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When We Pray - Eight Words, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram
The Truth Network Radio
May 10, 2023 6:00 am

When We Pray - Eight Words, Part 1

Living on the Edge / Chip Ingram

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May 10, 2023 6:00 am

Do your prayers feel stale, ineffective, or even a bit passionless? Is your quiet time with God filled with constant distractions and random thoughts? In this message, guest teacher Ryan Ingram – lead pastor at Awakening Church in San Jose, California – reveals: you’re not alone! As he continues his series, When We Pray, he’ll teach us from Psalm 46 how to ‘be still’ before God and share some tips to reignite the power of our prayers.

Moody Church Hour
Erwin Lutzer
Our Daily Bread Ministries
Various Hosts

Do you often feel like your prayers are stale, ineffective, maybe even passionless? Well, today we're going to learn eight words that you need to learn that can literally change how you talk to God and how you hear from Him. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry featuring the daily Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. We're in the middle of our new series, When We Pray, taught by our guest speaker, Ryan Ingram, lead pastor at Awakening Church in San Jose, California. Today, he'll dive deep into Psalm 46 and break down a few key phrases that will reignite the power and passion in your prayer life.

Now, we all could use some encouragement in this area, so invite a few friends to listen to either through or the Chip Ingram app. With that, let's join Ryan for his talk, Eight Words. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

Though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their searching, there's a river whose stream make glad the city of God, the holy place where the most high dwell. God is within her. She will not fall.

God will help her at break of day. Nations are in an uproar. Kingdoms fall. He lifts his voice.

The earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us. The God of Jacob is our fortress. We're in a series called When We Pray. Not if we pray.

Not, yeah, you should pray. But when we pray, because the natural human instinct is prayer. In some form, in some way, at some time, everybody prays. Everybody has some inkling or longing for something bigger than themselves to intervene and help or to be connected to. Just as communication is the foundation for every relationship, like that's how you grow in intimacy. Prayer is the pathway to intimacy with God. How do we move from prayer being this mysterious or this duty or this thing that you feel like you ought to do to this delight, this life-giving, soul-shaping communion, connection with your Heavenly Father? Dane Ortlund, there's this incredible quote in his book, Deeper, writes this, the deepest destiny of your life is to descend ever deeper with quiet yet ever-increasing intensity into the endless love of God.

I mean, have you thought about that? I don't know what you think about your destiny right now. I'm going to manifest it.

Okay. Like, what's your destiny? And it's like, my destiny is to get straight A's. My destiny is to get into the right college. My destiny is to meet and marry the right person. My destiny is to be upward mobile. My destiny, I don't know what you would say that D word is right there for your life, but the deepest destiny, the heart's longing, like what you've been searching for and hungering for is something beyond what you can tangibly see and grasp.

It's to descend ever deeper with a quiet yet ever-increasing intensity into the endless love of God. How do we do that when life's chaotic? How do we do that when life is busy and full? When it does feel like the mountains are falling into the sea around you and the earth is giving away and the world is freaking out?

Like that seems really nice. And maybe I'll put it on a quote somewhere, Ryan, but doesn't that feel unrealistic? You know, one of the interesting things about the world, the way our world is designed is the problem is it's designed so that we don't pay attention to that which really matters. Isn't it true that our eyes get caught off and our lives get consumed with things that when you look back on life, you're going like, why was I so focused on that?

I'll give you an example. So Elle was born, I was smarter then and then my son was born. And when he was born, it was a Sunday. It was February 18th. It was a Sunday, 2007.

He was born early in the morning. And I felt this intense pressure that I had to show up as a youth pastor Sunday evening to pastor this little community of high schoolers. So friends, can I tell you one of my regrets in life is I left my wife in the hospital with our newborn baby boy to go lead a high school group, which by the way, 15 years later, I don't have a clue what I said then, let alone do they have a clue what I said then. See the problem with our world, even in the spiritual realm is we, and we can spiritualize and say we give our attention to things that don't matter. And it's not saying that like showing up for ministry doesn't matter.

