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Posts Tagged ‘pray’

Pray for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.                  1 Timothy 2:2 NIV

vote-1319435__180I always took the first part of the passage as an action. In my church, each Sunday we pray for the president, governor, Congress, city council and mayor. Over my life there have been times I gritted my teeth, but prayed anyway, out of obedience. After all, that is what Scripture tells us to do, right?

But God brought the second half of the verse into focus for me today. Perhaps because of the anxiety people are feeling over the presidential election in a few weeks.

So how we can live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness…not at the elected officials’ hands, but in assurance we have placed them in God’s hand, our ultimate authority.

We cannot totally depend on humans to handle or solve our national, state or local problems, no matter what they promise.God Bless America  But we can act out what our coinage states and place our elected officials and this nation’s people under God’s care, trusting in Him.  In other words, pray for them.  We may not see a change in their attitudes or beliefs, but we may see one in us.  Our hearts may become more palatable to loving our neighbors and our enemies. Our anxieties or frustrations may minimize. Hope may bubble up a bit more in our souls.

Then and only then will we find peace and quiet, godly living and His holiness.

 

 

 

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One letter can totally change things.  In a recent game of Words with Friends, I had two options. Spell prey or pray.  One letter difference, but oh, what a difference!

That got the grey cells activated…

falcon-1329991_640PREY – the E stands for EVIL. Scripture tells us Satan prowls around seeking his prey. Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. I Peter 5:8   If you are the prey, you are helpless, hopeless, and vulnerable. Evil lurks and you cower, defenseless and weak with fear. Birds of prey seek out the ones least likely to resist. they intimidate and then swoop in.

 

PRAY – the A stands for Almighty. Instead of cowering in the face of evil ,if we pray God will prevail. He has conquered evil. He’ll provide us the spiritual (and perhaps physical) tools we need to fight it, or He will battle it for us. Psalm 62:2 says:  Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.  

Paul tells the people of Phillipi: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (4:6) 

When we pray, I envision an invisible dome of mercy and power over us. We are shielded from the effects of this world. Bad things will still happen because we live in a post-Eden place. However, God is with us. He will either give us the strength to battle it, remove us from it, or make good out of it.

And the cool thing? A comes before E in the alphabet. So why would we not choose the first letter over the fifth one down the line? When evil threatens the parameters of your life, remember God the Almighty comes first.

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download (1)This week, hundred of missionaries and faith leaders from all over the world descended on Fort Worth, TX to pray over each other, learn from each other, and support each other. I have met amazing men who minister to persecuted Christians in a predominately Muslim environment – unfortunately, I can’t say who they are over cyber space  or show their pictures because they and their families live under the threat of execution.

I can tell you what I gleaned from their talks:

1. People are being converted to Christianity at alarming rates – the persecutions have drawn others to the faith. God does bring good out of evil. (Romans 12:21 –Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. )  Rejoice in this.

2. The best thing we can do is PRAY – pray for holy leaders to spring forth to guide the newly converted. Jesus is coming to thousands in  dreams, but they don’t understand who the “man in glowing white” is. (Romans 10:20 –And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”

3. Befriend Muslims here in our countries because they are curious about our faiths and freedoms, but fear us because of the prejudice we have due to the terrorist sects. They are humans looking for peace and salvation and because secularism is foreign to their mindset, are easier to convert. Many do not realize Jesus is proclaimed as the Son of God in the Koran because they have never been allowed to study it!  (Colossians 1:25  I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—)

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I found God moving in places in the world where hatred, persecution and strife are part of a daily existence. But out of that cesspool springs of hope are gurgling up, and the stream of Living Water cannot be dammed.  Their testimonies brought tears to my eyes and a new fervor in my heart.

Please join me in doing these three simple things.

 

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As I  glanced for oncoming traffic before I turned the corner, my eyes absorbed the whole tragic scene and immediately pooled with tears. A chunk of my heart ripped into my throat.

I saw the flashing EMS lights, and two EMT’s wheeling an old woman on a gurney. Another EMT helped an elderly, hunched-over man, white hair and beard disheveled, with a cane. His shoulders heaved up and down as his face reddened with tears.

But, I was turning the other way to head for a meeting. Besides, what could I do? I’d never been in this neighborhood. I’d never seen this couple in my life, but the connection was immediate. I recall the morning when they wheeled my late husband away on the gurney. Six hours later at the hospital we pulled the plug…

I scanned my Facebook home page and saw an acquaintance’s report about her teenage son’s latest set back with cancer. Just home from the hospital after months of chemo and infection fighting, they were back in the ER, in a city hours away from me. I recalled the times my own son was in the hospital fighting for his life…

I saw on the news a young family left homeless by an apartment fire. Their dog didn’t make it out. The small child squeezed her mother’s hand as she wailed for her lost friend, and watched her home devoured by the flames. I was reminded of the night my room caught on fire…

Then, situations I cannot fathom flash into my life via the internet, TV and radio.

