This year is the first year Olivia and I have lived in New York City on 9-11. We lived in Boston when it happened in 2001, and came down several times over the next several months, but we’ve never been “New Yorkers” on an anniversary. It was a crazy thought to think as I was getting on the Subway this morning, that that day started out normal for millions as well.
So today, as a new “New Yorker,” I want to offer a prayer for the City:
Lord, thank You for all You’ve done to heal hearts, minds, and bodies in the eight years since the attacks on New York City in 2001. Thank You for Your mercy, Your compassion, and Your power to overcome evil with good. I thank You that many have come to know You as they’ve sought answers to their questions. I thank You that You are the answer to any question. Thank You for bringing back this City to a place of prosperity and influence. Thank You for the gifts You have blessed it with. Thank You for people that recognize and honor those gifts.
God, I ask You to protect this place from another attack. I ask You to foil any plans that the enemy may have. Will You frustrate even the most cunning of masterminds? They hold nothing on You and Your omniscient, omnipresent power. You know everything. Before a thought has been born You know it and I ask You to be the great defender of New York City. David called You a Strong Tower and may the people look to You, and only You, as that refuge.
I pray for the Church of Your Son, Jesus, here in New York. May there be a mighty revival of power here. May the great cathedrals and churches be filled with Your Spirit in even greater portions than at their creation. May they be filled with believers and seekers. May the fire of Your presence consume all who call on Your name. Bring about repentance from our evil ways. May there be genuine sorrow and conviction for things in our lives and City that do not honor You. May that repentance be met with a raining of mercy and forgiveness that only You could bring. Bring revival to Your Church here, Jesus. And bring an awakening to those who have yet to come to know You. May Your workings and movement in this City be a testimony to America and to the world.
Thank You for Your unending, unfathomable love in the person of Jesus in whose name I offer this prayer. Amen.
Recently, one of my Twitter friends stated, “what you ask of God reflects what you believe about Him.”
If I don’t ask Him to meet seemingly unmeetable needs, do I not believe He can or would meet those needs (Phillipians 4:19)? If I don’t ask him to heal the sick, do I actually believe He can do it (Isaiah 53:5)? If I refrain from asking Him to make a way for me in my job/career do I somehow not really believe that He helps those who call on Him (Matthew 7)?
I want to believe God for great things. Things that can’t be explained away rationally or with some natural answer.
Remember the movie Pay It Forward? Haley Joel Osment’s character embarks on a project to do good things for others. But the things have to be what he calls “Big.” Not just holding the door for someone (that’s good), but something that alters someone’s life in a meaningful, impactful way.
That’s what I want to pray for, to ask God for. For mountains in people’s lives to be moved, for the mountains in my life to be moved.
Ask,and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him forbread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then,who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11)
Recently at work I saw a name of a foundation that said this to me: The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. The namers of this organization weren’t aiming to make a few nice discoveries. They were going for the end-all for those who are affected by paralysis: the cure.
That’s what I want to have the faith to ask for in my life…to get rid of all debt…to see my eyes healed…to have a song cut…and on to my family, on to friends, on to cities, on to nations.
I wrote this lyric after an amazing time of worship. I had just read Psalm 17:8 where David says, “Keep me as the apple of your eye…” It’s an incredible thing to know that, no matter what, God loves us beyond anything we have ever known. As it declares in Ephesians, “…to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”
Download or play: http://benwardmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/You-Love-Me.mp3
You Love Me
I’m the apple of Your eye
You love me
I’m the object of Your desire
So when I feel ashamed
Full of doubt and blame
I’ll remember You don’t change
You love me
I tend to feel unwanted
I tend to hurt sometimes
Overwhelmed by darkened clouds
With tarnish on the silver lining
I like to play the victim
Hide behind the pain
Smiling on my face
Or frozen, unbending
You look beyond my tantrums
Meet my questions
With one answer
I read this article recently by indie music entrepreneur Derek Sivers. It’s about a lecture he went to where the idea of the story – the rise and fall of drama – is illustrated and explained. He talks about how we love stories because the pendulum swings so wildly from misery to exceeding joy. Drama is exciting. The problem, he infers from the lecture, is that everybody wants their lives to be like this. But, in reality, our lives are mostly mundane and, well, boring. He gives this as the reason why people start fights and create drama; so we can live more of the stories we love so much.
I disagree with his conclusion.
My father-in-law has been Olivia’s and my pastor since we were married. One of my favorite things that he says about a life following Jesus is that it is a great adventure (not to quote old school Steven Curtis Chapman or anything). It’s true. When the Holy Spirit is in you, you live a life that is not even imaginable without Him. You do things that make the world (and even many Christians) go, “Huh?”
Like I shared last week, sometimes you’re just living everyday life and God drops someone in your way, changing all your plans.
Sometimes He tells you to give someone a call, or a hug, or money. Sometimes He tells you to move across the country, or the world. He’s always working in people’s lives. He’s always orchestrating His plans and He wants to use you. He wants to use me.
Sign me up.
Because I don’t want a storyless life. I want to know God and I want to see Him move in amazing, supernatural ways in unbelievable places with fascinating people.
This week, I’ve got a wonderful worship song that I hope you’ll enjoy. I love doing it in this slow, contemplative way. I could sing it for hours! (thanks Harold Greene). It was written by Kathryn Scott from the Vineyard in Ireland (we’re getting intenational here).
Download here. Play here:[audio:http://benwardmusic.com/wp-content/uploads/Hungry.mp3|titles=Hungry|artists=Ben Ward]