Category Archives: Prayer

I encountered a man the other day who spoke a 3-minute conversation. Although it was only a brief conversation, his transparency won my respect not for what he had accomplished in this life, but for his strong confidence and belief in our Heavenly Father.  I don’t remember his name nor would I be able to recognize him, but I will never forget what he demonstrated. His actions and beliefs displayed a heart of expectation, humility and determination. My new friend stepped out of the business of his day and made a priority to “listen for thunder”. I met this gentleman while visiting a prayer house.

I had arrived a few minutes before him. Upon my arrival I went through the visitor procedures of the five-room community prayer house. As I maneuvered through the house I gazed at each wall, I soon found myself in the back room. The room was about 10 x 12 and it’s only occupancy was a kneeling bench pushed up against the only solid wall of the room. The other three walls each had two windows that were covered with blinds to keep the summer heat out, but still allowed light through to offer a dimly lit quiet refuge from the outside world. Just like the hallway I found myself overwhelmed by the needs presented on the walls of the room I had just discovered. My eyes began to gaze over the countless petitions written on sticky notes plastered almost as wall paper from floor to ceiling. My soul ached with empathy as I read the requests that had been presented to God. Etched out in pencil, marker or pen each represented a request that only God could provide. Some were for healing, protection, direction, provision, and many for the salvation of loved ones.

After a few minutes of panning the room, I knelt to pray trying to regain my focus on what brought me to the prayer house to begin with. As I ventured into my objective a gentleman walked into the room with his Bible in hand. Obviously, my presence startled him as he somehow entered and exited in the same step. He quickly began to apologize for the interruption. His manner of entrance into the room signified to me that he was familiar with the room.  Along with his apologies, he suggested he would go to one of the other rooms of the house. Assuring him that his entrance was quite all right, I acknowledged that clearly, he was familiar with the room.

“This room is special to you, isn’t it?” I said.

He replied with a nod and pointed to a photo that was taped on the wall. The photo was a family portrait.

The color 4 x 6 photo, adhered to the wall by masking tape across the top, displayed a family of five with each family member having a smile that could conquer the world. Three young children were shown with their mom and dad standing behind them proud as ever. The picture would have been the perfect Facebook post to scream to the world “We are the perfect family.”

My heart melted when he explained why he was there at the prayer house. “I come here and pray for God to put my family back together. You see, I messed up and did some things I shouldn’t have done. In the midst of it all, my wife walked out and took the kids,” he explained.  His passion for restoration exuded with every word.

He continued to explain he comes to the prayer house every day after he gets off work. I had recently committed myself to attending the prayer house the tenth of every month, and secretly hoped I would remember each month. His dedication to separate himself from the distraction and responsibilities of this world spoke volumes to what made my commitment seem at that moment a tiny one.

I graciously departed from the room and found myself a different room. Again, I knelt trying to think of my objective in coming. I tried to gather my thoughts. Nothing could penetrate the thought of what had just occurred and my heart’s demeanor before FAITH literally walked in the room.  My objective was now overshadowed with the testimony I had just witnessed. I thought of the possible words he might be praying at that exact moment. Tears began to flow as I could not comprehend the feeling of losing my family and the enduring consequence of knowing it was by my own actions. My heavenly Father then assured me in my spirit that He offers boundless grace to his children by giving us the power of prayer, a way to go to Him with every need we have. Further assuring me that He allows us to ask Him to make right our wrongs, this hope renewed my faith to pray earnestly. The man who knelt next door to me sat before the Lord asking to be the man God intended him to be, the spiritual leader of his family. When our earnest prayers match God’s word, we can stand in assurance He will be faithful.

Scripture speaks of earnest prayer in James 5: 15-18-

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again, he prayed and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.

Pondering these verses has reminded me of a time in my childhood when I was impacted by men who walking in faith passionately presented their petitions to God. Some of my earliest memories are from the prayer meetings of my small rural church I attended as a child. I would watch and listen in amazement as men stood or knelt with bended knee and prayed for rain. I knew absolutely nothing about farming at that age, but I knew from the broken sounds of their voices the need was great. My young mind comprehended they desperately needed rain. Being a farming community, this prayer was voiced many times.

