Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’
Posted on August 22, 2013 - by Regina
When we started talking about “back to school” prayers, I admit that I selfishly coveted those prayers not only for my daughter, but for myself, as well!
This prayer is for myself and my husband, and for ALL the nearly-empty-nesters out there that aren’t entirely sure that WE’RE ready for this next phase!
Dear gracious Heavenly Father,
You know many of us have mixed emotions these days. We go from “How wonderful that my child is going to college,” to “Why did they have to grow up so soon?”
We want them to grow up to be young men and women of God – and yet, we feel that our job isn’t over . . . is it?
Bless the moms and dads out there that are saddened by the silence in their home, the lack of dirty socks under the coffee table, the slamming doors and huge sighs . . . the random hugs, kisses, and jokes that only a parent and child can share . . . the tucking in at night . . . the rousting out of bed as late as possible the next morning.
It’s hard, Lord. You entrusted them to us, and the whole time we have them we are preparing to give them back. I’m just glad YOU are in control, Lord, and not me. I make a big enough mess of things as it is.
But you gave us the best job in the world – the job of PARENT. You blessed us with immeasurable gifts that we will spend a lifetime going over in our minds and in our family stories with our kids, and our kids’ kids, if we’re blessed with grandchildren.
Thank you, Lord. For your love, for your protection, for your Salvation. Bless them. Bless us. Help us through this transition as only YOU can!
In Jesus’ precious name,
Posted on August 20, 2013 - by Stacy Monson
I love all of the prayers that have been shared here – for students young and not-so-young, for teachers, for parents. Many in the Inksper group are sending children off to high school and college for the first, or last, time. My kids are both out of college now and both are elementary teachers.
My son, child #2, starts New Teacher Orientation today. This will be his first teaching job and he’s thrilled. And nervous. Excited and a bit scared. There’s so much to learn, to remember, to do. For years he’s worked toward his dream of teaching. Now that it’s here, he’s antsy to get started while wondering how he’ll get everything done before school starts.
He will be an amazing teacher. And that’s not just coming from a proud “mama bear.” Every evaluation during student teaching included statements like “You’re a natural. This is definitely the right job for you.” His substitute teaching jobs this past spring were reminders that, though he was flying a bit blind each time, it was exactly what he wanted to do. It doesn’t hurt that he’s 6’7″ which definitely makes him stand-out among the kids!
So as he starts his first year, I’d like to share a prayer I found recently. I offer it up for all first-year teachers, for those who’ve been teaching for decades, and for all those in-between who return each fall eager to be part of their students’ lives.
Lord, let me be just what they need.
If they need someone to trust, let me be trustworthy.
If they need sympathy, let me sympathize.
If they need love (and they do), let me love, in full measure.
Let me not anger easily, Lord, but let me be just. Permit my justice to be tempered in your mercy.
When I stand before them, let me look strong and good and honest and loving. And let me be as strong and good and honest and loving as I look to them.
Help me to counsel the anxious, crack the covering of the shy, temper the rambunctious with a gentle attitude.
Permit me to teach only the truth.
Help me to inspire them so that learning will not cease at the classroom door. Let the lessons they learn make their lives fruitful and happy.
And Lord, let me bring them to You. Teach them through me to love You.
Finally, permit me to learn the lessons they teach.
(I don’t know who wrote this – if you do, please let me know so I can give them credit.)
Posted on August 15, 2013 - by Shari Barr
Thank you for the children you have brought into our lives. Bless the high school graduates, whether they’re heading to college for the first time or entering the work force. As young adults, guide them, protect them, and care for them as they prepare to step into the often scary world of independence. Help them adjust to the new circumstances in their lives and give them confidence to live a godly life when faced with temptations. Guide them in the path of study or career choice you have planned for them, assure them if they’re down or frustrated and point them in the right direction if their original plans don’t work out.
Give them wisdom and patience throughout the year, strength to speak up for those who are mistreated and the knowledge to know when it’s best to keep quiet. Help them to choose their friends wisely and not to give in to peer pressure. For those who already have Christ in their hearts, give them courage to stand tall and show His love, not only with their words but with their actions. If it is your will, Lord, place the faithful in the path of the non-believer, so that they may hear of your love for all people.
