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Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

Several months ago, a sweet friend of mine shared with me that she and her sister were fasting and praying on the first of each month.  The prayer request that drove them to fasting and praying on this regular basis was so earnest that I determined to join them.  Recently, during the appointed fasting day, I realized that the requests that I was praying were downright impossible ones.  Nothing about the requests were humanly do-able.  I can’t change a person’s heart.  I can’t heal an incurable disease.  I can’t make a person stop loving his sin.  I can’t peel off scales of deception.  I can’t fix a mental illness.  Have you ever prayed such impossible prayers?

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever!  Amen.  Ephesians 3: 20-21

What a relief to know that the God that we serve, the God Who is hearing these impossible prayers, is the One True God.  There is no one else like Him.  And, Jesus tells us that “with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”  Jesus was telling His disciples how it was possible for anyone to be saved; only through God.  His answer applies to many other prayer requests we lift, though, too.  In fact, the answer to all of our prayer requests is:  “With God all things are possible.”  Who knows how God is going to work in our lives?  It is not up to me to try to figure out God’s ways (see Isaiah 55: 8-9), but I can turn over every single concern and trust that He is a good God whose thoughts towards His children are thoughts of peace, not of evil, and His plans are to give us a future and a hope.  Certainly this is bound to look different than our plans and I pray that we can all determine to believe that God is indeed working all things together for good to those who love Him.

Are you praying impossible prayers?  Or are you giving up before believing that with God all things are possible?  The Ephesians passage reminds me that God can do so much that I cannot even measure His works, not by anything physical like a measuring stick nor by anything in my mind, like a really vivid imagination.

Let’s access His power that is at work in us and ask those impossible prayers.  May God be glorified in us and in the Church forever and ever!

Love, Wendy

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Recently, while reading the account of Jesus sleeping in the boat while a great storm surrounded him and his disciples, I was struck by the application to my own life.  This narrative of the disciples freaking out while enduring a ferocious storm on a lake always seems to cause people to be astonished by the minimal faith these men possessed.  We read it and say things like this:  “But, Jesus was with them!  How could they have been scared?” or “How many times did they need to see Jesus perform miracles before they figured out that He was going to take care of them too?”  We’re all guilty of being astonished by the disciples’ lack of faith…yet, sometimes, God really speaks to our own souls and our own lack of faith too.

After a day of intense difficulty with homeschooling (wait, I think I meant to say ‘after a year…’), I lay on my bed and silently cried out to God, “Please, give me strength that I do not have!”  I begged for a relief from the arguing.  I pleaded that God would change my circumstance because I didn’t feel like I could go on like this.  My thoughts began to go to the “What if–?” realm.  Fear crept in as worst-case scenarios about my children’s futures bombarded me.  The fact that Jesus was with me, and has promised me that He always would be with me, became merely intellectual as my emotions began to carry me away.  Later, when reading Matthew 8 (and Mark 4), God spoke to my heart as I began to point my finger at the disciples’ lack of faith.  He showed me that my situation with homeschooling was my own “boat in the storm”.  I was crying out to God, yet my anxiety and fears were dominating the situation and preventing me from truly trusting in Jesus, Who was with me all along.

Who among us isn’t suffering at some point in time with fear or anxiety?  What situation in our lives can begin to take over our intellectual belief in God and cause us to act as if we are atheists (not believing He is there with us and powerful to handle this)?  May we learn from Jesus’ response to the disciples, “Why are you afraid?  You have so little faith!” and cry out to God when we, too, are full of fear from the overwhelming storms in our lives.

Father God, You are almighty!  Fill us with greater faith in You.  Give us the courage to face our storms with peace because You are our Protector and our Comforter.  Truly, You are our rock and our salvation, our fortress.  We will never be shaken.

Love, Wendy

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I hadn’t realized how long it had been since last posting on this blog.  I try to write every Thursday or Friday, but my most recent post was December 2012!  As you can figure, January was a very busy month for me.  It was actually a very exciting month for me.  My childhood dream of visiting the United Kingdom finally came true at the end of January.  We visited London, the English countryside and Wales; it was exactly as I’d imagined it to be!  While there, I enjoyed noticing the little differences in the English language, such as “Mind the gap, or mind the stairs” instead of “Watch your step” or “Give Way” was the instruction on the road sign instead of “Yield”.  For me, saying something differently causes me to stop and think rather than just ignore the same familiar statement or warning that I am used to seeing.

