Posts

all things work together for good
all things work together for good

All things work together for good

My Prayer Peek/ your prayer prompt [blessings in a pandemic]

 

Most Holy Father,

 

Over and over again, I hear how horrible this year has been…and I have to admit, personally it has been challenging with the loss of dear friends and family members (two due to suicide which carries it’s own heartbreak), loss of income, not being able to accompany family members or them with me in medical crisis, not being able to gather as a family, or even to worship as I am accustomed to. Yet, oh my sweet Lord, how I see You at work with blessings overflowing in the midst of what some are calling “the worst year ever.” Having gone through my share of many trials, I have to say, once again, Lord, You make beauty from ashes, and it is definitely true that You create good out of what seems the worst when we have eyes to see…

 

                Some of the sweet blessings I see developing out of a year of world-wide pandemic include:

  • A slowing down of the fast-paced driven society that leaves little time for deepening relationships and simply enjoying one another.
  • Parents spending more time with their children with bike rides, walks, games, fishing and other non-stress activities.
  • With the real threat of death due to this virus, people are reviewing and simplifying their lives to savor the most important treasures which are relationships. Even the healthy are realizing today could be their last day. It changes the way we live.
  • More time to sit quietly and share all our heart with You, Lord, through prayer.
  • Letting go of things we have no control over and trusting You to make good come from our current situation—no matter how dire.
  • Learning to live with less since this pandemic has created a shortage of many things.
  • Holding our dear loved ones before You and realizing You love them even more than we ever could, and You want more for them than we could ever ask for or imagine.
  • Realizing You love us just because of who we are, and not for what we can do for You and Your Kingdom.
  • Believing that this dark and hopeless world needs the Light You give us through our relationship with Jesus Christ now more than ever. Our answer of hope, when we are hit with dark fear and hopelessness, does far more than we can imagine—even if we don’t see immediate results. The hope we share is eternal and stands for all time.
  • Doctors cannot save everyone, but You long to give us eternal life.
  • If and when I die from Covid-19 or any other cause- I know I will live forever with You! I am ready.

 

Thank You, Lord, for the countless rich blessings You are showering us with even in this horrible pandemic. Open our eyes to see them and thank You for them.

 

 

*******

 

“to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.”    Isaiah 61:3

 

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14-16

 

“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”  1 Peter 3:15

 

******

 

Your prayer prompt-

Father, open my eyes through Jesus Christ to see You and Your glory in the midst of ….

God's presence
God's presence

privilege of being still in His presence

My Prayer Peek/your prayer prompt [sit in Your presence]

Most Glorious Lord,

My favorite thing is to sit in Your presence and just soak up Your glory! There are times I have to work harder at leaving all the distractions, worries, to-do lists, and urgent calls upon my heart to simply sit and be still before You. The more I am still with You, the more I want to do it more. In fact, once I am sitting still before You, I can feel Your presence all around. I know You are blessing me and filling me and doing much more than I could possibly know during this precious time together. Often, I don’t even want to leave this wonderful place where we simply sit in quiet union in an eternal space where time does not matter.

 

Having been brought up as a worker and a doer, there are times I must fight against the guilty sense of what looks like doing nothing. But, oh Lord, I have discovered it is the most important thing I could ever do. There is so much that goes on being in Your presence than I could ever comprehend in this life. In Your presence, I find all I could ever need: reassurance, comfort, wisdom, complete forgiveness, understanding, direction, peace, vision, eternal hope, tender correction, renewed strength, refreshment for my weary soul…

 

There may not be many words but much happens in this quiet time I spend just savoring the mighty miraculous gift of the presence of the Most High in a very intimate way in my little insignificant heart. It seems I have all the attention of the Great I Am…yet I know You share Your presence with whoever accepts Jesus as the way. Lord, not only do I know I can sit in Your presence now and forever, but I want to walk with You, dwell with You and abide with You as I go about living out my limited time in this limited form. You can do much more when I spend more time in Your presence and less time doing things on my own. Help me to learn to sit, walk and live in Your glorious presence- even in the most mundane activities!

 

*******

 

“As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. 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 answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’”  Luke 10:38-42

 

“Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”  John 15:4

 

********

 

Your prayer prompt-

Lord, help me be still in Your presence (thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice for this eternal privilege)…

praise God
praise God

God is worthy to be praised

My Prayer Peek/your prayer prompt [power of praise]

Most Glorious Father God!

