Prayer Lessons from God’s Heart

A week ago I returned from a surprise mission trip to Guatemala. What a blessing, in countless ways, many of which I am probably still not aware of.

God used that time in Guatemala – away from familiar surroundings and language – to teach me a lot about His heart for prayer. I am so grateful, and I am trusting Him to work these new lessons and changes through my heart.

Meanwhile, I would love to share with you some of my reflections on prayer during my time in Guatemala. I was able to post these at our team’s blog site:

Treasure in Jars of Clay

I would love to know your thoughts, and to hear similar stories of how God has taught you from His heart of prayer.

God bless you.

Surprise Trip to Guatemala!

I’m heading to Guatemala today on a mission trip. What? You didn’t know I was going? Neither did I! Many of you don’t know the story so I’ll share, because it’s always good to be reminded God can do the impossible.

Hearts for the Children ministry has been part of my heart since my first visit in 2009. I love those people! I’ve been praying for this team that was leaving today but, as a missionary of prayer myself, my funds are at an all-time low so there was no thought of being able to join them. I’ve been doing a LOT of praying but staying close to home.

Imagine my surprise to wake up Wednesday morning and learn of an extra paid-for ticket. Three days later and I am packed and ready to leave tonight. AMAZING!!!!

It’s in the “little” details where God shows up even more – my passport is within 30 days of the cutoff; my school professors both gave me an immediate excused absence, which almost never happens. Every little detail came together so quickly.

My heart leapt when they said they were wanting intercessors to pray with folks in a village. I’ve been already praying for these folks from my living room, having no idea God would send me to pray in person.

This has been the toughest year of my life and I need God to revive me. He has pulled out all the stops.

I share all this to say, first of all, please pray for us – our team of 14 plus 3 missionaries who live there – June 11-18, and pray for the precious folks who will receive ministry, encouragement, medical help, food, and love.

And also I share it to say that for God, nothing is impossible. You have no idea what wonderful and amazing things He is doing right now on your behalf that He will soon reveal. It will be tailor made for you, even to the finest details.

Love you all! Thank you for your prayers.

More Faces of Nepal … Thank You for Praying

A beautiful daughter of God in the Trishuli, Nepal marketplace … please pray for her and her family …

A little one dancing with Jesus at a Nepali church service …

At home in the beautiful foothills of the Himalayas … the pollution is real and painful to breathe … but God is real too, and more powerful … please pray for the fresh air of the Holy Spirit to ease aching lungs, refresh tired bodies, and renew hurting hearts … thank You, Jesus …

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands” – Isaiah 55:12 …

The future of Nepal … please pray for Nepal’s families … and their precious babies …

God bless your day, and thank you for your prayers.

 

Faces of Nepal … and Prayers

Remembering friends in Nepal today … and praying for them.

So many beautiful faces … adults trying to get through the day, as we all do … trying to keep their families safe … food on the table … finding joy and laughter … Nepal is not an easy place to live, but the people are so willing to smile, laugh, find joy in moments of their day …

Lots of children … smiling, giggling, despite walking miles over dusty, rocky mountain roads from school …

Faces of the landscape … despite the pollution that lies like a suffocating blanket over Kathmandu valley, God’s beauty cannot be dimmed… His beauty, His fingerprints, His heart can be seen everywhere you look …

If you’d like to join me in praying for people in Nepal, please take a moment to look through this post and the next one. These are real people who would love to spend their day with you, and they would love your prayers. Thank you!

God bless you –

A family walking in the midst of a busy day in Kathmandu … please pray for them …

A peaceful afternoon communing with God on a hillside in Kathmandu … He loves His kids!

Nepali school girls … sharing their smiles and laughter after walking on a dusty mountain road home from school … please say a prayer for them … thanks!

Continued on next post …

 

School Kids in Nepal – A Prayer

Thinking about these precious Nepali school kids tonight. Our kids here are out for the summer. Some of our kids have a hard time when they’re not at school to receive meals. Some can’t count on family being around when they’re home on summer break. I wonder about these sweet girls in Nepal. What’s going on in their lives today?

