Persevering in Prayer

“So I say to you, Ask and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds; and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”-Luke 11:9-10

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer.”–Romans 12: 12

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”-Philippians 4:6

I’ll admit that I haven’t always been the best at praying. Yes, I have indeed prayed to God when things in life were at their very worse. And there have also been times when I have praised God for healing or simply lifted to him prayers of thanksgiving. And there are still some days when I wonder if God hears my prayers at all; hears the very desires of my heart. But the truth is that God does hear those prayers.

I think of the time when my Mom was in the intensive care unit at a hospital because her lithium level had gotten too high which had caused her kidneys to shut down. I remember sitting in my dorm room that February day when my phone rang. And I remember running down the stairs to the computer lab in my dorm building where I sent a quick prayer request out to my camp friends. Moments after I returned to my room, my phone rang again and this time it was a friend who was reaching out in prayer for me and my mom. I will forever remember that sweet gesture of friendship.

“Ask and it shall be given to you”

I remember the many prayers that were lifted up like “cups raised to receive” (a line from a poem from a seminary friend’s friend) after the Haiti earthquake happened. I remember how our prayers were collected for Renee, Ben, and Jon all over the world and the United States. And I also recall hearing the stories that Renee and Jon shared of the Haitian people reaching out in prayer to and for them.

“Ask and it shall be given to you”

Several years ago, when I began my Lenten discipline of praying through my Facebook friends list for Lent, I could never have imagined the ways that it would bless my friends and even me. I cannot even begin to tell you how absolutely wonderful it has been.

This year as I have prayed for my friends, I immediately recall the prayers that I have prayed for them over the last several years. There is my high school classmate who tried for a long time to have a child of their own with her husband. Today their daughter is a year old. “Ask and it shall be given to you.”

There is the friend who just a few days ago asked me to pray for a new job for him. And today on FB he updated his status to say, “I have a job.” “Ask and it shall be given to you.”

There is my new blog friend who returned to her apartment after they had a fire there and realized that her family and her needed to move on. She struggled for days trusting that her prayer would be answered. But they now have a house! God indeed heard every prayer lifted up for them. “Ask and it will be given to you”

There are the prayers I have prayed for unborn children.

There are the prayers I have prayed for the health and well-being of family and friends.

There are the prayers I have prayed for the end to violence and suffering.

There are the prayers I have prayed for peace.

There are the prayers that I still will pray!

Sometimes these prayers have been answered in ways that I have expected and other times they have not been answered in ways that I have expected. But the truth is that God is faithful and indeed hears every word that comes from my lips and is raised to him. I know that there are still days that I will question if God hears the prayers for myself, but the truth is God hears them too. And those prayers are being lifted for me by those near and dear to me.

Prayer is an amazing holy gift that reminds us of the power of God and God’s love for each and every one of us. God does indeed hear every prayer. And because God does hear every prayer, I will continue to persevere in prayer…and ask that you do to.

Because, my friends, there are still prayers that will need to be lifted up to the one who hears and answers them.

Peace in my Heart

I’ve been spending the last few days at a Gathering of ELCA Diaconal Ministers. My cup absolutely overflows when I’m with these dear brothers and sisters in “Diakonia.”

This morning we did the business part of our gathering where we elected a new leadership/transition team. Ever since entering this community, I’ve loved (and still love) our prayerful way of listening to where God is leading us. And I along with many of us have been open to that call.

Three years ago my name appeared on the list of potential names. However God did not lead me to that call. This morning I again said I was open to that call. My name once again appeared. And we prayerfully narrowed 5 names down to 2 names. At the end, my name was not one of those names. And to be honest, I felt and still feel complete peace.

Peace that our community elected two beautiful strongly gifted women. There is peace in my heart that God led us to elect these two individuals. Peace that God sensed I wasn’t the right person at this time and peace that God will lead and new life will emerge!

Thank you dear brothers and sisters for bringing forth my name. I’m honored that you would even feel God leading you to write down my name.

Continued Prayers and blessings to our new leadership/transition team!

Peace Be With You

“Peace be with you” These are the words we hear from Jesus as he comes to those behind locked doors. Jesus is the one who offers hope, healing, and peace. I don’t know about you but after this week, I know Jesus’ words are true yet I am having a hard time clinging to them tonight. A bombing in the midst of the Boston Marathon, a fertilizer plant explosion in West TX, lock-down in Watertown MA. And that’s only this week…….Sandy Hook, Aurora CO and so much more since this past year as well. And there is so much more….earthquakes, Malaria, and a lot more all over the world.

My heart is aching. I have a hard time watching the news or turning open a newspaper on most days. But this week it is even more difficult. My heart aches…aches for those who have lost loved ones, my heart aches for a freedom that has been lost and violated, my heart aches for all that is happening in the world. And even in the midst of what is happening around the world, there is much happening around here as well. Those aching for a lost friend or family member…those aching for the pain that life brings us..those aching as they find themselves behind locked doors tonight.

Yesterday, in the midst of a crazy week and gathered with beloved friends, I found myself shedding tears…tears that I needed to shed…tears that I didn’t even realize where there until that moment. I am thankful for those friends and that holy space for allowing the tears to just come and not to apologize for them (Thank you for that my friends!) Tears for me are my sighs when the world is happening and I don’t know or can’t find the words to express my thoughts.—With sighs too deep for words!”

