PrayerPoint ~ The Heart ~ February 28

PrayerPoint ~ The Heart

Chronic unemployment, job loss, unplanned pregnancy, prodigal child, prodigal spouse, teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, divorce, cancer diagnosis, autism, fatal accident, school shooting…..
My heart is brimming with empathy and intercession for others these days. Of course, there are always difficult things in life, but there are some times I look around and all I see is heartbreak after heartbreak. It is so difficult to watch another person as they writhe in pain over their situation. Powerless to change any of it, sometimes all I can do is groan and be a compassionate friend. I am so glad the spirit intercedes for me during these times.
But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:25-28 NIV

Are there families and circumstances that God has laid on your heart for intercession? Stand in the gap for these precious people. Whether or not they are believers at this moment intercession on their behalf is so very important.

Lord, please wrap your arms around those who are undergoing tremendous grief. I am sure they feel as though their heart is broken beyond repair. Please bring them to a place of healing–in Your time and in Your way. Remind them that you can bring blessing from unimaginable heartbreak and pain. Only You can heal a broken heart and broken dreams. In Jesus’ name…
Lifting up the broken hearts,
Liz

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!

Prayer and Petition

5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5-7 (NIV)

This is a great passage to keep in mind. I actually learned it set to a tune by Integrity Music Scripture Memory Songs. They are a great way to hide some Scripture in your heart and mind. Whether you use music or not, it is important to take the time to study and memorize Scripture!

In case you do not have enough to pray for, I am going to let you take a little peek into my list. Feel free to share your prayer concerns in the comment section. Keep it to first names and you can include the state/country if you want. Don’t be too wrapped up in explaining the story because we know God knows and sees the whole picture so a sentence or two will do. I don’t want anyone to compromise anyone else’s privacy.

Sara in Nebraska–scheduled for hip surgery today, 5/12. Pray for accuracy of the medical team, successful surgery, and speedy recovery.

Ken in Colorado–has had several major heart procedures done this Spring following a heart attack. Pray for patience and recovery.

Karolina in Hungary–needs to fix up and sell an apartment in Hungary so she can return to college in August.

Justin in Ohio–is on a great mental and physical growth spurt! Yay! Justin is 8 and has autism. Please keep his whole family lifted up in prayer.

Joe in Texas–is patiently waiting for a full-time job to fully support his family. In the meantime the entire family unit is working together to get through this long bout of underemployment.

A struggling daughter of a dear friend–recently was beat up by her live in boyfriend. Pray for her wisdom,  courage, safety, and much better boundaries overall.

Emily in IN–has recently completed all chemo and radiation for breast cancer. Pray for continued cancer-free reports.

May God bless your week!

Japan

Heavenly Father,

The death toll in Japan grows daily. Hundreds of dead bodies have washed ashore (according to the Associated Press). Please protect the wounded survivors, the  brave rescue teams, the overwhelmed medical personnel, the orphaned and the widowed. There are so many needs it is impossible to name them.

I am so thankful You know each need.

Believers around the globe and praying for Japan and her people. It is such a heartbreaking circumstance with amazing devastation. Mission efforts are being coordinated, rescues are happening each day. Help us consider how we might be involved. Certainly, Lord, You have called us to pray. What else can we do? Lead us to care deeply, connect in Your name, and contribute in the ways we can.

In Your Son’s Name we pray…..

Walking Wounded

Do you know people who function day-to-day but their words or action indicate they are wounded? Maybe they speak with anger or make cutting remarks around you and it actually makes it hard to be near them. There are many reasons that people lash out (sometimes they are tired or overwhelmed) and we don’t always get to know the why behind what we see.

My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds;
my neighbors stay far away. Psalm 38:11

If someone comes to your mind, please lift them up in prayer today. I do think if you see a consistent pattern of ‘meanness’ that there is probably something else going on there. Wounded people wound people…often because of where they are in their pain. And while their actions or attitude might drive you away from them, it is often then that they really need a friend. Whether or not you are called to be that friend, I don’t know. But if God has allowed you to cross paths with this person, your prayer intercession on their behalf is an amazing gift.

If it is you that is wounded, seek healing. God is in the business of transforming ugly circumstances and situations into evidences of His mercy and grace. There are 190 versions of the word ‘heal’ in the New International Version of the Bible.  Psalm 38 is a powerful petition from a hurting David. His pain is evident.  As you begin your journey of healing, find a friend who will pray for you. Then find a Biblical counselor or pastor to sort out the situation and dig into God’s Word and God’s Truth. God’s healing work often begins with humble hearts.

A refreshing stream in Colorado

Doing Hard Things

Have you had to do a hard thing? Maybe it was initiate a conversation about an awkward situation or apologize for something said or maybe you needed to stand up for an unpopular idea or address a wrong. Life is full of hard things and hard conversations. Sometimes I try to avoid them for as long as I can because I am anxious about the outcome.

Are in the middle of thinking you need to do a hard thing?

  • Pray and ask God for His guidance. Sometimes this will be the only action taken.
  • Consider your motives.
  • Seek out a discerning and trusted individual~one who will not just blindly agree to anything you say~share your thoughts and request their insight.
  • Allow time for your ideas to marinate. Sometimes I create my own ‘hard thing’ moments by jumping the gun and not processing long enough. You may find this ‘hard thing’ does not require your action at this time.
  • Ask for prayer support from trusted individuals. You do not need to divulge private information as God knows the details.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!   Amen!” Ephesians 3:19-21 NIV

Setbacks

“Sin will take you farther than you ever intended to stray, It will keep you longer than you ever intended to stay and cost you more than you ever intended to pay.” Author unknown

Have you ever found yourself in a frustrating place of sin and thought back to when that particular stronghold may have started? Definitely a sobering thought. Recently we had a local school principal arrested for shoplifting at Kohl’s. She was in her early 50’s. There was a lot of newspaper television coverage and she no longer works as a principal. Wow. Who knows when that all started for her.  This sin took her on an ugly journey.

Sin is just like that. We justify and rationalize our behavior and get defensive when it is brought to our attention. But later we find ourselves repeating that same stinkin’ scenario over and over again and trying to get free from the grip of sin. What can we do? Here are some actions that can help:

  • Confess
  • Seek Forgiveness
  • Have an accountability partner
  • Surround yourself with Scripture
  • Pray
  • Change your scenery or routine
  • Forgive yourself

Be open to insight from more seasoned Christians who may have the ability to see you are headed down a dangerous path. Sometimes those rebukes come from someone who has walked a similar road and desires to save you from the pain and consequences they experienced. Sometimes we are so blind to current or future consequences of our sin that we are shocked when a concerned friend brings forth a warning. Be approachable.

As long as we are human we will have setbacks. Will you allow a setback to give you an excuse to go further down a dangerous path or will you allow it to help you see your vulnerabilities and give you the chutzpah to forge through temptation the next time?