August 1, 2003

Prayer- songs in the middle of trials

Oh Lord, my God,

How I praise You for the remarkable ways You work in our lives! Thank You for the way You shine through my dear friend’s life. I have not known too many people who have endured the kinds of fiery trials she has. I do not know too many people who sing Your praises as she does either!

Father, as I heard of the latest challenge piled up on top of all the others she was already facing, it was almost more than I could bear. I offered to come be with her- but she knew she needed to turn to You and seek Your counsel and help. She knew she needed more than human sympathy for what she must go through. She knew she had to go to You. Honoring her choice, I prayed with her on the phone and then let her go to You. I continued to pray all evening and woke up praying several times through the night- knowing she was also praying. My heart was heavy for her and for her loved ones.

This morning as I was continuing to pray for her, a joyful praise took over as I thanked You for giving her what only You can in an impossible situation. I was thanking You for giving her songs to sing in the midst of what the world would call torment. Right in the middle of my praise, she called with the most beautiful sing-song voice to let me know she was okay! I know she is. I know she will be. I know You are working in the whole situation.

Thank You for her faithfulness to turn to You in such overwhelming times. Thank You for Your faithfulness to give her joy and faith and peace that goes beyond explanation! Thank You for the promise that that our present sufferings pale in comparison to the glory that will soon be revealed to us! Thank You for the glory You’ve already revealed!!!

August 4, 2003

Prayer- walking in the garden with You

Father,

I love to go out into the coolness of the morning and meet You in my garden. You’re always waiting for me to walk with You and talk with You. Your gentle breezes blow through my soul and refresh my spirit. Just being with You reassures me that You are God of all- and that all is well. You whisper sweet truths in my heart. You delight in showing me the many gifts You have surrounded me with, which might go unnoticed if I wasn’t walking with You in the garden.

Thank You that I no longer have to hide from You (like Adam and Eve did in the garden.) Thank You for sending Jesus to die for my sin and shame – just so I can walk in the garden with You.

Don’t ever let me take this precious gift of coming into Your Holy presence for granted. Don’t ever let me get too caught up in anything else that I neglect to meet You. This time reminds me that the time will come when I will live in Your garden with You for all eternity. In the meantime, I will cherish these times in the garden and I will invite others to meet You here, too!

August 5, 2003

Prayer- for the homeless (& my brother)

Father,

Please take special care of all the homeless and “street people,” including my brother. He called last night. It was the first time in at least three years I had talked to him. Long ago, to keep from going crazy, I had to put him in Your hands. It is difficult to not know if he has a warm place in the winter, a safe place to sleep, food to eat, or friends. Lord, after all these years- I know You have watched over him and helped him to survive. Apparently he has even stayed in the same area now for almost ten years. Surely he has developed some kinds of relationships.

Thank You for the assurance that You go with him wherever he is and there is not one need that he has that You do not know about and can help him with. You are the same God here with me that is there with him.

Father, as I see street people where I live, I can’t help but pray for them. Help me know how to treat them with respect- knowing that they are someone’s brother, son, uncle. Each one has a story of how they got there. May You have someone where my brother is look compassionately on him and pray for him when they see him. I pray for a healing of his mind and spirit. I know that You love my brother and walk everywhere he walks. Bring him to the place where he knows You are with him. Give him the peace that comes from living with Jesus in his heart.

August 7, 2003

Prayer- for Nick & moments with kids

Most Holy Father,

Sometime today (perhaps even right now), my little 4 year-old friend Nick from here in Oklahoma is being operated on in NY. I have never met him, although my prayer partners and I have been praying for him for at least two years. He and his family have been through so much, and this surgeon thinks he can remove the biggest part of the rare tumor in his stomach area. It is considered extremely risky as it is entwined with so many organs. There are hundreds praying for him right now and I add my prayers. We trust You with Nick’s heart, mind and soul. We have NO DOUBT that You are right there in the operating room holding his little hand. Give his parents and family Your peace which goes beyond human understanding. Let their hearts rest in You. We ask for healing in Nick.

