Thoughts on Prayers

Thoughts on Prayers

image by Coco Parisienne on Pixabay

During my final year of commuting to work, I passed by the same young teen waiting for his school bus. He was a lone soul at that bus stop. The thought that I should pray for him popped into my head one day. So I did, calling him Bus Stop Boy in my mind since I didn’t know him.

It became a habit for me to offer a short prayer for him as I drove by. And then I wondered, “What if I am the only person on earth praying for this child?”

Most often I don’t feel as if I am good at praying. I feel I am lacking; that there are others who pray more fervently or more genuinely. I suffer from Imposter Syndrome in my prayer life.

It likely won’t surprise you that among the many books on “how to pray,” there is one in the “dummies” series called appropriately enough, “Christian Prayer for Dummies.”

The author offers an acronym so readers can remember the four parts of an effective prayer:

ACTS

Adoration Praising God the Almighty
Confession Verbalizing and asking forgiveness for the sins we have committed
Thanksgiving Remembering to be grateful for all we have
Supplication Asking God to watch over us and care for our needs and the needs of others that we name; seeking God’s healing grace for those who are ill in body, mind, or spirit

While I poked gentle fun at Prayers for Dummies, I actually like the ACTS reminder. Although I feel more in touch with God when I follow the acronym loosely and not as if I’m at the grocery store checking items off my list.

One of my favorite true stories about prayer concerns my friend Sherry. She had been having horrendous headaches for months. One day while shopping, she saw a man who, from the rear, bore an uncanny resemblance to her dad.

When the man turned, however, he looked nothing like Sherry’s father. The two exchanged pleasantries, and then the man asked if he could pray for her because she seemed upset. Sherry agreed and bowed her head as the man touched the exact area on her head where a brain tumor would successfully be removed one month later.

She said the touch brought her chills (good ones) from her head to her toes. A prayer from a complete stranger—and how she needed the prayer at just that moment.

After my friend Linda was diagnosed this spring with stage IV ovarian cancer, I found a prayer by Rabbi Naomi Levy. I amended it to include Linda’s name and sent it to mutual friends and other prayer warriors I know. I’m sharing it here and asking you to not only include Linda in your own prayers but forward it on to others.

May God heal Linda, body and soul. May Linda’s pain cease. May Linda’s strength increase. May Linda’s fears be released. May blessings, love, and joy surround Linda. Amen.    

Here’s the tough question: What about when our prayers aren’t answered the way we want? When the child doesn’t recover from the disease, when the elderly parent’s first slip into dementia rolls into an avalanche, when car wrecks, freak accidents, and people with weapons take our loved ones from us… what then? Why were our prayers to watch over those we love not fulfilled?

Life isn’t easily understandable. And I don’t have the answers. Certainly, I have questioned God’s wisdom myself.

