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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

We couldn’t revive her limp body.

I’d rubbed the silken bottoms of her feet and called out her name in an attempt to awaken her-but I’d known. She wasn’t breathing.

Each second collapsed into eternity as my husband bent over our daughter’s tiny frame; his measured exhale filling her lungs and returning useless. Time expanded and hope grew dim as my baby lay unmoving and lifeless. Two minutes. Three minutes. Four.

Still, my husband continued. Puff. Puff. Compress. Puff. Puff. Compress. 

Five minutes and then a ragged, raspy inhale. The sickly, ashen color vanished from my daughter’s face vanished and was replaced by beautiful creams and pinks.

Revival.

After the darkest night? The most glorious morning. #revival #joycomesinthemorning Click To Tweet

After the darkest night? The most glorious morning.

The child I’d beheld before with such love and tenderness, I valued even more for she was the precious one God returned into my aching arms.

Perhaps I would have the same sort of longing for my faith if it were torn from me. But where I live, faith is still protected. Neither my livelihood nor my life is threatened because I’m a Christian. Instead, my faith is stealthily picked away at by ease and amusement. Busyness and bustling. Serving and seeking after.

I forget my appointment with God because my schedule is full–sometimes by activities meant to bring glory to Him. But in giving up God for the “good”, how much have I lost? I’m convinced my heart, the Church, the nation, and our world need a revival as much as my daughter’s unresponsive body did years ago.

Revival Comes at the Darkest of Times
God had been silent for four hundred years while the people of Israel were pawned from one ruler to the next. Now, Herod served as a Roman puppet and even many of the religious leaders of Israel were corrupt-hawking animals used in the sacrifices to the top bidders.

Suddenly, the Lord broke into the status quo. Descending into the midst of a priest’s worship, the angel of the Lord said, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.  He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.  And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:13, 16-17 NIV)

Have you ever prayed for years and felt as though God refused to answer? Doubted He heard you? Friend, the people of Israel had prayed for their Messiah for four hundred years and life was grim. War, fear, unrest, and death were a familiar part of everyday life.

While God is the one to decide when He'll move, we must be prepared to respond. #letyourlightshine #eyestowardheaven Click To Tweet

In the same way, God’s people have been praying for a revival of the Holy Spirt in the Church. While God is the one to decide when He’ll move, we must be prepared to respond.

Walk With Integrity
If this is the time chosen, are we ready? Am I? Are you?

According to Luke 1:6, Zechariah and Elizabeth were used by the Lord because “They were good and just people in God’s sight, walking with integrity in the Lord’s ways and laws.” (The Voice) This doesn’t imply they were sinless, but that God noted the condition of their hearts. They were in step with Him; daily living with their Lord in mind.

I know the condition of my heart and I wouldn’t measure up, but for Christ. Still, I want to live for Him. I long for others to see Jesus in my life. To know they are seen and heard when they speak with me. To know there is a wonderful Someone who came and gave all to rescue them.

Scripture tells me to set aside the chaos and soak in the things of Christ.

I am to:
pray continually (Philippians 4:6)
remain in Christ (John 15:5)
ask for wisdom (James 1:5)
yield my life (Matthew 16:24)

so that I might

take hold of peace (Philippians 4:7)
bear much fruit (John 15:8)
live a life that is “overflowing with mercy and blessings” (James 3:18 MSG) and
lose my life only to rediscover it in Christ (Matthew 16:24-27 NIV)

and, ultimately, give Him the glory. (John 15:8)

Revival (or not) it is All About Him

...revival or not, it is all about Him. #allaboutHim #revivalornot Click To Tweet

Like a perfectly synchronized event, my daughter took her first shaky draught of air at the exact moment several burly firefighters burst into our home. I was shouting out a thank you to God and weeping while my husband gathered the baby into his arms and then handed her to me.My little one had no pulse. No heartbeat. No breath. Five minutes passed before her life revived before our eyes and I could do nothing except thank God for his mercy.