As I have been praying for Nick, I think of how precious the moments with him have been for his parents. In an email, I read how his dad was wanting to take him to a ballgame yesterday before this “life & death” surgery. Father, with the knowledge that our children are not guaranteed to be here forever, help us to cherish the moments with them.

Help me to stop and really listen to my kids with ALL my attention. Remind me to sit and talk with them, go on a walk with them, play a game with them or simply tell them how much I enjoy them. Thank You for the wonder of loaning us our children so we can get a small taste of how You feel about us. It is amazing that You entrust us with these wonderful souls. Let us never take such amazing gifts for granted. Help us to cherish our kids and long to linger with them- as You do with us.

August 11

Prayer- sing Praises!

Most Holy Father!

I want to sing Your praises! I want to enter Your courts with praise! My soul longs to cry out with joy at Your greatness- Your majesty! I wish there were words to express Your mightiness! How can I ever be quiet about who You are! How I wish everyone in all the world would stop and sing of how great You are.

You are the maker of all heaven and earth, of all mountains and seas- stars and galaxies; yet You knew me even when no one else did in my mother’s womb! You created every single person who ever was, who is now and who ever will be- and yet, You know each hair on everyone of our heads! You, alone, control the mighty winds and the ocean’s tides, when the seasons come and go, when kingdoms rise and when governments fall- yet You also have power over every tiny and ominous circumstance in our lives. You know the number of days we have to spend on this earth- and yet, You know it’s only a blink of an eye compared to eternity.

You are King of all- over America, Liberia, Antartica, the Shuttle Space Station, of Mars and distant galaxies we don’t even know of yet! You have the power to bring down the proud and to lift up the humble. No one is beyond Your reach- yet You hold back Your mighty hand, waiting patiently- hoping that each of Your children may willing humble themselves before You. It is only then that we begin to realize the vastness of Your love for us. It is only then that we begin to sing real songs of praise to You!
May our songs of praise be added to all creations’ song to You! May everything and everyone who lives and breathes sing Your praises!  Since there is no end to who You are or to Your power and majesty, may we sing Your praises for all eternity as we continue in amazement to discover more of You!

August 12, 2003

Prayer- for a struggling mom

Father,

I know You love for us to come to You and invite You into our lives and into every situation. Here I am. Father, I lift before You a young mother of three I know, whose children have been taken away from her by DHS. Lord, You know she has made mistakes. You know her heart. Now she is trying to find a job, go through the DHS Parenting classes and get back into school.

There are many things pulling on her, threatening to overwhelm her. Equip her to refuse to be brought down by worry and fear. Father, remind her again and again to keep her eyes on You. Help her to sincerely turn to You with all her heart, mind and soul. Let her see that everything else will fall into place as she puts You first. Father, please strengthen her in Christ so she can do all she needs to do. Let her know the sweet joy of doing what the world would say is impossible. Let her discover for herself that with You, ALL things are possible. Today she is searching for a job. Give her the job that You know she needs at this particular time. Let her KNOW that You led her to it, and let her give You praise for it. Give her hope for the future. May all her hope be found in You.

Father, I pray for her 3 precious children. Let them know that You are with- them even while they are away from their family in foster care. Protect them. Surround them with Your love. Let them know they will be reunited with their family. Heal the entire family. I ask these things with complete confidence that You desire what is best for her and the children. I have no doubt that You are already at work. Thank You for the miracles that are already happening and will continue to take place in their lives! I am so grateful that I do not have to figure out how to save them. It’s way over may head. But You can, and that’s why I bring them to You! I love the way You pull people out of the depths of darkness into the brightness of Your presence when we ask. That’s why I’m asking for this family!

August 13, 2003

Prayer- Jesus’ name

Most Holy Father,

Saturday night at our Musical Reunion, two songs were sung about Jesus’ name. As “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus…” was sung, tears of joy ran uncontrollably down my face. What is it about Jesus’ name?! I think back to one of the nights at the Billy Graham Mission when a young man was practically skipping to the altar to accept Jesus as his Savior. He joyfully hugged me and all he could say was, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!”

