Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Prayer Partners

I have inadvertently started a series on prayer; it is so important I want it to be the bookends of my life. I want pray to be so ingrained in my consciousness that I pray before problems come, not after I’ve tried everything. And at the end of every situation, I want to be mindful to give God thanks for the way it transpired. There are two scenarios I wish to share with you regarding Prayer Partners.

Scenario 1 – R&G
I attended a church where they had a Prayer Partner Program/Ministry. This ministry was created to connect High School and College graduates with people who would pray for them throughout their college years and as they transitioned to the workforce or the next stage of their lives. Partners were usually matched based on age or common interests but sometimes it was arbitrary. Usually the graduate was younger than his partner. So R and G were paired together. R was a relatively young Christian, just discovering his faith. G was older, more mature and had been a Christian for most of his adult life; he was a solid down to earth guy. He also had some misgivings about this program wondering if it would be effective. R said to me one day in passing, “G is my prayer partner; O yeah; well we need to pray and make this thing work!” G was receptive. What started off very unsure grew in to a beautiful relationship. Initially they would schedule time to pray and there was some awkwardness. Over time, they stopped scheduling, and talked and prayed whenever they were led. Through prayer, they became closer friends and both grew spiritually.

Scenario 2 – A&G
A&G have been married for 22 years and have not always prayed together even though they both are Christians. They have prayed together for major things – jobs, children, and crisis – but on a daily basis had their separate times. As they go deeper in to this thing called marriage, they have realized the beauty and the strength of praying together and now try to do it as often as possible. They’re not perfect, but they recognized that a three cord strand is not easily broken.

If you’re married you have an automatic prayer partner – your spouse. Talk about this and let it naturally lead in to praying together. Prayer is one of those things that deepens the intimacy in marriage.
An older lady at my former church took me under her wing and loved me like a daughter; she became another prayer partner of mine. I have been matched with people that I’m assigned to pray for – sometimes the relationship blossoms; sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, I pray.

Do you have a prayer partner? Would you like one? Let me know.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Prayer Request

Today, I need your prayers:

I need wisdom in dealing with a difficult situation
May my words be seasoned with salt.
May I have a forgiving spirit.
May God give me strength and courage to say what needs to be said.
In all of this may His Spirit shine through.

Thanks so much!

Prayer 101

I am cautiously optimistic about the way the show HawthoRNe has incorporated the value of praying this season. It’s almost as if the writers are alluding to and acknowledging the power of prayer to God (not just any old deity) and its positive attributes. The main character, Cristina - wishes she had taught her daughter how to pray and is glad that she is now learning. As an aside, you can't teach what you do not know or what you do not live - you can provide lip service, but you can't really teach it. Parents often learn that children mimic what is modeled not just what is said.

Earlier in the episode, Camille asked the young surgeon - how to pray and he says - "It's quite simple, pray from the heart."

So what is prayer? There's an old song, a hymn that I think covers all the bases of praying. Would you believe my mother used to sing this song? Verses 3 and 4 stuck, and are my favorites.

by James Montgomery

Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire,
Unuttered or expressed;
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.

Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
The falling of a tear
The upward glancing of an eye,
When none but God is near.

Prayer is the simplest form of speech
That infant lips can try;
Prayer, the sublimest strains
That reach The Majesty on high.

Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath,
The Christian’s native air,
His watchword at the gates of death;
He enters Heav’n with prayer.

Prayer is the contrite sinner’s voice,
Returning from his ways,
While angels in their songs rejoice
And cry, “Behold, he prays!”

The saints in prayer appear as one
In word, in deed, and mind,
While with the Father and the Son
Sweet fellowship they find.

No prayer is made by man alone
The Holy Spirit pleads,
And Jesus, on th’eternal throne,
For sinners intercedes.

O Thou by Whom we come to God,
The Life, the Truth, the Way,
The path of prayer Thyself hast trod:
Lord, teach us how to pray.

Prayer is as vital as breathing; I encourage you to do it. Pray from the heart when you're happy or sad; mad or glad. Don't worry what others think, it's your heart and it matters to God. There is absolutely nothing that you cannot bring in prayer to God. Just Pray.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Instant Access

Today we can communicate with each other instantly; I'm referring to texting and social media. Texting is a great tool in the hands of parents - well at least for me it is.

One of my children recently started an internship across the country. I'm thankful for the relationship we have because my children typically text me about anything - bodily functions, fears, clothes, people, deep thoughts, etc. You name it - I've probably gotten a text with it.

As I was replying to one of her numerous texts it occurred to me that as Christians we have the ability to have this type of instant communication with God, our Heavenly Father, through prayer.