It definitely matters. But we don't give our attention to the things in front of us that matter, that matter significantly. How do we give our attention to that which deeply and profoundly matters? How do we live in such a space that we're attentive, not caught up with the pace, not caught up with somehow, see the reason I had to show up there is I had to be a success. It wasn't for people to meet with God.

How do we pay attention to that which matters? Psalm 46 is the context for the eight words that we're going to dive into. I pray that these words are guiding us. I hope, my hope is that honestly, this would be, feel like this divine invitation that out of it, you wouldn't walk out feeling like, oh, I got to do all this stuff. Like you would walk out going like, oh, someone gave me permission. Someone gave me permission. What I wish somebody did, because I didn't know it as a young pastor in that moment, I wish my boss would have said, hey, it's a Sunday. Don't worry about it. Don't show up. You need to be with your wife. This is me saying, I'm giving you permission.

Oh no, it's not me. It's God's word saying and giving you permission. The eight words, these eight words are powerful. These eight words are transforming. These eight words, my goodness, they bring in peace in the midst of confusion, in the midst of anxiety and anxious thoughts.

They bring in a hope and a life. Eight simple words, be still and know that I am God. It's as simple as that.

It's as difficult as that. Be still and know that I am God. I can imagine what would happen in your life if you felt the permission to be still and redirect your attention and recognize he's God. He's in control. He's got it taken care of. He's not fretting or concerned. He's sovereign and in control. Just imagine like the anxiety that would just drip out of your body if we had this practice in our community of being still and knowing that he's God.

What does that look like? I just want to take the minutes that we have together and just unpack these eight words. You thought you were going to get an eight word sermon. You got eight words, but then there'll be more words behind the sermon there. Let's just break this down. Be still.

Dallas Willard said, hurry is the great enemy of the soul. Be still. What does it mean to be still?

The word means to put an end to a state or activity, to sink down deep, to relax into, to drop or to let go, especially of the hands. Think about this verse. Imagine the permission, because I think when we hear be still, it's like God reprimanding a child. Be still. And certainly there is a little bit of that. Be still.

But how different is it? Hey, relax into. You ever shown up at like one of those spas? I do it like once a year with my wife, but that's it.

I'm not a spa guy. And they got this peaceful music and they say, just relax. Like it's an invitation.

It's not a command. It's a moment of pause to relax into what would it look like if you just began to relax into the presence of God? Instead of rushing into the day, you relaxed into the presence of God. Imagine how your day would shift and change and the pace and maybe your heart rate.

If you said today, I just want to relax into your presence before I head off into my day. And normally what I do is rush off into my day and I just kind of try to invite you into my rushing. Like busyness.

It's a badge of honor. How are you doing? Busy. And if you don't answer that way, it's code in here that you're a slacker and you're no good, right?

Like I'm fantastic. Oh, I'm just refreshed. Like you can't say refreshed, you know, right?

Like, no, you can't be refreshed. You're doing life wrong. Right? I mean, that's how we think. You know, it's interesting. John Ortberg in his book, Soul Keeping writes this, being busy is an outward condition, a condition of the body. It occurs when we have many things to do. Busyness is inevitable in modern culture. If you're alive today in North America, you are a busy person. Hello. And by the way, it feels like it's more busy than it was before.

Yeah. That's the only amen I got was on that. Being hurried, listen to this, is an inner condition, a condition of the soul. It means to be so preoccupied with myself and my life that I'm unable to be fully present with God, with myself and with other people.

I'm unable to occupy the present moment. Busyness, listen, migrates to hurry when we let it squeeze God out of our lives. I cannot live in the kingdom of God with a hurried soul. I cannot rest in God with a hurried soul. Be still. Hurry is the enemy of the soul.

Relax into the presence of God. And here's what's fascinating. Psalm 23, I always found this curious. You know, it's talking about God being our shepherd. And you know, one of the lines that always is intriguing to me is it says the Lord is our shepherd.

I shall not want. And then notice what it says next. He makes me lie down in green pastures. Like there's something about this internal striving of the human condition that we need help to do this. It was true 3000 years ago.

