July 24, 2012

Could you Pray for me?

“Could you pray for me?”

This question seems to be echoing all around me.  There have been quite a few requests for prayer this week.  Requests coming from my children – one struggling with health issues; one who is concerned for friends. Requests coming from friends – asking for resolution to conflict; asking for direction and guidance; one looking for spiritual growth; one concerned for a child’s choices.  And I found myself asking a few spiritual sisters to pray for the Father’s guidance regarding an issue with which I personally am struggling as well.
I stood still today after reading a commentary in which the author asked: “Why do we seem to make it our goal to get as many people as possible praying toward our predetermined positive outcome?  Is it that we think God is resistant to doing what is good and right but can be pressured by a large number of people to relent and deliver?  Do we think that the more people we recruit to pray for the same thing will prove our sincerity or improve our odds?”  I began to think about comments some others have made about prayer requests – “God’s going to do what He’ll do – what we want doesn’t matter.”  “Not all prayers are answered.”  “Just think positive.”  “Do you really think He is listening?”
At the core of all of these questions and comments seems to be “to what end? What is the purpose of praying?”
After standing still I’ve determined a few things for myself.  Prayer is a conversation with God – it deepens my relationship with my Father.  Having a conversation means two way communication.  I seek, cry out, ask, beseech, and pour out my soul as He hears, listens and answers.  As I draw near to him through conversation, I am aware of His presence and direction.  Through communication a relationship is strengthened.  Through communication answers are given – “Yes child”; “In due time – be patient – wait upon Me”; “No, I have something else in my – plans to grow and prosper you – in ways you are not yet able to see”; “I understand you – let me carry this burden – receive My Comfort, My Peace”….
Maybe praying for others or having others pray for you is more about us – as individuals, as “the family”, as community – than it is about the request or entreating an answer.  Through prayer we draw close to God – we also draw close to one another.  We carry one another’s burdens.  We encourage and comfort each other. 
I recall a time of great darkness and loss – I had no words just emptiness – I felt distant not just from others but from the Lord.  Yet prayer tethered me safely.  Even when I had no words – the Sprit prayed for me.  I couldn’t pray but I knew others had me wrapped in a blanket of prayer.  I was covered with the comfort, encouragement, and warmth of prayer.  I personally wasn’t in a place for relationship or communication – yet had relationship and communication deepen with others and my Father by being prayed for.

So let us pray – to the Father – with each other – for each other.

1 Samuel 1:15,16 - Hannah replied “I was pouring out my soul to the LORD…I have been praying hear out of my great anguish and grief.”
Psalm 5:3  -In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
Psalm 17:6 - I call on you, my God, for you will answer me.
Psalm 55:17 - Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and HE hears my voice.
Psalm 73:28 - but as for me, it is good to be near Go.  I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge.
Romans 8:26 - In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.
Galatians 6:2 - Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
James 4:8 - Come near to God and He will come near to you.
James 5:16b - …and pray for one another, that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
 John 5:14  - This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, HE hears us.

Romans 15:30  - Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.

July 20, 2012


My prayers today are filled with senselessness….

Inconsideration, thoughtlessness, illness, a violent act of mass murder in the news.
Today is definitely a day to stand still – step back. 
In my humanness I try - I want to understand how and why these things happen.
Hurt and tragedy in our lives ,or coming close to our lives, rattles life.
Answers are wanted.
Perspective is needed.
Senselessness is just that…. It is without rhyme or reason; purposeless; pointless; illogical; irrational; ludicrous; inane; callous; apathetic; mindless, moronic; numbing; empty…deadened.
It exists because of the imperfection of this flawed, human, sin filled, damaged world.
Senselessness is only compounded if we try to figure out the way and why of these happenings.  To do soon only will discourage your spirit; distract from the joy that does exist; cause division among those involve with the hurt, or destroy – love, relationships, joy, peace, contentedness, and even faith.

So what is my reaction to be in the face of senselessness? 

I will process the hurt – the confusion – the loss. 
I will pour out my emotion – my hurt, my confusion, my anger, my helplessness – to the Lord.  God doesn’t cause the suffering of His children – unfortunately we cause it for each other.  Decisions made have consequences for others.  Violent behavior has a victim.  Words and actions impact relationships and inflict hurt that will forever leave scars.
God created a perfect world in His image of Love.  He doesn’t cause suffering but He is the only answer. 
As I lay my thoughts; my emotions; my heart bare before my Lord, I stand still.
My tears are wiped and I hear His words:
“Peace I leave with you; MY peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.” – John 14:27
“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” – Isaiah 66:13
“Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10
I “plan to give you hope and a future” – Jeremiah 29:11
I am your “refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” –Psalm 46:1
You can be “convinced that neither death not life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate” you “from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus” – Romans 8:38-39

July 18, 2012


I honestly am okay with criticism – even when it comes from a place that is not constructive.  So often it is far more telling about the source rather than its intended target and often no matter the intention there is something to be gained.
I can deal with those who are snide, derogatory or malicious – for in reality such are those who suffer deeper insecurities, lack of intellect, ignorance or are products of hostility themselves.

But thoughtlessness…

Thoughtlessness is something far more damaging.  Some may chalk it up to simply being ignorant or unaware; perhaps careless – this at times can be true.  However, when someone consistently demonstrates thoughtlessness it comes from a place of pure vanity…simple out and out narcissism.  It reveals disregard, disingenuousness, disrespect and even disdain.
The thoughtless acts demonstrate that person’s main motivation is self …. Self-benefit, self-gratification, self-glorification, self-promotion.  The mere fact that the person doesn’t realize the thoughtlessness shows his vanity. 

The sad thing is that thoughtlessness happens at the cost of others.

As I stand still being thoughtful about thoughtlessness – at the moment weighing on my heart brought by a series of incidents recently, part of a repetitive hurtful pattern – I ponder what others have said about thoughtless acts.
Poet Edgar A Guest writes that “it blurs the eyes that ought to smile with many needless tears” and “the hurt it leaves behind them takes years to wipe away”.
Poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox considers that people flatter those they scarcely know and please the fleeting guest while dealing many a thoughtless blow to those who love them best.
Winston Churchill commented that the process of building is a slow laborious task of years but the thoughtless act of a single day destroys.

I struggle in my human-ness with how to react toward the source of such consistent acts.  Traveling the high road while being hurt and especially seeing those I love hurt gets extremely hard at times.  My own disdain builds and I do not like the person that bubbles up with hurt and spite.
I turn to the One who has the answer.
Romans 12 reminds me (9)Love must be sincere.   Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. (10)Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves….(13)Share with the Lord’s people who are in need…(14)Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse….(16)Live in harmony with one another…(18)If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone…(21)Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

So there it is – that hurtful, narcissistic, disdainful, disingenuous human is a broken flawed child of God.  Though wounded – I need to view this person through the Father’s eyes …
And kill him with kindness.

I turn each of them over to your hands.  I will look to You and surrender my spiteful thoughts.  Forgive me.  I ask for peace, comfort in hurt, guidance for actions and words of my own.  AMEN