Especially bless their teachers, professors, or employers, Lord, giving them courage and endurance to show kindness and encouragement to the students or employees placed in their care. Protect our children, Lord, and wrap your loving arms around them, reminding them of your constant love.
In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Posted on August 13, 2013 - by Shannon Vannatter
I found these statistics several years ago:
Government Records show that top 7 leading problems in our schools ranked in order from first to seventh, 1940 and 1990. Notice the differences in type and seriousness.
1. Talking out of turn 1. Drug abuse
2. Chewing Gum 2. Alcohol abuse
3. Making noise 3. Pregnancy
4. Running in the halls 4. Suicide
5. Cutting in line 5. Rape
6. Dress-cod violations 6. Robbery
7. Littering 7. Assault
So my simple prayer:
Dear Lord, we need prayer back in school. In Jesus name, Amen.
Posted on August 12, 2013 - by Dawn Ford
Notebooks, pencils, and pens line the shelves of stores everywhere. Backpacks are filling fast, and children are either anxious for or despairing the end of summer. (Okay, okay! I’ll add you teachers to the despair list, too.) These next two weeks we will share our prayers for our children for this new school year. Please join us in praying for our young ones and those who are charged with teaching them.
Here is my prayer.
Allow our teachers a great measure of wisdom and truth so the information they impart will enriches the lives of our children for years to come.
Grant each educator a portion of grace and humor to help our kids through the trials they are sure to face within the classrooms and among their peers.
Guide these teachers, aides, and school personnel with a nurturing spirit, Lord, that they may smooth out any edges that could leave marks on our children’s hearts and minds, either from within or from without, so that our children can grow and prosper where you have placed them.
Gift our children with friends who are accepting, kind, and loyal so they may know the value of these traits. Let them see generosity and humility so they may emulate it.
If they must see negativity in the fickle, selfish, rude and the mean, help them to rise above it to become a better person for having known it.
Help our children to learn, and if they have difficulty give them an ally that will see their struggle and help to meet the child where they are. Then help challenge our children until they understand so they will not grow frustrated and so stop trying.
Give us as parents the tools we need to help our children to laugh, to share, to love, to thrive. Help us to show our children discipline so they may understand boundaries, rules, and respect. Allow our home to be a secure place with which to live, where our children have a soft place to land when things get tough.
Above all, Lord, send your angels to guard our sons and daughters whether on the buses, in the schools, or upon school grounds that these places may be safe from danger and harm.
Posted on March 8, 2013 - by Kav
As children bring their broken toys
With tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God
Because He was my friend.
But instead of leaving Him
In peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help
With ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried,
“How can you be so slow?”
“My child,” He said, “What could I do?
You never let them go.”
I’ve been carrying this poem around for years. The card is creased and worn from heavy use and copious tears because this has been the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn. Despite my firmest resolve I am all too often snatching back my broken dreams before God is finished mending them. Often, I’m completely oblivious to the incredible repairs already begun. I can witness hundreds of times about how He has answered prayers in spite of my interference but the time I want to tell you about happened a year ago. It was my epiphany moment on prayer.
Because this story is of a personal nature and involves other people I’m going to keep the details vague but I hope the message will still come through.
The impossible happened on Thursday March 15 2012. The bottom very literally fell out of my world. I staggered under the weight of the blow, incredulous at how this could be happening to me. Surely the Lord knew I’d suffered enough. Hadn’t I taken a beating on so many fronts over the years? And I’d born up under those trials – not always graciously, I’ll grant, but I’d endured.
I felt like I’d been sucker punched. Quite literally couldn’t catch my breath. Had a moment where I thought I might be having a heart attack. In my despair, I prayed as I have never prayed before and instantly felt the burden lifted from me. I was filled with an overwhelming calm and peace; a divine reassurance. Relieved, I fell into a blissfully dreamless sleep. When I awoke, that peace still lingered. When my mind wandered to that horrible trial, the Spirit pulled me back into that safe, calm place. I knew in my heart that all would be well.
Fast forward to the next day. My mind bludgeoned me with taunts of ‘what if’ scenarios that stirred fear and denial and confusion. I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t even try to cling on to that feeling of peace. I pushed it away and embraced the chaos of worry and fear. I started praying again, but this time my prayers were akin to accusations. Protests. Denials.
