How Confident Are Your Prayers?

David hasn’t done anything wrong. He’s never tried to lead a rebellion against King Saul. In fact, he’s never even talked poorly about Saul. And yet Saul is out to kill David!

David tries to get as far away as he can, choosing to live in the desert so that he might get some relief from Saul. Still Saul comes after him with a force of 3000 men! Every time David moves, Saul’s men are hot on his trail. David described his situation like this

My mortal enemies surround me. Their hearts are cold and calloused toward me, and they speak terrible things about me. They track me down and surround me. They are like hungry lions, crouching, waiting to pounce on me!

If you were in David’s sandals, how confident would you be that God could get you out of the situation? Remarkably, David’s confidence was as high as it could be!

David not only was confident that God would hear him, but that He would listen to him. More than that, David knew God would pay attention to him. And then David boldly said, “I call on You, O God, for you WILL answer me.”

How could David pray such a confident prayer? The answer is in this principle…

There is a direct correlation between intimacy and confidence.

David made two very intimate claims about his relationship with God:

  1. You will keep me as the apple of Your eye
  2. You hide me in the shadow of Your wings

The apple of the eye is the pupil. Our eyes are amazingly designed to not only take in information but to protect themselves. If something is getting too close to our eye, the eyelids blink in protection faster than we can consciously tell them to. So David was claiming that God would protect him by reflex!

The shadow of Your wings was a reference to the top of the Ark of the Covenant; a place called the mercy seat. Here is where the priest sprinkled the blood of a sacrificial lamb to atone for the people’s sin and to appeal to God’s mercy. The mercy seat was over-shadowed by two angels’ wings.

David was saying that God kept him in this intimate place—covered by God’s mercy and protection!

Jesus also told us about intimate confidence when He said, “If you remain in Me, and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you” (John 15:7).

  • Intimacy: remain IN Jesus, and let His words remain IN you
  • Confidence: ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you

Are your prayers this confident? If not, don’t work on raising your confidence, but work on increasing your intimacy. Check your intimacy level with questions like:

  • Am I abiding in Jesus?
  • Are His words abiding in me?
  • Do I have any unconfessed sin?
  • Is my prayer a “Your kingdom come, Your will be done” prayer?

Focus on intimacy, and then watch your confidence soar! 

If you are interested in learning more about the prayers of David, I have also discussed his prayer for help, his prayer of crying out loud, and his prayer of praise.

10 Quotes From “Cherish”

As I said in my book review of Gary Thomas’s Cherish, this is a must-read for married couples, those about to be married, and those who counsel married couples. Please check out my review, and then enjoy a few quotes from this book.

“Learning to truly cherish each other turns marriage from an obligation into a delight. It lifts marriage above a commitment to a precious priority.”

“In one sense, love is the nurturing aspect of marriage, while cherish is the ‘tasting’ aspect of marriage. Love meets the need; cherish tickles the tongue.”

“If you want to be fully satisfied in your marriage, if you want your wife to feel cherished, then mentally treat your wife like Eve. Let her be, in your mind, in that way, the only woman in the world. Say with King Solomon, ‘My dove, my perfect one, is the only one’ (Song of Songs 6:9 ESV).” 

“You’ve already made your choice. In your ideal world, you have no intention of ever starting over with someone else, so why not put your energy into and your focus on guarding that choice, building on the strengths of that choice, and making yourself ever more grateful that you made that choice?”

“At some point, if you want marital happiness, if you want to learn how to cherish a real man instead of longing for an imaginary composite, some ‘Frankenstein’ husband who somehow has it all, then you have to own your choice and even learn to cherish your choice. ‘My vineyard, my very own, is for myself’ (Song of Songs 8:12 NRSV).”

“The call to cherish isn’t to appreciate being pleasured by your spouse but to take pleasure in the pleasure of your spouse.”

“If we want to cherish our spouses, we must learn to take an active interest in what interests them.”

“Cherishing is expressed, or it’s not. Intimacy is built, or it is assaulted, even in the most mundane marital conversations.”

“The act of consistently noticing and honoring our spouses cultivates and maintains a certain kind of relationship, and it shapes our hearts. Noticing and honoring sustain the force and power of cherishing. When we stop noticing and stop honoring our spouses in the little things, the relationship starves.”

“Active cherishing—noticing and then expressing the excellence you see—is a way to shape our attitudes and to generate feelings of closeness and well-being. When we do what the Bible tells us to do, we will be doubly blessed—our spouses will be happier, increasing the joy in our marriages, and we’ll become happier psychologically as well. Cherishing our spouses literally makes us feel better. So cherishing means waging war on contempt and going on the offense with gratitude.”

