P-R-A-Y-E-R Your best Recourse

Sometimes when I pray it’s purely for the purpose of praising God and being thankful:

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for seeing God’s hand at work in my life or the lives of my loved ones

for truth God has revealed to me

for promises He’s made to me

for direction He’s given me

for protection He’s afforded me

for answers to prayers

 

bible-839093_1920And sometimes I pray listening prayers.  I lay out a question or issue and ask for God to reveal His truth and His perspective about it. I may read His Word or listen quietly and write down what I think He is telling me.  Then hold it or the expected results up to credible scripture or another mature Christian for confirmation.

 

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But sometimes when I pray, I am seeking God’s involvement in circumstances or situations where I feel I need His help or have no control over them.

 

 

heart-care-1040250_640Most recently that was concerning my husband’s open-heart surgery.  There were so many details, medical, emotional, spiritual that were overwhelming and out of my control.  As I thought about praying over each part of the procedure, I saw that prayer is my –

 

Personal

Recourse

Always

Yielding

Eternal

Results

Personal – it’s what I can do to impact a situation – whatever that is – in my life, my family, my church, my community, my nation, the world.  I may not be able to personally change circumstances by my own effort, but I can go to Almighty God, Creator of the Universe and the One who is Sovereign and has power over it!

Recourse – it is my remedy, my option or choice – of all the things I could do, prayer is what will have the greatest potential and actual result in the situation, the problem, the relationships and the lives of those I am praying for in ways that will bring God’s purpose and plan to fruition.

Always – God says that He is with us and will never leave us or forsake us.  He hears our prayers and I believe He answers them. He is always there, at all times, in all circumstances.  We cannot do anything that would prevent Him from loving us and acting on our behalf.  We can know that He is there in “all ways” because

His love transcends our unworthiness.

His faithfulness trumps our undeserving state.

Yielding – Sometimes in ways we can see and understand.  But sometimes in ways we do not expect or even realize.  Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes it’s no and sometimes it’s wait – I have something even better for you!  But our prayer can ignite the heart of God to act and to impact whatever situation, person or issue we are praying for.

Eternal – God’s perspective is so much greater than our own.  He sees beyond what we can ask or even imagine.  So we can trust that He will answer our prayers in ways that will benefit us and our loved ones for all eternity.

Results – There is always an answer, a result, something that comes from, that happens because of, our prayers.  Our situation may not seem to change in the immediate, but we can trust that what God has put on our hearts to pray, will be answered in the very best way possible.  Sometimes the result is that we, ourselves, are changed; rather than the circumstances around us.  That can be a more impactful benefit than changing the circumstance the way we thought would be best.

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God’s plan does not always align with the plan I am praying for.  But I can always trust that His plan is the best.  And that His perspective is the greatest, far beyond what I can see in the moment I am praying.

 

With my husband’s surgery, so far, God’s plan IS what we prayed for.  He gets out of the hospital tomorrow!  And things have gone as smoothly as they possibly could, praise God!

Prayer is YOUR best Recourse, and will Always Yield Eternal Results.

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Jericho Lesson 7

Let me encourage you once more to read Joshua 6:1-20.

Joshua_Jericho_1024Ask God to show you what He has for you in this passage. Is there a Jericho, a blessing, a gift He wants you to have? One you feel unable to achieve on your own?

I followed the example God showed me of Joshua’s battle to conquer a Jericho in my own life.  Here is the 7th Lesson He taught me on that 7th day.

Getting up early every morning and walking once around the lake with my fellow Jericho walkers had been fun.  But on this 7th day, it was a real challenge.  Walking seven times around the lake was more than I felt I was up to.

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Half the trail around the lake is in the open and the other half is in the trees next to houses.  Because we started on the open trail side, the end was hidden from view as I came around the last stretch.

 

God had brought me 6 ½ laps and I felt I couldn’t go on.  I was plodding along pretty slowly, exhaustedly placing one foot barely in front of the other.  I looked up, and to my surprise, Edna, one of my Jericho walking friends came around the bend.

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With a big smile on her face, she met me, turned, and matched my gait to walk the last bit with me.  She had already finished her seven laps with the others, but had stayed.  Even though we didn’t speak, her presence made my step lighter and helped me press on.

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God knows when you need help and will send it

 

 

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Trust God to bring what you need

 

When we arrived in the parking lot at last, I gave a loud shout:  Praise God!  Hallelujah!  We laughed and hugged and thanked God.  It felt amazing to finish the walk for my Jericho!