One time in particular will always resonate with me.  Our service ended with a time of prayer at the altar. I watched and listened as many of the men went forward and surrounded the altar. One by one they took turns praying out loud. I hung on every word trying to process what was being spoken. After a while the men finished and church was dismissed. As we walked out the doors we were greeted with the smell and sound of rain and thunder. Soon after the sounds of thunder, the moisture of rain the men had desperately asked God to provide drenched the dry soil. God had heard those farmers’ prayers just like Elijah’s and His glory showered my small community with what they needed most.

I’m not sure where this prayer house man of faith is today. But I know the earnestness of his prayers will be answered just like his confidence he displayed. As a child I did not hear the thunder while the prayers for rain were being offered. I wonder if the farmers from my church heard the thunder coming in their spirit as they offered God their desperate pleas. Just like my friend heard the sounds of his family being put back together when he prayed, I want to hear thunder when I pray— no matter how distant it may be.

How would your life be different with a prayer life like the man of faith I encountered?

 

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Counting Grace

 

When we feel the most incapable is when

we see God’s capability!

New Jobs
Newlyweds
First Time Parents

Parenting TEENAGERS

Empty Nesters

Parenting Adult Children

Newly Single

New School

New Budgets

New Ministry

New Church

New City

   Most of these roles collide with us some time or another as we weave in and out of seasons of our lives. Seasons of transition can be both joyous and beneficial. Often times they are answers to our prayers yet, the newness brings sandy footing at times. Change can also come like a thief in the night and alter all the normalcy we abide in. Either way the reality of stepping into the transition and moving along with it is not an option. Pressing on toward a new normalcy can cause doubt and anxiety.

   Focusing on God’s sovereignty and power is crucial when our lack of measuring up seems greater than the task at hand or when we just don’t like our new circumstances. God’s capabilities never change.  He is all knowing all powerful all the time.  He is our loving father and nothing catches him by surprise.

   I can remember bringing my first born home from the hospital and waking to every movement and mutter. I placed his bassinet at the foot of my bed to make sure I would hear him. Just to make double sure, I placed the baby monitor inside his bassinet. The reality became every tiny movement sounded like he was plummeting out of the bassinet. I found myself in a new awaited role yet, I felt completely inadequate to fulfill that role. Thankfully I can report he survived and so did I. A few nights later, I learned the baby monitor wasn’t needed while he was in the room with me. Looking back it seems so obvious, but at that present time it seemed required in order to be confident I could handle my tiny new bundle of joy.

   New seasons of life seems to jolt our bearings of normalcy and therefore feelings of inadequacy begin to mount. Transitions can be”overwhelming” and sometimes take months to adjust and feel confident. What are we to do during those moments, which seem more overwhelming than over “achieving”?

   Moses became a negotiator, transporter and communicator when God deemed him with bringing His people out of the hands of Pharaoh. Moses’ list of inadequacy far outweighed his confidence yet, God allowed him to be victorious. Throughout Exodus we witness conversations that seem all too familiar to us.

Lord’ I won’t know the words. Ex 4:1

I’ve never done this before. Ex 3:13

They are going to see I don’t know what I’m doing. Ex. 4:1

I know someone else who will do a better job.  Ex 4:10

What if I fail at this? Ex 4:10

   There are a number of ways to combat the thoughts and emotions that lead to overwhelming stress and fear.

   One is to RESERVE God’s presence in your life.

   I love the way Moses said to God ” If You don’t go with us, don’t let us leave. Moses switched his view from his own incapability to knowing the power of having God as his companion.  Exodus 33 records this powerful conversation for us:

14 And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

“My Presence will go 15 then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”

17 So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.”

    Piggy back seems to be the game my life transitions are playing.  One after the other before I can adjust my knowledge or understanding. As new life transitions approach,my lack of capabilities seem larger than life, especially at three in the morning, I have found myself asking God to go with me. My acknowledgment of wanting Him close to my side humbles my spirit and places my dependency on His shoulders and not mine.

