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Heavenly Father,
My son sent me a photo of the weights his gym is letting him borrow during this quarantine period. He and his wife do heavy strength training and their plans are to continue at home during the pandemic. My husband and I are going through some intense exercise training during this time…along with millions of others around the world. Our faith is going through some heavy-duty training. Each day brings new burdens to be lifted up to You, Lord. Some seem far too much to bear… but that is where the growth takes place to go further than we have gone before. We might be fearful our knees will buckle under the weight…but You give us Your strength…

My daughter-in-law may be a beautiful young mom, but don’t let her looks fool you. She has become a giant in the strength department. My son got her lifting along side of him. I have watched them grow in strength and endurance from their consistent and faithful lifting. I think back to all the toils and dangers You have brought me through so far, Lord. Each one has given me a chance to exercise my faith in You. Every time it was far more than I could handle, but as I hold those heavy weights up to You—each time my faith in You has increased.

It is not that You have grown stronger. Lord, You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Yet my faith in You has grown stronger with each increase in challenge. My frail body, mind and emotions may not be able to handle any of this…but You have been with me and encouraged me to trust You each time…and You have never failed. It is totally amazing what You can do through me because of Jesus Christ.

Many of us are facing huge weights even above and beyond the social distancing…but You are with us. As soon as we take our stance and lift that weight to You, Your incredible strength flows through us and we are surprised that we can do far greater things than we could imagine because You are with us! Thank You for this opportunity to exercise our faith in You, Lord!

 

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

 

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. ‘Make level paths for your feet,’ so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.” Hebrews 12:11-13

 

“We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring.” 2 Thessalonians 1:2-4

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, I lift up these weights to You, acknowledging I need more faith in You…

 

Heavenly Father,
Whenever there are huge things going on like this pandemic, I know You are up to something bigger and better than we can imagine. Jesus told us in Matthew 24:6-8: “When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.”

Every mother wishes she could skip the labor and go straight to the delivery of the new precious life she has longed for. We all want the joy of new life, but because of sin in this world, we have to endure the pain before new life is born. Lord, I think of the painful times I’ve been through in my life. More than once, I thought that pain would kill me. It did not. Yet going through those laborious challenges has always brought new glories in my life. Each bout of suffering has squeezed out more of my old selfish prideful nature and given birth to a new more Christ-like spirit.

When I was in actual labor giving birth to each of my babies (who are remarkable men and women now), I was incredibly grateful to have someone I love holding my hand and encouraging me through. Words could never express the comfort from their nearness, the touch of their hand, soft words of encouragement. I was alone in the most intense part of my most difficult birth when a faceless nurse (or an angel?) gently rubbed my back. No one could take the pain away, but how encouraging to know I was not alone.
Father, during these intense labor pains where so many are hurting, scared, and grieving, I pray that they will know the sweetness of Your presence. You never leave us. May Your Holy Spirit touch us, speak to us and assure us that the new life to come is worth all this temporary pain.

What a joy to share the new life with You! For some, it might be the beginning of a new life in Jesus Christ! For others, it may be a deeper relationship with You where more of You and less of us is seen in our lives. With every child I gave birth to, my intense pain dulled in comparison to the glory I held in my arms. With every trial I have endured, the pain has fled in the joy of a deeper life with You!

 

How I praise You for the amazing new life I already see being born from this intense pain we must labor through! Thank You for never leaving us!

 

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“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.” John 16:21

“Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” James 3:6

 

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Prayer Prompt:
Heavenly Father, I need You as my Comforter and Labor Coach right now…

Heavenly Father,
Fear does not come from You! In fact, Your word is full of commands not to fear. I should know. I was once probably one of the most fearful people alive. Only You could take that fear away- and that came when I started placing my faith in You. What freedom and joy to not live in fear! When the temptation to fear rears it’s ugly head, I run away from fear and run to You, Lord. Faith and fear cannot live together. It is either one or the other, and I choose to trust in You.

Sometimes it seems like there is an army of fear trying to get my old nature worked up—fears of viruses, losing a loved one, catastrophes, disasters, cancer, violence, rejection, being deserted, growing older, financial and relational challenges…All these things can seem like giants or even mountains until I look at who You are. You, Lord, rule over all these things and everything else in the world and beyond this earth. Sin and evil will not have the last say. You do. I trust in You- Your goodness and Your sovereignty.

Whatever comes my way, I KNOW I need never face it alone. You are with me. Whom or what shall I fear? I live with You, the Lord God Almighty. You have secured my soul by letting Your Son Jesus Christ die for my salvation and my victory over anything and everything as I place my faith in You. It is incredible to watch those giant fears fade away into nothing as I keep placing my faith in You. I love You, Lord!

