PrayerPoints 2021

Welcome to a new year! Look for PrayerPoints each week on Mondays!

I want to share a resource with you that you might find helpful as you consider 2020 and plan for 2021. This is not specifically a spiritual resource, but it does ask some interesting questions and may serve to assist you in your perspective as well as your planning. You can find it here. And the best part is, it is completely free! If you utilize it, I would love to know your thoughts about it!

I am thankful for God’s presence in 2020 and His promise of the very same in 2021. I look forward to what He is doing in and around me. While many things are still uncertain, He stays the same!

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
    His mercies never cease.
23 Great is his faithfulness;
    his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT

The Spaces

Let’s pray for those spaces in our days!

First of all, it is important to set aside space to speak with God and hear His Word — even when it seems we don’t have it. Maybe even especially when we don’t think we have the space.

But you might be wondering — what are the spaces good for?

Aside from that communication with God, space in our day is good for perspective, rest, unexpected events, emergencies.

Holding space for unexpected situations is important. Recognizing that they are a possibility is wise. Of course, there may be days that are packed in with things we need to do, but that can’t be the regular course of our days.

Those few extra minutes here and there are spaces that give us time to think, connect, ponder, and be. They also give us an opportunity to notice and explore — to inquire and listen.

Spaces in our days allows some separation from the world and some processing time as we move from place to place. It gives us a pause. It gives us a moment to catch our breath.

Heavenly Father — Help me recognize the spaces in my life and what you would like to accomplish through them! Amen.

The Pace

Some days are maxed out and others are slow and steady. And, ideally, there are days where we can unplug and be truly refreshed. Whether the days are fast and furious or calm and relaxing, God’s grace can carry us through.

We all have more influence over the pace of our days than we may want to admit. We agree to things and sometimes those things have demands on our time and then the pace of our day intensifies.

It is ok to take time to consider or reconsider where we are. Is the path we are on going to take us where we want to be? Do we need to step aside or step away from something? Or is God calling to move forward, albeit imperfectly, on a path? Does He work in spite of our shortcomings?

Of course He does. Our shortcomings are nothing new to Him.

God knows we have a certain capacity for any number of things. And His power is made perfect in our weakness. We don’t (and can’t) operate at 110% all the time in every capacity. It’s not realistic. So, while we may be letting ourselves down by not “keeping the pace” that we have set for ourselves in terms of whatever goal we have set, remember that it is more important to “keep the grace” that He holds for us.

The grace that God gives is enough for us and for those around us.

We need to trust His Word.

My grace is sufficient for you. 2 Corinthians 12:9

Thank you, Steve!

The Places

Today, let’s focus on the places of your day!

Those places you actually go. It may feel pretty weird if you are getting out after being restricted for over a year… and maybe you are ready. And, maybe you aren’t quite ready.

Sometimes going anywhere is a treat!

Or, you may have restrictions on your movement due to any number of reasons, so it is definitely about where your mind goes…

Where you go and how you get there isn’t really the point. But do consider the places of your day. Sometimes we are “in a place” and we haven’t moved a muscle. Other times we dread going to a certain place or, at the very least, it brings up uncomfortable memories. Sometimes we are in a mood and I definitely consider that a place — even though it is more of a place of emotion.

Sometimes we are in a place of grief, disappointment, discouragement, disillusionment….

And, sometimes we are in a place of joy, peace, contentment, wonder…

Sometimes all of those places happen within the space of a day. Where we are makes a difference. Presenting all of the above to God is important because it is an opportunity to recognize where we are — in heart, in spirit, and in body.

Even more importantly, let’s let Him be our dwelling place — whether or not we are moving about we can always be in connection with God — being sustained by Him — and recognizing our place with Him from sunrise to the darkness of the night.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place
    throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born
    or you brought forth the whole world,
    from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
Psalm 90:1-2 NIV

Thank you, Barb, for the verse!

The People

Today, let’s pray for the people involved in your day.

There are so many people and interactions you might have in a day — from emails to phone conversations to Zoom or in person meetings to service providers to family…..

When I started really thinking about this, I was almost overwhelmed. Each and every day people (and their dispositions and approach) are in our lives. They can impact us and we can impact them! Think of how much our perspectives and attitudes are influenced just because we spent time interacting with someone.

We can’t always control who is on our path for the day. But, as we consider our day, we know we will be in communication with others. It is good to think about where we are and how we influence communication.

What are we bringing into the interactions?

Have we given our own challenges and burdens to God so that we are free to hear and notice the needs of others?

Is it time for us to “come clean” and admit we are struggling so that those who care for us can intercede for us?

In the end, the person we spend the most time with is ourselves. So, that is one thing to be thinking about. The others we interact with all have their own things going on and sometimes that comes into play — even without them realizing it. There are times when our days are filled to the brim with interactions.

