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Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

The Facebook prompt said, “What’s on your mind this morning?” and my heart cried out – “So much, Lord! So much!”

I’m excited about the beginning of a new ministry journey as I will begin taping video Bible studies today – but that is tempered by so many needs lying on my heart.

One friend begins another round of chemo today, while another friend is in the midst of her third battle with the dreaded “cancer“. Many other friends have just found out about their upcoming cancer journeys  and yet others have breathed a sigh of relief that the biopsy was benign…

My heart then jumps to children – my own and my grandsons – I pray for their lives and struggles. O God how hard it is to watch your children go through their own struggles. I just want to clear the path and make their lives easy… but I can’t, can I?

School is starting soon and I pray for children making new journeys and for parents praying for “do-overs”, hoping that this school year will be easier (I’ve been there – done that!) I pray for teachers as they prepare. God grant them wisdom and patience and the gift of seeing into the very heart of the children.

But mostly this morning my heart is burdened with the text I got last night from a young friend whose baby daughter is so very ill – and the doctors do not have a clue as to the cause… God – how I pray for that young mother and her family. I pray for the siblings of this little girl as I know they are worried and scared, too.

Guide the doctors, Lord. Lay Your healing hand on this little girl – and give the family peace in the midst of their fear. Little children should be running and playing… not lying in bed crying. But, we don’t live in a perfect world, do we Lord? We live in a broken and sinful world that is groaning in travail. But someday, Lord… someday…

And – maybe someday is today, Lord. Maybe today…

And that – Facebook – is what’s on my mind this morning. Amen.

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A dear friend called me yesterday morning and said, “I just wanted you to know, in light of your new ministry announcement, I am praying extra hard for you. I know when we start something new, or are serving God, the enemy’s attacks become stronger. I’m praying for a hedge of protection around you and your family…”

Wow! I SO appreciated that phone call! I hadn’t really thought about it much, but she’s right. Sometimes the “attacks” are huge and debilitating, but more often, they are small annoyances which derail us or cause us to lose focus. So, with that, I would like to ask you to pray for me, my family and this new ministry. May God be glorified in it, and may through it many develop the desire to know God’s Word and to deepen their walk with Him.

We are entering the peak of the “mowing, gardening and canning” season here on the farm. Even though we love it and long to be good stewards of the farm – it is always a hard and busy time. Please pray for our physical strength; that we may get the work done and be able to sleep well and rest as needed.

When I ask you to pray for me – it’s not that there is some specific need or struggle – it’s just an on-going need to be uplifted in His strength and His patience. I appreciate so much the outpouring of encouraging words and support for this new ministry. It has been amazing.

Thank you for your love. Thank you for sharing the news, and thank you most of all for your prayers!

betty

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I was scrolling through Facebook this morning, reading posts in a group for frugal living that I belong to, as well as just random posts that show up from friends, and I began to notice several posts concerning kids starting back to school. Many friends were lamenting the early “back to school” ads just immediately after the Fourth of July while others in the “frugal” group were seeking advice as to how to make the “school supplies” budget stretch farther…

All of a sudden, tears came to my eyes and I began to be burdened for families with school age children. Our boys are grown, with children of their own. One son’s boys are still babies, while the other grandson (bless his heart) has been in “school” since he was six weeks old! (His mother is a teacher at a private Christian school, so he’s “always” gone to school. 🙂 )

But I know of many situations where families are struggling… In one instance, the mother has found herself suddenly divorced with two school age children. She can only afford to send one of them to Christian school now, and the older little girl must suddenly (as a freshman and for the first time in her life) go to a huge public school. Bless her heart; I can only imagine the fear.

In other cases, grandparents are raising grandchildren and those school lists are so long, and so expensive. And then there are the single parents… O God, my heart breaks for them. And, often forgotten are the teachers… I have many (many) friends who are school teachers, and I know from watching them the amount they spend on school supplies (taking care of those kids whose parents don’t or can’t or won’t buy what the children need).

And so, I pray for them today…

O Father… my heart is so burdened this morning. I feel the despair in the tone of the words I’ve read. I hear fear and hopelessness, too. This is just one more thing in a long line of things that causes sinking despair. What is the answer, Lord? When the list of “requirements” is so much longer than the budget stretches? What is the answer to this very real struggle that is faced by so many every. single. day…?

“Trust” I hear in my spirit. “Trust and Obey”. Will that put dollars in the bank account my “inner man” asks. “Not necessarily, but it puts peace in the heart” I hear You reply. One day at a time is all we can live, for tomorrow is not promised. Yes, we must prepare for the future; we must be good stewards, but we must not fear it or be obsessed by it.

I was reminded by our younger son recently, when he said, “My Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and so I am not afraid. He will provide for us because He loves us, and we love Him…” What trust. I am so thankful for his faith, Father. Thank You – that encourages this mother’s heart.

But now Father, I pray for those with struggles. I pray that they, first of all, seek You as Savior. I pray that their hearts will be turned to You for salvation. And then I pray that they will turn to You for peace for You will surely provide. How? I don’t know. In each situation it is different – but You promised that you would care for Your children. And we have seen that in our own lives. I lift those to You who are in despair today. Speak to their spirits and draw them to Yourself.

I pray for this upcoming school year. I pray for the children who are afraid, (and in some respect, they all are) but it is a new year; a clean slate. May it be a good year for them. I pray for teachers and administrators and school staff – and for every single person who touches a child’s life this coming year. You have such a special heart for the children, Lord. May we have that heart, as well.

Thank You Father. We praise you, in Jesus’ Name – Amen.

