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Heavenly Father,

It started with prayer… and bags. Tomorrow is the day! For over 2 years, You put a vision for a Ladies’ conference on my heart- one that would reach out into the community and bring hope to those who feel alone and defeated in their daily life. It is turning our far better than I could have asked for or imagined! Over a year ago, I asked the ladies in our Wednesday night class to start praying with me about this. Then nearly 6 months ago, a sister-in-Christ stepped up alongside me and said, “Let’s do this!” I have planned many things in my life, but this particular event, I didn’t want to do even one thing without You leading it. So I just kept trusting in You to lead in every detail. After all that prayer, the actual first step was some bags on sale!

My sis-in-this has a special gift for shopping! It seems like You lead her to just the right items all the time. She called me up and said she found some bags she thought would work for the conference but she didn’t know if we wanted the saying on them for the theme. You put on my heart to say yes. The bags read, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 Little did I realize how much I would be encouraged to truly trust in You in every single detail!

Our main part has been to pray non-stop about this …and then be ready and willing to follow Your lead. Not one person was asked to do anything without lifting it before You. Not one decision has been made without Your quiet nudging to go forward. We have truly trusted You all along the way. Last night as we did a prayer walk through our building preparing for this weekend, probably 10 women came up to tell  me individual stories of how You have led them to trust You more through this! Lord, we are ready. We have been praying, trusting , watching, listening, and obeying. We absolutely know that every single woman and teen who comes to the WEEKEND OF ENCOURAGEMENT will grow in their trust in You, just as we have! The more we practice trusting You, the more encouraged we are to trust You more! We love and trust You because we know You love us.

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Jesus said in John 14:1: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in Me.”

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…” Psalm 37:4-7a

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13

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Prayer Promt-

Heavenly Father, help me trust you more by…

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Heavenly Father,

No written law can squelch what is freely done in the spirit! That includes praying for, about and in our schools. Young and old “Daniels” across our country are praying as this new school year starts. Though some written mandate has said we cannot have organized prayer in our public schools; thousands of prayers are rising up to You at this very moment. Millions of moms are lifting their beloved children up to You, trusting You to watch over them as they spend their days in an environment away from their motherly protection. Dads are sending their kids off to school emboldened by early morning prayer that lets their kids know they are never alone in whatever they face. Father, I pray for parents today to rise up and seek You in leading their children to live for You.

Teachers are praying as they prepare their rooms and lessons that You will help them give each child what is needed on this day. Teachers who know they are not capable of making a difference on their own merit, are asking for Your divine input and direction to reach and teach every single child- especially the ones who believe they “Can’t get it,” the students who come from traumatized households, the ones who are handicapped by shyness or confidence or natural academic talent. Teachers are asking Your peace and calm to reign over their classrooms as they manage so many young people in one room all day long. Father, I pray for teachers to depend on You to manage their classrooms…and that their prayers be far more-reaching into eternity than they can imagine.

There are many students of all ages praying right now. They are praying for the child they see picked on and those who are doing the bullying. Students are praying to learn a lot this year and do better than they did before. High school and College students are praying for wisdom to make choices that will affect their whole lives…and for discernment to not simply accept a teacher or professor’s explanation as the truth but to seek You as the truth, Lord. Students are praying, asking You to help them be the change in the world for good. Father, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ for students to turn to You as their life-long Teacher, for never-ending learning that changes lives eternally through Your Son Jesus. I know You hear all our prayers both seen and heard by others and those which are spoken silently in the quietness of our spirits. No law can ever keep us from coming to You!

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Read the story of Daniel who kept praying though there was a law against it. Some administrators to the king were so jealous of Daniel that they talked the king into making a law against praying to anyone except the king himself. “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Daniel 6:10….They threw Daniel into a den of hungry lions overnight to kill him for his breaking of the law.

