Beautiful Entry to Worship

“Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful. . .” Acts 3:2 NIV

Certain words or phrases from the Word of God can really resonate with our spirits, can’t they? That’s how I feel when I read the phrase “the temple gate called Beautiful.” As I read it, my spirit says yes.

This scripture, of course, refers to the entry to the temple in Jerusalem not long after Jesus’s resurrection and ascension. My NIV text note tells me that this gate was, in fact, the favorite entrance to the temple court. How fitting that it should be known as Beautiful. What better name could there be for a gate that gave entry to the house of God, that people passed through on their way to worship?

Today our entry—our privilege of entering the Lord’s presence—is still Beautiful. What’s more, we don’t have to go to the temple (or our local church) to do it. With a simple turning of our thoughts . . . or lifting of our eyes . . . or falling to our knees . . . or bowing of our heads . . . or whisper of his name, we can enter into worship wherever we are. All we need to do is turn to him.

Turning to him—a beautiful entry indeed.

“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker;” Psalm 95:6 NIV

*If you had the chance to name an entry into the Lord’s presence, what would you call it?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. 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 mkreynessCreative Commons License

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Parenting and Grandparenting

If you’re looking for help in your parenting or grandparenting role, you’ve come to the right place today. Last month I started a new blog series—posts on the first Tuesday of each month that will feature sentence prayers inviting God’s power into a variety of important areas of our lives. 

Today we’ll focus on parenting and grandparenting. Chances are a majority of us fall into one or both of those categories. Both roles are awesome privileges and offer untold blessings, but they often hold multiple challenges as well.

The most important thing we can do as we fulfill these important roles is to call on God and invite his power into all of our parenting and grandparenting efforts. Here are 7 sentence prayers that can help you do just that. May they bless you—and your children and grandchildren—today!

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Parenting and Grandparenting

  1. Father, give me the wisdom, the selflessness, and the discipline to be as present as possible in the lives of my kids and grandkids, giving them my undivided attention at the moments they need it. (Romans 12:10)
  2. Lord, since battles are fought and won in prayer, keep me ever on my knees for the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of my children and grandchildren. (James 5:16)
  3. Father, help me to faithfully teach my children and grandchildren to love and obey you and your Word so their lives will be built on the solid, unshakable Rock that is you. (Deuteronomy 11:18-20, Matthew 7:24-25)
  4. Lord, help me to be the person you want me to be, modeling for my children and grandchildren a way to live that glorifies you and loves others. (1 Corinthians 11:1)
  5. Father, when problems with my kids and grandkids come, remind me to immediately turn to you for wisdom and direction and to also seek out wise counsel to find courses of action that have helped others. (Psalm 121:1-2; Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 13:10)
  6. Lord, help me be a great encourager for my children and grandchildren, helping them reach for their dreams and fulfill God’s plan for their lives. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
  7. Father, at each stage of letting go, give me wisdom and strength to do it with grace, trusting my precious kids and grandkids to your loving and able care. (Psalm 55:22, Philippians 4:6-7, Psalm 62:8)

May we always look to the Lord as we love and guide the children he has placed in your lives!

“Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.” Psalm 127:3-5

*Which of these prayers do you most need to pray right now?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out in early November. 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 will_i_be, Creative Commons License

Prayer to Pray for Unbelievers and for Those Sharing Christ With Them

The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” Acts 16:14 NIV

We followers of Christ long for those who don’t know him to place their faith in him and let God give them his free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. What hope, what joy, what peace we find when we ask God to forgive our sins and be our Lord and Savior. We want all people to experience the same. We want all to come into God’s family. 

One of the most important things we can do to help unbelievers come to faith is to pray for them. And not only them, but also those who are sharing Christ with them. Family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, pastors, group leaders, mission team members, and missionaries. The first group needs their hearts prepared to hear the good news, and those sharing with them need the right words to say, sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading, and boldness to share as God leads.

As inferred above in the verse from Acts, one way to pray specifically is to ask God to open unbelievers’ hearts to respond to the message of those sharing Christ with them. God is the one who can bring about changes in a person’s heart so we need to pray accordingly. We need to ask him to open hearts.

