Tag: prayer

From Lent of Denying to Lent of Giving

What if – instead of concentrating on what to give up or deny myself during Lent – I would concentrate on what I give during Lent?

My “Lent program” hasn’t worked for various reasons. I realize it was all about me. I totally missed the point of Lent this year.

In my study of Apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church I found two chapters on giving. The words in chapters eight and nine opened my eyes to the wrong path I was on this Lenten season. I decided to switch gears and concentrate on giving instead.

Here is the beauty about giving:

  • Someone is praying during their time of need. I can be the answer to that prayer if I follow God’s calling to give.
  • There was a time in my life where I was on the receiving end. Today I am giving because I received. Just as St. Paul points out to the church in Corinth: the Jerusalem church is in trouble, they need help. One day the church in Corinth might need help, and the Jerusalem church will be there to give out of their abundance.
  • But I can also give forward if I have not experienced a time of need. I don’t know what will happen in a year or two or ten. Since I’m in a position to give today, why not answer a person’s prayer and be generous.
  • Giving creates community. Giving in community creates a shared purpose and focus. We are connected through the act of giving.
  • The receivers will “joyfully express their thanks to God.” (9:12) In addition, “they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.” (9:14) As a church we have sponsored and helped churches in Cuba, and a week ago a team returned from Nicaragua where they worked on a school expansion project. We have heard from people receiving the gifts how they thanked God for it, and how passionately they prayed for our church.
  • “God is the one who provides…” (9:10) When I believe that all I have comes ultimately from Him, I know it’s not for my sole benefit, but to share with others.
  • There is God’s promise of provision in Psalm 112: “Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly… They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to take care for them… They share freely and give generously to those in need.”

If you don’t have a project to give to right now, may I suggest one? Suzie Eller and the Living Free Together Team have joined with Mission India to provide literacy classes for women. Click here for more info and how to give.

If you have time and would like to read what St. Paul writes to the church in Corinth in chapter 8, here it is (New Living Translation):

So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving.Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.

I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.

You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.

10 Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. 11 Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. 13 Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. 14 Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal.

And in chapter 9:

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,

“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. 12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.

13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. 14 And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.15 Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!

 

Monday’s Prayer

A Prayer for Healing

 

isaiah-53-5

 

Father God,

You are good! You love me, and that is such a comfort to me!

You look out for me and You provide for me. Thank You!

But God, I’ve got to be honest with You about my health struggles.

Today I ask You to heal me. Heal my body, please!

It’s hard to understand what’s happening in my body, why and how one disease connects with another. Conflicting diagnosis and treatments mess with my body and my head. Who do I listen to? Where do I get help?

Where does my help come from? “My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!” (Psalm 121:2)

And so I come to You, the all-knowing God. You created me. You created my body, every organ, limb, bone, nerve and muscle, all of it is known to You. You know how my body is supposed to function, and you know why it’s not. So, please, would heal it?

I know the story about Adam and Eve. They disobeyed You, and sin entered the world. “Nature fell out of whack, and the human body fell out of balance… Sin opened the door, and sickness walked in. ‘Sin came into the world because of what one man did, and with sin came death. This is why everyone must die – because everyone sinned (Romans 5:12)'”*

But You did have a solution. You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins and for our sicknesses. Now both, sin and sickness, are “cured by the same Redeemer.”*

Father God, You bought my body with a high price (1 Corinthians 6:20). I confess to You, God, that I have not always honored You with my body. I have not always fed my body healthy and nourishing food, I have not always kept my body in shape. Forgive me, please!

I know You have not “ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. You have not turned Your back on them, but have listened to their cries for help.” Psalm 22:24

I know You hear my cries, too. I just don’t understand why You choose not to answer them. “My God, my God, why have You abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief.” Psalm 22:1-2

I don’t understand You, but I choose to trust You. I choose to believe You. I don’t ever want to forget the good things You’ve done for me. I want to remember how You answered my prayers in the past. I hold on to Your promises.

I acknowledge to You, my God, that You are sovereign in all Your decisions. And so I trust You.

I pray for the strength and courage to battle doubts and fear. I pray for Your peace to invade my whole body, mind and soul.

Father God, You are good! You love me!

I pray all these things in the name of Jesus, the only Redeemer and Savior and the true Healer! Amen

 

 

*Max Lucado in “Before Amen” (chapter 5 – Heal Me)

Monday’s Prayer

Why am I here? Danny Mualim via Compfight

Psalm 42

 

As the deer longs for streams of water,
so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
When can I go and stand before him?