My prayers used to start out with desperate pleas to give me this or that or help me get out of another mess. There is nothing wrong with those frantic calls for help, for You most certainly answer them in some of the most unusual ways. But through the years, I have discovered the amazing power of praising You, Lord! It is not due to my eloquent or specific words. It is not about MY praising…it is because You are God and You are worthy of all our praise. When we turn our thoughts, minds and spirit to who You really are; as we seek some adequate way to praise Your greatness—something incredible happens…

 

Our pride, hurt feelings, fears, anxieties, plans, desire for control all melt away like mist in the glory of who You are! As we acknowledge Your Almighty power, Your reign over all, Your faithfulness, the fact that You govern heaven and earth and that all powers must answer to You, we are filled with the sweetness of Your joy and peace that signal our trust in who You are. ..as You call Yourself “I AM that I AM.”

 

You are far more wonderful than any words that we can express, yet we are the only ones who can express our personal praise to You- whether it be through music, dance, face down in submission and surrender. Worshipping You in spirit and truth is to recognize You know better than we do, that we belong to You forever and ever, that You loved us so much that You sent Jesus to die for our sins, that we can live with You  though we cannot see You, that You dwell in the praises of Your people, and that we can make it through whatever temporary trials this world offers as we travel in faith toward our everlasting Home with You. Then we will see You in all Your glory and our praises will be absolutely pure and a blessing to You, Lord. Help me praise You more even now- no matter what today looks like!

 

********

 

“My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you— I whom you have delivered.”   Psalm 71:23

 

“Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!”   Psalm 147:1

 

“Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’ Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’”     Revelation 5:11-13

 

*******

 

Your prayer prompt:

Most Holy Father God, I praise You for at least 10 things that describe who You are…

prayer for pruning
prayer for pruning

prayer for pruning

 

My Prayer Peek/your prayer prompt [Pruning might hurt]

Heavenly Father,

 

My husband smiles when he sees me with a pair of pruners in my hand. He knows it’s one of my favorite parts of gardening (not the picking up the debris left behind—but the vision of the beauty to come.) I enjoy bringing new life to an old overgrown specimen that someone else may even want to take out. I’ve seen it many times before. The gasp that comes when pruning occurs. The prized rose, tree or shrub is cut back to half its size. The panic on someone’s face is expected when they don’t realize the good that will come from cutting out the extra growth even though it might look healthy–even though it has been coddled, fed, watered and celebrated. In order for the plant to keep healthy and produce the fruit, blossoms or desired effect. It must undergo the cutting eye of the gardener.

 

The other day, my neighbor came to me worried about how the small tree she had watched grow looked after her new tenant “cut it back.” I sympathized with her concern but knew it was the best thing. It was what I would have done. As I got to know her new renter (my new neighbor), I discovered he grew up on an apple tree farm and knows all about pruning. There is a lot to be said about trusting the Pruner.

 

Lord, You are my Master Gardener! You have been doing some extra pruning on me lately. I don’t have Your vision for my life. I don’t know how You are using me in Your landscape. I may wince under the knife as You cut out this activity, or that attitude, or even what seems a healthy-looking ministry…but I have learned to trust You. I submit to Your excellent pruning and Your knowledge of me and what You are needing me for. I will not yell or complain or doubt Your vision.  Here I am. Prune me. I love the pruners in Your hands even better than in mine.

 

******

 

“For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone

    and the flower becomes a ripening grape,

he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives,

    and cut down and take away the spreading branches.”   Isaiah 18:5

 

““I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”   John 15:1-2

******

 

Your prayer prompt-

Lord, do I trust Your pruning in my life?…

realize weakness
realize weakness

When I am Weak

Heavenly Father,

 

I have discovered what a great thing it is to be weak…like when I am faced with a gigantic situation that I have absolutely no idea how to get out of…or when the job looming in front of me requires much more talent and strength than I could ever muster…or when my exhausted body cannot take even one more step…or the problem standing in my way requires more brain power than I possess. Those situations that highlight my weakness used to frighten me, but I have a whole different perspective now. It is wonderful to realize my weakness. That’s when I am finally ready to acknowledge Your strength, Lord…

 

Too many times, I have relied on my own strength—my own will power—my own ideas. They might even appear to work for a while, but sooner or later, I will be back at the place where I am smacked in the face with my weakness. It’s happened enough times now that I have come to see that realizing my weakness is a good thing. The sooner I get that and believe it, the more quickly I can rely on Your strength, Lord.

 

So here I am again today, realizing and acknowledging my complete weakness and dependence upon You. Lord, I can’t even breathe without Your help, let alone know the best way through today. I am so happy to be weak and needy. Lord, I bow before You asking Your strength (which manifests itself in amazing ways) to flow in and through me. I’m so glad it doesn’t depend on me but on You. I’m feeling incredibly weak today so I know Your strength through Jesus Christ will give me all I need.

