxiety. Rather than try to handle this on your own, Paul encourages Christians to actively pray for the circumstances that are bringing you stress. Instead of becoming overwhelmed by emotions, be thankful for any little victory that you experience daily.

And God’s peace [shall be yours, that [c]tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and being content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding shall [d]garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, Philippians 4:7.

When you create a list of things that challenge your mental health, include these petitions as a daily part of your prayer life. Building on the words of Luke 1:37, the apostle Paul suggests that God has the ability to give you the strength to endure any situation that you face, Philippians 4:13. If you search for the peace of Christ, this tranquil state will enable any believer to get and keep your emotions under control.

by Jay Mankus

Praying for Blessings, Happiness and Protection

In my lifetime, more than 100 artists have written songs with pray, prayer or praying in the title. This includes secular artists like Praying by Kesha, You Got To Pray by M.C. Hammer and Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi. Regardless of your religious upbringing, when people get desperate, prayer is a natural response to someone in need. One of Jesus’ disciples suggests that prayer leads to blessings, happiness and protection.

Never return evil for evil or insult for insult (scolding, tongue-lashing, berating), but on the contrary blessing [praying for their welfare, happiness, and protection, and truly pitying and loving them]. For know that to this you have been called, that you may yourselves inherit a blessing [from God—that you may obtain a blessing as heirs, bringing welfare and happiness and protection], 1 Peter 3:9.

A prayer is like a wish that pops into your mind. Sometimes a prayer can be a vivid vision of how you would like a situation in life to turn out. This may not be a Hollywood ending, but it’s an image of hope of how things could, might and should be if God gets behind the desires on your heart. Since story book endings are rare, prayers provide requests for change, progress and if possible a miracle. Yet, sometimes it’s the person who is praying who needs to change.

Then Satan answered the Lord, Does Job [reverently] fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have conferred prosperity and happiness upon him in the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land, Job 1:9-10.

The passage above comes from the first completed book in the Bible. Shortly after Lucifer is banished and kicked out of heaven, this spiritual being finds a place on earth as the ruler of the air, Ephesians 2:2. Following the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Satan needed to ask permission from God to tempt Christians. When the hedge of protection surrounding Job’s family is removed, hell is unleashed upon his life. Through all of the trials Job endured in life, he learned the importance of praying for blessings, happiness, and protection from evil.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 25: For Those Who Wait

A couple of years ago, my work station was moved underneath a flat sorter. Due to the constant noise, I was forced to use ear protection whenever I sit at my desk. The positive side of this change is that I’ve been able to listen to music, podcasts and shows throughout my shift. As I’ve scanned the internet to find new Christian artists, I came across a group called Fireflight.

Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name, Hebrews 13:15.

The best way to describe their music is a mix between Fleetwood Mac and Pat Benatar. Today’s feature song is also the name of one of Fireflight’s 5 albums. The attached video uses an aspiring violinist who has a father who doesn’t support her dream to use her God given gift. As you listen and watch, I pray that the lyrics of For Those Who Wait will inspire you not to give up until fulfilling goals that others said were impossible to achieve.

by Jay Mankus

Guarded by God’s Power

A guard can come in many shapes and forms. Bars rely on bouncers, schools recruit chaperons, athletic competitions use defenders and Roman Soldiers pick up a shield before going into battle. In the passage below, one of Jesus’ disciples uses the imagery of God guarding Christians. This invisible force is fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit who provides everything we need for life.

Who are being guarded (garrisoned) by God’s power through [your] faith [till you fully inherit that [c]final] salvation that is ready to be revealed [for you] in the last time, 1 Peter 1:5.

Depending upon the country that you live in, you may be forced to serve in the military or simply register for the draft if there is one. From a spiritual point of view, Romans 10:9-11 reveals how individuals can join the army of God. Romans 10:17 gives a brief glimpse of what a spiritual boot camp encompasses. The more Christians begin to learn and apply the Bible, you increase God’s protection for your future.

For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the [[d]full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature, 2 Peter 1:3-4.

From a practical point of view, the best thing that individuals can do today is pray for God to guard you daily. Job spoke of placing a hedge of protection around your home and family, Job 1:10. The Psalmist writes about dwelling in the shelter of the Most High God, Psalm 91:1. Yet, don’t forget the words of one of Jesus’ disciples in 1 Peter 5:8, as the devil is like a predator lurking in the distance, waiting to pounce upon a weak Christian. Therefore, lift your voice up to heaven in prayer to ask God for protection.

by Jay Mankus

As You Draw Near to God

Drawing near to God is one of those topics where you will find numerous how to books. Based upon personal experiences, some authors have broken down drawing near to God with 7 specific steps. Other Christian writers have used the Bible to create a formula for drawing near to God. If these individuals haven’t had success in their attempts to draw near to God, these books wouldn’t exist.

