Tag: pray

Praying THROUGH the Pandemic

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Praying THROUGH the Pandemic

 

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Take one letter of the word THROUGH each day for a week, and pray the topic that starts with that letter.

I have written out a prayer for each topic you can pray aloud, or use it as a springboard for your own words to pray.  The Lord may draw you to other topics as well.  Listen for the Holy Spirit to guide you in your prayer time.

This is certainly not all inclusive, but I believe it’s a way God has shown me is a good place to start.

T – Total Control

Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that no matter what the circumstances here on earth look like, or how they seem to us, that You are in Total Control.  Even in the midst of this pandemic that has spread over the entire world, You have not forgotten us.  You are not wringing Your hands wondering what to do.

Thank You that You are a loving, sovereign God who we can come to in prayer at any time.  And thank You that Your presence can be anywhere and everywhere at the same time  – so You can be with each one of us to hear our prayer and lend support: encouragement, comfort and discernment when we need it.

Thank You that even when things around us seem to be chaotic and discouraging, just Your presence can bring us peace.

Father, help us see Your hand at work in each of our lives.  Bring each one of us answers to our prayers.  Give us understanding of how to live and make decisions in these unusual and difficult times.

While we face this huge challenge, remind us that You, who created the universe and each one of us, are still on Your throne, still love us and are in Total Control.

H – Health

Lord, so many people have become ill with this Covid-19, and so many have died, that it is easy to be fearful.  We are asking You to safeguard our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.  And that of our loved ones.

Protect our bodies.  Some of us are pretty healthy but worry over the effect this virus might have on us should we contract it.  Others of us are older, more fragile with failing immune systems and diseases that make us much more vulnerable physically.  Fight for us against this virus that would ravage our health and put our lives in danger.  Keep us safe from exposure.  Provide whatever medical support we need to arrest any infection or corona virus activity.

Father, mentally and emotionally this pandemic is taking a toll on us and our loved ones as well.  So many are dealing with anxiety and depression again or for the first time due to the extreme isolation, lack of close support of family and friends, and loss of jobs, income, and the routine of life that kept them going.

Please provide the needed support for those who have been side-lined by mental issues that further strip them of the ability to work and cope with the challenges of life during this pandemic time.  Lead them to the medical guidance or counselors who can help them with appropriate medications or therapies.

And still many are battling trying to reconcile their faith in light of this pandemic. It seems so much has gone wrong all over the globe, they are questioning where You are in all of this?   Do not let the devil get a foothold through this.  Rekindle our faith – remind us of Your faithfulness to us in the past.  Remind us of Your promises in the Bible.

R – Relationships

Father, show us how to maintain our relationships with those who matter to us and have influence in our lives.  Thank You for bringing us friends, co-workers, neighbors, who impact us on a personal level.  For our churches and neighborhoods and families who keep watch over us and care for us.

When person-to-person contact isn’t wise, remind us to reach out to others in ways that keep us connected and close.  A lot of people have been using Zoom and Face Time and other advanced technologies, thank You for that.  But remind is to also make time and reach out with phone calls, emails, texts, and old-fashioned written letters or cards that we can hold and feel a tangible sense of someone’s care for us.

Some of us have kept working – many from home – so we are still busy trying to get work done with the complications of being at home with all the distractions and less-than-optimal working conditions.  For those there doesn’t seem to be as much time in the day to keep up social relationships.

Some of us have lost jobs and have time on our hands but no real interest in discussing our situation while trying to deal with the stress of making ends meet and the depressing state of our lives.

Some of us are retired and also have time on our hands but have gotten into new routines that no longer include socializing, so remain detached from friends.

At some point Lord, we pray this will all be over and life will get back to “normal.”  But until then, please show us how to maintain connections with our friends and family members so we don’t lose the closeness and positive impact they have on our lives.

O – Others   

Father remind us of the truth of what has been said over and over again –“We are all in this together.”  Let that be a guiding influence on the decisions we make in how we respond to the medical advice we get that show how we can all beat this virus and move forward.