In the same way, when God decides to shower revival on the land and in the midst of our churches he will move in remarkable ways in the lives of ordinary people. But I don’t want to falter like Zacharias who doubted the words of God; I want to respond with Mary’s heart, “I am the Lord’s servant.” (Luke 1:38)

Whether or not the pandemic continues…
whether or not riots rage…
whether or not elections and leaders rise and fall…
whether or not economies falter or topple…
whether or not personal health is at risk…
whether or not ______________(fill in the blank)
whether or not revival comes…
Jesus is the Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, and the Resurrected Lamb. Today, I choose to give Him the glory.

After all, revival or not, it is all about Him.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragements Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup

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I cry to you, O Lord- I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.

We’d attended the quaint, family-oriented church for years. I’d joined Bible study groups, attended morning meetings for young mamas, and participated in Sunday school. Still, loneliness gnawed at my insides. Somehow, I just didn’t fit. One day after the traditional morning greeting, I once again watched as the women flitted from one pew to the other laughing and hugging each other while I stood awkwardly waving and smiling. I felt like the gangly little girl I’d once been-the last one to be chosen to play on the kickball or softball teams.


That afternoon, I spoke with my husband about looking for a different church. It’s terrible to feel invisible when you’re surrounded by people.


King David also experienced isolation. Having been handpicked by God, he’d slain a giant, married royalty, and had a meteoric rise to fame. Unfortunately, Saul was bent on murder. In an effort to escape, David found refuge in the cave of Abdullum along with 400 desperate men who followed him there. (1 Samuel 22)

Still, David felt alone. Unseen. Unnoticed. Was he? Was I? Are you?

The Secrets of the Cave

I’d been living in a cave. Unlike David, my cave was imperceptible. Its walls weren’t made of limestone or located in a barren desert, but they were real. My cave was called Anxiety and Depression.

My cave was called Anxiety and Depression. Click To Tweet


Some of you may have a cave, as well. Perhaps yours is named Trial, Difficulty, Sorrow, or Illness. It could be Divorce, Trauma, or Loss. We all find ourselves stumbling into desert caves at some point. While residing in the cave often feels uncomfortable, there are some secrets we can learn from David and his time in the cave of Adullam.

While residing in the cave often feels uncomfortable, there are some secrets we can learn from David.. Click To Tweet


• Caves Make Us Better Prayer Warriors
A musician and poet, David penned Psalm 142 as well as other poems and prayers during his time in the cave. He learned to “pour out”, or spill, his heart before God and set an example for future believers. While God already knows our needs, anxieties, and troubles, he longs to communicate intimately with us.


• Caves Help Us Realize Our Condition
David was surrounded by the enemy with Saul on one side and the Philistines on the other. He saw no way of escape. But God provided a route of victory. Even when we’re confused or uncertain of our future, God clearly sees the way. He is never unsure of His plans for us.

Caves remind us that God is constant. Click To Tweet

• Caves Remind Us That God is Constant
While David felt as though nobody cared for Him, the maker of heaven and earth heard his prayers. Isn’t that incredible? God hears every cry that spills from our hearts. Oh, what blessing to be known and loved that intimately.

Caves aren't our home. Click To Tweet


• Caves Aren’t Our Home
Something comes after the cave. When God brought David out of the cave, he’d prepared him for battles, victory, and then kingship. Perhaps you, too, are being prepared for a battle. Or, perhaps your cave is the battle and afterward, you’ll experience victory. Whatever the case, the Lord will bring you out the cave with purpose, fully prepared that “[you] might give thanks to [His] name”.


Peace and grace,
Tammy

I often link up with the following wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and Michele, Kingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network, Grace and Truth Linkup,best-of-the-weekend

 

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The frustration ran deep and the journey was long. Decades of caring for anyone with a need left me collapsed on heaven’s doorstep. Lord, I’ve been serving a long time. When do I get to enjoy that abundant life I keep hearing about?

