Tag Archives: prayer

praying for blessings

blessings as tears .001

Seems life has been like riding a rollercoaster the last few months.
Up . . . Down . . . Twists . . . Turns . . . Upside-down . . . then, right side-up.
Catch my breath . . . then hold on for the ride.
I pray.  I continue to pray for
peace . . . comfort . . . healing . . . clarity . . . relationships . . . restoration . . . fear to leave . . . understanding . . . patience
  . . . protection . . . suffering to cease . . . 
I know God hears each word I’ve spoken . . . But today, my heart asks . . .But what tone does God hear in your voice?

Does He hear the same tones that I hear in the voices of others?
The tone in my own voice as I speak?
You know the ones that fuel all the negative emotions.
Of course, He does.
He hears the discontent . . . grumbling . . . complaining . . . whining . . . disappointment . . . self-righteousness . . . 
anger . . . muttering . . . indignation . . . displeasure . . . doubt . . . betrayal
I know He hears each word  and that He knows my every need . . .
and today, He reminded me that often times I let my fear take the joy away.
So today, I’m not white-knuckled or feeling my stomach in my throat, or letting out a blood curdling scream as I ride the rollercoaster.  This time, I am facing those fears that want to steal the joy away from me and seeing the trials as Mercy in disguise.
Blessings
by Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise


2015

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Another year has come to a close.  In closing this chapter, the reflections of this past year are full of many blessings.  Blessings from wonderous new beginnings, new joys in the journey, steps toward dreams coming to fruition . . .  all of which draw us closer to God.  And this year has also been marked with disappointments, hurts, confusions, rejections . . .  these too have been blessings which draw us closer to God.  I put these high moments and these low moments in the vault of past Grace.  Knowing that each of these events are part of His plan to grow me, to teach me, to use me.

So as this new year begins today, as this next chapter opens up clean before me, I want to come with a teachable spirit.  I look forward to the future with faith and confidence that future Grace goes before me.  

My prayer for this new year is to not walk clinging to old ways, but to walk each day seeking His face with an open mind and an open heart.

Lord, I need You!! Renew my mind, continue to change my life. By testing, give me discernment what is good and acceptable and perfect…Give me Your will. 

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2


revival

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2 Chronicles 7

The call for revival is echoing throughout our churches and our communities.  With the distorted, upside-down view of our society and culture, so many people are calling out for the “bad to be fixed.”  The “bad,” – you know the ones. Those with the “messed-up” values, those “down-right wicked” people, those “pathetic lost souls”. . .  You know . . . THEM!  

I’ve seen a lot of finger-pointing, fist-pumping, Bible-waving going on in the world around me.  And yes, I find myself guilty of the same.  If not in my actions, for sure in my thoughts.  Today was a turning point for me.  Our pastor, Gregg Matte, has been teaching a series called “Words with Friends” and today’s word is REVIVAL.

How many times have I heard the scripture from 2 Chronicles and said yes that’s what “we” need to do and then things are going to have to get better.  So what’s wrong with that?  The problem is for all my life I’ve focused only on that very familiar verse 14 . . . and My people who are called by My name humble themselves, pray and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.  

Go back and read the verse in the whole context and see the overwhelming sense of God’s presence.  That’s where this verse has taken me today.  It’s not the “we” or the “them” . . .  it’s me.  Revival has to begin with me.

I have to humble myself and pray.  Pray . . .  not finger-point at “them” but look inward.

I have to seek His face and turn from my own sin.  Confess . . .  not coddle my own sin.

The healing needs to start in my own heart.  Revival must start in my heart.

And so it must be with each of us.

Revival:  The church awake.  Lost saved.  Society changed.   ~Gregg Matte

And then we can come and see . . .  Come and see what God has done.  

 


meet me in the timelessness

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 Life has different stages of waiting.

There is that gnawing demand on the mind as we wait.

It seems like so much of time we are sitting in a waiting room – that place where I tend to become frustrated with inefficiency and inaction.  With myself, with others.  And yes, at times . . .  even God.

Some of the times of waiting are in anticipation of something good happening – the birth of a new little baby.  The excitement of looking towards starting a new chapter in life.

Some times it is that vast area of waiting for God’s timing in a specific situation or circumstance in my life, the lives of my family, of my friends.

Then there is the  waiting room where I kneel praying for the Prodigal.  It’s often a very lonely place where well-meaning people seem to slip in and out of as time wears on.  It is a seemingly ending vastness of time ticking away – time slipping away.

