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Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

Have you ever crossed a foreign land,

On foot, or on your knees?

Have you ever felt within your heart,

The voice of a thousand pleas?

Have you ever known a love so deep,

No one would understand?

Have you ever wished you could bring life,

To a dying, broken land?

Have you ever sorrowed for a soul,

Whose face you’ve never seen?

Have you ever known that place,

Where love and hope take wing?

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moonlit night

Let grief be my companion

And the arms of sorrow

Draw me

If it will bring me nigh

To Thee

 

Let my heart, though broken

Plea

Christ in me

 

Let tears

A bracelet, encompass

My sight

Though eyes grow dim

If the clearer sight

Is your heart

Your will

Your plan

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thanks, a poem prayerLast time, you remember

I asked you for help

 

I asked

For a lot of reasons

And spoke

A lot of things

In that one word

 

And you did it

You helped me

In ways I recognize

In ways I sense but don’t necessarily see

 

In ways I’ll never know

But can only believe

 

So today

I just want to say

 

A simple word, I know

That falls so short

Of all I want to say

 

It’s not enough

Never can be

And its tone

Can sometimes mean

The opposite of thanks

 

But here

And now

It comes from that place

So full of feeling

It wells up and over

With something akin to tears

And laughter

And a full heart

At all you’ve done

And answered

 

All this, in my heart

And mind

And hidden, even from me

In my soul

Is in this thanks

 

So here it is

For you

 

Thanks

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better connection

In my last post, I mentioned that I was working on my New Year’s resolutions. Drafting them up, they look something like this:

1.       Disconnect to Reconnect

In Colorado, I saw a neat little flyer. It stood out to me. It said, “There is no wi-fi in nature. But we’re sure you’ll find a better connection.”

As I’ve been praying about the New Year, I feel that I should to take a break from blogging and Facebooking. I’ve heard it takes about six weeks to build a new habit or to break an old one. So I’ll be going offline at the beginning of the year, for roughly 40 days, to disconnect from some things in order to connect (or reconnect) with others … and hopefully regain perspective of the most important things.

I’ll be available through email because I can’t go offline completely; my writing/editing work is all online. Just letting go of those “extras” for a while.

2.       Cultivate Real Communication

With Facebook and other social media, it is easy to maintain surface relationships, to see “what’s going on” but actually have no idea what is really happening in someone’s life or heart. Marjorie Holmes, in I’ve Got to Talk to Somebody, God, writes:

“Today there is so little genuine communication. The very push and pressure of living among so many people has driven us deeper inside ourselves. There, despite all the talk that swirls around us, we are locked in a lonely prison. It is a … place for our own protection, yet a place of anxieties and fears, where the loneliness can be intolerable, unless we find God there.”

I think it is a place, also, from which we need to reach out to others, not connecting on the surface, but listening, learning, and being there for each other through real communication.

That’s a resolution I have this year. Not sure exactly how to go about it, which is one of the reasons I’m disconnecting for a while, in hopes of reconnecting with a different perspective. Hopefully a more meaningful one.

3.       Find Direction in Writing

Another reason I don’t plan to post on my blogs for the next while is to figure out what it is I want to say … or more importantly, what God wants me to say. When I feel rushed or pressured to write, what comes out is often not the best of what there is to say or write, because the best of things take time.

I know this is going against advice from writing classes and connecting through social media. They say that to create a presence, you need to post regularly, at least once a week, and try to do it on the same day every week. I don’t know if I’ve ever kept up with that, and I don’t know if I ever will.

But right now, I know that I shouldn’t be even trying. Because if there is no heart and soul behind it, even the best and most tried-and-true technique will fall flat. I need to work a little more on the heart and soul right now.

4.       Make Progress in Long-term Goals

This probably starts with figuring out what some of those goals are. Mark Batterson, in his best-selling book The Circle Maker, discusses the importance of having life goals on a variety of themes – family, influence, experiential, physical. He writes:

“Setting a goal creates structural tension in your brain, which will seek to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be, who you are and who you want to become. If you don’t set goals, your mind will become stagnant. Goal setting is good stewardship of your right-brain imagination. It’s also great for your prayer life.”

I plan to make progress in figuring out some of those goals and mapping a way, perhaps through prayer, to reach them.

5.       Keep a Proper Balance in Life (especially in busy times)

I make time for the things I have to do. When I have classes, I wake up before six on the days I have to be on time for class. I stay up late the night before an assignment is due studying or writing in order to get a good grade in class.

But it’s so easy to neglect the things I don’t have to do, even though I know it’s a bad idea in the long run. Things like exercise, or prayer, or reading the Bible, or studying about writing, or spending time with my kids. Each one of those things gets relegated to back burner during busy times. Before I realize it, a season has gone by without exercise, or I can’t remember the last time I sat on the floor with the kids and played a board game.

I know this is a subjective and vague resolution, partly because I don’t yet have a plan, and partly because even if I did have a plan, I wouldn’t want to post it. Because … well, you know what they say about those “greatest plans of mice and men.” And also because things change; needs change according to the cycles of life and schedules of life.

6.       Create Space

I planned to have only five New Year’s resolutions, but I added this one last minute, after finishing a book titled Gift from the Sea.