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Psalm 1 speaks of the one who is blessed, whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and he meditates on it day and night. It says that this person will be like, “a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season…”

I’ve often taught that using the concept of at different times in our lives, we are in different “seasons”. We don’t serve when we are in our 60’s the same way we did in our 20’s, but “fruit” is still being produced.

There’s another thing that happens in different seasons of our lives – and this has more to do with “life” than it does with age. Some seasons are just plain harder than other seasons.

Twenty years ago Joe and I went through one period in our lives where we attended more than 12 funerals in 18 months. These were all family or extended family or church family. That was a tough season.

We seem to be in another “season” now. It seems that everywhere I look, someone I know has cancer or another debilitating disease – many of them are very serious. When we went through that season before, I wrote the following poem…. and I’ll have to admit, the thought about the wall crossed my mind again this morning…

 

Building that Wall Again

On July 11, 1996, we received the news that my aunt (whom we affectionately called “Gran”) was diagnosed with cancer, throughout… then I sat down and wrote this poem.

 

“When I was a child

I spoke as a child, I understood as a child

I thought as a child.

But, when I became an adult

I put away childish things…”*

Or did I?

 

In 1969, I was 15 years old

When my uncle died.

He was my Mother’s closest brother

And he was my friend.

And it hurt.

 

Then I decided

That if I built a wall around my heart

And never loved

That I would never be hurt… again…

So I did.

And it took many years to overcome that mentality

To be able to love again.

But I did.

I should say, with God’s help, I did…

 

And today I am an adult

With all the entrappings of adulthood,

A home

A husband

Children

Responsibilities…

 

But in the past year

I’ve been carrying a weight

That has about worn me down;

A mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s

But that wasn’t enough it seemed

The past 5 months

Have been one long bad dream…

 

I’ve lost an uncle

And an aunt

And a very sweet friend.

 

And now, I’m thinking about building that wall again.

I’m thinking

About building that wall again…

 

But it’s too late

I already love too many people…

 

©1996 Betty Newman

 

*Scripture from 1 Corinthians 13:11

 

(PS – Little did I know when I wrote that poem that over the next year, Joe and I would lose more than a dozen folks from our “blood” families and Church families… It was a very difficult 2 years…)

(PPS – today – 2017, I am holding to that “Blessed Hope” that is promised in the scriptures. As Job said, “I know my Redeemer liveth…” And because He lives, I can fact tomorrow… and today, too.  Amen.)

 

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Since Pentecost Sunday a couple of weeks ago, we’ve been singing the chorus of “Spirit of the Living God” at our church which goes,

“Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me.

Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.

Spirit of the Living God, fall afresh on me”.

 

I cannot sing the song without my hands outstretched in open submission.

 

Last night as I was about to go to sleep I was praying and thinking of the words of this song. Every time I sing it, I can visualize being melted down into a puddle, then turned on a potter’s wheel while the Potter molds me into a usable vessel. I “see” liquid being poured into my vessel and then being put into service.

As that image was going through my mind I “heard” this question – “Are you sure you want to be melted…? You do know, don’t you, that melting takes away ‘you’ so that you can be reformed and ‘molded’ anew. Plus… it might hurt…”

I thought about it a few moments… Do I want to be… am I willing to be… melted?

And so I said, “Lord, I belong to You. If you choose to ‘melt’ me, what choice do I have? You are the potter, I am the clay. Am I going to tell You what to do? Plus, I know, that if You ‘melt’ me it will be all good, even if it doesn’t look so great at the time.”

Then in my mind, I sang the song again, and gave my will to God. It’s all His anyway. It’s all good, for sure.

Amen.

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In 2005, in the last 6 weeks of his life my Daddy spent 3 weeks in the hospital, then nearly 3 weeks at home before he passed. The first week or so wasn’t too bad, and then it began to wear on me – physically and emotionally.  We went through such a “roller coaster” of emotions from “he’s not going to live through the night” to “we’re going home in a day or two…” And then, to couple this with only getting 2-3 hours of sleep a night, well it was taking a toll!

One day, when I was particularly stressed, one of Daddy’s sisters-in-law called me. Now, this lady is just special! And she… just encouraged me so much that day. So, after I hung up from talking with her, I wrote this piece that I titled “Running on Empty”.

Running on Empty

“God is ever gracious, ever loving, ever caring, ever teaching in every trial of our lives.

When my physical and emotional “tank” is on empty, He sends someone with a smile, a hug, a laugh, or a prayer that adds a little fuel to the tank and gives me a few more “miles” of strength.

Oh God, thank You that in this time of need someone came to me. Thank You, that in this time of need I saw so clearly how need-ful something like that is, and how helpful it can be.

Grant me, I pray, the “eyes” to see the opportunities to pour a little in another’s “tank” when they, too, are “running on empty.”

Thank You for this one You sent to me today.
Amen”

 

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As I sat down this morning to work on the assignment for the Daily Bible Study series for the United Methodist Publishing House, I began as I always do – with prayer for clarity and wisdom in writing. I prayed that my words would be pleasing to God and glorify His name.

I also prayed (as I always do) for those who will be reading this series which will be out next summer. I always pray for the readers as individuals – but today as I prayed the image came to mind of hands reaching for the books for their daily devotional time. I “saw” – um – how should I say it? “Older hands”. Hands that were wrinkled and bent with arthritis; hands with thin and bruised skin. Hands that have worked hard and now are tired. I saw hands that often fold in prayer and yes, sometimes even wring with worry.

I pray that next year, when they pick up this book that they will find words that help them to stand strong and be faithful in spite of the world around them. Thank you God for this vision. Amen.

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