Powerful Way to Pray for Those in Ongoing Difficulty

Most of us know someone who deals daily with an ongoing serious difficulty of some sort. Maybe we know someone with a chronic illness or problem with pain or someone in a caregiving situation. We may know someone trapped in an abusive relationship or someone whose job places them in the midst of crisis situations every day.

Whatever the particulars, our friends or loved ones enduring such stress likely feel overwhelmed and beyond discouraged much of the time. If we’ve ever experienced such a season ourselves, we understand how a person can come to the end of his or her physical, mental, and/or emotional reserves and wonder how they can possibly go on.

As their friends and loved ones, we feel helpless to fix the problem, but one way we can always help is to pray. And one powerful way to pray is to pray through the Psalms for them—slowly but surely.

If you’re like me, you’ve prayed the Psalms for yourself at one time or another, but we can also perform this wonderful ministry for those who desperately need to be upheld by our prayers. And if we pray just a few verses or portion of a chapter for them each day, our prayers will be long-term, just like the trial they are enduring.

We can simply start at the beginning of Psalms and read and pray through the verses with our friends or loved ones in mind, personalizing our prayers by using their names and the specifics of whatever their ongoing difficulty. Not every psalm will be completely applicable to suffering or difficulty, but let’s pray those scriptures for them as well. After all, each scripture prayed for those who are hurting will help strengthen them in some way.

Here’s an example from Psalm 3:1-4 NIV.  I’ll list the verses first and then personalize them in prayer for a loved one (using a fictitious name.)

“Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
‘God will not deliver him.’

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.”

Prayer: Oh Lord, how many are Katie’s health problems. How many conditions rise up against her! These health issues seem to taunt her, saying “God will not deliver you.” But you, O Lord, be a shield about Katie, be her glory, the One who lifts up her head. Help her to call out to you and see you answer from your holy mountain.”

Let’s pray the Psalms for our hurting friends. Let’s hold them up with the powerful Word of God.

*Has God brought someone you know to mind? I have been praying the Psalms for a loved one for a few months now and will continue as God leads.

*Flickr photo by shaunanyi, Creative Commons License

Never Give Up in Prayer

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“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

Have you ever felt like giving up in your prayers for a certain person or about a particular issue? Maybe his or her heart seems too hard to ever desire a change or maybe that issue seems impossible and beyond all reasonable hope. You may feel like your prayers aren’t making a difference at all.

We’ve probably all experienced discouraging thoughts like these at some point or other. When we grow discouraged, when we grow weary in our prayers, let’s remember that “…nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:47)

The next time we lose heart, let’s be honest with the Lord and ask him to refresh us. Let’s share our burdens with one another and encourage each other. Let’s determine to keep looking for the harvest. Let’s determine to never give up.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

*Is there something or someone I can join you in prayer for today? Please feel free to share in the comments.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter which includes a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*I hope this slightly revised encore post from January 2011 was a blessing to you today!

*Flickr photo by ^@^ina (Irina Patrascu Gheorghita ), Creative Commons License

Beauty and Blessings on the Way to a Goal Achieved

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When we’re trying to achieve a challenging goal, we may find the climb especially difficult. We may grow weary and wonder if we can hold out to see the view from the top, from the vantage point of a goal achieved. We may feel sorely tempted to give up.

But I’ve got good news. Good news that can help keep us pushing onward.

We don’t have to wait until we achieve the goal to experience the joy of the journey. If we take time to look, we can find beauty and blessings along the way.

This summer on our trip to Colorado, my sisters and I got a reminder of this truth when we decided to take the hike to the top of the mountain at Hoosier Pass on the Continental Divide. The information we had about the hike made it sound fairly easy, but we got more than we bargained for. The altitude along with the steady and sometimes steep climb had us huffing and puffing and wondering if we’d be able to achieve our goal after all.

I’m happy to report we did indeed reach the top, but we also stopped frequently along the way to catch our breath and soak in the beauty of the natural wonders around us. The mountainside dotted with the reds, yellows, purples, whites, and blues of happy little wildflowers. The majestic snow-covered peaks in the distance. The winding river and reservoir in the valley below. Each one a blessing along the difficult way to our goal achieved.

If any of us find ourselves on a difficult or painful journey today, let’s keep our eyes open for the joys that can be ours when we stop and look for them. Let’s take frequent breathers when we need them. Let’s allow the wonders we see to recharge us for the rest of the journey. Let’s enjoy the beauty and blessings along the way.

“. . . the LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trust in him.” Psalm 32:10b

*What beauty or blessings have been yours on a difficult road?