Sometimes the best we can do is figure out where we’re going and what we’re meant to do here and now. Next month or next year might bring a whole different slew of responsibilities or requirements.

But I want to get it right. I don’t want to feel like I’m missing something important or leaving something behind, or going too fast that I end up forgetting the most important things. I want to create space in my life (and our lives are just so busy these days). In Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh writes:

“It is only framed in space that beauty blooms. Only in space are events and objects and people unique and significant—and therefore beautiful. … My life … lacks this quality of significance and therefore of beauty, because there is so little empty space. The space is scribbled on; the time has been filled. There are so few empty pages in my engagement pad, or empty hours in the day, or empty rooms in my life in which to stand alone and find myself.”

I saw myself in those words. So little empty space. I don’t want that. I don’t want to miss the significance in moments and people because I am going too fast to stop and notice them. My final resolution is to create those spaces on a regular basis. I’m not sure exactly how just yet.

Maybe by going slower. Or stopping completely at times. Minimizing the “extras” in my life. Or just being conscious of the need to have that space. I just placed a shell on my writing desk, my own “gift from the sea” to help me remember the need for space.

This is going to be my last post for a while. But I look forward to connecting with you again soon, and would love to hear from you … your resolutions and your hopes for the New Year. Your prayers and wishes.

Happy New Year!

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After praying with the kids for the night, my youngest, Aiden, asked me to lie down with him for a little while. So I did. And, as kids often tend to do at night, he asked me a question.

“What if Jesus went to college?”

I thought for a moment and told him, “Well, I go to college and he’s in my heart, so I guess he goes too. Every day I pray that he will be with me and help me be a good example and a blessing to others.”

“And help you listen to your teacher?” Aiden asked.

“That too,” I assured him. He seemed satisfied with my answer. But I wasn’t. I thought about it and realized, I don’t pray specifically for that. I’m not exactly a morning person so my prayers as I wake up and leave the house barely post-dawn are more along the lines of, “Help me be awake enough to drive safely and not cause any accidents.”

So as I lay down next to my son and he drifted off to dreamland, I prayed.

Father in Heaven

you know my heart, so easily affected by things I read and people I meet

you know my mind, so full of ideas and thoughts

about me

about others

about you

 I think I see so clearly

but I only see you as through a glass darkly

and others through my own colored lenses

opinions, fears, assumptions, impatience

all these cloud my view

 Clear my eyes, dear Lord

wash them with your love

that I may see others as you do

talk with them as you would

…and listen too

so that when others come to know me

they will see at least a glimpse

of you

 That,

through me,

You go to college,

to the store

the park

and at home too – where I often need your love and grace the most

in Jesus’ name, for whose mercy I plead

Amen

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A friend of mine posted on his Facebook wall today, something that brought a smile to my face and, yes, tears to my eyes.

He just accepted Jesus as his Savior today.

I’ve known him for about 15 years, and because of something he went through way back then, I’ve been praying for him for about 15 years too. Faithfully? No. Every day? Not a chance. But off and on, when I remembered or thought of him, I would pray that he would find the joy and peace that comes from knowing Christ.

And he has accepted that joy and peace into his heart today.

If there’s someone you’re praying for today, don’t give up. Don’t stop, no matter how long you’ve been praying, or what you are praying for.

God hears. He works in the hearts of His children, even those who don’t know they’re His yet.

There are still people I’m praying for, and today, with this news that made the angels rejoice, my desire to pray for them has been renewed, and my faith that they, too, will come to know true peace, enduring joy, and undying love through Jesus.

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The Circle MakerSometime last year, a book was made available to get for free on Kindle. Its title was Praying Circles around your Children. I often go for anything offered free (who wouldn’t?) but this book looked especially interesting to me, once I noticed the author: Mark Batterson.

I have a set of seven podcasts by Mark Batterson, from a series he taught on the theme of another book, called In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. I listen to those podcasts at least once a year. The titles are phrases like: Overcoming Adversity, Looking Foolish, Taking Risks, Seizing Opportunity. They’re full of deep spiritual truths and awesome challenges of faith.

So when I saw this book, Praying Circles around your Children, I opened my Kindle on PC right away to check it out. I didn’t close it until I had finished the book. Wonderful book, which I plan to write about more in depth once I read it again.

And I plan to, as soon as I finish the book that just arrived today: The Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson. It starts with a story, a legend, about the first circle maker, who honored God through a daring (and can I say challenging?) prayer – which was answered.

The next chapter goes on to say:

Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers.

He is offended by anything less.

If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God. Why? Because they don’t require divine intervention. But ask God to part the Red Sea or make the sun stand still or float an iron ax head, and God is moved to omnipotent action.

There is nothing God loves more than keeping promises, answering prayers, performing miracles, and fulfilling dreams. That is who He is. That is what He does.

I’d be happy to just sit and read that book all day, but due to other commitments and responsibilities, I can’t. It’s probably good, though, that I can’t read it all in one sitting. That way I can think more about it, meditate on it, and (of course) share with you awesome tidbits of what I know will be an awesome and challenging read!

Hopefully another step toward an awesome and faith-filled life of claiming God’s promises and seeing miracles.

[Why is prayer a focus? Read My New Year’s Resolution]

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