Black Music Month Series, Listening, Prayer

That’s Why We Pray

June is Black Music Month! To celebrate, each of our EmpowerMoments will be based on Black music for the entire month. This includes Black songwriters, producers or performers. Stay tuned as we use various genres of Black music to tell our stories and exemplify the beauty of God’s love! Happy Black Music Month! Dance as if no one is watching!

What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!

O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

The words to “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” are beautiful and better than that, they are absolutely true. They tell the story of WHY we pray. When we understand the power and peace we can experience by leaving our problems at His feet, we will fall on our knees more often. Prayer is cathartic and when we truly let go and let God, we release and walk in faith that He is handling it. I can think of four distinct reasons that we pray:

Praise

“… Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” (Matthew 6:9 KJV)

When Jesus instructed us on how we should pray He started it with praise. Sometimes we need to just praise God. It allows us to focus on Him and esteem Him. The Psalms are full of praises to God. When you are praising God it is all about Him because you recognize that He alone is worthy of your praise. You praise Him because you realize there is absolutely no one like Him and that He is supreme. When the Pharisees asked God to rebuke the disciples for worshipping Him, “…he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.” (Luke 19:40 NIV) Praise God because certainly you don’t want the rocks to cry out for you.

Thanks

We praise God because of who He is; however, we thank Him because of what He has done. Your parents taught you that when someone does something for you it is your responsibility to thank them properly. Thanking God is just good manners! He does more for us than any man can and yet He is often last to get a ‘thank you’.

O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.”(I Chronicles 16:34 KJV) Remember that thing that He did that you didn’t ask for? Yes, He deserves thanks for that too. We should thank Him continuously because He is constantly working on our behalf granting us unmerited favor, grace and mercy.

Ask

I am pretty sure that most of us have this part down packed. As a matter of fact, sometimes we forget about thanking and praising Him because we are busy, busy, busy asking. Yes, He did tell us to ask. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (Philippians 4:6 KJV) But you must have faith that God answers prayers: “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22 KJV) And while you are asking for yourself, make sure you pray for others and I don’t mean just your friends and family. “… and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.”  (Matthew 5:44 KJV)

Listen

Do you have a friend that calls you and every time she is finished spilling her problems she is ready to hang up the phone? She doesn’t take the time to listen to what you have to say. If you’ve ever had a conversation like this, I liken this to how we treat God. We ask and ask but sometimes we cut the conversation short by getting up and getting busy. We seldom just meditate and listen for the answer or we refuse to take heed to the answer. “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” (John 8:47KJV) Listening is a skill and we must learn to listen to God. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27 KJV)

As I remember why I pray, I am reminded of MC Hammer who said it best: “We’ve got to pray just to make it today!”

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for the privilege of prayer. Help me to remember how easy I could have it if I cast my burdens on You and leave them there. You are that faithful friend who is worthy of praise and thanksgiving. Thank You for answering my prayers even when Your answer is ‘no’. Help me to follow Your will and in everything to praise You, be thankful, ask and listen. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Today I EMPOWER you to analyze your prayers. Are you just asking away without taking time for praise and adoration? Do you take time to listen or is it a one-sided conversation? With the turmoil of this present world we have plenty of reasons to pray.

Enjoy this throwback from MC Hammer:

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Ms. Chancee` Lundy lives in Atlanta, Georgia and is an entrepreneur as she is the co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC, an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend and community servant. She has used her gift of public speaking to lead workshops across the globe speaking to crowds as large as 10,000 people. Her guiding scriptures this week are Philippians 4:11-13 “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

 

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Faith, Listening, Motivation, Obedience, Procrastination, Submission/Surrendering, Trusting God

It’s Time to Move!

Before her passing, my grandmother would sing a song entitled, “You Gotta Move.”  The lyrics read in part: “You got to move; you got to move…when the Lord gets ready, you got to move.”  Although simple on surface, these words embody a powerful truth for women of faith.  When God says move, it’s time to move!

The idea of movement in response to God is evidenced clearly in the life of Abraham.  “The Lord said to Abram, ‘Leave your land, your relatives, and your father’s house.  Go to the land that I will show you.’” (Genesis 12:1 GW)

Although these words were spoken to Abraham thousands of years ago, for many of us they still hold true.  God has instructed us to leave behind unhealthy relationships, careers, social environments, living quarters, attitudes, and yes, even ministry associations.  These things have kept us from walking into the fullness of our destiny with God.  It is therefore time to move.   “[W]e must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially sin that distracts us.”  (Hebrews 12:1 GW) “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature…Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.  You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.  But now you must rid yourself of all such things.” (Colossians 3:5-8 NIV)

What is keeping you from moving?  Is it comfort? Uncertainty? Fear? Impatience?  Whatever the answer may be, consider the first three words of the text: “The Lord said.”  If the Lord said it, it’s divine instruction.  It’s not subject to consideration or debate.  “When the Lord gets ready, you got to move.” 

