The Lenten season is almost upon us. As you allow God to prepare your hearts, join me for a series of daily devotional thoughts through Easter.
This year, PrayerPoints will be a daily Lenten devotional. While I have experimented a bit through the years, this is the typical format it has taken. Each day I will post a devotional thought and/or Bible verse and I encourage you to sit with it for a bit as you offer your thoughts and prayers to God. Sign up with your email address and it will be delivered to your inbox each morning! Feel free to invite others to join along.
This project has been a part of my life since about 2006 and I am looking forward to another time of reflection.
While it is important for everyone to have their own relationship God, you may have noticed a few people in your life who are still thinking that idea over. They aren’t entirely sure about God, but they continue to check in with you. They might ask you to pray about something. They might seek your words of encouragement or advice. Or they might just like hanging out with you because you they sense something a little different in your countenance or approach to troubles in life.
Oftentimes, the first encounter unbelievers have with God is through believers God places in their path. That is you!
So, yes, pay attention to how you express yourself as well as make sure you are drawing your strength and perspective from the Father and through His Word. God uses these human connection points in so many ways. We need to be ready to be “interrupted” as well as be in community with others. We may never know exactly what God is up to, but we know it will be good things. So that new friend, new co-worker, or new person in your life? They may be there for you, they may be there for their own benefit and growth, but you can be sure that God is using your connection to work on something in them or in you!
God’s blessings on your day!
Going to church has not been an easy thing for my brother. His son, who has autism and is fairly non-verbal, absolutely loved going to church, until the pastor left. And, just like that, there was no going back for him. That change was too much. And if you have someone with autism in your life then you know, the slightest change in routine might be cause for an unbelievable amount of stress in the home.
So, they stopped going. And it has been a few years. There are many reasons why people stop going to church.
And there are many reasons why people start going to church — mostly by gentle invitation. The Holy Spirit nudges the heart of a believer. Then there might be an invitation by a friend or family member. Sometimes a new friend or even a stranger can make an invitation that is heard and acted upon. How one is invited and what is heard upon entering tue doors is so important!
The message my brother texted me after I asked how church was this!
Hope! There is Hope for everyone!
And on a day when he felt very discouraged, defeated, and tired, that is what he came away with.
And it’s true! Wherever you are, God is there, fighting for you, walking with you, carrying you, and giving you the strength to take the next step.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. Psalm 62:5 NLT
and hearts compelled to pray for those in our lives, especially those who are struggling. If we are shown a circumstance that might need action on our part, help us to step out and inquire in a loving way.
How can I help?
Forgive us when we see needs but don’t check in. It happens. Sometimes we miss the signs, but, other times, we sense are not in a position to help, or we are flat out unwilling. Give us the wisdom about when to gently ask, when to act, when to intercede, when to show up and help share the load.
All of those struggling with weather related issues. All around the world there are natural disasters that destroy lives and property. Be with those who have experienced that kind of loss — property, employment, health, and loved ones. Dealing with insurance companies is exhausting, but not having insurance creates other challenges.
Help us show Your love and provision as we step up to help our neighbor. Give us eyes to see the needs arounds us — in our community, state, and in our world. How can we better share our resources to lighten the burdens that other bear?
Lord, thank you for your wisdom and provision in our daily lives.
Today I am praying for parents of young children who are battling sleep deprivation and illness and all the things that come with parenting little ones. I remember mostly enjoying those days even though they seemed long and full of activity. Please bless those who are married as well as those who are not. Help the communication between the involved parties be helpful and productive. May the children of each home feel they are loved and valued by their parents.
I am also praying for parents of not-quite-adult and adult children – sometimes those relationships are easy. Sometimes they are fraught with complications. Lord, you know — we are Your adult children and we are incredibly complicated, insensitive, selfish, confused, and all that. Help us to respond appropriately to conflict.