And yet another sweet reminder comes that God meets me in the timelessness . . . 

and in that time of waiting, He continues to bless me with strength, and joy, and power.

But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
—Micah 7:7

 

Wait patiently with Me while I bless you. Don’t rush into My Presence with time-consciousness gnawing at your mind. I dwell in timelessness: I am, I was, I will always be. For you, time is a protection; you’re a frail creature who can handle only twenty-four-hour segments of life. Time can also be a tyrant, ticking away relentlessly in your mind. Learn to master time, or it will be your master.

Though you are a time-bound creature, seek to meet Me in timelessness. As you focus on My Presence, the demands of time and tasks will diminish. I will bless you and keep you, making My Face shine upon you graciously, giving you Peace.
(from Jesus Calling)

 


You promised!

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First the clouds started rolling in from the west . . . then the winds picked up . . . followed by the spring rains.

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and then the sky poured out a double rainbow . . .

Our reminder of His Promise . . .

 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between Me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all future generations: I have placed My bow in the clouds, and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.
Genesis 9:12-13

and a reminder to pray His promises. . .

Your promises build my faith and give me hope.
They help me remember your kindness and give me strength to go on.
Your Word makes it clear that Your promises can be trusted:
“God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man that He should change
 his mind.  Does He speak and then not act.  Does He promise and not fulfill?”
You keep your promises!
Because You are absolutely perfect, it is impossible for You to lie.
Your Word is filled with promises, I want to pray again and again . . .
You tell me to have faith when I pray . . . 

And the rain fell to the earth that spring day last weekend.   And just as the cleansing rains fell to saturate the ground, to nurture the earth – making it bud and bloom before cycling back to the heavens again . . .

I can rely on your Word because you are reliable.
You said about your Word,
‘It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I
desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it’ Isaiah 55:11

Thank You that I can rely on your Word because You are reliable.


helpless

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Helpless was the cry I heard. The other day I spent a few hours with my sweet teaching partner and her precious six-week old baby boy.  When she answered the door, the sounds of her precious little one’s petitions were crying out.  Readily taking him into my arms, I thought about how this little infant couldn’t tell his momma exactly what he wanted or needed at that moment.  He was calling out the best way he knew how.  All he could do was cry, but we understood his demonstration of need.  His helplessness, his dependence touched this mother’s heart.  

So it is with our Father. My helplessness, my dependence on Him is what He desires of me.

So many times I feel helpless in my heart, as I cry out to Him.  It seems that at times I don’t even know what to pray. The words are frozen on my lips.  It’s in those times of helplessness that my heart calls out best to my Abba Father.  My prayers and my helplessness go hand in hand to the One who knows me.  The helplessness of my heart is heard even if I can’t say a word out loud.  He hears and He listens to my heart as I call out to His heart, even in the silence.

He hears today the prayers of this mother’s heart in its helplessness.  The prayer that is stronger than the loudest cry.

Who do I have in heaven but You?
And I desire nothing on earth but You.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart,
my portion forever.
Psalm 73:25-26


red means stop

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Several Sundays ago, our pastor challenged us to look at red lights in a different way.  Getting around Houston, red lights are often considered an annoyance, an inconvenience. . . one more thing to slow us down, to keep us from keeping the pace of going with the flow. Instead we’d rather keep that accelerator pressed down all the time. In fact, I know I’ve even tried to time my speed so that I can make a line of green lights without ever having to stop. It’s GO. GO. GO.

On that Sunday, I was reminded that red lights are intentional.  They keep us from mass confusion, control our speed and create a sense of order.  So why is it that we don’t want to slow down?  Why don’t we want to take the time to stop, especially when it comes to finding time with our Creator?

It’s in those moments of STOP, those quiet moments of being still, my Father gets my attention, not just my mind, but most importantly – my heart.  It’s in those moments, He cherishes time with menot just the reverse.  He puts those red stop light moments in my path intentionally.  I have to choose to stop, to choose to be with Him.  So that He can soothe my heart, show me His Love, and reveal His graciousness and mercy to me. He can show me the prompting of His Will for me.  Then by faith, I can be ready to “go” when God sends me.

Seek the Lord while He may be found;
call to Him while He is near.
Isaiah 55:6

Are you intentionally looking for the red stop light moments in your life? 


peace beyond understanding

from ann voskamp ~ a holy experience

photo from Ann Voskamp ~ a holy experience

 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4: 6-7

Shalom – Hebrew for Peace.
A study of Hebrew words reveals meaning beyond their spoken pronunciation. Each Hebrew word conveys feeling, intent and emotion.
Shalom is more than just simply peace.
It is complete Peace – contentment, completeness, wholeness, well-being and harmony.

