“Heart Windows At Dawn”, a poem from L.Willows (Holy Breath, Spirit of God, Arise)

Heart Windows at Dawn

Dawn breaks through my window here in God’s morn,
tapestries quake shadows in the cool still yet torn.
My heart wakes in wonder to turquoise-lit skies.
Hope leaps, and I breathe released into The Joy’s sigh.

Gentle winds lift curtains into dances that climb
into stories that tell, like keepers of time.
Hushed in the mists that rise, that lift…
The Heavens incline our hearts in God’s drift.

Here the Dawn breaks. In living, life quakes.
Poured into Love’s midst, I rise at daybreak.
The warmth of the sun rising, in prayer, life gazing.
Light to day whispers – all of life praising.

©2020 Linda Willows

Ephesians 15:14 —For anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.

Isaiah 60.1 —Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”

“A Praying Life, Connecting to God”, Quotes from Paul Miller (Knowing Jesus, Loved, God with us)

Please enjoy the quotes on Prayer from Paul Miller whose bestselling book “A Praying Life” taught Christians how to connect with God in prayer. His website, See Jesus is a wonderful resource for podcasts, blogs, and further teaching as well.

“God takes everyone he loves through a desert. It is his cure for our wandering hearts, restlessly searching for a new Eden…
The best gift of the desert is God’s presence… The protective love of the Shepherd gives me courage to face the interior journey.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“To be cynical is to be distant. While offering a false intimacy of being “in the know,” cynicism actually destroys intimacy. It leads to a creeping bitterness that can deaden and even destroy the spirit…
A praying life is just the opposite. It engaged evil. It doesn’t take no for an answer. The psalmist was in God’s face, hoping, dreaming, asking. Prayer is feisty. Cynicism, on the other hand, merely critiques. It is passive, cocooning itself from the passions of the great cosmic battle we are engaged in. It is without hope.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“Prayer is asking God to incarnate, to get dirty in your life. Yes, the eternal God scrubs floors. For sure we know he washes feet. So take Jesus at his word. Ask him. Tell him what you want. Get dirty. Write out your prayer requests; don’t mindlessly drift through life on the American narcotic of busyness. If you try to seize the day, the day will eventually break you. Seize the corner of his garment and don’t let go until he blesses you. He will reshape the day.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“Cynicism creates a numbness toward life.

Cynicism begins with a wry assurance that everyone has an angle. Behind every silver lining is a cloud. The cynic is always observing, critiquing, but never engaging, loving, and hoping.

To be cynical is to be distant. While offering a false intimacy of being “in the know,” cynicism actually destroys intimacy. It leads to bitterness that can deaden and even destroy the spirit.

Cynicism begins, oddly enough, with too much of the wrong kind of faith, with naive optimism or foolish confidence. At first glance, genuine faith and naive optimism appear identical since both foster confidence and hope. But the similarity is only surface deep. Genuine faith comes from knowing my heavenly Father loves, enjoys, and cares for me. Naive optimism is groundless. It is childlike trust without the loving Father.

Optimism in the goodness of people collapses when it confronts the dark side of life.

Shattered optimism sets us up for the fall into defeated weariness and, eventually, cynicism. You’d think it would just leave us less optimistic, but we humans don’t do neutral well. We go from seeing the bright side of everything to seeing the dark side of everything. We feel betrayed by life.

The movement from naive optimism to cynicism is the new American journey. In naive optimism we don’t need to pray because everything is under control. In cynicism we can’t pray because everything out of control, little is possible.

With the Good Shepherd no longer leading us through the valley of the shadow of death, we need something to maintain our sanity. Cynicism’s ironic stance is a weak attempt to maintain a lighthearted equilibrium in a world gone mad.