 

******

 

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.”       Isaiah 40:29

 

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”    Romans 8:26

 

“’But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”   2 Corinthians 12:9

 

******

 

Your prayer prompt-

Father, I feel so weak due to…

I need Your strength…

 

evajuliuson

 

Heavenly Father,

The most challenging, heart-breaking and fulfilling job I’ve ever had is being a parent. In the days my children were still living at home, it was a 24-hour-per-day job. No matter how you are feeling, you have a huge responsibility. There are few breaks; when you do take a break, you are continually concerned about your kids. The cost is great with many sacrifices along the way. Now, with the pandemic, parents are put even more into the position of teaching their children.

 

It might seem a bad thing, but in many ways—it is bringing more responsibility back to parents. Many times, through my years as a mom, I have thought You made us parents so we would understand You more fully. You truly are our Father. You are so smart. You knit our children together, then hand them to us when they are cute and adorable so we fall in love with them before some of the hardest stuff starts. How else would I understand pure unconditional love, or patience as my child tries to grasp a lesson or impatience as they should have learned it by now. Being a parent means pouring out your life and soul without any guarantees of gratitude. I’m sure You feel this way often, Lord. You have taught me so much about You just by making me a parent.

 

Parents have their children longer than any other teacher. They have the larger responsibility of teaching their children how to be respectful and kind to others, how to share, how to meet life’s obstacles, how to persevere, how to have courage even when afraid, when to speak up and when to be quiet… Father, I pray for all the parents still on active duty, to take their job as their child’s first-string teacher seriously. There will be many mistakes, distractions, losses and victories. It is worth all the investment and sacrifices. That’s how You teach us. When we ask, You instruct us each step of the way as we teach our children.

 

*******

 

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when he said to me, ‘Assemble the people before me to hear my words so that they may learn to revere me as long as they live in the land and may teach them to their children.’”       Deuteronomy 4:9-10

 

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”   Deuteronomy 11;18-19

“Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.”    Psalm 34:11

 

********

 

Your prayer prompt-

Father, thank You for teaching me. Now, help me teach  the children You’ve given me….

Heavenly Father,

Sometimes we feel completely alone in the world. It can happen when we feel disconnected to our family, when we have to face a huge challenge without any help, when we are grieving a loved one, when friends and family have let us down, when it seems no one understands us, when we are sick and there is no one to care for us…We can even feel completely alone while in a crowd or even sitting next to our best friend. Although loneliness may be really painful, it is not necessarily the worst thing that can happen to us. It can be in our deepest loneliness that we discover we are never alone…

 

When those we have depended on have been stripped from us, You are still with us, Lord.

When no one has the right answers to help us, You patiently wait for us to ask You.

When it seems the whole world is against us, You are for us!

When we are misunderstood and judged by all those around us, You know us batter than we know ourselves.

When we are facing the biggest battle of our lives, You fight for us.

In the middle of the night when no one is around, You shine out for us.

 

Lord, we can fill up our lives with so much stuff, busyness, entertainment, news, friends…that we can easily forget You are here. Perhaps it is good for us to sometimes feel alone so we can once again, realize our great need for You. You are the only One who truly never leaves us or forsakes us. You are the only One who fills us overflowing, wants the very best for us, knows us, forgives us, encourages us, corrects us and restores our soul.  I am never alone because of Your gift of Jesus. All I need is found in Him, alone. How I long for everyone else to discover You in their aloneness.

 

*******

 

“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.”   Psalm 25:16

 

“Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure.”    Psalm 16:5

 

“Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart

    and free me from my anguish.”  Psalm 25:16-17

 

*******

 

Your prayer prompt-

Father, I feel so alone in this world. I need You…

Heavenly Father,

Most people have had a dream of being found naked and exposed in public. We see our flaws and try to cover them up so no one else does. What about that first time we expose ourselves completely to the one we love? They may not love us if they see our warts, wrinkles, scars or blemishes. What if all our secret thoughts and actions were caught on video for all the world to see? No one could possibly like us if they knew our deepest thoughts. Most Holy Father, You know me far better than I know myself. There is nothing hidden from You…and yet You still love me! What an amazing love!

 

You created us to live unashamed with You, but sin gets in the way and reveals our guilt and shame. We try to hide from You and even attempt to blame others or our circumstances. All along, You see our sin and know it keeps us from the sweet intimacy of eternal life with You. As a young girl, I recall thinking that I didn’t have sin—that I was a good girl. It didn’t take long to see glimpses of sin in my life. In fact, after all these years, You still expose sin in my life that I didn’t even know was there. Yet now, I can stand unashamed before You, resting sure that Your love is absolutely true and covers all my known and yet unknown sin.