Years ago, when my husband and I were discussing the concept of the “sinner’s prayer”, he said something that bothered me at first.  Instead of focusing on the need to say a prayer for salvation, Dave commented that he did not like that idea because the journey of salvation was a daily “yielding” of his life.  He understood the concept of justification, but he also was comprehending sanctification, and better than I had been at the time.  See, our conversation consisted of the many people in our lives who had prayed “the prayer” (sometimes with us!), but whose lives did not reveal any changed fruit.  They weren’t living for God, but for self.  After hearing some sermons on the importance of following God all the time and not just getting your “Free Get Out of Hell Card” after saying a prayer, I was deeply challenged by the fact that sometimes the sinner’s prayer was used as an ‘insurance’ of getting into Heaven and nothing more.

I began to dwell on Dave’s comment about “yielding”.  What did that mean?  Yielding what?  And, to whom?  Many years have passed since that initial conversation with my husband and God has been faithful to show me time and time again what I must yield (all of me) and to whom (Him).  Romans 6 and Galatians 2 have been instrumental in helping me visualize what it means to yield my life to God.  I am no longer–I have been crucified with Christ.  I am raised from this death by the glory of the Father so I can walk in newness of life!  Everything must change.  There can’t be any coddling of former sin; I must hate it and ask God to give me repentance.    Does this happen overnight?  Sometimes.  But, oftentimes not.  And, in that process is our constant yielding.

So, while I was in England, and my poor husband was attempting to drive on the wrong side of the road (for us Americans, anyways), the signs that said, “Give Way” caused me to think in a different way about the word “yield”.  Of course I know it means to give way.  But, I began to imagine this in regards to my relationship with God.  Was I giving way to Him when I was full of anxiety about flying?  Was I giving way to Him when I was frightened about a possible medical diagnosis?  Was I giving way to Him when I was jet-lagged and super grumpy?  Or was I standing firm, not budging in my sins of anxiety, fear and rudeness?

Lord, may my commitment to walk in Your ways be firm.  But, may I be quick to “give way” when my ways, my flesh, want to take over.  Only through Your Holy Spirit am I able to walk as a child of the Light.  I lean on You today for that very thing.

Love, Wendy

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Try this the next time you’re in the middle of an argument with your husband:  kiss him.  What?!?!  Yeah, I can’t really imagine doing that either.  Usually when Dave and I are in a heated discussion, the last thing I want to do is kiss him, or be vulnerable with him.  We don’t want to be close, or vulnerable, with anyone we’re disputing, so if you are unmarried and reading this, you are not exempt to this concept.  Picture yourself disagreeing with your good friend.  I am certain you wouldn’t want to give her a big hug and enjoy some laughs together in the midst of a fight, right?

Yet, I believe this is how we feel when we are in the thick of sinning…and we know it…and we are being convicted to confess it and pray for God to forgive us.  Along with the enemy, Satan, lying to us about how it wouldn’t do any good anyways, we also have the human protective instinct rearing up and convincing us that this is not the time to be vulnerable with God.  In the middle of our sin, the last thing we should do, we assure ourselves, is to pray to God.  It would be as intimate and unguarded as kissing a spouse smack in the middle of a squabble!

Do you struggle to pray often?  I sure do.  Part of my problem is my undisciplined flesh.  But, I’ve come to realize that my issue is possibly more about intimacy.  When I pray, when I’m talking with God, it is opening the door of my heart to my Master in such a way that my sin is totally exposed.  His love shines down, and without protest from me, it shows that when I’m not obeying, I’m not loving either.  Oh, how we guard ourselves so defiantly!  However, God’s goodness and holiness and love cause any barrier and wall that I build to become transparent immediately.  Is this why I don’t want to confess?  Is this why it’s so hard to pray?

Prayer with God is intimate.  Don’t run from that.  Run to it.  Intimacy is not to be feared.  Our good and faithful Father receives us and loves us in such a way that anything that is hidden is exposed; anything that is disobedient is disciplined, so that our relationship with Him can be restored.  Just as I ultimately desire for my marriage relationship to be restored after an argument, this is also the case with my heavenly Father.  Pray. Because of our Savior, Jesus, we can go directly to the One we’ve sinned against and make right what was hindered.  We have no need to fear any closeness with our Abba because we are His.  We have been adopted by Him and, through His Son, we have been made holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation (Colossians 1: 22).  What a spectacular gift and promise!

Love, Wendy

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