Tag Archives: prayer
I was on a journey tonight. I looked at the wild fire maps since we really don’t hear much about them on the news. There are a lot. They seem to be covering many states in many different parts of our country. I looked at the pictures of tired fire-fighters, wild animals wading in streams, smoke plumes blotting out the sun.
I felt sad.
I looked at the hurricane damage from Harvey in TX – Irma/Jose in FL and the various islands – Maria’s damage to those same islands and Puerto Rico. So much damage. So many people without power. So many people trying to figure out how to find a way to get food, shelter, clothing.
I felt sadder.
I looked at the pictures from Mexico. People digging with bare hands at a crumpled school. Parents crying over bodies. Buildings cracked. Roads separated. People sitting in the street with their head in their hands.
Sad doesn’t begin to describe how I feel.
Money doesn’t seem to be enough when the earth is quaking under the feet – the seas roiling past sandy borders – fires blackening everything in its path.
Tears gather. The throat tightens. I look away from the images and look out the windows of my well-lit, air-conditioned, over-stuffed refrigerator home and into the darkness of the night. So many people. Strangers far away. Not to mention – friends and family who message me – asking me to join them in prayer – the clerk at the grocery who can barely move her fingers due to scleroderma – the megastore worker who has to use a cart to get around – the military families separated to different parts of the world.
Shadow Kitten, who has taken to sitting on the back of my chair most nights starts to pat my hair with her paw. I reach up and she pats my hand. The dogs shift from their sleeping positions to look up at me. Hubby’s snores gently rattle the quiet and a light catches the corner of my eye. A verse circles round.
“Therefore, I beg of you that before all things, you will offer supplications to God, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving, for the sake of all people”~1 Tim 2:1
Feelings don’t really matter in the scheme of things, but there is one thing that does. Prayer.
Time to talk with Our Father.
Time to talk with His Son.
Time in Pray.
Time to pray as one voice.
It is perhaps more important today than it has ever been in my lifetime. Yeshua modeled prayer many times as He walked this earth. The first century church flourished in prayer more than it did from preaching or creative song. We may not have enough money to help everyone. Many of us can not make our way or have the resources to get to all these places, but we all can pray. Pray as Yeshua taught us to pray. Pray for the people suffering – the people helping – the countries dealing – and the peace of the new day coming.
The first day of the month of Tishrei in the Jewish calendar is over. The shofar has sounded its warning to awake. The month of reflection and repentance end and the High Holy Days of 5778 now begin. It is – perhaps – a new day for all of us. All we have to do is trust Our Father. Trust His Word. Trust that we remember how to be His people. Trust His Son to help us as we pray….
“… ‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’ ” ~Matt 6:10-13 [google image]
Never fails. When we start a new project, something breaks – beside my toe (actually I think it is just stoved – or at least that is what I am telling myself). Money in – money out.The good news is our handy-dandy fix-it guy showed up in time to help a very tired Hubby unload some more block. Another prayer answered.
Maybe that is why the world is having a problem. Maybe God has started a new project, so things are breaking all over the place, and the handy-dandy fix-it man is on his way. Gotta admit, I hope so. I keep watching the skies and moving my lips in prayer.
My war room door is becoming filled with prayer lists and affirmations of promises given by our Father. Prayer is so important. I was reading about Hannah today. Like many of our memorable matriarchs she had trouble conceiving. Jewish tradition speaks that God did not want them to believe in Him just because their husbands did. The matriarchs were just as important as the patriarchs in Hashem’s eyes. He wanted them to seek Him with their hearts. Hannah’s prayer did this on all levels, and her prayer became a model on how we should pray.
Silently, moving her lips but without voice, tears wetting her cheeks, she spoke directly to Him: ‘Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
If you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain,
If you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me…’ ~1 Sam 1:11a
Direct, simple, full of everything she dreamed and desired.
Our Father loves it when we come to Him – when we seek Him. Everyday – around 6 PM – I pray for our country and the leaders that will take over in 19 days. I pray for the leaders today who are making decisions this week for us and for Israel in the UN.
Prayer is important.
1942 Daily Rations: ” ‘Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread?’~Isaiah 55:2
“Ours is a vitamin-conscious age. Every schoolboy knows why he must drink milk and eat vegetables. For lack of vitamins, children with full stomachs may suffer from malnutrition. Health depends upon what one eats more than it depends upon how much one eats.
“Ours is a day in which the printed page has come into its own. Never before was printers’ ink used in such abundance. People spend millions of dollars every year for printed matter—-newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, books. But what does this money buy? Much of the so-called reading matter of our day is not bread, but so much sawdust. Some of it is poison. One reads this sort of magazine or book only to come away feeling still hungry,- – – and sometimes sick!