The truth is that even as life happens around us, God sends Jesus as the one who brings peace even when we aren’t sure that peace can be brought about. Let us cling to those words that Jesus declared to the disciples behind locked doors and daily proclaims to us, “Peace be with you!” And may we also declare them to each other especially when we are afraid, when we arent sure what to say, and knowing that we are called and claimed children of God.

“Peace be with you….”

With Sighs Too Deep….

The names of every single child I know is running through my head this evening. I cannot help but think of them and their dear parents. The news out of Newtown CT is absolutely heartbreaking. Such a senseless act. I find myself turning to these words: “Christ be our light, shine in our hearts, shine through the darkness.” Yet it is so absolutely difficult to see the hope in the midst of the events that unfolded today. I can’t help but think of how each one of these precious children has been called and claimed by God. Jesus says to us in the book of Matthew “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these (Matthew 19:14).”
I can’t even begin to fathom the grief these parents and grandparents and other family members are feeling tonight. How could these innocent lives be taken from us? Why is their still evil in the world? These are only a few of the questions swirling through my head tonight. I find myself clinging to the promise of Jesus who comes as the light in the midst of the darkness, hope in the midst of despair, and joy in the midst of sorrow.
I know that as more information surfaces and the world begins to move on, these families will not. They will forever be changed by the events of this tragic senseless day. Who knows what this person is suffering from? I know some will say it could be a mental illness and that may be true, but the reality is many people in this world live with mental illnesses and are the kindest most grace-filled people in the world (Two of my family members being those grace-filled kind people!) Mental illness can be treated effectively. So often it seems to me the world doesn’t know how to talk about this illness. There is such a stigma associated with the illness but this illness can be treated and people can live wonderful lives.
May our prayers be with all those in Newtown CT affected by this senseless tragedy. And when we cannot find the words, may we simply let our sighs escape and rise up to God.
“With sighs too deep for words to express…..”

“Jesus with Flesh On”

Have you ever thought about how sometimes we just need “Jesus with flesh on” in our lives? As many of you know, last week I posted an entry about a dear friend from seminary who was diagnosed with cancer. However when they did the biopsy the doctor gave her some hopeful and hope-filled news; the tumor didnt look cancerous. But now its time to wait; time to wait until the results come back. How hard it is to be patient when we have to wait. My friend has a website where she has been posting updates etc. Last night she talked about how she loves Jesus but sometimes she needs to have “Jesus with flesh on” and for her, that has been the hundreds, no thousands who have been praying for her from miles near and far away from her. She is so right though. Sometimes we just need “Jesus with flesh on” We need to see Jesus through the eyes, ears, smiles, hugs, etc of those who love, care, and pray for us! What an awesome image that is! This friend has reminded of how awesome it is to have brothers and sisters in Christ who hold you up when you dont think you can do it yourself; who love you for who you are and will pray for you no matter what. What a blessing and a gift that is! Last week my youth at church were “Jesus with flesh on” when they collected 1,383 pounds of food for our local food pantry. So my friends, I challenge you to be “Jesus with flesh on” not just today but every day!

Those Three Little Words

We don’t say it to each other nearly enough!

Those three little words that have so much power
Those three little words, “I Love You!”

Lately so many people have been diagnosed with cancer!
Yesterday it was a dear colleague and friend from seminary!

Together I know that we will continue to pray for her…..and each other.
But it is still hard!

We still need to tell each other that we love each other!
Not just on days where cancer diagnoses happen
But every day of our lives!

So you my dear friends and readers, I want you to know
“I love you!”

My 425th Post

Wow…my 425th post! It is fun to see people reading my blog but it would be even cooler if more people left me comments. It has been fun to see who and where is reading my blog! Makes it all worth it!

Do you ever feel like when it rains it pours? Feels like its been one of those weeks! If I could say more I would, just a lot of stuff happening this week! Please say a prayer for peace it would be much appreciated! Please let me know if there is something I can pray for you about!

Blessings to you my readers! God bless you all!

Prayers Rise Up Like Incense

“Prayers rise up like incense…..”

Asking you to send prayers up on behalf of my cousin, her husband, and their baby Jack. Jack is 4 months old. If you’ve been a follower of my blog for awhile now, you know that my cousin gave birth to a beautiful baby girl over two years ago. When her little girl Maia was born, Maia had issues with her heart and lungs. She was airflighted to Arkansas Childrens Hospital where she was cared for for the entirity of her life. My cousin finally got to hold her daughter when she was two months old. In fact, she just remembered that day on Thursday of this past week. Maia only lived to December of that year (two years ago). Then my cousin got pregnant and gave birth to Jack in May of this year. He had a few minor issues but they were able to take him home and he has been with them ever since. He was doing so well! In fact, on Friday, he looked perfect. Then yesterday he started sweating profusely, breathing heavily, etc. LeAnn took him to a clinic but they told her to take him to the ER so she did. They stayed at the hospital last night. Then this am, she flew with Jack to ACH. They weren’t really sure what was going on. As of a brief note this afternoon, it turns out that Jack has been diagnosed with the same condition as his sister Maia. I know there is a reason for all of this but I do find myself asking, “Why them again Lord?” It is extremely difficult for my cousin to be at ACH after losing Maia there two years ago. So please pray for the doctors, my cousin, her husband, baby Jack and the rest of their family. Jack is very much loved! Thank you!

“Prayers rise up like incense….”