Don’t get me wrong. I saw glimpses and enjoyed seasons of fulfillment. Raising my daughters as a homeschool mom was a sacrifice rich in joyful memories. Befriending women in the church in various settings blessed me with delightful relationships. In spite of the good times, somehow along the way, I lost my bearings.

Why

Women are prone to that process. We tend to focus our empathy and compassion outward, doing our best to contribute to everyone else’s happily ever after. And there’s a reason for that. We live in a fallen world where mankind’s vertical connection with our Creator is broken, and horizontal relationships take precedent.

Eve may not have grasped the significance of God’s words when He explained the security of her divine friendship with Him was replaced with the uncertainty of a human bond. But she surely sensed the trauma triad of fear, shame, and panic when she and Adam were sent from the Garden, the only home she’d ever known.

 

What

Like Eve, the trauma triad grabbed hold of me. Violence and denial turned my childhood home into a fight-for-survival environment. Hypervigilance became my coping skill of choice as I worked to de-escalate the atmosphere. As a result, the people-pleasing habit plowed deep furrows across my path right into adulthood.

The people-pleasing habit plowed deep furrows across my path right into adulthood.#habits Click To Tweet

When I heard life would be grand if I trusted Jesus, I was ready for grand and walked the aisle. My immature reasoning latched on to what the Christian community taught. If I wanted to please Jesus, which I did, all I needed to do was become a servant. And everybody knows a good servant pleases the one they serve.

Family, friends, and fellow church members were already on my list of responsibilities when neighbors were added. Since God describes our neighbor as any needy soul with whom we interact, in order to please Him, I would need to please everyone around me. The vertical-horizontal effects of the Fall overwhelmed me.

 

Who

Collapse is a good description of the moment I realized I was twisted into a shape I didn’t recognize. My dedication to reach out to others to satisfy God led me to abandon the unique me He designed with a purpose. Worse still, my efforts to secure the Eden intimacy I craved with Him brought little more than a nodding acquaintance.

In mute despair, I looked to Jesus. His response was gentle and compassionate.

Jesus invited me to rest in His presence and His Word. As I responded, He reminded me how precious I am because I am His, that His promises of protection and provision are for me. He taught me that I need to set my focus on Him because what fills my thoughts becomes the object of my worship.

...What fills my thoughts becomes the object of my worship.#worship #rightthoughts Click To Tweet

In confession and repentance, by God’s mercy and grace, my view is clearing. His call to love others is based on our loving Him with complete abandon, to include a healthy dose of awareness and love for ourselves as His creation. With this relationship, we become divine conduits for His love to flow at His will.

Worship is my new weapon against trauma or anything that threatens my peace.#prayalways Click To Tweet

Worship is my new weapon against trauma or anything that threatens my peace. Scripture, prayer, music, change of scenery . . . whatever it takes to rip my focus away from the struggle and set it back on the One who made and cherishes me. The peace and joy that fill me are the best description of the abundant life I can imagine.

You turned my wailing into dancing;

you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.

that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.

Lord my God, I will praise you forever.

Psalm 30:11-12 NIV

 

BIO

 

Sandra Allen Lovelace has been walking beside women cross-culturally for more than 40 years. She’s a popular speaker and biblical teacher known for her warm authenticity and practical approach. She’s also an author with an award-winning blog, two titles in print, and a third book in process.

By experience and training in the journey, Sandra informs, affirms, and inspires women as they heal from the impact of trauma. In her role as mentor and coach, she delights in watching fellow Wallflower Women step into and enjoy their God-given design and purpose. Sandra’s easy to reach.

SandraAllenLovelace@gmail.com

FB/SandraAllenLovelace

IG/SandraAllenLovelace

 

 

Thank you Sandra, for sharing part of your story with us. I see myself in what you’ve written and appreciate your wisdom and encouragement. Friends, please hop over to Sandra’s wonderful blog or meet up with her online. I know you’ll be blessed!

Peace and grace,

Tammy

I sometimes link-up with these wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network

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The year is 1995. Being a self-employed counselor is a real challenge. From time to time I say to my God, “Is this really what you want me to do?” Deep inside from around the region of my heart, I hear the answer, “Hang on.”

