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Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Photo Credit:  Prawny from
I’ve been humbled and amazed by the amount of prayer support being lifted up for my precious goddaughter, Sydney, and her family.  I can’t say that I’ve ever witnessed the magnitude and generosity of prayer being offered like this before.  I mean, people are praying for this child all over the world…literally.  And, I am approached by folks daily who let me know they are praying.

I get hourly e-mails and facebook messages stating that someone somewhere is praying for Sydney.  It makes my heart smile and brings me unexplainable joy.  Numerous people have shared with me that their life has been greatly affected by the opportunity to “walk with” Sydney and her family on this journey.  Hearts are changing.  Lives are changing.

I even think that people who didn’t pray before are praying now.  My heart swells with awe at the thought.  It just so happens that our Bible study last week focused on prayer and I have some great tidbits of info. that I’d like to share with you.

What is prayer anyway?  Matthew Kelly explains that, “To pray is to talk to God about anything that is in your heart:  the things that bring you joy and the things that bring you sorrow; the successes you experience and the failures you encounter; your strengths and talents; your faults and weaknesses; your hopes and dreams.  In prayer, you talk to God about everything.”

I like this from Matthew Kelly too – “Prayer helps us discover who we are and what we are here for.  Developing a dynamic prayer life requires perseverance more than anything else.  Just keep showing up.  Some days you will feel like praying and many days, you will not.  But, if you keep showing up, you will develop a phenomenal friendship with God.”

Soren Kierkegaard wrote, “Praying does not mean listening to yourself speak; praying means calming down and being still and waiting until you hear God.”  I’ll tell you what…the most beautifully intimate times I have had in prayer have been in a quiet church where there is no one else there but me and God.  I’m still and I’m listening.  (Both of those events can be a rarity for me at times!  ha ha!  Hey…don’t laugh.)

Throughout the last few weeks on Sydney’s facebook prayer page, I have often mentioned that we should pray unceasingly.  Unceasingly?  Doesn’t that mean constantly…continuously…24/7?  Well, if you are God, 24/7 prayer is possible.  However, if you are like me, you wonder how in the world can I truly pray unceasingly?  The desire is there…I just needed some direction on how to do it.

Well, in our Bible study, there just so happened to be a great reflection on the verse - 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”  We are encouraged to transform every moment of our day into a prayer.  How can we do that?  We can offer our inconveniences and sufferings as well as our joys and happiness during the day as a prayer.   Our day-to-day realities can become a prayer.

I think in order to offer the day as a prayer, we might start with a quick and easy morning prayer.  I wanted something that rhymed, of course, so it would be simple for me to remember.  So, this is what I wrote…“Dear Lord – I offer you this day, in all I think and say.  In everything I do, I offer it to you.  Amen.”

Honestly, it keeps me on track.  If I want to make my whole day a prayer, then I need to stay on the right path.  I don’t want to offer Him my leftovers or the second-rate-version of myself.  This morning prayer keeps me in check when I start off the day this way.

I love that everyone prays so differently.  I love that prayers can be as unique as the person offering them.  I enjoy traditional prayers as well as those that spring up from the depths of our soul with the words leaving our mouths as inspirational, heartfelt beauty.

The prayer process can vary so greatly.  However, for those of us who get stuck on where to even begin sometimes, here’s a nice little guideline from Matthew Kelly:

  1. GRATITUDE:  We can start with thanking the Lord for those things that we are most grateful for that day.
  2. AWARENESS:  We can think about the last 24 hours and recall times when we weren’t the-best-version-of-ourselves.  We can chat with God about what we might have learned from those times.
  3. SIGNIFICANT MOMENTS:  We can reflect on whether or not God was trying to talk to us through someone or something that happened that day.
  4. PEACE:  We can ask God for forgiveness and to fill us with His peace.
  5. FREEDOM:  We can reflect on ways that God might be inviting us to change our lives in order to have the freedom to be the-best-version-of-ourselves.
  6. OTHERS:  We can lift up all of those who we feel called to pray for.
  7. OUR FATHER:  We can end the prayer process with the Lord’s Prayer.

Personally, I think of Jesus as my friend.  I chat with Him all day long.  Oh, and sometimes I think….”Poor Jesus – He has to listen to me ramble on and on with senseless worries and fears and what-ifs.  Poor Jesus – He is so patient with me…why do I keep forgetting to trust Him and be not afraid?  Poor Jesus – He doesn’t get a word in edge-wise with me!  Poor Jesus – Why don’t I just listen to Him the first time?  Poor Jesus…

The GREAT news is that “Poor Jesus” loves me anyway.  Isn’t that awesomeness?  He loves our perfectly imperfect selves anyway and I am SO very glad.

Pastor Andy Schroer had a wonderful story in his blog recently.  It was called, “The Chair,” and I think it beautifully describes how I see Jesus.  Here’s a modified excerpt: 

A new pastor went to visit an elderly man from his church.  When the pastor arrived at the man’s home, he saw him lying on a bed.  Next to his bed was a simple chair facing the bed.

The old man offered an exuberant, “Hello!”  The young pastor replied with a smile, “Hello!  I see you’re expecting me.”  “No, who are you?” the elderly man replied.  “Well, I’m your new pastor.  I saw the chair there next to the bed and I just assumed that you were expecting me.”

“Oh, the chair,” the elderly man responded.  “Please sit down, pastor,” the man continued.  “For years I didn’t really understand what prayer was.  I would go to church and we would pray.  I would say 'grace' at mealtimes.  But I really didn’t understand what prayer was until a buddy of mine told me, ‘You know what you need to do, John?  Put a chair in front of you and imagine Jesus sitting there.  Remember He is there even though we can’t see Him.  Then just talk to Jesus like you’re talking to me right now.  That’s what prayer is.’"

About two weeks later, the pastor received a phone call.  It was the old man’s daughter and she was in tears.  Her father had just passed away.  “But something strange happened, pastor,” the young woman added.  “It seems that in the moments right before he died, my father got up from his bed, sat on the floor, and laid his head on the chair next to his bed.”

Oh how I LOVE this story and I’m so glad that Pastor Andy shared it!  No better place than in Jesus’ loving embrace! 

I am thankful to all the prayer warriors out there who have frequent heart-to-hearts with Jesus.  I especially want to thank you for your unceasing prayer for Sydney’s healing.  May God bless you in turn for the way you have blessed all of us. 

I also pray for and thank God for our veterans on this Veterans Day!  Here’s my Veterans Day poem called, “A Military Heart,” in case you missed it last year.

Have a wonderful week, Sunshines!

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