    Sometimes I like to sound spiritual and ask Him to go before me. When really I want him to go into the future, reanalyze the situation, see if He wants to change His mind, and find someone that would do a better job. Many times I am reminded of all the reasons that person would do a good job, almost as if I’m writing them a reference letter. My view of His presence beside me brings a calmness and confidence that chases those doubts away.

Exodus continues with Moses asking God to show him His glory. 

18 And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”

   Secondly we can adjust our mindset by RECALLING His grace.

19 Then He said, “I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” 20 But He said, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” 21 And the Lord said, “Here is a place by Me, and you shall stand on the rock. 22 So it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. 23 Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.”

     It was in one of my wee hour moments that God told me to make a grace list. I began to recall all the situations that God had poured his grace over and blessed. My capabilities have nothing to do with the task ahead of me. While recalling my grace list, I can see God’s grace poured over my mustard seed size trust. It reassures me He is more than capable to handle whatever door I seem to be walking through. I don’t have to move down my list very far to find myself overwhelmed with gratitude and new found confidence that God can manage my list with His grace. Counting grace is far better than counting sheep.

    If you find yourself lacking for the transition handed to you, make sure you have RESERVED God’s presence. He will never leave us or forsake us but when we verbally acknowledge our dependency on Him it reinforces our faith.

   Next, RECALL His grace. Ask God to show you His glory and as His glory passes by, you will see grace that’s been poured over all areas of your life. Fight your fears and lack of confidence with His capabilities. Sometimes my grace list is in the form of a prayer to God, as I speak those grace blessing back to Him in thanksgiving, and other times they need to be on paper or index card stuck away in my purse or pocket so that I am reminded throughout my circumstances.

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to the ministers of a new covenant,

2 Corinthians 3:4-6

Share with someone your grace list. 

You will be blessed and so will they!

 

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Prepare for Rain

Growing up in close proximity to the Gulf of Mexico I know the drill to prepare for a storm. Whatever kind, it’s pretty much the same routine.

 

        Storm Prep

  • Remove or tie down all the objects outside that could be used as flying weapons of destruction.
  • Go to the gas station, along with everyone one else, and make sure the vehicles are all full of gas.
  • Head quickly to the grocery store before all the bread, milk and batteries have been purchased. (Although we never eat the bread and milk during the storm)
  • Prepare to go without electricity for at least 2 days.

I’m sure you know the drill as well. Most wise people prepare in general the same way for storms. Just like if you see a forecast for rain or see dark clouds over head, you usually grab a raincoat or umbrella. In fact I’ve carried a raincoat in my car all summer in preparation for the summer pop up showers that sometimes come from nowhere.

God recently confronted me with the question “Are you preparing for rain?”

Luke 12:54 And He was also saying to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out.

I have my rain jacket in the car, an umbrella in my office; therefore, I’m pretty sure I’m covered in case a rain shower peaks over the horizon.

My actions speak as though I’m expecting and prepared for rain. I know whether it happens today or in two months, it will rain again and when it does I am ready.

I quickly realized God’s appeal to me through this scripture was much more than the rain that blesses our dry soil and brings forth nourishment to both the seeds planted and to the foliage.

I have sought the Lord in prayers for ministries I’m involved in for several years. I’ve cried out with pleads for lives to be changed and needs to be met for the sake of the gospel.

I have had specific prayers for my family, asking for God to use us for His glory. Today God reminded me I should prepare for rain, not because of any magic words I’ve spoken and definitely not because of any works I have done. It is only because God is Faithful, Good, Mighty and Sovereign. Countless times scripture leads us to the promises that God will answer our prayers. When we replace our will with His, we can know He will not pass us over.

 If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

 

Tears filled my eyes as God reminded me His plan will come to pass. As I continue to lift my burdens to the Lord, I will prepare for God to move and give Him praise in advance:

 I will prepare for new salvations to come in need of discipleship.

