Posts Tagged ‘Hand to the Plow’

Best friends and lovers…

When Joe (my husband) introduces me to anyone he always says, “This is my best friend. I married my best buddy!” And indeed we’re not only husband and wife, and lovers, but best friends as well.

He said this again to a good friend the other day who responded, “I can name on one hand, and not use all the fingers, all the couples I know who are truly happy in their marriage – and you all are one of them!”

Yes, we are very happy in our marriage. Why? I don’t really know. We’ve certainly been blessed, and it’s not because either of us is perfect – that’s for sure!

But the older I get, the more I realize that I have a responsibility to pray for young (and not so young) people – women especially – in their marriages. This is a hard world we live in – as you well know.

Father I pray for these young women in their marriages. I pray that they will see what an awesome responsibility and privilege God has given them. I pray that they will understand what a blessing being a “helpmeet” can truly be. And that they’ll come to realize that as the “two are one” that you can’t hurt your mate without hurting yourself, and likewise, when you help and support your mate, you are truly helping and supporting yourself.

Father, I pray for their patience as “things aren’t perfect” that they will seek Your face and wisdom in place of trying to “fix” things themselves. If their husbands aren’t the men their fathers are – well, they’re not meant to be. These young women didn’t know their fathers when they were young husbands. (Perhaps they should ask their mothers!)

I pray Lord, that they’ll come to understand that marriage is not a 50/50 proposition – it takes 100% from both sides, and sometimes even 101%… But, I pray most of all, that they will allow their husbands to be men – allow them to make mistakes, allow them to fail, and allow them to succeed without criticism – but instead be their “right arms” and their staunchest supporters – through everything. I believe (and I have found) that they will receive back, “pressed down, shaken together, and overflowing” everything they have given.

If he is not a “man of God” then may she realize that her responsibility is not to “make” him one, but to pray for him. And if he is a “man of God” then to thank You for him, and support him in his “ministry.” Even when she doesn’t understand his “calling;” You do.

Father, I thank you for these young women. Give me, I pray, more opportunities to witness – by word or example – what it means to be a “woman of God.” And lead me in a better understanding of that myself, every day.

In Jesus’ name – Amen.


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Although this prayer has some similarities with yesterday’s prayer – it goes to a different need.


Prayer Circle

Father, I lift up this child of Yours. I looked into her eyes and saw pain. She didn’t have to say a word, in fact when I saw her, it was in the midst of an ordinary occasion, but still, I saw the pain.

As we talked I found out, at least some of her angst and realized, “I’ve been there…” Oh, I realize Lord, that none of our situations are the same, but still, I’ve been very close to where she is. And so, I pray for her.


I pray Lord that she might be able to see some glimmer of hope in this situation; that others who’ve “been there and done that” will give her encouragement and support (and hopefully I did.)

I pray Lord, for strength in the midst of what seems like forever in her life. Give her good nights of sleep, give her good days often enough to ease her mind, and give her a good “ear” to stand by her. We all need these – these, Your other children who speak to and pray for us.

And then today Lord, I pray for me. I pray for someone who’s been where I am, to come to me and give me words of encouragement and support. I am in the midst of a situation that seems like forever in my own life, and I pray for good nights of sleep, and good days often enough to ease my mind. And I pray for an “ear” to stand by me.

Father it seems, that as we are Your children, we create a “circle.” As we go through situations, we’ve been through situations, and we have yet, situations to go through. We are all within one of those stages in our lives.

May we, Lord, pray for and help those “behind us” as we are prayed for and helped by those “in front of us.”

I ask this in the name of the One Who has gone before each of us, has paved the way and opened the door – even Jesus. Amen

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A Letter to My Friend


I know you are going through a very difficult time right now. I know there are times when you cry, “I just can’t do one – more – thing… I can’t worry about one – more – person, and I can’t carry one – more – burden…”

I know that you have said, “Oh Lord! What else?” And I also know that you’re almost afraid to even say that anymore, for fear that there could be something else – there could be more…

I know because I have been through that myself. Oh, not exactly the same circumstances, for all our lives are different, but enough so that I’ve prayed, “Oh Lord, when is it ever going to let up?”

I know there is a fear and despair in the pit of your stomach that even though quelled at times, never completely goes away. There are times of respite and times of peace, but still the anguish is there lurking in the background, in the back of your mind. You’re never really at rest.

Know this! As much as it helps to know that someone is praying for you (and I am) it is infinitely more comforting to know that the Holy Spirit intercedes for you to the Father.

Look up Romans 8:15-28. You’ll see that God is our Father! And not only that, but the word Paul uses for “father” is Abba, which is translated as “Daddy” – the most intimate and loving form of father. And then in verse 26, Paul tells us that because we don’t really know how to pray as we should, the Spirit “translates” for us to God, and then brings back to us what our “Daddy” wants us to know.