“But why should we pay our money for that which is not bread? Why should we spend our labor, and precious hours of time, with lifeless husks when God has given us, in the Bible and in other great literature, a whole storehouse of ‘vitamins’ which our souls crave and which we need if we are to have robust spiritual health?
“Read: John 6:22-35
When the hint of the first breath invades my dreams, I know it will be an uncommon day. Off and on it continue to swirl through out my day like puffs of cinnamon and pine at Christmas, imprinting their message somewhere deep within me. A breath of a word without diction – an eternal groaning somewhere deep beyond my understanding – a.squeeze-the-eyes-tight-to-shut-off-the-water day.
Prayer days are beyond me, but I try. Sometimes, it is for one person. Sometimes the images are layered – one upon another till the colors scratch my eyes with their brilliance. But it doesn’t matter. Most of the time, I never know why these days happen. I just know they do and so – I do.
Prayer is important. Just as these Rations seem to be more important everyday.The election is 45 days away. A journey that begs a little silence before the first step – – -or if we are strong enough to follow Rabbi Yeshua’s lead – – – 40 days of prayer. We already live in the wilderness, so we’re half way there.
1942 Daily Ration: ” ‘Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness.’~Matthew 4:1-11
“Read: Matthew 4:1-11
“The six weeks which Jesus spent in the wilderness has been called the period of temptation. But it was more than that; it was a period of preparation- – -a time of concentrated thought and calm meditation. Never were quiet hours more needed than they are today. ‘Whirl is king,’ is truer than when Aristophanes uttered the words. Our minds have been likened to a railway waiting room where people bound hither and thither are assembled. It is hard for our distracted minds to attain unity of purpose and to select a destination. There is an old Russian custom according to which a person before starting on a journey sat down and spent half a minute in silence. We need daily quiet ties that we may reduce life to order and reflect on whither we are going.
I have come to depend on these RATIONS. As I started to read about the downed plane, I found myself thinking about recent plane crashes – as if this wasn’t written in the 1940’s.
It is the same when I am reading the Bible. Linear time seems to circle into a bubble that bobs up and down on the truthful water that keeps us from ever thirsting again.
“But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”~Jn 4:14
It is good to remember prayer. It is good to spend time drinking the water and eating the manna that Christ brought to us from His well. The important thing is that we remember to drink and eat – in remembrance of Him– our eternal truth.
1942 DAILY RATION: “But I give myself unto prayer,”~Ps 109:4
READ: Luke 11:1-13
“Not long ago a large plane went down in the Pacific Ocean. Something was wrong with the wireless equipment, and all passengers were lost because of failure to contact a rescue ship.
“Such disasters are tragic, but there is one that is worse than plane crashing. That is a life crashing because of failure to keep in contact with the Eternal God. For such contact, there is nothing that can take the place of prayer. There can be no faith, no high and holy living, no real sense of truth, beauty, goodness, no ideal of service, no hope in this life or for the life to come, without the constant outreach of our lives to God.
“The Psalmist was in extreme need when he spoke these words; ‘But I give myself unto prayer…’. But he did not wait till he was faced with this extremity. He had always prayed. And he fills this difficult moment with the most powerful experience possible in life — – -prayer. God never lets a man down who does this thing.
“PRAYER: Dear God, teach me to pray with complete trust in thy infinite love, thy unfailing providence. In Christ’s name. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “So may we send our little timid thought — Across the void, out to God’s reaching hands – – –
Send out our love and faith to thread the deep – – –
Thought after thought, until the little cord
Has greatened to a chain no chance can break,
And we are anchored to the Infinite.~Markham.
Did you know that the first recorded prayer in the Bible was prayed on the behalf of others?
Not for self.
Not for a loved one.
Not for friends (although some of the city’s inhabitants were definitely related).
Not for fellow believers of Abraham’s God (although assuredly there were a few there) .
It was prayed over the people of Sodom. People who were into doing harm to others. People who didn’t seem to respect anything except self-gratification.
That was just the kind of man of God Abraham was.
“Then Abraham approached him and said: ‘Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked?”~Gen 18:23
Abraham, the father of this new belief, set a great role model for those to follow. The first prayer out of his mouth was for others. When we pray for others we truly become a “person” of God.
Jewish wisdom points to the fact that it “seems” as if this first prayer went unanswered at best – denied probably. Jewish sages believe this was to remind Abraham that prayer is more than just a communication with a “magic being” who will grant our every wish.