Lord Jesus, bless these girls. Protect them. Let them know how much You love them. You know what their needs are, their fears, their hopes, the stuff they struggle with every day that I can’t imagine. Meet them where they are. Let them know how much they matter to You. That You have an amazing plan for them, and that You will help them every step. Lord, I remember these children walking long distances through the mountains to school. Let them know You walk with them, and You will never leave them or forsake them. Thank You, Lord, for the privilege of praying for these girls tonight. In Jesus’ name. Amen

 

No Longer Distant

A message arrived in my inbox tonight from Samaritan’s Purse. The message talked about an outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. The virus has been raging for six weeks, and has moved into neighboring countries. I don’t have television and while I try at least to notice headlines online, I’ve been out of the loop the past few weeks. So this headline in my inbox caught my attention.

First of all, Ebola … a horrible word, a deadly disease. I wish we would not have such deadly viruses in this world. I confess that my second reaction was fear. In our interconnected globe, nothing is contained in just one part of the world. We’re all at risk.

What hit me hardest, though, was seeing a map highlighting the center of this plague. See, I know someone who lives in West Africa. A little girl I’ve gotten to know about and have been praying for. While she’s farther inland in Burkina Faso, she’s not that far away from the outbreak. Much too close for comfort.

It’s horrible to read about a disaster anywhere in the world. We may not know the people, but we can feel the horror. But there’s something about knowing someone personally. It brings the world closer, makes the crisis hit harder in our hearts. No longer distant. Too real. Too close. Our loved ones – God’s children – are affected, and it matters.

It should always matter, whether or not we know someone in the midst of the crisis. There’s something about personal connections that brings this home.

Imagine Not Having a Voice

The past month has been interesting. My flesh would choose other words to describe it: “difficult,” “frustrating,” “heartbreaking.” I’m beginning to realize I don’t have that luxury. I am (in the words of Paul) a bondservant of Christ. Jesus owns me – He bought me with His own life. I can’t complain about … well, anything, really.

I serve as a missionary. It’s where God put me and I’ve gone willingly. Most of the time, joyfully. Then there are months like this past one, where not much funding comes in. In those months, I scrape by and thank God for every single blessing.

What happened at the beginning of this past month was Ash Wednesday. I asked God to help me, during Lent, to feel more of His heart for people who live in poverty. I don’t mean American poverty. I mean places where people fall through the cracks and have no recourse. Granted, that happens in America too. There are people in this country who fall through the cracks and don’t know of any alternative. But at least we have alternatives in this country. We have some way for folks in poverty to get help, to have a voice. The news might not have reached everyone yet, but the resources are here, and there’s a better chance of hearing about it here.

There are places in the world where no such resources exist. Where poverty runs deep and no one has a voice. Places where, if there are a few hands offering support, most folks haven’t heard.

I don’t know that kind of poverty. I never have, and to be honest, I never will, simply because I live in America. No matter how bad things might get, I have been spared that depth of poverty, helplessness, and silence. I have utterly no right, under heaven, to complain about how hard this past month has been.

I have been learning, over the past two years of fundraising, what it’s like to depend on God for everything. In reality, we all depend on God for everything, whether or not we realize it. I’ve gotten a better glimpse of what that means. Even so, I don’t know that utter depth of dependence on God, as those who live in countries where poverty relief is sparse, and almost unknown.

Imagine being that helpless, and not having a voice in this world.

I pray for them, as I eat food graciously given to me. I cry out for them, as I receive medical care donated to me to cure a bladder infection. God hears their cries. They may go unnoticed by much of the world, but they don’t go unnoticed by Him. He is moving hearts, all around the world, to respond to their need. The need of HIS children.

Are we listening? Are we responding?

I admit there have been times when I’ve wondered – is God moving someone’s heart to help me, and what if they don’t hear? My question, for myself, is driven by fear (fear is a sin, by the way). I know God is moving hearts to help me – He has been, for my past two years as a missionary, and all my life, really – and people have heard and responded graciously, generously. It’s why I’m still in ministry. I couldn’t do this without the help of people who God has moved to sow into the ministry where He has placed me.

But that’s for me.

It’s different when I look at His children in countries deep in poverty. When I look at them, and see the way they live, I do wonder – Is God calling us to respond, and do we hear His voice?