 I will prepare for the news of callings revealed.

 I will prepare for testimonies to be shared of God’s goodness and healing.

I will tie to the foot of the cross those objects in my life that could be used as weapons of destruction so that Satan can no longer use them for harm.

I will continue to refuel my soul with scripture so that I will be filled with His word to move where He sends me. It’s time to eat the milk and bread.

One of my favorite Mercy Me songs has always been “Bring on the Rain.” It speaks of the reality of hardship and how God can use us during those times for others to see His presence in our lives.

Bring on the rain, Lord. I’m looking up for clouds of glory!

And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Luke 12:54

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The Eyes of My Heart

Over the last couple of years I have prayed and meditated for Ephesians 1:18 to be true in my life and in my families.  In turn it has opened the eyes to my heart in many areas.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people,

The season of my life led me to this verse as the mother of teenagers becoming young adults, I desperately wanted my kids to see their occupation, their spouse and everything the future holds through God’s eyes.

As this verse has passed through my heart, it not only gave me confidence that God would reveal His will to my kids but also conviction in my own life.

Most recently the verse paired itself with a conversation I had recently.

It was a casual conversation about future plans both near and far. I was taken back, when during the conversation I was asked,

“So what would you like to see happen in your lifetime?”

I thought for a moment. I asked for clarification that the question was meant in a spiritual nature. His answer was yes. My immediate thoughts could not convey an answer. I was somewhat stumped. Having a passion for discipleship I interned analyzed the question through a discipleship lens. My answer was:

 

“That I myself and the ones around me, under my influence, would grow in the discipleship process. Understanding and growing in God’s word and being able to convey scripture in both acts and conversation.”

I was humbled when my friend replied,

“My goal is a little higher than that. I want to see revival across our city and surrounding areas.”

His explanation continued with the ingredients of revival and the reality of the revival could be seen in his words and facial expression. I realized his heart was heavy for this to be a reality. I don’t recall a lot of what was stated after that because I was taken back by my low scale expectations. We finished our conversation, said our goodbyes and I as I drove away in my car and even later when I arrived at home my mind continued to probe, “why did you think small.”

Now I realize there was not a right or wrong answer to this question. But something wasn’t right in my spirit with my answer. Finally my mind went to” the verse”.  I had asked God to reveal to me what does, “the hope to our calling look like?” I have a journal completely devoted to this verse. I have meditated and researched for hours the magnitude of this verse. It was with this simple question that God revealed my heart was finally enlightened to the answer.

This verse contains so many lessons on so many levels but I can say I plan to rest in this particular objective for a while.

The true Hope to our calling is BIG.

  • It has no limits.
  • It is powered by the Holy Spirit.
  • It is a God size miracle becoming REALITY.

It was as if God whispered “That’s It!” True humbled hearts turning to Jesus, praying, seeking His presence.

When I am asked this question in the future I am ready. My heart is ready to give a God size answer.

 

 

2 Chronicles 7:14 NASB Version (New American Standard Bible)

and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

 

I pray the eyes of your heart will be enlightened to see revival in our land as a reality.

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My Prayer for 2015

I then shall live as one who’s been forgiven.
I’ll walk with joy to know my debts are paid.
I know my name is clear before my Father;
I am His child and I am not afraid.
So, greatly pardoned, I’ll forgive my brother;
The law of love I gladly will obey.

I then shall live as one who’s learned compassion.
I’ve been so loved, that I’ll risk loving too.
I know how fear builds walls instead of bridges;
I’ll dare to see another’s point of view.
And when relationships demand commitment,
Then I’ll be there to care and follow through.

Your Kingdom come around and through and in me;
Your power and glory, let them shine through me.
Your Hallowed Name, O may I bear with honor,
And may Your living Kingdom come in me.
The Bread of Life, O may I share with honor,
And may You feed a hungry world through me.

Amen, Amen, Amen

Written by: PHELPS, DAVID / GAITHER, GLORIA L / DP,

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