Father, what is it about Jesus’ name?

Is it because Jesus is…the Way, the Truth, the Life and no one can come to You except through Him? Is it because Jesus is…the Word, the very part of You who spoke things into existence & still does! the Door, which we all must enter through; the Bread of Life, which we need and crave for our very existence? Is Jesus name so powerful because…He is Your Son, our Redeemer, Savior, our merciful & faithful High Priest, Master, Lord of all, Light of the world, the Resurrection and the Life, our Mediator, the Almighty, the Alpha & Omega, the Beginning & the End? Is it because He is the only one who is worthy to be the Lamb? Is it because He is the Victorious Lamb who will come again and before whom every knee shall bow?

Father, how is it that in Jesus’ name all power & authority is found for everything in heaven and on earth? How can it be that the one who came to judge- died for me instead- just so I can dwell with You forever and ever?

Because I have accepted Your gift of Jesus’ death for my sins & given my life to You, I now bear Jesus’ name. It is not just any name. It is Jesus. And I belong to Him and He belongs to me. I am now known as a Christian- belonging to Christ. Jesus is mine and I am His. He knows me and I know Him. He has the sweetest name I know….Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!!!

August 14, 2003

Prayer- for those in poverty and those who are rich

Father,

It is so amazing to know that You are personally and intimately at work in people’s lives around the world- just as You are in mine. My young friend just returned from a mission trip to Africa. Her heart was greatly blessed to discover that some of the poverty-stricken believers in Africa are overflowing with joy and thanksgiving. They have practically nothing, yet they are continually thanking You for every tiny thing around them! Bless them and thank You for their witness!

Father, forgive me- forgive all of us in America, for our lack of gratefulness. You have blessed us so abundantly. We take so much for granted. In fact, we expect certain standards to be met. The people in Africa have no clean running water- I have hot and cold purified water at the touch of my fingers in several rooms! Most African families live squished together in one or two room shacks in torrid heat- I have an air-conditioned house with bedrooms, bathrooms, living areas and a kitchen, even a yard with grass and flowers! In Africa, people must live with rotting teeth, illnesses, bugs, very little transportation. Here in America, we expect dental and medical treatment and most of us have a fairly new car (or several.) And I cringe to think of the differences in the food. Forgive our “picky-ness” and gluttony. We are obsessed with entertainment- they find joy in simply surviving.

Father, please keep me aware of my dependence on You for even my most basic needs. Don’t let me give in to the temptation to get so caught up in things- that I think I need and deserve the latest and the best. I want to have a joyful and thankful heart. Help me be content with what You so generously give me. Show me the very minute I am acting greedily or ungratefully. Help me desire to eagerly share out of my abundance with those who have needs.

I also want to thank You for the times in my life when I didn’t know where my next meal was coming from, when the electricity was turned off, when there was no heat. Looking back, those times were relatively short- but it reminds me to be grateful. Whether in poverty or riches, real joy and contentment can only be found in You! Sometimes I think it’s easier to stay close to You in poverty- when we are fully aware we need You for everything.

August 15, 2003

Prayer- in Jesus’ name

Father,

The other day I asked You what it was about Jesus’ name that was so powerful. It is mind- boggling to me that every time I ask You to show me something- You begin to do just that. Ever since then, You have surrounded me with thoughts, scripture, conversations, songs which all point to the majesty and power in just the mention of Jesus’ name. Thank You for answering a prayer I didn’t even fully realize I was praying!

There may be multitudes of other rulers and leaders whose names may be honored, but they all pass away. Sadam Hussein may have forced a whole nation to sing songs about the greatness of his name and made holidays- but where is he now? There may be kings, presidents, famous sports stars and movie stars whose names are instantly recognized. There may even be religious leaders whose names are revered. They all come and go. Some are remembered and some are not. But there is no name like the name of Jesus.