We can start with prayer. Prayer is an action, and it opens the way for other actions to follow. Let’s ask God who He would have us pray for, somewhere in the world today, or right here in our own town.

I’m grateful for the ways I’ve had to acknowledge my dependence on God. My circumstances have opened my eyes to see His love and grace in new ways, and to see how His heart moves to take care of His children, everywhere … and how He moves our hearts to join Him in blessing others, and in turn, being blessed to take part.

May God bless you in every way this day.

Are You Looking at the Moon?

What a beautiful moon tonight. It’s 24 hours shy of full. It’s right outside my window, like I can touch it.

It’s late where you live, and I’m sure you’re asleep. But I wonder if you see its brightness in your dreams. Wonder if it reminds you of how God shines on you.

You live so far away from me. But it amazes me that if you were awake now, and looked into the sky, you’d see the same moon.

I saw the movie, Son of God tonight. I don’t have words. I feel stunned in every cell of my being. All I can do is sit, and just be. I’m amazed at God, and that word doesn’t really convey what this feeling is.

All I can think right now is how much He loves you. I really want you to know that, more than anything. I know He will show you – tonight, in your dreams; tomorrow, in your waking; and throughout every day of your life.

He will show you His love.

I have absolute assurance in my heart that He will, and that gives me joy beyond measure.

31 Days of Prayer for Our Children

These prayers were written for Gisele, a little girl in Burkina Faso. As you pray, you can speak the name of the child/children you are praying for, and let’s pray together each day for God’s love to change these kids’ lives. This is a great way for families to pray together too. Your prayers mean so much!

1st
God, thank you for Gisele. Thank you for how precious she is. Thank you for how much you love her. God I pray that you will help her to know you better each day. That she will always feel safe and secure in your love. That she will know she belongs to you.

2nd
God, please help Gisele accept Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. Help her to learn your Word. Help her always to walk in your ways. Thank you that Psalm 1 says she is like a tree planted by fresh water, that bears amazing fruit. God bless her.

3rd
God, help Gisele know she can talk to you anytime she wants. Help her to learn how to listen to you, how to recognize your voice. When the enemy tries to talk to her, God, tell him to be silent. Make your voice loud and clear for her, and let her come to love the sound of your voice.

4th
God, please help Gisele’s family with their daily needs. Give them food and shelter, warmth and cool in season, meaningful work, joyful experiences, love in community, and everything else you know they need. Help them to feel your presence and your love daily. Lead them, guide them, strengthen and encourage them.

5th
God, help Gisele to have good dreams at night. Dreams created by you, just for her. Encourage her through her dreams. Let her see your power and love. Inspire her. Help her to follow your path. Give her visions of how amazing you are, and how precious she is to you.

6th
God, help Gisele smile today. No matter what is going on, no matter what she experiences, help her to smile, just for knowing that you love her. Fill her with the joy that comes only from Jesus. Sow seeds of the joy of the Lord deep into her heart.

7th
God, thank you that your Word says in Zephaniah 3:17 that you sing over Gisele. Help her to hear your song of love for her. Teach her to sing in her heart back to you. Let her spirit dance and soar. Fill her to overflowing with your love. Let her day be blessed.

8th
God, help Gisele to learn and grow as your child. Let her know that you have an amazing plan for her life, and that you will help her to walk on the path you’ve set for her. Give her the daily nourishment – in body, soul and spirit – that she needs to thrive as your daughter. Let her know that she matters to you, that your heart is for her, and that she is the great love of your life.

9th
God, help Gisele to see you in nature. To see your presence, your fingerprints, your handiwork all around her. Whatever she sees today – trees, flowers, grass, clouds, sky – let her see you in all of them. Fill her with awe and wonder, as she recognizes that you are right there with her. Your Word says in Hebrews 13:5 that you will never leave nor forsake her. Fill her with that assurance today, deep in her heart, and seal it with joy.

10th
God, let Gisele enjoy ordinary experiences today. The stuff of daily life – help her to find your presence in it. Let her enjoy just sharing her day with you. Help her family, as well, to put you front and center of their daily life. Strengthen them, God, and let them know that every part of their life matters to you.

