Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sure I'll pray for you. But...

Prayer hasn't been one of my strongest attributes.

I get a lot of prayer requests - so many people are hurting, whether physically, mentally or spiritually, or some combination of those. I have to admit: I get lazy sometimes. I'll say some quick "meet all their needs" prayer, without really listening to the Holy Spirit's prompting, and then not think about it again. I know God knows what each person needs, but when I say I'm going to pray about something, I should do it, wholeheartedly.

So I made some changes recently.

It's so easy to get into the habit of writing down the prayer requests from people and simply asking God to answer their specific request. Would that be wrong? No. It's what they asked for. But I find lately that it isn't enough. Sometimes, what someone is asking for isn't what they really need. If you ask for healing in your body, I may also pray for healing in your spirit. If you ask for success in your job, I may also pray for a deeper relationship with the Father so that the success of this world is not what you seek after. If you ask for clarity, I may also pray that you will trust God has a plan and wants you to be a part of it. If you ask for your circumstances to be changed, I may also pray that you be changed from the inside out and that you become a catalyst to change your environment. "We cry out to God and ask Him to heal our land, to heal our circumstances, to heal our finances. But before He can do any of that, He must heal our hearts." -Adam Cooke

Let me clarify that I do not suggest to know what someone needs.
But the Holy Spirit does. And it's important to remember to listen for His guidance as we pray, both for ourselves and for others.

Sometimes, it would bother me when I would hear (or see online) one ask for prayer, and another respond, "I prayed for you", or my favorite "Done". Now that done is not a "consider it done" but a "I did, now on to my next task". Then I remembered, I do that. When we ask, we should continue to ask, like this, or like this. Paul tell us to pray continually.

I was at work a couple of weeks ago and I had just turned on some music. A song I hadn't heard in a while came on called Pray by Kendall Payne. I remember this song challenging me when I first heard it. Right after it started, I got a text message:
As I listened to the words of the song, I prayed for my friend. It didn't matter that I didn't know what they needed. It didn't matter that I wasn't with them to help them get through whatever they were experiencing. They didn't need me. They needed a touch from the Father. So I prayed. And I kept praying.

Check out these words.
by Kendall Payne

I will pray for you now, for you have been my faithful friends
While the road we walk is difficult indeed
I couldn't not ask for more than what you've already been
Only that you would say these prayers for me

May your heart break enough that compassion enters in
May your strength all be spent upon the weak
All the castles and crowns you build and place upon your head
May they all fall, come crashing down around your feet

May you find every step to be harder than the last
So your character grows greater every stride
May your company be of human insignificance
May your weakness be your only source of pride

What you do unto others may it all be done to you
May you meet the One who made us
And see Him smile when life is through

May your blessings be many but not what you hoped they'd be
And when you look upon the broken
May mercy show you what you could not see

May you never be sure of any plans you desire
But you'd learn to trust the plan He has for you
May your passions be tried and tested in the holy fire
May you fight with all your life for what is true

I have prayed for you now all my dear and faithful friends
But what I wish is more than I could ever speak
As the way wanders on I'll long to see you once again
Until then, would you pray these prayers for me?

Oh, that you would pray for me

So, go ahead. Ask me to pray for you.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Conquering Your Greatest Fear

If someone asks you the question...
What is your greatest fear?
... what goes through your mind?

At a women's ministry gathering not long ago, we got into small groups and shared our greatest fears with each other, then pray. While it was a bit uncomfortable, I willingly shared my greatest fear, as did the other 4 people in our little circle. We then prayed to release those fears to God and live a fearless life.

We gathered, we prayed, some were set free from those fears, some of which were irrational, some were caused by deep wounds, some were new fears, brought on by recent events.

Now here's where my head took over. As I released my greatest fear (which was being alone - not in a "someone's gonna get me" kind of way, but in a "growing old and having no one to love on this earth" kind of way) and laid it at the foot of the cross, it occurred to me that the concept of something being greatest indicates that it's not the only, but just the biggest or scariest or most significant. That means there are other fears.

The beauty in conquering your greatest fear is that there is a new greatest fear to be conquered.

And it becomes easier.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Who am I?

I needed some encouragement this morning. I have sent this to many people in the past to encourage them. Today, I'm going to remember that God wrote these words for me, too.

* I am born again…through the living and enduring word of God. (1 Peter 1:23)
* I am a child of God. (John 1:12)
* I am saved by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
* I am loved by God and He gave his one and only Son for me. (John 3:16)
* I am a new creation in Christ; the old has gone and the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
* I have peace with God. (Romans 5:1)
* The Holy Spirit lives in me. (1 Corinthians 3:16)
* I have access to God's wisdom. (James 1:5)
* I am helped by God. (Hebrews 4:16)
* I am reconciled to God. (Romans 5:11)
* I am not condemned by God. (Romans 8:1)
* I am justified. (Romans 5:1)
* I have Christ's righteousness. (Romans 5:19; 2 Corinthians 5:21)
* I am Christ's ambassador. (2 Corinthians 5:20)
* I am completely forgiven. (Colossians 1:14)
* I am tenderly loved by God. (Jeremiah 31:3)
* I am the sweet fragrance of Christ to God. (2 Corinthians 2:15)
* I am a temple in which God dwells. (1 Corinthians 3:16)
* I am blameless and beyond reproach. (Colossians 1:22)
* I am the salt of the earth. (Matthew 5:13)
* I am the light of the world. (Matthew 5:14)
* I am a branch on Christ's vine. (John 15:1,5)
* I am Christ's friend. (John 15:5)
* I am chosen by Christ to bear fruit. (John 15:16)
* I am a joint heir with Christ, sharing His inheritance with Him. (Romans 8:17)
* I am united to the Lord, one spirit with Him. (1 Corinthians 6:17)
* I am a member of Christ's body. (1 Corinthians 12:27)
* I am a saint. (Ephesians 1:1)
* I am hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)
* I am chosen by God, holy and dearly loved. (Colossians 3:12)
* I am a child of the light. (1 Thessalonians 5:5)
* I am holy, and I share in God's heavenly calling. (Hebrews 3:1)
* I am sanctified. (Hebrews 2:11)
* I am one of God's living stones, being built up in Christ as a spiritual house. (1 Peter 2:5)
* I am a member of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession and created to sing His praises. (1 Peter 2:9-10)
* I am firmly rooted and built up in Christ. (Colossians 2:7)
* I am born of God, and the evil one cannot touch me. (1 John 5:18)
* I have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)
* I may approach God with boldness, freedom, and confidence. (Ephesians 3:12)
* I have been rescued from Satan's domain and transferred into the kingdom of Christ. (Colossians 1:13)
* I have been made complete in Christ. (Colossians 2:10)
* I have been given a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. (2 Timothy 1:7)
* I have been given great and precious promises by God. (2 Peter 1:4)
* My needs are met by God. (Philippians 4:19)
* I am a prince (princess) in God's kingdom. (John 1:12; 1 Timothy 6:15)
* I have been bought with a price, and I belong to God. (1 Corinthians 6:19,20)
* I have been adopted as God's child. (Ephesians 1:5)
* I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 2:18)
* I am assured that all things are working together for good. (Romans 8:28)
* I am free from any condemning charges against me. (Romans 8:31f)
* I cannot be separated from the love of God. (Romans 8:35f)
* I have been established, anointed, and sealed by God. (2 Corinthians 1:21,22)
* I am confident that the good work that God has begun in me will be perfected. (Philippians 1:6)
* I am a citizen of heaven. (Philippians 3:20)
* I am a personal witness of Christ's. (Acts 1:8)
* I am God's coworker. (2 Corinthians 6:1, 1 Corinthians 3:9)
* I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm. (Ephesians 2:6)
* I am God's workmanship. (Ephesians 2:10)
* I can do all things through Christ, who gives me the strength I need. (Philippians 4:13)

Friday, May 1, 2009


A few days ago I was having a rough day. I often feel a bit overwhelmed at the office. Too many things to do, not enough time to do them. Not uncommon for most people I guess.

This particular day, though, the pressure was mounting. It had been a week of getting very little accomplished. I did something I don't do often. I reached out and asked for prayer. Then the words came across my screen:
Be still and listen.
It was a gentle reminder that I was trying to get it all done in my own power. Later that day, I was so distracted I wasn't getting anything done, so I took my Bible outside to read. It was a beautiful day so I found a picnic table and opened the Book. It fell open to Isaiah 43 (one of my favorites, so it's no wonder it opened right to it). I began to read and the wind picked up. This was not a nice spring breeze. This was 30 mph gusts.

I sat there as long as I could, protecting the words on the page from the wind and the sun. In the midst of the chaos of the wind turning the pages, people running around and my water bottle floating across the table, I heard that still small voice in my head saying:
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
That's all that really matters. Not who I am or what I've accomplished, but Whose I am. Even in the midst of all the noise that wind brings with it, God's whisper can be heard when we are still.