Last week I started a blog series called #whywepray and my first post and reason for why we pray was to give solace to others. Having a prayer practice that expresses concern for others can soften our hearts and turn our attention more outward so we might strengthen and lift others up.
Reason #2: We pray to ask for God’s blessing.
Confession: It seems like a simple thing, but I tend to forget to ask God to bless by day. When I remember, however, to give each day to his glory and honor, I am always amazed at how much he multiplies my efforts. Asking for God’s blessing places him at the center of my thoughts and gives me strength of heart to find the right words with difficult people; to watch for the little gifts he sends to encourage me; and to open my eyes to new inspirations. Knowing God is present and blessing my day gives me more compassion and patience for those around me and because of all this…I prosper.
The story: There is a funny little story in Genesis 11:1-9 about the Tower of Babel. This story is about a time when the human race could all speak the same language, just imagine… because of this they were of one mind and began to build a tower large enough to reach to the heavens. On one hand it seems a worthy cause since they were seeking God, but the overall impression God took from their efforts was one of pride. They weren’t building the tower to glorify God but rather to out do him. And so, the Lord confused their language and they were “scattered over the face of the earth.”
The painting: I was drawn into this story, by Pieter Bruegel’s wonderful version of the Tower of Babel. At first glance it captures the eye and creates an impression of shock and awe.
If we linger to discover the detail we find there is a lot of industry going on and while some of it is very impressive, it seems like the right hand might not know what the left is doing.
To fully appreciate the size of this tower, compare it to the size of the tiny boats in the harbor..or just above the boats you will see a mighty castle fortified by a moat looking like an ant hill in comparison to the tower. The work here is going along very impressively as they build higher and higher in some places and yet other places are unfinished and crumbling causing it to lean a bit to the left.
A wonderful reminder of how our lives can seem like we are working in circles making little progress if we forget to include God in our plans and ask for his blessing.
Scriptures: “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plan will succeed… In his heart a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps.” ~ Proverbs 16: 3 & 9
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” ~ Jeremiah 29: 11-13
“May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us, establish the work of our hands for us–yes establish the work of our hands.” ~ Psalm 90:17
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious toward you and give you peace.” ~ Numbers 6:24-26
Dear Lord, We have come to the end of another week and want to pause to thank you for your many blessings. Comfort those who are grieving the loss of loved ones; renew the strength of those who are ill; and help us to learn to listen to one another instead of talking past each other. Loving Father we ask that you bless our work so that it might glorify your name and help us to never grow weary of doing good deeds and singing praises to magnify your name. In Christ Alone we live and pray…
Coming Soon: God thru the Arts Podcast. In the coming weeks I will be collaborating with my dear friend and fellow GTA writer Adam Nettesheim to release a monthly podcast. These sessions will give you a behind the scenes look at our process of writing to connect others to God thru the Arts and will be filled with ideas and tips to inspire your personal devotional time or corporate worship and spiritual formation.
We are excited and pray that these conversations in the arts will bless and enrich your lives.