JerichoI don’t know how far it was for the Israelites to walk around the city of Jericho, but they must have been in great shape to have had the energy to “go up and take possession of the city” after the wall fell.  All I wanted to do was rest!  Yet the feeling of victory was undeniable.  I knew in my heart that the wall had fallen.  And it was time to thank God for the victory.

 

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The next day at Bible Study I gave out key chains with little tennis shoes as a reminder of our Jericho Walk.  They call to mind God’s faithfulness in the victories we gained.  And serve as conversation starters to tell others.

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If you are reading this, it is my testimony to the victory God gave me in my obedience to the Jericho walk.  I pray that He will show you exactly how to take hold of the victories He has already won for you and is prepared to deliver into your hand.

Are you ready?  God will not disappoint.

Your Jericho Walk

  • What is my Jericho?
  • Where will I walk?
  • When will I start?
  • What will I shout?

Jericho Lesson 6

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Sharing the 7 lessons I learned on my Jericho Walk, I’ve been asking: Do you have a “Jericho” in your life: a blessing you believe God wants to give you, but you feel unable to achieve on your own?

Read Joshua 6:1-20. Ask God to speak to you and show you what He has for you in this passage. Is there a Jericho, a blessing, a gift He wants you to have? How do you need to be obedient, trusting Him to bring the obstacle down? Are you prepared to go straight up and take hold of it?

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Following the example of Joshua’s battle, I walked around a nearby lake for 7 days.  Once each for 6 days and then 7 times the seventh day.

 

 

Shofar-Israel-001Halfway through my sixth lap, I heard an unusual sound. God brought friends to join the walk all week for their own personal “Jericho”  situations.  One friend brought her Shofar, a Ram’s horn, and was blowing it as she and each of the other women finished their seven laps. That was our Trumpet Blast. just as Joshua had done.

I could faintly hear each one give a shout when the horn was blown as their Jericho walls fell. They were overjoyed and filled with excitement! I shared in their victory from a distance and congratulated them as I came around again for my final lap.

20190526_215702I was the last one with still a lap to go.  Trying hard to motivate myself, I thought of the world’s wisdom: “Focus on the goal.” “Keep your eyes on the prize.” The goal in this case was seven laps, one more than I felt I had in me.

Thinking about the distance I still had to cover was so discouraging. It was overwhelming to even imagine myself fifty feet from where I was! Then I tried focusing on all I had already accomplished: the six laps completed. That just made me more tired!

chalk-board-Lesson 6

The wisdom of the world may not motivate you.

 

 

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Turn to God for motivation and support.

 

I looked up and asked God for help. It was as if He said, “I’m right beside you. Let’s take one step together. Focus on where you are, and take a couple of steps to get to the bench. Now a few more to the fence.  Now to the flower bed.” It really helped to just be where I was, not thinking about all that had come before or would come after.

I teach Childbirth classes. What I tell labor loaches to do when Mom is in labor is to motivate and support her wherever she is in the birth process. Since you don’t know how long it’s going to last, you can’t give a time countdown.

labor 1Even if you could, it might not be helpful. Trying to be supportive, you might say to a mom in hard labor that she’s only got twenty more minutes to go. In her heart, she is totally defeated because she feels she has only ten minutes of energy left. The truth is, you deal with what you need to deal with right in front of you, and the time or distance factor works itself out.

So when it gets hard, I encourage coaches to have coping strategies for three to four contractions at a time. That way, you make intervals of progress towards a goal without focusing only on the goal or the time it takes to reach it.

board-1273117_640This is exactly what God did with me. He coached me, motivated me right where I was. He moved me little by little around the lake till the end was almost in sight.

Is there something that feels overwhelming in your life?  Ask God to show you only the very next step. 

And ask Him to help you take it. 

 

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Father in heaven, thank You for loving us, and for giving us purpose in this life.  Thank You that when the going gets tough and we don’t think we can make it, that You come along beside us and coach us to win the battles we face, whatever they are.

Whatever each of us is in the midst of, protect us from feeling discouraged.   Help us each see the next tiny step we can make to keep us moving forward.  And give us the courage, the energy, the whatever we need to take it with You.  Amen

 

Jericho Lesson 5

Joshua_Jericho_1024Do you have a “Jericho” in your life: a blessing you believe God wants to give you, but you feel unable to achieve on your own?

I completed a Jericho Walk circling a nearby lake for 6 days and then 7 times on the 7th day.  And God gave me a victory in an area of my life that had been difficult.

