Prayer Transforms—Prayer Changes Me

You’ve heard it said that prayer changes things. Well, sometimes.

Sometimes we see God answer our prayers through changed circumstances or hearts, but other times things don’t change. The house goes into foreclosure. The divorce is finalized. The cancer rages on and finally wins the battle. For whatever reason, God, in his infinite—and loving—wisdom has not seen fit to change the thing we’ve brought to him in prayer time and again.

But one thing I’ve found to be true about prayer is that even when God doesn’t grant the change I desire— when he says “no” or “wait”—prayer still brings about change. It changes me.

As I bring my burdens to him in prayer, changes take place in my heart. Sometimes they’re dramatic and instantaneous, but more often than not, they blossom a step at a time as God does the work in my life that will draw me closer to him, that will conform me into his image.

Anxiety and worry melt into peace and calm assurance in my heavenly Father. Anger and unforgiveness grow into grace, like the grace given so freely to me. Bitterness that may have crept in gets uprooted while negative feelings about someone are replaced by compassion and love. My wisdom and need to control give way to the blessed relief of trusting utterly in him.

So even when it seems prayer is not changing circumstances the way I’d like, I’m grateful to know that coming to God in prayer is indeed doing a transforming work. I’m grateful to know that prayer changes me. How about you?

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV

*When has the Lord changed you as you’ve prayed to him?

*I hope you enjoyed this encore post from February 2011!

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, came out in early February. 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.)

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

*Flickr photo by kabilsCreative Commons License

Hear the Call to Worship

Chime! Chime! Chime! On weekdays, not more than a dozen blocks from our house, children arrive and begin their school day at the local Catholic church and school. When I’m lucky, I happen to open my door or step out on my back steps and hear the church bells ringing in a new school day, signaling the time to begin.

I don’t know their schedule, but I like to think they are starting with moments of worship and prayer. As they hear the chiming of the bells, I hope they are gathering to acknowledge the Creator of the world, gathering to say prayers to their heavenly Father.

I know for me, when the rich ring of the beginning bell wafts through the air, I hear a call to worship. I hear my Father saying, “Think of me! Think of me!”

And I do. I think of him. I think of the glory of the morning and of the world around me. I think of how worthy he is to be praised. I think of how blessed I am to have such a loving and faithful heavenly Father. I think of him, I think of him.

On days when I’m caught up in something else and miss hearing the ringing of the bells, I still feel the call to worship as I look at the beauty of my Lord’s creation or as I think of blessings he has poured into my life. Each work of beauty, each sound of nature, each blessing he has granted is like a church bell chiming, “Think of me! Think of me!”

How about you? What calls you to worship? What calls you to think of him? Whatever it is, take time to answer his call. Take time to think of him.

“When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them? . . . LORD, our LORD, how majestic is your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:3-4, 9 NIV

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

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out on Thursday Feb. 1st. One lucky subscriber 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. New subscribers this week won’t be included in this giveaway but will be included in all future giveaways. 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.)

*I hope you enjoyed this newly revised post from February 2011.

*Flickr photo by vxlaCreative Commons License

A Prayer for the Bridesmaids’ Luncheon

Mother of the Bride, if you’re looking for something special to do for your daughter’s bridesmaids, some MOBs host a luncheon for the bride and her maids. Hosting an intimate gathering like this will give you an opportunity to show your gratitude for the role each young woman plays in your daughter’s life, and it can also provide a way to reach out to the mother of the groom by including her and the groom’s sisters as well. And, of course, you’ll want to include the bride’s sisters if they’re not already serving as bridesmaids.

In the midst of this festive girly-girl event, why not take time to voice a prayer for the bride and her sweet maids? As you do, you’ll be creating one more special memory for all involved and you’ll also help deepen the bond everyone feels as you head into the wedding weekend and beyond.

Feel free to use the following prayer (also see note below) or perhaps let the thoughts expressed spark a prayer of your own. May your sweet overture, MOB, be a blessing to all!

“Lord, thank you for bringing each of us here today to share in [the bride’s name]’s joy and excitement over soon becoming Mrs. [groom’s name]. We are thrilled to be part of this special time in her life.

As mother of the bride, I want to especially thank you today for each of the precious young women serving as [the bride’s] bridesmaids. I thank you for the special relationship each one of them has with her and for the love they are showing her by joining in her joy. As [the bride’s] mom, it makes me so happy to see all these girls shower my girl with such sweet love and attention.

