Friday, September 30, 2016

Scientism Exceeds its Grasp

Lake Michigan shoreline, Michigan

I meet, on occasion, someone who says, "Science explains everything." From this follows the idea that: If science cannot in principle explain something, then that "something" does not exist. This is called "scientism."

"Scientism" is the belief, indeed the worldview, that claims science is the only valid way of seeking knowledge and truth in any field. On scientism, science explains or will explain (at least in principle) everything there is to be known.

University of South Carolina biologist Austin Hughes (deceased 2015) addressed this in his essay "The Folly of Scientism." He quotes Peter Atkins, who says that science has "universal competence."

Hughes scoffs at this and writes:

"Central to scientism is the grabbing of nearly the entire territory of what were once considered questions that properly belong to philosophy. Scientism takes science to be not only better than philosophy at answering such questions, but the only means of answering them. For most of those who dabble in scientism, this shift is unacknowledged, and may not even be recognized. But for others, it is explicit."

Atkins, for example, says, “I consider it to be a defensible proposition that no philosopher has helped to elucidate nature; philosophy is but the refinement of hindrance.”"

Hughes shows how this kind of thinking, this "scientism," over-reaches. Scientism "exceeds its grasp." To get at this Hughes takes us to the roots, the foundation, of certain scientific and philosophical ideas in which scientism is grounded.

He makes a nice distinction between science per se and what scientists say. For example, there has been a good deal of controversy over stem cell research. While many in the discussion are scientists, there is "little science being disputed: the central controversy was between two opposing views on a particular ethical dilemma, neither of which was inherently more scientific than the other. If we confine our definition of the scientific to the falsifiable, we clearly will not conclude that a particular ethical view is dictated by science just because it is the view of a substantial number of scientists."

Hughes questions the idea that science is essentially "self-correcting," in the sense that self-correction will necessarily occur. He writes:

"Alas, in the thirty or so years I have been watching, I have observed quite a few scientific sub-fields (such as behavioral ecology) oscillating happily and showing every sign of continuing to do so for the foreseeable future. The history of science provides examples of the eventual discarding of erroneous theories. But we should not be overly confident that such self-correction will inevitably occur, nor that the institutional mechanisms of science will be so robust as to preclude the occurrence of long dark ages in which false theories hold sway."

Hughes rightly dismisses the idea that science and scientists are above political, petty, and irrational thinking. Those who think science to be epistemtically or metaphysically neutral attain a status quite like cult leaders. It's time to debunk the scientistic "aura of hero worship." Science does not possess some special, transcendent epistemic reliability. And it fails to explain everything, to include the claim that science explains everything.

Never Marry Someone Who Hates Their Parents

Image result for johnpiippo hate
My footsteps, Cape May, New Jersey

A man came into my office. I did not know him. He was in his forties. He said:

"I was looking for someone like you to talk to. My father is in a coma in the hospital. I was just in his room. I put my hands around his neck, and squeezed. I was crying, and saying, "Why did you do it to me? Why? Why?" I wanted to kill him! Before that happened I took my hands off his neck and left. I hate my father. Can you help me?"

Yes. I'll try. There's a lot at stake here. This man will never amount to anything when it comes to relationships if he does not get this raging bitterness against his father fixed.

Until then, for the rest of us...

Never marry someone who hates their parents.

Pastors: Never hire someone who hates their parents.

Never covenant with someone who hates.

Because: their inability to forgive their parents will soon come down on you. You will become their new parent-figure. You will soon remind them of their father, or mother. You will hurt them in some familiar way (it won't take much), and their unhealed wrath will be triggered. You will displace their parents and become the hated one.

Psychologists call this "projection." Like a movie projector sends the internal image to an external blank screen, the unforgiving unconscious, looking for its release from the inner prison, projects its unresolved anger onto the external world, and the issue is suddenly seen in someone else. In this case, you.

How many times have I consoled a counselee by saying, "I know they are hurting you. But their hurt is not really about you." Hurt people hurt people.

Unhealed people project their stuff onto us, and conclude that their stuff really has to do with us. They treat us as if their projection was true. (See this article in Psychology Today, e.g.)