Another plane halfway around the world has crashed. More lives lost…

An insane and upset person opens fire on an innocent gathering of people…

Sixty children are left in a truck in the middle of the summer, most likely smuggled in by traffickers. Most are dying, if not already dead…

What could I do?

Do you ever feel that way? Someone wiser than I once said we are not human beings but human doings. When we hear of a tragedy, we immediately ask, “What can I do?”

Praying hands_God whispered the answer into my faith ear once again and it dashed to my soul. PRAY – it is the best you can do. Prayer opens the floodgates of Heaven, and multiplies our capabilities a thousandfold. Prayer connects the Almighty with the weak and hurting. Jesus prayed for others until His dying breath. He prays for us still.

Why do we so often underestimate its power?

Why do we feel we need to do more? Maybe because praying doesn’t seem like doing. Our hands are still and folded, not busy. Results are often not immediate, though they can be.

If, when you are made aware of a tragedy, you can physically render aid, do so. But as you dash to “do” that, lift the whole thing into God’s capable hands. Pray He gives you the tools you need to help and the right words to say.  But, if you don’t feel capable or are too removed from the scene, then call on the One who loves more deeply and knows more vastly what is going on.

Pray… it’s what all of us believers could, and should “do.”

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After a two-hour drive, minus one pit-stop, my friend and I pulled up to the church in a strange town where in another month’s time we would be conducting a workshop for the women of my denomination. It had not been a good morning so far. The gas pump ran out of gas. so I grumbled as I had to pay $2.24 and then get in the car, back around, go to another gas station and fill the car the rest of the way. Then, It seemed that every slow driver in a 100 mile radius had descended on the highway in front of me. Grrr. And of course, every traffic light turned red just as I pulled up. And, when my bladder told me I probably should stop at a convenience store before arriving at the church, I grumbled again. “Sorry, I told my friend. I hate to be late, but…”

I decided to get a cup of coffee, because it seemed rude to use the facilities and not buy something. Besides, there was no one else at the counter, so what was another thirty seconds, right? But, of course, I had to wait for the cashier to get more change, As he tapped the bankers roll of quarters, my lips curled into a smile. But my mind screamed, Hurry, hurry.

But, at last we arrived at the church grounds. I looked at my dashboard clock. Five minutes to spare. I asked my friend who rode shotgun, “How could that be when I’ve been running late all morning?”

As we got out of the car, I noticed a woman sitting on a bench under a tree.  At first I thought she might be one of the ladies we were supposed to meet to go over the logistics of the workshop. Maybe she was early, too and didn’t have a key. I said, “Hi”.

The woman’s shoulders almost folded into her torso. She gave me a quick glance, then her eyes darted back to her hands.  “It’s so peaceful here. Is it okay if I just sit?”

It was then I noticed her red nose and eyes. She was crying. I looked at my friend. I think we both sensed that if the two of us approached this distraught person, it might overwhelm her. My friend discovered the door was unlocked, nodded, and slipped inside.

I walked over to the crying young woman and asked if I could pray with her. She shrugged. “I guess.”

She appeared uncomfortable. So, I told her I was visiting from out-of-town and gave her my first name. Her face relaxed a bit, as if she was relieved I might not know someone who knew her, the way small towns often work. She gave me her first name. I sat beside her, put my arm around her and held her. SIlently, I asked the Holy Spirit to give me the words to say out loud that would comfort her. I heard the message, “Tell her I love her.I always have and I always will.”  

As I prayed that, I felt her body ease. After I said, “Amen.”,  she whispered, “Thanks. How did you know what to pray for?”

I blinked back my own tears.  “God did that. He told me what to pray. Trust me, He loves you more than you can ever imagine. He will never, ever stop, no matter what. So, hang in there, okay?”

As I walked into the church meeting hall,  a sudden surge of humility flooded me. I was on God’s schedule, not my own.  By His grace, I arrived just in time to meet this young woman, and pray with her. I thanked God for orchestrating my journey just right so as to put me there when He did– especially after the frustrations of the morning. 

I will continue to pray for that young woman until God tells me I no longer need to do so.  I don’t know why she was crying. I didn’t think it was up to me to ask. But God knew, and He used me to reach into her heart and offer her a ray of hope by giving me the words she needed to hear.

Despite everything else that went wrong that day, He turned it to good by giving  me five minutes to spare.

What will He give you today to let you know He is there, and He cares?

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pray for our nation          National Day of Prayer

                    May 2, 2013

            and hereafter, pray every day.

Our country needs us on our knees – it is our best position of strength and our strongest defense.

Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn:Grant that we and all people of this land may have grace to maintain our liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.                                    Book of Common Prayer pg 142

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