 

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“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

 

“The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, show me the areas I am letting fear get a stronghold…Let me trust You in that area…

Most Glorious Heavenly Father,
How I love watching for You! Just in the last few days I’ve seen You in a tiny clump of yellow crocus in an expansive lawn of still-dormant grass…in the opening up of a traumatized friend…in families gathering together in love at the passing of family members…in friends gathering to help a widow…in a dove peering out of a bush right outside my window…in a granddaughter running up and practically jumping in my arms…in light whisp of clouds that I saw when I looked up- just like the ones in a very poignant 27-year old memory I had just written about…

Just in the last few days, though I have not seen Your face, I have seen You in the praise of one who has endured much…in laughter shared with a long-time friend…in contentment and rest in the soul of a mother who has worked extremely hard all her life…in the gratitude of someone You asked me to help…in the hope of spring coming again…in the cheerful morning praises sung by the birds…in the connection felt with a simple smile and greeting between strangers…in the healing of one who has been quietly grieving his wife for five long years…in the hope of a new marriage of two dear friends…in the waiting for a new baby soon to be born…

In just the last few days, I have seen You bring faithful believers to a state-wide gathering to pray for our state… in the fervent prayers of those praying daily on the sidewalk for the unborn and their parents…in the celebration of a dear friend from India who has faithfully poured out his life to thousands in his country and around the world…in his daughter who is willing to take up the vision and carry it on…in the sacrifice and love of young parents on behalf of their children…in the dedication of teachers in caring for their little ones…in my husband massaging my aching feet…

Just in the last few days, I’ve seen You in a couple who have run their family’s 102 year old business with Christ-like integrity and love as they handed it over to a new owner…in the life of two pastors’ wives who are recently widowed, still shining out with the same quiet faith and love for You which has been their life testimony…in the commitment of one friend caring for their aging friend…in a young sister-in-Christ quietly waiting and praying for guidance from You…

Father, I love to watch for You and there are so many more ways I have seen You in just the last few days…I can’t begin to imagine all You have done in my lifetime that I didn’t stop to notice. I will be watching and praising You for all eternity!

 

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“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

 

“Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.” Psalm 105:3

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, open my eyes as I seek You….

Heavenly Father,
Oh! How my soul longs to be listened to! Just listened to. Without interruption. Without advice. Without correction. Without argument. Without analysis. Without someone else’s story or experience or thoughts being interjected before I am able to voice what is in my mind and heart. It seems like there are so few “listeners” in the world. Yet it is one of the greatest gifts of love we can give someone. Listening is one of the greatest attributes of love. But there is so much noise and not enough listening…

There is a world of people who long to be heard. Everyone is talking and no one is listening. I know I fall short of true listening even though I know that is one of my gifts (perhaps it is a gift available to all of us). Who wants a doctor to decide how to treat before hearing what is really going on? What child will listen to a parent who never takes time to listen to their heart? Who wants to marry someone who is always correcting them when they don’t even listen to all they are saying? How can our country ever be united until all sides take turn listening? It seems everyone is yelling and no one is truly listening. Oh! How we need more listeners!

Father, You are the greatest listener! Though You have all authority and rule over all that there is, You are ready to listen to us at any time. You listen to our complaints, our desperate pleas, our angry tirades, our rambling thoughts that seem to have no point. You listen much deeper than our words. You see our heart and soul. You listen all the way to the end and to what is really being said. You are the only One who can truly understand us better than we understand ourselves. You are always ready and willing to listen. Though You know what we are going to say and what we really mean—You listen because You know we desire to be heard. You listen out of love. Thank You for always listening—even when words won’t come!

Lord, how often do I stop and listen to You? How often am I simply still and quiet enough to place all my attention on what You are saying to me? You do not force us to listen. But You must desire to be heard by each of us as much or more than we desire to be heard. Father, let me “listen” to You as I read Your word, as I hear the wind, as I listen to a song, as a fellow believer shares a truth, through the perfect timing of your ordained situations and encounters, through Your still small voice—Your voice that we will all recognize as we get better at listening. Let me show You my love through listening and then obeying Your voice.

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“Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:9

 

“She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, ‘Lord, don’t You care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!’ ‘Martha, Martha,’ the Lord said, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’” Luke 10:39-42

 

“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, I am listening…

Most Glorious Heavenly Father,
Your love is outlandish! How incredible that the Lord God, Maker of all the earth and everything in it and all the galaxies should love me so tenderly?! You are always with me, meeting my every need, satisfying my desires, singing over me, protecting me, guiding me, watching me when I am asleep and when I am awake! I try to love You back in a way that honors a love that was willing to send Your own Son Jesus to be born as one of us, to live and die for the penalty I deserved for my sin- so I could be with you for all eternity. I try to set aside time just to be with You alone and enjoy Your presence…and yet I am so easily distracted by the most ridiculous things. I have this chance, this opportunity, this honor to come to You at any time. It was paid for at the highest price ever paid. And yet I neglect or take this gift for granted. You, Lord, loved me first. I can never out-love You. I would have no comprehension of what love really is- if not for You loving me first. But I truly want to make You my first love…