[As you draw near to God] be deeply penitent and grieve, even weep [over your disloyalty]. Let your laughter be turned to grief and your mirth to dejection and heartfelt shame [for your sins]. 10 Humble yourselves [feeling very insignificant] in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you [He will lift you up and make your lives significant], James 4:9-10.

The best way I know to figure out how to draw near to God is by examining what Jesus did. According to Mark 1:35, Jesus was an early riser who went for a walk first thing in the morning. Apparently, Jesus was searching for a quiet place without any distractions. Once the ideal spot was found, Jesus fell to his knees and began to pray. Based upon Mark 1:36-39, drawing near to God brought Jesus clarity, focus and, vision about where to go and what to do daily.

Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by [b]that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water. 23 So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the [c]hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word, Hebrews 10:22-23.

In the passage above, one New Testament author reveals the mindset you should have as you begin to draw near to God. One of Jesus disciples compares God to the Father of light who knows everything that you’ve ever done, 1 John 1:6-8. Therefore, if you want to draw near to God like you never have before, start by confessing and verbalizing your shortcomings and failures. Once you unload all of these burdens like Matthew 11:28-30, healing will come to those who draw near to God, James 5:16.

by Jay Mankus

Collecting Dust or Fanning into Flame?

My work desk is located directly under a flat sorter. Prior to the new cleaning regulations brought on by COVID 19, parts of my desk would collect black dust particles. One of my responsibilities is to test movies for defects on our Blu-Ray Player. However, since my building has transitioned toward an apparel site, I may test a few each year which causes our flat screen station to collect dust like it’s in a coal mine.

Moreover, as they go about from house to house, they learn to be idlers, and not only idlers, but gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not say and talking of things they should not mention, 1 Timothy 5:13.

From a spiritual perspective, when you stop moving, there are a series of side effects. When I become inactive, I immediately gain weight. Beyond the physical, if I’m not involved in an activity or group, my social life and skills are stunted. Meanwhile, if I stop reading the Bible and pray, my whole nature and personality changes, taking a turn for the worse as a human being.

That is why I would remind you to stir up (rekindle the embers of, fan the flame of, and keep burning) the [gracious] gift of God, [the inner fire] that is in you by means of the laying on of my hands [[c]with those of the elders at your ordination]. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control, 2 Timothy 1:6-7.

In the passage above, the apostle Paul writes a letter to a teenage pastor named Timothy. Paul’s advice is geared toward taking action. This internal fire refers to spiritual gifts and talents within every person. Paul’s goal is to unlock these abilities by fanning them into flame. Whether you like it or not, you have two options: remain idle or get busy living? May the Holy Spirit ignite your faith so you begin shine.

by Jay Mankus

Reaching a Point Where You Can Come and Go Freely

Anytime a child leaves home for college or a new job, a true sense of independence is realized. Unless you have a roommate, for the first time in life aspiring students don’t have anyone to tell them when to come or go. This freedom can be liberating with the whole world ready for you to explore. While the mature will be able to handle this, there are many college students and young adults who experience their own version of the prodigal son or daughter.

Jesus used this parable (illustration) with them, but they did not understand what He was talking about.So Jesus said again, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, that I Myself am the Door [a]for the sheep, John 10:6-7.

While the passage above isn’t the parable of the Lost Sheep, Jesus provides the Bible’s version of the Motel 6 slogan. Instead of saying, “we’ll leave the light on for you,” Jesus introduces his open door policy for his followers. Referring to Himself as the Door, Jesus is the way to heaven. Unfortunately, countless individuals look for an alternate route, trying to find a back or side entrance. This invitation isn’t forced, but Jesus encourages his sheep to come and go as they please.

All others who came [as such] before Me are thieves and robbers, but the [true] sheep did not listen to and obey them. I am the Door; anyone who enters in through Me will be saved (will live). He will come in and he will go out [freely], and will find pasture, John 10:8-9.

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee in life. Jesus uses a hypothetical scenario of thieves and robbers who will disrupt your life. During these exchanges, you may have valuable possessions stolen from your car, house or place of work. This is what happens when sheep venture outside of God’s pen. Freewill allows any Christian to come and go as they wish. No one is forcing you to go to church, pray or read the Bible. Yet, if you want to experience the abundant life Jesus promises in John 10:10, listen to and obey the Shepherd. Then you will reach a point where you can come and go about life freely.

by Jay Mankus

Praying for Participation and Sharing

Early on in a new school year, trying to get students to participate and share their thoughts can be difficult. As a former high school teacher, the only willing participants tend to be the class clown and teacher’s pets trying to earn brownie points. When all of their curriculum, education, and teaching methods fail to produce increased participation, don’t be afraid to pray for students to open up their hearts in your classroom.

