Category Archives: prayer

migraines and prayer time

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I hate migraines.  By God’s grace, I don’t have them nearly as often as I used to.  But I’ve learned something over the years of fighting with my migraines…  they make me more aware of my weakness.  They make me more aware that I need God.  And they make me more empathetic for others I know who deal with physical issues on a daily basis.

So, in an effort to “not waste my migraine” (lol), I realized that I could use these times of migraines to pray.  When I’m lying in bed with a heating pad wrapped around my aching head, I think of my friends who suffer much more than I do.  And I pray that God would bless them and if He chooses, that He would heal them.

It changes my perspective.  Doesn’t take away the pain, but it definitely gives me a better view of how I handle these times.  Helps me say like Paul “now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake.” Compared to Paul, it seems ridiculous to even call this suffering.  But God is using it.  He’s using it to strengthen my heart and hopefully to care for my friends as well.

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:11-14)

–on a side note, I’m pretty sure this was why my brain was “mush” last night…  it was warning me of what was to come… sigh.

fear not

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My child, do not be afraid. Every day of your life was ordered before you were even born. I was faithful then, to call you to me before you desired me, before you knew me, before you lived for me. I loved you first. There is no need now for you to be afraid in this storm.

What is the worst that could happen to you? Death? I am the God who is faithful to old age, even to death. A lack of answers of clarity? I am the God who knows all. No answer is hidden from me. Darkness? No direction visible to you? I am the God who leads the blind along unknown paths. Loneliness? I am the God who will never leave you. Pain beyond your ability to handle? I am the God who gives strength to the youth who are weak and faint. I am He who provides grace to the weary and help to the tired.

What is it you fear that I in my power am unable to provide? You could bring care after care to me until you have no more and still every care will find a balm in my healing and help. Every need is provided in me. I love you.

Do not doubt my care because my hand is pruning. Do not doubt my love as you feel the winter’s cold wind blow. You are precious to me and I will protect and care for you through every storm. Rejoice, sweet chosen, adopted and dearly loved child of mine, for through this trial and pain, you are seeing the benefit of years of plenty. Now, when it seems there is no fruit on your tree, you are learning that your roots do indeed go deep and this faith I called you to only a few short years ago, that faith is real. It is being tested even now and it is standing firm. Be encouraged, my child, I am producing growth. This trial is bringing endurance and the more you see my hand at work through the unknown, you will grow in faith and hope.

My Son, Jesus, who died to bring you to me, is praying for you right now. He is standing here saying “Father, forgive her weakness, forgive her lack of faith. Be satisfied in her struggle. Look to my payment and be satisfied.” And you know, child, I am fully and completely satisfied with that payment on your behalf.

So come to me, in your weakness, nakedness and need, confident in my affection and care for you. Even now, when you don’t know what to say, my Spirit is also praying for you. He is interceeding on your behalf, interpreting your tears and pain and carrying your woes before my throne of grace. So, child, cry. Cry out to me.

I loved David and I loved to see his dependence on my power as expressed so often through his tears. Cry, even when there seem to be no words. The Spirit of God is carrying those cries directly to me. They are not lost. I am listening and my arm has never been too short to save. Be confident, in the midst of this trial, of my unchanging faithful love to you.

The steadfast love I showed to your fathers, the guidance to Abraham, the protection to David, the redemption for Jonah, the transformation for Rahab, the love that did not forsake Naomi, that provided for Ruth, and that blessed Hannah…sweet child, I am that same God. And I offer those same things to you. I would delight and joy in you coming to me in hope and faith, not cowering in fear. Judgment is paid. Freedom is yours. Live there. Rejoice there. I will never forsake.

But when you feel forsaken, remember my promises. When you feel tempted beyond your strength to endure, remember I will empower you to stand firm against every attack of the evil one. Even Satan is under my control; there is no need to fear his attacks.

