Posts tagged: prayer

LIVING HOPE- Dreams and Disappointments, Part 3: 02/06/18

By , February 15, 2018 9:55 pm
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This was our third week on Dreams and Disappoints, a mini-series within our topic of LIVING HOPE. Our praise and worship songs were “I Have A Hope” by Tommy Walker, “Jordan’s Stormy Banks” by Jars of Clay, and “King of My Heart” by Sarah McMillan.
Kathy reviewed how to understand when our dreams are God initiated through the story of Hannah.  She also explored how we use prayer and worship to grow in our Living Hope as we trust the Lord with our dreams.

 

 

LIVING HOPE- Prayers for Living Hope and Healing Rain: 11/14/17

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By , November 15, 2017 12:20 pm
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We began our ninth lesson in the series LIVING HOPE with praise and worship singing  Healing Rain by Michael W. Smith, Solid Rock by Austin Stone.

Kathy finished our fall session on Living Hope with an explanation of what it means practice Living Hope in dry places through prayer and what it means to pray for rain in the rainy season.

THINK AGAIN-Cultivating the Mind of Christ; Prayer Workshop: 11/08/16

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By , November 8, 2016 10:40 pm
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We began today with a brief lesson on the importance of worship.  In our praise and worship time we sang I’m Going Free (Jailbreak) by Bethel Church Live and Lord, I Need you by Matt Maher.

Today was a workshop day, so we had time to pray, meditate, journal and praise while waiting for individual time of prayer with leaders.

Feast For A Summer Day

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By , July 1, 2014 10:06 pm
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Each man will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.

Isaiah 32:2 NIV

 
Hot summertime is the perfect time to stop and feast. Most of us can find reasons to celebrate in summer: school’s out, the water’s warm, reunions and holidays abound. But I’ve also noticed that summer can be awkward middle ground, sandwiched there between what has been and what is coming next. I’ve found myself antsy and impatient, as uncomfortable as a wet bathing suit in an air-conditioned room, wondering, “How long until we get there?”
 
So I invited some of my prayer partners over for lunch last week because the Bible tells us to keep the feast “until He comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26) Not one of us around that table is without an “until He comes” place—where we’re waiting on God to come and provide or restore or heal or to answer that special prayer. How wonderful to have people who care about those situations and who are willing to wait with us until the moment when our faith becomes sight.
 
We didn’t really do anything “spiritual” — we talked and laughed and told stories and caught up on life. But we did do something supernatural. We obeyed God’s call to come together and feast. What we experienced had little to do with what we ate and everything to do with the connection that happened. We gathered as the family of God, feasting on love that never fails and laughter that is such good medicine (1 Corinthians 13:8, Proverbs 17:22)! No wonder we came away refreshed and fueled–better equipped to face the heat and drought and weariness of our circumstances.
 
 
Everyone asked for the recipes for this gluten free summertime feast. Chicken salad was the entrée, and I added a hearty black and wild rice salad for our vegetarian friends. Fresh fruit, vine-ripened tomato slices, deviled eggs, and gluten free crackers completed the menu. Cookies and coffee were offered for dessert. I hope you will enjoy these recipes for your next light lunch, beach trip, or tailgate.
 
chicken salad
 
CURRIED CHICKEN SALAD
 
4 bone-in chicken breasts, cooked
¾ cup pecans
½ cup celery, chopped fine
½ cup scallion, chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
¾ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
 
Cook chicken breasts in seasoned water until done, about 30 minutes. Leave them in the broth to cool (at least 1 hour and up to overnight). Remove chicken from the bone, shredding with your fingers, and then chop finely with a knife. Toast pecans for about 8 minutes in the oven or 1 to 2 minutes in the microwave. Let the nuts cool slightly and chop coarsely. Mix mayonnaise with the remaining ingredients, whisking to blend well.
 
Combine all ingredients and adjust seasonings to your liking. (This ratio of dressing to chicken does not yield a very creamy style of chicken salad. Good for my family, but you may prefer more mayonnaise.) Serves 12. This recipe is definitely better the 2nd day!
 