I want to drink God, deep draughts of God.

I’m thirsty for God-alive.

I wonder, “Will I ever make it—
arrive and drink in God’s presence?”
I am on a diet of tears—
tears for breakfast, tears for supper.
All day long people knock at my door,
Pestering, “Where is this God of yours?”

 My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be.

These are the things I go over and over,
emptying out the pockets of my life.
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
amid the sound of a great celebration!

 Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?

Why are you crying the blues?

Fix my eyes on God—soon I will be praising again.

I will put my hope in God!
He puts a smile on my face.
He is my Savior and my God.

Now I am deeply discouraged,

My soul is in the dumps.
But I will remember you—

I rehearse everything I know of you,
From Jordan depths to Hermon heights,
including Mount Mizar.
Chaos calls to chaos,
to the tune of whitewater rapids.
Your breaking surf, your thundering breakers
crash and crush me.

Then God promises to love me all day,
sing songs all through the night!
My life is God’s prayer.


But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
and through each night I sing his songs,
praying to God who gives me life.

 “O God my rock,” I cry, “Why have you forgotten me?

Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?”

Sometimes I ask God, my rock-solid God,
“Why did you let me down?
Why am I walking around in tears, harassed by enemies?”
They’re out for the kill, these tormentors with their obscenities,
Taunting day after day, “Where is this God of yours?”

Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul?
Why are you crying the blues?

Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?

Fix my eyes on God—
soon I’ll be praising again.

I will put my hope in God!
He puts a smile on my face.
He is my Savior and my God.

 

 

Psalm 42 (New Living Translation)

Psalm 42 (The Message)

 

 

What Happens When “the Hurt and the Healer” Collide?

DematerializationCreative Commons License Hartwig HKD via Compfight

The news of the sudden death of one of our church members dominated the discussions yesterday. It overshadowed the worship service and the congregational meeting that followed.

Social media has been a great venue, especially for friends, to exchange memories and pay tribute to this 38 year old young man. The sadness is overwhelming. And I am only someone looking in from the outside…

In the midst of life we are forced to pause and think about death, about the end of our own lives.

King David paused and faced these questions as well.

He prayed in Psalm 39:

“LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered – how fleeting my life is.

You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.

We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it.

And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you

Hear my prayer, O LORD! Listen to my cries for help! Don’t ignore my tears. For I am your guest – a traveler passing through, as my ancestors were before me.”

Psalm 39:4-7, 12

 

King David is putting things in perspective. He is making it clear where his priorities lie. We, too, have to come to the point where we acknowledge:

“My only hope is in you.”

Whatever I’m facing here, it’s temporary. I am God’s “guest -a traveler passing through.” Though the pain might be overwhelming, and questions are right there, front and center, we can know, we will see this young man again. His testimony of faith is expressed in many comments.

As I was reading a tribute a friend had written, I came across this song by Mercy Me. I think it is a beautiful picture of what happens when “The Hurt and the Healer” collide. Please click on the link and listen to the song.

The Hurt and the Healer

This is my Monday’s Prayer today for all who are grieving the loss of this special young man:

“Jesus, come and break our fears,

wake our hearts and take our tears,

find Your glory even here when the hurt and the Healer collide.”*

Father God, may your presence,

your love and your peace comfort all who mourn.

Give us all hope, a hope that overpowers the pain.

“I pray that God, the source of hope,

will fill you completely with joy and peace, because you trust in Him.”**

I pray for this confident hope to flow from those who believe in You, God.

In Jesus name I pray, Amen

 

* From the lyrics “The Hurt and the Healer” by Mercy Me

** Romans 15:13

 

 

Monday’s Prayer

Father God, thank You for taking care of me.

Thank You that I can trust You at all times.

As I’m starting this new week I can trust You

with all the details of each single day.

Thank you for Your presence in my life.

I know You have arranged everything I will encounter,

and I want to trust You with it all.

I don’t want to waste any opportunity You give me

to encourage somebody who needs encouragement.

I want to trust you, LORD, with all my heart;

I do not want to depend on my own understanding.

I want to seek Your will in all I do.

Thank you for Your promise that You will show me which path to take.

LORD, You are my security, today and always.

You will keep my foot from being caught in a trap.

Thank You for the comfort Your Word provides.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

 

 

Proverbs 3:5-6

New Living Translation (NLT)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:26

New Living Translation (NLT)

26 for the Lord is your security.
He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.