Without the Good Shepherd, we are alone in a meaningless story. Weariness and fear leave us feeling overwhelmed, unable to move. Cynicism leaves us doubting, unable to dream. The combination shuts down our hearts, and we just show up for life, going through the motions.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“Sometimes when we say “God is silent,” what’s really going on is that he hasn’t told the story the way we wanted it told. He will be silent when we want him to fill in the blanks of the story we are creating. But with his own stories, the ones we live in, he is seldom silent.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“God also cheers when we come to him with our wobbling, unsteady prayers. Jesus does not say, “Come to me, all you who have learned how to concentrate in prayer, whose minds no longer wander, and I will give you rest.”
― Paul Miller, A Praying Life

“Prayer is a moment of incarnation – God with us. God involved in the details of my life.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“Self-will and prayer are both ways of getting things done. At the center of self-will is me, carving a world in my image, but at the center of prayer is God, carving me in his Son’s image.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“If you wait, your heavenly Father will pick you up, carry you out into the night, and make your life sparkle. He wants to dazzle you with the wonder of his love.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“Everything you do is connected to who you are as a person and, in turn, creates the person you are becoming. Everything you do affects those you love. All of life is covenant.
Imbedded in the idea of prayer is a richly textured view of the world where all of life is organized around invisible bonds or covenants that knit us together. Instead of a fixed world, we live in our Father’s world, a world built for divine relationships between people where, because of the Good News, tragedies become comedies and hope is born.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“Jesus opens his arms to his needy children and says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NASB). The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy. What does it feel like to be weary? You have trouble concentrating. The problems of the day are like claws in your brain. You feel pummeled by life. What does heavy-laden feel like? Same thing. You have so many problems you don’t even know where to start. You can’t do life on your own anymore. Jesus wants you to come to him…”
― Paul Miller, A Praying Life

“God is a person, and his universe reflects his personhood. The closer something is to the character of God, the more it reflects him and the less it can be measured. Things such as integrity, beauty, hope, and love are all in the same category as prayer. You can tell their presence and even describe them, but you can’t define them, simply because they are too close to God’s image.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“When confronted with suffering that won’t go away or with even a minor problem, we instinctively focus on what is missing,…not on the Master’s hand. Often when you think everything has gone wrong, it’s just that you’re in the middle of a story. If you watch the stories God is weaving in your life, you… will begin to see the patterns. You’ll become a poet, sensitive to your Father’s voice.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“Learning to pray doesn’t offer us a less busy life; it offers us a less busy heart. In the midst of outer busyness”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“What do I lose when I have a praying life? Control. Independence. What do I gain? Friendship with God. A quiet heart. The living work of God in the hearts of those I love. The ability to roll back the tide of evil. Essentially, I lose my kingdom and get his. I move from being an independent player to a dependent lover. I move from being an orphan to a child of God.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life

“Instead of fighting anxiety, we can use it as a springboard to bending our hearts to God. Instead of trying to suppress anxiety, manage it, or smother it with pleasure, we can turn our anxiety toward God. When we do that, we’ll discover that we’ve slipped into continuous praying.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“As we wait and pray, God weaves his story and creates a wonder. Instead of drifting between comedy (denial) and tragedy (reality), we have a relationship with the living God, who is intimately involved with the details of our worlds. We are learning to watch for the story to unfold, to wait for the wonder.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“We have an allergic reaction to dependency, but this is the state of the heart most necessary for a praying life. A need heart is a praying heart. Dependency is the heartbeat of prayer.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“We don’t know how bad we are until we try to be good. Nothing exposes our selfishness and spiritual powerlessness like prayer.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“little children never get frozen by their selfishness. Like the disciples, they come just as they are, totally self-absorbed. They seldom get it right. As parents or friends, we know all that. In fact, we are delighted (most of the time!) to find out what is on their little hearts. We don’t scold them for being self-absorbed or fearful. That is just who they are.”
― Paul Miller, A Praying Life

“Even on especially hard days, I began to notice him everywhere, setting a table before me in the presence of my enemies, pursuing me with his love. Both the child and the cynic walk through the valley of the shadow of death. The cynic focuses on the darkness; the child focuses on the Shepherd.”
― Paul Miller, A Praying Life

“The criteria for coming to Jesus is weariness. Come overwhelmed with life. Come with your wandering mind. Come messy.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money, and talent are all you need in life. You’ll always be a little too tired,
a little too busy. But, if like Jesus you realize you can’t do life on your own, then no matter how busy,no matter how tired you are, you will find the time to pray.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“We know that to become a Christian we shouldn’t try to fix ourselves up, but when it comes to praying we completely forget that. We’ll sing the old gospel hymn, “Just as I Am,” but when it comes to praying, we don’t come just as we are. We try, like adults, to fix ourselves up. Private, personal prayer is one of the last great bastions of legalism. In order to pray like a child, you might need to unlearn the nonpersonal, nonreal praying that you’ve been taught.”
― Paul Miller, A Praying Life