So now I ask you to bless them, Father, for the sacrifices they’ve made to be part of her [the bride’s] big day. Please bless them with continued safety in travels and with good health for all the festivities to come. Provide, dear Lord, for their every need. And as they bless our family, please bless them in special ways and grant us all wonderful memories to carry in our hearts forever.

Now please bless our time of fellowship, Father, and continue to prepare [the bride] for the life she’ll share with [the groom]. We love you and thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Hope this is a help and a blessing to you, dear Mother of the Bride!

NOTE: If you happen to print the prayer out and distribute it for any reason, please give author attribution as Cheryl Barker, author of Mother of the Bride.

*You might also like to read Bridesmaids Luncheon: Treating the Girls, Polka Dot Nails for the BridemaidsTen Thousand Villages Gifts for Bridesmaids, and Special Bridesmaids Gifts from Along Came A Box.

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out this week. One lucky subscriber (subscribed by noon Oct. 30) 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. Giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue! (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 jwinfred, Creative Commons License

Wedding Inspiration Cards by Author Cheryl Barker

Mother of the Bride, did you know I’ve written some wedding-themed cards? I wanted another product to offer at bridal fairs along with my book Mother of the Bride so with the critique help of my daughter Kristin and the design expertise of Stephanie Wheatley of Wheatley Design, I created my original Wedding Inspiration cards. I’m so pleased with how they turned out. I think you’ll love them too.

The five cards I have available are printed on high quality cardstock so they make wonderful gifts and/or personal resources. I mentioned them a few months ago but had never done a feature post on them so I decided it was time to rectify that. You can include the cards in gifts or give them as a gift by themselves. I don’t sell envelopes with them, but they do fit perfectly in any business size envelope.

You can click on the photo above to see a larger version of the picture, but I’ll list the titles of the five Wedding  Inspiration cards for your convenience:

A Mother of the Bride’s Prayer

A Bride’s Wedding Day Prayer

Praying for Newlyweds

For the Newlyweds

Life Lessons from the Mother of the Bride

Most of the titles are pretty self-explanatory, but Life Lessons from the Mother of the Bride features lessons that anyone can benefit from and For the Newlyweds is perfect to include in a wedding gift or to send to the new couple in the days or weeks following the wedding.

The cards sell for $3.00 each and are available directly through me. Just contact me with your order and we’ll work out the details of payment and mailing, etc.

I hope my Wedding Inspiration cards will be a blessing to all who receive them—and I hope that will include you, MOB! Talk to you soon!

*You might also like to read My Work page

*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.)

*My photo

Wedding Resource: Prayers for the Mother of the Bride

Mother of the Bride, if you are a Christian mom who would like to prayerfully prepare for your daughter’s wedding and her new status as a married woman, be sure to read author Traci Matt’s new book Prayers for the Mother of the Bride.

You may remember hearing about Traci Matt here on my blog once before. Earlier this year I reviewed her book Prayers for the Mother of the Groom. Isn’t it wonderful that mothers of the bride can now be blessed by a similar prayer resource!

Prayers for the Mother of the Bride is a wonderfully thorough and insightful prayer handbook for Christian moms who want to cover their daughters, themselves, their families, and the entire bridal party in prayer as they all go through the life-changing event of a wedding.

Like Matt’s book for mothers of the groom, this book is designed in a two-month countdown fashion. She points out in the introduction that readers can start using it at any time during the engagement and possibly go through it more than once. Mother of the Bride, I would definitely advise you to begin using it much earlier than the two-month mark. Many of the topics covered are applicable in the early stages of wedding planning so you don’t want to miss the blessing of considering those topics and praying about them at the appropriate time.

Also as in Matt’s earlier book, each of the sixty selections feature an introductory paragraph or two about some aspect of the wedding or the changing family dynamic and then includes an in-depth prayer addressing the topic of the day. Matt’s prayers spring from the truths and insights she’s gleaned from the Word of God and from her own personal experience as both a mother of the bride and a mother of the groom. After each selection she adds “Something Borrowed”—a quote applicable to that day’s topic.

In this nicely done self-published paperback book, you will discover a biblically based, heartfelt guide for you own prayers, MOB. As a writer, I might have done a few things differently where organization and approach are concerned, but Matt is a skillful writer with godly insight and an easy-to-read writing style. I’m sure you will enjoy using this resource and be blessed immensely by it.

So MOB, if Prayers for the Mother of the Bride sounds like something you would be interested in, I encourage you to treat yourself to a copy of it today. It will be well worth the investment!

*You might also like to read Gift Idea: Prayers for the Mother of the Groom and A Prayer for the Newlyweds.

*Thanks to the author for providing me with the book and photo. The opinions expressed are my own.