Recipe adapted from one shared by Karyn Badeaux. She gave a lovely birthday lunch for our friend Debbie Brazeal and much of my inspiration for this party came from her!
 
rice salad
 
BLACK AND WILD RICE SALAD
 
1½ cup black rice
½ cup wild rice
Kosher salt
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons honey
½ cup scallions, chopped
½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup apple, chopped
1 cup pistachios, toasted
 
Cook black rice and wild rice in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 35-40 minutes; drain and rinse, shaking off as much water as possible. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet and let cool.
 
Whisk vinegar, honey, and remaining ¼ cup oil in a large bowl. Add black rice and wild rice, scallions, apples, bell pepper, and pistachios; season with salt and pepper and toss to combine. (This recipe must sit overnight to let it absorb the dressing. If serving the same day, use only part of the dressing mixture before serving. Save the remainder and add before storing.)
 
Adapted from Bon Appétit, January 2014
 
crackers
tomatoes

Intruder Alert!

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By , January 27, 2014 9:41 pm
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Don’t miss the new semester of Times of Refreshing: Re-Thinking Work and Rest beginning January 28th. Join us in person on Tuesday mornings at 10 at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Room 104 and invite your friends! If that is not possible, you can take advantage of this teaching series via our website. The weekly message and handouts will upload on Wednesday afternoons and can be accessed 24/7 at www.divinedesigndiscipleship.com under our Resources tab. Please join us at a day and time that is convenient for you.

 

 

INTRUDER ALERT!

My soul still remembers and sinks within me

Lamentations 3:20 NKJV

 
We dropped our suitcases at the back door, arriving home from a trip, destination now long forgotten. Home sweet home—I love that feeling of returning to the familiar, tired but refreshed, ready to get back to my regular routine. My first task was to take the dirty clothes downstairs to start a load of wash. As I made my way through the kitchen I noticed something that stopped me in my tracks. There was a piece of shutter, a slat that bore deep indentations, sitting in a pile of sawdust. Obviously we had had an intruder in our absence, one with two sharp front teeth.
 
Going directly to the room where the shutters hung, I was mortified to discover that the scoundrel had gnawed most of my windows. In the adjacent room, I found small brown pellets littering the floor. Then I turned to see the worst violation of all—my newly upholstered chair, the one with the pretty pale blue damask, wore an ugly yellow stain on its right arm.
 
Horrified, I screamed for my husband, “Bob, come here!” He stopped his unpacking to find me. “Look at this. It’s all ruined!” I said. “How in the world did this happen?” He suspected that a squirrel had gotten into the house while we were away. He went to work locating and evicting the nuisance.
 
We determined that the little creep had wriggled in through the chimney. I never again wanted to deal with a problem like this, so I promptly called a chimney sweep to close up the entry point. His services were a bargain compared with the expense it took to undo the more visible damage.
 
This little episode was not catastrophic, but it was costly and inconvenient. And it serves as a great illustration of deeper things. Countless times across the years I’ve walked into situations where intruders like fear, anger or shame seemingly came out of nowhere. I’m left wondering why these unwelcome reactions were able to barge in and leave their marks.
 
I recently put this principle to use when I noticed I was a bit anxious about my new sport of swimming. Every time I go to the pool to swim laps, it takes me a few minutes of praying and rehearsing Scripture to overcome an unpleasant sense of dread. It’s not full-blown panic, I just feel tense and anxious in a way that’s not compatible with my true desire to be there for exercise and relaxation.
 
It finally occurred to me to ask God what was going on here. No sooner did I ask than He brought to my recollection an event buried deeply in my memory: I had nearly drowned once! It’s hard to imagine that I could I forget something like that, but I did.
 
My anxiety over swimming may seem like a minor thing, but God demonstrated that He stands willing and able to help. Identifying the entry point (the near-drowning incident) was curative in itself. But God went beyond informing me and administered emotional healing as well. His healing touch came when He led me to Psalm 18:16, “He reached down from high above and took hold of me. He pulled me out of the raging water.”
 
God knew that I was in danger that day long ago, and He sent someone to rescue me. When I realized this, not only did I feel loved and protected, but dread and anxiety lost their power over me. I knew through and through that the same God that can deliver me from a scrape with death can certainly keep me safe in the swimming pool!
 
How comforting to know that I can call upon my Redeemer in prayer when events from the past have left their imprint inside of me. I am learning to ask God to examine my thoughts, feelings and experience to find out where the squirrel got in and make the needed repairs in my soul.
 

