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Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “pray”

Book Review: Goals…Set Them!

BACKDROP

I knew I needed to get a particular book, but I had no idea where or what it was.  What an odd feeling—knowing you are being nudged to read a book, but not knowing its title.  A couple of weeks passed, but it would not go away.  I knew I needed to be obedient, so [finally] off to the bookstore I went with two conspicuous ideas in mind:

  • an athlete’s mind and
  • setting goals.

Getting out of my car, I did not know if I should first visit the Sports section, the Self Help section, or the Adult Fiction section.  Maybe the book is in the Non-Fiction section or the New Release section?  Books are everywhere.  I could see them walking to the entrance, but when I opened the door and stepped inside the strangest thing happened.  I was instructed to go to the Christian Life section.  Off I went to find what I was looking for.

REVIEW

This morning I finished the book entitled, The Circle Maker.  See:   https://www.amazon.com/Circle-Maker-Praying-Circles-Greatest/dp/0310330734   What a timely read!  It had been pressed upon my spirit that I needed to pray more, so much so that I had begun mentioning it to people.  I am blessed to be surrounded by people who hear my cry.  One friend got so excited when I said this and soon after I discovered why.  She gave me a movie to watch.  YES….She gave me War Room.  Clearly, God wants me to tighten up my prayer life.

Woman Praying

War Room was recently added to my Movies To Watch list, but I had not gotten around to viewing it.  [Can’t help but think that maybe that was by design too.]

The Circle Maker, inspired me to start a prayer journal, one that is devoted to prayer and goal setting.  Within a week I jotted down, what turned out to be, two answered prayers.  Now, I know that more than two prayers were answered during the week but these were two which resulted from specific prayers I prayed.

If you want to grow in your prayer life, I would highly recommend reading this book.  I liked it because it is not “preachy”, yet it gives tools which encourage you to PRAY BIGGER.  By the end, I knew I was not praying BIG enough.  [After all, God can do all things!]  The realization that I had not been praying BIG enough sadden me just a little.  More so, however, I was excited for my future because I knew I was about to make some changes.  Memories of past visions were triggered.  Images that God showed me in dreams and confirmations I received were surfacing.  I know now, however, that prayer is essential and praying with others is important.

Some people have the spiritual gift of intercession.  I am not aware that I am one of those people, so reading this book is a blessing and verification that the time has come to seriously focus on my assignment.  There is work to be done and settling is not an option.

I won’t share (all) the tools that Pastor Batterson gave as I would encourage you to buy and read the book, but when thinking about how the Holy Spirit led me to this book and ministered to me while reading it I cannot help but wonder if it was because of someone else’s circle.

Note:  This book makes a great group read.

Betrayal From A Known Place

Have you ever disowned someone you loved, someone only months before you would fight for?  I have.  I could write story after story about broken relationships—things you would relate to—but I will spare you those narratives.  There is another point-of interest that captures my attention, an area of prayer where I am growing.

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!”  Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.  The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.  Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”  And he went outside and wept bitterly.  —Luke 22:60-62

At the end of every year I review my relationships, particularly those with people I consider friends.  Several years ago, I discovered that I had developed a particular pattern with a “person”.  Each year, this “person” would change, but every year I would meet someone during the same part of the year.  We would be close from the jump as if we had known each other before, but by the year’s end we would not speak.  Isn’t that strange?  How could you be so close and within twelve months be so far apart?

peace

Once I realized that this happened year-after-year, I began to spot this “person”.  This awareness helped me in that at the end of the year I would note the situation causing the breakdown, but because I knew it would happen I was prepared for its occurrence.  The emotional sting I felt in preceding years was no longer there.  I simply moved on, never considering that that person would care enough to mourn.  Now, I am reconsidering my stance.  (Pray for me.)

Rest

The reality of life is, no one is perfect.  People will make mistakes straining relationships with even their closest loved ones.  I have made mistakes.  You have made mistakes.  We all have made them.  This understanding, however, leads me to my point of reconsideration.  Jesus knew Peter would betray Him and therefore prayed for him.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” —Luke 22:31-32

Admittedly, there were many years when I identified this “person” and failed to pray over our relationships.  (Note, to pray for the “person” is different than praying over the “relationship”.  Both are necessary.)  This pains me really, but I thank God for growth.  I first had to learn to pay attention to divine relationships.  Then, I needed to understand how vital it is to constantly pray over them.  We have work to do!  In truth, nobody is happy about divine relationships being damaged but Satan.  Ah, but I have found the blessing in knowing betrayal from a known place so I will do better.  Will you?

Field Work

Societal ills are easy to spot, aren’t they?  From problems in education to failures in addressing mental health concerns;  From homelessness to hungriness, unemployment to under-employment—you name the category and within it will reside a laundry list of shortcomings waiting to be addressed.  It can be overwhelming, especially if you sincerely care for the wellbeing of others.

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.  —Luke 10:2

There was a time in my life when I had worked myself into utter exhaustion under the guise of community service…or dare I say, Christian service.  I was so tired emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually that I needed to put myself in a timeout.  Yes, I needed to go and sit in a corner, facing a wall and think about what got me here.  I needed to find a place where I was not being distracted by the work that needed to be done because I had just enough confidence to think, “I can do it.”  I needed to settle and center myself so that I could hear God’s voice.

Rest

Yes, within me He has stirred a genuine love for people.  Yes, within me He has placed a sizable amount of assurance.  During this time, however, He was developing within me a deeper understanding of what and with whom I am to work.  I, also, needed to be clear about where within His field He assigned me to work.