“The quest for a contemplative life can actually be self-absorbed, focused on my quiet and me. If we love people and have the power to help, then we are going to be busy. Learning to pray doesn’t offer us a less busy life, it offers us a less busy heart. In the midst of outer business we can develop an inner quiet. Because we are less hectic on the inside, we have a greater capacity to love… and thus to be busy, which in turn drives us even more into a life of prayer. By spending time with our Father in prayer, we integrate our lives with his, with what he is doing in us. Our lives become more coherent. They feel calmer, more ordered, even in the midst of confusion and pressure.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“The kingdom comes when Jesus becomes king of your life. But it has to be your life.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World

“If you are not praying, then you are quietly confident that time, money, and talent are all you need in life.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life

“One of the subtlest hindrances to prayer is probably the most pervasive. In the broader culture and in our churches, we prize intellect, competency, and wealth. Because we can do life without God, praying seems nice but unnecessary. Money can do what prayer does, and it is quicker and less time-consuming. Our trust in ourselves and in our talents makes us structurally independent of God. As a result, exhortations to pray don’t stick.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life

“Many Christians give in to a quiet cynicism that leaves us unknowingly paralyzed. We see the world as monolithic, frozen. To ask God for change confronts us with our doubt about whether prayer makes any difference. Is change even possible? Doesn’t God control everything? If so, what’s the point? Because it is uncomfortable to feel our unbelief, to come face-to-face with our cynicism, we dull our souls with the narcotic of activity. Many Christians haven’t stopped believing in God; we have just become functional deists, living with God at a distance. We view the world as a box with clearly defined edges. But as we learn to pray well, we’ll discover that this is my Father’s world. Because my Father controls everything, I can ask, and he will listen and act. Since I am his child, change is possible—and hope is born.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life

“Nothing clears out self-righteousness better than serving someone who is critical of you.”
― Paul E. Miller, A Praying Life


 

“The Hidden Riches of Prayer”, From David McIntyre (The Blessing, Power of The Spirit, Prayer Resources)

The Hidden Riches of The Secret Place; David McIntyre (from “The Hidden Life of Prayer)

The return of prayer is, in the first instance, personal and private; it is “the hidden riches” of the secret place (Isa. 45:3). Then, as it passes out into life and action, it is made manifest. The Father who is in secret, and who seeth in secret, rewards His servants “openly.”


We read that when the Pilgrims (of Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress) had come almost to the end of the enchanted ground, “they perceived that a little before them was a solemn noise, as of one that was much concerned. So they went on, and looked before them; and, behold, they saw, as they thought, a man upon his knees, with his hands and eyes lifted up, and speaking, as they thought, earnestly to one that was above. They drew nigh, but could not tell what he said; so they went softly till he had done. When he had done, he got up, and began to run towards the Celestial City.”

Holiness


This is the first reward of the secret place; through prayer our graces are quickened, and holiness is wrought in us. “Holiness,” says Hewitson, “is a habit of mind—a setting of the Lord continually before one’s eyes, a constant walking with God as one with whom we are agreed.”

And in the attainment and maintenance of unbroken communion, “Prayer is amongst duties, as faith is amongst graces.” Richard Sibbes reminds us that “Prayer exercises all the graces of the Spirit,” and Flavel confirms the sentence: “You must strive,” he writes, “to excel in this, forasmuch as no grace within or service without can thrive without it.” Berridge affirms that “all decays begin in the closet; no heart thrives without much secret converse with God, and nothing will make amends for the want of it.” On the other hand, he acknowledges, “I never rose from secret prayer without some quickening. Even when I set about it with heaviness or reluctance the Lord is pleased in mercy to meet me in it.” Similarly, Fraser of Brea declares, “I find myself better and worse as I decay and increase in prayer.”


If prayer is hindered, even though it be hindered by devotion to other duties of religion, the health of the soul is impaired. Henry Martyn laments in his diary that “want of private devotional reading and shortness of prayer, through incessant sermon-making, had produced much strangeness” between God and his soul.

Communion with God is the condition of spiritual growth. It is the soil in which all the graces of the divine life root themselves. If the virtues were the work of man, we might perfect them one by one, but they are “the fruit of the Spirit,” and grow together in one
common life.

