PrayerPoints ~ The Hands
PrayerPoint ~ The Eyes
Today is Ash Wednesday.
PrayerPoint ~ February 7
Have you found yourself so overwhelmed with the need to pray for others that you don’t even know where to start? Oftentimes during prayer, the most urgent rise to the top of your mind quickly but other times your mind is bouncing around from crisis to crisis.
Here is something I have started to do to help me gain a little bit of focus:
The most Inner Circle is our immediate family. I can pause there for a long time because I know a lot about this group of people and their needs. The next group is our extended family (our siblings and their families). Next is our small group families and those who may not be in our small groups but we are close to them. After that is super-extended family ~ those aunts and uncles and cousins “in the distance” but still on our hearts. As you consider this idea, don’t forget to consider co-workers, neighbors, missionaries, etc.
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Early this morning I was awake for about an hour.
**I never consider those early morning awakenings too much of a bother until about 2pm in the afternoon. :+)
When it seems like I am going to be awake for a while, I start to pray. This morning, I was able to cover a lot of ground by listing people in their family groupings. I just picture a family and name everyone in the family. This list happens to include our immediate family as well as our siblings and their spouses and kids: Don, Lauren, Landon, Elizabeth, Hannah, Ernie, Kim, Nikki, Justin, Bob, Kim, Emily, Brittany, Delilah, Charles, Nancy, Jayson, Elise, Cindy, Gary, Kassie, Michele, Carrie, Shannon, Faye, Alan, Lori, Noah, Bridget, Jonah.
Then I moved to the families I am in a small group with. I lifted up each person in the family by name. Even though I may have an inkling about their needs, I don’t technically need to know much because I trust God will fill in the blanks.
You can tweak this idea to better suit you and your situation. Maybe it can be a project you do with your kids or grandkids–you can each draw your circles on a clean piece of paper and fill in the blanks with people in your circle. You can even do it with a large piece of newsprint paper and photos of your targets!
I love how everyone’s “targets” will look different. Get creative! I think that is one of the ways God works with His people ~ He gives us eyes and hearts for different people and people groups. I have found having a target helps me focus my aim.
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time!” Zig Ziglar
Of course, the idea is to pray. And once you start thinking about it this way, you will see you have a lot of work to do!
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
My guess is that when God inspired these words in Philippians, He knew that whatever one dwells on, one ends up expressing. You know how it is–whatever you ponder in your heart and mind eventually makes it to your lips.
And so it is incredibly important to consider what you ponder. Do you marinate a certain frustrating encounter that ends up creating or feeding an anger and intolerance for that other person in your heart? Do you find yourself ruminating over someone’s words or actions to the point of getting really fired up about getting even or at least getting a good dig in?
I hate it when I fall into that trap!
If dwelling on false, lowly, wrong, impure, ugly, repulsive, imperfect, or unworthy things is tripping you up, make a conscientious choice to focus your thoughts on other things. Having a hard time doing this on your own? Ask God to help you and He certainly will!
And as you express yourself, consider your words and the example they set. Encouraging words in this day and age are like a precious bloom amidst some weeds–so refreshing!
Lord, Teach me to measure my words and to consider dwelling, truly dwelling, on Your Word alone!
Is it just me? Lately there seems to be so much tragedy. There is the big stuff with the weather but then there are the things that happen on a smaller scale: fatal car accidents, suicides, a deadly cancer returning, a fall down the steps that leaves someone in a coma.
How do we cope with these kinds of things?
My fear of facing the death of the ones I love ebbs and flows. My dad died when I was six so death has been a part of my earliest memories. Sometimes I fear the earthly separation that death brings. I find it challenging to balance the intense love I have for people with the knowledge that one day, I will probably be living without them.
As I considered the pain and failing body my mom was dealing with as well as knowing her faith, I felt selfish wanting to keep her here when she could be whole and with Jesus. It was important for me to release her from this earth and keep Heaven on my mind at the same time.
What early experiences have you had with death that have shaped your approach today? Is there fear? Is there pain? Is there hurt? Is there anticipation? I always have to remind myself of God’s perspective on death. We will all meet our Maker one day. Pray for those you know who are struggling with disease and decay. Offer to assist them in some way. Pray for their peaceful release. And pray for their families too.
The Cranberry Cream Cheese Dip
12 oz bag of fresh cranberries, chopped (Pampered Chef chopper is the way to go here)
½ or so of a green pepper, chopped
4-5 green onion, chopped
8 oz can crushed pineapple, drain juice
6-8 branches cilantro, chopped
¼-1/2 cup sugar
¼-1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 box of Wheat Thin Crackers (we use a generic reduced fat one)
Mix together everything but the cream cheese. Give flavors a little time to blend (at least one hour). This keeps for several days in the refrigerator. Doubles well.
Spread the softened cream cheese on a plate or platter and dump the rest on top. Use Wheat Thins or other solid cracker (or tortilla chip for the gluten impaired) so you can scoop up the cream cheese with the dip.
Cook’s Note: This dip has a beautiful presentation and sounds really gross but it is simply AMAZING. A party for your mouth AND super good for you too!!!!!