Loving Your Neighbor

When I was a young child I remember my grandfather helping the widow who lived across the alley from us. He also helped our neighbors who lived on both sides of us and those who lived across the street from our house. My grandfather was always willing to help whoever needed help. He lived with us and taught me so much in my growing up years. He especially taught me what loving your neighbor looked like.

Sometimes loving your neighbor means you roll up your sleeves and you get in the thick of it, doing what needs doing and helping out where it’s needed most. Sometimes it’s sitting on the front stoop and just hearing about their day (no one sits on the front stoop anymore). Sometimes it’s an inconvenience to help your neighbor, sometimes it means putting aside your own desires and doing for someone else.

Good Samaritan

Remember the parable of the Good Samaritan? Luke 10: 25 – 37

The Good Samaritan stopped and took care of the injured man. He stopped looking at his agenda, his calendar, and in today’s world, his phone, and he helped a perfect stranger who was injured. Why? Why did the Good Samaritan do this? The other two people just walked right on by without giving it a thought to help. What did the Good Samaritan know that the other people didn’t?

The Good Samaritan knew that this injured man was his neighbor. He helped/served/nurtured this neighbor back to health because it was the right thing to do. The Good Samaritan didn’t care what status the man had nor did he care about the cost. The Good Samaritan did what was right in the sight of the Lord.

We are all each other’s neighbor.

I’ve been listening to author/speaker John C. Maxwell again. He gave a good talk on YouTube a couple months back on how the five things he does every day.

EVERYDAY…

1. Value people (serve)

2. Think of ways to value people (Serve)

3. Look for ways to value people. Ask yourself, “What can I do to add value to people?”

4. Do things that will add value to people.

Take 10 minutes at the end of the day to take an inventory of your day.

“Who did I add value to today? Who did I serve today?”

5. Encourage others to add value to people.

Adding value to people is the same as serving people. When you begin your day, write a list of all the people you come into contact with that day.

Family, children, teachers, siblings, spouses, bosses, coworkers, people you see on the bus, workout friends, mail person, checkout clerk, bank teller, the driver behind you, the bus driver, the barista making your coffee, your friend, your client, the house cleaner, maintenance person, Uber driver, waitstaff, order taker, social media acquaintance, your followers, doctor, nurse, etc.

It’s a long list. How many people can you add value to in a day? Make it fun. Go out of your way to add value. Ask yourself some questions about the people in your life. Giving from your heart and adding value (serving/loving your neighbor) these people may be the only glimpse of God they see.

In verse 37 of Luke 10, Jesus tells us to “Go and do likewise.”

Loving your neighbor becomes who you are when you make it a point to do this EVERYDAY!

How Do We Pray?

I need a new pair of shoes.

I need a new pair of shoes.

I need a new pair of shoes.

I need a new pair of shoes.

I need a new pair of shoes.

I need a new pair of shoes.

I need a new pair of shoes.

How would you like it if I came to you every day and the only thing I said was “I need a new pair of shoes,” over and over and over? Would you want to cover your ears? Runaway? Hide? How do we pray?

Well, sometimes I find myself saying the same thing over and over again when I bow my head in prayer. I wonder does God look down on me shaking his head and want to hide from my meaningless repetition?

Vain repetition is just that. It’s repeating again over and over again until the words carry no meaning or no power. It becomes an act of endurance instead of an act of faith and conversation between a loving Father and His children.

The Model Prayer

In Matthew 6: 5 – 15, we’re told how to pray not to repeat the prayer as a repetitious prayer but as a model of how we should pray. We’re instructed to this very thing. Verse 8 of the same chapter, we’re told we’re not to babble like the pagans do. So we should be conscientious enough to make a note not to babble, chant, hum, etc.

God knows what we need before we ask Him. But just like our physical fathers, we need to ask. We need to be respectful of the way we do it.

The Breakdown

Matthew 6: 5 – 15

1. Verse 9: …”Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed by Your name.” Give God the reverence and praise He deserves. He created all things. He created you, the universe, EVERYTHING!

It’s difficult for the human mind to understand that God has always been and will always be. He’s created everything from the solar systems down to a nano cell.

Words of Praise

YOU are…

…Holy, Steadfast, Glorious, Beautiful, Faithful and Just, Awesome, Loving, Mighty, Good, Forgiving, True, Merciful, A Just Judge, Tender-Hearted.”

YOU are…

…My Rock, My song, My Glory, My Strength, My Justification, My Defense, My Refuge, My Portion & Cup, My Hiding Place, My Treasure, My Righteousness, My Provider, My Joy, My God and My All, My Father, My Sanctification, My Salvation.”

This is where you thank God for all the blessings He’s worked out in your life. All the miracles in your life from the tiny to the great. All the times He protected you and all the times He led you through the valleys of life.

2. Verse 10: “Your Kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

Acknowledge God’s Master Plan – Name a reason why you are eagerly waiting for His Kingdom. What will God’s Kingdom fix in this world? The way the world is today this list can be endless. Here’s a few reasons I pray for God’s Kingdom to be set up here on earth.

  • Murder
  • Lies
  • Adultery
  • Hatred
  • Greed

3. Verse 11: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Notice where this instructional step is in the order of the prayer. It’s third. Not first. Third. Not second. Third. Our needs come third after acknowledging who God is, praising Him and Thanking Him.

This is where we begin asking for what we needS for our day (daily bread). Do you need a blessing in your life? Do you need a miracle? This is where we ask for it. But be careful in your wording. Be specific. He knows what we need for our days, our months, our live, but we still must ask.