Not the amazing kind of first love I encountered with my parents loving me as a tiny baby…not the first love of that little boy (forgot his name!) in kindergarten who professed his love for me and mine for him…not the unconditional love from or for my brothers…not the true love from my high school sweetheart Steve, who I went on to marry(I didn’t forget his name!)… not the even the breath-taking love I’ve known holding each one of my newly born children or grandchildren or the love that continues to grow…not the surprising love I thought was not possible—to love another husband after the death of my first (his name is Tex, I mean Dwight!)…not the love for so many friends and even strangers. There are so many experiences of love both received and given that I am eternally grateful for, Lord. And they all flow from You! Yet I want You to be my first love..

Lord, it seems the only way we can know true love is to first experience it and receive it from You through Your eternal gift of Jesus Christ. I’m glad to know that You realize how frail our love is compared to Yours, yet You give us the capacity to give and receive it like You do. I long to love You more, Lord. I desire to keep You as my first love; for when I do, I am capable of loving others so much more. I love because You love me first!

 

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“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

 

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-38

 

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first.” Revelation 2:4

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, am I loving You as You deserve?…

Heavenly Father,
What a treasure we have been given in the ability to come to You at any time with anything through prayer and yet we often neglect this highest honor and responsibility. Many prayers are shot up to You in desperate need- even by those who supposedly don’t believe. There is a difference between a one-time prayer and a life lived in prayer. There is a difference between a prayer from our flesh and prayer in the Spirit…but it has to start somewhere! So when does a prayer from our own selfish will change to a prayer in the Spirit?

I know it’s probably different for everyone because we are all such unique people -designed and loved by You. Yet praying in the Spirit involves living with Your Holy Spirit in us. It begins with believing that Jesus died for us on the cross. It is believing that our old life/ nature/ selfish will has been crucified with Jesus. Jesus sends the Spirit to live in us in a resurrected life that is much more real than this earthly life. It is knowing that He really lives in us and through us. I know it’s crazy, but to pray in the Spirit is not just asking You to make my wish come true. It is being still in Your presence. It is praying for the richer things of the Spirit that might come even from very challenging situations. It is trusting that You are at work in me, and in others, bringing about Your Kingdom that is high above this earthly life.

Praying in the Spirit is knowing it is no longer my blood that runs through my veins, my goals to obtain, my answers to problems, my demands…it is Your Spirit running through my surrendered heart and soul. You said that the prayers of a righteous man can accomplish much…but I realize that there is nothing righteous about me. The only righteousness in me was given to me by Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. I am a new creation in Him. Your Spirit truly lives in and through me. I find myself praying in whole new ways and trusting You in all situations. Praying in the Spirit is yielding to Your will/ Your intercession/ Your answers/ Your amazing work. There are times, I am tempted to slip back into my powerless prayer life so I have to re-surrender to Your unseen powerful Spirit. What a crazy mysterious plan You have- to work in and through our prayers in the Spirit. Thank You for this amazing gift, Lord! Let me get myself out of the way so Your Spirit can flow through me.

 

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“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18

 

“If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for He lives in with you and will be in you.” Jesus’ promise in John 14:15-17

 

“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” Acts 2:38

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Heavenly Father, I accept Your sacrifice on my behalf for my sin of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Let me die to my old life and let Your Spirit live in me…

Most Glorious Father,
I must admit I love prayers, both public and private…but I also know the public prayer is empty and meaningless when there has been no private prayer. The thing I love most about prayer is that is being with You, being aware of You, talking to You, resting silently in You, singing to You, trusting in You, bringing everything and anything to You, seeking You, finding You, being corrected, refreshed, restored and re-created by You… so many amazing things happen when we come to You in prayer. Prayer is not the power. It is simply our coming to You—the One who has all power, authority, direction, peace and love. I suppose, then, it is not prayer that I love…but You!

Both Public and private prayer can be vital links to You, Lord. I am always amazed when I read Jesus’ public prayers for us. The longest recorded section of words spoken by Jesus is actually the most incredible prayer ever prayed. John 17 is Jesus’ out loud prayer for His beloved followers, but was also recorded because Jesus said He was praying for me and all “who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:20-21) He continues to pray for us, when we are willing to leave this old-world order and accept Him as our King and become His subjects, in His Kingdom. He is still praying for us: “Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.” (Romans 8:34) I am forever grateful for Jesus’ private and public prayers for me!

I am also so thankful for the many times someone else has stopped what they were doing just to pray for me and with me. I recall times of overwhelming situations, when I have been weary, unsure, in battle, approaching a new crossroad, needing help praying for a loved one, unsure of direction…I love to know there are others praying for me in private, but there are times I sure have needed those out loud prayers! I believe in passing that on. We all need someone to pray out loud and privately for us (and with us) on this challenging journey.