Sometimes God is a person of few words.#faith #perseverance Click To Tweet

Sometimes God is a person of a few words. I keep questioning, “Should I be doing something else?” Sometimes I feel like a failure and now I am overwhelmed with shame at having to ask for help. I stare at the phone in my hand. You can do this Evelyn, do not give up, do not back down, do not lose faith. Do not worry about what people think?

It’s been a hard winter. My business has dwindled to almost nothing, partly because of the weather and partly because I don’t feel equal to the trauma and pain I see in front of me. Money is tight. My fear is that homelessness is imminent.

My friend in Oklahoma City tells me about an organization that is coming to the clinic where she works to do some free trauma training that can help untold numbers of hurting people. But it’s just for Oklahoma counselors. I live in South Dakota.

“Can I come?” I ask. She says “no” on three different phone calls,

“Just ask them,” I say. “Please just ask?”

Finally, she says with a deep sigh, “I will give you the number and you can ask.”

I’ve wanted this training for a couple of years. I have heard of the extraordinary healing it produces—but the cost is beyond my reach. I’ve been praying for guidance for months, hanging on, believing God when He says, “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear”. (Luke 12:22.) Waking up stressed and fearful in the middle of the night, I repeat this verse over and over, desperately trying to drown out the negative messages rattling around my brain. The messages telling me: “Give up, send your clients to someone who can really help them. Stop humiliating yourself by being persistent. Go find a job. Why would anyone want to help you anyway?”

Now it’s 8:00 am on a cloudy Monday morning. Sitting with the phone in my hand, I have prayed all night for a “yes” answer or the faith to endure a “no.” Taking a deep breath, I dial the number; it rings five times before the man on the other end says “Good morning. Bright Counseling, Joe speaking.”

My heart is in my throat. “This is Evelyn Leite. I am a friend of Barbara’s—I understand that the EMDR corporation is doing a free counselor training in Oklahoma City, because of the bombing of the Federal building. I hear my breathless voice coming out fast and force myself to slow down.

“Joe, I am a counselor in South Dakota. Do you think it might be possible for me to attend the training coming up at your clinic next week?” A long moment of silence follows (I’m holding my breath) then he says “I don’t see any reason why you can’t.” Geared up for a “no”, my “thank you” comes out in an emotional squeak. Joe takes my name and phone number and promises to see me there. I’m in!

Overwhelmed with gratitude, I say prayers of praise and swing into action. Using frequent flyer miles and with ten dollars in my pocket, my amazed friend will meet me at the airport and I will stay with her. I will be only the second counselor in SD to have this training-my business booms and people are helped. God is Good!

 

 

Evelyn M. Leite MHR, LPC  

Evelyn Leite has been in the addiction and mental health profession for 35 years and has a private practice called Living With Solutions.  She also founded a non-profit corporation called A Center For Training And Restoration.  She is the author of 14 books and she holds workshops nationwide that are devoted to teaching individuals and families about mental health and addiction. Evelyn does a lot of trauma-related work with men and women who have been abused.  Because her work as a humanitarian has been widely recognized, she was installed in the SD Hall of Fame in 2008.  Her work has included founding a youth center in Ft Pierre, SD, helping establish a women’s shelter in Pierre, SD, and helping to establish the Hope Center, a day shelter for the homeless in Rapid City, SD.  Most of her work for the last 15 years has taken place on Indian Reservations.  She released a new book in December 2019, A Fix For The Family Rift Caused By Addiction. Evelyn Leite has been in the addiction and mental health profession for 35 years and has a private practice called Living With Solutions.

https://evelynleite.com/

 

P.S. Hello, friends. I’m so glad you stopped by today. Evelyn and other counselors who do the hard and important work of helping people heal from their trauma wounds are such a blessing. Evelyn and I have never met personally and she is unaware of my background, but EMDR was one of the tools God used to bring hope and healing into my own life as a survivor of child abuse. If you have any questions about EMDR or other aspects of healing from trauma (i.e. C-PTSD, domestic violence, sexual assault, etc.), please know you aren’t alone. Reach out to one of us or another safe person in your life. God is in the business of “restoring the years the locusts have eaten”.