Because of the relationship we have with Him: no formality is required, we can pour out our hearts to him at any point in time, and we have the knowledge that he hears us. We may receive an instant answer in the form of peace in our spirit or confirmation in many forms - a person, an article, a well timed word, and most importantly the scripture. Or we may receive a delayed response - either way, we know God hears us.
Prayer is our speaking from our hearts to our heavenly Father, and, in return, God’s speaking to us through His Word and guiding us by the leading of His Spirit.

The technology around texting is relatively new but the concept - quick access, has been around from the beginning of time.

Do you pray your way through the day? How do you feel after you've prayed?

PS - don't forget to subscribe via email or follow to receive regular updates.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Prayer - Can I Pray for You?

On June 14th on the season premiere of HawthoRNe a most touching and particularly poignant scene transpired. The main character - Cristina Hawthorne was viciously attacked and was in serious medical condition. Derek Luke's character, asked if he could pray for Cristina's daughter - Camille and she replies “Yes.” He proceeded to pray - "Dear Father God, the True MD..."I don't remember the entire prayer but he also said..."Grant Camille a peace that passes all understanding..., in Jesus' name, Amen."

It was surreal watching this scene on a prime time TV show; from a Christian perspective, I felt that the character got it right! He prayed to God, he was humble, he lifted up the hurting, and he wanted God's will in the situation.

Camille looked stunned yet comforted that someone who she barely knew would take time out to intercede on her behalf to a God who he clearly talks to on a regular basis. To intercede in prayer means to go before God on another’s behalf. That look on Camille's face - disbelief, surprise, comfort, encapsulates what happens when we are bold enough to pray for someone audibly in their time of need. Sometimes it does not matter what you say - just the very fact that you are praying makes all the difference in the world. You experience a selfless love when you pray.

Derek Luke’s character prayed for peace - he prayed a scripture (Philippians 4:7). In essence saying - not my will, but thine be done. When you pray the word of God you pray the will of God.

There are many examples of people praying on another's behalf in the Bible:

We never know what each person is going through. It may be traumatic, or they may seem calm on the outside. Take a moment to talk with them and if led by the Holy Spirit, gently ask – “Can I pray for you?” As Christians, we are encouraged to pray for each other; for all people.

What a privilege we as Christians have to come boldly to the throne of God with our prayers and requests and find grace to help in a time of need.

Have you prayed for someone today? How do you feel when someone prays for you?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Blogging and Blogrolling - Part 2

When it comes to blogging, I feel like I'm late to the party - however I'm a quick study.
I'm in the IT field, so I was aware of them from a subject matter standpoint, but never really saw the usefulness. As I've said in previous posts - I love writing and it's my dream to be a published author. I've always written, though not on a regular basis - so sometimes I journal, sometimes I don't.

Below are my observation(s) about blogging. Note: They are solely mine, and based on my experiences and professional background.

They ought to be boundaries. In no way should a blog replace your personal journal, for so many reasons the least of which is once it is on the internet, it's history. Think about the footprint you are leaving. I've read a couple of blogs in the past months where the authors had to remove their blogs due to invasion of privacy. Lesson learned - I'm not going down that path.

Niches. "There's a lid for every pot." I think the blog world is like that - there's some topic or area waiting to be discovered. Niches expand and change over time. Your niche may be talking about yourself because you have a unique perspective, or it may be pottery, or mothers who knit. You may start off as a knitting mom and then recognize that this is too narrow, so now you've become a crafty mom. As niches grow and change, clue the reader in.

Design on a Dime. They're are some amazingly well designed blogs out there. I like a clean crisp layout, where everything is easy to find and the page is not inundated with ads.

Backup. With the recent fiasco with blogger where you lost a day's work with the comments, I've since discovered that you can export your blog. This serves as a backup for your blog and you can do this as often as you need to.

Follow me, I'll follow you - Followers are nice; they indicate confirmed readerships as compared to lurkers - who read but never say hi. Believe it or not, those not familiar with the blog world are not familiar with following. Networked Blogs makes it easy as you can follow using your Facebook profile. Google friend connect requires you having a gmail account or you can follow annonymously. I LIKE to see the number of followers I have increase. Yes, I blog for me - but I love the validation of following. So if you don't follow yet, please do.
To follow, click on Follow from the menu or to the right and follow the prompts.
If you wish to follow using your Facebook Profile, click on Follow this Blog under Networked Blogs to the right.

Contact Me - so many of the blogs I read, do not have an email address for additional communication. Perhaps that's intentional but for the rest of you, please have an email address that's easily located on your blog or a Contact Me link. The Mrs. provided a great PSA on adding email to your Blogger profile.

Some of my recent favorite blogs are Ames who is single handedly redefining my view of Moms who Lunch and the Student who provides a Biblical researched based approach to The Science of Marriage.

Do you have any additional insights on blogging that you wish to share with me? I still don't know how to indent paragraphs using HTML, do you? How do linkbacks work?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Family Devotions

I grew up in a very interesting family - on the outside we appeared like everyone else, but inside we did certain things differently.