At the mention of His name, demons cower and scamper away. At the mention of Jesus’ name, lives are freed from the pits of darkness. At the mention of Jesus’ name, You hear and answer every prayer. At the mention of Jesus’ name, angels are sent to fight unseen battles here on earth.

Father, forgive those who throw around Jesus’ holy name for their own purposes, or use it like it’s a magic word or worse yet, treat it as a curse word. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus….there is no other name so holy. No one else was pure; no one else was holy; no one else was worthy enough to come and be sacrificed for our impurities, our unholiness and our unworthiness. One day, every single knee shall bow before Jesus. Demons already do! Someday, there will be some who bow- and Jesus will sadly say, “I never knew you.”

Jesus, I bow before You NOW! You are my Lord, my Savior, and my friend. I know You know me and I know You. How do I know? Because You always answer when I call Your name!

August 18, 2003

Prayer- from start to finish

Father,

Thank You for my nephew and niece’s little baby Dylan going home today! He’s been in the Neonatal ICU since his birth on May 20th, when his little twin brother went home to heaven. Father, he’s going home with oxygen and monitors and nervous parents. Give them your peace which goes beyond explanation. Let them know that all is well and that You are with them. Let them sit in their own home, holding the precious gift You’ve given them. Let them marvel over the miracle of Dylan’s life and determination. Let them dream and pray for his future.

It is so reassuring to know that You are with us from the beginning of our lives to the very end of this age and throughout all eternity. I’ve spent a lot of time with my dad lately. We all know his life here will most likely end soon. We’ve all been looking back and seeing the many ways You have faithfully been with him from his birth. No one, but You, knows the plans You have for each of us from before our birth. They are good plans- plans to bless us, even though there are many hard times which we must go through.

Since Dad has already outlived the time the doctors gave him, he sometimes says “I hope I am accomplishing what God wants me to.” Perhaps just being himself, with Jesus shining through is God’s plan for his life. Father, whether we stand at the start of this life (like Dylan) or at the end of this life (like my Dad), help us all be who You want us to be, who You designed us to be. Help us go through this life with Jesus shining through us!

August 19, 2003

Prayer- search me

Father,

Today I come before You, earnestly asking that You search my heart. Look in all the hidden cracks and crevices of my soul for something that stands between me and You. I realize I will not like what You find, but I’m asking You to point it out to me anyway.

Maybe it’s an attitude, a habit, too much emphasis on my self. With trepidation and yet the hope of a closer walk with You, I ask that You point out one thing. ( I don’t know if I can handle more than one at a time.)

Lord, as You bring it to my attention, help me to turn away from it. Help me to accept Jesus’ payment for it. Help me to leave it behind like an old worn out tire that is no longer needed. Let me walk on lighter, free and pure, and closer than ever before to You.

August 20, 2003

Prayer- trusting You with other’s lives

Father,

Thank You for pointing out my weakness in trusting You in certain areas. I seem to be able to trust You with my own life. You’ve led me through some really hard times and I know I can trust You no matter how difficult the situation looks.

You pointed out to me that sometimes I don’t trust You enough with other people’s lives. The “mommy” in me wants to take away their pain and make their troubles go away. I know that You lead us through the trials and we grow closer to You. Help me to pray for others and learn to walk beside them, encourage them and give them the hope that You are indeed with them even in the midst of their pain. Let me place them in Your loving hands and let You work your perfect will in their lives. Show me when I am stepping in, trying to save them myself, instead of letting You do it the right way- Your way. When I pray for others, let me continually place them in Your hands and trust You to bring about the good plans You have for them. Let me also trust that You will let me know the practical ways I can help.

Father, I also want to thank You for the vacation we’re getting ready for. May we stand in profound awe of You as we see Your handiworks of nature in our travels. Let us enjoy one another’s company as a family and let us experience You wherever we go. And thank You that I don’t have to have email to pray to You! (I’ll just take along my prehistoric spiral notebook and pen!)