Sunday, July 26, 2015

Talking to nobody

My husband is an amateur radio operator. The sound of voices or Morse code coming from his radios is often and easily heard throughout our small home. A while back, he came out of his “Ham” room to tell me, “This guy’s still talking. I’m timing him. It’s been 12 minutes. I wonder if he’s talking to nobody.” Well, obviously, my husband had been sort of listening, but also it was apparent that no one could get a word into the “conversation.” Certainly, it didn’t seem to be that this man was carrying on a dialogue. It really was entirely possible that those who had been chatting with him had literally tuned out his monologue.
 
Has that ever happened to you? Someone monopolizes the conversation and the others tune out?
 
What about when gathered to pray with others? Has one person prayed on and on and on putting all their thoughts into words until you are no longer “in the room” but off thinking about, for example, whether or not you remembered to put the flag up on the mailbox?
 
One thing Moms in Prayer has taught me and thousands of other women is the ability to pray short simple prayers so we can pray conversationally with others. It’s that acronym, KISS—keep it short and simple. This allows for real conversation and passion in prayer on one subject at a time and allows, more importantly, for the Holy Spirit to be a part of our conversation. He who indwells believers desires the opportunity to prompt us to speak His thoughts into the subject of our prayers, which He often does through our different voices.
 
But we are seldom discipled in this type of prayer. Most often, we do like the man on the radio, say all we can say till someone jumps in when we take a breath. We’ve not learned how to bathe one subject at a time together passionately with the Lord in prayer.
 
Again, notice I said “together” and “with.” By keeping our prayers simple and short, we pray not only together but with the Holy Spirit. This is praying in one accord, which is “agreeing together as directed and energized by the Holy Spirit.” (Moms in Prayer International Booklet)
 
One accord in Hebrew, yachad, reveals oneness of striving together, not going alone. It carries the same meaning in the Greek word homothymadon. It’s being of one mind, with one accord, or with one passion. Interestingly, Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon in defining yachad refers to Job 38:7, “When all the morning stars sang together.” Can’t you just imagine the beauty and passion behind those words?
 
This is the powerful and passionate way of prayer exemplified by the early church. This is what Acts 4:24 (NASB) speaks to:
 
…they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them…
 
It also reminds me of the Beveres’ words in “Girls with Swords.” In 1 Samuel 14:6-7, when Jonathan and his armorbearer boldly take on the enemy, the armorbearer tells Jonathon, “Do all that is in your heart. Go then; here I am with you, according to your heart” (NKJ). The Beveres wrote:
 
Suddenly there is light in their eyes and vigor in their stance. Something powerful happens when two warriors agree and boldly declare God’s faithfulness and their commitment to a cause.”
 
This is the same amazing thing that happens when we moms come together to passionately pray—talk together—in one accord on a particular subject matter, like a child, before the Throne. Something powerful happens!
 
 
 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Out Loud

This whole group devoted themselves to constant prayer with one accord: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James (son of Alphaeus), Simon (the Zealot), Judas (son of James), a number of women including Mary (Jesus’ mother), and some of Jesus’ brothers.
Acts 1:13-14 (The Voice)
 
 
When the early church prayed in one accord, as the New Testament records, it was necessary to pray out loud so they could pray in conversational agreement, which is only possible when one knows what another is praying. It’s sort of like sitting at the dinner table with family and friends. In order to have a conversation with each other, you have to voice your words. Only then can you have a conversation or a discussion on a certain topic.
 
Importantly, when our prayers are voiced, the Holy Spirit speaks out loud through us. Have you ever thought about that?
 
Because the Holy Spirit indwells believers, when we come together to pray and speak our prayers out loud, we give Him an opportunity to use us to encourage and strengthen each other. His voice, so to speak, is heard from one to another's ears as He prays through us, through our own personalities, our own box of thinking.
 
Another important thing about praying out loud is not only are you thinking your prayers, your own ears are hearing your prayers. That’s a powerful thing, especially if you are praying out loud the Word of God.
 