The Shalom that can only come from Him who created and put all things into place.

Experiencing this peace – this Shalom – came this past weekend.  It was more than just the intimate, serene outdoor wedding setting.  Even more than the beautiful sun-filled, blue skies that filled the Austin Hill Country.  Yes, it was even more than friends and family that gathered to share in the Joy of the joining of the oldest son, C and his bride as one in marriage.

This Shalom was the Peace that could only come from fervent prayers asking for the Peace of God that goes beyond my mind and heart’s understanding.  

During the weeks before the wedding, many nights of sleep were interrupted by a bad dream night after night. Only this wasn’t really a dream, it was like a movie replaying in my mind the deep wounds from venomous words and divisive actions at another such wedding scene eight years ago.  There was no Shalom.

Knowing that unlike at the beautiful wedding of daughter K a little more than a year ago, this time the wall of space and people would not be there to protect the Joy my heart desired for this occasion.  With each replaying of this late night “movie,” an overwhelming sense of unrest would stir in my heart because I did not want anything to take the Joy away from this wedding day either.

In the dark of those nights, I would call out in my heart to my Abba Father, Yahweh.  His Peace was always present with me there in the dark, night after night after night.  And peaceful sleep would soon return.

Each morning after, I would wake wondering,
Was this some sort of spiritual attack? 
A portent of possible pending drama? 
Something designed to take the joy from this time?

Sharing these thoughts with my dear friend L, the weeks and days before the wedding found us praying together.  We prayed for Peace that would transcend, that would eclipse, that would go so far beyond what my mind and heart could understand.  We prayed for that Complete Peace, His Shalom.

Last Saturday, the big day had finally arrived!  The venue was absolutely serene.  Despite earlier reports of rain coming in with our first “big” cool front, the weather was beautiful.  Skies were blue and the sun was shining through the shadows of the massive oak trees.  There was even a herd of Longhorns nonchalantly greeting the guests as we drove through the ranch gates.  Was this the peace I had prayed for?  No.

As we were walking up the stone walk towards the early arriving family members and a few other guests, I heard a still, small voice say to me . . .

“The Peace you’ve prayed for is here, He goes before you.”

It was in that moment, I understood.  That movie that had been playing over and over in my head in the nights before had been a reminder to me that in the dark, in those uncertain times of my life, His Shalom, His Complete Peace has never been absent from me. 

Now instead of those anxious thoughts, an overwhelming sense of Peace washed over me – the assurance His Presence walks every step of the way with me.  I have that Peace that surpassed all my understanding.  The Prince of Peace is guarding my mind and my heart!


start to a new week

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Yesterday the calendar said “first day of autumn.” Typically, here in Houston that doesn’t mean too terribly much.  But this past weekend brought us some nice changes.  Let’s see, we had a couple of days of really good, soaking rain that we really have needed in this time of drought.  And that was followed by the ushering of some cool, fresh air.  The change was definitely welcomed!  ‘Now if only the start of my work week would bring some change’ was my prayer as I went to sleep last night.

So today was the start to another week of teaching middle-schoolers with this year’s crop, so far seeming be a ‘bit of a challenge‘.  This morning when the alarm went off, my hand hit the snooze button, trying to put off the inevitable.  But when I realized this wasn’t a morning I could sleep in a little, I had to put myself into high gear when I remembered I had an early meeting before school started this morning.

Sadly, I short-changed myself spending some quality time with my Creator before starting my day. But just when I was bustling around,  getting off on the ‘short’ foot, my sweet husband opened the balcony door and called me to just take a moment to look at the sunrise.  What a gift He gave to me this morning.

A beautiful reminder – that no matter what the day before me may have in store, no matter what the challenges may be, He always goes before me.

The Lord is good,
A stronghold in the day of trouble;
And He knows those who trust in Him.
Nahum 1:7


hope in things not seen

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Hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees?

But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.

In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings.
Romans 8: 24-26

I hope in things not seen.  At the times when my words feel inadequate, I’m not left to myself.  John 14:26 promises the Counselor helps me in my weaknesses, in my inadequacies.  When I am weak, He is strong.  

I pray with waiting expectation, not in a state of limbo.  In Hebrew, wait’ comes from a word meaning ‘to bind together’ and figuratively means ‘to expect.

I wait.

Not in fear, not in despair.

My hope is in God and I wait expectantly for Him to intervene in His time, in His way.  And in the wait…
I grow closer to Him with the bonds of Love.


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