Reassurance dwindled the more I ranted. My prayers increased in intensity, but rather than comforting me, they seemed to whip me into a frenzy. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew I didn’t need to pray about this issue any more. I had my answer. Sadly, I denied it the very next day.
Because I couldn’t fathom how God could work the miracle required, I snatched back the problem and it soon consumed me. For two months I tortured myself with worry. It was never far from my mind, even in sleep. My stomach was always in knots, my heart physically aching from the turmoil. After a month, my prayers turned into meaningless single word chants: “Why, why, why?” “Please, please, please!”
I was a wreck until May 11 2012 – a full two months later when I discovered that what I had been railing about for weeks would never come to pass because God answered my prayer that very first day. He set things in motion on March 15 so that the dreaded impossible would not happen. In effect, I had been praying hysterically in vain for two whole months! Praying for something that had already been resolved. Praying for something not to happen that God had already stopped from happening two months before!
It stopped me in my tracks. First, in wonder at how marvelous God’s ways are. Second at how incredibly foolish I was to not trust Him in the first place. I actually prayed myself out of comfort! That’s when I began to understand that while trusting the Lord is paramount, trusting in my ability to discern spiritual answers is just as important. My lack of faith in myself led me to doubt a clear communication from God.
I still struggle with letting go of my problems but now I acknowledge the flaw and hand things back over to God. Some days we’re passing worry back and forth constantly. I love that I catch myself though. We laugh about it together, my Father and I. And now, when something really troubles me I let Him know I don’t understand how on earth He can fix it but I trust that He can…and I trust me enough to let him.
Posted on March 5, 2013 - by Stacy Monson
My current writing journey started with a television show. Oprah’s, to be exact. But let’s back up. I’ve written “my whole life” as have so many. While other people would draw amazing things, I’d doodled with new ways to write the alphabet. Honest! (and yes, a little weird)
While working in downtown Minneapolis, I wrote stories on the bus or read new books. I loved having that me time to just be in my head with characters – mine or someone else’s. One day, six years ago, I had to drive since I was picking my dad up from cataract surgery. Usually I got off the bus about 4:45, but after picking up my dad, we were back to my house by 3:30.
While he watched TV, I sat at the computer nearby, working on a story. At 4:00, Oprah came on. Since I was always on the bus at that time of day, I hadn’t watched the show in years. This particular show was about women and midlife crisis – what they were calling “midlife opportunity.” I loved the positive spin on where I was in life (only a few years from 50).
One thing you need to know about me is that very few people knew how much I loved to write. I could count on one hand who knew that writing a book was a secret dream of mine. Over the years, I had prayed (now I think rather haphazardly) about publishing a book, but I’d never moved on the idea. I basically wanted God to write the best seller and put my name on it!
So I listened to the show with one ear while still writing at the computer. Several stories caught my attention. One was about a stock broker who had picked up an antique chocolate mold at a flea market during the summer – just for fun. Six months later she got laid off. That impulsive purchase became her focal point. At the time of the show, she’d been running a highly successful, upscale chocolate shop in New York City for a year or so. And to top it off, she met her fiance in the elevator of the building where her shop was (at 48, she’d never expected to get married!).
Another was about a female radio DJ who’d always wanted to open a flower shop. Now she was happily creating flower arrangements. Story after story told of women’s secret dreams and how midlife (along with other extenuating circumstances) had made them look at their future in a new way.
By the time the show was over, I was sitting on the couch with my dad, tears running down my cheeks as I told him, “I’m supposed to write. I know I’m supposed to write seriously now.” (Poor Dad – he just patted my hand and told me that sounded like a great idea.)
It was clear that God was calling me to write. I’m still not sure that He’s calling me to publication but He has definitely called me to use the gift of writing. Within days, I had signed up for a novel writing class at The Loft where I received wonderful feedback from the bestselling author-teachers and met a gal with whom I’ve been in a critique group ever since.
I learned about RWA (Romance Writers of America) and joined the local chapter where I’ve been the lone inspirational writer among 80 members. Then I learned about ACFW. I traipsed off to Denver for my very first conference – all alone (a very brave thing for scaredy-cat me). By the time I left Denver, I’d agreed to start a chapter in Minnesota, now called MN-NICE.
