PrayerPoints ~ March 11th, Friday

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 100

“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”

May God’s peace and joy infuse your day!

PrayerPoints ~ March 10th, Thursday

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 95

“Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song.”        Psalm 95:2

It is so important for me to start my day being thankful for what God has done for me. It helps my perspective and my focus and it helps me to be more loving to others, even on those days when I don’t get enough sleep. Whenever I read Psalm 95, I hear the song posted below in my mind, but it is also a part of the liturgy in LCMS (Lutheran Church ~ Missouri Synod) congregations so I am happy to have two reference points for it!

I know I have mentioned the power of music and Scripture memory before. If you are a part of a congregation that uses liturgy, you know that after sitting in church week after week and year after year that there is so much Scripture tucked away in your brain. You can be really young, and a non-reader to learn it and you can be challenged with vision issues and still participate. Music filled with Scripture can bridge ages and abilities and can be such a blessing to a congregation.

So, a little bit about this Psalm 95 posted below: John Michael Talbot is Catholic and I was introduced to him when I was about 13 (now I am 50, so this was quite a while ago). For me, this is an awesome “morning song” — a great way to get my mind headed in the right direction!

During Lent, the use of alleluia is often restricted in some church bodies. In the LCMS  there are some other practices Check out the article Keeping a Holy Lent ~ a post from the LCMS with some great explanations.

Trigger Warning: This song does have Alleluia in it. So if that is going to bug you, don’t listen until after Easter.

PrayerPoints ~ Tuesday, March 8th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 86

“But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15

I think Psalm 86 is full of comfort and encouragement that it was really hard to pick just one snippet to feature. You may find that a different one that speaks to you as you read through it. If so, don’t hesitate to share it!

I am including another song by John Michael Talbot because I really like it and I particularly this album. Enjoy!

 

PrayerPoints ~ Monday, March 7th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 84

“O Lord, Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you.” Psalm 84:12

Sadly, I have several situations in my history that have tainted my trust in people. I do have people I trust but I have learned that there are people who should clearly not be trusted, ever.

I have been trusting God for many years now though I have had occasional and brief interference by humans who were unhealthy. Thankfully, I did not attribute the actions of these people to God’s character, but processing the situations did take a little time. God also used those situations to strengthen my trust in Him as well as fine tune my intuition. For some reason, it never occurred to me that God endorsed or was behind any of that yucky stuff. And for that, I am thankful.

If you struggle with trust issues, it might be due to early experiences with unhealthy people in your life. If those people were in positions of authority or, worse yet, in positions of church authority, I am so very sorry for your experience. This is not how God works. Sadly, this is how sin in the world works.

If you struggle with some historical issues, I encourage you to seek healthy counsel so that your present and future are not defined by your past. May God heal, restore, and refresh you as you seek Him!

“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion.”  Psalm 84:3-7

 

 

PrayerPoints ~ Sunday, March 6th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 19

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech, night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.”   Psalm 19:1-3

I have always been amazed at the night sky with all of the stars and their constellations. It seems to be the most amazing out in the country on a clear night with just the sliver of the moon. Although a night sky with harvest moon is stunning. Nebraska has some incredible sunrises and sunsets. I have visited quite a few places and they each offer some unique element of beauty and, yet, they all share the heavens. God’s creation is amazing: the expanse of it, the beauty of it, the coordination of it, the intricacies of it! It is amazing how no words can be spoken but how full of information the heavens are.

Hopefully, in the next couple of days, you will get a glimpse of something amazing in the heavens. Keep your eyes open! The are times I am busy or distracted and I simply do not notice what is there, right before my eyes. But when I do take the time to see, appreciate, and acknowledge the beauty that God has created, it brings comfort to me–to know that He, who can do magnificent works, cares about me. It helps me keep things in perspective.

 

 

PrayerPoints ~ Saturday, March 5th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 8

“O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!”  Psalm 8:1

After being grateful yesterday, it seems fitting to look at the majesty of God. When I read Psalm 8, I am overwhelmed by who God is and who I am and that He is mindful of me and shows me His grace, love, and forgiveness. It also reminds me how much more mindful of Him I should be!

And if God, the Creator of the Universe, considers me worthy of His investment, it puts such a different perspective on my life than if I was just here by “accident” or with no purpose. And if He feels this way about me then He feels that way about you and every person on this planet! When I ponder this, I am reminded of not only my value but every person’s value:

  • From those in my zip code to those across the time zones
  • From the weakest to the healthiest
  • From the lovable to the unlovable
  • From the delightful to the frustrating
  • From the sweetest to the angriest
  • From the innocent to the guilty
  • From the very young (pre-born) to the very old
  • From the cleanest to the dirtiest
  • From the kindest to the meanest

“What is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8:4

Since God is our Creator, there must be value in each of us…each and every one of us! Sometimes it might take some digging because we are broken people–our limited perspective doesn’t let us see the value in others and, sometimes, we aren’t able to see the value in ourselves.

Psalm 8 is a great place to get a glimpse of the majesty of God and His love for His people!

 

 

 

 

PrayerPoints ~ Friday, March 4th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 66

“Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me.”       Psalm 66:16

When I am in the middle of a tough time it helps for me to remember what God has done for me and for others. Sometimes, just reflecting back on the many incidents in Scripture is enough to encourage me but, other times, it is refreshing to hear someone talk about God’s transformative work in their heart and life. The Christian walk isn’t always easy, which is why it is good to share our struggles as well as our victories.