It's true today. And a shepherd with a sheep knows that he has to actually at times make the sheep enjoy and relax and take a break. It's like when my kids were really little and they're tired. And some of you parents know this and like, hey, you're tired. I'm not tired. No, I'm fine. Well, you're actually miserable.

Let's be real. This is miserable to be around. But a parent sees their child and sees the state that they're in and the child cannot see the state that they're in. They don't get it. They don't know it. I'm not tired. No, that's how a child responds. And they're responding, no, out of their tiredness. You're tired and you don't know it. And you have a God with a great invitation that says, be still. And there's times where he says, I'm going to make you lie down because I love you. It's in green pastures and you need to rest.

And I know our culture says bigger, better next, bigger, better next. Hurry, hurry, hurry, and it will crush your soul. Be still and know that I am God. It goes on. Be still. Hurry is the great enemy of the soul.

And then, and know there's something you need to know. And it's literally, I love Brother Lawrence and he's got this little book called Practicing the Presence of God. He's a monk from a long time ago and he had this thought that he could practice the presence of God anywhere at any time. And so, you know, it wasn't just when they had their daily prayers and when they were in the, you know, the monastery.

He was a dishwasher at the monastery. And he's like, I can practice the presence of God. And so he began to practice the presence of God, of really knowing his presence and as he's washing dishes, as he was going about his day. And he just began to write simple thoughts that he had as he was practicing the presence of God.

This word to know means to notice, to be cognizant or aware of, a fact or specific piece of information, to be aware of or to understand or recognize, to observe or to see with our eyes, to perceive, to know by way of experience. I need to be still so that I can know by way of experience that you're God. Stillness is part of the pathway to knowing God's God, by the way. To turn your mind to something to care for, to see about, observe. William Berry writes this, whether we are aware of it or not, at every moment of our existence, we are encountering God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who is trying to catch our attention, trying to draw us into a reciprocal, conscious relationship.

Be still, see, striving, relax into and know like shift your attention, shift your perspective, shift your eyes. I don't know what the anxious thought of your day. In fact, I like the way John Ortberg talks about it. He calls it the troubling thoughts. We all have these troubling thoughts that are consuming us, that rob us of peace and produce anxiety.

The way he says it is simply a way of thinking that does not take God into account. What is that troubling thought that's robbing your peace that you begin to focus on, you look at, that you know? You know it by way of experience. You know it by way of focus. You know it because it has your attention. And whatever has your attention, not only is it what you gravitate towards, it begins to shape you.

He says, be still, identify that troubling thoughts. It might be your marriage. It might be your work. It might be the economy. You might have just checked your 401k because you're on the verge of retirement. And then, oh, what in the world just happened? I don't know if I can retire right now. What is happening?

Am I ever going to be able to retire? And we begin to go down that path without God. That's the problem. It's not the thought. It's what that thought does is you begin to think that thought and go down that path as if God does not exist. And when you do that, it sucks you down into a spiral of anxious activity and it crushes the soul. Be still and know, which means I have to shift my attention and it's a practice.

It's a practice. It's something I just need to begin to put into practice of shifting my attention to knowing who God is. You've been listening to the first part of our guest teacher Ryan Ingram's message, Eight Words, from his series, When We Pray. Chip and Ryan will both join us here in studio with some additional thoughts about today's program in just a minute.

If you're like most Christians, this subject is often a confusing, mis-prioritized, and forgotten part of our faith journey. But in this new series, guest teacher Ryan Ingram will motivate us to get a healthier, more beneficial view of prayer. He'll debunk common misbeliefs about talking to God, how to practice stillness, and what we're to do when our prayers seemingly go unanswered. If you genuinely want to strengthen your prayer life, this teaching will help. Catch up on any part of this series by visiting or the Chip Ingram app.

Well, I'm joined in studio now by Chip. Chip, there are a lot of people who have been listening to this teaching from Ryan and sincerely want to deepen their connection with God through prayer. I know here at Living on the Edge, we have a great tool to help him out.

We really do, Dave. The prayer journals that we've created, I love. I've used them, and you know, I've always journaled.

