When God Answers Your Unspoken Requests

Life has thrown an unusual amount of curveballs to me, yet I never seem to get an eye for them until they pop in the catcher’s mitt. Because of a series of curveballs, I wasn’t able to purchase my Mother’s Day porch flowers this year. The front of the house looked naked and ashamed without them. I felt like my home’s barrenness proclaimed, “There is no beauty here! Life is too hard for flowers, too uncertain for the permanence of plant life.” Every time I looked out my windows, the empty places where flowers had dwelt reminded me of lack and circumstances beyond my control.

One morning, while pulling out of my driveway, I glanced at my house with longing. “Lord,” I sighed, “I can not buy flowers, but if You could get me some, It would bring me so much joy.” I dared not speak these words out loud. That would seem too selfish. They were heart words, words I blurted out to my closest Friend and Confidant.

He knows, friends. He knows that when life seems void of beauty and your heart seems hard for lack of spirit rain that we need a little pick-me-up. He wants us to draw near; To communicate with Him about the things we would never reveal to anyone else.

I arrived at work that morning, full of lists and ideas, when one of the volunteers mentioned, “I’ve got a flat of impatients in the car. Does anyone want them?”

A smile so big it hurt spread across my face. He loves me! He hears me! He cares about my front porch being a place of abundant beauty.

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You see friends, now I look out my window and see frivolous abundance. I don’t look at the world through impoverished eyes because if He cares about my daily dose of beauty, then He cares about all of my needs.

Unspoken heart prayers are the ones I see answered most and with greatest ease. The Lover of my soul is always wooing me and calling me His beloved..and I dance; dance in His adoration of me.

Counting with Ann:

42. Gift unwanted: broken heart’s tears releasing floodgates of healing.

43. Gift unlikely: long response to letter.

Three gifts in His Word:

44. He has preordained good works for me!

45. Guidance. Luke 9-10

46. Love letters written to me…

Three gifts moving:

47. Fan cooling

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48. Trees in wave offering to their Creator

49. God moving on my life by moving the hearts of others.

Three gifts in your Dad:

50. Integrity

51. Holy

52. Just this. https://journeytoepiphany.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/in-my-fathers-house-toys-linkup/

Three gifts in your Heavenly Father:

53. His artistry

54. His love in the form of answered heart prayers.

55. His boundless wisdom.

Three gifts I became today in serving.

56. Deliverer: getting to deliver dressers to needy single mom!

57. Encourager: called a friend to encourage

58. One willing to make sacrifices: skipped lunch to accommodate friend’s and co-workers schedule

59. Getting up at 3 am to clean house

60. A gift sent: first check from Family Fire writing gig!

61. A gift beautiful: new art at Millennium Park.

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62. A gift loved: Time spent with best blogging friend, Once A Little Girl .

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Three gifts found in light:

63. His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

64. Rare green traffic lights

65. Display of lightening.

66. (Extra!). Light dances.

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Finding beauty in three things that are difficult:

67. Being in true fellowship with others (always worth the effort)

68. Planning a major fundraiser at the same time as planning 2 new ministries and the Chicago Project.

69. Getting to spend time with the kids since I have no car….

…sharing a playdate with Laura:
and at a new place for writers Unforced Rhythms of Grace.

and with beautiful Jennifer Dukes Lee…
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And with my dearest Emily…

Making Pillars: Testifying to God’s Goodness

Jacob was not a nice person. Taking advantage of his brother’s hunger, he tricked his brother out of his birthright. He was a deceiver. That is what his name means. He willingly fulfilled his mother’s instructions to deceive his father so that he received the blessing that was rightfully Esau’s. Jacob was a swindler. He made deals with Laban, and then tried to influence nature against Laban, for his own prosperity. The only thing really endearing about the youth of this biblical character is his love for Rachel. Continue reading

Taking Courage When Leaving the Comfortable – Blogger’s Bible Study

Icebreaker:  Tell about a time that you moved from one place to another.

Read:  Genesis 12:1-8

1.  Abram left his country, and his patriarchal family.  There would be different language, culture, geography and gods.  Everything Abram had known would be left behind.  

2.  God was asking Abram to go to a land he had never been to before.  He could have been moved by the fear of the unknown.

3.  “God cares more about your character than your comfort.”  John Bevere  Q:  How does this relate to Abram’s story?

4.  God promised a blessing with obedience.  Matthew 19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.  This was definitely an IF/THEN situation.  God didn’t make any promises to Abram in his place of comfort.  Abram would have left a permanent home in order to become a nomad.  Once he got there, other people were occupying this land…and there was a famine.  Q:  Have you ever obeyed a leading God has given you only to have the promise delayed?