When Philip Saphir embraced Christianity, he said, “I have found a religion for my whole nature.” Holiness is the harmonious perfection, the “wholeness” of the soul.

While we abide in Christ we ought not to allow ourselves to be discouraged by the apparent slowness of our advancement in grace. In nature, growth proceeds with varying speed. Sibbes compares the progressive sanctification of believers to “the increase in herbs and trees,” which “grow at the root in winter, in the leaf in summer, and in the seed in autumn.” The first of these forms of increase seems very slow; the second is more rapid; the third rushes on to full maturity. In a few days of early autumn a field of grain will seem to ripen more than in weeks of midsummer.

Intimacy with Christ

Communion with God discovers the excellence of His character, and by beholding Him the soul is transformed. Holiness is conformity to Christ, and this is secured by a growing intimacy with Him. It is evident that this consideration opens up a vast field for reflection. We shall merely indicate two of the many directions in which it applies.


(a) First, the habit of prayerfulness produces a singular serenity of spirit. To use Bengel’s phrase, we are “built up into a recollected consciousness of God.”


When one looks into the quiet eyes of Him that sitteth upon the throne, the tremors of the spirit are stilled. Pharaoh, king of Egypt, is but a noise; and the valley of the shadow of death is tuneful with songs of praise. Storms may rave beneath our feet, but the sky above is blue. We take our station with Christ in heavenly places; we dwell in the Sabbath of God. “Here I lie,” said Thomas Halyburton when his death-hour was drawing near, “pained without pain, without strength yet strong.” Seguier, a French Protestant, who was sentenced to death, was mockingly asked by one of his guards how he felt. He replied, “My soul is as a garden, full of shelter and fountains.”

There are towns in Europe which would be almost insupportably hot in midsummer were it not that rivers, issuing from the ice-fields of Switzerland, diffuse a cool and refreshing air even in the sultry noon. And so the river of the water of life, which flows from under the throne of God and the Lamb, makes glad the city of God. Jeremy Taylor says, “Prayer is the peace of our spirits, the stillness of our thoughts, the evenness of our recollection, the seat of our meditation, the rest of our cares, and the calm of our tempest.”39


(b) Again, those who continually exercise themselves in prayer are taught to rule their lives according to the will of God. This effect follows naturally upon the former, for “all noble, moral energy roots itself in moral calm.”


Prayer is the avowal of our creature-dependence. For the believer also it is the acknowledgment that he is not his own, but is, by reason of the great atonement, the “purchased possession” of the Son of God. Pius IV, hearing of Calvin’s death, exclaimed: “Ah, the strength of that proud heretic lay in this, that riches and honour were nothing to him.”

David Livingstone, in the heart of darkest Africa, writes in his Journal, “My Jesus, my King, my Life, my All, I again dedicate my whole self to Thee.” Bengel spoke in the name of all the children of faith when he said, “All I am, and have, both in principle and practice, is to be summed up in this one expression—‘The Lord’s property.’ My belonging totally to Christ as my Savior is all my salvation and all my desire. I have no other glory than this, and I want no other.”

Afterwards, when death drew near, the following words were pronounced over him, “Lord Jesus, to Thee I live, to Thee I suffer, to Thee I die. Thine I am in death and in life; save and bless me, O Savior, for ever and ever. Amen.” At the words “Thine I am,” he laid his right hand upon his heart, in token of his full and hearty assent. And so he fell asleep in Jesus.

Such is the normal attitude of the redeemed soul, an attitude which prayer acknowledges and confirms.

Further, in prayer we present ourselves to God, holding our motives in His clear light, and estimating them after the counsel of His will. Thus our thoughts and feelings arrange themselves into classes (as in a process of polishing or smoothing); those that rise towards the honour of God taking precedence of those that drift downward towards the gratification of self. And so the great decisions of life are prepared. In prayer, Jacob became Israel; in prayer, Daniel saw Christ’s day, and was glad; in prayer, Saul of Tarsus received his commission to go “far hence” among the Gentiles; in prayer, the Son of Man accomplished His obedience, and embraced His cross.