Since I was late getting to the computer today and was praying The America’s Prayer Minute at six o’clock, I was thinking about how important Prayer is to our lives and to the lives of those around us. Praying for the salvation of others is a touchstone of our faith. Today’s RATION just backs that up.
“To want to be right with God, is, according to Jesus, one of the eight requirements for inner peace and blessedness. Anyone who drives an automobile knows how distressing it is to have anything about the engine out of adjustment. Any rattle, knock, squeak or pounding in the motor calls for immediate attention. On the other hand, a smooth-running-engine brings to a competent driver’s mind a very real sense of joy and security. Now, righteousness is ur adjustment ot God. Sin, selfishness, any failure to co-operate with the will of God, any defiance of the moral law will cause rattles, squeaks, and poundings in our spiritual engines. We are out of adjustment. Inner peace coes only through harmony with God.’
“Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.~Matt 5:6
“Read: Ps. 139:23-24
“Prayer: O God, we would be a part of the great harmony of creation. We would choose to do that which is right and true, just and generous and brave, that our lives may beat in tune with the Infinite and our goals and purposes be acceptable to thee. Help us all our lives to fulfill thy holly will in the spirit of Jesus Christ, our LORD. Amen”
“A chair is still a chair
Even when there’s no one sitting there
But a chair is not a house
And a house is not a home….”
Knick-knacks wrapped and tucked into containers. Teacher lesson plans/books/teacher samples that STILL have some sort of power over me, have jumped off the shelf and into their old boxes that they remember well from our school days together. 35 other books (that weren’t so powerful in their magic) raced out the door, jumped into the car for a ride to our local Saxapahaw community bookshelf to be re-homed. And – the piles of containers continues to grow higher.
“A room is still a room
Even when there’s nothing there but gloom;
But a room is not a house,
And a house is not a home
When the two of us are far apart…”
To me, a lot of what makes a house a home is the heirlooms. Today, I watched my daughter climb up on the kitchen counter and pulled down things that sat in our OH homes and even some from my parents’ home. Things that hung in a window. Things that sat on a shelf and lit the night with their simpleness. Things made by hand from someone that loved us. Those are treasures I can’t seem to part with – even as I pack them once again.
“Now and then I call your name
And suddenly your face appears…”
There are still a million and one things to pack. There are still pictures hanging all over the walls that defy any container whatsoever. The golden threads that ties four generations together on one wall will be some of the last things to head out the door. After all – it is the people that truly make the home. The Grands laughing and racing to the hot tub every time they come over. The little table that helped me write my first words – the same one that sat patiently as all of my children scattered their treasures on its nursery rhyme top – the same table that now jiggles and giggles as the Grands create new masterpieces of pictures and words.
The neat part is knowing that once it is all packed away – once the house is cleaned and empty – this house will hold a lot of happy memories to pass on to the new owners, so that they can make it their home. And us? After all the times we have moved, I think we know how to make a house a home.
A little hard work.
A few touchstones.
A lot of love.
The daily WORD.
And – tons and tons of prayer – circling and weaving Our Father’s blessing around what He has entrusted to us. That is why Covenant always plays a prominent role in the name of our properties. A simple reminder of a promise given long ago by a promise keeper who never breaks His word.
“He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word [which] he commanded to a thousand generations.”~Psalms 105:8-11
Today I pulled out a 14 year old shirt. An old shirt with stains around the collar from the iron in our water at the Perrysville house. A shirt made with tears and love. A shirt crafted by a talented co-worker in the late night hours after the lights in the school had gone dark. Dark.
“In all their distress He too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.”
I pulled out a shirt today to remember when our world turned incredibly darker. Where we were is etched in our mind. The ordinary activities tied tightly to the immoral act unfolding on our TV screens. The school, which is normally full of various voices, jovial jokesters, and trivial trips here and there, was abnormally quiet as I worked through the doors. TV’s rarely used were strongly speaking, conveying pictures of the unbelievable darkness.
I had already cried and prayed on the way into my school. I was only working part time, so the first plane hitting a tower was fresh in my mind. I remember being in the kitchen, stopping what I was doing and walking into the family room to see the unbelievable. The second plane played out over my car radio. God shook my land and I prayed for wisdom. Like most teachers across the nation, all lesson plans became inconsequential. Almost 15 years prior to 2001, my 6th grade class and I watched Challenger blow up on live TV. Lesson plans on grammar and reading can wait when the land is shaken and its people humbled.
“In His love and mercy He redeemed them;”
By the time, I arrived, the school was silent. The principal’s office was fielding parental calls, but gave the okay to turn on the TV. I went to my room and began taking notes on the giant post-its that hung on the wall. The kids filed in silently,pulled out their own notes, and we began to talk and write softly. We established time-lines as best we could. We watched in horror and sorrow. Some wept. Some stoically held the hands of those closest to them. Then we began to write. Some wrote poetry. Some newstories. Some drew pictures. Some wrote editorials. We had a newspaper to produce.