And if that is not comforting enough, know this. You (yes you) are on Jesus’ prayer list!

Read Hebrews 7:25. Jesus sits at God’s right hand “interceding” for you (and me) continually. In other words, Jesus, Himself, is praying for you. He is whispering in God’s ear, telling Him all about you and your needs. And He never takes a break!

I know that when I was going through the deepest valley of my life, the one thing that strengthened me daily was knowing that others were praying for me. I sensed God’s presence and care just through my own prayers, but at that time I didn’t know these two scriptures. I didn’t know that Jesus Christ, my salvation for eternity, was at that very moment, praying for me.

I wanted you to know that He’s praying for you… He’ll see you through this.

Love ya,






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A Prayer for Caregiver Decisions

“Oh, if I just knew what to do” a friend cried to me recently. And I thought, “Oh yeah… I’ve been there.”

We’ve been called “the sandwich generation” – taking care of parents as well as children. But, in reality, ever since Adam and Eve’s children, had children, there has been a “sandwich generation.”

Still, having a “title” doesn’t make it any easier. So – if you are there, just know – you are being prayed for…


O Heavenly Father of comfort, I lift up those with extremely difficult decisions to make today. Give them wisdom and peace. And, I pray Lord, for those about whom the decisions are being made. How difficult it must be to have to give up the freedom to make your own decisions about your own life. May we always be sensitive to that dilemma. (For, as we know – we will one day be there, too.)

I also pray Father, for those who are not making “big” decisions, but are instead, continuing in the struggle of a thousand daily decisions that never seem to let up. Comfort them too, Lord, and give them Your strength, because I know, they feel theirs is nearly gone.

For those of us who’ve been through it, give us a spirit of remembrance that we may offer our hand of help for we remember Paul’s words when he said that You comfort us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others*.

And for those who’ve yet to face it, give them a spirit of understanding and patience that they too may lend support. For we each, need each other, and we thank You for our brothers and sisters in Christ, and it is in His precious name we pray – Amen.


(*2 Corinthians 1:4)

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This post continues my book journey with a new segment. We began with “Why Pray”, next was “How to Pray”, “When and Where to Pray” and now I’m sharing “What to Pray.” Most of these are very personal prayers, prayed over the past 10-15 years – but perhaps they may meet a need that you have as well… I pray so.



Prayer for the Children.

Two things prompted this prayer – first: a friend of mine e-mailed and asked me to pray for her child. This “child” is an adult in the eyes of the law, but will always be her “child.”

This “20-something” was raised in a Christian home, and in Church, but now is not attending Church, which is indicative of our culture as many young adults are searching for their own way, their own faith, and their own beliefs.

And I got to thinking about many of my other friends. Some of the situations I don’t know, but an awful lot I do know. And, I know the children. Some have small children, some have teenagers (bless their hearts – they will live through it – trust me!) but the majority of my friends have older children, and children who are young adults with children themselves.

And I thought, “I pray for my friends regularly, but I’ve never thought to pray for their children, specifically…” And so, I will…

The second thing that prompted this prayer was that at the time our younger son was packing up and moving back to the dorm for his second semester of college. And I saw his determination, his direction, and his questions. He is a young adult, yes, but he is still my child – as is our older son, even though he is married (to a wonderful young woman, I might add) he is still my child, and I pray for him (for “them” now.)

And so, I pray…

Father, I lift up to you this morning these children of my friends. I see their faces and call their names. I pray for them, Father – for their struggles in their different stages of life.

For the little ones, whose problems and concerns may seem so trivial to us, help us to see the weight that these worries place on them. Help us to see the “parable” in this – that no matter how trivial our own anxieties may be – if it concerns us, You are interested. You care. If it concerns them, Father, help us to be interested. Help us to listen and be there.

For the older children – those wobbling back and forth between childhood and adolescence and adulthood; those whose “bodies” cry “grownup” and whose minds still want to cling to “mommy” and “daddy.” Father, help us to be there for them.

Give us grace to stand hovering with outstretched arms to catch them when they stumble, while still allowing them to discover the rock strewn path on their own. Lord, help us to realize that we can’t sweep every obstacle out of their way. That just as the caterpillar must struggle to break out of the cocoon, these, our dear children, must struggle too, to become adults. I just pray Father, that they always know our love.

And then, Lord, I pray for our children the “adults in the eyes of the law” but in whose eyes we still see the child wavering sometimes. I pray for these young men and young women. I pray for the decisions they must make, for the career paths they must choose, for the mates they seek, and Lord, for the faiths, the rocks upon which they build.

We realize Lord, that it’s a little late for us to start teaching morality at this point. And we cling to the parable of “train up a child in the way he/she should go…” but still, we realize that there is no guarantee that they will serve You. And so, we pray for them.