Let’s also pray for those who are helping their aging parents. It’s another interesting dynamic that causes difficulties and divisions.
all the people in my life who are struggling with various difficulties:
my friend who recently had heart transplant surgery…
my friends whose daughter recently died from an accidental overdose…
my family members whose spouses both died within the last year…
my family members whose parents have recently died…
my friend who is struggling with serious depression and adjusting to medications…
my neighbor who had a cancerous kidney removed recently…
my friends who are struggling with finances and employment…
my friends dealing with the needs of aging parents…
my friends who have been struggling with heart issues and procedures and lack of energy…
my friend’s mother-in-law’s recent tumor scare…
and those who have not shared their struggles…
I don’t always sit well with those who are grieving. I think it is because I feel so much of their pain that I don’t know what to do with those feelings. However, just because I may not be a helpful presence, it doesn’t mean that these people and their struggles are not at the top of my mind and prayer list. I turn my deep feelings into prayers on behalf of those struggling. We all know people who are struggling with deep grief. How do you share that burden with your friends and family?
Today I am praying for all of the people I am related to by blood or law. It’s such a long list. I am not sure how often some of these folks pray — for themselves or others — because everyone is in a different place in their relationship with God and it is my privilege to pray for them! I love them each and so I pray for :
their relationship with God, May they grow in their knowledge of His love for them and their need for a Savior.
perseverance through trials
mental and emotional health
good relationships with the people they love and care about
their jobs and studies
I typically start with my husband, our children, and the grandchildren. Then I move on to my siblings and their spouses and their children. Then my husband’s siblings and spouses and children and grandchildren. Then the living aunts and uncles on both sides and then all the cousins and their families. Then I move onto the next round of second and third cousins on my side and then to those on Don’s side. I don’t necessarily list everyone’s names the further down the line I go because I actually don’t know or remember all the kids of all the cousins but I typically will say the head of the family and ask God to bless those who fall under that family line. Honestly, it all depends on the time I have that day. And it may not always be a formal prayer time. If they cross my mind during a day, I might just ask God to bless their day and their situation. Formal prayer time is great, but I would rather think of my day as one long conversation with God.
The birds are singing so sweetly this morning. The coffee tastes great. And I am thankful to be back home after a week of traveling for work.
Please be with all those who are running small, family businesses! From the day-to-day details to the big picture plan to the finances — t’s a lot to juggle, particularly in the last three years with all of the pandemic challenges.
Please grant Your wisdom in decisions and the energy and discernment about where the efforts should be invested. Help the people who are looking for particular goods and services find the businesses that match their needs. Help satisfied customers share their experiences so positive words are circulating and a good reputation grows stronger.
And, finally, help the business owners to be able to rest. The last several years has taken quite a bit of energy in trying to figure out what can work with supply chain and other restrictions. Thank you for always providing and paving the way!
Please be with those we know who are struggling with physical and mental illness. Please be with the doctors as they diagnose and treat. Please be with the patient as their bodies and minds respond to the medication and therapy and head towards healing. Please be with friends and family members who love and support and encourage the patient.
We ask for Your love and compassion to be poured out on those who are learning that their condition is incurable. May they find comfort in You and, if they don’t know You, may they be drawn to You. May we find ways to be of service to those who are walking this road in our circle.
Only You know the number of our days. May we have courage to share our faith in You when we are in a position to, entrusting those we love into Your care and continue to intercede for them even if their hearts are not ready to receive You. May we never grow weary of interceding for others. Give us eyes to see the needs of those around us.
In spite of ________________ [list all of the negatives things that could be stated], I am thankful for ____________ [fill in the blank with anything that is a positive].
In keeping with this current theme of giving thanks, I am working on how often I complain about anything. It isn’t that there aren’t things to complain about, but I am often a “glass half full person” until I am in a rut and I am not. I do not like those ruts. Just like those ruts in the road, this complaining attitude works its way into my mind and heart and quickly spills out of my mouth.
I think it is ok to point out the difficult, unfortunate, and unhelpful things about a situation. But I like to temper it with anything positive. There may be nothing good about a circumstance, but there are still things to be thankful for. They do not have to be related at all to the challenging situation and sometimes they are not, because there are some hard, hard things that happen in life.
But I know God is working. And I am thankful for His daily gifts, for the people in my life, for His saving grace through Jesus. What is on your list of things to be thankful for? The key to becoming more thankful is to express more appreciation and “give thanks”.
What are you thankful for today?