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I sometimes link-up with these wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Network

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Pleading for Us

The hard edges of time haven’t yet lined his face, but the young man knows suffering. He’s grown accustomed to fear biting at his heels; chasing him from one day to the next. Calling on God, he prays and fasts-beseeching the Lord for breakthrough. Relief from the brokenness. Healing for a hurting heart that refuses to release the tears bottled there for too long.

And his mother approaches the throne of grace; a modern-day Hannah with earnest words whispered and desperate on behalf of the man who is her son. Capturing a glimpse of the child behind his sad smile, she lifts her face to heaven.

Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
If you’ll take a good, hard look at (his) pain,
If you’ll quit neglecting (him) and go into action for (him)…
I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you.
I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline. (1 Samuel 1:11 MSG)

Like the grieving woman whose arms longed to feel the weight of a newborn, I make a holy vow of my own.  No holding back. No standing in the way. No talking him out of what the mighty God has planned. But, Lord, free him up to live and live abundantly-not this numb-to-the-pain and numb-to-the-joy existence. Allow beauty to move him to such depths that joy erupts from his spirit and spills wet as liquid down dampened cheeks. Let sadness wring his soul with enough strength that the melancholy pours from within; unleashing the ache and inviting the flow of God’s healing touch. Move into the empty spaces and clear out those the imposter has planted a “no vacancy” sign.

You, too, may be a modern-day Hannah with a loved one whose heart needs healing. Some days, it feels as though the prayers will never be answered and I grow impatient. I want Him to answer now. Doesn’t He see the need? The pain? The ache?

I would be the rescuer. The savior. But, my titles are all lowercase.#perseverance#faith Click To Tweet

Honestly, if I could exchange the burden with my precious one I would. I would be the rescuer. The savior. But, my titles are all lowercase and I’m ill-equipped to do anything but persevere in my faith. If I give up, the enemy will celebrate a victory. I refuse to yield my child’s life so easily.

What about you? Are you battling right now? Are you, too, pounding on heaven’s gates on behalf of a loved one? Maybe your on bended knee as a result of a dear one’s anxiety, depression, or addiction. It could be your precious one is consumed by self-contempt, brokenness, or fear.

Perhaps, you are the one in need of prayer.

Dear modern-day Hannah, remain steadfast. Jesus intercedes on your behalf.#holyprayers#remembered Click To Tweet

Dear modern-day Hannah, remain steadfast. Raise your eyes heavenward. Your heavenly priest, Jesus, intercedes on your behalf. Persevere as this woman of scripture once did and there will be a day of rejoicing. Just as the Lord remembered Hannah, He will remember you.

 

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

I sometimes link-up with these wonderful bloggers:

Mondays   InstaEncouragementsAnita Ojeda, Mandy and MicheleKingdom Bloggers,

Tuesdays RaRa Linkup /GraceFull Tuesday / Tell His Story/Anchored Abode,

Wednesdays   Worth Beyond RubiesRecharge Wednesday Welcome Wednesday /LetsHave Coffee/Porch Stories

Thursdays Heart Encouragement  /  Tune In Thursday  /Salt and Light /  Five Minute Friday

Friday Counting My Blessings, Faith on Fire, Blogger Voices Networ

 

 

 

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spiritual warfare

The faintest light penetrates an inky sky as I awaken to the sounds of my husband shuffling about the house. I hear the clink of the coffeepot as it meets the edge of his mug and know that it’s time to ready myself for the day ahead.

Leaning toward the nightstand, I fumble for my glasses and then flick on the table lamp. My first impulse is to slip my fingers around the cool metal of the laptop waiting expectantly on my desk. I’ve been preoccupied lately, filling the first few minutes of the morning checking various email accounts and posting on social media.