Rest. Rest in the storms, for I hold you safe. I never slumber and darkness does not blind me, as it does you. Don’t you see? I want you to be free, not bound by fear. This trial is producing sweet freedom as you are learning of my sovereign care and provision. Like I said to the shepherds the day I sent my son “do not fear.”. Like I told the disciples the day my Son left them and returned to Me… “do not fear.”

And now you join their ranks…the ranks of the weak and helpless of this world whom I have chosen and loved. “Do not fear.” “This trial was given to you as a gift from a hand of love. Though you do not understand the purpose of the gift you do know the hand. You have seen my care and love proved time and time again to you.

And now, sweet child though you do not understand why, take this gift of pain, suffering and confusion and accept it as a good thing given by a Father who loves you. At this time in your life, what you desire is not a good gift. That is why I have chosen this. Won’t you rest in my arms? I can see tomorrow.

This “mistake” will make sense one day. And even if I never choose to show you the reason why, don’t forget I am using this to bring glory to myself and draw others to see my power displayed in you! Is that not enough? My power at work in you? That is why I don’t wnat you to fear. I know what will come tomorrow. And it is good. Rest. Rejoice. Lean on me. I will never ever let you go.”

the answer to my fears and questioning

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I found this in my journal today… a prayer and the “response from God.”  I love going back and seeing what God has reminded me of in the past… for I find that I often need the same reminders. 

Lord Jesus, reveal Yourself to me in a way that draws me, pursues me, holds me, and keeps me.  May I grow and be led to better glorify You. May I respond to the Truth You speak, the Word and promise You bestow, knowing Your sovereignty and Your delight in identifying with me, that I might know its hope and truly rejoice! 

 You are forming me!  You are growing me!  Use this, O Lord, to put a fire in my heart.  Let that truth cause my heart to rejoice and to trust wholeheartedly in You!

His response:
Doubt not My ability, nor my willingness to provide graciously and abundantly – I know all that you need.  Fear not!  Take heart.  Know Me.  Be full of faith afresh.  My child, have I not bought you?  Will I not also hold you and keep you?  This is not your home.  This is but a shadow, a season of anticipation to point you to that which is completely other. 

I AM He who has created you and is preparing a place for you that is all of grace and peace unending, yes, unfailing.  You are mine.  Hear My voice.  Receive My love and know My heart for you.  I have caused you to be born into this living and abiding hope.  I will never let you go. 

Dwell on Me.  Submit your cares, your heart, and your fears to my Throne.  You are covered in the blood of My Son.  I am the Trustworthy One. 

 Live.  Be free.  I am a God who loves to give good gifts to My children, My beloved.  Accept this to be warm and satisfying bread, not a stone.  Take.  Eat.  You have been set apart.  I promise to hold you, guide you, encourage you, sharpen you, correct you, accept you, forgive you, and sing over you.  You are mine.  I will care for you, and I can and will to do no other. 

sleepless prayer

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Father I confess that I do not actively place my dependence on you like I should, though every moment is spent fully dependent on your hand over my life. It is the sweet, yet horrible moments like this, moments when I ask, but sleep doesn’t come, moments where there is nothing I can do to make that desire of my fundamental human need happen, moments of sheer and utter exhaustion of mind, body and will, in which I am once again reminded of you. You are the God who does not require sleep. You are the God who guards my life as I sleep, and who guards it when sleep doesn’t come. You watch over me and protect me as the swarm of fears and doubts loom overhead. Your helmet of salvation soothes my tired mind with the truth that I am safe in you and that there is no need to fear. When exhaustion results in emotional worry and tears, I am comforted with the truth that even in my weakness and struggle, that you never leave or forsake your beloved. When the sins and cares of the day robs my rest, you remind me that I am your spotless bride and your cherished, fully accepted child. When pain takes rest from me and keeps it at a distance, you remind me that the power which calmed the stormy sea can also calm the turmoil in my body. Thank you Father that you ordain moments like this, moments I would never choose, to once again turn my gaze to you, grasping for more of your grace. Oh how I need it…both tonight and as the dawn soon breaks. Teach me that what matters is not perfect health or restful sleep but rather a confident trust in your goodness. Your goodness desired that my sleeplesness would drive me not to frustration, fear and anxiety, but to you. I find a refuge in you. My mind, which never seems to cease its running, finds solace in your presence. And you promise strength for tomorrow. Strength for the day’s battle, empowered by you to endure. But greater than that, to rejoice. Father, grant me the grace to rejoice in what you have done for me, given me and promised to complete in me. Let that joy overshadow this sleepless weariness. I pray that I would rest in you, for you are fully satified. There is nothing I need to do, besides still my soul in you like a child at his mother’s breast. You comfort. You hear the prayers of your beloved. And you provide what is good. So I pray that you would, in mercy, grant my weary body a few hours of rest tonight which would counteract the many hours of sleepless regret and worry. And if sleep does not come, father, I pray you would grant me the grace to find my strength in you. Thank you that you love me. Thank you that you hear my cry. Thank you that you are powerful to save. I pray you would help me, yet again, as I look to you, my jehovah-jireh to provide in my need.