Although leaving things behind may be difficult, when God instructs us to do something, it is designed for our good.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.  “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT) God loves us and will not lead us down the wrong path.  When God instructed Abraham to move, it positioned Abraham for an even greater blessing.  Abraham could not have received the promises of God if he had not obeyed God’s instruction.  Has God told you to go somewhere? Have you obeyed?

When God instructs us to leave certain things behind, it is important to remember that God does not tell us to leave without a command to “Go.”  Leaving one place always means that we are headed to a new one.  The places that God will take us in the midst of obedience are intended to move us closer to our destiny.  Hence, we can either remain stagnant where we are (consider Lot’s wife turning into the pillar of salt in Genesis 19:26) or we can move with God and avail ourselves to the fullness of His blessings.

Finally, as we begin to move, we must remember God’s words, “I will show you.”  God promises to be our guide.  We have nothing to fear.  God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV) So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NIV) 

When God says move, it is indeed time to move.  Letting things go can often be scary, but remember that God is moving us to higher heights.  We must learn to trust Him and know that He is leading us onto the right path.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for Your enduring love and patience.  Help us to hear Your instructions and follow.  You have commanded us to walk by faith and not by sight.  Help us to remember that Your promise comes through such faith.  Teach us how to operate in obedience and move according to Your will.  Continue to walk with us and show us Your way.  Guide us into the path of our destiny that we may glorify Your holy name.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to take heed to God’s instruction, let go, and MOVE.  The path to righteousness does not always bring ease, but God has promised to be our guide.  I EMPOWER you to trust God and know that the fullness of His joy resides in the path that He has designed for you.

Ms. Latasha McCrary is an active member of St. Luke Christian Church in Huntsville, AL where she serves as a Young Adult Facilitator and is training as a Life Skills Coach. She is passionate about the practice of law and views her profession as an extension of her calling to serve. Latasha firmly believes that “Service is the price we pay for the space we occupy” and is grateful for God’s continuing favor evidenced in her life. “By this I know that you favor me, because you have not let my enemies triumph over me.” (Psalms 41:11)

Forgiveness, Friendships, Listening

Don’t Talk…Just Listen

It started out as a funny text messaging conversation, then it turned into venting and before I knew it I lost my friend. I was shocked and dazed at the same time. Where did this venom come from? What did I do to deserve this? How did she transfer all of her negative emotions to me? I had become the victim of misplaced anger.

My friend was going through it and as she started venting to me, I started making suggestions and having “an answer” but that’s not what my friend wanted. She wanted me to LISTEN. After I made a comment or two I was chastised about how she did not want my advice, she only wanted me to listen. After I let her know that I was now angry, I put down my phone fuming. I think I saw smoke coming from my ears.  I wasn’t upset about what she said as much as I was about the timing. Although I am not a big fan of criticism, I can take it; however, coming to me when you are angry with someone else ticks me off.  I was officially HOT!

The next day my friend apologized for her rudeness but things didn’t go back to normal. I was still mad. As a matter of fact, I tried to talk to her about it two days later letting her know where she went wrong but I couldn’t shake the anger I was feeling. After I sat and thought about it, this isn’t the first time that someone brought up my ability to listen. Often I get it confused because I have some friends that if I don’t say anything they think that something is wrong; however, that wasn’t the situation with this friend.

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. “ (Matthew 18:15 KJV)

As I moped around with these negative thoughts consuming my mind, the spirit spoke to me and asked “Why are YOU mad?” Although you could not control the time or the place, your sister came to you and told you how you offended her.  You are so caught up in her timing that you have missed the message. I realized that the problem wasn’t her, it was I. In my quest to be helpful, I misjudged what my friend needed at that time. She needed an ear not a preacher. I called her and begged her pardon and I have gained my sister back.

“My dear brothers and sisters take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19 NIV)

In this circumstance, I did everything opposite of what we were instructed to do in His word. Sometimes there is purpose in being still and just LISTENING. We don’t have to have the answer.  This reminds me that even in the time I spend with Him, I don’t have to always talk but I should focus more on hearing from Him.  Only in my silence will I truly understand the message.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for helping me realize that I don’t always have the answers and even when I do, there is a time and a place to share them. Help me to be a better friend and to be able to discern what my friends need when they need it. Remind me that it isn’t all about me finding a solution or giving my advice but it’s about me being there and taking the time to listen. Thank You for listening to me and help me be a better listener to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to LISTEN. Even in the midst of confusion and anger, I encourage you to be silent. Don’t miss the message because it didn’t show up in a way that you thought it should. If your sister tells you how you’ve offended her, instead of becoming angry take heed and move forward. Remember the old cliché: you were blessed with two ears and one mouth so listen twice as much as you speak.

Ms. Chancee` Lundy currently resides in Atlanta, GA and is a small business co-owner of Nspiregreen, LLC an environmental consulting firm. She is also a dedicated daughter, sister, friend, community servant, and child of God. She is passionate about causes that truly uplift the community. One of her favorite scriptures is Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”