I will be sharing more quotes from Cherish soon. If you’d like to be notified when these quotes are posted, simply enter your email address in the field in the right column and click “Sign me up!” You may also want to follow me on Twitter and Tumblr for other quality quotes I post every day.

The Power To Overcome Sexual Temptation

Focus On The Family“It’s not easy to overcome recurring sexual temptation. That’s because sexual sin is, at the most basic level, an illegitimate way of fulfilling a deep and legitimate human need: the need for love and intimacy.” —Focus On The Family

John Piper“Here is the secret of the power of faith to break the enslaving force of sinful attractions. If the heart is satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus, the power of sin to lure us away from the wisdom of Christ is broken.” —John Piper

5 Quotes To Protect Your Marriage From Pornography

Focus On The FamilyI recently finished reading a Focus On The Family reading plan on YouVersion called Infidelity: Protecting Your Marriage From Pornography. This is one part of a multi-part reading plan on healthy sexuality. I encourage you to check out all of these plans.

Here are some of the quotes I appreciated from this reading plan.

“Porn is powerful primarily because it offers a counterfeit form of intimacy and attachment—a replacement for the one-flesh bond between man and woman that God designed to function as the glue that holds the marriage relationship together (Genesis 2:24).”

“Mental health professionals report that the road to recovery is likely to be much longer and far more complicated for an individual engaged in an ongoing interpersonal cyber-affair than it is for a porn addict. That’s because ‘relationship’ at any level implies a degree of emotional entanglement. When the heart gets drawn into that web, the potential for pathology is inevitably raised.”

“Many porn addicts are sexually anorexic when it comes to normal marital relations. That’s because, through habit and practice, their sexual impulses have been alienated from their natural context—i.e., a healthy, committed personal relationship—and re-oriented around impersonal objects or illicit lusts or fetishes.”

“[Pornography] addiction is based on neurochemical changes that occur in the brain as a result of prolonged exposure to stimulating sexual imagery. Because of its neuro-chemical basis, it’s tenacious, progressive and destructive in nature.”

“Don’t assume that normal marital sexual relations will take the place of porn in [an addict’s] life. No living, breathing, thinking woman can possibly fill that role without doing untold damage to herself as a person. That’s because pornography addiction, in the final analysis, is not about sex. It’s a symptom of an intimacy disorder—a comprehensive psychological illness that compels an individual to avoid deep, meaningful interaction with another flesh-and-blood human being and to replace it with impersonal sensual imagery. Unless this disorder is addressed and rectified, your relationship cannot move forward on a healthy footing. Marriage will not fix the problem. It will only complicate matters and increase your pain.”

For more help, visit or Focus on the Family’s Help Center.You can also call the ministry’s Counseling Department for a free consultation at 855-771-HELP (4357).

11 More Quotes From “#struggles”

#strugglesCraig Groeschel nailed the tension between technology and relationships in his timely book #struggles. He doesn’t advocate getting rid of technology, but he does make a great case for not allowing technology to diminish our flesh-and-blood relationships. You can read my review of #struggles by clicking here. Below are some more quotes that caught my eye from this book.

“The highest percentage of consumers of pornography our children aged twelve to seventeen.”

“We have access to many opportunities online that—without accountability—can turn technological blessings into curses.”

“Over time and with repeated use, technology is eroding both our moral beliefs and our commitment to acting on what we believe. According to one study, ‘Roughly two-thirds (67 percent) of young adult men and one-half (49 percent) of young adult women now believe that viewing pornography is acceptable.’ … Times have changed. But that doesn’t mean morality should.” 

“If you want to live in a way that honors our Savior—if you want to follow Jesus in a sin-saturated, selfie-centered world—then you will have to be different. … Our convictions must be guided by God’s timeless principles, not by the ever-eroding popular opinion on whatever happens to be acceptable now.”

“Most people I know you don’t plan to ruin their lives. I don’t know anyone who thinks, ‘If I can connect with an old boyfriend on Facebook, I can totally wreck my life. I can almost guarantee an ugly divorce full of expensive lawyers helping us fight over custody rights for the kids. I can devastate my husband and drop a nuclear bomb of pain into my kids’ lives. And I can spend the next years of my life trying to forgive myself, rebuild my life, and regain my name.’ No one plans like that, but these things happen every day. Same with pornography. I don’t know a single man who wanted to crush the wife he loves when she discovered his ‘little secret.’ But one glance followed by another click often leads to an addiction that seems impossible to overcome.”

“When you think about it, no one stumbles into righteousness. People fall into sin and every day. But no one just falls into holiness. It requires making deliberate, prayerful choices and walking an intentional path.”