Pray for the parent-hating person's healing. Pray for their release, but don't live in their prison. This will only happen if they learn forgiveness from heart, and discover A Forgiving Life

My new book is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

The Rhythm of My Spiritual Life Is a Wheel Rolling Forward

When I became a follower of Jesus forty-six years ago I was an undergraduate at Northern Illinois University. I began to attend a campus ministry. I was asked if I wanted to be in a Small Group for Bible study and prayer. I was told this experience would be one of the keys to my spiritual vitality and growth.

That proved true. I've been in a Small Group all forty-six years of my Christian life. Linda and I have been in a Small Group Community all the forty-three years of our marriage.

The early Jesus-followers met in small groups of Jesus-followers; in homes, in upper rooms, wherever they could find a gathering place. Small Group Community was essential to the explosive spiritual and numerical growth of the early church. It's also essential to my spiritual life and growth.

The rhythm of my spiritual life looks like this:

I meet alone with God. I spend time with God in "the secret place." 
This is the Very Small Group (VSG) - God and I.

I meet weekly in a Home Group to study scripture and pray together. 
This is the Small Group (SG) - 6-12 people.

I meet Sunday mornings to worship and listen to the preached Word on Sunday mornings and other times.
This is the Large Group (LG)

Today it's Friday morning, and I have spent time alone with God in the VSG.

Two nights ago was the SG - Linda and I were there.

On Sunday morning I'll be with my LG.

VSG-SG-LG; VSG-SG-LG...  over and over again and again.

It looks like this:

Note: this is a circle rolling forward on a path, led by God, progressing in the spiritual life and the movement of God and his kingdom. (It is not "the eternal recurrence of the same.")

My new book especially focuses on the VSGPraying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Affirmation Is Not Equivalent to Love

Image result for johnpiippo
Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan

If I don't affirm all your beliefs it does not mean I can't love you. Loving someone does not mean affirming everything they do or believe in. If that was true, love would be nonexistent.

Take the statement: X is wrong, with X referring to, say, a behavior. Or a moral position.

Now imagine I say, "The statement X is wrong is true." That is, I believe it is true that X is wrong. It's wrong to do X, or hold to the moral position of X.

Next, imagine you believe the statement X is wrong is false. That is, you believe it is not true that X is wrong. It's right to do X, or right to hold to the moral position of X.

This means we disagree on the truth-value of the statement X is wrong. It means that you think I am wrong about this statement, and I believe that you are wrong about it. Make no mistake about it. This is about right/wrong, true/false. Statements are either T or F, without exception. (This does not mean we know which it is. For example, There are an even number of stars in the universe.)

You, therefore, cannot affirm me in my belief that X is wrong. I should not expect that you would. Why would I expect you to affirm something you thought false, or wrong? And I cannot affirm you in your belief about the particular state of affairs that X refers to. You should not expect that I would.

OK. This may cause us to vote differently. It may mean we go to different churches. It may mean that I go to church but you do not. It may mean I believe in God, but you don't. It may mean we have different beliefs about guns, or about fidelity in marriage, or about marriage.

Even though you think I am wrong, you should not force me to affirm something I do not believe in. Nor I, you. Anyway, coercion cannot produce belief. 

But at least one of us is mistaken about our belief. We cannot both be right. Ethical relativism will not work here. This is precisely why we disagree; viz., because we believe there is such a thing as rightness, and truth. This is why you are concerned to convince me that it is false that X is wrong. Maybe you are upset with me, angry with me. You think I ought to affirm you because you are right, and I am wrong. Objectively so.

Let's say I have studied the claim X is wrong for forty years. I have read everything pro and con about it. I have taken classes on it. I have dialogued with contrarians over and over about this. And still, after all this, I cannot in my heart and mind affirm what you believe about this. Let's further say you have done the same, and come out thinking I am wrong. It happens. You cannot nor should be expected to affirm me regarding my belief, and vice versa. You should not expect me to endorse X, or to engage in X, or to champion X, or get all excited about X. Depending on the level of importance the matter has to us, this may result in a certain parting of ways.

But we can still love. 