But, I think one of the most important things about praying out loud is our enemy is hearing our prayers that we are sending over his head as prince of this world to the King and Ruler of the universe. This is one thing I love about the ministry of Moms in Prayer International. The Lord God uses this ministry to teach us to pray out loud scripturally and specifically in one accord conversational prayer. And He uses this ministry to multiply prayer across the face of this earth by gathering women to pray together.
 
Think about that. You are one person praying for your child in your personal prayer time. You are putting your prayers before the Throne. But, when you gather with other women who join you in praying for your child (and you for theirs), you have just increased the prayers for your child by at least double. And not only are those prayers before the Throne, they are in the ears of your child’s enemy who has no choice but to bow to the will of the King of the universe concerning your requests.

 

 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Alone or Together

On my drive home from a prayer meeting, I noticed a huge hawk sitting atop a light pole. Fluttering in front of it was a small bird who all of a sudden, with all the fierceness it could gather, dived at the hawk. The larger bird flinched and lifted up its wing to protect itself, but didn’t give up its position. The little bird repeated itself, but to no avail. The hawk really wasn’t fazed.
 
It made me think, one little bird is just a pest. But if there were several birds attacking this enemy together, I don’t think a lifted wing would do it. The hawk would most likely take flight.
 
That, praying moms, is the different between your alone prayers and your prayers done together with other moms. Alone we grow tired and often give up. But together we find strength to persist until the enemy takes flight.
 
That is also why I am thankful for the ministry of Moms in Prayer International. I’m not just one little momma bird fighting alone. I’ve got other momma birds fighting the enemy of my children with me AND me with them for theirs. We help each other be strong warriors for our children and not give up.

Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively.
Ecclesiastes 4:9 (GNT)

Monday, June 29, 2015

Headlines

It is hard to look at all that is happening by the enemy's hand in this world, especially in our own more intimate world, and not be angry or disheartened. But, we strive to do as Jeremiah (Lamentations 3) and keep the knowing of who our God is at the forefront of our thinking. We remember His mercy, lovingkindness, goodness, compassion, and, encompassing those, His faithfulness to His Word. We call these things to mind so we have hope. He does have all things in His hand. No matter what it looks like, He is at work. His purpose will be accomplished. These things have been going on since Adam and Eve walked out of the Garden, but God is still God. And history is moving to the culmination He has planned. It may not look like it, but the victory IS His.
 
Paul's words of Philippians 4:8 also help me--they hang where I see them at my desk. "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." One of my friends said, that's Jesus. I think she is right. We are to keep Jesus at the forefront of our thinking. We are to focus on Jesus. We are to filter everything, every circumstance, through Jesus.
 
I also think it helps us to remember Paul's words of Ephesians 6. The fight isn't against "them" but against the real enemy, the prince of this world. That's why we pray. But it's also why the enemy uses the headlines, social media, etc. to sidetrack us—to keep our thoughts from our Excellent One and from prayer.
 
I pray for you and me that we can keep our eyes fixed on Him so courage and kindness rule our lives amidst this darkness. Those are what will help us be bright shining lights to hold out the Word of Life, live in hope AND keep praying.

 

Monday, May 25, 2015

“But I am Prayer”

David wrote Psalm 109 as a plea to the Lord for help. But, early in the Psalm, verse 4b, he writes, “…but I give myself to prayer.” The Hebrew here, according to the ESV translators, literally means, “…but I am prayer.”
 
It struck me—can I say this?
 
Can I say that in every circumstance, every life situation that I face or that my children face, “I am prayer”?
 
Or, do my hands and feet get ahead of my mouth? Do I try to be the fixer before I gain the mind of Christ through prayer?
 
If “I am prayer,” then I will be already in the correct place to receive help from the Fixer who isn’t just about repairs but is the Restorer and Redeemer. In fact, I think I prefer to be restored and redeemed and definitely prefer that for my children.
 