But I do know that it’s at those very worst times in our lives that we need the prayers of others. Because in tragedy, we need to be lifted up in love and empathy, to know that no matter what, we are not alone and that we are indeed loved.

~~~~~

Please take two minutes and listen to Sarah McLachlan’s lovely rendition of the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

The prayer of St. Francis

Divine Blessing

If ever a marriage has been made in Heaven, it is Bob and Kathy’s.

In 1968 Bob arrived in San Francisco the day he was due to ship out for a one-year tour of Vietnam. Coming from a small town across the country, he wanted to see the city’s sights in the few hours he had before his flight, so he rented a car.

As he drove around the city, he passed the old St. Mary’s Church. It brought to mind his last conversation with his mom before he left Pennsylvania.

A devout Catholic with great devotion to the Blessed Mother, Bob’s mom had hugged him and kissed him goodbye telling him that not only would she pray for him daily, but also that she would keep a “special intention” candle lit at their family church until he returned safely from war.

According to one Catholic Church website, “Lighting a votive candle is a sign of someone’s vow to pray and a reminder that prayers continue to be offered even after leaving the church.”

So Bob felt a tug at his heart to stop and pray at St. Mary’s. As he knelt at the altar in front of the Blessed Mother, there was just one other person kneeling there…a young woman.

Employed by an airline company, Kathy was typically based out of Oakland, CA. She’d been tagged to fill in for someone in San Francisco that day.

Kathy was at first a little frightened in the empty church, alone with a stranger. But then she noticed the pilot’s watch strapped on Bob’s wrist. For some unknown reason, that brought her a sense of calm.

They began talking on that warm August evening. The couple left the church and went out for burgers. Being somewhat familiar with San Francisco, Kathy offered to show Bob the sights for a few hours.

They exchanged contact information before saying their goodbyes as Bob left to catch his plane.

Later that week Kathy told her uncle, “I’ve met the man I’m going to marry.” Upon hearing Kathy recount the story, the uncle was naturally skeptical. “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” was the wisdom he offered. She ignored the well-intentioned advice.

Bob and Kathy began writing letters to each other immediately. Remember that this was in the time of snail mail and telephones plugged into the wall. No email, no text, no tweets, no SnapChat, no Skype or FaceTime. You had to intentionally, and with some effort, keep in touch with people in 1968.

Clearly they were falling in love despite the separation of nearly nine thousand miles.

Six months later when Bob was granted a short R&R in Tokyo, Kathy flew over to be with him. Thankfully, Bob completed his tour of duty and returned to the States in August. They were engaged a few months later and wed the following April.

Forty-seven years later they are still happily married and have five children and twelve grandchildren.

If you’re not feeling a tug at your own heart right now, you’d best check your pulse. Truly, this is a heart-warming story. I feel as though I should say, “Amen,” and stop here. But….

Has Bob and Kathy’s life together been 100% perfect? Do you know anyone who has a perfect life? Nope. And if you have friends on Facebook or other social media who purport that they do, well, it just doesn’t happen.

Bob is currently undergoing cancer treatment. There’s no history of cancer in their family and it just showed up, unannounced and unwelcome. But just as their three-hour romance led to a shared lifetime, the love and faith that Bob and Kathy LIVE every day is not only helping them find their way through but is also blessing the journey.

To my readers: We’d love to hear how you met your special someone. And I would ask that you keep Bob in your prayers for complete healing. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Watch

Photo by Norma Thatcher

To Christians around the world, Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday is the most sacred eight-day period of the year. It’s called Holy Week and during it we recall Jesus’ final week in Jerusalem.

Late Thursday night after Jesus and his disciples had their last supper, they walked to the Garden of Gethsemane. Saying that he was “exceedingly sorrowful,” Jesus took three of the disciples (Peter, James, and John) into the garden with him.

Jesus left those three with instruction to “keep watch” while he went farther into the garden to pray alone.

During the middle of this night, Jesus knew what was coming—betrayal, mocking, a beating nearly to the point of death, six hours of hanging in agony on a cross before dying—and being human, he was frightened. He prayed fervently to God the Father to step in if possible, but ended with, “Thy will be done.”

When Jesus checked on the three, he found them sleeping instead of keeping watch. He woke them and admonished them and again asked that they keep watch while he went back to pray alone.

Twice more the inner circle of Jesus’ best friends failed. And then it no longer mattered because the betrayer and “a great multitude with swords and clubs” came to arrest Jesus. Fearing for their own lives, the disciples scattered.

Our Episcopal church service on Thursday of Holy Week is exceedingly spiritual. It ends in near darkness as the lights are lowered while the altar is stripped bare, every cross is covered in black netting, and one by one the candles are extinguished except for one.

We are invited to follow a candlelit procession into the garden courtyard to sit and keep watch with Jesus for awhile. I mindfully paid attention to my emotions and reactions.

First, in our busy world, it feels unusual to sit with others in complete silence. Don’t we typically feel the need to fill the silence? Someone is always talking. Silence with others is a rare experience, but oh so beautiful.

