7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—In and Through the Church

As we turn our calendars to April, let’s turn our thoughts to a new category for my monthly “7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power” blog series. This month let’s focus on the church.

In considering the church, let’s remember we’re not talking only about the local church we belong to but the body of Christ worldwide. The church encompasses all true believers—Jesus followers everywhere, from my corner of Kansas to the utmost corner of the earth.

Through our prayers for the church, we—the body of believers—can make a difference in our world and in the lives of individuals not only today but eternally as well. As we call on God, he works with life-changing power in answer to our prayers.

May the following prayers help equip us as we lift the church, the body of Christ, to God in prayer. These are just a few of many possible prayer points for the church, but may these provide a start. Here’s to making a difference!

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—In and Through the Church

  1. Father, protect your church from the schemes and attacks of Satan as he seeks to cause division, confusion, hurt, and any number of other things that would render us ineffective or even damaging to the cause of Christ. (John 17:15; Ephesians 6:10-18; 2 Thessalonians 3:3)
  2. Lord, move us, the church, to be people of prayer and revive us personally, corporately, and in our nations. (Isaiah 56:7, Acts 2:42; Colossians 4:2; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Isaiah 57:15; Romans 12:11)
  3. Lord, cultivate in us a spirit of unity, both in purpose and in our relationships with one another so everyone will see that we are your people. (John 13:35; 17:21-23; Romans 15:56; Ephesians 4:3)
  4. Father, move and empower us to go out into the world to share the gospel of Christ with all people everywhere, to plant new churches, and to help new believers grow in their faith. (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; 2 Timothy 2:2)
  5. Jesus, help us to be your hands and feet in our world, loving and giving to others as you would. (Matthew 5:42; John 15:12; John 13:34; 1 John 3:16-18)
  6. Father, help us to stand up for what’s right, to speak up for the oppressed and those who can’t speak for themselves, and to pray for those who are persecuted. (Psalm 94:16; Proverbs 24:11-12; 31:8-9; Hebrews 13:3)
  7. Father, help each of us faithfully carry out the individual roles you’ve called us to fill in the body of Christ. (Romans 12:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; 1 Peter 4:10)

God bless you, your local church, and the church—his body—worldwide!

“‘. . . I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.’” Matthew 16:18 NIV

*What prayers for the church would you add to the list?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by kristi.ee, Creative Commons License

Wedding Day List: Add Comfy Shoes

Mother of the Bride, your attire for wedding day will not be complete without bringing a pair of comfy shoes. Whether slippers, flip-flops, or casual flats, you need to have a pair of comfortable shoes on hand for some well-timed relief from the dazzling heels you bought to go with your gorgeous MOB dress.

Comfy shoes can be worn at various times—during the pre-ceremony prep, the reception venue clean-up, and also the last couple of hours of the reception when dancing is fully underway. Guests probably won’t start arriving at the ceremony any earlier than thirty minutes prior, but to play it safe, you might want to slip on your MOB heels at least forty-five minutes ahead of start-time.

As far as the party goes, once the photographer snaps photos of the traditional dances, go ahead and get footloose and fancy free and dance in comfort. No one will care, and it will actually add to the fun atmosphere when everyone sees you unwind. Of course, only your closest family members will hang around to help with the clean-up so no worries about looking put together then. Who knows, you may even be barefoot by that point!

My comfy shoe of choice for both my girls’ weddings was my favorite flip-flops. Since they had May and July weddings, flip-flops worked great for me, but if your daughter is getting married in a cold-weather month, slippers may be in order. No rules here, though, MOB. Whatever works for you is the right choice.

So go ahead—add comfy shoes to your list right now while you’re thinking about it. Your tootsies will thank you come wedding day!

*You might also like to read Most Important Part of the MOBs Wedding Day Attire, Wedding Day Checklist: Containers for Leftover Cake, and Wedding Day Tip: A List for the Photographer.

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride and also my Wedding Inspiration cards, check out my Books/My Work page.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out earlier this month. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by Wicker Paradise, Creative Commons License

Absent Without Leave: Body Parts and the Body of Christ

My voice went AWOL on me one spring a few years ago. Blame it on seasonal allergies (which I usually don’t have) or just a nasty spring cold, but I spent the better part of a week trying to communicate with anything from a hoarse whisper to a croaking, cough-infused version of my former speaking voice. And forget the singing voice. It stayed AWOL even longer.

What a difference one little part of our bodies can make. Having next to no voice made it difficult and at times impossible to do certain tasks and carry on with life as normal. Maybe because life is not normal when a part of our bodies is missing or not functioning the way it should, huh?

The staff at the pharmacy probably thought they were dealing with a prank caller on my first voiceless morning when I called to ask advice from the pharmacist. I pretty much gave up on phone calls after that, though I did talk to my daughter Kelli when she called one day. Poor thing had to listen to me cough and hack my way through that conversation.

When my voice started to return, I had to apologize for how it sounded every time I spoke to someone new. I also couldn’t make myself heard if I was more than a few feet away. And I’m still trying to figure out why Don thought I could answer him when he yelled at me from another room. Crazy guy.

