In 1828, a family named Hermès settled in France and opened a harness shop in Paris. Soon they were selling upscale products to European noblemen, and they haven’t stopped. Today you can still buy expensive, high-quality Hermès products worldwide.
Hermès closed its stores in America for three days a few years ago and flew their employees to an upscale hotel in Princeton. Motivational speakers were there to inspire and reinvigorate the company’s sales force. Hermès recognized that joyless employees wouldn’t be successful selling $2,300 bracelets. They needed motivators to fire up their enthusiasm.
Many companies rely on inspirational conferences to rekindle enthusiasm, enhance attitudes, and restore focus to employees. But human advice only goes so far. To really find spiritual focus, sit at the feet of Jesus. Nothing equals the motivation He gives for victorious living, and no one can equal His insight. Best of all, we can arrange a personal meeting every day.
The Priority of Prayer
Psalm 46:10a says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” That verse reveals our bottom line and our top priority. The bottom line is: He is God, Creator of the Universe, Sustainer of Eternity. Our top priority is being still long enough each day to know Him. We need periods of silence and solitude for prayer and the Word. Our quiet time is for turning off the noise, unplugging the distractions, and meeting Him.
When our ancestors sat at home, the only sound was the ticking clock on the wall. When they walked by the creek, they listened to water gurgling over rocks. But we’ve replaced the gurgling water with whatever’s coming through our earphones.
I’m not against electronics. I’m just saying we need to turn them off long enough to be still; and we need to be still long enough to know that He is God. The Bible says, “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Isaiah 30:15b).
This attitude of prayer should be a priority for us. Learn to shut the door of your closet (Matthew 6:6); calm and quiet your soul (Psalm 131:2); and say, “Speak, LORD, for Your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:9).
The Practice of Prayer
There are three great ways to practice prayer. First, pray alone. The biblical heroes knew how to retreat to solitary places and agonize with God in prayer. Daniel retired to his room three times a day for prayer. Christ often withdrew by Himself in prayer. Let’s do the same.
Second, pray with a partner. Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Your prayer partner may be your husband or wife or friend, and the partnership can last for decades.
Third, pray at church and in groups. Corporate prayer is a wonderful blessing to the individual and to the church.
The Power of Prayer
Cameron V. Thompson wrote, “A day without prayer is a day without blessing, and a life without prayer is a life without power.”[i] Don’t miss the opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus. Motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar said this about prayer: “We need to carve out a time so that prayer is a priority to us. The pressures we face each day will threaten to crowd out our tme with God, so we need to guard our time of prayer…Prayer isn’t just a self-improvement exercise. When we pray, we are connecting with a living Person who loves, grieves, laughs, and hears.”[ii]
At life’s greatest moments or dullest days, prayer is the conductor that keeps our focus on God, who can do exceeding abundantly more than we can ask or imagine. It changes our lives and motivates us to live each day in the presence and with the power of the Lord.
Get focused on Him and remember—Prayer Changes Things!
In recent years, the frequency of hearing accounts of people, cars, or even houses suddenly falling into a large hole as the earth collapsed beneath them has risen. These events are caused by giant sinkholes.
Sinkholes are caused by water saturation. In some cases, underground water pipes burst or leak, causing unseen erosion. In other cases, the culprit is rainwater or underground springs. What’s shocking is the suddenness of the collapse. On the surface, everything looks fine. But beneath the surface, the integrity of the earth has been compromised. When least expected, a sinkhole suddenly forms and the ground collapses.Watering Down the Bible
Have you ever tasted something that has obviously been watered down? Even the finest coffee or tea loses some of its flavor when it is diluted with too much water. A watered down message can lose its potency as well. In the world today, there is an attempt by some to water down the Word of God in an attempt to make it more palatable to the changing morals and attitudes of our culture. But the Bible doesn’t conform its message to public opinion polls. It doesn’t change its doctrines in response to societal consensus. It should never be watered down.
God’s Word is eternal—ever old, ever new, and ever sure. The Bible is as venerable as, “Thus says the Lord,” and as contemporary as, “The Last Days.” It spans the ages, being ageless. We can count on it in every condition: in sickness, in health, in poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth.In a world of lies, His Word is truth. In a world of opinions, His Word is accurate down to the last jot and tittle.
Because God is eternal, His Word is established in the heavens. Because He cannot fail, His Word cannot be broken. Because He is unchanging, His Word is certain. Heaven and earth may pass away, but the Scripture will endure forever.
 George Keith, “How Firm a Foundation,” An American Church Hymnal (Nashville: John T. Benson Publishing Company, 1937).
Wouldn’t you love to live in a Norman Rockwell painting or on a Currier and Ives card in December? Christmas is when we want to roast chestnuts on an open fire, deck the halls with boughs of holly, ride in a one-horse open sleigh, hang our stockings by the chimney with care, and have ourselves a merry little Christmas.
Year after year we try to create a perfect picture-postcard experience during the holidays, but the effort seems counterproductive. Instead of the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas can be the most stressful time of the year—a whirlwind of traveling, shopping, spending, entertaining, and even churching. It’s hard to have joy in a whirl.
According to the American Psychological Association, seven out of ten people feel stress from not having enough time for their Christmas activities, and the same number worry about having enough money.
Not surprisingly, most of the stress falls on women. Far more women than men worry about having enough money for gift-giving, and women are more likely to take on added workloads by running to purchase last-minute gifts and working overtime in the kitchen to feed all the guests.
So how can you bring joy to the whirl?
Looking back on The Jesus You May Not Know, are you wondering what to do with all that you learned? Today, Dr. David Jeremiah shares practical tools for building a deeper intimacy with Christ than you’ve known before.All Sermons by Dr. David Jeremiah