5.  Abram built an altar.  As an act of faith and a reminder of God’s promise Abram built an altar in the place God had given him.  Q:   What are some ways that we can build an altar on a promise God has given us?

6.  Share something that you feel God is asking you to do in faith.  Matthew 16: 24Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

25For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

26For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

27For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

7.  Prayer:

God, thank you for speaking to me about this instruction you are leading me to fulfill.  Give me the faith of my father, Abraham, so that I can please you.  Help me to obey you with willingness.  Make me more interested in the building of my character than in my comfort.

In Jesus’ Name

Amen

A Response to “The Response” by Guest Merri Guzaitis

Merri Guzaitis is one of my very best friends.  Her commitment to God and country are unparalleled in my world.  Recently, the Chicago gal up and moved with her husband and family to Texas.  Her daily presence in my life is sorely missed, as she has always inspired me towards being more politically aware.  I think you will find this first hand point of view from the prayer rally compelling and full of information that might surprise you.  Enjoy! and…don’t you think she should start a blog of her own?

“There are hundreds of protestors. perhaps thousands!”  This was the news my husband Ed and I were hearing on the local news this past Saturday from our hotel room in Houston, TX.  As we walked the three-quarter mile to Reliant Stadium, a plane flew overhead with a banner declaring the need for separation of church and state.  A billboard truck passed that warned us to beware of pious politicians and demanded that they “Get off their knees and get back to work!”.  The closer we got to the stadium, the more excitement built.  We were anxious to see the protestors.  Perhaps even a little nervous.  Would they be peaceful?  We were mentally preparing our responses to the throngs of haters.  We prayed God would give us His words in case the media stopped us so our “sound bite” might be well thought out.  What we found when we arrived was nothing like we had been warned to expect.

Friday afternoon, Ed and I packed up our SUV and headed out to make the 5-hour trip from our Fort Worth area home to Houston, TX.  We went because our governor, Rick Perry, had called a rally.  What was this rally about that was so polarizing, so divisive, that had caused so much anger and hatred?  What was this rally that had so many so scared?  It was called “The Response” and it was a prayer rally.  That’s right.  The highest elected official in the state of Texas had dared to call a prayer rally.  And this not to be a warm and fuzzy, let’s all hold hands and sing Kumbaya prayer rally.  No.  It was to be a solemn assembly.  A call for prayer for repentance and fasting for America, a nation he said was in crisis.

When we arrived 30 minutes before the event started, already there were long lines.   A gentleman was standing outside the gates.  He blew a shofar, an instrument used in the early days of Israel to signal it was time for the people to gather together.  With thousands in front of me, I turned to look at the man and saw behind him cars still finding spaces, couples and families heading toward the gates from all directions.  God’s people were certainly gathering.  My throat tightened.

As we found our seats, a gospel choir was singing soulful tunes and the audience was already engaging.  At 10 a.m., the official start of the days events, with people still pouring into the stadium, as a sort of “Call to Order”, we were lead in the singing of “America the Beautiful”.  After this, a gentleman came forward who would guide us through the days events.  In a matter of a few sentences, he dispelled much of what the media had told us.  We were here to pray.  Specifically, we were here to come before God in the name of Jesus, in humility and repentance, to beg the Lord’s mercy and beseech Him to continue to bless America.  This was NOT a political event, therefore we were asked not to wave flags, raise banners or any show other forms of patriotism.  He told us there would be no one selling books or other items.  The cost was covered by private donations, so a collection would not be taken.

What then transpired over the next 7 hours was precisely what the organizers had hoped for, what churches and individuals had prayed for, what others had feared would happen.  More than 30,000 people were in attendance, nearly 4 times more than the 8,000 anticipated.  We were told that 1,400 churches and other groups in all 50 states had signed up to hold streamed events.  And 80,000 individuals or families were watching the live stream.

We were led in times of worship, a time of personal confession and repentance.  A time of corporate repentance.  Sometimes we agreed in our hearts or with our voices with those praying from the stage.  Other times, we were gathered in groups of 3 or 4 to pray in small groups, strangers praying together.  Some prayed with hands to heaven.  Some prayed in the quietness of their own hearts.  Some literally danced before the Lord.  Many were unashamed as tears flowed.  As we were lead through one type of response to another, Scripture was read and recited as motivation, inspiration and Biblical support for every type of prayer offered.  There was no food in the stands.  The few that purchased food understood.  This was not just a time of prayer, but of fasting.  We came there prepared to be broken before the Lord.