It is so easy to see why Jesus went off to a quiet place to pray. Let’s guard that time with God and lay out our day. We don’t have to present every detail. We just need to ask Him to cover the day and to help us see what He wants us to see throughout the day.

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31 NIV

Guard Your Hearts and Your Minds

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

We certainly must do what we can to guard our hearts and our minds. And going to God in prayer in every situation looks like the first line of defense. There are times that seeking God has fallen off my “to do” list. I get overwhelmed with the tasks ahead of me and I “save time” by plowing ahead — ungirded, disconnected, and underprepared.

We are in the world and we can fall prey to worldly things so easily. As we present every situation to God, He uses that time to send us His peace and protection. That peace of God can flood our conversations, our schedule, our tasks … our day.

Let’s do a five day challenge this week. 5 days of intentional prayer time. If you are in, let me know and send me one of your top verses via email to vospower6@hotmail.com. For the next 4 days we will start each day with a PrayerPoint.

For today, take time to present your day to God. What is on the calendar? How do you feel about what is on the calendar? Think of the mundane tasks as well as the overwhelming ones. Walk through your commitments, but don’t forget to pray for those gaps. Is there some space for God’s agenda? Are we booking each day so solidly that there is no room to move and be flexible?

I’ll see you tomorrow!

And the Peace of God…

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding...

Have you ever visited with someone who, by any standard, has gone through some incredible suffering?

It often goes one of two ways — they are completely stuck in a cycle of despair and anger and overwhelm for years or they are in a place of peace. They know they cannot control others and the things they do, they know they can only control their response. And they trust God will work out the ugly details for His good.

I am always refreshed and amazed at the peace of God…it is unexplainable. To interact with someone who has God’s true peace is such an encouragement.

Present Your Requests

Present your requests to God….

Sometimes it is easy to get so caught up in a situation or the need that I simply forget to present my requests to God. Those prayers and petitions are such a vital part of our relationship.

Yes, He knows our needs before we ask. He knows our movements, our stressors, our joys, and our pains and He delights when we bring them all to Him.

God wants us to bring it all to Him — the seemingly trivial as well as those larger situations. I think the the act of presenting our requests to God reminds us where we are in this Universe — who He is — and who we are not. It’s a good reminder of our positioning. Believe it or not, we are not in control of everything. Our lives are not our own and we are here for a larger purpose. And yet, in our day-to-day God can accomplish those purposes with and through us — even when we are unaware of it all.

That brings me peace. I don’t have to know how it all works. In fact, I don’t have to know how any of it works. I am trusting God to work out the details.

By Prayer and Petition

With Thanksgiving…..

While God actually knows what is on my heart, it is so good for me to think about it and verbally express it. Putting words to my thoughts, emotions, needs, and concerns is so good for me. And even more beneficial is handing them over to God with thanksgiving…

I know He is working out the details. Can I trust Him with the details?

Quite honestly, I have be faltering in this area lately. Of course, when I take my eyes off of Jesus, it is so much easier to stumble or get off course. Presenting my prayers and petitions to God keeps my focus on Him. The thanksgiving part is an indicator that I am trusting Him for the outcome and that it will serve His purposes.

I have so much to be thankful for!

Philippians 4:6-7

I have always loved this verse!

During May, I plan to explore different sections of these two verses and I encourage you to mull them over and make a deeper connection with them too! For now, commit it to memory if it isn’t already tucked away. If you have been reading PrayerPoints for any length of time, you know that music is very important to me. So, of course, I have to point out a song for this Psalm.

From the Start…

He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 
John 1:1-5

What a comfort for me to know I don’t have to figure it all out. God’s knowledge of me and my circumstances as well as how my life entwines with the lives of those around me and His greater purpose and plan is incomprehensible.

My faith is an amazing gift that supersedes all others. I don’t have to be able to explain it all or understand it all. I can simply trust.

For as long as I can remember, satan has been actively attempting to destroy my faith. Many times he stooped so low. And his favorite tactic has always involved the ugliness within a church body or ugly behavior by a church “representatives”.

Satan loves to niggle at our faith. His goal is to cause us to doubt God’s goodness and to get us to say, “God, did you really say______________?” The devil wants nothing more than to interrupt our relationship with God and cause us to set it aside and ignore it or outright reject it. Have you noticed satan creating “faith blockers” in your life through the years? In my life, it is so common it is almost comical — except that it isn’t funny at all. I am so thankful God shielded my faith even in the midst of ugly situations.

God’s gift of faith has sustained me through many difficulties and will continue to do so until I meet him face-to-face. I may not be able to explain it all, but it is absolutely real.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1