Thank You Father, for those people who make our lives work by putting themselves at risk.  Thank You for the doctors and nurses, and healthcare workers, administrators and the cleaning teams who keep the hospitals and medical and care centers running. Thank You for those who keep our utilities – water and electricity and gas – supplied to our homes and businesses.  And who collect our trash and deliver our mail.

Thank You for all those who allow us to get the food we need – grocery store workers and restaurant workers.  And who protect our communities; our police and fire and emergency responders.

Lord, there are so many people who work behind the scenes who we don’t often see to recognize.  Bless them.  Father, protect all these people who continue to serve, from this virus.

Even those who seem to be the most fragile among us, have lived lives and served in their own way, and have value.  Do not let them be overlooked as a disposable generation.  But impart to us all, the value that every life has.

None of us gets through this life alone.  We all depend on others to help us along the way; encourage us, pray for us, teach us, correct us.  Thank You for putting people in our lives to help us and for us to help.  Let us see how we all impact one another with the decisions we make.  And let us consider others and build on that as a strength as we all fight this pandemic.

U – Unity

Father, there has been so much dissent and disunity over issues regarding this pandemic.  Simple things that would have had a more powerful impact, like quarantining, limiting social contact and wearing masks have become so politicized.  I don’t understand it.  It seems simple, logical science.  Yet misinformation has spread like wildfire in the name of personal rights and freedoms.

Help us join together to seek the common good rather than insult and tear each other down.  Help us see that the virus is the enemy – not our Facebook friend, church member or political party.  Help us be teachable, patient, and make every effort to be at peace with each other as we fight the true enemies we face:  this pandemic, and disunity.

Lord, please bring sense and order out of the chaos.  Bring the truth to light.  Dispel the darkness.  End the strife between political opponents who seek to further their own agendas.  Before it is too late and we lose the battle for life and health in our families, our communities and our countries.

G – Governments

Father in heaven, help all the national leaders and government heads who make decisions about the care of the people in their jurisdictions.  Bring them wise counselors to advise them, who have an understanding of the reality of this pandemic situation.  And the steps needed to fight and conquer it.

Help governments have an honest concern for their people, and communicate truth to them, without political motives.  Show them how to instruct and motivate their citizens to do what is best for their health and economies, to end this pandemic sooner rather than later.

Give the local and world health organizations the wisdom they need to make the best recommendations, supported by science, in a non-political way so that treatments can reach around the world helping everyone.

Let doctors and scientists and governments and corporations all work together on a worldwide basis to find an answer to this pandemic.  Do not let money or national boundaries or political ideologies get in the way of progress for a global solution.

Father, do not let political agendas or abuse of power be tolerated when the lives of people hang in the balance. Let the evil of the wicked come to an end.  Intercede for those whose governments are corrupt.  When treatments or vaccines are offered, ensure that everyone gets them.

H – Heart

Heavenly Father, make this a time in history when the hearts of men, women and children are turned to You.

It‘s so easy to turn away from pain, poverty, disease, and injustice in the world.  We put our heads down and try to make it through one day at a time with our own problems and challenges.  But this is a time in history when the focus of the world IS the world!  And how this pandemic has spread across national boundaries, political regimes, and affected people of all languages, economic statuses and beliefs.

Father, as we come face-to-face with the probability of illness and death, turn our thoughts to eternity.  Give each person on earth a glimpse of their standing with You and how they will spend eternity.

Send dreams and visions all around the globe that reveal an understanding of who You are.

Put Bibles in the hands of people in languages they can understand to spell out Your way of salvation.

Call to people’s minds scripture and truths they learned – recently or long ago, maybe as children – that taught them of heaven and hell.  And of Your great love for them that sent Your Son to die on the cross and make a way for them to believe and receive the free gift of a salvation for an eternity spent with You.

Ezekiel tells us You will remove our hearts of stone and give us a heart of flesh.  With the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us.  Father, go into every place where this pandemic has reached, and soften every heart.  Show every person who You are and how to be saved.