Prior to my timeout session, I would do things because I could.  If there was a problem and if I could help, I would.  An interesting thing happened, however, once I became depleted.  I prayed often and unapologetically for strength, clarity, and help.

Admittedly, it felt good being revitalized—so good, in fact, I needed to be reminded to get back in the field.  Just like I had learned to pray for help, others were praying for me to helpHave you ever showed up at a place and knew that somebody prayed for you to be there?  You may not know who prayed (—and they may not know that it was you who they prayed for—), but you knew somebody did.  Such knowledge confirms responsibility.

As a Christian, I understand that there is work to do.  I understand that I am a servant, a worker.  (Faith without works is dead. —Read James)  I understand that the Body needs all of its parts to function most efficiently and effectively.  It is my constant prayer for workers, for help, for Family to join me in God’s harvest field where there is much work to do.  We may not work in the same area, but looking across the valleys and plains, seeing and knowing that you are too working, not only makes things easier for me, but it also encourages my soul.  I can only hope that when you look over at me the feeling is mutual.  Pray.

Praying…More

Lately, I have been thinking about a reoccurring instruction, “Pray over everything.”  I am not sure when this “direction” first started but at this point it seems to be a stubbornly, pressing message.  Do you pray over everything?

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.  —Luke 5:16

Child Praying

Do I pray over everything?  No.  I am getting better about doing so, but I am not there yet.  As I grow in this area, I am noticing that I am becoming more aware about the thoughts and words that I have and say…and do not say.  This is important because thoughts and words are powerful.

Interestingly, as I become more intentional about deepening my prayer life I have noticed that more and more people are sharing with me that they have been praying for me.  Isn’t that interesting?  Is it coincidental?  Nah.  God knows that I now have a greater understanding of what it means to be prayed for.  That understanding helps me understand why it is important for me to be adamant about praying regularly.

I am here—alive today—because people prayed for me, even when I could not or would not pray for myself…not just one time, but repeatedly.  Not only am I here, but I am present and purposeful because of the power of prayer.   OOOOOOOOOH, you all do not know what the prayers of the righteous have done for me!

In addition to receiving the prayers of others, I have prayed for myself.  I have seen God answer my prayers by making a way for me when I saw no way;  I have rested in His peace when chaos relentlessly whirled around; I have seen Him move what some considered unmovable; I have watched Him bring the right person into my life at the right time to help keep me on the right path.  He has fed me, comforted me, protected me, and blessed me all in the face of my enemies.  Guess what, I continue to pray and He continues to do so.

A few years ago, I heard one of my grandmother’s pray for the first time.  I have only heard her pray a few times, but every time I am amazed.  Her prayers are so powerful that they demand attention;  They are so spiritually strong that tears are often called to roll down my cheeks on the spot.  I can only hope that God hears my prayers and smiles upon them as I do my grandmother’s.  I can only hope that when He hears me, He recognizes me as one of His as my grandmother recognizes me as one of hers.

As I reflect, I know that the days are gone when I would simply repeat the same prayers over and over—you know, the ones we learn as children.  I care too much to robotically recite prayers.  I need to be more like Jesus and often withdraw to quiet spaces and pray.  Spiritual warfare is serious.  The power of prayer—individually and collectively—is more than a neutralizer.  Contrarily to what people think they see, it has the power to manifest VICTORY…..EVERYTIME!

Prayer List

I love the authenticity my Christian friends and I share.  I love the fact that we can celebrate the joys of life with pure hearts.  I love that we encourage each other through difficult times.  I love how we challenge each other to be our best selves and how in our weaker moments we provide one another with emotional safe havens.  In truth, there are many things I love about these relationships but most of all I love our commitment to live consistently with what we profess to be our faith.  I love this because we understand the importance of having a personal relationship with Christ, which in turn sets the foundation for valuing relationships and for caring for people.

A few weeks ago, I attended a Sunday School class.  At its end, a woman came up to me and said the Lord prompted her to ask me what I wanted her to pray for me.  At first I was surprised, but we exchanged prayer requests.  As I walked away, I thought to myself, “That’s the kind of Sunday School group I want to be a part of, one where people pray for each other for real.”

Fortunately, I am blessed to have a group of friends who intentionally pray for me and likewise I intentionally pray for them. (Unfortunately, not all Christians have this.)  Up until recently, I primarily kept a mental prayer list.  Over the years, I have noticed that a number of my friends actually write theirs down.  Without them knowing it, they had planted a seed which for me has only recently began to sprout.  There is power in the written Word.

Child Praying

Sometimes I hear the boomerang sounds of my words coming back at me.  This happened recently when a friend said to me, “When I say that I will pray for you that is what I mean.  I will add you to my prayer list and pray for you.”  I understood the seriousness of her tone and words.  I am blessed to have friends like that.  I have come to realize a reflection of myself seen in them.  They are workers.  Understanding this has given me a greater understanding of the importance of our mutual prayers and of the seriousness of our prayer lists.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord for the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  —Matthew 9:36-38

We have work do.  There are times when our assignments will be hard or we may find ourselves like Jonah—backpedaling.  Still, we have work to do.  Help is asking for others and others are asking for help.  Christians, however, let not our prayer lists stop with the “Sick and Shut-In”.  Pray too for the workers.  They may or may not be standing before us on Sunday mornings.

Once I saw a Christian lady on television with tears in her eyes ask, “Who’s praying for me?”  Thank God I have workers praying for me.  (Participants understand things that spectators simply do not.)  Whose prayer list have you made for working in the Lord’s harvest field?  Who’s praying for you to complete your divine-assignments?  You better believe, there are those orchestrating so you won’t.

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