“Here’s what many people miss: when we misuse technology, we’re robbing ourselves of the peace we so desperately crave, because even the momentary escape is followed by waves of intense guilt. We want to numb the pain, but on the other side of our binge, the pain is still there, only worse. We love the momentary distraction, but then reality screams at us and our responsibilities pile up. We love the thrill of the lust, but the fear of getting caught haunts us and robs us of sleep and peace. Like a person dying of thirst who gulps salt water, that which is supposed to satisfy only intensifies our need. So life goes on as usual. More stress. More anxiety. More worries. And less peace.”

“Now is a great time to be brutally honest. Are you addicted to something online? Looking lustfully? Spending uncontrollably? Surfing endlessly? Playing continually? Gambling consistently? Scrolling incessantly?”

“If you are checking multiple times a day to see what people are saying about you, let’s call that what it is: idolatry. If your identity comes more from who follows you, who Likes you, what they say and what they think about you rather than who God says you are, it’s time to take this issue to God.”

“When our minds are idle, we’re not thinking about anything meaningful, and when we’re not intentionally living, it can be so easy to shift into neutral. When we don’t have a specific destination in mind, any road will do. And if our time and our resources aren’t precious, if we’re not doing anything important, it can be so easy to just pick up our phone, unlock the screen, and wonder aimlessly through cyberspace, wasting our time and our thoughts.”

“Maybe it’s time to power down and take a cyber Sabbath. Maybe it’s time to remember what life is like without your phone, tablet, or laptop. Maybe it’s time for your soul to rest.”

You can check out the other quotes I shared from #struggles by clicking here.

8 More Powerful Relationship Quotes

Keep Your Love OnI have shared a couple of sets of quotes from Danny Silk’s book Keep Your Love On! (which you can read here and here). I have also posted a review on this book here.

This book is a must-read for pastors or counselors who do marriage or family counseling. This is also an excellent book to read if you have a relationship in your life that you would like to see healed or strengthened. Check out a few more quotes below.

“If you cannot communicate your needs to another person clearly, it is obviously going to be very difficult for that person to meet them. That’s why one of the primary tasks of reaching maturity is learning how to express thoughts, feelings, and needs. Those who never learn this skill, however, expect relationships to function without it. They say things like, ‘Well, if you love me, then you will just know what I need. Didn’t you notice that that bothered me? Haven’t you been paying attention? I can’t believe you don’t know that about me.’ Where does this desire or expectation that loved ones have a telepathic ability to know our feelings and needs come from? It comes from powerlessness and fear. It comes from dreaming that everything will turn out magically without actually having to communicate. Powerless people want to win the lottery, get their dream girl/guy with minimal effort, lose weight without exercise, and get their needs met without ever having to say a word.”

“The reason we can’t get our needs met without expressing them is that we were designed to have our needs met through a relational exchange. God made us this way. … Think about it. God, the one Person in the universe Who knows all things, and knows us incomparably better than we know ourselves, never says, ‘Well, obviously I know your needs, so you don’t need to tell Me about them.’ Instead, He repeatedly tells us to ask Him for what we need, and gives us some of the most profound, beautiful, and honest language for doing so—like the Lord’s Prayer, and most of the Psalms. He won’t meet our needs outside of a connection where we have to show up and crack our hearts open to Him, because that very connection is what we need to have our needs met in the first place.”

“If you want to protect your connection and build trust by always communicating respectfully, then your guiding rule must be, ‘It’s my job to tell you about me, and your job to tell me about you.’ The best tool for telling another person about you is an ‘I message.’ The basic structure of the ‘I message’ is: ‘I feel [emotion] when [described experience] and I need to feel [emotion].’” 

“As you construct an ‘I message,’ make sure that you are really expressing a feeling, not an opinion. … If you start to say, ‘I feel like…’ you should stop and check yourself—because what is most likely going to follow is not a feeling, but a judgment. And a judgment statement is actually an expression of mistrust, not trust.”

“Intimacy—‘into-me-see’—is created between two people who can say, ‘We can be ourselves together because you can see into me and I can see into you.’ The experience of intimacy—of being completely known and accepted, and completely knowing and accepting in return—is the most satisfying experience we can have as humans. Intimacy in a safe place brings euphoria. Remember the Garden of Eden? Paradise was the place where a man and a woman were unafraid to be vulnerable and intimate with each other in every way. The problem is that most of us are scared to death to be vulnerable in relationships. The reason is simple: In being vulnerable, we reach for our greatest need while risking our greatest pain.”