And those of us who are already believers, soften our hearts to understand Your purpose for our lives during this time.  Give us a unity of Spirit to see where You are working, and work alongside You.

Strengthen our hearts to follow You wherever You are leading us, and to do all You show us to do.  Our lives are different in this pandemic.  Show us how to use this time to honor and worship You.  Give us undivided hearts to bring glory to You.  Amen

Lift up your head!

Lift up your head.

In Hebrew: Naso et-rosh.

The English version of most Bibles translates this to say: take a census, or be counted. In Numbers 4:1-2 this makes an oversimplified statement of the historical activity.

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The Israelites had left Egypt, spent two years in the desert, and constructed the Tabernacle. They were no longer slaves to the Egyptians. Now they were to look to the Lord their God for new direction and a new life purpose.

Naso et-rosh does not just mean “take a census.”

In context, to those people, the weight of the meaning of those Hebrew words meant so much more!

Naso et-rosh means to lift up your head, gaze intently into the clarity of the Holy One and accept the purpose and the passion for who you were created to be.

religion-3452582_640Usually we live life running busily from one task to another – even trying to multitask to get more done in less time. But in these times of worldwide pandemic and isolating at home we have plenty of time on our hands to take a moment for a spiritual refreshing.  We can make the time to seek in prayer and in God’s Word the essence of who we are and who God wants us to be.  

Many of us will emerge from this pandemic with cleaner houses and a few extra pounds.  But you have the opportunity to emerge with a new sense of God-given purpose and direction. 

Set aside 10 minutes each day this week to hear from the Lord.  Wait expectantly to hear something exciting.  Imagine yourself, His child, passing through ascending tongues of fire (like Moses saw on the burning bush – fire that burned but did not consume the bush) and coming into His presence.

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Ask God to speak to you, and then listen – with your spirit.  Write down anything you believe you hear.   About who you are. About how He created you with special gifts and talents and a unique personality.  About where He is already working and how He invites you to join Him in that work.

Confirm what you have heard by comparing it to what God says in His Word and with the fruit of the spirit.  For more on how to do this see my blog post Googling God part 3 click here.

“Naso et-rosh”  invites you to spend time with your Creator in order to seek out and receive from Him.

Accept the invitation.

Lift up your head!

Happy Easter!

March snow 2016

No doubt this was an Easter unlike any you have ever celebrated.  In Colorado we had snow, which is not unusual.  (this picture is actually from a few years ago – today we only had like 3 inches but more on the way)

But the hustle and bustle was definitely missing.   And seeing family and friends at church.

No new clothes, no egg hunts or even Easter baskets because we’ve done no shopping for several weeks.  We’ve only ordered what we absolutely needed and gratefully tipped delivery people for bringing them to our door.

Some of our family have been able to keep working from home and some have lost their jobs.  Some are very high risk and some are not but have chosen to stay at home to protect the rest.

A couple of us are retired, and feel blessed for that.  But some of us were dealing with additional stresses and barely hanging on even before the coronavirus hit.

grandparents-1131890_640We are connecting, probably like you, with skyping, Zooming and lots of phone calls.  But it isn’t the same.

I have talked with a lot of people who have cleaned, and organized, and started indoor exercise programs.  Others who have begun to read those books they’ve had stacked in the corner for a long time.  Some are on call to help others get groceries and needed supplies or take a neighbor to the hospital.  And some friends have become famous on Facebook for doing videos on gardening and cooking shows, sewing face masks, and encouraging us all.

worship-4088561_640Most of them have brought up that they have made some kind of inspirational re-connection with their spiritual life.  Whether it’s reading the Bible every day now, or making time to pray – especially for good health and friends who are sick or in the hospital – or simply seeking time with their creator to hear from Him through nature or these circumstances.