None of these activities are wrong, but the quiet pre-dawn moments are the rare, uninterrupted  times I used to share with the Lord. Now, I’ve fallen into the habit of settling for less. Of forgetting that each day comes with its challenges. Of ignoring the importance of preparing for spiritual battle because I know I exist between the realities of the seen and unseen.

The sunrise my be beautiful, the house may be quiet, but the enemy is always prepared to infiltrate, attack, or ambush.

“The devil is working against (us). He is walking around like a hungry lion with his mouth open. He is looking for someone to eat.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Scanning Facebook instead of donning spiritual battle gear puts me at risk. Makes me vulnerable. And, worse, renders me useless as a woman living in her own strength rather than Christ’s.

If you’ve ever struggled to remain disciplined in prayer or Bible study, you understand.

But, there are souls walking around who need the hope we have. There are wounded hearts hemorrhaging for the love of Jesus. And, we are the ones called to serve as spiritual soldiers. With eternity hanging in the balance, it’s no wonder we’re told to put on the full armor of God.

I’m gearing up and strapping on, friend. Will you join me? Let’s get ready to stand our ground.

Action Step:                                                                                                                        Personalize the verses below as you pray them aloud by inserting your name in the blanks.

Finally, ______________, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you, __________,  can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For _____________’s struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, _______________,  put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

Peace and grace,

Tammy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Complete Guide to Prayers of Jesus (1).jpg

When I was crossing a corner as I prayerwalked in our small town in the Sierra Valley, I remembered the gist of a passage from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount about not praying on the street corners to be seen by men. Instead, we are to pray privately behind closed doors.

That moment led me down a twenty-year path of studying the Bible for teachings on prayer—focusing a lot on the prayer life of Jesus. Only secondary to his teachings on eternal life, his teachings on prayer provide much direction as we strive to live a prayer-focused life.

  • Pray simple prayers. The purpose of the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) was to teach us to pray simply. Jesus prefaced the prayer by telling the listeners not to babble on and on (Matthew 6:7-8). As a former journalist, I find this refreshing and reassuring, because I believe in short and simple. Jesus taught us that we do not need elaborate vocabulary. We cannot impress God with the number of our words. After all, he knows our heart already. The simple fact that we go to him is a prayerful act already.
The simple fact that we go to him is a prayerful act already. Click To Tweet
  • Pray with a clear conscience. Forgiveness seems to be crucial to answered prayer. Jesus said that if we do not forgive others, our Father will not forgive us (Matthew 6:14-15). He also said we should be reconciled with others before making an offering (Matthew 5:23-24). I know that if I’m harboring ill feelings toward someone, I’m focused on myself—not God. So forgiveness shifts me from my single viewpoint to God’s bigger one. If we want the Father to forgive us, we need to forgive others’ offenses toward us, but we also need to be proactive in seeking others’ forgiveness when we have hurt them.
...if I'm harboring ill feelings toward someone, I'm focused on myself-not God. Click To Tweet
  • Be persistent. In Luke 18 Jesus told a parable about a woman who kept bugging a judge to make a decision in her favor. Because she was persistent, that unjust judge granted her request. Jesus said, “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” (Luke 18:7). The Father wants our hearts to bend to him—persistence in prayer makes that happen. No matter how bleak a situation looks, our Father wants us to continue to take our heart cries to him.
No matter how bleak a situation looks, our Father wants us to continue to take our heart cries to him. Click To Tweet
  • Pray boldly. God also wants us to pray beyond our reach. Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9). Big, bold prayers are statements of our big, bold faith in our God who can do the impossible (Matthew 19:26). Last year I had a HUGE prayer need relating to the restoration of a relationship. Things looked bleak, and I had about resigned myself to a negative outcome. But then one day I saw a wooden sign that said “pray big.” So I bought that sign and kept approaching God boldly with my prayers. A couple months later in a series of the miraculous, the relationship was restored. Don’t pray small: pray big.Don't pray small_ pray big..png
Don't pray small: pray big. Click To Tweet
  • Pray with faith. When Jesus healed a boy from demons after the disciples had failed, he said that we can move mountains if we have faith as small as a mustard seed (Matthew 17:14-21). Faith is belief and trust in a God who has created and sustained all living things. We need not trust in the miracle; we simply have to believe God can do the miracle. One of my life verses is Matthew 19:26: “With man this is impossible, but all things are possible with God.” We simply need to believe that God can move that mountain.
We need not trust in the miracle; we simply have to believe God can do the miracle. Click To Tweet