I mean, Jesus said we are even to love our enemies, and my enemies believe things I vehemently reject. An enemy is someone who affirms a set of beliefs which you do not, and cannot, affirm. But even if I am to you the enemy of your deepest beliefs, you can still love me. And if you have the expectation that I should affirm what you believe, I feel misunderstood and disrespected by you. Perhaps we can agree on this, and agree to love in spite of, and in the process learn what such outrageous love is and then talk about where it comes from and what it means.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Dispelling the Fog Machine (The Presence-Driven Church)

Linda, on a Michigan beach

Years ago one of our youth leaders bought a fog machine. One night we put it in our church building's gym, invited our kids to a roller skating party, and fired the machine up. I felt like a kid as I watched fog fill the room, and skaters emerging out of the thickness only to disappear as they rolled past me.

I thought about bringing it into the sanctuary. On a Sunday morning. I'll be back stage. Worship will be happening. Someone pushes a button.

The fog.

It's pointed toward the platform. It achieves the texture of cumulus clouds. I emerge.

No one sees me yet. Rock guitars screaming a Queen-like worship song. Colored stage lights suspended on scaffolding rotating side to side.

The house lights are down.

Spotlights on.

Through the cloud of glory a podium is seen.

There, approaching from  behind, the shadow of a human figure.

It is I.

I preach. How awesome am I? There is a hush as people put their phones away.

I look better in the dark. I appear sculpted and trim. I am a rock star of a preacher wearing tight jeans.

The alarm goes off. I wake up, and put on the bathrobe I've had for twenty years. My hair, what there is of it, is punked, au natural.

I shake my head and breathe a sigh of relief. The nightmare is over. I reassure myself - "I am not pastor of a performance-driven church."

The presence-driven apostle Paul once wrote:

You’ll remember, friends, that when I first came to you to let you in on God’s master stroke, I didn’t try to impress you with polished speeches and the latest philosophy. I deliberately kept it plain and simple: first Jesus and who he is; then Jesus and what he did—Jesus crucified.I was unsure of how to go about this, and felt totally inadequate—I was scared to death, if you want the truth of it—and so nothing I said could have impressed you or anyone else. But the Message came through anyway. God’s Spirit and God’s power did it, which made it clear that your life of faith is a response to God’s power, not to some fancy mental or emotional footwork by me or anyone else. (1 Cor. 2)

No staging.

No ambiance.

No set up.

No performance.

No fog machine (but, yes, we do have one).

Just faith.

Just Jesus.

Just the Spirit.

Just the power of God.

Just his presence.

I'm working on two books - Leading the Presence-Driven Church, and Transformation: How God Shapes the Human Heart.

My book on prayer is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

The Power of Solitude

Image result for johnpiippo quiet
Central State University (prior to their current renovations)

An emerging body of research suggests that spending time alone, if done right, can be good for us. 

See Leon Nayfekh's article "The Power of Lonely" on the Boston Globe. Solitude is a good and needed thing, he says. Here are the bullets.