As I thought about the disciples’ inability to stay awake to keep watch as well as their hiding when the authorities came, I felt tremendous sadness. At a most crucial point, Jesus is abandoned by his friends of three years while his other followers, including his mother, are asleep, unaware of what’s transpiring.

My town is relatively small and our church is not on the main drag. Yet the courtyard faces a street so the common sounds of life went on about us.

Cars drove past, a siren wailed in the distance, and the murmur of outside voices at a restaurant could be heard. It served as a reminder that no matter what we are personally experiencing, life goes on. Others can be totally unaware of what anguish we’re going through.

And there was the lights and shadows observation. As cars’ lights from an adjacent side street reached the courtyard, the shadows of the newly blossoming trees along the garden’s edge appeared as works of art on the outside chapel wall.

Then one car’s lights, perhaps on bright, lit up the chapel wall from the top moving downward as though a stage curtain was descending in slow motion. It seemed to signify, “This part of the story is over for now. It’s time to go home.”

But we do not stop keeping watch. Because we must be the ones whom our friends, family, and community can count on to be with them when they are frightened, alone, upset, or (like Jesus) exceedingly sorrowful.

Don’t be found sleeping and neglectful. Keep watch.

To my readers: Please share a spiritual moment you have observed during the Lent and Easter seasons of your life.

A New Year Prayer – God Forgives

Romaine Key is an uplifting person I wish I could share with everyone. My life has been blessed by her presence and her prayers which are nothing short of remarkable. I once told her that she could be a professional prayer writer. So when this website was being developed, we made one page just for her. Look for an updated prayer about the middle of each month. Even if you are not a Christian, I encourage you to read Romaine’s writings as they offer a deep sense of spirituality. If you want to contact Romaine directly, you can reach her at Rkey5285@nullgmail.com.          ~Norma Thatcher

Scripture: “Forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us”. (Luke 11:4) and Jesus told us regarding how often to forgive, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:22

Forgiveness, whether it is forgiving someone else or forgiving ourselves, is absolutely necessary in our everyday life and our walk with the Lord.

Some events in our lives are of our own making such as bad decision making or alcoholic and drug addiction. Sometimes we blame ourselves for others’ addictions.

Some have been wounded by the Church and our temptation is to reject it. But when we reject the church, it becomes hard for us to keep in touch with the living Christ. I have learned a lesson from when we say, “I love Jesus but I hate the church.” By saying that, we end up losing not only the church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the church and shake off the harm that’s been done to us. We cannot beat ourselves up about it because Jesus has called us to forgive every single person that wrongs us and He wouldn’t ask us to do something without giving us the strength to do it.

God already forgave us; now we have to forgive ourselves. Without forgiveness, just like without love, we are nothing.  With God’s forgiveness we are whole again.

God knows it’s not easy to forgive, but again, He wouldn’t ask us to do something without giving us the strength to do it! He’s the Master of the impossible!

As we go before Him, we need to remember that the clock is ticking. Life goes on, but we serve an awesome God to whom we can turn to and say, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and earth and I need Your help.”

Lord, we thank You that we are now forgiving those who have wronged us, and we choose not to hold any grudges toward them or the church. We thank You for freeing us from resentment, pain, and bitterness. We ask that You surround us with people who make us laugh.

We can learn to forget the bad and focus on the good. We can remember to love the people who treat us right and pray for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. When we open up our hearts to Him, we know He comes through as He has many times before.

Lord, we praise and thank You for working on our behalf and making all our crooked ways straights as we listen to Your voice speaking to us. Thank You in advance for filling us with joy, freedom, and love every day of our lives while we’re here on earth. We praise Your Name!  Amen.

November Prayer – God Provides

Note from Norma:  Prayer Author Romaine Key updates the prayer page of my website once a month. To read past prayers or find out more about Romaine,  simply go to the main menu of LiftedUp.us and select BLOG. From there use the SEARCH icon (magnifying glass) in upper right-hand corner. Then type the word PRAYERS in the search box. To reach Romaine directly, contact her at Rkey5285@nullgmail.com.

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Scripture: “Ask and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asks receives, and he that seeks finds, and to him that knocks it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

God is always fully aware of our needs and He promises us that He will provide for our needs … if we will just ask Him! We sometimes think that the only things we need to seek Him for are food, water, shelter and clothing, but we forget to seek His provision for spiritual and emotional needs. Often when we are down, stress occurs when are physical needs are not being met and sometimes not immediately recognizable. We need to be reminded of the love that God has for us.