Every step of the way I’ve questioned God. Am I doing the right thing? Would He lead me to the next person, place or idea to move my writing forward? Should I quit writing? (after a particularly difficult rejection)
And every step of the way, He’s been faithful. The answers haven’t always been clearly written in the sand. There are times I still question what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. But through these six years, I’ve met amazing, talented, wonderful people with a passion to glorify God with their writing. I’ve been to conferences, won contests, been rejected, found an agent, and made friends with people across the world I’d never have had the chance to meet otherwise.
God answers prayers we didn’t even know we had, or had given up expecting an answer for. Even when I’m not faithful, when I question everything that happens, when I flail after a painful rejection – He’s there. He put the passion in my heart and gave me the gift of words. It’s up to me to do something with it. I’m glad He’s there to guide me through the journey.
Posted on March 1, 2013 - by Dawn Ford
This past summer my middle son Dylan went on a mission trip through Let’s Start Talking ministries to Belgium. His older brother went to Brazil a few years before with the same organization, and though his trip didn’t completely go without a hitch, he came back home safe and sound. But as a parent, you still pray for things unseen, problems unknown. You worry. And then pray some more. (Photo: Dylan, Kellan & Cameron, Belgium team mission)
Dylan’s trip to Belgium went well, he even experienced a special
side trip to Paris, France, but when he returned he had to join Psallo, his college singing group, who was touring at the time. So, instead of coming straight home, he would be taking another flight up to Portland to meet them for their tour. I made a hotel reservation for him so he could wait for his group to pick him up.
Snag one came when I had the wrong airport. I was able to cancel the hotel reservation and put in a new one at the correct airport hotel. It was a last minute reservation, so there was no cancellation refund for the room, so I prayed I had the right information this time. Snag two happened when Dylan’s plane was to arrive close to midnight, and if he didn’t check in before midnight he would lose his reservation. Dylan tried to assure me that everything would be fine, and he would call me if necessary to rebook a room if needed.
Since Dylan had to debrief his mission in Dallas before heading to Oregon, and he was suffering some major jet lag, it was not easy keeping in contact with him. I prayed that God would clear his path and get him safely to meet up with Psallo. Midnight came and went without a call from Dylan, so I figured everything went as planned.
Except that it didn’t. Dylan called the next day to tell me that his plane didn’t make it in time, and he missed out on his hotel reservation. Then he said a flat tire on the bus his singing group was traveling in was going to cause them to be several hours late to pick him up.
Before the panic could get a good foothold, Dylan informed me that everything was taken care of. He met another member of the Let’s Start Talking mission group on the plane ride. He offered to let Dylan stay at his house when they realized he would lose his reservation. Good thing, Dylan said, because he would have had to stay in the lobby of the hotel until the next afternoon before he could check in. Better yet, the gentleman from the airplane was also able to take him to meet his Psallo group, instead of having to wait for them to come and get him, which would have made them later than they were already going to be with the flat tire. (Photo: Psallo, Dylan is in the center)
Somehow, through the simple prayers to keep Dylan safe, and before we knew he needed it, God already worked out the details.
Isn’t it grand that we have a God who knows what we need before we need it, and clears the path for us? Isn’t it great that with our God, nothing is impossible? Not even the ending of this particular mission.
Posted on February 25, 2013 - by Lorna Seilstad
To be a Christian without prayer is no more posssible than to be alive without breathing.
How many times have you found yourself at Jesus’ feet, pouring out your heart in prayer, putting your concerns in His hands, and thanking Him for your abundant blessings? If you’re like me, the answer is often, but sometimes we forget to look back at the answered prayers–both large and small.
In the next two weeks, the Inkspers are going to be sharing about some of there own answered prayers. We hope you are encouraged by our stories and your faith will be renewed in God’s amazing goodness.
Flat Tires and Fleeces
“And then, when you are ready, I’ll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than any you would ever dream. You see, until you are ready, I am working even now, this minute, to have you both ready at the same time . . . . but, until you are satisfied exclusively with Me and with the life I have prepared for you, you will not be able to experience the love that exemplifies your relationship with Me which is perfect love….Know that I love you always; I am God Almighty.”