  • Even the most socially motivated among us should regularly be taking time to ourselves if we want to have fully developed personalities, and be capable of focus and creative thinking.
  • Research suggests that blocking off enough alone time is an important component of a well-functioning social life — that if we want to get the most out of the time we spend with people, we should make sure we’re spending enough of it away from them.
  • Solitude (if done right) makes our bodies and minds work better.
  • One ongoing Harvard study indicates that people form more lasting and accurate memories if they believe they’re experiencing something alone.
  • Solitude can make a person more capable of empathy towards others. (I am certain this is true. Especially if solitude is done "in the right way." My compassion for others, even for my enemies, always increases in extended solitary times with God.)
  • In an age when no one is ever more than a text message or an e-mail away from other people, the distinction between “alone” and “together” has become hopelessly blurry, even as the potential benefits of true solitude are starting to become clearer.
  • Nayfekh writes: "Solitude has long been linked with creativity, spirituality, and intellectual might. The leaders of the world’s great religions — Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Moses — all had crucial revelations during periods of solitude. The poet James Russell Lowell identified solitude as “needful to the imagination;” in the 1988 book “Solitude: A Return to the Self,” the British psychiatrist Anthony Storr invoked Beethoven, Kafka, and Newton as examples of solitary genius."
  • Solitude is to be distinguished from "loneliness."
  • Nayfekh has an interesting review of "solitude research." U-Mass graduate student Christopher Long "started working on a project to precisely define solitude and isolate ways in which it could be experienced constructively. The project’s funding came from, of all places, the US Forest Service, an agency with a deep interest in figuring out once and for all what is meant by “solitude” and how the concept could be used to promote America’s wilderness preserves."
  • There is "an emergence of solitude studies." For example, Robert Coplan of Carleton University studies children who play alone. "Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert, a leader in the world of positive psychology, has recently overseen an intriguing study that suggests memories are formed more effectively when people think they’re experiencing something individually." 
  • Gilbert's study shows that solitude combats "social loafing," "which says that people tend not to try as hard if they think they can rely on others to pick up their slack. (If two people are pulling a rope, for example, neither will pull quite as hard as they would if they were pulling it alone.)" All multitasking is not good for the brain or the soul.
  • Solitude fosters "metacognitive activity." "Metacognition" is the process of thinking critically and reflectively about our own thoughts."  As Richard Arum shows us in his new book Academically Adrift, today's university students are doing that less and less. (This is Daniel Kahneman's "slow thinking.")
  • Reed Larson of the U of Illinois, in his study of teens and solitude, has shown that meaningful times alone allows for a kind of introspection and freedom from self-consciousness that strengthens their sense of identity. I can personally see how this might happen in the fruit of years spent in intentional aloneness with God. Larson found "that kids who spent between 25 and 45 percent of their nonclass time alone tended to have more positive emotions over the course of the weeklong study than their more socially active peers, were more successful in school and were less likely to self-report depression."
  • "John Cacioppo of the University of Chicago, whose 2008 book “Loneliness” with William Patrick summarized a career’s worth of research on all the negative things that happen to people who can’t establish connections with others, said recently that as long as it’s not motivated by fear or social anxiety, then spending time alone can be a crucially nourishing component of life."
  • Psychologist Adam Waytz of Harvard says that "spending a certain amount of time alone... can make us less closed off from others and more capable of empathy — in other words, better social animals."

Henri Nouwen has told us that there is a "ministry of presence" and a "ministry of absence." There is a time to be alone with God and a time to be with God and people. I've written about the need for Jesus-followers to regularly enter into solitary times with God here.

FYI - two important pieces on prayer and solitude are: The chapter on "Solitude" in Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline, and Henri Nouwen's chapter on solitude in The Way of the Heart.

The App-identities of Today's Youth

Image result for johnpiippo digital
Warren Dunes State Park, Michigan
I usually arrive early to my MCCC philosophy classes. As students come they sit down and bow before their smart phones, apping away. 

This is our world today. We're immersed in a surging sea of technological change that would cause Alvin Toffler to confess that he underestimated the coming "future shock." 

How shall we understand this? I recommend Howard Gardner (Harvard) and Kate Davis's The App Generation: How Today's Youth Navigate Identity, Intimacy, and Imagination in a Digital World. Gardner and Davis examine the three aspects of the lives of young people that are most affected by digital technology:
·                     their sense of identity
·                     their capacity for intimate relations
·                     their imaginative powers

What about identity? The apps on a person's smartphone are a kind of fingerprint. "It’s the combination of interests, habits, and social connections that identify that person." (The App Generation, p. 60) Gardner and Dixon ask: "How are youth’s identities shaped and expressed in the age of the app? Are they truly different or just superficially so?" (Ib.) They respond:

"We found that, as suggested by the app icon itself, the identities of young people are increasingly packaged. That is, they are developed and put forth so that they convey a certain desirable— indeed, determinedly upbeat— image of the person in question. This packaging has the consequence of minimizing a focus on an inner life, on personal conflicts and struggles, on quiet reflection and personal planning; and as the young person approaches maturity, this packaging discourages the taking of risks of any sort. On the more positive side, there is also a broadening of acceptable identities (e.g., it’s OK to be a geek). Overall, life in an app-suffused society yields not only many small features of a person’s identity but also a push toward an overall packaged sense of self— as it were, an omnibus app." (Ib., 61)

This suggests that the capacity for today's youth to engage in the classical biblical spiritual disciplines (solitude, silence, focusing on "Christ in me, the hope of glory") is diminishing. Spiritually, this is disconcerting. As a culture we are a mile wide and an inch deep. (I see students interested as they are introduced to "deepness" in my philosophy classes, which is encouraging. That capacity, for many I think, has not been deleted from their cognitive hard drive.)

Gardner and Davis will help you understand this, non-judgmentally. 

We must first understand before we can evaluate. 

We must evaluate before we heal, if needed (depth is good, shallowness is bad). 

