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 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

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.

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.

Aligning

I am one of those people who can hear different perspectives on situations. I can be empathetic and see the why behind the what — and those whys only serve as explanations, not excuses.

Being empathetic can be exhausting, particularly when I am being asked to choose a side and take a stand. If I am asked to align myself with someone or a position, you can bet that I will be taking a close look at it and praying about it. And, sometimes, that takes time.

I can love people. My heart can be broken for people. But to align with them means we need to be on the same page. Unfortunately, a lot of times we aren’t even in the same book, let alone on the same page. I will not try to prove I care about a situation by surrendering my beliefs. I do care, but if I need to take action, it needs to be in line with what I believe.

Aligning my heart and behavior with God is a lifetime pursuit. Sometimes I am simply terrible at it. I mainly need to not rely on my own strength for change but on the Holy Spirit to guide and direct. And I need to pray for the willing spirit to follow God’s lead to those places where I would not have wanted to go on my own. Whatever He has for me to do comes out of His work in my heart. His work has been going on for 50+ years and He clearly is not done yet. I will be a work in progress until I die, and then I will be at peace!

The closer I am aligned to God, the easier it is to see His work around me. Of course, I can choose to not participate but then that tells me that I am not terribly closely aligned with Him. Walking with God changes my heart to be more like His.

If you are in the midst of a relationship challenge, don’t underestimate the power of God to change the hearts of all parties involved. Pray for the one you are at odds with for 30 days. Start out slow and ask God to bless that person. Then, as the days go by, deepen what you pray for and ask God to bless that person in a variety of ways. Find Scriptural prayers to pray for that person, but you don’t have to mention it to them. Let it be a time between you and God.

This is a great way for God to align your heart with His!

Blessed is the man
    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
    nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and on his law he meditates day and night.

He is like a tree
    planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
    and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:1-3 ESV

 

 

Hearing

I have a tendency to ignore a lot of auditory input unless it is what I have chosen.  I just tune it out and, if I can’t tune it out, I leave the room. There are things I don’t like hearing because they pull me in to listen and, sometimes, it isn’t good stuff to listen to for whatever reason. Also. sometimes listening is hard work.

Let’s take the coronavirus news as an example. At first, I was hearing so much that I had to stop and listen a bit. In the initial days of the coronavirus, when there was so much conflicting information, I had to weigh some things against my mind and heart. I heard a few illogical things. Things that, when I heard them, I thought — that makes no sense.

But then, it was front and center all day long. If the news was on, I tuned it out. The conflicting reports. The ever changing recommendations. And the variety of responses from the public. Hearing from all of the available sources on the coronavirus: from the CDC to the medical field to the state officials to other nations to business owners to struggling families is a lot to hear.  The perspectives are never ending. And there are not enough hours in the day to hear it all. It isn’t that I don’t have compassion or care about what this means, but I cannot solve this problem.  I can support those close to me who are struggling. I can pray for the vaccine makers to find what they need to find. I can pray for people to love one another, share their resources with those in need, and help in the ways they are called. I can do those things, too. I can listen to my friends as they process and grieve what this means for them. I can do what God is calling me to do.

In the end, here is what I do to limit my exposure to the coronavirus — I wash my hands more. I wear a mask when I am out in public. I don’t hang out in big gatherings.  I had to find a sustainable path for myself.  Mind you, I may get it Covid-19. It seems to be lurking everywhere — all across the world. And whether I live or die, it’s ok. I have peace. I have the blessed assurance of Heaven.

Scripture does not address the coronavirus but it does address the fear the coronavirus brings. Yes, there have been heartbreaking deaths — people dying alone with their families unable to be near them but who desperately want to be there. There have been a lot of hard things from livelihoods being completely disrupted to serious financial challenges. Of course, this situation has made my life uncomfortable and stressful in a few ways, but I am thankful that I have God’s peace. God’s promise is not that we will have an easy life. This is Earth, after all, not Heaven.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NIV

I am so glad that verse is tucked into my heart. I even know it set to music, which is a bonus. Music always helps me memorize!