 

You knew not even one of us is without sin. You knew there was no other way to wash us clean except by the innocent blood of Your Son Jesus Christ. You knew He had to be born as one of us, tempted to sin but remaining pure and holy all the way to the cross where He willingly died for my sin (and everyone else’s).  That is true love! You not only love me despite my sin and imperfection- You made a way to take it completely away. I can now come before You unashamed. In fact, I love the way You still expose my unclean thoughts and actions. You gently remind me that I am covered with radiant garments because I have accepted and trust in the sweet sacrifice of love You have given me through Jesus Christ!

 

*********

 

“You have searched me, Lord, and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You, Lord, know it completely.”   Psalm 139:1-4

 

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

 

“And now, dear children, continue in Him, so that when He appears we may be confident and unashamed before Him at his coming.”  1 John 2:28

 

***********

 

Your prayer prompt-

Father, I believe that Jesus died to cover my sin so I can stand unashamed before You…

Heavenly Father,

I had no idea I had been that busy until everything in my life suddenly slowed down from this pandemic. It was a surprise to me to be still over an extended period of time. My life has always been extremely full of activity with a large family, an in-home business and other work, church activities, chores, errands…you name it. I began to notice a slight slow down as my family all grew up and had families of their own, then I began to see their activity levels soar. There is a definite adjustment to being still. I have always needed my quiet time with You, Lord, or I never could have survived all I have. Yet You have brought me and a lot of others to a new level of stillness with most of the world sheltering-in-place. Thank You for these still days…

 

We tend to want to fill our still days with any kind of noise or activity. It’s too quiet so we listen non-stop to any kind of media, music, or words. It’s too still so we run to find some new activity to fill up our time. We can find all kinds of ways to run from stillness. Oh! But, Lord, You wait quietly in the stillness to meet with us. What a treasure we find when we simply sit with You. We learn to listen to You. We get to know You. You restore us to that beautiful loving relationship as we quietly seek You.

 

Too often our busyness glorifies us. It is when we stop and are still with You that You can be glorified in us. Being still in Your presence  reveals the darkness that needs to be brought into Your light; You lovingly convict us of wrong attitudes and thinking; You let us know  when You have something for us to do or say, but it is not difficult for You give us all we need. Father, I am so at peace and content in this stillness. I pray that we all take advantage of these still days and seek You in the quietness where You will be found.

 

********

 

“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

 

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.”   Psalm 23:1-3

 

““Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”   Mark 6:31

 

*********

 

Your prayer prompt-

Father, help me learn to love being still with You…

Most Holy Father,

 

There have literally been times I have felt You put Your hand over my mouth to keep me from talking. I already knew what I was going to say. I wanted to say it so badly. It seemed so very important that I thought I might burst if I didn’t say it…but You have graciously closed my mouth at certain times. Other times, You have let me put my own foot in my mouth and I have had to try to apologize for words that spewed out of my unclean heart. Once the wrong words have been released, the damage has been done. There is no way to erase the wounds caused by my uncontrollable urge to be right, to have my voice heard, to make it known that I have all the answers. Oh, Lord! I need You to be my mouth guard, my God filter.

 

How can anyone hear when we are all busy talking? We just keep getting louder and louder, thinking our views need to be heard. There is not enough listening. Before I speak, Lord, please let me run it by You first. There have been so many times, after bringing it to You before I speak, I am a little shocked to discover that my attitude is wrong…that I am guilty of not honoring another by at least listening to them. I’m so sure of myself that I do not take the time to hear another’s heart. I’m so busy trying to convince them of my way that I have not heard the deep wounds of their heart. If I truly listen, even if I disagree, I am showing one of the greatest characteristics of love. To listen to the heart of another is to show true care.  Help me be a better listener.

 

Lord, You have been so kind to listen to me and all my whining, rants, raves, fears, and demands. Sometimes after I’ve unloaded on You, You then quietly speak to my heart. You have let me vent to You until I feel better. You have tenderly pointed out my wrong attitude when I was so sure of someone else being wrong. There are even times after talking to You about a situation that You asked me to speak to someone when I really didn’t want to. Yet how would I know when to be quiet and when to speak until I listen to You first?

 

Lord, it seems there is a pandemic of too many talking and no one listening. It is incredibly noisy in this world right now.  I need my quiet time with You to decipher Your will. Help us all to wait to speak until we run things by You first. Help us all to do a better job of truly listening to You above all…and then even offer the gift of listening with love to others—like You do for us.

 

**********

 

 

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”   James 3:9-10

 

“They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”    1 John 4:5-7

 

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”  Ephesians 4:28

 

*********

 

Your prayer prompt:

Father, help me to speak (and listen) to You before speaking my mind…