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Affliction of God's Refining Care

Greenfield Village, Dearborn, Michigan

One of my seminary students wrote, saying: "God is telling me that I have a problem." 

I responded: "You do." 

I do too. We all need more change, more transformation. Here's the good news logic:

1. Either you've arrived or you need more change.
2. You have not arrived.
3. Therefore, you need more change.

Welcome to the kingdom of God, and the community of the King. Real "church" is a community of transformation. Wesley Hill writes: "Anyone who joins such a community should know that it is a place of transformation, of discipline, of learning, and not merely a place to be comforted or indulged.” 
(From Wesley Hill, Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality,  p. 68)

Good-bye Consumer Market-Driven Church. 

Good night Starbucks in the church lobby. 

Sleep tight Entertainment Church. 

Prepare to be pressed but not crushed, struck down but not destroyed.

Consumers don't want inner heart-change. They want others to change, not themselves. They want to consume, rather than be consumed. This creates a problem since God is, among other things, a consuming fire. Meet God and submit to Jesus as Lord and you will never be the same. Hill writes:

"Engaging with God and entering the transformative life of the church does not mean we get a kind of “free pass,” an unconditional love that leaves us where we are. Instead, we get a fiercely demanding love, a divine love that will never let us escape from its purifying, renovating, and ultimately healing grip."

Are we having "fun" yet? Are we "happy?" Those are the wrong questions. "Fun" and "happy" are not the words to use here. When the self gets laid on the altar of God, stuff gets stripped off. There is a fiery, refining purging of one's being, as God morphs the self into Christlikeness. Let the fire fall and purify our hearts. Lord, bring restoration.

This is where the self gets denied. Who can go this far with our Lord? Hill beautifully writes:

"Though we may miss out in the short run on lives of personal fulfillment and sexual satisfaction, in the long run the cruelest thing that God could do would be to leave us alone with our desires, to spare us the affliction of his refining care. “Not only does God in Christ take people as they are: He takes them in order to transform them into what He wants them to be.”"

That's it. The affliction of his refining care. It is not fun, but it is very good.

My new book is: Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

A Letter to My Church Family

Praying for people at Redeemer.

(I sent this note to my Redeemer family this morning.)

Good morning Redeemer family:

Here are a few things I would like to share with you.

What a beautiful message Josh Bentley gave two Sundays ago - thank you Josh!

Yesterday morning Tom and Christy Hedke gave their testimony of how God has moved in Tom's physical body and in their hearts. We all applauded and gave thanks to God as Tom is now cancer-free!

Then we called anyone forward who is in any kind of difficulty and our people surrounded them, I anointed them with oil, and we prayed for many. What a beautiful moment. That is Real Church - no hype, no staging, no performance, just God's empowering presence.

I am asking you to keep the following Scriptures before you this week as we approach next Sunday morning, October 3 - James 5:13-16. Read them, over and over. Meditate on them. When God speaks to you, write it down in your journal. I feel it is very significant that these will be the verses I will preach on. I am already getting excited about how God is going to show up.

Yesterday morning I shared a story that happened to me last week, and how God told me, "John, I am up to something." I know He is.

Blessings to you all this day,


Oct. 2 - James 5:13-16 –The Prayer of Faith

13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

17 Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. 18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Sole Purpose of a Follower of Jesus

Window, in Columbus, Ohio

Many years ago a church in our county advertised itself as "The Friendliest Church in America." In all of America?! When this advertisement appeared in our local paper I wanted to proclaim, "We're #2!"

Recently I read that another area church's basic mission was to be "friendly."

I think that's commendable. 

"Loving" is probably better than "friendly." Both are better than "happy." ("The Happiest Church in America?" I doubt it.)  But these are NOT the mission of the Church. 

Richard Stearns has it correct. He writes:

"In all my years as a Christian, I have listened to thousands of sermons, and I can’t remember even one that fully explained to me that the central mission of Christ and the purpose he gave to his church was to proclaim, establish, and build God’s kingdom on earth. Nor have I ever heard that the sole purpose of my life as a follower of Jesus is to join him in this mission; that this is the very reason I was created. Somehow that baby got thrown out with the bathwater in my Christian education." (Stearns, Unfinished, pp. 56-57)

This is shocking, since Stearns, as the head of World Vision, has experienced global Christianity like few have. It's also eye-opening since all we've been preaching and teaching at Redeemer over the past fifteen years is Jesus and the Kingdom. Preach through the four gospels, as we did for seven years, and you'll see the "kingdom of God" all over the place. 