[And I pray] that the participation in and sharing of your faith may produce and promote full recognition and appreciation and understanding and precise knowledge of every good [thing] that is ours in [our identification with] Christ Jesus [and unto His glory], Philemon 1:6.

In an obscure first century epistle, the apostle Paul writes to one of his servants in the ministry. While writing from prison, Paul prays for the participation in and the sharing of testimonies. As Christians reflect upon how they came to faith in Christ, your personal story will strike a nerve with a specific audience. The more you find opportunities to weave your faith into daily conversations, other people will begin to appreciate and understand your relationship with God.

But in your hearts set Christ apart as holy [and acknowledge Him] as Lord. Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully, 1 Peter 3:15.

One of Jesus’ former disciples chimes in on this topic as well. Simon Peter who was never afraid to voice his opinion appears to have gotten wiser in his later years. Based upon the passage above, Peter learned the necessity to be courteous and respectful when sharing his faith. One of my favorite hymns in college was Blessed Assurance which promotes sharing your faith. Whenever I hear the chorus, “this is my story, this is my song,” I am inspired to participate and share my faith. This continues to be a worthy cause to pray for daily.

by Jay Mankus

A Little Bit of Kindness Can Go A Long Way

In the King James Version of the Bible, the actual term for kindness is one word “lovingkindness.” Loving kindness is found 30 times in this translation of the Bible. The most famous passage where kindness is found is known as the Fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23. According to the apostle Paul, kindness is a reflection of the Holy Spirit living inside of a human being. When displayed, a little bit of kindness can go a long way.

But love your enemies and be kind and do good [doing favors [z]so that someone derives benefit from them] and lend, expecting and hoping for nothing in return but [aa]considering nothing as lost and despairing of no one; and then your recompense (your reward) will be great (rich, strong, intense, and abundant), and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind and charitable and good to the ungrateful and the selfish and wicked. 36 So be merciful (sympathetic, tender, responsive, and compassionate) even as your Father is [all these], Luke 6:35-36.

Jesus has a different standard for his followers. Christians are expected to not only love their enemies, but to pray for them as well. When kindness is poured out upon the heart broken, poor and total strangers, souls are encouraged and uplifted. Unfortunately, in this age of social media, kindness is a lost art. Rather than share kind comments, posts and tweets, gossip, slander and trashing others has taken center stage.

 Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind). 32 And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you, Ephesians 4:31-32.

The apostle Paul reveals in the passage above how to overcome negativity. Instead of allowing yourself to be poisoned by the darkness in this world, Paul calls Christians to be compassionate, tenderhearted and understanding. Despite how other individuals may treat you, genuine kindness is learning how to forgive as Jesus forgave you. When this perspective becomes fully grasped, a little bit of kindness can go a long way in changing your spheres of influence for the better.

by Jay Mankus

Touching the Top of the World

Erik Weihenmayer is not your typical mountain climber. Erik’s first big climb was a mountain in Denali back in 1995. This accomplishment inspired Weihenmayer to want to reach the top of the world. Not bad for a blind man who took 6 blind Tibetan teenagers on his 2001 expedition where his team successfully reached the north side of Mount Everest. After this amazing feat, one of Erik’s mentor said, “don’t let climbing Everest be the highlight of your life.”

Again, the devil took Him up on a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory (the splendor, magnificence, preeminence, and excellence) of them, Matthew 4:8.

This comment struck a nerve within Erik. Like any ambitious athlete, Weihenmayer began to search for his next mountain to climb. More than a decade later, Erik decided to take to the water, going between the mountains. On September 7th, 2014 Erik set out to Solo Kayak the entire 277 mile stretch of the Grand Canyon. Using his ears to steer him through the white water rapids of the Colorado River, Erik’s remaining senses made this feat possible.

And he said to Him, These things, all taken together, I will give You, if You will prostrate Yourself before me and do homage and worship me. 10 Then Jesus said to him, Begone, Satan! For it has been written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him alone shall you serve, Matthew 4:9-10.

When I look back on my own life, I’ve been told by numerous people that I couldn’t do this or that. While sometimes these individuals were correct in their assessment, I haven’t let the concerns of others prevent me from touching the top of the world. While I don’t have any aspirations to climb Mount Everest, I do want to live the abundant life promised by Jesus in John 10:10. As I draw near to God, I pray that I might possess the faith of Erik Weihenmayer so that the Holy Spirit will lift me to new heights.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: