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Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

dogwood2015c_edited-1I know that weariness – when I cannot see how the answer to the prayer will ever work its way – but I do know that it is in the wait of that prayer sent out where we grow closer to Him, where we really come to know Him face-to-face . . . . because sometimes that is what it takes to make us look Him in the face – to build that intimacy, that relationship. Sometimes, that prayer sent out isn’t about us. Sometimes it is about someone we love, someone God gave us either through the happenstance of birth or path-crossing.

snow2015c_edited-2The wait of a prayer sent out – sometimes it’s the hardest place to be. It feels sometimes like those bitter cold ice storms that came encasing every branch and hope bud – but instead of an ice storm and a tree – it’s uncontrollable challenges that are like the ice – and it feels as though the very soul of us are encased, frozen, stalled like those tree branches and limbs.

Though the branches and limbs are encased in a bitter winter, the faith and hope roots – the reach deep.

Despite the startling discomfort of the winter of a challenge – in the wait of a prayer sent out, it’s the place where our souls have the ability to become who they were designed to be! It is a place where God-beautiful things grow!

dogwoodtree2015_edited-1

“Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life” (James 1:12, The Message)

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A Seed Emerging Fragile (Click here)

I confess – I enjoy a front row seat to how these boys communicate to each other in this house of mine. Their tag-team humor, their eye-popping honesty to each other – sometimes it un-nerves me. Other times it humors me beyond measure. At times, I just want to pack up my chair and exit. Every now and then, it just wows me.

My soldier-son, he went to visit my people in Louisville. He admired the girls there. Thought he might find himself a Louisville girl.

“That’s what your dad did,” I quipped. He decided maybe he really shouldn’t find himself a Louisville girl. Those are the one-on-one, light-hearted conversations.

Then there’s the two on one talking. A brother talking about the challenges of working at a camp, a worker spitting on the floor he’s mopping, wondering if leadership realizes all the trees he’s cut down, the grounds he’s mowed and how this son is frustrated with hypocrisy but wanting to live faith.

Moments like those are sometimes the “wind-whipping- moments, when either because of our choices or others choices, we are “tromped, hoof pressed, storm weathered pressed leaf pressed, water pressed, gravity pressed,into soil blackness”

“Get used to it,” said the soldier son. “That’s life.” He paused and a few seconds later added, “Pray about it.”

We looked at him, not sure how serious he was taking this conversation. This son who rolled his eyes every time I said, “Pray about it.” This son who wasn’t sure how to handle the Prayer for a Solder son I sent him last September.

The conversation continued. In the midst of life’s challenges, living faith came in the form of a crying camper whose walking stick was broken by a bullying camper and how this joyful son struggling with challenges that threatened to distract him from what he considered his real mission – showing God’s love to these campers – searched for another stick from the stick pile, crafted it into something awesome and gifted it to the camper or how he carried a camper with a twisted ankle to the nurse and then carried him back to the cabin.

“They say they want to be like me,” he said about these campers.

That is where “the core of itself remembers light and flimsy roots push upward emerging fragile. . . reaching ever light upward.”

That’s life, I thought, the good fruit of life, that is. Where walking faith rises above the challenges like cranberries in the water in the harvest.

Soldier Son says from the kitchen, “Pray about it.”

And we both look at him, “Are you mocking us?”

And he repeats, “Pray about it. I’m serious.”

And I am just overwhelmed at both of them, these seeds emerging fragile, growing faith, using that faith, no matter how imperfectly, despite real or imagined challenges, to live hope in an imperfect world.

They both seemed so fragile to me this weekend, these young men 6 ft 3 and 6 ft 5. God was reminding me that no matter how fragile they seem in the challenges they face. No matter how they are just young men, seedlings and saplings on so many levels, God’s word, that faith seed within them, is more mighty, more strong, more than enough to grow them out of these fragile times until they are to the world what an oak tree is to an acorn –

because God is just that big, that powerful, that faithful to us.

 

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A prayer is a journey released.

I believe

That when you pray for other people, that prayer goes on a journey,

And like all journeys, come back home.

Prayer returned home.

Come back home in the manner it was released – with either faith, hope and love or faithless, hopeless and loveless.

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:36)

I remember praying healing for someone who had experienced a life-threatening injury

And through the journey of the prayer

Over months and months

That healing prayer came back to heal us of secondary infertility.

“I exhort therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1).

 Over the last few months, our family has been praying

For Annie to return, to come home  (see this post) – praying with faith, hope and love.

While we prayed for Annie, we prayed for a son (see this post), prayed with faith, hope and love – For this son to sell out to Jesus.

This son who couldn’t wait to leave home, busted out of home when he graduated from high school last year, signed up for the reserves and has become a better man, Friday night, he said, “It’s come my time to find God and come home.” He didn’t just say it to me; he said it on Facebook, kind of like he needed to say it to the world.

Prayer sent out on a journey returned home.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 6: 30).

24 hours later, Annie came home, too. We were in our car, returning from a far-away wedding, celebrating a heart-friend’s daughter’s marriage, a marriage beginning God-centered, faith-centered – and I wanted to dance, to celebrate God’s amazing love, His never-give-up-ness with this answered prayer returned home from its journey.

“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven”(Psalm 107:28-30).

 Praying is not a stagnant action. A prayer is a journey released, returning home returning home in the manner released. Unasked for. Unexpected.

480) The daily, familiar blessings, like the cardinals, mockingbirds, dove calls
481) Squirrels rummaging through the hay outside my work window
482) Strawberry, Watermelon and lemonade icy smoothy
483) “You have made me glad. I’ll say of the Lord you are my shield, my strength, my portion deliver, My shelter, Strong Tower, My very Present Help in time of need” (Made Me Glad, Hillsong) – a song in my heart whether at my work desk, in my car, my kitchen, or in a hammock under my tree – Releasing that song in my heart – no one else could hear it – but me and God!
484) Boys worn out from swimming, the evidence of sunshine on their cheeks.
485) A date day with my husband, with a heart-friend’s daughter’s wedding.
486) Lunch at the Cheesecake Factory – my favorite Club Sandwich and a cup of coffee.
487) Walking in a real mall, window shopping and some real shopping
488) My husband gifting me with Tocca’s Stella perfume which I have wanted since January.
489) Good haircuts on my boys – I don’t know why but a good haircut makes me feel like everything is on the right track.
490) My littlest guy coming up, wrapping me in a hug, “I love you, Mom.”
491) Laughing with my new senior son! He’s going to be a camp counselor-in-training. No flirting allowed. I tried coaching him to say, “I’m here to serve Jesus. Please respect my decision” when girls hit on him. Instead of repeating after me, he said, “Send me your number. I’ll call you when camp is over” – I couldn’t stop laughing because, while he has great lines, he’s not a smooth, shallow pick-up guy. He is so full of the Joy of the Lord.
492) Wheat fields, swaying in a cool 78 degree breeze
493) My camera through which I have learned to live more fully where I am – we arrived at the South Union Shaker Village wedding site early taking in detail in an intentional way, not a skimmed-over-way.
494) Hugs from dear friends not seen enough
495) new love consecrated in marriage, made one through the Holy Spirit – and the couple inviting God into their union knowingly, whole-heartedly, eyes wide open.
496) My sons jeep pulling into the driveway.
497) Brother’s smiling, not saying but actions speaking loudly, welcoming a brother home.
498) Showing my neighbor’s 4 year old how to draw cats on the sidewalk with the sidewalk chalk and little girls in polka dot dresses.
499) People caring enough to pray, to connect, to have relationship – people caring enough to send their prayers on a journey.
500) Nikki at Simply Striving who read “Bicycling with Ava” to her son and she telling me he asked to hear it again. I’m still smiling!
501) Annie coming home!
502) Understanding that the coming home is just the beginning of another journey.

The Bride Arrived in a Red Car

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To me blogging is more than faithful readers. It is about support, encouragement, relationship – and the most thread that ties us all together is the Father’s thread – a binding thread of Faith, Hope and Love.

We share our stories, sharing our stepping stones – and our time off-blog through prayer.

Sometimes I wonder if we are all Word of Affirmation Love Languages who have found a place to hug and be hugged in our love language – where it is welcome and wanted.

I am amazed and awed at the timely messages that speak to my challenge, that cheer me to pull myself out of the deep blue funk I sometimes slip in to, and the messages that call me to accountability – and the ones that have taught me to uncover God’s blessings right on my doorstep daily.

The call to prayer, though – to be intentional in praying for others – to make it real and become a prayer warrior, not a weekend prayer warrior – that, too, is one of the come-alive messages for me this past 2+ years. So many of you have prayed for me in the midst of my challenges. This generosity of prayer has taught me that prayer promises are real and followed-through.

I want to tell you about one prayer warrior, in particular. Patti at PJ’s Prayer Line Her blog is all about praying. . . for anyone who needs it. A while back, in the midst of a great challenge, I reached out privately to her. Her blog allows public and private prayer requests. I was a hurting mama, struggling to love in an unlovable situation. I was learning, too, that God’s answers are sometimes a journey – and she Jesus-Loved me through prayer, a private prayer that I am sharing a portion of now:

Mentally, I am holding hands with you and in prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you for allowing us to come boldly to your throne with our petitions and requests. You see all things that are going on. You see the hurt in this precious mom’s heart . . . .  God you tell us in your Word that as long as We abide in You and Your Words abide in us that we can ask Anything in Your name and it will be done. I am coming to You and pleading the blood of Jesus Christ over this family for this to be done. In Jesus’ Name I pray, AMEN. ~ Patti, at PJ’s Prayer Line

Patti had given me a readership award the other day, one that just invited me to receive. I wanted to acknowledge her sweet gift by letting you know about her place, her safe place to take prayer requests. Her safe place to say, “I need help. Will you pray for me.” She says this readership award is all about “You have kept me on my toes, left comments, advice and tons of encouragement” – but spending time with Patti is more than comments, advice and encouragement. Patti has taught me to be vigilant in praying for others – to be an everyday prayer warrior, not a weekend warrior.

“Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know” (1 Timothy 2:2)

I go by Patti’s place because she serves not just down-home Word of the Lord, but because she is a safe-house for prayer needs, because she is genuine in going to hard-to-reach places with you in prayer – and, for me, her example has taught me how to better pray for others.

Because, you know, prayers can go where sometimes we cannot.

“He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.  Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God”(1 Timothy 2: 4-10)

Patti will join with you in prayer – to become the 2nd or 3rd gathered to fight with you, raise holy hands with you.

“When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action” (Matthew 18: 19)

Thanks Patti for the award – but, well, your prayers outshine and out-battle any award. YOU are a blessing.

Friends, if  you ever  have a prayer need – stop by her place. God has given her a great gift!

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Forgiveness tastes salty. Sometimes, unconditional love tastes salty, too. The only thing I know to do when hurt comes, not offense, just hurt – is to call on the Father, maybe sometimes in a Knight in Shining Armor kind of way to save the damsel in me. Because sometimes when hurt comes, love and forgiveness are overwhelmed and need saving, He is the only one who can do it.

Prayer for when Love and Forgiveness feel Overwhelmed by Hurt

“Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with me;
fight against those who fight against me!
Take hold of shield and buckler
and rise for my help!
Draw the spear and javelin
against my pursuers!
Say to my soul,
‘I am your salvation!’”
(Psalm 35: 1-3)

Father, yes, contend against those who contend against me. Champion this damsel in distress. Let me feel your protection from the fight, the battle – you are my salvation. You are the only Knight in Shining Armour who can win this battle. But let your spear and javelin be the spear and javelin of truth that pierces hearts, lancing untruth, prejudice, negativism and applying the healing balm of your spirit.

“Let them be put to shame and dishonor
who seek after my life!
Let them be turned back and disappointed
who devise evil against me!
Let them be like chaff before the wind,
with the angel of the Lord driving them away!
Let their way be dark and slippery,
with the angel of the Lord pursuing them”
(Psalm 35: 4-6).

Father, if there is shame or dishonor, let it be only in the recognition of the truth and love of my heart. When turned back, let it be with peace and rejoicing in truth. Do no let them become like chaff before the wind, let not the angel of the Lord drive them away. Let their way become sure-footed, truth-footed, God-footed, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them for salvation, not destruction. Let your love and forgiveness be meted out by a heart embracing truth and love.

“For without cause they hid their net for me;
without cause they dug a pit for my life.
Let destruction come upon him when he does not know it!
And let the net that he hid ensnare him;
let him fall into it—to his destruction!”
(Psalm 35: 7-8)

The evidence is before you Father, the nets hid, a pit dug – all without merit. Yet, let not destruction come, let not traps ensare into destruction. Let Salvation ensare, captured by your saving grace. Let truth and love permeate  souls Father. Let redemption be found through your ways.

“Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord,
exulting in his salvation.
All my bones shall say,
“O Lord, who is like you,
delivering the poor
from him who is too strong for him,
the poor and needy from him who robs him?”

(Psalm 35: 9-10)

My soul rejoices in you Oh, Lord, exulting in your salvation. All my bones, from my toes upward cry out, “O Lord, who is like you” for you deliver me from situations too strong for me, from situations that seek to rob me, from situations I cannot comprehend.

“Malicious witnesses rise up;
they ask me of things that I do not know.
They repay me evil for good;
my soul is bereft”
(Psalm 35: 11-12)

 I try to love Father – in words, actions and thoughts. But my words, actions and thoughts are mis-interepreted, mis-used or lost in translation.  My soul is bereft: beggared, destitute, left without, impoverished, disinherited, barren, cast off, without breath.

“But I, when they were sick—
I wore sackcloth;
I afflicted myself with fasting;
I prayed with head bowed on my chest.
I went about as though I grieved for my friend or my brother;
as one who laments his mother,
I bowed down in mourning”
(Psalm 35: 13-14)

Oh, father, I can only love the way I know how. Is there more? Is there a better way? I have tried every love language, tried to love your way, through you, sometimes graceless like a dancer with wounded feet, but always full-hearted, a no-holds barred loving.

“But at my stumbling they rejoiced and gathered;
they gathered together against me;
wretches whom I did not know
tore at me without ceasing;
like profane mockers at a feast,
they gnash at me with their teeth”
(Psalm 35: 15-16)

At each wrong foot unintentionally placed, at each word imperfectly chosen, at each moment awkwardly loved – offense was taken, resulting in retribution that tore at me, constantly. Not forgiven or overlooked, like spilled milk at a feast where it is cleaned up and camaraderie continues – but my gracelessness, my imperfection stays center stage, judged, ridiculed, continual bruising and scratching of my heart, no moving forward, no loving forward, hurt that nips and pulls at my soul. Who cares but you, Oh Father, about these wounds? Who but you can heal them?

“How long, O Lord, will you look on?
Rescue me from their destruction,
my precious life from the lions!
I will thank you in the great congregation;
in the mighty throng I will praise you.
Let not those rejoice over me
who are wrongfully my foes,
and let not those wink the eye
who hate me without cause.
For they do not speak peace,
but against those who are quiet in the land
they devise words of deceit.
They open wide their mouths against me;
they say, ‘Aha, Aha!
Our eyes have seen it'”
(Psalm 35: 19-21)

If there is something barring you from interceding on my behalf, open my eyes to it Lord. Is there a reason I am to walk through this Father? Please rescue from this destructive hurt. You have told me I am precious to you, a favored daughter. Rescue me,  Father. I will tell the story of my Knight in Shining Armour who rode out of heaven to lift me up, who saved me, healed blindness, healed embittered hearts, healed wounds – and restored.

Let restoration be true Father. Not a 6-year-old, “I’m sorry” to escape punishment – but real heart changes. Let there be change, deep soul-change: restoration where love flourishes, words embrace, peace flows from a Holy Spirit stream of heart – oh, Father, let us embrace each other inside the circle of your family with loving intent.

“You have seen, O Lord; be not silent!
O Lord, be not far from me!
Awake and rouse yourself for my vindication,
for my cause, my God and my Lord!
Vindicate me, O Lord, my God,
according to your righteousness,
and let them not rejoice over me!
Let them not say in their hearts,
‘Aha, our heart’s desire!’
Let them not say, ‘We have swallowed him up'”
(Psalm 35: 22-25)

Rescue me Father. You know the truth. Champion me, Lord. Ride to my rescue. Be. With.  Me. – be with this heart that strives imperfectly to live your cause, to live as your daughter, to love all your children. Vindicate. Exonerate. Defend me, Oh, Lord. You have said I am your daughter, a daughter of the King, the creator, the great I Am. You have pursued me, told me I belong to you, that every hair on my head is counted, that every tear is collected. In your mighty love for me Father, that is too much for me to comprehend, to big for me to fathom, in your mighty love father, rescue me, redeem me, restore me, save me from this battle.

“Let them be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who rejoice at my calamity!
Let them be clothed with shame and dishonor
who magnify themselves against me!
Let those who delight in my righteousness
shout for joy and be glad
and say evermore,
“Great is the Lord,
who delights in the welfare of his servant!”
Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness
and of your praise all the day long” (Psalm 35:26-28)

As I try to live love and forgiveness, Father, I ask for shame and dishonour to not be brought against those who hurt me. I ask that shame and dishonour be replaced with forgiveness and redemption, that hearts are changed, that souls are changed – and that love prevails. Thank you Father for surrounding me with those who encourage me, who know the righteousness of my heart, my intents. I thank you that they rejoice with me that you delight in the welfare of me, your servant, your daughter – and I will tell the story, the continual story of your Hero to my damsel in distress.

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Today, my artist celebrates his elevenses birthday.

Considering that this son often comments when he wants to eat at irregular intervals and I remind him we recently ate, “Yes, that was first breakfast. But what about second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, first supper, second supper.”

When my oldest son came home from college one day and commented, “You know, Mom, we’re a peculiar family” – well, he might have been thinking about moments like that, where Tolkien takes over our conversations.

It is possible he was thinking, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).

I know that when he said that, I was thinking 1 Peter 2:9. My oldest son’s expression was bemused, wryly so. I opted for the most postive translation.

Caleb's Art

But back to my elevenses son, apparently born into a “peculiar” family, the heart of the brotherhood (not to be confused with the Center of the Brotherhood). When he was born, my joyful son asked, “What’s his spirit name, Mom?”

“Peace?” I asked, hopeful, frazzled at the wrestling and arguing between the 2nd and 3rd one at that time.

“No, Mama,” he said, 5 years old, leaning into the baby of the brotherhood. “He’s LLLOOOooovvvvve.”

And, he has been. He is our human resource guy – the one everyone loves, the one who manages to reach into the hearts of each brother without getting into their bubbles.

Outside the brotherhood, he is an artist, a guitar player, a soccer player, a basketball shooter, a wanderer into his own space, a prayer warrior when his friends hurt, a seeker of solitude with a saucy sense of humor.

His art delights me. He’ll go into his room, or sit at the kitchen table, drawing for hours, gifting me with them – and I am humbled by his giving, by his art, by his heart.

Sometimes he draws cartoon story lines. He drew 3 pictures for my office, which I cherish.

This elevenses boy, in this peculiar family, brings things outside that God put inside before he was fully formed. God gave him a heart for drawing, for making music, for building things – and God’s generosity humbles me more because these gifts He gave my son overflow and touch me, this mother’s heart that so struggles to be the mother I am called to be.

Caleb Art

My prayer for this elevenses son who expresses himself with the workmanship of his hands instead of words, I pray for your mind that guides your hands, that you seek to do the work of God, the work He gave them the gift to do, that your mind gives your hands honorable things to do.

I pray that your mind stay good and true, striving to learn more. . . more of the good things in life, the true things in life – and that your hands create testimonies of faith, hope and joy from your brand of peculiar humor and insight into life.

I pray for those hands that work with artist tools: hammers, pens, pencils, things that cut, things that create – that the heart of God is shown through that work. I pray your hands are blessed with strength, courage, follow through, attention to detail, care, comfort and health, evidence of the wear and tear of nobleness.

I pray that your hands reach for God in love, in praise, in worship, in thanksgiving and in times of reaching from the tops and bottoms of life, even 5th grade life.

I pray that your eyes discover the beauty of God around you – in the green eyes of a cat, to windowsill raindrop patterns, a blue sky, the cinnamon sprinkle of freckles, sidewalk rectangles, friendship smiles, bicycle spokes, the sound of wind in a fast run, castles on a hill, even the pentagons and hexagons of a soccer ball sitting on tufts of green grass, in turtles crossing roadways – that in your art, you meet God.

I pray that as your gift grows, your art praises God, calls to people in darkness, calling them into His marvelous light, in an elevenses way, a teen way, a young man way – a growing with you way.

I pray that your heart continue to find contentment in the gifts God put within you and that God send laborers across your path to help you unfold His plan in your life, to develop the gifts He gave you, and to encourage you in your journey to become the boy to man God created you to be.

Happy Birthday beloved, peculiar son nested amongst a peculiar family. I am so blessed God gave you to us.

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When my boys come to me for  boo-boo prayers, migraine prayers, and over-coming fear prayers, I know we are going in the right direction.

When my oldest son called from the Christian camp he worked at asking me to call the sweet, older ladies at church who are such prayer warriors to pray for a camper’s mom battling cancer, I knew we going in the right direction.

When my rebellious son allowed me to lay hands on him and pray before he went to basic training . . . . and he cried – I knew  we were going in the right direction.

When they come home
and tell me they have prayed for someone else,
I know I took them
where they needed to go.

All the challenging in-between moments that wear me down are just trip-wires in the path, designed to bring down my mission.

“Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy” (Psalm 156:5).

I might lose my balance, trip, even fall – but I pull myself up. Graceless, awkward, wobbly, but I keep on going.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

I will not give up. . . on my children. . .

be strong and do not give up” (2 Chronicles: 15:7).

. . . or on myself.

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