11th
God, as your Word instructs in Matthew 6:33, help Gisele and her family to seek you first, today and every day, in all things. Help them turn to you for answers, for encouragement, for comfort. Give them your wisdom and direction. Let them know that you want to be close to them, and help them draw closer to you.

12th
God, thank you that you are Gisele’s provider. Help her to learn to trust in you, that you will always provide what she needs. All she has to do is ask. Don’t let her fall into discouragement that she lives in a place of poverty. Let her know that you are more than able to provide all she needs, and that you love her so much.

13th
God, give Gisele hope for the future. Stir excitement and peace, deep in her spirit, to know that you have planned an awesome life for her, and that you will see her through it. Help her, day by day, to take each step as you lead, and to grow as your precious child.

14th
God, your Word in 2 Timothy 1:7 says Gisele has not been given a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, love and sound mind. Help her to not be afraid. Help her to trust in you. Silence the voice of fear, and bring her freedom and peace. Help her to sleep through the night peacefully, as your precious daughter. Give her strength each day to face every circumstance, knowing you are right there with her, and she does not need to be afraid.

15th
God, help Gisele learn that she is a valuable part of your kingdom, the Body of Christ. Give her ways, even now, to serve others. Help her to follow your lead, and serve in ways that bring her joy and grow her gifts. Teach her even at a young age how to be a servant leader. Help her to wash the feet of others, just as Jesus did, by thoughts, words, and actions.

16th
God, surround Gisele with godly people to instruct, mentor and guide her, and to encourage her daily. For her family and the folks who teach her in church and in school, give them your words of life to speak over her. Help her to flourish as your daughter. Keep her in safe, healthy community in the Body of Christ. Let her know how much she matters to you.

17th
God, keep Gisele in good health. Protect her from the diseases and environmental toxins in the land where she lives. Speak life daily to every cell of her body, and fill each cell with the joy of Jesus. Help her to grow strong and healthy, and teach her the things she needs to know to live a healthy life. God, please provide what  is needed to bring good health to her family and her whole community.

18th
God, give Gisele safe, fun things to do each day. Even when she is working – at chores, at school – help her to have fun. Let her spirit sing and dance. Let her find joy, even in the mundane, even in the difficult things. True and lasting joy, from the Lord Jesus Christ. Help her to carry that joy in her heart, that others around her will be affected as well.

19th
God, teach Gisele that she carries your Holy Spirit everywhere she goes. Help her to know that she is a lantern of your goodness and peace, that she can change an entire atmosphere, just by being herself. Don’t let her conform to the ways of the world, and don’t let her feel pressured to perform for you or for anyone. Help her to know it’s enough to be your child, and to be just the way you made her. Help her to know that your presence in her will help those around her.

20th
God, help Gisele discover the unique gifts you’ve given her. Help her to see where she fits into the Body of Christ. Help her family and teachers to recognize and encourage her unique gifts, and not to try and fit her into a mold. Help her to live and thrive in true freedom and joy, as your daughter.

21st
God, help Gisele know that nothing is impossible for you. Help her to grow through each challenge she faces, and to see how you show up each time. Help her to rejoice in thanksgiving and praise for all that you are, and all that you do in her life. Teach her how to praise you at all times, in all things.

22nd
God, help Gisele’s community to be safe and thriving. Fill her whole community with the presence of your Holy Spirit. Give wisdom to the leaders of the community, and to the spiritual leaders of each family. Help them to make wise decisions and to be good stewards. Give Gisele a sense of peace and hopefulness, to know that you are working on behalf of her whole community.

23rd
God, fill Gisele with an excitement and desire to learn more about you, and to grow closer to you. Teach her how to grow and live in relationship with you. Help her to share you with others, in whatever ways you’ve equipped her to share. Let her relationship with you become as much a part of her life as breathing. Let her rejoice in your presence.

24th
God, fill Gisele’s life with laughter. Give her good friends that she can laugh with, and play with, and enjoy each day with. Help her family home to resound with laughter. Even as she grows older, help her to keep the childlike joy you’ve given her. Let that joy spread through the land like wildfire.