My spirit, why are you so sad? Why are you so upset deep down inside me? Put your hope in God. Once again I will have reason to praise him. He is my Savior and my God.

 

Psalms 42:11 NIRV

 
Here is a sample prayer you can use to explore entry points when you experience emotional responses you can’t explain:

 

Lord, in the places where my soul is disturbed within me, I pray that You would reach down to reveal and heal. I open the book of my life to You. Search each page of my history. I give you complete access to my memories, emotionally charged circumstances, and significant events or environments that have intruded my life. Show me where the squirrel got in and continues to rob me of peace and joy even today. I invite Your healing touch. Come quickly, Lord, and repair what’s broken. Thank You for being a God who sees, cares, and redeems. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 

 

 

 

 

Due Diligence, 10/01/13

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By , October 2, 2013 10:19 am
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This week we sat and soaked in the song “Come To Me” by Bethel Worship and Jenn Johnson. Then we sang 1)  Jesus I Am Resting Resting by Tricia Brock  2) The Lord Our God by Passion (feat. Kristian Stanfill and 3) In Christ Alone by Passion (feat. Kristian Stanfill)

We continued our look into Hebrews 4, further exploring  1) AWARENESS of wandering, wanting, and winning  2) ADMISSION of the ways we are restless and 3) how APPRECIATION leads us through the gates of the Lord and into His rest.

Ruth: A Study of Redemption, Week 8 – 04/16/13

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By , April 17, 2013 8:06 pm
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We wrapped up our study of Ruth this week as we examined chapter 4.

Ruth: A Study of Redemption, Week 7 – 04/09/13

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By , April 9, 2013 10:23 pm
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We continued our look at the third chapter of Ruth, using her encounter with Boaz as a model for prayer.

Fresh Hope

By , March 11, 2013 6:38 pm
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With Christians and non-Christians alike, challenging circumstances tend to turn us inward. We grit our teeth and hope the challenges end sooner rather than later. Not my dear friend Mary White—read how her prayers took her from grim resignation to a place of fresh hope:

 

My dad is 83 years old, and just last October shortly after my mom passed away, he made the choice to sell their home and move into a retirement community. This was an easy move for him considering the circumstances. My older brother (who also lives in Greenville) and I spent a long weekend moving him in and getting him all settled.

 

Now my dad has never been one to display lots of emotion or share his feelings. We are not very close because we have not really shared our hearts with each other. We can talk about the weather or food or a football game but that’s about as deep as it goes. Over the years, the Lord has helped me to hope for more in the way of relationship with my dad but at the same time love and accept him where he is.

 

So after just a few short weeks in his new home, my dad got sick and was hospitalized. After 3 weeks in intensive care, the decision was made that he needed more care than the retirement community could provide and he would have to move to a nursing home.

 

This move was tough on my dad. In 6 short months he had lost his wife, his home, his health and his independence. Once again I headed to Greenville for a visit and an opportunity to love and encourage him.

 

That morning as I prayed, I asked the Lord what I could do to comfort and help a man who struggled even on a good day to share his emotions and feelings with the people closest to him. The Lord led me to the story in John 12 where Mary comes in and pours a jar of oil on Jesus’ feet and wipes them with her hair. And I thought, “Jesus, this is a very close, intimate picture. I could never do something like that with my dad. We would both be so uncomfortable.” The truth of that statement made me sad. But at the same time I was also hopeful, hopeful for what could be.

 

So as I sat outside the nursing home that morning, praying before I went in, I was nervous and uncomfortable as I remembered the picture of Mary and Jesus. I called out for help and told the Lord I was weak in the area of connecting with my dad and didn’t know what to do. I was thankful when He reminded me that I am never alone and when I am weak He is strong. He always comes to my rescue when I am honest with him and ask for help.

 

Unsure and shaky, weak and uncomfortable, I walked into my dad’s room. To my surprise I met a wonderful man named Dave from my parent’s church who “just so happened” to stop by for a visit that morning! What my dad lacked in emotion, Dave made up for. As he prayed for dad I could sense God’s comfort and encouragement in the room. I silently prayed “Thank you God for showing up!” Then Dave turned to me and asked if he could pray for me. God knew exactly what I needed. Dave prayed and said his goodbyes and had not been out the door 1 minute when another person from the church came in! (You have to understand that my dad doesn’t have many visitors) The Lord knew I needed some help and he sent it.