This is also where we ask blessings of healing and protection for other people.

4. Verse 12: “And forgive us our debts (sins), As we forgive our debtors (people who have sinned against us).”

Asking for forgiveness for our sins is crucial for our spiritual walk with God. It’s so important for us to ask God to forgive other people and to help us forgive other people. If you think you don’t have sins to forgive, you’re living on a slippery slope. Only one perfect person walked this earth, Christ. He lived a sinless life and He died for my sins and for your sins. We are sinful just by our breath alone.

Forgiveness could be the stopping point to unanswered prayers. Don’t let it stop you.

5. First part of verse 13: “And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil on. For Yours is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.“

Are you being tempted by anything that could hurt you physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially? You have access to ask our Father to deliver you from it, to help you not be tempted. Are you dealing with an addiction, the person you are trying not to be, and even something little you want to overcome.

I ask God to take the temptation of sugar away from me. I also ask God to deliver me from the evil one of talking to myself with negative words. It’s my default because I heard these same negative words as a child when I didn’t make the right grade, or I made a mistake. So now at 56 I still have to work on this temptation every single day of my life. Falling back to my old ways is what the evil one wants because then I’m not focusing on God and His promises.

6. The second part of verse 13 …”For Yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.”

This is where we reiterate our reverence and praise in God’s Kingdom, in God’s power, and in God’s glory to take care of our needs. We’re praying because we know that we cannot manage our lives on our own, and we need His divine hand in and on our lives. It’s God’s power working through us to shape us into what He wants us to be. When God’s given us a blessing, it’s for His glory. And we need to acknowledge that.

7. The third part of verse 13: “…AMEN.”

Literally translated So Be It. It’s a statement of affirmation that what we just said is true, and we are in agreement with the prayer.

It’s like signing your name on a legal document.

Let’s make our prayers more meaningful without repetition. Let’s stop babbling, chanting, humming. Let’s add some meat to our prayers and pray the way Jesus instructs in Matthew 6. How do we Pray? The way Jesus says to.

Making Time to Pray

When was the last time you prayed? I know it’s a personal question equaled to “How much do you make?” People are more apt to tell you how much money they make then when they prayed last. The Bible tells us we should pray without ceasing, pray continually, and never stop praying (1 Thessalonians 5: 17). But when was the last time you prayed? When was the last time you made prayer just as important as your first cup of morning coffee? Making time for prayer is easier than you think and so well worth the effort.

Scheduling Your Day

Is your day tied to your calendar? If so, is it on your phone or in a day timer journal? Either way scheduling time to pray is simple. But if you think you have a hectic life as a mom of young children, a business owner, a college student, or a woman with responsibilities and can’t get in a 30 minute prayer, don’t fret about it. God knows your life circumstances. He knows you are raising a family. He knows how much you want your business to succeed. He sees how busy your family is. He sees all of your responsibilities. And He also knows that by prayer your life and your family’s life will be less chaotic and more centered.

Do it first. If you wake up before your family, wake up 10 minutes earlier. Set the timer on your phone for 10 minutes and use that time to pray. You’ll be amazed at how connected you’ll be as you go through your day. You’ll feel less stressed and more at ease in knowing that what you are trying to accomplish is actually getting done.

All my life I was told to pray like everything depended on God and work like everything depended on me. This was ingrained in me from a small child. As I understood it, if I prayed first and then did everything I could then God would answer my prayers. I also understood that if I missed my prayer time, my life didn’t make sense. My prayer time is the best time of my day now. It’s a time I can spend with my heavenly Father, ask questions, convey my fears, ask for forgiveness, and thank Him for everything He’s given me.

10 minutes probably doesn’t sound like enough time. But let me assure you if all you can give is 10 minutes, then it’s the best 10 minutes of you day. If you find another 10 minutes in your day, like waiting to pick up the kids from school or soccer practice then use it as another time to pray instead of playing on your phone. How about when you’re stuck in traffic? If you’re taking your children for a walk in their stroller, that’s a wonderful time to have a prayer walk.

Let your children watch you as you pray, it’s the best way to teach them. Children absorb more in their young lives by watching then by doing.

When my sons were little we used to pray together all the time. One day while we were walking to their enrichment summer school program it began to raid rather hard. So as we walked we prayed and asked God to either make it stop raining until we got to school, or provide us with a way to stay dry. We had just finished our prayer when we all looked at the sidewalk a couple of steps ahead of us and there was a large umbrella laying right in our path. My sons and I looked up in amazement praising and thanking God for answering our prayer.

Try not to save your prayer time until the end of the day till after the kiddos go to bed. I tried this when my sons were little. I noticed all the things that needed getting done…laundry folding, washing dishes, picking up after the kids, etc. Plus, you’ll be exhausted and won’t have the energy to put in quality time with God. God doesn’t do leftovers.

Here’s 10 ways to make time for prayer

  1. Put it on your calendar for the first you do after waking up.
  2. Set your timer for 10 minutes.
  3. Go on a Prayer Walk.
  4. Pray while waiting for your kids.
  5. Pray while standing in line at the grocery store.
  6. Pray while sitting in traffic.
  7. Pray while waiting for the doctor.
  8. Put your phone down for 10 minutes and pray.
  9. Pray while your children are playing.
  10. Break up a 30 minute prayer into 10 minute increments.

Remember 1 Thessalonians 5: 17 “Pray without ceasing.” Making time for prayer and praying are the two life changing actions that will uplift your days.

May God be with you.

LMJ