25th
God, when Gisele has difficult days, let her know you are there. Let her know she matters to you. Wash her clean of all traumas, all fears, all sorrow, all discouragement. Fill her with your unshakeable peace. Let her know that her tears matter to you. Help her to learn how to ask for you in all difficult times, and to trust and know that you are there.

26th
God, let Gisele know you are fighting for her. That she doesn’t have to be enslaved to the lies of the enemy, or to the poverty that surrounds her. Let her know that you are moving mountains on her behalf. Give her the courage to step into the life you’ve created for her, and not to be knocked down by the enemy, or by her family’s past. Loose the generational blessings that you’ve intended for her family and for her nation.

27th
God, give Gisele a voice in this world – the voice you intend for her. Help her to learn how to use her voice, by the strength and leading of your Holy Spirit. Let her know that what she has to say matters, and will be heard. Prick people’s ears and soften people’s hearts to listen to the way you speak through her. Give her favor in all areas where you want her to speak. Help her to know when to speak, and when not to speak. Give her the courage to speak truth in love as you lead.

28th
God, give Gisele’s family the assurance of knowing how much you care for her – as well as for them – and that they don’t need to worry. That you will provide all she needs. That you will fulfill your plan in her life. Help her family to believe your words in Jeremiah 29:11, that you know the plans you have for her, plans to prosper and not to harm her, plans to give her hope and a future. Help her family to praise you for all that you are doing in Gisele’s life.

29th
God, help the wealthy nations of the world to respond to your call to help the people of Gisele’s nation, and other nations in poverty around the world. That the Body of Christ will grow stronger and purer around the world, lifting up each other and loving each other to life. Let those who have enough trust you in sharing what they have with other children and families in Gisele’s community and nation, and in other places where poverty is deep. Dramatically increase the number of children around the world who find sponsors to help them, to hope for them, and to encourage them.

30th
God, help Gisele to know that you are her best friend. Let her know that you would love to talk with her every day, about whatever she wants to talk about. Let her know that you cheer her on each day, and that you love to celebrate with her. Help her to feel your comforting arms around her on the tough days, when things don’t go right, when she gets discouraged. Help her to know you’re a friend she can count on through all things, and that you will always be there, forever, loving her.

31st
God, let Gisele know that Jesus died for her to live forever with you. To be reconciled with you, and forgiven for her sins. Help her to know the power of the cross in her daily life, and that she does not have to live in a yoke of bondage. That freedom in Christ is your gift to her. Keep her in a healthy Christian church that has life, that walks in godly ways, in genuine relationship with you, in active service in the community, in discipleship and missions. Help her to find her place in the Body of Christ, and to be encouraged and excited about her life, and about her eternity with you.

IN JESUS’ NAME. AMEN

 

When I See the Sunrise …

When I see the sunrise, I think about you. I pray for you.

A few hours ago, you watched the same sun break the horizon. It’s higher in the sky now. Your day has already begun. What will it be like? What are you thinking about?

Are your dreams bolder than mine? Are your hopes deeper? Is your smile brighter because you appreciate blessings more than I do?

It’s starting to rain again, really hard. It came out of nowhere. Is that a sound you wish you heard more? Or less? Does the weather that I find inconvenient affect the things that grow, that feed you?

I don’t know what it’s like to live without. Some days I think I do, but really I don’t.

I don’t have a steady income. I’m a missionary, so I rely on folks to help me with donations. Some months I don’t get quite the donations I need for basic expenses. But my definition of “basic” is vastly different from folks my age who live near you.

Then there are the opportunities that come up. Two weeks ago I stayed with someone’s pets, and she paid me. That helped a lot. This weekend someone gave me a computer app to test-run, and he paid me. That helped a lot. I get paid to teach piano. That helps. I may not always get those side jobs, but they’re always possible where I live. I really don’t know what it’s like to live without.

I do know God always provides. Everything. And He is faithful and good. I know that with my whole heart. I know His grace and mercy. I know how much He loves you and will care for you, every day of your life, and forever.

I think of you when I see the sunrise, and throughout the day and night. When I wake in the middle of the night, I wonder how you’re doing, and I pray for you.

I love to pray for you. God bless you.