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 Photo: Bride and Groom Make Hands-Heart

Mother of the Bride, have you started keeping your eyes peeled for wedding day photo ideas? As soon as you heard your little girl was going to become a bride, I bet you started noticing anything and everything wedding-related, photo ideas included. Might as well start a list to share with the bride, right?

The photo above—the bride and groom making a heart out of their hands—is a super sweet shot your darling daughter might want to suggest to their photographer.

This shot not only exudes romance and the couple’s unified love, it showcases a portion of their wedding attire as well. To top it off, it’s an appealing photo simply because of its centered and symmetrical composition and the contrasting colors featured. In other words, a perfect photo!

So MOB, why not show this idea to your daughter? I’m willing to bet she’ll love it. Plus, she’ll enjoy a few extra minutes of being wrapped in her groom’s arms!

*You might also like to read Wedding Photo Idea: A Veiled KissWedding Photo Idea: Black and White Bubble Shot, Wedding Photo Idea: The Corner Shot, and Wedding Photo Idea: Groom Admires His Bride. 

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

*Have you subscribed to Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter with a giveaway in every regularly scheduled issue? If not, sign-up is FREE and to the right! (If you’re on a mobile device, just scroll to the bottom of the screen and click View Full Site to find it.)

*Free Pexels photo 

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.

*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 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

9 Easy Ways for the MOB to Bond With the Groom

MOB seeing groom for first time

Mother of the Bride, now that your daughter is sporting an engagement ring, you may be wondering how you can develop a closer relationship with your soon-to-be son-in-law. Hopefully you’ve gotten to know him fairly well during their dating days, but officially becoming part of your family—well, that takes the whole dynamic up a notch, doesn’t it?

Never fear, MOB—here are nine easy ways you can bond with the groom:

  1. Spend time with the happy couple—have fun together! This may seem obvious, but with everyone’s busy schedules, you may have to be really intentional about spending time together. Don’t miss the big dividends this simple step can pay.
  1. Take a genuine interest in his job, his dreams, and his interests. Ask him about these aspects of his life and show him your support in whatever way you can. Praise not only his accomplishments but also his character.
  1. Treat him to his favorite food or restaurant. Make his favorite pie or cake or treat him to his favorite eating spot. Bond over barbecue or steaks.
  1. Include him in family traditions and help him get to know your extended family and friends. Traditions always serve as bond-builders so take advantage of this whenever you can. And as your soon-to-be son gets to know your other loved ones, you’ll both feel like he’s becoming part of the family. Another benefit is that everyone will feel more comfortable with one another on wedding day and that just adds to the joy!
  1. Become acquainted with his family and include his mom in some aspect of the wedding planning. He will appreciate every effort you make to get to know his family better and will be especially grateful for ways you can make his mother feel included in the biggest event of his life. The better you know his family, the more you’ll have in common.
  1. Conspire with him to plan a surprise for your daughter. If he asks your help concerning something he has in mind for the engagement, his wedding gift for her, the honeymoon, or some other surprise he has up his sleeve, welcome the opportunity to be involved. A shared secret is super fun and another great bond-builder. If he doesn’t come to you, initiate a surprise of your own for your sweet girl and recruit him to help pull it off.
  1. Ask for his help or advice in his area of expertise. This may or may not have to do with a wedding-related task. The important thing is he will feel affirmed as you seek out his knowledge or skill, and it will also give you a chance to get to know him on a different level.
  1. Pray for him. He may not know you’re bonding when you do this, but you will. As you pray for him, you’ll feel closer to him and that will naturally manifest itself in all your interactions.
  1. Show excitement about his plans for the honeymoon. He won’t tell you all the details, but be happy with him over any little detail he does share with you. Your excitement will boost his confidence and joy and he’ll be grateful for your support.

So there you go, MOB—start bonding away! You’ll both be glad you did. And your darling daughter will be so happy to see you grow to love and appreciate the love of her life. Definitely a win-win-win!

*Adapted from Chapter 10 of my book Mother of the Bride: Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride.

*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!

*Photo by Chris Humphrey

Guest Blogger Jane M. Tucker: A Part of God’s Mosaic

Bowl Plaza mosaic*Today’s post is written by my friend Jane M. Tucker. She is the author of Lottie’s Gift.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1)

Hebrews chapter eleven describes many people who accomplished great things by faith in God. I have sometimes heard this chapter called the “Hall of Heroes,” or the “Faith Hall of Fame.” These titles conjure images of a museum where the portraits of Bible heroes like Abraham, Moses and Rahab hang on the walls. Gold name plates nailed to the picture frames tell who they were, and what they did.

The idea feeds my pride. Someday, I’ll be as great as they were. Someday, I’ll deserve to hang in that hall, too. It isn’t a healthy way to approach my faith walk.

Because the Hall of Fame idea is a trap for me, long ago God gave me a different visual: A mosaic, made of millions of different stones, each one reflecting His light with infinite beauty. In the Master’s hands I am a stone, tumbled to a high polish by time and trial, until I am fit to take my place among all the other precious and unique stones in His timeless design. The idea of a mosaic is reflected in Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (emphasis mine).

The mosaic image holds three advantages for me:

  • I measure myself rightly. I’m not so much a portrait, grandly set apart in a gallery for all to see. I’m a stone, precious to my maker, but not more so than His other precious stones.
  • I see myself in relationship with other believers. Our triune God is all about relationship. One lovely stone is admirable, but it gains even more beauty when placed with all the others to form a greater whole.
  • I remember that God wants everyone to join his family. A missing mosaic tile is instantly noticeable. God needs all his precious stones if his artwork is to be complete.

Now, let me be clear: The portrait painter and the mosaic artist are only metaphors for a God we cannot fully describe. Metaphors clothe the intangible with concrete images, but they are limited. Martin Luther called God a mighty fortress, and David called Him a rock, and those metaphors also have their limitations.

What metaphor for God speaks to you today?

When she’s not gallivanting around New York, Jane M. Tucker works and plays in Overland Park, Kansas, with her husband and three nearly grown kids. She writes about the people and places of the Midwest on her blog, Postcards from the Heartland. Jane’s novel, Lottie’s Gift, about an Iowa farm girl with a big gift for music and the sister she loves with all her heart, is available on Amazon.com and at CrossRiverMedia.

*Photo by Jane M. Tucker