The idea of the kingdom of God is the hermeneutical key to understanding the Real Jesus. Read the gospels for yourself and see.

"Most American Christians," writes Stearns, "have embraced a diminished view of the fullness of the gospel, or good news, of the story and message of Christ." (Ib., p. 58)

"Unfinished might just challenge everything you thought you understood about your Christian faith...If every Christian read this book and took it seriously, the world would never be the same again."
—Bill Hybels, senior pastor, Willow Creek Community Church

My new book is: Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

54 Big Ideas About Prayer

Linda, in Detroit

These are from my book Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God. (Kindle version HERE.)

1.  You will learn more about prayer by actually praying than you can get from a book.
2.  Prayer is talking with God about what God and I are thinking and doing together.
3.  Praying is revolutionary activity whereby I revolt against the kingdom of this world as I meet with the true Lord of heaven and earth.
4.  If you believe God is all-powerful and all-knowing, then you believe God is powerful enough and knows enough to address your struggles.
5.  If you believe that God is all-loving, then you believe that God desires to address your struggles.
6.  What we think about God affects how we worship and pray.
7.  Prayer is not a religious duty, something I “have” to do, but a relationship with God.
8.  In praying I must let go of control and trust God.
9.  The focus of praying is not prayer itself, but God.
10.             I can meet God at a conference. I can also meet the same God wherever I am.
11.             Assume God is doing something in you, now.
12.             Praying is the act of interfacing this world with the kingdom of God.
13.             I can hear the voice of God, speaking to me.
14.             Hearing God’s voice is a function of intimacy with God.
15.             Humility is needed to hear the voice of God.
16.             Discernment is the capacity to recognize and respond to the presence and activity of God, both in the ordinary moments of life and in the larger decisions of life.
17.             As intimacy with God increases, discernment increases.
18.             Discerning should always come before deciding.
19.             In praying, God changes me.
20.             I pray to be able to see God’s Bigger Picture of my life and reality.
21.             I pray for my heart to be shaped into a heart of God’s love.
22.             Praying for people is a God-given, holy burden.
23.             In praying I bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.
24.             I pray for others because I believe that where prayer focuses, power falls.
25.             Blessed are the mono-taskers, for they shall see God.
26.             Praying is a slow-cooker, not a microwave.
27.             Teaching people to pray in solitude is one of the greatest needs and challenges of the church today.
28.             Solitary times with God prepare us for fellowship with people.
29.             If you commit to praying God will lead you deeper into community.
30.             One’s personal prayer life can never be understood if it is separated from community life.
31.             In praying we cry for the in-breaking of the kingdom into the brokenness of the present.
32.             In praying God aligns our heart with his kingdom heart.
33.             To pray is to explore and venture into the vast, limitless regions of God’s beautiful kingdom.
34.             Authentic praying is an act of self-denial.
35.             To pray is to let go of control.
36.             When God reveals personal faults it is never to condemn us, but only to rescue us.
37.             There is a “spiritual Alzheimer’s disease” which results in forgetting the many times God has rescued and delivered us.
38.             A main antidote to fear is remembering.
39.             In praying I enumerate things I am thankful for and give thanks to God.
40.             I pray because Jesus prayed.
41.             I pray for protection and guidance.
42.             In praying I am detoxified and released from burdens.
43.             Renewal can begin with one follower of Jesus, praying.
44.             The more Westernized a person is, the less they pray.
45.             Prayvailing – Travailing prayer brings prevailing in a person’s life.
46.             I need to set aside some time very day for active talking and listening to God. Just ten minutes each day can bring about a radical change in my life.
47.             Nothing can stop me from praying today.
48.             If I humble myself and pray, turning from any wicked ways, God will hear from heaven and heal the land.
49.             The antidote to spiritual burnout is time alone with God, praying.
50.             Pray even when, especially when, it seems or feels like God is absent.
51.             God isn’t in a panic room when you or I have doubts.
52.             Life is best lived when death is acknowledged.
53.             Kick the “bucket list” and live for a greater purpose.
54.             How a life begins and ends is important. Don’t forget the ending part.