As the lyrics to the song “God provides” say, why do we worry about our life, when he comes to our rescue a thousand times. Every other voice saying he doesn’t is a lie. God provides. God, you said in your word if two or three are gathered together in your name you are in the midst…..we come together touching and agreeing and saying “Thank You” for being our provider not just for our physical needs but all of our needs. We can come to you and say, “God, may you provide for us and then some, so we can provide for our family and others. We will always be thankful when we have little and when we have more than enough and thankful that we will not get greedy or ungrateful when given more than enough. Thank you for hearing our prayers and providing all we need, sometimes just in the nick of time. You open the windows of heaven and pour out so many blessings that sometimes we can hardly hold them all.”

There is something about spending time with God and letting the glory that is on Him transform our life. If we continue in steadfast prayer, in steadfast surrender, in steadfast worship, then we will reach where we need to go. When we enter the secret place and remain there, then He will overshadow us and provide right before our eyes. On this day, we praise and thank him in all situations and we focus on Him always. Father, we give you all the glory, honor and praise. We love you. In Jesus’ name, we pray.   Amen.

 

 

Prayer – God is Able

Note from Norma:  Prayer Author Romaine Key updates the prayer page of my website once a month. To read past prayers or find out more about Romaine,  simply go to the main menu of LiftedUp.us and select BLOG. From there use the SEARCH icon (magnifying glass) in upper right-hand corner. Then type the word PRAYERS in the search box. To reach Romaine directly, contact her at Rkey5285@nullgmail.com.

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Life shows up and we learn to Live Again

Scripture: For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him that day. (2 Timothy 1:12)

We love you, we adore you and we praise you. We thank you for being wonderful and amazing, so loving, so kind, so sweet, so all powerful, so all knowing.  You are a God of miracles and we are grateful for all of our blessings.

We must have deserts because the desert is what calls God into our affairs. When we least expect it, events happen in our life that are out of our control. They could have been caused by someone else or a circumstance that just happened.  We may have inherited a debt which we did not make, endured a fractured relationship which we did not cause, or dealt with a problem which we did not create.

Lord, we need you to help us prepare ourselves for the inevitable so that when life shows up, we are ready mentally, physically, and spiritually. It’s times like these we need to learn to live again.  We thank you for being a God of Second Chances and for transforming our desert into delight. We praise you that we gather strength from sadness and pain and each time we die, we learn to live again. We are not broken, just bent; we can learn to live again.

Lord, You said we can ask for anything in your name, and you will answer. We come before you as humbly as we know how and ask that you go before the blind, the deaf, the substance abusers, the homeless, our finances, our families and relationships, and our own situation in things we had to face this past week and things that are constantly in our life.

Help us to live again. I am completely persuaded that God is more than able and can turn the tables around. We know when our back is up against the wall, when all hope is gone, our God is able. We thank and praise you for fulfilling your promises, giving us strength to rise above our trials and tribulations, turning deserts into rivers, making our wilderness way manageable, and transforming our environment.

Thank you that our God is able to do more for us than we can ask, think, or imagine. One touch, one break is all we need to make it happen.  Thank you for hearing and answering prayers on this day. We give you all the glory and all the praise. In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.

 

 

August Prayer – HEARING GOD’S WORD

Note from Norma:  Prayer Author Romaine Key updates the prayer page of my website once a month. To read past prayers or find out more about Romaine,  simply go to the main menu of LiftedUp.us and select BLOG. From there use the SEARCH icon (magnifying glass) in upper right-hand corner. Then type the word PRAYERS in the search box. To reach Romaine directly, contact her at Rkey5285@nullgmail.com.

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Scripture: Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.” (Mark 4:24)

Today is a new day filled with Your grace and mercy. Thank You that we wake up each day knowing that You DO speak to us through our minds and hearts if we choose to hear. BUT it requires great faith, especially when we are placed in situations that require us to hear just Your voice.

We want to hear from You all the time, not just in time of need but to continually hear Your voice to keep Your unspeakable joy, Your peace, and Your love constantly in our hearts.

There are times when we need to have a special word from you. Help us to stop and ask, “Lord, I need to hear a word from You today; please speak to me through Your Word and help me to hear and understand what You are saying to me.” When we constantly read the Word on a daily basis and we pray that prayer, we will experience the power of his Word. We thank You that those words can jump off the pages of the book into our heart and mind, and we know through faith that we can say, “God spoke this to me in his Word today.” Thank You that You know when we need to hear a word from You.

God reaches out to us every day, offering guidance for everything from major life issues to small, ordinary problems. The question is, “Are you listening?”  Let’s set aside some time today to begin listening for God’s voice and hearing his promises and plans for us. It’s always a good idea to keep a journal to remember the things he brings to life in us after we truly hear him speaking. Hallelujah! — the highest praise we can give him. We love, praise and continually worship Him each day. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