My parents were Christians that took their Christianity seriously. They weren't holy rollers, they didn't walk around speaking in tongues or randomly administering blessings, and they didn't dress in a way that made them unique. They looked like everyone else. However they believed in the power of the Word, and its ability to change a person's life. They lived out their Christianity. My father was the strong quiet type, while my mom was vocal. For as long as I can remember up to around high school we had devotions daily, in the evening. Over time, it became once a week - and finally it stopped but at that point, it became each child's individual habit - well it became mine (I have 5 brothers and 2 sisters).

Our family devotions entailed reading the Bible; reading from a devotional, usually Our Daily Bread and as we got older, Streams in the Desert; short discussion if the devotional wasn't self explanatory; singing and finally prayer. We would go around and each person would read a verse (this really strengthened our reading skills). This lasted no more than 30 minutes.

My parents recognized the importance of having a Godly foundation and as an adult, my husband and I try to do the same with our family. We're not as disciplined as they were in terms of frequency. In good times, it's every other day; worse case - once a week. When the children were toddlers and I was working, it was quite hard to get a rhythm with this - they wouldn’t keep still or wouldn’t pay attention. We just stuck it out.

Recently we had Family Devotions and it was quite rich. We're attempting to do the book of Proverbs as a family. Anyhow, it warms my heart to hear how our children's lives are daily impacted by the scriptures. Rich discussion ensues - we read, we pray, we talk, but we don't sing.

There are many resources available online to assist with making this a regular habit. For starters all you need is dedication and a Bible. Also check out some of the links I’ve highlighted above.

I'd like to encourage each of you who read this blog to set aside a regular time to have family devotions with your family. You may not be the typical family - you may be a single mother or father, but this is still something you can do. As parents we want what's best for our children. We sign them up for all sorts of extracurricular activities, and focus on their academics. Sometimes we forget the spiritual or relegate this to a school or church.

Do not take laying a Godly foundation for you and your children for granted; it impacts all areas of your life.

Did you come from a home that regularly had family devotions? Have you started this habit in your home? Do you call it something else?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Reflections on The Proverbs Challenge

One of the reasons I did the Proverbs Challenge was because I’d never seen it done in the blog world. In the blog world, there are all sorts of challenges – no makeup for 7 days, a different hairstyle every day, eating with no sugar, reading a book a month, body toning exercises, etc. – so I thought, why not a daily Bible reading challenge?

A challenge on its face seems hard, but by its very nature is also doable. It’s called a challenge because it requires some discipline and thought on the individual’s part – it won’t happen by itself. The definition of challenge is a test of one's abilities or resources in a demanding but stimulating undertaking. At the end of a challenge, there’s the satisfaction of completion (this may be the only reward), but there’s also knowledge gained about yourself or the process, and a feeling of accomplishment.

Here’s what I gained from doing the Proverbs Challenge:

God’s word has our best interests at heart; we fight it because we think we know better, but when you get right down to it if we choose to live the way outlined in the Bible, we’d be better for it.

The Bible guides all the interactions in my life.

Humility before honor – seems like we all want to be lauded, but no one wants to put in the hard work; no one wants to submit (to authority, rules, and principles). Everyone wants to do it their way.

Now that I’ve done it, I can encourage others to attempt it.

It provided focus – something to look forward to on a daily basis. My time with God each day became special.

God is faithful – He always comes through. I never knew what I would write until I actually started typing. I typically pray before I read, asking God to make his word clear to me; to keep it in my memory; and for opportunities throughout the day to use what I’ve read. Every day He came through for me.

Nothing in our lives is too big or too small for God – we saw that in Proverbs.

It gave me a new thirst for God’s Word ; now I’m thinking of what next and how do I share it with you?

Use the gifts that you are given – I’ve always loved reading and writing and this challenge was another way to do both.

Looking at things through my father’s eyes. Have you ever heard that song? This challenge refined my perspective.

Wisdom is available – all you have to do is ask for it and it’s available in boundless supply.

  • Women - we are special and have more influence than we are aware of. As a wife, we are a good thing. We can be odious, and contemptible and drive those we live with far from us or we can be virtuous and wise and reap priceless rewards. This theme was repeated often throughout the book of Proverbs.

I appreciated all your comments and all your visits during this challenge. I’d love to hear your thoughts now that you’ve completed the challenge.

How did this challenge help you?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Reading & Running!

Today is National Running Day; I discovered this thanks to another blogger - Keyalus.

You may have noticed that I used the running analogy throughout the Proverbs Challenge - so how fitting that you actually get to run today.

If you've never run before, start slowly. For additional ways to celebrate today - check out the National Running Day site.

Running like Bible reading is challenging; don't over think it - Go Run!