With the help of the school counselor, we added (what are now) iconic colored pictures of that day. It was the only time our small student newspaper ever used color. This issue was too important to charge money for it. The students chose to give it away (we usually charged a quarter), but we took donations to send to NYC. The editors walked through the seats, laying a precious newspaper on every seat so that parents coule read what their children had observed and thought about the tragedy. A usually boistrous gym was silent as the students and parents silently filtered in that old gym. The choir teacher led the choir in songs of sadness and patriotic songs that we all sang. For a short time, the flags flew high. The people mourned. The land humbled itself and prayed. And for that brief moment, we were truly – “one country under God – indivisible…”
“He lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.” — Isaiah 63:9
What a fun day!!! Walked the neighborhood. Saw amazing clouds. Played with dogs. AND – finally – I can see the top of my desk. Needless to say – I still have piles of pictures – I still have more photos from the Kaufman albums and my mom’s box to figure out where they go – BUT I CAN SEE THE TOP OF MY DESK! Sometimes, that is just enough. A small step in the right direction completed.
“If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you like to win, but you think you can’t,
It is almost certain you won’t.
Under one of the piles was a tiny notebook. It’s hard black vinyl cover is stiff. The “Made in the USA” company logo is still imprinted clearly on the back cover. Tiny binder rings seem to work as well as when it was new. 6 rings that are still aligned properly – snapping open and shut as fast as my arthritic fingers can move. In these days of “throw-away” binders, it makes you wonder at the workmanship of an earlier time. A tiny flap in the back could even hold secrets, if someone wanted to tuck one inside of it.
“If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,
For out in the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow’s will.
It’s all in the state of mind.
Dad’s handwriting fills the first few pages with addresses – names of local elders from my childhood stare back at me.. Masonic? Legion? Paper route? Smith, Gettrest, Byers, Mayer, Allerding, Snively, Workman, Bowman, Fisher, Horn…on and on. Names that are as familiar today as they were 50 years ago. That is the neat thing about growing up in a small town. Small streets take shape in my mind. Their tall trees still casting deep shade over my head as I walk them in my mind. Spring Street. Mt Vernon Ave. Market Street. Water Street. Wood Street.
“If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.
Mom’s writing takes over after awhile. Pencil, pen, typerwriter. Sequential steps written from my dance lessons at Yvonne’s, so I wouldn’t forget and could practice daily on our linoleum floor. Prayers written in ink. A friend’s recipe for salad dressing. Poems typed or writen out on the small lines as well. I laugh as I look at poem after poem – typed with no or few mistakes. How do you do that? I’m constantly correcting myself as I type. I think about the old typewriters on which I learned to type, and I thank the LORD that I don’t have to type on such a thing. My fingers would be exhausted. Helen Stiener Rice, one of mom’s favorite poets, fill the rest of the pages. But – on the very back page – facing the hard plastic cover – there is one more poem.
“Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man.
But soon or late the man who wins,
Is the man who thinks he can.” ~Walter D. Wintle, c. 1905
Poetry, like the music it is, flows timelessly into my soul. Its messages transcends time, and I wonder why we don’t have more poetry like the ones copied into this notebook. Often, in our society, we get caught up in the “new”. Our materialistic society has tended to “throw-away” many things that still hold value just because we want “new”. The messages still speak. The rhythm dances across the page, and I relax a little more. As I read the prayer my mom copied so long ago, I know it is time to close my eyes and say my own prayers. Thanks Father for this great day.
(art work by Akiane/ Saxapahaw photos)
The softness of night is here. Dogs are snoring on the couch, and husband has tucked himself into our Armish Oak bed. Love this time of night; when the quiet sings sweet lullabies in my head, and my eyes grow heavy with dreams yet visualzied. God’s blessing to the end of a busy day weaves a comforter warmer than the heavy denim that covers our bed.
“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” Jm 4:7
Thankful praises drift slowly through my foggy brain – dreams of builiding something together again – the call of a student’s story to listen – a Grand’s hesitant touch of a red fox pelt that Papa found on his walk this morning – the excitement to read aloud an old book to Grandma “One Fish, Two Fish…” – the echo of looking at a daughter/mama who once read that same book in the same happy voice – another Grand’s tiredness overcoming his curiousness as he curls into his daddy for comfort. Treasures beyond measure. Reams of dreams yet to be.
“Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.” Jm 8-9
But memories are two-edged swords. Repentenance pleas of sharp words, glances and failings that nip at my heels when I am not careful. Frustration over choices that I do not understand. Demons that haunt those I love. Pain and doubts that I can not answer…….for myself or others. My knees quiver as I curl tighter into myself and see the abyss’s darkness that always re-appears to block my path.
But I am blessed, the pit’s allure has lost its fearful power, and I no longer fall too deeply. Its deceptive reflection reminding me of how much higher I need and can reach.
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.’ Jm 4:10
As always, His melody sings and His sweet lullabye surrounds me. The evil one has no power against this and the path is made whole once again by prayer requests in my heart. Perfectly orchestrated counterpoints to His melody — miraculous rays entwined to carry forth healing to those in pain and weakness — those with torments that do not show — those unspokens that only He knows. Toes uncurl, fingers outstretched, and my hand reaches out to grip the One that lifts me up.
It is my nightime prayer; it is the sweet lullaby in the softness of the night. It is the soft bed that welcomes me. It is the soft quiet of the night at the end of a busy day. It is the knowing that God dances over me as I sleep, delights in me and reaches out His hand to lift me up…everyday – everynight.. Sweet dreams to all of you.
I know that a lot of conservative Christians feel that Halloween is not a holiday that needs to be celebrated. It is pagan in it’s origins. A time when spirits roam the earth and witches rule the skies. It celebrates the “darkness” of human life with scary images and horrific experiences that most of us abhor. Gravestones. Boiling pots of magical brew. Strobe lights that crash the mind. Eerie music emanating from the night. Webs of deceit that tangle around our body as much as inside our head. Satanic influences that glorify the ugly sins that happen all too often.
Good reasons one and all.
and this is prayerfully submitted…
It can also be warm family memories. Laughter embed with love. Sweet treats that remind us of special occasions. Choices exist within choices upon this crazy habitat that Our Father designed just for us. I’m sure He hoped, like all of us hope for our children, that we would never experience the pain of sin and sorrow. But…free will allows us to dance around the fires of choice, and all too often we end up getting burnt. BUT…choice also allows us to decide not to stick our extremities in the fire or dance so close that we burn the things we love.
Perhaps because I grew up in the fabled era of the 50’s/60’s…perhaps because I grew up in a small town surrounded by neighbors who acted like extended family…perhaps because horror and fear were an abstract instead of a daily reality…Halloween was more filled with Christ than with the evil one. My Halloweens were filled with a mother who created costumes out of scraps (gotta love her choice of costume for me when I was five)…dark runs through many neighborhoods filled with faces that I knew as well as I knew my family’s…contests with my best friends for apples, candy and costumes…family businesses that handed out miniatures bags of whatever they made…pictures boxes of memories filled with family love.
“For I am the LORD your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
There is a story in Jewish tradition that tells about a rabbi who went to eat with a poor man and his wife. They had nothing to serve the rabbi except some flour. So the wife went into the woods to find some herbs to enhance the flour that she would serve to the rabbi. As she picked the herbs and spices that Jehovah-Jireh had designed so long ago, she prayed that they would not only nourish their their rabbi but bless him with all the beauty that was once in the Garden of Eden. Later in the week, the rabbi’s wife approached the poor woman and begged her for the recipe of the rabbi’s wonderful meal. The poor woman was stunned. She explained that she had served him only flour, water and some spices. The rabbi’s wife was also stunned. She told the woman that her husband had said it tasted so good that it must of come straight from the Garden of Eden. At that, the poor woman started to cry. She remembered her prayer over the herbs that she had gathered that day. God had heard her prayers and blessed her as much as He had blessed her rabbi.
“Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob,
little Israel, do not fear,
for I myself will help you,” declares the LORD,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. — Isaiah 41:14
Halloween can still be the pagan holiday of the past. Halloween can still offer monsters and scary demons a chance to dance around in all the gory ugliness that this world has to offer. Halloween can still be the pagan holiday that people create over and over again by their everyday choices. Halloween can still be a time when the evil one rejoices.
Like the poor wife, when we pray…….Halloween can also be something made new because Jesus Christ has brought light into the darkness. It can be another kind of day…another chance for families to gather together and bless the night with LIGHT. A time when LOVE…that brings the moon out from beyond the clouds…reaches beyond hope…passes beyond understanding…and takes over the darkness that the evil one has spread and warms the chilly air that he has brought with its pagan beginnings.
I, for one, am thankful for Halloween and the wonderful memories I have buried in my heart, and all the new memories I am helping to create in the Grands. BUT…most of all…I am thankful for Jesus Christ that lightens the darkness of this world with His love and reminds me to keep looking up and praying over everything I do.