If we know the names of the ones who are reaching out to them with the good news, we can pray even more specifically. We can mention their names in our prayers and ask God to help the unbelievers respond to their message. For example, “Lord, open Diana’s heart to respond to Phil’s message.”

Such a brief prayer but what a life-changing result it can bring. Let’s be faithful to pray for unbelievers. Let’s ask God to open hearts.

Be joyful in hope . . . faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 NIV

*What are some other ways to pray for unbelievers?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. 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 Angela-xujing, Creative Commons License

Making Our Lives Count: Laura Bush’s Words Still True Today

Several years ago when the tenth anniversary of 9/11 drew near, we heard, saw, and read many reminders of that horrific time. I came across one that year that I think bears repeating here. I hope you will agree.

Woman’s Day Editor-In-Chief (at that time) Elizabeth Mayhew introduced their September issue with a quote from an essay former First Lady Laura Bush wrote for their magazine on the first anniversary of the attacks. I love what Mrs. Bush had to say:

“You don’t have to walk into a burning building or wear a badge to rescue someone. You don’t have to go to medical school to help a person feel better, or walk on the moon to change this earth. You simply have to care about what happens in our country. To me, we can all honor the lives lost on September 11 by making our lives count even more.”

What great perspective Mrs. Bush offered back in 2002—and it’s still true today. Instead of feeling hopeless and helpless in the face of overwhelming times, we can make a difference. We can make our lives count. Sometimes we just need to think about it a bit and then become more intentional in our efforts.

So what can we do to make things better for our nation? We can vote regularly in elections and pray for our leaders. We can treat others with kindness and respect. We can volunteer through our churches and civic organizations when crises come or to help with ongoing projects. We can support our military and their families and volunteer at our communities’ schools. We can also recycle and try to incorporate other earth friendly practices in our lives. The possibilities abound.

In like fashion, we as Christians should be making our lives count for the Lord as well. We can grow closer to him each day, becoming a beacon of hope and good news for those around us. We can live our faith in front of our families and friends in good times and bad, setting an example for our children and grandchildren. We can pray for and encourage others. We can get involved in mission projects and actively support missionaries. We can be ready to share the good news of a Savior as the Lord gives opportunity. Yes, we can make a difference eternally.

Let’s heed the wisdom Mrs. Bush offered on that first anniversary of 9/11. Let’s make our lives count even more.

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.” Matthew 10:42 NIV

*What else can we do to make a difference in our nation or for Christ?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. 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.

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

*Flickr photo by włodiCreative Commons License

7 Sentence-Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Growing Deeper Faith and Trust

Are you interested in discovering some sentence prayers that will invite God’s power in your life and the lives of others in a mighty way? If so, the new monthly blog series I’m kicking off today is for you—and it’s for me as well.

I’m excited to share with you some concise and meaningful prayers God has either put on my heart in the past or ones he’s putting on my heart as I write these posts. Each month I’ll share prayers on a different topic or facet of life.

Oh how I pray that the following prayers will bless you—and me—both now and for years to come!

7 Sentence Prayers Inviting God’s Power—For Growing Deeper Faith and Trust

  1. Lord, even as I believe in you, help me overcome the doubts and unbelieving thoughts that Satan tries to use against me. (see Mark 9:24 and Hebrews 11:1)
  2. Bless, O Lord, the reading of your Word and open my eyes and heart to what you have for me today. (See Psalm 119:18)
  3. Lord, as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so surround me with your peace and your protection. (See Psalm 125:2)
  4. This day is yours and so am I; my times, O Lord, are in your hands. (See Psalm 31:14-15)
  5. When times are bad, O Lord, help me lift my face to you and keep on trusting and praising you through my tears. (See Ecclesiastes 7:14 and Habakkuk 3:17-18)
  6. Father, you are my past, my present, my future—my firm foundation forevermore. (See Psalm 139 and 2 Timothy 2:19)
  7. Lord, since you are the one who makes us grow, help me grow in every good way and live a life worthy of you. (See 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 and Colossians 1:10)

May God bless as we incorporate these prayers and scriptural truths into our own prayer lives!

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” 2 Peter 3:18 NIV

*Which of these sentence prayers most resonates with your spirit today?

*The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue, will come out in early November. 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 1991568456rtbp, Creative Commons License