I mean, I'm a verbal processor, and it's really helped me sort of see God's track record. I forget so easily, or when I'm burdened, it's amazing to just write down the things that I'm concerned about. And you know, the passage of casting all your cares upon him, they get all jumbled inside my mind, and so I jot those down. And there's some great prompts inside our journal, and you know, an occasional hymn or a verse or a quote, and it's just been a really, really helpful tool. And if you're serious about hearing God's voice and praying and making that, not a discipline like I gotta, gotta, gotta do it, but more of a communion and a relationship, I've just found the journal becomes a tremendous guide, helps me stay on track, and I would just encourage you to try it and maybe pass it on. You're thinking about some other people that you want to help, buy two or three of these, maybe some people that you're discipling and say, hey, why don't you kind of keep a journal?

And you don't have to do it every day. We have some really good notes about how uniquely you can journal in a way that'll work for you and help you connect with the Lord, but that's our goal. And what I know is that Christians who pray deeply and regularly are Christians who live like Christians, and that's our goal, and that's our hope for you. To learn more about our prayer journals, visit or tap Special Offers on the Chip Ingram app. These beautiful, compact notebooks have plenty of space for your prayers and personal journaling, along with scripture verses, hymn lyrics, and quotes to encourage you. So if you want a more intentional, enriching time with God, this tool's gonna help you.

Again, for more details about our prayer journals, visit App listeners tap Special Offers. Well, here again is Chip and Ryan to share some application for what we heard today.

Well, Ryan, I have to tell you that this message hit me right between the eyes. I'm an activator. I'm a go-getter. I have a hard time sitting still. And this idea of be still, don't hurry, and actually know God has been a thing I've had to discipline myself over the years. If you could take a minute right now, what do you say to that person who just says, I can't do that? It's just too hard for me to be still. Is there maybe a couple ways that you've learned or anything practical that helps those of us that it is just so hard to sit still.

We just want to go out and get going. And yet, we really know to know God, you have to stop. You have to learn to listen. You have to quiet your heart.

Just any help you could give would be just to help me personally, but the Living on the Edge family as well. Yeah, this sure is hard for most of us, isn't it? Life's busy and we're pulled in a thousand different directions. You know, after the sermon, I had a number of conversations with people who said, this is really difficult for us in our fast-paced world. What does this look like?

How do I actually do it? And so, a few things from the sermon that I think we can unpack just a little bit more that would be helpful. First, it's this idea that stillness is a skill to be developed. Don't get down on yourself if you're not good at it at the very beginning. You've had a lifetime of training to be busy, hurried, and live a noise-filled life. Just like learning to dance, play an instrument, or a new sport, it takes time to learn.

Secondly, start small. Don't try to be still for an hour. Put a rhythm of five minutes of quiet or silence listening to Jesus and then build from there.

By the way, there are no medals or gold stars for how long you are still, and God doesn't love you any more or any less if it's five minutes or 50 minutes. Finally, stay consistent. The only way to get better at the piano, dancing, volleyball, surfing, is to do it consistently. And if you do it occasionally, you'll most likely just feel defeated or frustrated. It's a little bit like my golf game. I don't play a lot of golf, but when I do, I expect to play really well. Why?

There's absolutely no reason. I haven't practiced or spent any time. And so, it's easy for me to end up being more frustrated than actually having fun because I came with the wrong expectations. I think this is how many of us feel when it comes to silence and being still. We do it occasionally, expect it to be this big, mystical, powerful moment, and then walk away frustrated.

It's a skill to be developed, start small, build from there, and then stay consistent with it. Thanks, Ryan. Those are some great things to keep in mind. And as we close, I want you to know that as a staff, we ask the Lord to help you take whatever your next faith step is, and we'd love to hear how it's going. Would you take a minute and send us a note or give us a quick call?

Either one is easy. Email us at chip at or give us a call. The number's 888-333-6003. I'm glad you've been with us. Until next time, this is Dave Drouie saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-10 05:28:40 / 2023-05-10 05:37:40 / 9

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