That brings me to these Prayer Peeks I write. I know Jesus said to pray in Your closet where no one sees, but He certainly didn’t say to never pray out loud. We each need to have our own private relationship with You—one that no one else has. When we have that, we want others to have their own private relationship with You, Father. We know that special relationship comes through becoming a new creation through Jesus Christ. Our new lives in Your Kingdom grows and matures as we spend private time with You. But as someone once said, “If you are already going to the throne room of God, grab someone’s hand and take them with you.” Lord, I write these prayer peeks and prompts to grab someone’s hand and lead them to Your throne—so they can have their own relationship with You. Here they are. I pray they want more of You publicly and privately.

 

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“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them for Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Matthew 5:5-8

 

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” Ephesians 6:18-20

 

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Prayer Prompt-
Lord, help me spend more time with You in private and public prayer…

Heavenly Father,

Even though I was young, when I first heard Martin Luther King’s dream of all Your children playing and living together someday in peace, I knew this is how You want it to be. It sounded perfect, but like many dreams, it takes a lot blood, sweat and tears for it to come true. It often takes someone’s earthly life like it did Dr. King’s. In my lifetime, I have seen huge advances toward that dream becoming reality…and yet I don’t know that it will be fully realized in our present earthly lives. Our sinful nature finds too many reasons to prejudge by one another’s appearance, to be divided, and even to hate for the smallest differences.

Lord, You spell out Your own dream (actually a promise) in the last book of the Bible in Revelation 7:9—”After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.” You gave us a glimpse into the new heaven and new earth where all Your people are praising You in one voice—with one spirit—in one love. Jesus was willing to give up His life for our oneness with Him and with You, Lord.

Our love for You, as we more fully realize Your love for us, will spill over for love for one another. Oh Lord, how I long for that day! Just when I think I am making headway towards this fullness of love, You expose some way I still let something divide my love for others. Lord, Your love is pure, holy, perfect, all-encompassing—even for those who disrespect the very One who gives them everything—the very One who sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for us while we were full of sin. There is no greater love!

Father, I will not be able to end hate, prejudice, racial or other types of divisions here on earth, but I surely can let Your love rule in me. Here I am, Lord, will You continue to create in me a clean heart that loves the unworthy, those who hate me, those who hurt my loved ones, those who misjudge me, those who sin against You. Let my heart and spirit be one with You because of Jesus…and let me give others a glimpse of all Your people praising You in the white robes that only Jesus gives us as we acknowledge Him as our personal Lord and Savior.

 

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“And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” Revelation 5:9

 

“Then Peter began to speak: ‘I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right. You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all.’” Acts 10:34-36

 

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28

 

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father, use me to help bring Your dream/promise of oneness of Your kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven…

Most Glorious Father,
How I love my quiet time with You. There can be sparks of war, reports of violence near and far, deaths of loved ones, misunderstandings, relationships divided or under attack, threats of bad health or uncertainty of finance…but when I come to You to simply be in Your presence, it all melts away in Your glory and peace. There are times, the attacks of bad news and the veil of darkness are so palpable that I have to fight my way to my sweet spot in You. But You are always there waiting for me to come. When I find my way to You through Jesus, I find all I need in You. Your quiet peace is so much more powerful than all the noise the blustery bullying that evil makes. Here I come once again to You, Lord!

You are and ever will be victorious over anything this world and darkness throws at us. All we have to do is be still and know that You are God! Father, You are fully aware of how weak we are, how vulnerable we are to the threats and attacks. How I thank You for all I have been through which has taught me over and over again, to come to You through Jesus Christ. Some days I just breathe and remain in You all day. Other times, the struggle is real and the attacks come from all directions trying to keep me from You.

Some days, it appears I have to fight to get to my sweet spot in You. At least that’s what the enemy wants me to think—that the battle is too big; that Your silence means You are gone—but You never leave me, Lord. I just need to place my focus, my hope, my life on You and Your presence once again. The best way I have found to fight my way to You is to be still, to praise You, to remember who You are, to seek You with all my heart, mind and strength—the Lord God who is over me and all that is. You are the One who commands heaven and earth. You are the One who loves me more than anyone else possibly could. You are the One who restores my soul, fills me with Your Holy Spirit, uses little ole me to defeat giants. You are the One who refreshes me in Your sweet presence even here on earth and who promises an eternal sweet spot with You that I will never have to leave! It seems a little silly to call You my sweet spot, Lord- I am but a beloved little speck in the vastness of Your Holy Presence! There is plenty of room in Your Holy Sweet spot for every beloved little speck You’ve created!

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“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’” Psalm 46:10

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

“You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” Psalm 32:7

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Your Prayer Prompt-
Father God, help me turn to You and find You….