Help us to remember Lord, that we were once their age. That, we once “had all the answers”, too. And we pray for that time when they come to understand that they don’t have all the answers. We know, Lord, that it will come, it’s only a matter of when, and under what circumstances it comes.

Help us to be there for them – help us to teach them that You are always there for them, as You indeed are for us. We understand Lord, that You have no “grandchildren”; that each and every individual must “choose this day Whom ye will serve.” And we pray, gracious Father, that our children will stand and say, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”

I pray, my dear Father, for these children of my friends. And I pray for my own as well. For no matter how old they grow, and no matter if they are caring for us, they will still be our children, and we love them.

In Jesus’ name – Amen.




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Today’s devotional is the last in the book segment of “When and Where to Pray”. Like many of my devotionals, this one is intensely personal. These days I mostly sit (or kneel or lie face down) in my study to pray – but before I had this wonderful study – I mostly prayed at my kitchen table. This devotional was written then.


Kitchen Table Prayer

Many times I’ve gone to prayer with the cry, “What do I say, Lord? What do I say?”

Usually this is in response to a deep seated need for my own family or for others who’ve asked me to pray.

However, for a rewarding experience in prayer, try this sometime. If your kitchen is anything like mine (and I’m betting it is) then it is the “nerve center” of the home. It’s where things happen.

Sit down at your kitchen table and just look around. You’ll be amazed at what you see…

I’m not going to share my prayer – it’s too personal – but I’ll tell you some of what I see.

First of all, the table is cluttered with books and papers and such – an indication of our busy lives. I am thankful for each of these “activities” and the health to pursue them.

I see a jar lid that says “A B 88” – that stands for “Apple Butter 1988”. It is in my Mother’s handwriting… I miss her so much, and I am so thankful for how I was raised.

I see a couple of boxes of herbal tea that our younger son brought in, and a western magazine belonging to our older son… I pray for, and am thankful for them. We are so blessed.

On the refrigerator is a photo of my husband – what we have is beyond words. And, there’s a card from my daughter-in-law – such a special gal!

I also see a photo of a friend’s baby, a “Lucy and Ethel” magnet from a very close friend and a faculty list from our local high school (I often pray for these teachers and school staff.)

Looking on around I see “treen-ware” (wooden spoons) and a handmade “cat doll” and herbal vinegars made by craft/artist friends; each of whom hold a dear place in my heart.

There are gifts from this one, and utensils from that one and items that spark all kinds of memories. And, as those memories roll in, I pray for these folks and thank God for their place in my life.

I am also thankful for the time I can take, with my coffee, before the day begins to meditate on God’s grace and the overwhelming blessings He has given us.

No, our lives aren’t perfect – and I’ve cried many tears at this kitchen table – but this morning, as I look at the bounty from last summer, the cookbooks on the shelf, the antique dishes belonging to my “faith mothers”, and the coats hanging on the chair backs – I am reminded (again) of just how blessed we are.

I didn’t set out this morning to do this. God just opened my eyes at my kitchen table – let Him open yours, today.

God, thank you for opening my eyes this morning. I pray for my friends and those who seek to serve You daily. Use the “little things”, I pray, to spark memories, and bring to mind “faces” of those for whom You would have us pray, today.

In Jesus’ Name – Amen.

After this, I don’t think I’ll ever look at my kitchen the same way again!

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This prayer was originally written for the National Day of Prayer – but what better time to share it than on Election Day…


National Day of Prayer

As I was thinking and praying this morning on this National Day of Prayer, I thought about our country and our leaders. I don’t agree with a lot that is happening in our country, but I am told by God’s word to pray for our leaders – and so I was, but still, my mind couldn’t shake the “troubling times” in which we live. I thought of children and of unborn children and what they might have to face in the years to come. Joe and I questioned whether we should bring children into the world, and for our children having children, the question is even more daunting.

As that was rummaging around in my mind, my thoughts turned to Daniel. How must his parents have felt when he was born? It is likely that he was born in the later days of Josiah, a very good and Godly king, but when Josiah died, things turned bad, quickly. (Three of Josiah’s sons would eventually become king, and of each it is said, “He did evil in the sight of the Lord.”)

One of the key things that I always teach about the Bible is that it is a “real book”. The people are real, the times are real, and they lived very real lives – just like you and I do. So, in that regard, think about Daniel. Daniel was born into a very prestigious family, if not the royal family itself, so his parents saw first hand the things that were happening to the nation. After the “great awakening” that took place under Josiah, how did they feel as they watched God being mocked and the morality of the nation declining? Did they worry about what the future held for their children? Like us, I’m sure they did.