It does not always happen, however, that the cardinal points of life are recognized in the very place and hour of prayer. Helmholtz, the celebrated physicist, used to say that his greatest discoveries came to him, not in the laboratory, but when he was walking, perhaps along a country road, in perfect freedom of mind. But his discoveries merely registered themselves then; they were really brought to the birth in the laboratory. And whether it be in the place of prayer, or elsewhere, that life’s great decisions frame themselves, undoubtedly it is in the silent hour that characters are molded and careers determined.


In his Autobiography George Müller gives a striking testimony: “I never remember, in all my Christian course, a period now (in March, 1895) of sixty-nine years and four months, that I ever SINCERELY and PATIENTLY sought to know the will of God by the teaching of the Holy Ghost, through the instrumentality of the Word of God, but I have been ALWAYS directed rightly. But if honesty of heart and uprightness before God were lacking, or if I did not patiently wait before God for instruction, or if I preferred the counsel of my fellow-men to the declarations of the Word of the Living God, I made great mistakes.”


As we present ourselves before the Lord in prayer, we open our hearts to the Holy Spirit when we yield to the inward impulse, and the Divine energy commands our being. Our plans, if we have formed them at the dictation of nature, are laid aside, and the purpose of God in relation to our lives is accepted. As we are Spirit-born, let us be Spirit controlled: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”


(c) Through the acceptance of the will of God for us, we are led out into a richer influence and a wider usefulness.

Montalembert once complained to Lacordaire, “How little it is that man can do
for his fellows! Of all his miseries this is the greatest.” It is true that we can effect little for one another by ordinary human means, but much may be done by prayer. “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” Prayer brings the Divine omnipotence into the occasions of life. We ask, and receive; and our joy is full.


An English scholar has told us that those who have helped him most were not learned divines nor eloquent preachers, but holy men and women who walked with God, and who revealed unconsciously the unadorned goodness which the blessed Spirit had wrought in them. Those saintly persons had looked on Christ until they were changed into His likeness; they had tarried on the Mount of God until the uncreated glory shone upon their brow.

Tradition affirms that Columbia the Celtic missionary, Ruysbroek the recluse of Groenendaal, John Welsh of Ayr, and many others, were wrapped in a soft and tempered radiance as they prayed. Such legends, no doubt, were created by the remembrance of lives that had been transfigured. “I saw a Saint. How canst thou tell that he, Thou sawest was a Saint? I
saw one like to Christ so luminously, By patient deeds of love, his mortal taint, Seemed made his groundwork for humility.”

But a changed life is not the only gift which God bestows upon us when we stand in the unseen presence. When Moses came from the Mount he was, as it were, transfigured in the eyes of the children of Israel; but he also bore in his hands the tables of testimony—the pledges of that covenant, ordered and sure, which had been sealed to him for them. His prayer had saved the people of election, and the law-tablets were the sign. It is this tarrying in the Upper Room that secures the enduement of power.

Source: The Hidden Life of Prayer by David McIntyre

Prayer resources and links

Come from the Four Winds Oh Breath, by Charles Spurgeon

See Jesus.net (Paul Miller on Prayer, Podcast)

C.S. Lewis Institute: A Season of Prayer- Prayer Resources & Links

Pray the Scriptures: Ligonier Ministries

Praying using Scripture; The Gospel Coalition

Pray The Bible; John Piper

Intercession of Gods Promises in Prayer from Desiring God; a book

A Teaching Series on Praying The Lord’s Prayer from R.C. Sproul

Core Christianity on The Lord’s Prayer

Theology of Prayer

A Puritan Mind

Puritan Prayers Download

Praying the Psalms from the Gospel Coalition

The Gospel Coalition; on Prayer

Singing the Psalms with Seedbed

Singing the Psalms with ChurchWorks

Prayer, Music and Worship Podcasts

Confessions of St Augustine audio podcast

Prayer Pod, Prayer and poetry with music

The Moms in Prayer Podcast

Pray as You Go Podcast

The Daily Still Podcast, Guided Christian Meditations and Devotions

Worship Interludes; Piano Instrumentals for Meditation, Prayer and Devotion

Ancient and Contemporary with Liturgy; a beautiful Candlelit Service

Prayers from Taize, a Community in France

Top Worship and Praise Songs of 2022

Share God’s Heart

The Jesus Film Project

Every Home for Christ

Mission to the World

Perspectives.org