i believe, help my unbelief

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I rehearse reality in my morning prayers,
And live in unreality through out the day.
With my mouth I confess,
But with my heart I retreat.

I see my wounds and not my healing.
I forget His blood and feel my bleeding.
I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief!

There is no patience in my well-doing,
And I submit myself again to that terrible yoke.
It is for freedom that I was set free,
But I content myself with slavery.

I see my wounds and not my healing.
I forget His blood and feel my bleeding.
I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief!

But God’s righteousness has come
Not as a law but as a Son—
Though I don’t yet see him on his throne,
I trust his power alone.
I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief!

Let me see your wounds my Savior, for in them lies my healing.
Cover me in your blood, to stay my feeble bleeding.
By your grace alone I believe; complete this work in me.

written by Michele Bennett

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain” (I Cor 15:1-2).

a prayer

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God, open my ears. I don’t clearly hear your care and compassion when you tell me not to worry or be afraid, but I know they are there. Father, open my eyes. I act like i see all reality. I act like I can see even more than you do. But I am seeing now that there is an entire world that is blurry to me, and that world is you. It is you I don’t see well. I want to trust in what you say and see the things you have revealed. That leaves me no choice but to start with humility. This is the way all journeys with you begin. Please teach me humility so that what you say overrules what I feel.

“When I am afraid, I will trust in you.” Ps. 56:3

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.’” Lk. 12:32

“Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,’ declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Isa. 41:14

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.” Ps. 46:10-11

i would love your prayer…

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its really funny, so much seems to have been going on lately but somehow last month was the least amount i blogged in the last 2 1/2 years.  i guess part of the reason for this is because in many ways, there is nothing new to say… life just goes on.  and i haven’t been learning any life-altering truths, simply learning to cling to the ones i know. 

but the other reason is that much of what i have been working through just doesn’t seem to have adequate words to describe it.  physical pain or loneliness or discouragement often has no words.  i’m glad God knows the prayers that I often don’t know how to pray.  He perfectly understands my questions.

That being said, I would really be grateful for your prayers. 

1.  Pray that I would grow in a deeper trust of God so that when life seems topsy-turvy, that my confidence remains in my faithful God.    Pray for fresh reminders that my God is all powerful and greater than all my fears.

2.  Pray that God would grant me wisdom for knowing when to walk forward in faith and when to simply sit at His feet with a childlike faith.  (though often these two seem to go hand in hand…).  Pray specifically with my job that He would grant me wisdom to know what to do (if anything).

3.  Pray that God would heal my body from all the physical problems, migraines and allergies that have simply become a part of my life.  I know He is the God who can heal.  I have seen His work in amazing ways time after time.  And He is compelling me to ask for this, aware I don’t deserve it and aware that I struggle even asking for such a gift, but aware that He is a merciful God who delights in my asking and coming in humble faith and obedience.

4.  Pray that God would give me wisdom in knowing where to invest my time.  The past few weeks I have felt stretched very thin.  I really would like to grow in knowing how to balance time for myself, time to serve others, time to care for and love others, etc. 