I do not pray aloud on street corners in my little town; I pray silently for whatever God puts within my eyesight. And I’ve been privileged to see marriages saved, sick people healed, and hearts moved to faith. Jesus prayed, so I do, too.

Janet gold at rock wall.jpg

Janet Holm McHenry is a speaker and the author of 23 books, including the best-selling PrayerWalk and her newest book, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus: What He Prayed and How It Will Change Your Life Today (Bethany House, June 5 release). A former educator, she lives in the Sierra Valley in northeastern California, where she prayerwalks for her town and where she taught high school English. Featured in Health, Family Circle and First magazines for her prayerwalking, Janet is convinced that prayer is the best problem-solving strategy.

 The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus is the only comprehensive guide to the prayer life of Jesus. It is an engaging, vivid journey through Jesus’ prayers, as well as his teachings on prayer and his prayer practices. With reflection questions for small groups, it is available at local bookstores and online sources.

https://www.facebook.com/JanetMcHenryAuthor/

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proverbs-15

When my children were small and learning to talk, I delighted in the sound of their voices and each sweetly expressed syllable. Heather spoke with a high-pitched, tinkling voice while the boys—especially Connor—had unusually deep, raspy voices for such young children.

I met each simple request, exclamation, and phrase with keen interest and excitement. I’d lean nearer to hear the words of my precious ones, wondering what amusing little speeches might leave their lips.

In the same way, a believer’s prayers fill God’s heart with joy. Scripture even tells us that “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight.” (Proverbs 15:8 NIV)

Though written directly to the people of Israel, God extended His promises to those who claim Christ as savior. As Christians, we can look to the truth of Proverbs 15:8 to encourage us in our practice of prayer.

At the time of the Old Testament writings, a sacrifice entailed any number of complicated preparations of meats, grains, or other items presented to God in an attempt to gain God’s favor and direct attention to the needs of His people. Sacrifice required a lot of work!

Prayer? Communing with God? That was—and is—all about relationship. Prayer is a heavenly invitation from the King to meet Him in the throne room where we can marvel at His beauty, find safety in His presence, and express the deepest part of ourselves to a Father who bends close—leaning ever nearer to capture each word in His memory.

Unlike an earthly parent who may listen half-heartedly to her tween’s dramatic relaying of the latest sixth-grade drama in the lunch room and respond with a noncommittal, “Uh huh. Really?” our Abba Father delights in the times we set aside to pray…to thank…to request…to worship.

And during those moments—whether we’re joyful or depressed, content or needy, subdued or expressive—we have the Maker completely to ourselves. Oh, the beauty of being able to pray!

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“The great battle of our spiritual lives is ‘Will you believe?’  It is not, ‘Will you try harder?’ or ‘Can you make yourself Worthy?’  It is squarely a matter of believing that God will do what only he can do.”

-Jim Cymbala

I’ve read about Chrissy.  Raised as a pastor’s daughter in a loving home, she deserted her faith and family.  For two years, Chrissy’s parents lived a nightmare–unsure their beloved child was safe or warm–and wondering  if she would ever return home.

One evening, Pastor Cymbala asked his congregation to intercede on Chrissy’s behalf.  And those gathered at church that night lifted their voices to heaven beseeching the heavenly Father to rescue one who had been stolen.  Two days later, the lost daughter knocked on her father’s door.  She was finally home.

This story is an incredible encouragement to me.  It gives me hope for my own prodigal.

While he wasn’t born into a pastor’s family, our prodigal’s story began in a Christian home.  We prayed over our child, dedicated him to the Lord, and read scripture together.  His gentle spirit responded to God’s and this precious blonde haired, blue eyed child invited Jesus to be his savior when he was almost five years old.