God also taught me lessons as I walked.  Especially the 7th day circling the lake.

Nearing the end of my fifth lap, even with the exhilaration I felt at hearing from God, my legs were giving out.  When they began to really hurt, I thought if I could just stop walking for a few minutes, it would be so nice.  I stopped to lean against a pole and closed my eyes.

hymnpianosideInstantly, an old hymn popped into my head: “March on O soul with strength, like those strong men of old…”   Those words literally propelled me back onto the trail!

Music has always spoken powerfully to me.  The melodies make it easy to remember the words, and the words have noble meaning, teaching me truths about my faith.  My soul was marching on and my legs just followed.

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You will get tired, maybe even feel unable to go on.

 

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Recall God’s faithfulness by song, scripture verse, or personal interaction.

Recalling God’s faithfulness to us personally helps strengthen our faith in Him for the present and the future.

clef-593912_1920Songs can remind you of spiritual truth.  And not just us, but our children too.   It’s important to teach our children how to turn to faith in the dark times or when dark thoughts enter in.  Songs can lift our spirit and take us to the place where hope lies.

For me, it’s the old hymns that I grew up with.  For others, it’s praise songs or popular worship music.  Play and sing it at home and when you travel so you know the words and melodies when you need them.

 

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Besides music, another powerful tool for encouragement is scripture.  Several times on my Jericho walk I recited scriptures I had read that morning or knew by heart.

Psalm 138:8 is a favorite.  Focusing on one word at a time, I restated that Psalm aloud:

book-1209805_1920God will fulfill His purpose for me” – meaning that it is God’s work to do it and His power that will bring it about.

“God will fulfill His purpose for me” – meaning it is a certainty, that it will be done.

Each time I restated the verse, the power of its truth grew.

Again, both we and our children need to know scripture.  We all need to understand its meaning, what it means to us personally, and how it applies to our lives.

Thirdly, we also need to be able to recall God’s faithfulness in our own lives.

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Look back over your last week and see where God answered a prayer, or gave you a blessing, a word of guidance, or protected you from trouble.  Now look back over the last several weeks or months, the last year, your adult life, your teen years, as a child.  When things come to mind, jot them down.

 

This will create a record you can see to recall and acknowledge God’s faithfulness to you.  It’s not just the giants of scripture who God interacts with.  It’s you and me, in your life and mine.  

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Songs, scripture and remembering God’s faithfulness to me in the past got me around the lake again.  My legs were still feeling weak but my heart was feeling strong.  I began the last lap.

Jericho Lesson 4

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Do you have a “Jericho” in your life: a blessing you believe God wants to give you, but you feel unable to achieve on your own?

Following the example of Joshua’s battle, I completed a Jericho Walk.

As I walked on the 7th day circling the lake 7 times, God continued teaching me lessons.  Check out the last 3 posts to read the first 3 lessons..

tree-933075_640I had completed four laps and by now the sun had risen in the sky, but because of cloud cover, the sunlight was not direct.  It was, however extremely bright.  Looking towards the sun, there were parts peeking through, but the thin clouds were so brightly illuminated they were glowing!  God was showing me something new.

Seeing the brightness reminded me that we, as Christians, are to be light in the world.  But the sun is so bright!  I told God that I couldn’t possibly be a sun.

It was as if God heard my comment and replied with, “You don’t have to be.  But see how much brighter it seems because the clouds are scattering the light?  And what are clouds made up of?  Tiny droplets of water!”

His revelation brought tears to my eyes.

Lesson 4

 

I can do that!  I can be a drop of water!  I can reflect and magnify the light God illuminates my life with to others!  That is so doable.  And not threatening at all.

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All you have to be is Yourself.   A drop of water!      

 

droplet-161679_640How uplifting!  God won’t demand something impossible of you.  But He can use who you are, who He created you to be, to show His love, His mercy, His grace to others.  Whatever is happening in your life, God will equip you.

 

You never know when times of frustration and waiting will bear fruit in the growth of perseverance or preparation for action.  Or times of prosperity will reap a harvest of generosity.  Or times of pain will cause strength and wisdom to grow in you.

You can trust that God will provide you with what you need, even before you know you need it.

Could it be that He is calling you to simply be yourself?  Even a small drop of water can reflect and magnify the light He is bringing into your life, to those around you.

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Let me encourage you to take a walk.  And ask God to speak to you.

Then be quiet, wait, and listen.