Constantly, I have been having to remind myself of this phrase. "Upward, Outward, and Forward." I heard this while visiting a church a couple of months ago for the first time.
The church was in the middle of a prayer series and the pastor was talking about prayer and the Kingdom.
Working camp is one of the best things that has ever happened to me, but Satan has a special tool he likes to use for camp counselors. Sometimes camp can bring out the "me monster."
I did this, I do that, what about me.....the list goes on an on. Sometimes on long days the "me monster" takes over my mind.
In the front of my production binder is the sermon notes from that Sunday. It was one of the fullest pages of notes that I had taken in a church service in a while. But the very first thing on it is that phrase: "Upward, Outward, and Forward."
That phrase has so much power behind it. It's saying that our prayers should be constantly Upward, Outward, and Forward. Upward-meaning that we give God our thanks and praise Him. Outward-meaning we praying for the people and circumstances around us. Forward- meaning that the decisions we make now glorify the Kingdom and prepare us for something greater constantly.
It's impossible to have the "me monster" rule your life when your prayers are always focused on being grateful, on others around you, and being future focused. The now doesn't seem so bad when there is so much future ahead. Your problems seem like nothing compared to the guy you met at sunday school in the morning that is battling cancer. It's hard to complain when you're too busy being grateful.
The bible says "seek the lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart." What that means is pray upward, outward, and forwards always. Then your ways will align with His will.
---------------------------------------------------------How I'm praying-------------------------------------------------------
Upward-so very grateful that God created the paths in my life to lead me to the hotel room I am writing this from now. So very grateful for the paths that I have crossed in communities and on my team. So very grateful for the message we have to spread and the reason for spreading it.
Outward- Always lifting up my team. Praying for the communities we are in, and we are going to. Praying for the camper who we will come in contact with. Praying for the other teams that are working so heard toward the same mission.
Forward-praying that we help spread the gospel to campers who will one day lead in their communities. Praying that the wisdom, knowledge, and skills that I learn from camp help lead me towards my future goals. Praying for the communities we are going to later in the summer and that they would continue to prepare well.
Upward-Grateful to be in a place physically, and financially to attend secondary educations. Grateful for the staff and teachers at my university. Grateful for the way that God got me there.
Outward-Praying for the people on my campus everyday. Praying that revival breaks out and our campus of 25,000 would be changed. Praying the hearts of administration would be softened.
Forward-Praying that what I am studying leads me to where God's will has put me in my life. Praying that I am being a good steward and will be fiscally able to handle debts incurred from tuition.
Upward-Grateful to be surrounded by wonderful people who love me and would do anything for me. Grateful for the opportunities brought by friends and family. Grateful for those friends and family who are my brothers and sister in Christ and grateful for the one who aren't so that I can be on mission.
Outward-constantly for the health and decisions. Praying for their lives to be following God's will constantly. Praying for extraordinary things to happend in their lives.
Upward-so so so so so so very grateful for the community of believers God has put me in. So very grateful for the message they share. So very grateful for the way that God has blessed them, and the way they have handled attacks from Satan.
Outward-Praying that my community would be changed and filled with light. Praying that my church family staff is following in step with God's will and that they are provided for in ways they don't understand.
Forward- Praying that God brings the gifts and talents they need to keep spreading their message. Praying that they are thinking with God sized dreams and being good stewards. Praying that decision now would only cause the message to further spread in the future.
Upward-Grateful for what both of us are learning while we may not even know each other. Grateful for her life.
Outward-Praying that she would be blessed. Praying that she knows she is loved. Praying that she knows the Lord and is walking in step with Him. Praying she is provided for.
Forward-praying that God is equipping our hearts for what the future holds. Praying that I am becoming a man in order to be ready. Praying that I never give away too much of my heart, and same for her.
Upward: Grateful for the opportunity to live in a place where I can obtain a good job with good pay.
Outward: praying that God is equipping the people who will be around me for the work we will do. praying that I am able to be a tool to help fulfill a need.
Forward: Praying that everything I do now is only providing the skills for what that job holds. Praying that where ever this is, that God's hand is already on it and blessing it.