Tag Archives: John Mark Comer

Worship Wednesday – First Things First – with Consumed by Fire

Photo Credit: Heartlight

Then the man and his wife [Adam and Eve] heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the breeze of the day, and they hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord called out to the man, “Where are you?Genesis 3:8-9

One day in a place where Jesus had just finished praying, one of His disciples requested, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” So Jesus told them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come… – Luke 11:1-2

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who was tempted in every way that we are, yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence [boldness], so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16

What is it that keeps us from praying?

Is it shame or fear? Yet God calls for us to show ourselves to Him. He looks on us with deep compassion.

Is it not our practice? The disciples witnessed both Jesus’ pattern of prayer and His power to live a life pleasing to the Father. They didn’t ask what was His secret. They seemed to know it was his dependence on the Father through prayer.

Is it our sin that makes us too shy to talk to God? He is not surprised at our struggle. He knows our weaknesses and loves us still. We have a sinless mediator in Jesus and because of Him we have access to the Father.

Prayer can be hard for me for all the above reasons. Add to those the weight of so much need in the world, and I find myself too quickly distracted by the world’s chatter. Oh to stay in the quiet of His peace!

So I pray a bit then switch to over-thinking and worry, or drop out altogether to some other cheap substitute to prayer. Nevertheless, because of His long-suffering with His children, He draws us back to Himself, and I return often to that throne of grace. As a child running to my dad…the best dad we could ever hope to have. Father God.

Have you read Tyler Staton‘s Praying Like Monks, Living Like Fools yet? It has been my guidebook (alongside the Bible) in recent months toward a deeper walk with the Lord.

Tyler Staton introduces his readers to writer teacher John Mark Comer. Comer is the founder of Practicing the Way. This is a website with the focus of offering a pathway to becoming like Jesus in community. All of the teaching and resources are free, and I’ve been grateful to God for how He is speaking to me in this space. My hope is to be part of a prayer community in our local church. Pray with me for this. Are you part of such a community?

Photo Credit: YouTube, John Mark Comer

Comer’s series on prayer is also available on YouTube. The first two messages are linked (the other two I will link when they come online).

YouTube Video: Prayer – Talking to God – John Mark Comer

YouTube Video: Prayer – Talking with God – John Mark Comer

Photo Credit: YouTube, John Mark Comer

YouTube Video: Prayer – Listening to God – John Mark Comer

YouTube Video: Prayer – Being with God – John Mark Comer

Photo Credit: YouTube, John Mark Comer

As often happens, while thinking about the whole practice of prayer in my life, I heard the song below on the car radio. It preached!

Worship with me to the deeply intimate song “First Things First” by the band of brothers Consumed by Fire.

All the things that I have held dear
The vanities that whispered in my ear
What would I do if they all disappeared
Riches and fame and all that they could buy
I’ve come to find they never satisfy
What would I gain if my soul’s the price

I don’t wanna love what the world loves
I don’t wanna chase what the world does
I only want you
I only want you

First thing’s first
I seek Your will
Not my own
Surrender all my wants to you
Keep the first thing first
To live Your truth
Walk Your ways
Set my eyes
Lord, I fix my face on you
All my desires reversed
To keep the first thing first

I give it all
My life an offering
My heart is yours
So have Your way in me
Your kingdom’s all I wanna seek

I don’t wanna love what the world loves
No, I don’t wanna chase what the world does
I only want you
I only want you

First thing’s first
I seek Your will
Not my own
Surrender all my wants to you
Keep the first thing first
To live Your truth
Walk Your ways
Set my eyes
Lord, I fix my face on you
All my desires reversed
To keep the first thing first
To keep the first thing first
All my desires reversed
To keep the first thing first, oh
To keep the first thing first, oh

First thing’s first
I seek Your will
Not my own
Surrender all my wants to you
Keep the first thing first
To live Your truth
Walk Your ways
Set my eyes
Lord, I fix my face on you
All my desires reversed
To keep the first thing first, oh
To keep the first thing first, oh
To keep the first thing first

All my desires reversed
To keep the first thing first*

Rejoice at all times. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

*Lyrics to First Things First – Songwriters: Jake Hess, Jordan David Ward, Caleb Paul Ward, Grant Timothy Bias

YouTube Video – Consumed by Fire – “First Things First” – (Acoustic + Story Behind)

Photo Credit: YouTube, J. C. Ryle, John Mark Comer

Let’s keep worshiping, y’all!

Worship Wednesday – Psalm 46 – Lord of Hosts – Shane & Shane

Photo Credit: Atlanta Trails, Eric Champlin – Chattahoochee River, Georgia

God Is Our Fortress [To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song.]

God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;
he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord,
how he has brought desolations on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the chariots with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Selah. – Psalm 46

Psalm 46 is a glorious and victorious psalm to encourage and embolden a people beleaguered by hardship (we don’t have details but given the context it was war, or some sort of calamity or terror). The psalmist was reminding the people that God is with them (with us) and will pierce through the noise of battle, with His powerful and persevering presence. He is here today just as much as He was with His people in the psalmist’s day.

Our part, like theirs, is to turn our ears, and our hearts, to Him.