A couple of hours into the gathering, Governor Perry took the stage to hearty applause.  Rumors had circulated earlier that because of the controversy his involvement had stirred, he would not attend.  Ed shot me a cautious glance.  Almost bracing ourselves for what was sure to be a political speech, an announcement of his intent to run for president?  A call to evangelicals to come together to support his campaign?    Again, media had been wrong.  As he spoke, if I had closed my eyes, I could have sworn I was listening to a preacher.  My governor spoke not of politics, but instead preached a gospel of repentance, through Jesus.  He prayed for our nation, for it’s leaders, and for our president and his family.  When he prayed for the military and the special operators who’d lost their lives the previous day, he choked up.  There was no mention of politics from the governor except a humorous remark that God is wise enough not to affiliate Himself with any political party.

The day ended with the older generation blessing the younger.  As older believers laid their hands on children, teens and young adults and prayed, those in attendance were left with a hope.  All is not lost.  We are not alone.  A bold, faithful remnant is still here in America and we, by the grace of God, are alive and well.

Ed will tell you we attended this event for two reasons.  1)  To pray for our nation.  And 2)  So that when we saw the news reports, we could know and report what REALLY happened, which brings me back to the news from our hotel room that morning.  Were you wondering about those “hundreds, maybe thousands” of protesters?  Yeah.  Me, too.  We never saw them.  Not one.  Later that evening I watched reports with a plane, a billboard truck and a small spattering of protestors on a street somewhere outside the stadium.  Where were the hundreds?  The thousands?
I learned many lessons on Saturday, not the least of which is this.  We who call ourselves by the name of Jesus and recognize there is power and hope in bowing before him are frequently hated, misunderstood, feared and mocked.  The enemy may speak louder and have more numbers in his camp, but let us never forget that enemy is often much smaller and weaker than he’d like us to believe!

Little Boy Prayers

  I”ll never forget hearing my then four year old son asking God for a Disney World vacation.  As a single mom, I cringed because I knew it would have to be a miracle as I was barely paying my bills. My “mature” Christian side, wanted to explain how it was always best to ask God for things and say “if it be Thy will.”

I am so thankful that the Lord put a watch at the door of my lips and that I refrained from saying anything.  If you want to read the whole story and how God worked everything out, you can visit my other blog here, but the purpose of this post is to remind myself and perhaps any of you who might be along for the journey, that we are to come to God as children.

My son didn’t know that in some Christian circles this type of prayer could be considered “taboo”.  He didn’t understand how big of a request it was.  In his mind, it could be as simple as going to the grocery store, (which incidentally wasn’t very easy at the time because of a lack of funds.)

How do little children approach things?

They don’t care about what others are thinking about them.

They don’t understand the difference between $100 and $1,000,000.

They have no concept of time, space, or other factors that might come into play in making a request.

They just ask.

They ask believing that the person they are entreating can do what they are asking.

I guess an easier way to put it is that they don’t know any better.

How do we get to the point where even though we do have experiences and disappointments that we don’t allow them to color our faith walk?

I’m not sure, but I know that it can be done because Jesus wouldn’t have told us to do it, if it couldn’t be done.

Ask yourself today, how can I be more childlike in my faith?  How can I return to innocence?

Guest Post Adela Crandell Durkee

I have a wonderful new blogging friend.  Her voice is so genuine, and her posts are pure joy to read!  Below is a prayer she wrote especially for this time of year.  Please visit her fine blog:  Once A Little Girl

Lord,

Grant me Patience:  Forgiveness and healing can take time.

Grant me Wisdom:  Growth is sometimes unseen.

Grant me Love:  That I may give it and, as importantly, that I may receive it.

Help me Trust:  You know me.  You love me.  You wait for me.

What Does The Book of Common Prayer Have In Common With a Hallmark Card?

Surprisingly, I am still finding quite a bit of life while reading the same prayers everyday. This is a new experience for me, and although I know that as I communicate with God that it is more about relationship than it is about ritual, I also believe that there are times in our lives in which we embrace relationship through ritual.

For instance, a wedding is a symbolic ritual which brings forth a new relationship. Two individuals become one. I can see how reading through any book, whether it be the Book of Common Prayer or the Prayers That Avail Much, can either bless or hinder a person. If this is the only form of communication I have with God, it resembles a Hallmark card to which I only sign my name. I let someone else say what I need to or feel like saying. However, if I write a love letter to someone expressing my feelings in my own words, they may not be worthy of a greeting card, but they are treasured as sincere.

So I guess one of the things I’ve found on my journey of liturgy is that liturgy is fine, but I need to add my own personal message before signing off. Otherwise, I’ve handed God a cheap greeting card.

A Prayer For Today

O God, the King eternal, who dividest the day from the night and turnest the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep thy law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done thy will with cheerfulness while it was day, we may, when the night cometh, rejoice to give thee thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. – the Book of Common Prayer

Prayer

Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted of Satan:  Make speed to help thy servants who are assaulted by manifold temptations; and, as thou knowest their several infirmities, let each one find thee mighty to save; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. amen.

The Book of Common Prayer