Posts tagged ‘prayer’

What is on your radio dial? (or your iPod or Walkman or whatever!)

Living in the crowded Silicon Valley equates to an hour’s stop-start traffic either way while driving to or from work for me. This can result in both frustration as well as heartburn for all, and this topic is frequently vented around the office water-cooler. Strange as it may seem however, I really enjoy my commute. That is because of what I do when I drive: Listen to Christian music from K-Love FM on the car radio.

The music that I listen to includes great songs including award winning ones from bands such as MercyMe, Third Day, Casting Crown and Newsboys (to name a few) as well as individual artists such as Chris Tomlin, Steven Curtis Chapman and Nicole C Mullen (again, to name a few). Not only do I get to listen to music, I also get to hear positive newscasts covering topics that are usually ignored and sound bites from well known Christian speakers and organizations that uplift me. The DJs are ever so funny and open and cheerful and so I cannot but help smiling and laughing and empathizing with whatever’s going on. A major difference between K-Love and other stations (both secular and many Christian ones) is the way they are funded: K-Love is almost fully listener-supported. As a result, there are no commercials, ever! (Now, isn’t that nice on a radio station?!!)

Because I take the same route almost everyday (except when I bypass the pileup on the highway using back roads), I can pretty much stay in the middle lane, “just let it go” and allow my mind to wander while driving – stopping/starting as required and automatically making sure I don’t hit the car that suddenly switched into my lane. My car radio’s dials are tuned into the four different K-Love FM frequencies that provide the best reception in this area and I hop across these signals wherever I drive, sometimes moving three stations during a single trip. My commute time hence becomes, literally, a period of worship, praise and Christ-directed thoughts. I am able to better align myself with God’s plan for me.

A little bit of history before I get to the point: We stumbled onto K-Love radio in the rental car a few days after we arrived States-side, and almost immediately became financial partners in this listener supported radio network during one of their bi-annual Pledge drives. Growing up listening to secular radio and having never listened to fully Christian radio before, it was a little strange at first to have Christian music on my radio dial. Soon, however, I started to even look forward to this commute time which was also my “communication” time with the Creator. It was and is very easy to be engaged with this music – your eyes are on the road, but your mind can be on whatever is being input to it. I have variously been comforted, encouraged, energized, uplifted, awed and even radicalized by the music and the lyrics as well as the overall message in those words.

The point though is this: what I listened to and allowed myself to constantly and consistently think about during those “wandering moments” slowly but surely changed both my outlook about and the position that God held in my life. St. Paul, in closing his letter to the Philippians (Php 4:8) had this to say about what we ought to think about: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” The writer of Proverbs emphasizes this many times over as in Prov 14:8 “The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception” and in Prov 14:15 “A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.” Psalms 1 exhorts the reader to delight and mediate day and night on God’s law.

Something about music resonates with the human spirit. Paul also mentions this in Eph 5:19-20 “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Sometimes, a particular song that I listened to during my drive home would get stuck in my mind, and my heart and mind would be singing that song over and over again. I have woken up in the middle of the night or early in the morning, and the first thought would be that comforting, inspiring or worship song. It was as if I continued to praise and worship through the night, allowing my mind to meditate on that God given thought. What I was listening to was good stuff, and after all these years of constantly feeding myself on Christian music that directed my thought life towards God and all His attributes, I am now able to appreciate what that simple act of tuning into K-Love radio did for me. I am thankful to K-Love for providing that opportunity to connect with God through their music, all the time, every time.

So the question is this: What is on your radio dial? Or your iPod, or Walkman, or whatever you listen to during those quiet moments? What do you allow yourself to hear (or not hear) constantly, daily, during those times when the mind is able to wander? Be aware that such constant and consistent inputs will take you down the path of your choice in music…. Paul urges us, in Eph 5:15-16 “Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Now don’t get me wrong: I am not against listening to secular music in any way. All I want to point out is that you do have a choice, and time will show the effects of your choice. It did for me. I like what I am hearing and where it is leading me toward. What about you?