Psalm 46 begins, not with a lament or cry for help, but an anthem of praise. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear”. Then the psalmist goes on to talk about super fearful things…yet from a place of awe and certainty. Even as he speaks with great confidence about God’s presence and provision in times of catastrophe, the Lord Himself enters the psalm with the command “Be still!”

Not just “Be quiet” but “Be still”. Stop!

God calls both His people and our enemies to essentially “put down your weapons!”

Especially to His own people, He urges them (and us today) to ‘snap out of it,’ ‘wake up,’ ‘stop fearing’—acknowledge who God is—be in awe! For us to take His “Be still” and treat it as “be quiet” is not incorrect, it’s just not enough to describe what God is truly saying.”

In the midst of whatever struggle we find ourselves, God tells us to stand still and remember who He is.

There is probably good reason for not knowing exactly what to do to go forward or how to answer a culturally dividing question. When all we have is an “I don’t know”, then we need to stop trying to solve or explain things on our own. God is Lord and has already told us He will fight our battles and take care of our enemies. We are meant to deal with hard situations with patience and steady reliance on a God who cares for us and others in beautifully loving and faithfully complete ways.

When we still our hearts and minds and surrender ourselves again to God, peace comes, even when the earth gives way, or the mountains crumble (verse 2), or when nations go into an uproar and even kingdoms fall (verse 6). Life and work can overwhelm, and getting even more busy seems our only solution, remember Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” We run to Him, we lay down our weapons and we fall into His arms. He is God and He is exalted in the earth.

We are to be still and know that He is God.

In this passage the Psalmist shows his trust in God and God affirms His own trustworthiness.  It so reminds me of Moses, leading the children of Israel out of Egypt. That day when their fresh joy turned to sheer terror as, on their heels, the Egyptians came in hot pursuit.

Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”Exodus 14:13-14

When we cease striving, drop our weapons, and lean in to God in all His fullness. He fights for us…and for those we love. Rest in that. Stand in that.

What Does “Be Still and Know That I Am God” Really Mean? – Liz Auld

What Does ‘Be Still and Know That I am God’ Mean in Psalms 46:10? – Joel Ryan

Psalm 46 – Confident in God’s Protection and Power – David Guzik

Chickahominy River, James City County, Virginia

There is a river. What does that call to mind for you? For me, living in a state that is criss-crossed with many rivers, it is a place of peace, of refreshment, of life, of abundance. My husband has a high-responsibility, sometimes high-pressure job. When he can, he finds his way to a river. Abraham Joshua Heschel has said, “If you work with your mind, sabbath with your hands, and if you work with your hands, sabbath with your mind.” Fishing on such a river allows a sabbath rest for that husband of mine.

Psalm 46 calls us to live in a sabbath rest with the Lord. We can’t always get to a river, but the river (so to speak) is always available to us in remembering the mighty God ever with us and ever battling for us.

Worship with me to Shane & Shane‘s rendition of Psalm 46 “Lord of Hosts”.

O come behold the works of God
the nations at His feet.
He breaks the bow and bends the spear
and tells the wars to cease.

O Mighty One of Israel
You are on our side.
We walk by faith in God who burns the chariots with fire

Lord of Hosts, You’re with us
with us in the fire,
with us as a shelter,
with us in the storm.
You will lead us
through the fiercest battle,
oh where else would we go,
but with the Lord of Hosts.

O God of Jacob, fierce and great,
You lift Your voice to speak.
The earth it bows and all
the mountains move into the sea

O Lord You know the hearts of men
and still you let them live.
O God, who makes the mountains melt
come wrestle us and win.
O God who makes the mountains melt
come wrestle us and win.

Lord of Hosts, You’re with us
with us in the fire,
with us as a shelter,
with us in the storm.
You will lead us
through the fiercest battle.
Oh where else would we go,
but with the Lord of Hosts.

Though oceans roar, You are the Lord of all,
the one who calms the wind and waves and makes my heart be still.
Though the earth gives way, the mountains move into the sea,
the nations rage, I know my God is in control.
Though oceans roar, You are the Lord of all,
the one who calms the wind and waves and makes my heart be still.
Though the earth gives way, the mountains move into the sea,
the nations rage, I know my God is in control.

Lord of Hosts, You’re with us
with us in the fire,
with us as a shelter,
with us in the storm.
You will lead us
through the fiercest battle.
Oh where else would we go,
but with the Lord of Hosts.

You are with us
with us in the fire,
with us as a shelter,
with us in the storm.
You will lead us
through the fiercest battle.
Oh where else could we go,
but with the Lord of Hosts.*

*Lyrics to Psalm 46 Lord of Hosts – Songwriters: Josh Miller, Jennie Lee Riddle, Josiah Warneking & Shane Barnard

YouTube Video – Psalm 46 (Lord of Hosts) – Live from the National Day of Prayer – Shane & Shane

YouTube Video – Behind Psalm 46 – Shane & Shane

Psalm 46 (Lord of Hosts) by Shane & Shane – Introduction – The Worship Initiative

How to Practice Sabbath (From a Beginner) – Holly Ragsdale

Quotes from John Mark Comer’s “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry”

Quotes from Abraham Joshua Heschel’s “Sabbath”