July Prayer – Prayer of God’s Love (The Greatest Gift)

About the prayer author…

Romaine Key is an uplifting person I wish I could share with everyone. My life has been blessed by her presence and her prayers which are nothing short of remarkable. It was a natural path to include her writings on my website. So once a month, you can read her new prayer on my website. Or if you have signed up to be automatically emailed my twice-weekly posts, you’ll receive the new prayer via email.  Even if you are not a Christian, I encourage you to read Romaine’s writings as they offer a deep sense of spirituality. If you want to contact Romaine directly, you can reach her at Rkey5285@nullgmail.com.          ~Norma Thatcher

 

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Prayer of God’s Love (The Greatest Gift)

Scripture: “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)

The bible states that love is greater than both faith and hope. Without love, nothing else matters. It is the opening for every other good thing in our lives. God loves us unconditionally. #GodLivesAndLoves

We thank him for waking us up in our right mind, and we thank him for giving us another day to get it right. Every morning has a new beginning, a new blessing, and a new hope. It’s a perfect day because it’s God’s gift. He pours out His Spirit of peace and joy, but especially His Spirit of love on us every morning whether we choose to keep it in our hearts or not. It is ours for the taking. We thank Him that the power of His love breaks every chain. We ask that he open our eyes to what is around us.  He knows better than any of us just how much strife and sorrow there is in this world. He is the ruler of the land and everything that dwells within it. We praise His holy name, for there is none like Him in all the earth. He created us each uniquely in all shapes and sizes and complexions, and yet in His image and likeness.

Heavenly Father, we ask You to help us all to live in peace and harmony with one another. Remind us that we are all created equally, and we are all children of Your mighty kingdom. Purify our tongues to not speak ill against our brothers and sisters. All bitterness, resentment, hatred, prejudice, malice, jealousy, and pride will flee in Jesus’ name. We will experience Your unconditional love at this very moment and be able to spread it like a wildfire across the nation. Thank You in advance for the open door for souls to come into the Kingdom.

Lord, You have prepared for those who love You such things as surpass our understanding, so I ask that You pour into our heart such love towards You, that we, loving You in all things and above all things, may obtain Your promises which exceed all that we can desire through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

We thank You that You are always thinking about us and we are continually on Your heart. Thanks are offered up that You don’t judge but You come to save us all. We thank You for Your grace and Your mercy, even when we don’t deserve it. You are a great God who has done great things for us, and You deserve all the praise and glory.

A smile, a hug, a word of encouragement, and a helping hand are all little steps toward love; please continually teach us to take those small steps.  Lord, I ask that You would use every part of this prayer to greatly bless everyone who reads it and is seeking You this day. It may not be the way we want it to turn out, but You know the best plan for us. I ask that You cleanse our minds, bodies and souls as we go out to represent You, in love’s purest form. We give You all the glory and honor and praise. We love You. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen

 

 

 

 

Prayer for May 2016 – Prayer of God’s Greatness

 

PRAYER image May 2016

Prayer of God’s Greatness

Scripture: To declare Your loving kindness in the morning and Your faithfulness every night… (Psalm 92:2)

The most important way to start our day is to set our heart on God and embrace His greatness and goodness. He is everything that our heart longs for and everything we need. Praise Him when you wake up in the morning, throughout the day and before you go to sleep at night. When we live each day looking upward, depending on Him, He answers and sends surprises.

He is more than healing, more than enough provision, more than enough peace, joy, strength, and love. He is the God of more than enough. Let’s thank Him for His smiling face and friendly hand that keeps us strong. Thank Him for His everlasting love; there is nothing greater than the love of God. We lift up our eyes of faith and look forward to the new things He intends for us. Thank and praise Him that He comes to us at the most unexpected times, in the most unexpected ways. Praise Him that He see nothing as impossible, calls nothing impossible, and operates in a realm where all things are possible. Everything we touch will prosper and succeed according to His perfect will because of His favor. We give Him all the glory and honor and praise. We love Him.

In Jesus name, we pray. Amen

Prayer of His Living Word by Romaine Key

 

candle

ScripturePsalms 119:15:  “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.”

The bible is both a lamp and a light; it shines brightly into our circumstances as well as illuminates the steps we should take. If we embrace the Word of God, the powerful tool that God has given us, we will experience peace, trust, and joy not only during the most difficult challenges but anytime we reach out to Him.  Having the right tool makes all the difference.

Just for today, help us to remember that our life is a gift, our health is a blessing, and this is a new day filled with awesome potential where we have the ability to bring something new and unique and good into this world.  Most of all, help all of us to remember You. We give you all the glory, honor and praise, and we love you.

In Jesus name, we pray. Amen