Giving Joy To The Heart
"The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heartÖ"(Psalm 19:8).
As you continue to pray through 31 days of joy-filled prayer as a family, please remember that you are learning how to be obedient to the Word of God. If we truly believe that His precepts are right, they will give joy to our hearts. As you seek His heart each day, remember to pray through each Scripture, perhaps even committing it to memory together. Then, pray Godís Word over one another, speaking the joy of His truth into each otherís lives. Ask the Father to pour His joy into your spirits by the power of His Spirit! Jesus has already told us that the Holy Spirit will be our teacher. He is filled with joy that He desires us to have every day no matter what our circumstances and no matter what trials come our way.
"Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise Him. Praise the Lord with the harp; make music to Him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy. For the Word of the Lord is right and true; He is faithful in all He does" (Psalm 33:1-4). Letís write a new song together as a family that we can sing to the Father. We donít have to write it down and we donít even have to sing the same words. Letís shout for joy to the Lord: "For Your Word is right and true and You are faithful in all You do!"
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:11-12). This is one of the hardest obstacles to overcome with joy! When other people reject Jesus in us, and treat us unkindly because of our faith, it is difficult to be glad. But, the Lord tells us to do just that! Living righteous lives often makes others uncomfortable because it shines a light on their unrighteousness. Since Jesus told us that we will be blessed and have a great reward in heaven, how can we, as a family, learn how to have joy when we are persecuted?
"He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart" (Ecclesiastes 5:20). When we have joy in the Lord, nothing else can satisfy us Ė even fun or wonderful things that we have done or experienced in the past. What would it be like to have so much "gladness of heart" that nothing the world can offer even matters?
"A cheerful look brings joy to the heartÖ" (Proverbs 15:30). Doesnít it make you happy when someone smiles at you? Letís look for people today who could use a cheerful look so that the Father can bring joy to their hearts! (Consider going to a nursing home or a homeless shelter to help out with joyful service.)
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13). When we trust in the God of hope, He fills us with joy! Letís take turns praying this blessing on each other today so that we will all overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit! Are there some other family, friends, neighbors, etc. whom we can pray this blessing on?
"But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful. Sing to God, sing praise to His name, extol Him who rides on the clouds Ė His name is the Lord Ė and rejoice before Him" (Psalm 68:3-4). Through Jesus we have all been made righteous. We were filled with sin when He chose to pay the price for it! He desires us to be happy and joyful. His Name is the Lord! (Perhaps you could draw a picture together of your family rejoicing!)
"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture" (Psalm 100:1-3). The Lord is our Creator and we belong to Him! He made us just the way He wanted us to be Ė people of joy! What do you like best about how God created you? Isnít it a wonderful thing to know that we belong to Him, and that the Great Shepherd watches over us always?
"Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, you who are righteous, and praise His holy name" (Psalm 97:11-12). When our hearts are clean and pure, God pours out joy on us! He tells us to be holy as He is holy. What can we do each day to remind ourselves to be upright in heart?
"Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: ĎThe Lordís right hand has done mighty things!í" (Psalm 118:15). If our home is righteous, we will always be able to shout with joy and victory! Are there some things in our home that shouldnít be? What do we need to do to spiritually clean our "tent" so that we can proclaim joyfully that the Lordís right hand has done mighty things? (Walk from room to room and see if there is anything that the Father would be displeased with. Pray for the Lord to reveal these things to you and deal with them in a godly way.) Is there anything inside of our hearts that keep us from being spiritually clean in our bodies Ė our physical tents? Letís confess these things to one another and receive the Lordís forgiveness and cleansing. Now shout for joy because He has made all things new!
"Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song" (Psalm 95:1-2). He is the Rock of our salvation. Letís come before Him with thanksgiving and praise, worshiping Him with joyful voices! What are we thankful for today? Letís rejoice for what our Father has done and for what He is doing in our lives!
"Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior" (Habakkuk 3:17-18). There are believers in Christ all over the world who have nothing and yet they are filled with joy. We are quick to whine when we donít get what we want immediately or when we are disappointed in someone or something. What can we do today to be the answer to our own or someone elseís prayers for those in need? Letís wait upon the Lord in silence for a few minutes and then see what He is telling us to do.
"Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always" (Psalm 105:3-4). Seeking the Lord results in a rejoicing heart. Prayerlessness will result in the opposite. How can we make prayer the lifestyle in our home, so that we are constantly seeking His face? Is anyone struggling to find time to spend alone with the Father each day? How can we encourage and help one another in this area? Do we need to make a sacred space somewhere in our house Ė a prayer room or corner?
"I rejoice in following Your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on Your precepts and consider Your ways. I delight in Your decrees; I will not neglect Your Word" (Psalm 119:14-16). Are we too busy to delight in Godís decrees? Have we neglected His Word in favor of worldly pursuits? His statutes are to be our heritage and the joy of our hearts. What can we cut out of our familyís busy schedule in order to spend more time meditating on His precepts and considering His ways? Are there some time-wasting activities that we could stop doing to spend the time in more eternally significant ways?
"You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence" (Acts 2:28). What paths are we following? Are they His or our own? Maybe we are following another personís path rather than asking God what way He prefers us to walk. If we are not filled with joy, could it be that we are following the wrong roads or not spending enough time in His presence? Letís pray, asking the Father to make known to us His paths of life!
"When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul" (Psalm 94:19). The Lord wants us to bring all of our worries to Him so that He can take them upon Himself and comfort us. What worries do you have in your life today? Letís pray and lay them down at Jesusí feet so that He can bring joy into our souls! Then we must remember not to take the worries back upon ourselves. He is much more capable of dealing with them than we are!
"For this reason, since the day we heard about you,we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light" (Colossians 1:9-12). Pray this prayer of blessing over one another. The end result of praying this powerful word will be that each one will have great endurance and patience and be able to joyfully give thanks to the Father, who has qualified all of us to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light! What greater joy can there be than this?
Now that you have completed a month of praying for joy to fill your household, see if the Word has taken root. Is your family looking at their trials differently? Are you spending more time seeking the face of God and studying His Word? Are you singing and shouting for joy? Are you sharing the joy of the Lord with others? When disappointment or lack comes your way, are you able to rejoice anyway? If not, consider going another month focusing on joy! See if you can find other instructions in the Word that talk about how to live a lifestyle of joy in the Lord!
(Part One can be found in last monthís issue.)
If you would like to read more articles by Kim Butts, please visit www.harvestprayer.com.