Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Take the Limits Off

I watched a video recently that illustrates how perseverance is key as we pray light into darkness. That is what Jesus taught in Luke 18:1-8.

Farris Long, who did the video wanted to do a visible demonstration to share with others something his mother told him about prayer. Here's a link to watch it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqG9_acZbZA.

His encouragement as he began was to encourage listeners to "keep praying, it's all going to become clear real soon."

He held up a clear plastic bottle filled with dark liquid, its lid screwed on tight. Taking off the lid, he said we have to take off the limits we put into our prayers. Then, Farris put the open bottle under the clear water flowing from the kitchen faucet, saying the water represented our prayers.

His analogy showed how as we keep pouring prayer into the darkness, after a while, the light will overcome the darkness.

He also pointed out that our persistent prayers reveal that we actually believe God hears our voice.

Isn't that what the woman in Jesus' story believed? She believe that the judge could help her.

Do we believe that the righteous Judge of all can help us?

Then the Lord said, “Notice how this dishonest magistrate behaved.
Do you suppose God, patient as he is, will not see justice done for his chosen, who appeal to him day and night? I assure you he will not delay in seeing justice done.
Yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find men on earth who believe in him?”
Luke 18:6-8 (PHILLIPS)


Don't give up, moms. Every prayer you pray changes the color of that dark situation. Don't give up until you see the victory of darkness defeated.

Keep pouring your heart out like water before the presence of the Lord. (Lamentations 2:19)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Famine

As I watch the combines work the harvest, it is hard to think about famine.
 
Photo: Walla Walla wheat harvest--that's the Veterans Memorial Golf Course in the background.

But famine is a reality. And it manifests itself in different ways.
 
Are you praying for the "famine" in your child's life to end?
 
What if you are praying for the very thing to go away that the Lord has purposed to turn your child to Himself?
 
What does God's Word tell us about famine?
 
Here's a few things I've learned: 
  • Famine can be brought by God to test our faith. Will we trust the Lord's protection/provision? (Genesis 12:10)
  • Famine can be sent by God to call attention to sin so it can be dealt with. (2 Samuel 21:1)
  • Famine can be a tool of God to turn us back to Him in obedience. (2 Chronicles 6:13, 26-31)
  • Famine can be a punishment sent by God. (Isaiah 3:1-8; Jeremiah 14:11; 29:17-19; 2 Kings 25:1-3)
  • Famine has been sent by God throughout history as a consequence of sin. (Ezekiel 14:13-21)
  • Famine will be a part of life here in this fallen world particularly as we move towards the end times. (Luke 21:7-11)
  • Famine, though, can be used to benefit God's own people. (Genesis 41-43)
  • Famine can sometimes not be prayed away even by the righteous. (Ezekiel 14:13-21)
  • Famine, in fact, sometimes is not something the righteous should pray away. (Jeremiah 14:11; 29:17-19)

In other words—God is the One who brings/allows famine, through weather or other means. He sovereignly uses famine for His purposes—to test, to call attention to sin, to punish, even to protect/benefit His people and to orchestrate history (as He did by moving Israel to Egypt). God has done this throughout time and throughout the world.
 
The hardest thing for us moms, though, is that God will not turn back famine even at the request of the righteous until His purpose is accomplished. That is because no one can thwart the purpose of God. And His ultimate purpose is a reflection of Himself—righteousness.
 
So, what if the famine in your child's life is God's goodness or mercy in disguise, as Laura Story sings? What are you and I as mothers to do then?
 
If our prayers won't change the famine, then perhaps it is our prayers that need to be changed.
 
By example, Jesus taught us to pray.
 
Our Father in heaven, let Your name remain holy.
Bring about Your kingdom.
Manifest Your will here on earth, as it is manifest in heaven.
Give us each day that day’s bread—no more, no less—
And forgive us our debts as we forgive those who owe us something.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
[But let Your kingdom be, and let it be powerful and glorious forever. Amen.]
Matthew 6 (The Voice)
 
We ask for His kingdom rule to be manifest here in our own lives and in our children's lives. We do as the Lord spoke to Solomon.
 
…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 will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
 
We pray these scriptures for our children so that the Lord's purpose of famine will be accomplished. So that the "times of refreshing" will come.
 
Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out,
so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.
Acts 3:19 (NKJ)
 
And we remember in faith—God is righteous. Psalm 145:17 from the Amplified puts it this way—
 
The Lord is [rigidly] righteous in all His ways
and gracious and merciful in all His works.
 
 
 
 
 


Monday, July 14, 2014

Relax

Many years ago, one of my responsibilities at my church was that of Vacation Bible School Director. It was always a big job, especially the recruiting of volunteers, but I loved it.

I loved it because VBS was a favorite summer activity of mine since childhood. My older cousin took me along with her and together we enjoyed these summer week long mornings of learning about Jesus. And, when I was a teen, I had the experience of helping.

Directing Vacation Bible School takes lots of work and creativity AND lots of prayer. One year, I was stressing out a bit over putting it all together. On my way to the church, my attention was drawn to a rental house that at one time had been a lovingly cared for family home. But this summer, it was abandoned and unkempt. The lawn was a scraggly field of weeds—large weeds. In fact, many were thistles, which in my area grow as big as bushes. The little goldfinches love to use the soft thistle blossoms for nesting material, but farmers and others are not a fan of this stickery, annoying, and hard to get rid of plant—it fights back!

As I passed the house, I let a prayer slip to God that someone would mow the lawn and just tidy up a bit. You know, love the property a little. And then I forgot my prayer, that is, until days later when I passed by again and was amazed to see that someone had trimmed the lawn and flowerbeds from the sidewalks to the fences, edge to edge. The difference was night and day. I was amazed!