Let me encourage you to do the same.  Just set aside some time where you can be alone and quiet.  If you need to set the stage by being inside or outside, anywhere you can relax is fine.  Some like a candle with a pleasing aroma.  Some like a water fountain bubbling.  Some like music, others, total quiet.  Some like to start by reading scripture to focus their mind on God or singing a praise song.

Then, when you feel calm, simply ask the Lord to speak to you.  To share something with you.  Ask that He open you spiritual eyes and ears to see and hear whatever He would choose to reveal to you.

I am praying that you will Hear More From God.  And that He will give you the wisdom and discernment to understand what He is communicating to you.

Leaving you with this youtube video of a lighthearted, inspirational take-off of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Written by Kristi Bothur and originally named “How the Virus Stole Easter.

https://youtu.be/-QCRKvpyGsE

 

Jericho Lesson 2

Joshua_Jericho_1024We are in a short series about The Jericho Walk.  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.  Check out the last 3 posts to read more about it.

 

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Besides the big victory I was walking for, God met and taught me lessons along the way.  These came when our group circled the lake 7 times.

After I prayed God’s spiritual armor on, my first lesson, I felt much more protected from outside attack.  With a renewed and energetic step I began the third lap.

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But soon, discouragement arose again.  This time, not as random thoughts from without like before, but as fears from within.  What if my own body was not strong enough to walk seven times around the lake?  Had I bitten off more than I could chew?  I had never walked around the lake so many times in one day.  I should have trained for this and worked up to it.  What if I really couldn’t finish what I started?  What if I shamed and humiliated myself and disappointed God?

 

 

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The baggage you carry will drag you down.  Your own thoughts, feelings, and inner fears will work against you if you let them.

 

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Ask God to remove all that is in you that does not honor or glorify Him!

 

 

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Pray that He will help you take thoughts captive and not feed your own fears of weakness, inadequacy or unworthiness.  Hold those thoughts up to the truth of scripture. Your success in this endeavor depends on God, and His strength, His might and His power.  Not your own.

I looked up Hebrews 10:23 in the Bible I was carrying, and personalized it:  “I will hold unswervingly to the hope I profess, for He who promised is faithful.”  My hope is in Jesus Christ, and it is by His hand and His faithfulness that I will take hold of what He has promised me.

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When I did that, I felt physically lighter on the next lap.  There was more spring in my step, without the heaviness of before.

I truly felt that God had given me this directive to do the Jericho Walk, just as he had told Joshua what to do to take Jericho.  So my being obedient was more important than my own physical ability.

When God directs your path, trust that He has prepared you.  Your success will not depend on your own ability, but on God, whose promise is faithful.

  • What is your Jericho?
  • Where will you walk?
  • When will you start?
  • What will you shout?

Are you F-I-N-E?

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When my Mom died, then my Daddy, then my own breast cancer came on the heels of a challenging auto-immune disease, these were times I remember saying I was “fine” but I really wasn’t.

I don’t think it was because people didn’t want to know or weren’t willing to listen. It may just have been because I didn’t even know how to ask for help.

 

In saying “FINE” to others, on the inside I was really saying:

“F: Frankly

 I: I

N: Need

E: Everything

but don’t know how to ask.”

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Once a pastor pointed out that when wheat grows, the topmost part of the stalk called the head, becomes larger and heavier as it matures and ripens.  When the head of the stalk is so heavy it is bowed down, it is ready for harvest.

 

People grow and mature also.  But what makes their heads bow down is when they have a lot on their mind or on their heart.  Just looking for that prompts me to ask how they’re doing.

Then when they look up, I can see in their face if they look tired, worn out or discouraged.  Often their posture and face will give away what their words do not. So now when someone tells me “I’m fine,” I take time to go deeper.

I may offer something specific, like bringing a meal, or babysitting, or going out together for a cup of coffee.  But even if none of those seem to be a good fit, I can call on God to meet their needs in ways I cannot.  So I always ask “How can I pray for you?”

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And then I do. 

You could too.

“Carry each other’s burdens…” Galatians 6:2