“Fear of rejection and shame sets us up to fall for the enemy’s counterfeits. Ever since sin entered the world and humanity became disconnected from God, we have been looking for ways to get our needs met outside of relationship or any scenario where we are required to be vulnerable and risk our hearts. We have always desperately sought the benefits of intimacy without wanting to pay the price. And the enemy continues to offer us the euphoric experiences we think we can control—things like alcohol, drugs, sex, Internet pornography, shopping, carbohydrates, adrenaline, or cash. We use these things to give ourselves a euphoric release and take care of our needs. But the counterfeits always have ugly repercussions, like drunk drivers killing innocent people, young kids destroying their brains, men ignoring the beautiful real women beside them in favor of the images, serious debt, morbid obesity and the host of diseases that accompany it, thrill seekers slowly becoming numb to reality, and selfish jerks not caring who they step on to get what they want. Counterfeits never come through.”

“Every respectful conversation needs one speaker and one listener at all times. … The listening role is the true servant role in a respectful conversation. The listener affirms, ‘Right now, this conversation is about you and your needs. I am here to help you figure them out and find a way to help you get them met.’ But in the end, the listener is really the winner. If I listen well, I will have two vital pieces of information—what you need and what I need to do. With these two pieces of information, I start to identify and take ownership of the problem and create an effective solution.”

“A skilled listener with a servant’s heart is the deadliest weapon against the fear-bombs that threaten connection.”

9 More Quotes From “Keep Your Love On!”

Keep Your Love OnKeep Your Love On! is an outstanding resource for anyone who wants to repair or strengthen a relationship. As I said in my book review, I think pastors and marriage counselors should definitely get a copy of this book. Here are a few more quotes.

“If you want to preserve relationships, then you must learn to respond instead of react to fear and pain. Responding does not come naturally. You can react without thinking, but you cannot respond without training your mind to think, your will to choose, and your body to obey. … Powerful people are not slaves to their instincts. Powerful people can respond with love in the face of pain and fear. This ‘response-ability’ is essential to building healthy relationships.”

“If you were raised with a powerless, fear-driven mindset based on the belief that you can control people and they can control you, then you will naturally perceive God as a controlling Punisher. You will take the laws of the Old Testament—all the verses and stories about wrath, judgment, and the fear of the Lord—and conclude, ‘See, God wants to control us, and we need to be controlled.’ … The problem is that the Bible doesn’t show us a God Who is pursuing the goal of distance between Himself and a bunch of scary sinners. Instead, the Bible reveals a God Who is relentlessly closing that distance and paying the ultimate price to repair the disconnection we created in our relationship.”

“Fear and love are enemies. They come from two opposing kingdoms. Fear comes from the devil, who would like nothing more than to keep you permanently disconnected and isolated. Love comes from God, Who is always working to heal and restore your connection with Him and other people and bring you into healthy, life-giving relationships. … When Paul told Timothy that the spirit of love is also the spirit of power and a sound mind, he implied that its opposite, the spirit of fear, is the spirit of powerlessness and a weak, divided mind. When you grow up partnering with the spirit of fear, as most of us do, you learn to simply hand over your brain and your power, letting fear take control. But as soon as you decide to partner with the spirit of love, you have to think and make powerful choices.”

“Do you want to win the battle between fear and love in your relationships? You can start by making these two fundamental commitments: (1) It’s my job to control myself. I do not get to control other people. (2) My number-one goal and priority in relationships is building and protecting connection.”

“Each display of love, no matter how seemingly small, is a powerful act of spiritual warfare that removes anxiety from the environment, replaces it with freedom and safety, and invites each person to bring his or her best self forward in the relationship.”

“True honor is the practice of two powerful people putting one another before themselves, empowering one another, working together to meet one another’s needs, and adjusting as necessary in order to move together toward the shared goal of the relationship.”

“In order for us to practice self-control, we must have a goal. We must have something we are saying ‘Yes’ to, which necessarily comes with things that we must say ‘No’ to. … When we find ourselves with more freedom than self-control, then that freedom erodes the quality of our life and friendships. Self-control is what allows us to manage increasing levels of freedom in our life and relationships.”

“When you put a person in the position of God, you set him or her up for failure. … Mysterious as it is, making ourselves accountable to God and putting ourselves under His authority is the only way we can become powerful and learn to govern ourselves. … When two people are consistently pursuing a connection with the Perfect One, that connection will set the pace for their connection with each other. They will be learning to love from Love Himself, which can only bring the best into their relationship.”

“The faster you can get to the question, ‘What do you need?’ the faster you can start doing something about it. Unfortunately, because many people are not used to being listened to, they don’t know what they need, or how to communicate it. They think they have to present a solid case for someone to help them, agree with them, or change for them.”

You can read the the first batch of quotes I shared here.

My book review is posted here.

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