Pray Without Ceasing!

Pray without ceasingwMy pastor posted a disturbing article the other day and I cannot seem to get it out of my mind. It’s about young women who worked with radium to help the war effort but the chemical they worked with was toxic.They were nicknamed “Ghost Girls”.  Here is a link to the article…

The whole thing makes me sick. As these gals were sacrificing their health there were people who knew better, benefitted from it, and let them continue on. I am sure there are many other toxic things in our lives that we just don’t know about yet. Sadly, there are some people who know about it but they just keep quiet.

They see the toxicity but don’t say a word.

That behavior is common in organizations. And, while I wish it wasn’t true, it also makes frequent appearances in the church and in families. Toxic people work their way into the lives of unsuspecting people and can make life hell. The church is very vulnerable to this sort of thing. They are frequently desperate for volunteers and have limited resources so they grab anyone and put them into service without vetting them. Doing some level of background check might not prevent every unhealthy person from worming their way in but it can definitely catch some.

Sometimes we are aware of toxicity in an organization and see backstabbing, public “floggings”, and other unhealthy behavior, and we stay. Why?

Here are a few reasons why I have remained in unhealthy organizations for far too long:

  • I hate conflict.
  • I can’t walk away from the others in the trenches.
  • I want to be a part of the solution.
  • There are wonderful, healthy people in the organization.
  • I am passionate about the mission.
  • The organization has so much potential.
  • I care for the people I work with or for.

But in the process I have sacrificed:

  • Sleep
  • Healthy interactions
  • Other relationships
  • Time with our family
  • Energy
  • Perspective
  • Spiritual health
  • Money
  • Physical health
  • And more…..

Good heavens! The workplace is not supposed to be that way! More importantly, the church is not supposed to be that way!

God can change a dysfunctional system and bring it to a healthier place. He can and He does. But I need to know my own limits.

When you are aware of or involved in an unhealthy organization, pray for God to bring to light whatever is hidden in the dark. Be careful that your “helpfulness” doesn’t mask the unhealthy behaviors that need to be exposed. Pray for those who are being taken advantage of. Pray for discernment about your involvement. If you know of people who are weary trying to remain in a toxic environment, find ways to encourage them. Pray for God to either heal the situation or give them the courage to leave the situation until it is healthier. There is so much to cover in prayer so pray without ceasing!

On the Road,

Liz

PrayerPoints ~ Saturday, March 26th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 130

Today we wait and pray but we know Easter is coming. I am always waiting for the good and bad of this life but may my focus be on anticipating what God is doing (and has done) for my eternity!

Here is a collection of Psalm 130:5 in several different translations. Sometimes waiting is the hardest part!

New International Version
I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.

New Living Translation
I am counting on the LORD; yes, I am counting on him. I have put my hope in his word.

English Standard Version
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;

New American Standard Bible 
I wait for the LORD, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope.

King James Bible
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I wait for Yahweh; I wait and put my hope in His word. 

International Standard Version
I wait for the LORD; my soul waits, and I will hope in his word.

NET Bible
I rely on the LORD, I rely on him with my whole being; I wait for his assuring word. 

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
I have hoped in Lord Jehovah and my soul has waited for his word.

GOD’S WORD® Translation
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and with hope I wait for his word.

Wounded people…

“Wounded people wound people.”

Ever notice when people are in pain they lash out at others? They may not even recognize or admit they are in pain but you can see it in how they poke, pester, and provoke others. If someone in your life likes to inflict wounds on others, start by praying for them. If you have been poking at people please consider why that is and get to the root. Pray. Find a trusted friend. Work at not wounding others when you are in pain. There are other ways to work it out!

It is so overwhelming!!! Where do I even begin?

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:

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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.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

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!

Ga$ price$ are high, but I cannot complain…

I won’t lie. I did let out a groan as I drove by all the gas stations yesterday and saw $4.19 at the pump. But if I consider, for just a moment, all of the things that have happened to others that I am not experiencing, it helps me keep my perspective.

There has been nationwide flooding;  many people losing their lives and homes to tornadoes; homes lost to wildfires; earthquakes, tsunamis, and nuclear issues in Japan; and many lives lost in war. You surely know of other incidents of devastation that I haven’t mentioned here.

In comparison? I live in a home that has heat and air and we have an income that allows us to use these ‘extras’. We typically don’t go hungry (and we could stand to once in a while). Our family is in good health and our kids love to learn. I feel incredibly blessed.

With everything else going on in the world, I do feel like the gas prices are relatively minor–they have been this high in 2008. I certainly hope they will go down but this might be the new normal. Who knows?

You are free to complain, but when I honestly take a look around at what is happening to families I know and love, around my community and state, in the US, and across the ocean, I am compelled to do three things:

1) pray for those who are impacted by all of those devastations;

2) figure out how I can pitch in and help someone navigate through a tough time;

3) be thankful for what I have been blessed with.

What are you going to do?

Would you be willing to add someone to your prayer list? Her name is Karolina. She is from Hungary. She is 20 years old. Her dad is very ill. Her mom died several years ago. She is an only child. She has some big things to tackle in order to be able to come back to the US for school in August. Please pray the way gets paved, if that is what God wants. And pray for her dad’s health.

God’s blessings on your week!!

Liz