I was living proof that our lives are definitely hampered when a part of the body goes AWOL. And you know that’s true not only for our physical bodies, but for the body of Christ—the church—as well. Scripture likens the church to a physical body, and the comparison is an apt one.

Since as believers, we are each part of the body and each have a role to fulfill or a function to perform, what do you suppose happens when one or more members of the body goes AWOL? Yes, the rest of the body finds it difficult and even impossible at times to carry on its normal tasks. They may have to give up a vital service or ministry or, at the very least, apologize for a role being inadequately or half-heartedly filled.

So let’s ask ourselves today what kind of body part we are. Let’s not be the ones to make life difficult for our fellow church members. Let’s not go AWOL on the body of Christ.

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10 NIV

*What kind of body part are you? What role or roles are you playing in the body of Christ?

*I hope this slightly revised post from April 2011 blessed you today!

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early May. One lucky subscriber will receive a $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Michael CoryCreative Commons License

Winter Trees and the Church: Beautiful Support

This may sound odd to some people, but I see a unique beauty in the naked trees of winter. Many would describe them as stark, drab, or depressing. I, on the other hand, think they have a beauty all their own when winter strips them of their leafy glory.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the leafy glory of trees as much as the next person. Watching trees bud out and turn green in the spring holds a special excitement for all of us. Summer then brings lush, full trees to pleasantly fill our landscapes before autumn arrives and sets them ablaze with color. I delight in each of these seasons and the changes they bring to trees.

But I think trees are beautiful in winter as well. Some might think it’s like looking at skeletons, but I see what looks like arms and fingers reaching for and pointing to God. I love looking out and seeing the intricacies of the branches. Winter allows us a view of the support system of the leaf laden trees we enjoy the rest of the year. Without the drab looking branches, there could be no beautiful leaves.

Winter trees actually remind me of other support systems in our lives as well. Just think about our bodies and all that’s working together beneath the surface to keep us up and running. The same can be said for just about every company, group, or organization we might name.

Consider the church. Many programs and people are highly visible, but there are just as many or more serving behind the scenes. And it’s the behind-the-scenes-type activity that makes it possible for the more visible ministries to take place. Everyone needs to do their part to keep things running smoothly—and more than that, to enable growth.

What role are you filling in your church—or life in general? Are you a part of the highly visible, leafy-glory, or is your role a part of the vital support system that’s needed? Maybe a little of both? Just keep in mind that neither is better. Both are needed and valued.

So take another look at the winter trees. Beautiful, huh?

“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10 NIV

*What support systems in your church, workplace, or organizations are you most thankful for?

The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out Feb. 1st. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive a $15 gift card to Starbucks and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*For info about my book Mother of the Bride check out my Books/My Work page.

*Flickr photo by Oakley Originals, Creative Commons License

*I hope you enjoyed this revised encore post from January 2008!

7 October Stress-Busters

After posting 7 September Stress-Busters last month, I thought it might be nice to offer month-appropriate stress busters each month throughout this next year. Stress certainly doesn’t take a vacation, so many of us might benefit from some fresh stress-busters at the beginning of every month, huh?

May the following stress-busting strategies come in handy in October when you find yourself in need of refreshment and relief. Be blessed, friends!

October Stress-Busters

  1. Enjoy a fun fall activity with some favorite kiddos in your life. Visit a pumpkin patch, collect colorful leaves, or carve pumpkins for Halloween. Enjoy the season like a kid again!
  2. Decompress with the beauty—and awesome autumn scents—of candlelight. Light candles in various spots in your house so their soothing beauty and comforting aromas will refresh you as you move from room to room.
  3. After the leaves change color, go on a walk in the woods (or your favorite tree-lined street or park.) Let the awesome oranges, reds, and golds fill your spirit with joy.
  4. Spend an entire day (or morning or evening) in your favorite comfy pants and cozy socks. As you change into your relaxed attire and let it comfort your body, take off the stress of the day or week as well. Let your spirit and soul relax and be refreshed.
  5. Plan a coffee or lunch date with friends and treat yourselves to some special foods or drinks offered during fall. Get that pumpkin spice latte or apple cinnamon muffin. Slow down and savor a taste of autumn.
  6. Watch for an especially cool evening and start a fire in the fireplace or firepit. Sit for awhile and soak up its warmth and relaxing beauty. And don’t forget to roast some marshmallows or make some smores. Fully enjoy this evening respite.
  7. Let the cool evenings of October give you permission to curl up on the sofa with your favorite hot drink and a good book (or a must-see tv show.) Lose yourself—and your stress—in a compelling or funny story. Enjoy the fruits of someone else’s labor.

Along with these stress-busting strategies for October, let’s not forget to turn to the One who knows every stress we face and is willing and waiting to take the load from us and let us relax in his arms. No better place to be—no matter the day or month!

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Deuteronomy 33:27 NIV

*Which of these stress busters sounds the most appealing to you?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. One lucky subscriber (new or current) will receive $15 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a signed copy of my book to use personally, give as a gift, or donate to a library. Sign-up is free and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Flickr photo by dan.kristiansen, Creative Commons License