5.  Pray that I would sleep. 

that’s what’s going on in my world right now.  i need wisdom.  i need God’s strength.  i need to be reminding myself cotinually that my God is merciful and kind.

who were you five years ago?

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yesterday when I was meeting with Matt (my pastor) we were talking about God’s power to change lives.  Often I feel that its up to me to change myself… that its up to my great faith (oh wait, i don’t have that).  I get discouraged when change doesn’t happen as quickly as I think it should.  I feel like I’m letting God down by not “holding up my part of the bargain.”  After all, He saved me, its my job to “return the favor” by living for Him, right? 

As I’m writing this, it seems absurd to think this way.  Yet I find this thinking is so pervasive in my life.  When things are hard, I naturally assume that its because I did something wrong or failed to trust God fully or that its judgment for something I did wrong in my past.  And when things go well, I assume its because I did something right and God is pleased therefore He makes my life easy.

So Matt asked me to list ways that I am different from 5 years ago.  He wanted to know specifics of what has changed and what caused those changes.  To be honest with you I didn’t know where to start…   Really the only thing that is the same now is my name.  And the fact that I’m employed full time.  But even where I’m employed is different. 

Here are a 5 things that have changed in my life in the last 5 years:
1.  Five years ago I did not care about God.  I did not love God.  Today, I’m aware my love for Him is very small, very imperfectly offered and not nearly as passionate as it should be, but I do in fact love Him.  And my desire is to love Him more and more each day. 

2.  Five years ago, my desires, passions and lusts controlled every aspect of my life.  I lived for what I wanted.  I did what I wanted.  I didn’t care who didn’t like it.  But God drew me to Him by showing me His kindness.  He showed me that His love is so far superior to the desires of my flesh.  He gave me a hope that was so far greater than sex, drugs and uncontrolled passion.  I want to know this God who gave so much to prove His love for me.

3.  Five years ago, I was a thief, drunk, druggie, controlled by the passions of my flesh.  I was controlled by my sins.  I could do nothing other than carry out those desires.  But God grabbed me from that slavery.  He showed me immesurable kindness.  He gave me this gift, changed my desires and now I can say that none of those desires control my life.  That’s not who I am anymore. 

4.  Five years ago, when I first began coming to Sovereign Grace Church, it was because they had something to offer me.  I could get something from them.  They gave me free meals, they gave me intelligent (well, sometimes) conversations, they gave me friendship.  And they asked nothing in return.  I came for what I could get from them.  And for several years, I simply came and took.  Today, by God’s grace, I still am receiving so many benefits from my friends but now I actually call them friends.  And I try to be a friend to them as well.  I desire to pass along the same kindness and mercy they showed over the past five years.  I desire to reconcile when differences arise.  It is a highlight of my week to talk each Sunday with my dear, sweet friends, pray with and for them and serve them in many little ways.  Again, I’m aware that I still take more than I give, but its only by God’s grace that I’m there at all… and that I’m giving at all.  So, that gives me faith that one day I’ll give more… more freely and with more joy.

5.  Five years ago, life was about me.  I’m often tempted to despair because I see so much of my life is still about me.  And I know that needs to change.  But five years ago, my heart desired only to serve myself.  After God captured my heart and offered me salvation, my desire is now to live my life for Him.  And I know that desire didn’t start with me.

 

So, there you have it… a brief snapshot of what God has done.  Matt then reminded me that everything I had just told him was all a work of God’s grace alone.  I did nothing to change myself.  Every change that has happened in the past 5 years was a result of His loving hand working in my life.  It wasn’t because I desired to change or because I made myself change.  I can claim no part in those changes.  They are all a work of God’s grace.  He went on to read Galatians 3 where Paul asks the Galatians if they are so foolish to really believe that what God started they must now finish.  Matt then reminded me that, just like the Galatians, I didn’t begin this work and its not up to me to finish it.  Actually, even if I wanted to, I couldn’t.  It is a work of grace from a God of grace.  None of it is a work of my own ability… God designed it that way so He would get the glory and so that I wouldn’t boast. 