May we each be able to say, “…but I am prayer.”
 
 
Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
I am the Lord your God, Who teaches you to profit,
Who leads you in the way that you should go.
Isaiah 48:17 (AMP)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Tuned Ears

The main road from town to our home, which is near the city limits, is four lanes, two in each direction. I usually stay in the far right lane knowing that I will have to turn right on our road. But, often when a car or cars are in front of me, I sense the need to change lanes. I can’t always say I listen, but either way, I quickly find out that the car in front of me all of sudden slows down to turn right. Recently, I sensed that, so I moved my car into the left lane, and watched as both of the cars in front of me slowed down, one right after the other to turn right into different driveways.
 
Have you ever sensed something familiar?
 
I thought, this really isn’t a big thing. But it reminds me that the Living God who indwells me through His Spirit knows where I am and knows about every detail of my life…and He cares. Changing lanes to avoid being slowed down really is only a very small thing in the scheme of life. But it is certainly a huge reminder that this is true of the big things. I just need to keep my ear tuned to hear and my heart ready to obey.
 
And that makes me think of how mightily the Spirit works in this world, even in the lives of those He does not indwell. Scripture tells us—
 
He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness (uprightness of heart and right standing with God) and about judgment
John 16:8 (AMP)
 
But we who have Him indwelling us have a part to play—prayer.
 
That is why we must never give up praying for our children no matter their age or their circumstances. It is the Spirit of God that works to move them from one path to another—just as He moves us.

 
Lord God, we come before You with hands held out to plead for our children. May Your Holy Spirit speak into their lives. May their ears be tuned to hear sweet words behind them: “Go this way. There is your path; this is how you should go” whenever they must decide whether to turn to the right or the left. (from Isaiah 30:21 VOICE). In the Name of our Living Savior, Jesus, amen.

 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tirelessness in Prayer

The warm spring days we’ve had recently are good times to watch the critters outside our living room window as they enjoy their changing environment. Birds, mostly starlings, one afternoon were rummaging in the grass while a squirrel was traversing the high wire up above. He was heading back from probably our oak tree to the huge maples in the neighbor’s yard. Suddenly, not far from the first tree, he was almost knocked off the wire by a starling’s attack! I’d never seen a starling do this before. The squirrel quickly recovered and had continued on his way when the starling repeated the attack. This time, the squirrel jumped from the wire to the center of the maple tree only to have the starling, again on the attack, follow him right onto the tree! It was like the bird took on squirrel attributes as it “ran” over the tree limb. Both disappeared from my sight.
 
This whole interaction made me think of how even when we are traveling on a good path, the enemy is still after us. Persistently, he tries to knock us off the path. And when we get off, his attack intensifies to make it difficult for us to get back on.
 
The enemy is tireless. So, praying moms, we must be tireless in prayer. Because even when we think our kids are on the safe path, more prayer is needed. Their enemy will, without a doubt, try to knock them off with repeated attacks. And, if he succeeds, he will make even more effort to keep them from getting back on.
 
We need to follow Jesus’ example when Satan was after Peter. In fact, the Amplified Bible takes this deeper to say that Satan was after all the disciples, not just Peter—
 
Simon, Simon (Peter), listen! Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God], that he might sift [all of] you like grain,
Luke 22:31 (AMP)
 
We see Jesus’ example of intercession as Luke goes on to write one of those “but God” verses—
 
But I have prayed especially for you [Peter], that your [own] faith may not fail; and when you yourself have turned again, strengthen and establish your brethren.
Luke 22:32 (AMP)
 
May we follow the example of Jesus. Peter was on the path, following Jesus, yet the enemy was on attack. Similarly, it is often when we think our children are “safe” that they really are most vulnerable. Our children need the backup of our prayers to not only keep them on the path but also to restore them when they are knocked off.
 
May we keep praying until Jesus comes. May we “be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 AMP)