Then came the day when Nebuchadnezzar’s army crashed through the gates of Jerusalem and the captivity for the Israelites began. And among the first group that was taken was the young man Daniel. Were his parents killed? Was Daniel pulled from his mother’s grasp as she cried out his name? We don’t know these details, but what we do know is Daniel’s story as a captive in Babylon – and what a story it is! Daniel made a difference.

Get that – Daniel made a difference!

Yes, he was in captivity. Yes, it was awful times. But Daniel made a difference – and made a difference that (I think) even impacted the Magi who would find the newborn King some 600 years later! What does that say to us today? It says parents (grandparents) teach your children well. “Times” may not get easier – in fact they may get downright hard, but our children MUST make a difference! Who knows where among us there may be a Daniel?


Father, we pray for this nation and our world, but we pray especially for our children who will be facing the future. Equip them to stand and to make a difference. Raise up a Daniel among us O Lord for the days look dark ahead.

O Father, the pleadings of Isaiah and the weeping prophet Jeremiah calling their nation to repentance keep sounding in our ears. O God! What will it take to bring our nation to repentance? Economic woes haven’t done it. Terrorist attacks haven’t done it. National disasters haven’t done it. What Lord? Will it take exile?

There are small flickers and sparks of renewal throughout the land. Merciful God, bless our children and fan those flickers into flames and save us O God; do save us now, in the precious name of Jesus we plead – Amen.






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You Have Brought Me to a Place

You have brought me to a place, Oh Lord, of dizzying heights; a place where my breathing quickens and my heart beats a little faster. I just can’t get my mind “wrapped around it.” It is… I don’t know how to describe it… hyper-awareness of Your Presence and Spirit. I just seem to be engulfed by Your very Being.

Oh God! Even as “life” goes on around it – the washer, the dryer, the telephone – the connection is not broken. I am thankful that it is not like the elusive butterfly, where the slightest movement causes it to flutter away. No, Your Presence is all encompassing, ever present, ever near. Thank You for allowing me to be aware of Your Presence – Your Spirit.

God, sometimes I think I’m crazy. Does anyone else in the world sense You as I do? I’m nearly afraid to speak of it; afraid to get “that” look. Either the “look” is a glassy-eyed stare of incomprehension, or a pitying look of condescension. It’s either “I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about” or “You poor thing. You really believe that, don’t you…?”

Yes, I do believe it, God. And I pray, my Father, that You will give me words to explain it.

In Jesus’ Name – Amen.

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As I Went Down to the River to Pray…

I went to an old fashioned “down at the river” baptism recently. As I watched the preacher immerse the participants, I noticed that with each one, as they went into and came up out of the water, the water rippled out from them much in the same way as when one tosses a rock into the water.

As I watched the ripples waft farther and farther away, the next person was submerged and the ripples started anew. And I thought about how appropriate – how metaphorically true that was. Each of our lives “ripples” out to reach other’s lives, and then their lives in turn “ripple” out as well. You will reach people that I will never know, and your impact on my life will, in turn, reach people you will never know – and their lives will reach even beyond your or my wildest imagination.

Someone once said, “We stand on the shoulders of the Saints…” and indeed we do.

Then I saw another thing. There were 3 adults and 2 children. The adults went first with the children following and I thought again, how true. For as the ripples of the adults begin to fade away and meld into the river’s current, then the ripples of the younger generation started anew. And that’s how it should be. As God calls Saints to their reward, this earthly cycle starts yet again.

Moses died and Joshua led the children of Israel across the Jordan River. Elijah laid his mantel on Elisha. David gave the throne to Solomon. Jesus told Peter to “feed My sheep” and He gave us the Great Commission to go into all the world, “baptizing in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit” so that the “ripples” will continue to flow…

Think about it, are we creating ripples, or just making waves?



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This is a prayer from the farm, written one late summer evening…


Father, as I sit out here on the back porch, I realize how blessed we are – how very blessed I am. As all I hear are the birds twittering, squirrels chattering, jar flies – well, jarring, and dogs barking in the distance. I think about what I don’t hear. I don’t hear families fighting, people cursing, tires squealing, or sirens wailing. I don’t hear babies and children crying from fear or hunger. And I have never, ever, heard a gun shot in anger.

I can’t even imagine hearing machine guns, tanks, or bombs.

Oh God, my heart aches for those who do…

Even our animals are blessed. Our dog moves from one spot to another and emits a low moan as she flops down. The cat stretches and begins to clean himself, without a worry (if cats worry) about where his next meal is coming from.

If our horses are injured, we don’t hesitate, we call the vet. And Father, I know there are those who can’t even call a doctor if their child is ill.  Are we wrong for what we have? Should we, like those in the early church in Jerusalem, sell our possessions and give to those who have nothing?

Or should we just be more responsible stewards, and more thankful for our wealth (and that is, what it is – wealth) and these great blessings that You’ve given us.

Father, show us what You would have us do…

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