“Come and see what God has done, how awesome his works in man’s behalf.”        Psalm 66:5

Sometimes it is good to make a list of what God has done for you. Have you ever taken time to write down those things you are thankful for? If you have, take out and review the list. If you haven’t, today is a great day to start! Regularly pondering what we are thankful for leads to a heart of gratitude. The more grateful we are, the more it is evident in our words and deeds and it helps us to be more pleasant to be around and that positivity is infectious!

 

 

PrayerPoints ~ Thursday, March 3rd

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 37

“The Lord delights in the way of the man whose steps he has made firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”  Psalm 37:23-24

It is always good to look at David’s life. What a great reminder of the incredible highs and devastating lows of the life experience! And to watch David’s love for and devotion to God and then to see him sink to scheming schemes. On one hand I think, “How could he?” and then I recollect the many times I have done equally sinful things. It is amazing the short term memory I have. We are all sinners; each and every one!

Intentionally walking through Scripture on a regular basis certainly gives me perspective and helps me be more mindful of my opportunities to make better choices. It also helps me remember the love and forgiveness that God has for me. I am, after all, “a poor sinful being” but He also is a loving Father. He knows I will stumble but if I am away from God’s Word for a time I seem to stumble a little more. I stray a little further off the path. It may not seem like a big difference at first but the trajectory of “not quite on the right course” usually veers way off as time goes on.

Do you know what I mean?

Ever been kind of lost, refused to ask for directions because you are sure you are close only to find that the next 60 minutes (or 20 years) are spent trying to figure out how to get to where you were going only to find out it will take a lot to actually get back there now, or it is actually impossible?

Yep, this life is like that. And, God can redeem that stuff. He wastes nothing — there isn’t an experience that He cannot use, redeem, or heal. God knows we will stumble and still He loves us so!

“The Lord delights in the way of the man whose steps he has made firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”  Psalm 37:23-24

PrayerPoints ~ Wednesday, March 2nd

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 46

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear; even though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”    Psalm 46: 1-3

The imagery in the verses above…wow! it sounds like utter devastation! And, unfortunately, we have some days, weeks, months, and years like that. When you are in trouble, lean into His strength!

There is no telling what you are in the middle of at this very moment in your life but I have a great imagination. You probably do, too. I think it is both a blessing and a curse. If you are anything like me, when you hear some “bad news” you can imagine the worst case scenario in about 3 seconds flat.  But, the potential positive to that “quick thinking” is being able to empathize with others and pray for them as they walk through a challenging time even if I haven’t experienced the same situation myself. When I hear about people who are struggling with something, I immediately think about the needs, the emotions, the fears, or the “what is next?” kinds of things and I cover them in prayer. And the times I have absolutely no idea about their situation but I know there is a need? I honestly leave it up to God to fill in the blanks. At one time or another, everyone struggles with:

  • faith
  • finances
  • fears
  • relationships
  • jobs
  • education/training
  • health

So it is a safe bet that I can pray over each of those categories for anyone and God, who knows it all anyway, hears my pleas.

It’s hard to watch someone struggle through a difficult season. There are times we can only pray and wait. We can’t jump in to fix or solve the problem, but we must hand it over to God, trusting in His work. Sharing God’s Word can bring refreshment to weary bones. God’s Word is always in season, but certainly a source of strength during an anxious and fearful time in life.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.”   Psalm 46:10

A special thank you to my friend, Kristin, who has taken these great verses and put them in such a nice setting!

PrayerPoints ~ Tuesday, March 1st

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 61

“Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to a rock that is higher than I.”  Psalm 61:1

There are times that life is just so hard.

Being faint of heart can be the result of many things: physical or mental illness, medical treatments, undiagnosable issues, job loss, divorce, death, or watching someone you love struggle with any of the above. And often, with the exception of prayer, we are powerless to take away the pain and the suffering. But we can pray, even when we don’t know what to say or what to ask for.

Do you know someone who is struggling with a situation? Have you prayed for them?

Sometimes it is easy for me to get caught up in the surprise and the details of a challenging circumstance that I don’t stop what I am doing and actually pray.

Lord, let that be my first response!

If you are a list maker or you keep a prayer journal, jot down the name of the person or people you want to pray for so you see it and it reminds you to pray on their behalf.  I am a very visual person, so a list helps me get refocused on my priorities as I typically have a lot of distractions in my day.

And then, consider following up with a quick personal note to let them know you are praying for them. It may take a little extra effort, but a note of encouragement can be a physical reminder of your support and prayers. Notes of encouragement are also very portable and can combat that feeling of loneliness and isolation that often accompanies trials and tribulations. If you live nearby, there may be a tangible act of service you can provide. Pray about your opportunities to serve.

If you are struggling and would like me to pray for you, let me know. You can tell me a little about your situation but if you are uncomfortable doing that, you don’t need to. As I pray, I will pray for many facets of your life, even ones you don’t particularly mention.

Even if you need prayer yourself, (and, don’t we all?) consider also praying on behalf of someone else. I find that when I am in a particularly tough situation (and I feel powerless in my circumstance) if I step out of the muck and mire of my situation to care for another through prayer, God seems to lighten the intensity of my situation.

God’s blessings as you dig into His Word this week and consider praying for a struggling friend!