The quote above was a portion of “On HIs Plan for Your Mate” and the author is
unknown. (You can find the whole narrative here.) I had this letter hanging in my bedroom all of my teenage and college years. I’d read it often, sometimes tearfully, when I worried what if I never met the right person.
I also spent many nights praying about the man God was preparing for me, and I knew I was going to marry David the day I met him. I wasn’t love at first sight, but it was this strange “knowing.”
However, our dating time was far from smooth. David knew all about wooing a woman, but hadn’t been friends with a woman on a long term basis. I had been friends with a lot of guys, but I wasn’t used to handling the overwhelming feelings. David also wasn’t sure he wanted to be in love with me or anyone else. He wasn’t ready to give up his single life. We’d break up, but we couldn’t stay apart long. It seemed that we’d take two steps forward and one step back on a regular basis.
I began to grow weary and doubt my first feelings. After all, how long could I wait for David to make up his mind? Truthfully, I wanted to give up. This relationship
thing was just too hard.
One night, I began to pray, begging God for direction. I’d been reading about Gideon laying out a fleece in Judges 6, and decided to lay out one of my own. I said, “God, if you want me to stay with David, just give me a flat tire on my car tomorrow.” Almost immediately, I took it back and told God to forget it.
The next morning, I hurried to get ready to go to work. I stepped onto the porch and stopped cold. There, in the driveway, was my car with a flat tire. My whole body shook.
When my ad took the tire in, there was no hole, and they couldn’t explain why it went flat.
We dated for two and half sometimes rocky years before we were married. The words from that letter came true. “When you are ready, I’ll surprise you with a love far more wonderful than any you would ever dream.”
I think God knew I needed the flat tire and the original feelings to stick with this
relationship. David is a man who gives 110% to everything he does. That included marriage. The reason he’d been reluctant to commit was he understood how significant that commitment was. I had to learn about resting in God’s timing and a lot of other things.
God brought us together from across the world. He worked out the five year age difference and kept us exclusively for each other. He answered my prayers for a man of God, for a man I could easily respect, and for a man I could serve the Lord beside.
I didn’t expect him to come in a 6’6” package, but I’m sure glad he did!
Posted on January 25, 2013 - by Kav
I have been thinking about prayer ever since my friend, Val returned home for a visit at Christmas. After living with her widowed mother all her adult life, 40 something Val shocked us all last year when she decided to quit her job and move across the country to live on her own. None of us understood why and many were certain that this whim wouldn’t last and Val would soon be clasped back to our congregational bosom once again.
Only a year passed and Val returned for a visit not for good. And in those twelve months Val had transformed. Where once she had been timid, hesitant and uneasy in large groups she was now solid, unmovable and at peace with herself and others. It was an astounding change and when pressed to answer the question “Why?” that was asked way too many times during her brief two week stay, Val would always answer, “I learned to pray.”
I was immediately convicted by her words. There was no denying the change, the growth the sheer positive difference in this woman.
A few weeks later, I heard an author interviewed on a Christian radio show. She was a passionate cook and had written a recipe book. What a vibrant, enthusiastic person! She stunned me when she confessed to praying over her food preparations at home. And then walking through her house praying for the guests who hadn’t yet arrived – dedicating the evening to the Lord.
Then I thought of my friend, Line who has a prayer fridge. She covers every square inch of its surface with little notes and scraps of paper about people she knows and some she doesn’t. Reminders to pray over them daily. And she does with a fierce, fervent dedication. When Line says, “I’ll put your name on my fridge,” you immediately feel lifted up. Closer to God. Bathed in His glory. Filled with His peace.
So, I’ve been thinking about my own haphazard prayer life. I have always prayed for friends and family — but not with Line’s eye-single-to-the-glory intensity. While I have tried to implement the notion of praying without ceasing, that sweet author showed me how I could bring much more depth to that conviction. And my friend Val, well she has me wondering if I ever really knew how to pray at all!
Wonderful food for thought at the beginning of a new year. It reminds me of that beautiful hymn, Sweet Hour of Prayer, which begins:
Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer,
That calls me from a world of care.
I think I’ve been spending way too much time in that world of care when peace has been only a prayer away!