In Him,

John Kanagaraj

PS: You can listen to K-Love and its sister network Air1 on the Internet. Check out their websites for FM radio frequencies in your area by clicking on the links above.


November 15, 2007 at 9:38 pm 1 comment

The act of praying: Making God’s power available where needed!

Jesus was found constantly praying – we see the Gospels replete with instances of prayer. However, there is one particular situation which shows the nature of prayer. Found in John 17 and specifically in Luke 22:31-32 , Jesus turns to Simon Peter in the Upper Room during the Last Supper and says: “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (This was actually followed by Simon Peter confidently saying that he will never deny Christ – and miserably failing thrice a few hours later)

Let’s break this down: Jesus knew that the epic battle was at hand. The submission at the Garden of Gethsamane, the cross-examination, the cruel lashing, the agony of the Cross and the impending betrayal by those He held dear was surely weighing on Jesus’ mind. Jesus knew that Satan was going into full attack mode, and that He had to allow that to happen. The situation is very much similar to what happens to us in our lives: challenges to face, decisions to take, needing to live for Him instead of looking after “Numero Uno”. But knowing that Simon Peter was going to need some major help, Jesus stepped in to pray for Peter’s faith. And by that prayer, (I believe) He equipped Peter with power. It is interesting that Jesus did not pray for Peter’s deliverance from temptation – He simply prayed that Peter’s faith holds up. When Peter failed (thrice!), I believe this prayer helped Him.

Later, it was Peter who held the rag-tag group together in Acts 1 and got Matthias elected to replace Judas’ place in the twelve. It was Peter in Acts 2, who on Pentecost stood up and filled by the Holy Spirit, spoke the first message of repentance: This expression of faith resulted in three thousand believers added to the fledgling group in just the one sermon! (See the connection to the ‘faith’ that Jesus prayed for?) Peter went on to become the one of the primary leaders of the Church. However, Jesus’ prayer that Peter would “strengthen his brothers” when he “turned back” was, I believe, that crucial element that made God’s power via the Holy Spirit available to Peter at the right time, and enabled him to start down this path.

That is not all: In John 17, John records another, longer prayer that Jesus prayed at this time for all who would believe. To wit, in John 17:20-21 Jesus, concluding a prayer for His disciples, also prayed for YOU and ME! “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you

So, what does it mean for us? It is clear that Jesus thought it was important enough to pray specifically for His disciples, and by extension, for us too. Via that prayer, He made God’s power available not only to Peter and the disciples, but to us as well. This prayer was specifically, an all encompassing prayer for strength, faith and unity. Jesus knew that we needed God’s Power, and He made it available for us through His prayer. Does that not mean that when we pray, we are making that same Power available to others? And this, my friend, is the point of this post.

From now on, I would like to constantly realize that when I pray for anyone (including myself), it is not simply a matter of rote. When I pray for my child, I am participating in revealing that Power in his or her life (I have two kids). When I pray for FMPB Missionaries or for a loved one to be saved, that Power will go ahead of them and soften the hearts of those who are about to hear the Gospel. When I pray for a sick friend, God’s power will work through the medicine and the Doctor for healing. When I pray for my own self, I remind myself that the Power that raised Lazarus from the dead is available to me too. When I do my part in prayer, God can move on His part.

If my prayer works, so will yours. All you will need is to have Faith: In God, and in His Nature, and in His Power to revive and to transform, to endow and to save, to heal and to sustain, and to do everything that is required where and when it is needed.

Before I end, I want to point out one more aspect: Jesus said “when you have turned back” and NOT “if you turned back“. Jesus prayed this prayer in faith, believing that God will hear and act on this prayer, and we need to have that same faith: That when we ask for something that is in alignment with God’s plan, it will happen. St. Paul, in Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” So until what we have asked for comes to pass, may the peace of God stay with you and help you through Christ Jesus. May God help change your prayer life through this simple message.

In His Service always,

John Kanagaraj

October 10, 2007 at 9:33 pm 3 comments

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