 

After our visitors had left, dad and I were going through some mail together and he came upon a card from an old friend. Tears filled his eyes as he read the card and he looked at me and said, “The years go by so fast.” I took his hand and sat in the moment and cried with him. We didn’t have to say a word. It was an intimate, connected moment with my dad that I will never forget.

 

Just before leaving that afternoon, I remembered that I had some comfy socks in my bag that I had bought for dad and asked if he would like to put them on. As he said yes, I realized he was unable to do this for himself. Before I knew it or could really think about it, there I was—kneeling at my dad’s feet in his wheelchair, taking off his slippers and placing those new socks on his feet. The picture that God had given me of Mary and Jesus that morning quickly came to mind. Amazing, God… another intimate moment.

 

What I had allowed myself to hope for, God made happen. God is showing me, through a long challenging relationship, that it is never too late for Him to soften hearts. He is a redeeming God that can make anything new! Don’t ever give up on love because if we will allow it, love wins every time!

 

 

He rekindles burned-out lives with fresh hope, restoring dignity and respect to their lives.

 1 Samuel 2:8 MSG

Glad Bags

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By , January 28, 2013 4:16 pm
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glad bags3

 

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.

1 Pt 5:7 NLT

 
My mornings begin with a very large cup of coffee (so large that my family calls it a tankard) and a sit-down session with Jesus. He is my number one go-to person. I want to run everything by Him because it is His opinion that I value above all others. I’ve learned by experience that whatever perspective or direction I receive from Him is so much better than anything I could come up with on my own.
 
There is one problem with my fervent desire to hear from the Lord. It is that I often find myself 20 or 30 minutes into my time with Him and all I’ve done is verbalize my list of issues. I’ve done all the talking and have left no opening to receive His input.
 
One of my spiritual mentors has great wisdom on the subject of prayer. She recently shared a strategy with me that has truly revolutionized my time with the Lord. Because it has helped me contain all my wayward thoughts and enjoy Jesus more, I call it the Glad Bag technique. It goes something like this:

  • Generate a list of the things that are vying for your attention right now. Take a couple of minutes (no more than 2) to transfer your concerns to paper.
  • Identify the 3 items on your list that are the most pressing.
  • Choose one of these 3 high priority concerns. Bring it to the forefront of your awareness, and then let it sit in your lap. Feel the weight of this issue.
  • Picture a colored paper bag and put the item inside.
  • Repeat this weighing and bagging procedure for your top 3 issues, choosing a different color bag for each item.
  • Ask yourself which one of these 3 items is the heaviest and, therefore, in greatest need of your prayers at the moment.
  • Before going to prayer, turn your attention to the other bags and say, “Right now I’m going to talk to the Lord about something else. You are important and I will get back to you later.”

 
Once I started to practice the Glad Bag technique, I quickly realized how much anxiety I had been carrying! This strategy helped me to prioritize and deal with the things that needed my immediate attention. It also gave me permission to let other matters wait, to be handled in God’s timing. It was reassuring to remember that God knows best when and how to address every concern of my heart.
 
Why did it surprise me that the Lord is really good at getting around to dealing with the items I entrust to Him in a timely and excellent way? Worries that never materialized were forgotten and brilliant solutions were implemented for the rest.
 
One morning I approached my prayer chair, coffee in hand, after several weeks of using this strategy. In my mind’s eye I saw all my bags still sitting there in a row where I’d left them the day before. “Yes!” I exclaimed, “God’s still holding the bags!” I was glad to realize that when I give my concerns to Him they don’t automatically revert back to my care each day at dawn. What a relief!
 
Now that I understand that it isn’t necessary for me to repeat my prayers about each issue each day, I am more relaxed. Having transferred all those responsibilities to God, my mind is uncluttered. I’m ready to listen and tackle one topic at a time.
 
So nowadays, unless there is a new circumstance that needs to be addressed, I begin my day liberated from the distraction of problems to be solved and decisions to be made – those are sitting in a row awaiting the Master’s wise and loving solutions. This new practice has opened the door to deeper intimacy with Jesus. It is a joy to simply sit down with my coffee and say, “Lord, what is on Your heart today?”
 

Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

Proverbs 8:34 NIV

 

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