*My photo

Dream Like Crazy

13026914033_d92fcaf0b0_zDo you have a dream? If so, be encouraged by my post today. Over seven years ago I wrote a piece called “Dream Like Crazy” for my very first Life Notes newsletter, and the dream I shared in that piece is in the process of coming true right now. That’s right, my first book will be released on July 1st!

So won’t you read “Dream Like Crazy” today and rejoice with me at how God is honoring the dreams of little ordinary me. Hope it encourages you to pursue those dreams of your own!

Dream Like Crazy (written in November 2008)

Are you a dreamer? I am. When I sleep, I dream like crazy, but for the past several years, I’ve become a dreamer of a different sort. I’m a writer now, and writers have to be dreamers. Not only do we have to dream up ideas and words, we must have vision—dreams and goals—if we hope to have our work published.

My writing dream didn’t start until I was 40 years old. Just as the world was telling me I was over the hill, I saw a new hill to climb. And even though I’ve had to take a couple of detours along the way, I’ve been climbing slowly but surely ever since. One step at a time.

The dream to touch other lives through my writing has grown over the years. When I began, I just hoped to have some articles and poems published, but within a few years, a desire to write a book took root as well. Now I have more than one book project tumbling around inside my mind and out onto my keyboard. I continue working at my ongoing goal of having more of my work used in various publications, compilation books, and on greeting cards, but now my dream encompasses seeing books of my own published as well.

A book sounds like a pretty big dream for a small-time gal like me, doesn’t it? Especially given the fact that my over the hill 40th birthday is now a distant memory. You know what keeps me pressing on, though? I believe God has given me my dreams and called me to write. I’m just following his lead.

As far as traditional book publication goes, I know the odds are stacked against me. In the publishing world, the market is more competitive than ever before. Some might say, “Why bother? Why go to all that effort? You’ll probably never get a book contract.” And you know what? They may be right. If so, I’m okay with that. I still feel incredibly blessed to have any of my work out there touching the lives of others.

Even so, I’m not ready to give up my dream of book publication. Those voices could be wrong. Jesus said, ‘”…with God all things are possible…'” (Matthew 19:26), and after all, God is the One who has given me my dreams as well as the ability to write. I’m just getting ready for his blessing. Just doing my part to see my dreams become reality!

*Do you have a dream? Take it to the Lord and get ready for His blessing!

*Sign-up for my free Life Notes newsletter is free and to the right!

*Flickr photo by Moyan_Brenn, Creative Commons License

God Blesses Above and Beyond

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Anyone growing weary while traveling a hard road? Anyone growing discouraged while waiting for God to answer your cries for mercy? Don’t give up. Let me encourage you. God may be getting ready to bless you above and beyond your present hopes. The photos with my post today are our family’s testimony to that very fact.

Before I say more about our family’s story, though, let’s recall a story from the Bible—one that shows how God has been in the above and beyond business for a very long time. We all remember the story of God parting the Red Sea for Moses and the Israelites as they made their escape from Egypt, but do you remember that they then traveled for three days in the desert without finding any water?

I’d say traveling in the desert without water is a hard road in anyone’s book. The parched and desperate travelers must have been begging for mercy from the God who was leading them out of Egypt. When they came to Marah, they found water, but it was bitter. Moses cried out to the Lord, though, and he showed him a piece of wood to throw in the water to make it sweet. The Lord heard Moses’ cry for help and met their desperate need.

God was not finished blessing and refreshing the Israelites, though. He led them on to even more. When they reached Elim, they not only found water in abundance—twelve springs to be exact—but they found shade as well in the form of seventy (yes, seventy!) palm trees. God blessed them above and beyond.

God has blessed our family above and beyond, too. Our daughter Kristin and son-in-law Shawn traveled a painful desert road for years as they desperately cried out to God for a baby. As their parents, we traveled a hard road as well as we hurt for them and prayed along with them. And then, when none of us knew how much longer they could endure, God answered our cries for mercy. He blessed Kristin and Shawn with precious newborn twin boys—our sweet grandsons Isaiah and James. Yes, when God answered, he said, “Here’s two!” Above and beyond indeed!

Friends, we have a Father who specializes in above and beyond, who loves to give good gifts. If you are barely hanging on today as you wait for him to answer your cries for mercy, take heart. He loves you. He has the perfect plan in place, the perfect answer for you and your unique situation. Trust in him. Trust in his above and beyond heart. Even though the answer may be different than what you imagined, it will be what’s best. He will not fail you.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

*When has God answered your prayers above and beyond what you dreamed or imagined?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out next week. Sign-up is free and to the right!

*Photos by Anna Martin Photography; also find Anna on Facebook.

Isaiah and James