Then, I was reminded of my prayer. It was as if the Lord was speaking to me, "Relax. I took care of this from the curb to the house to the fence. And, just the same, I've got VBS covered, framed in from edge to edge with My loving care."

And so He did.

What do you need taken care of? What in your life or your child's life needs framed in from edge to edge with God's loving care?

Relax and remember Who your God is. That's what King David did.

I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works. … The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works. … The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season.
You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. The Lord preserves all who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy. My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh shall bless His holy name forever and ever.
Selections from Psalm 145 (NKJV)

Relax and prayerfully put whatever it is in the loving care of the Lord your God.



Friday, July 11, 2014

Waiting...

Waiting—staying in one place/condition for a period of time until something happens with the expectation that it will.

We find in the Bible many stories of people waiting. Joseph was one.

Joseph was imprisoned because some supposed he'd sinned. After helping the butler, he asked him in turn to remember him to Pharaoh when he was restored to his position. (Genesis 39-41)

But the butler forgot and Joseph had to wait two years for that to happen—for the perfectly orchestrated time to not only save Egypt but to save his own people through whom the Savior of all would come.

Another was the blind man who spent his days outside the Temple gates.

He was born blind, imprisoned in darkness and people supposed it was because of sin. He waited into adulthood for someone to help. (John 9)

But, at just the right time, the blind man was given sight to see the living Light of the world and to be a part on that day, and for centuries to come, of opening the eyes of others to see Him as well.

We don't know what may have happened if the butler had immediately kept his promise to Joseph. We don't know what would have happened if the blind man had been born with sight.

But we do know that our God, the sovereign Most High, who knows all things and to whom power belongs is not only righteous and holy but is also good and full of mercy and grace. His timing is perfect.

Reading these scriptures and others helps me to hope for what I don't see and wait for it. (Romans 8:25) In fact, it helps me rejoice in hope, be patient in trouble, and continue in prayer. (Romans 12:12)

Of Romans 12:12, the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary says:

Here it is more lively to retain the order and the verbs of the original: "In hope, rejoicing; in tribulation, enduring; in prayer, persevering." Each of these exercises helps the other. If our "hope" of glory is so assured that it is a rejoicing hope, we shall find the spirit of "endurance in tribulation" natural and easy; but since it is "prayer" which strengthens the faith that begets hope and lifts it up into an assured and joyful expectancy, and since our patience in tribulation is fed by this, it will be seen that all depends on our "perseverance in prayer."

Did you catch it?

Paul's encouragement in Romans 12:12 is like a spinning wheel that never stops—because it is energized by the Holy Spirit within us—hopeful rejoicing, patient waiting, persevering prayer, hopeful rejoicing, patient waiting, persevering prayer… One leads to the other and to the other and repeats itself. And, in the process, our faith is strengthened to wait for the Lord and His perfect timing.

Furthermore Isaiah reminds us of the result—

For from of old no one has heard nor perceived by the ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who works and shows Himself active on behalf of him who [earnestly] waits for Him.
Isaiah 64:4 (AMP)

We may not see the answer to our prayers for our children immediately, but we can be assured that our God is at work while we wait. And as we wait, we can continue in prayer and rejoice in hope!


 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Energized Prayer



This was the "Year of the Booklet" for Moms in Prayer International members. All members are encouraged to have and own their own Moms in Prayer International Booklet. It's an important tool as it contains all the ministry basics including the Statement of Faith and Policies, which help protect the integrity of the ministry.


 


So, of course, my own group read the Booklet together by taking just a few minutes at the beginning of each weekly meeting to read a page until we read it from cover to cover—33 pages.

One thing that stood out to me was "Praying in One Accord, Method of Prayer," page 11.

Conversationally praying in one accord is the method of prayer that is used in our Moms in Prayer groups. One accord prayer is agreeing together as directed and energized by the Holy Spirit. When a group prays in one accord, they concentrate on one subject at a time.

Conversational one accord prayer was a practice of the early church. Acts 4:23-33 records just one incidence when "…they raised their voice to God with one accord and said, "Lord, You are God…" And the result was their lives were energized by the Holy Spirit. Their one accord conversational—focused—prayer had "bring it power…Life" as a 5-Hour Energy commercial defines focus.

But conversational prayer may not come easy. We're used to meetings where people take turns saying all that is on their heart or where prayer is liturgical—formal or written out. So, this is a learning process. But we women know all about conversation.

A conversation is a back and forth activity, a dialogue versus a monologue—defined as a long tedious uninterrupted speech during a conversation.

Significantly, conversational prayer includes the Holy Spirit in our conversation. He speaks using the Word of God and the voices of other moms whom He indwells.

Hmm, I think that would mean when we don't allow the others with us to participate in the conversation, we are actually stifling the Holy Spirit Himself. As I've participated in Moms in Prayer groups, I've often heard in the prayers of others the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart. And I have heard the other moms pray the words that just wouldn't come to my tongue. They have prayed my heart for me! That has really encouraged me to keep my prayers simple and give opportunity for other moms to add their prayers to mine.

So, when you reach out to pray with another mom, remember to make your prayers a conversation. Conversing on one subject at a time, you speak, she speaks, you speak, she speaks, and through you both, then, the Holy Spirit has the opportunity to speak.

Why take the effort to do something "different" that the "usual" prayer meeting practice of many?

You will experience God Himself praying His heart with yours, energizing your prayer time! What could be better than that?

One mom plus one mom plus the Holy Spirit equals energized prayer!