When there are sounds all around me, disrupting my day, I need to investigate them. I’ll talk more about Listening next time.

God’s blessings on your week!
Liz

Hosanna

Another great song — click on the link Hosanna (Praise is Rising)

Hosanna to the King of Kings!

It is Palm Sunday!

This Lenten season has been so different for the entire world. And it looks like Easter will be different as well.

One of the unexpected benefits to this crazy time in life is that the rituals we have created have been disrupted. Sometimes we create rituals and we are nearly immovable when it comes to changing them.

But many of those rituals we have previously insisted on…they can probably go. Sure, they are our little opportunity to maintain some sense of control over our lives. And they might bring comfort. But are they essential?

What is essential? What is it we truly need? Is our identity wound up in how we celebrate? In how we worship? In how we serve? In how we love?

I think it is natural and ok to be disappointed in the losses we are experiencing but I think it is important not to let these things define us. Many of us have gone on for so long being able to do what we have wanted and achieved the things we were hoping for. We’ve made our plans and have had a false sense of security because they have come to pass.

Now is a great time to pay attention to what God is doing and join Him in His work. I know we are all being asked to do things differently. I know it isn’t always fun. But the whole world is on this journey. And He is with us every step of the way.

Pray for those who are in situations of abuse and addiction. It is harder to find help with all of the restrictions in place and financial strains only add to the tensions and stress.

A bonus song — The Blessing

PrayerPoints for Advent

I love the seasons of the church year because they always give me a fresh focus for the days ahead. They can startle me awake and get my heart and mind back where they need to be.

It is so easy to be sucked into the daily grind and not take the essential time to dwell with God and soak up His presence in Scripture. when I am feeling weary it is most often because I am doing too much “doing” and not enough “being”. Join me as I explore this Advent season with some prayers and pondering beginning December 1st.

Come, Lord Jesus!

Liz

Hello Friend! Day Eight

Hello Friend!

I stepped out from regular life for a couple of days. I was in a prayer zone while awaiting the birth of a new little baby in my life.

Have you ever stepped away from life for while?

All those regular routines and typical things that fill my day were cast aside. I holed up and hunkered down. Sometimes it is easier to be distracted by regular tasks while waiting but I was only really able to watch and pray.

And then pray some more!

I think it is important to change up routines. It helps me think about what is truly essential. It helps me re-evaluate what is important and how my time and efforts should be directed. And, when there is a huge change in routine, like when waiting in a hospital, prayer is one of those important opportunities that comes to the surface! There is nothing like knowing you are not in control and giving it all to God.

And there is nothing quite like a new baby to remind you how beautiful and fragile life is!

Love,
Liz

Hello Friend! Day Five

Hello Friend!

I have a favor to ask you!

When I complain about the same thing, over and over again, will you ask me what steps I am taking to resolve that situation?

I know I can get stuck because I have been stuck before. When a situation comes up and blows my mind so much that I have no clue how to move forward – then I am stuck; even if I can’t verbalize it. It’s my own, personal wilderness.

I am sure you have been there, too. It isn’t a fun place to be. It might be the result of:

  • addiction
  • a broken promise,
  • a death of a person,
  • a death of a dream,
  • an issue that just doesn’t seem to ever get resolved.

When I seem to be on “repeat”, please get my attention and ask me if I plan to wallow in this place forever or If I am I interested in moving forward with my month, my year, my life.

Then duck!

I might not like being challenged like this. I might get angry with you. But they are words I need to hear from you, if you are my friend.

Sometimes I don’t even recognize I am stuck but those who are around me surely do. My prayer is that I lovingly receive your words of concern and take action, but I might not be ready to. If I am resistant, please be patient and keep praying for me. I am not sure how long I will be stuck. I don’t know how much of life will pass me by as I wander in the wilderness – let’s hope it isn’t 40 years!  The truth is, I don’t want dwell in a place of loss and confusion. That is not how I want to spend my days.

I want to dwell in the Lord! But I may have just gotten stuck.

Love,
Liz