Our shy little boy told other children about Jesus…raced to the car in his red AWANA vest eager to go to church…and began growing in his own faith.  Several years later, one life altering moment shattered everything in Benjamin’s life.  Unaware of the his pain, my husband and I were confused by the sudden change in Ben’s personality and choices.

This was the moment that opened the door and allowed the enemy access.  He stole one who rightfully belongs to God.

Since then, I have battled on myknees.  I have begged God to loose the chains…to “replace the heart of stone”…to return our prodigal to us.  Still, the enemy holds fast–reluctant to give up the child we claimed for Christ before he was ever born.  But I am convinced there is more to this story…that God has a better plan for Ben…that one day God will replace the deadness in my boy’s eyes with the light of joy and that words of praise will flow from the lips of the son who now utters words that deny His power.

As my brothers and sisters in Christ, can I be vulnerable with you?  After not having seen Benjamin for several weeks, yesterday we stopped by the apartment where he is staying.  We stood awkwardly in the doorway…invited him to dinner…asked about his plans.

Giving each of us a hug he quietly asked, “Can you please leave?”

Reluctantly walking down the rickety iron steps, I imagined our unspoken conversation.

Why are you here?  Don’t you realize I’ve cut you out of my life?                                                                                                     

Yes, son, but we love you just as God does–without condition.

I feel so alone in this life.  teddy-828506_640                                                                                                                                                           

You don’t need to walk this road alone.  We are here–and there is one whose loving presence is ever-constant. Call out to Him, my son.  He will never leave you or forsake you!  

But the words were never spoken and my son sleeps on the floor of a one room apartment.  What does he eat?  Is he safe?  And I wake during the sleeping hours to pray.

And today I follow Jim Cymbala’s example.  Friends–in all humility can I lay my heartache before you?  Would you please pray for Benjamin?  I believe he is at a critical juncture and I am pleading with God that in his mercy He will do a work in Ben’s life..that he will set the prisoner free…that he will rescue that which has been lost.

If we share in the same journey, would you also gift me with the opportunity to pray for your prodigal?  Let’s pray our prodigals home!

Scripture for Reflection

Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear to dull to hear.  (Isaiah 59:1)

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  (Isaiah 40:30-31)

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. (Isaiah 42:3)

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.  (Zephaniah 3:17)

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God shapes the world by prayer.  Prayers are deathless.  The lips that uttered them may be closed in death, the heart that that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them.  Prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them; outlive a generation, outlive an age, outlive a world.  –E.M. Bounds

If you have a share in a story like mine, you understand the pain of loving a prodigal.  Your prodigal might be a spouse, a parent–or, like so many, a treasured and precious child. I know my experience is far from singular.

The Christian speaker’s adult child has turned from God to alcohol….the Sunday School teacher’s son glares at the clock as the passing of each day reminds him the iron bars are a visual representation of  choices that have bound him to more than this place…the adopted child raised “in the fear and admonition of The Lord” lives for the next high…and, for at least the last four years my own son has walked a painful path–his soul searching for fulfillment in a lifestyle devoid of the God he trusted as an innocent boy.

And that painful path?  He may not realize it….or may even resent it–but, my heart has been with him the entire time.  Like Mary, I feel “as if a sword had pierced my own soul”.  But, I refuse to give up the fight for this is “not a battle against flesh and blood…but against the powers of this dark world”.

Above all, I know that neither your prodigal nor mine wanders alone.  In the dead of the night…when the lion of this world prowls about seeking to satisfy his gluttonous hunger, the Lion of Judah stands strong and vigilant–the eternal victor who “will contend with those contend with you, and your children I will save”.

Be encouraged, Friend, and continue to pray on behalf of those who refuse to pray for themselves.  If you do not have a prodigal in your life, then pray–without judging–for someone who does.

Scripture for Reflection

Ephesians 1:18-19

John 16:33

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