“At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lion’s den. When he came near the den, he called out in an anguished voice, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the mouths of the lions?’ Daniel answered, ‘O king, live forever! My God has sent His angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in His sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king!’”    Daniel 6:19-22

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Prayer Prompt-

Lord, even if someone tries to make a law against it, help me keep praying for…

 

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Heavenly Father,

As I was outside by myself struggling to hang up a banner, I earnestly prayed that one person who needed encouragement would see that large sign that read “Ladies’ Night of Encouragement” and be drawn to the special night we were planning at our church which would, in turn, draw them to You. That was probably about 20 years ago. There was a huge turn-out with lots of ladies who needed encouragement…but one stood out to me. It wasn’t just that she had the only rich dark-skin in a sea of much paler-skinned women; it wasn’t that she walked in with a big beautiful hat and lovely scarf lightly thrown over her thin body dressed in style down to her spikey heels while most of us wore jeans and nice casual tops. That was the night Deborah walked into my life. She’s been my sister-in-Christ ever since and we have gone through many joys and challenges since.

I cannot count the times she has credited that Night of Encouragement as a turning point in her life. There was no doubt in my mind that she was the one You had me pray for as I put that banner up. Of course, we both know it wasn’t a women’s evening that changed her life…it was You- through Jesus Christ! You just happened to use that event to join her together forever with Yourself and with me and the other ladies.  That was at a very hopeless period in her life and she knew she desperately needed some encouragement…so she came. We have prayed, laughed, cried and worshipped together ever since. Much has changed in those 20 short years since that night. It has been mostly both of us who have changed, as we have grown in You, Lord!

Now we are planning a similar event; in fact, Deborah will be giving her testimony at one point. Only this time instead of being one night, it will be a WEEKEND OF ENCOURAGEMENT. I decided after seeing what You’ve done in Deborah’s life when I prayed for one person to come as I hung that banner 20 years ago, this time I’m praying for many women to come and find true encouragement in You! Lord, Your encouragement doesn’t just last one night, or a weekend, or 20 years- it is so rich that it is always spilling over to others. May this Weekend event be overflowing with Your eternal encouragement in Jesus’ name!

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“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.” Philippians 2:1-2

“Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak .”  Acts 13:15

“May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.”  2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, How can I share encouragement  with others?

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Heavenly Father,

There have been many times in my life that I have felt very unlovable. There have been many voices throughout my life telling me that I am not pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough, educated enough or exciting enough to be loved. Some of those voices come from society, media or, at times, even from friends and family (even when they didn’t mean anything by it). A lot of the time, the voice seems to generate from my own mind. Then there are times, it seems like the truth. I absolutely know I am acting in an unlovable way. I get a glimpse of my old ugly nature…with its selfishness, irritability, unforgiveness, or unjust pride. I wonder how in the world anyone could love me. How can my husband love me? How can my family love me? Even more, Lord, how can You love me?

I will never forget standing with the husband of a friend of mine when they were going through severe marriage problems which resulted in some nasty fights. He looked across the room where his wife was speaking to someone else. He said, “How can anyone so beautiful be so ugly on the inside?” Lord, You love me even though You know everything about me. You loved me when I was still a sinner. In fact, even though You saw all the ugliness, You loved me so much that You sent Jesus to sacrifice His life for me so I could be Yours forever.

Yes, even though I am Yours and You are mine, I still hear those voices trying to convince me I am unlovable. All I have to do is be still in Your presence and be enveloped in Your love to know I am more loved than I could ever imagine. I can never be good enough to deserve Your immeasurable love. Yet the more I love You, the more I trust in Your love which has never wavered even in my most unlovable moments. Let me grow in love from the inside out as Jesus grows in me! I am loved, therefore I can love in Jesus’ name!

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“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

“This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.” 1 John 4:9-12

Jesus prayed in John 17:25-26: “Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know You, and they know that You have sent Me. I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them.”

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Prayer Prompt-

Father, help me trust in the love You have shown me in Jesus Christ by…