That’s very humbling… on two fronts.  First, that God would really love me that much.  That He knows all my sin and weakness and failure and that He simply offers to me His open hand full of love.  And He asks nothing in return.  I wish I had something to offer to thank Him for that gift.  But He says even if I did, He wouldn’t be pleased with that.  And second, its humbling because there is nothing I can do other than stand in awe of a God that is that great.  He began this work in me.  He is currently working in me.  And He has promised to complete it.  All I can do is sit back in thankfulness and be amazed at such grace.

 

So, my question for you is this… How has God changed you in the last 5 years?   How have His amazing works of grace transformed you from who you once were?

this is my sacrifice of praise

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Let them thank the LORD for his stedfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!  And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!  They cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.  He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.  Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the stedfast love of the LORD.  Psalm 107: 21-22, 28-29, 43

I love the LORD, because He has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.  Because he inclined hisear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.  The snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me, I suffered distress and anguish.  Then I called on the name of the LORD: “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!”  Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.  The LORD preserves the simple; whin I was brought low, he saved me.  Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.  For you have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling; I will walk before the LORD in the land of the living.  I believed, even when I spoke, ” I am greatly afflicted”, I said in my alarm, “all mankind are liars.”  What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?  I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.  O Lord I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant.  You have loosed my bonds.  I will offer to you the sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.  Psalm 116: 1-13, 16-17

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.  I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.  He will send from heaven and save me; he will put to shame him who tramples on me.  God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!  My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery bests – the children of man, whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!  Let your glory be over all the earth!  They set a net for my steps, my soul was bowed down.  They dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves.  My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast!  I will sing and make melody!  Awake, my glory!  Awake, O harp and lyre!  I will awake the dawn!  I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations.  For your steadfast love is great to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.  Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!  Let your glory be over all the earth!  Psalm 57

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world!  1 John 4:4

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  Be sober-minded; be watchful.  You adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of sufferings are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.  And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.  1 Peter 5:7-10

It is the LORD who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.  Deuteronomy 31:8

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  Philippians 4:6-8

Save me, O God!  For the waters have come up to my neck.  I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.  I am weary with my crying out; my throat is parched.  My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.  More in number than the hairs of my head are those who would destroy me, those who attack me with lies.  What I did not steal must I now restore?  O God, you know my folly; the wrongs that I have done are not hidden from you.  Let not those who hope in you be put to shame through me.  O Lord…  But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.  Deliver me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.  Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me.  Answer me, O LORD, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy turn to me.  Hide not your face from your servant, for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.  Draw near to my soul, redeem me; ransom me because of my enemies!  You know my reproach, and my shame and my dishonor; my foes are all known to you.   Reproaches have broken my heart, so that I am in despair…  Let their own table before them become a snare, and when they are at peace, let it become a trap.  Let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and make their loins tremble continually.  Pour out your indignation upon them, and let your burning anger overtake them… But I am afflicted and in pain; let your salvation, O God, set me on high!  I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving.  This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs.  When the humble see it they will be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive.  For the LORD hears the needy and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.  Psalm 69

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth ahs been given to me.”  Matthew 28:18

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  Colossians 1:11-14

And he said to them,  “I saw Satan fall like lighting from heaven.  Behold i have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.  Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”  Luke 10:18-20

The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.  Romans 16:20

I love you, O LORD, my strength.  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.  I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised and I am saved from my enemies.  He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.  He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.  They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the LORD was my support.  He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me because He delighted in me.  Psalm 18:1-3, 16-19

The LORD is my ligth and my salvation; whom shall I fear?  The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?  Though an enemy encamp against m, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.  For He will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.  I believe that I shall look upon the goodnessof the LORD in the land of the living!  Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!  Psalm 27:1, 3, 5, 14

Oh how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you.  Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a beseiged city.  I had said in my alarm ” I am cut off from your sight.”  But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I Cried to you for help.”  Psalm 31:19, 21-22

Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts before him; God is a refuge for us.  Psalm 62:8