The Power of Prayer by Trish

Just recently I was watching the news and heard the tragic story of a little boy who went missing while playing with his cousins outdoors. The family lived near a wooded area but it was unknown if he had wandered off, or if he was kidnapped. It was a tragedy and I cannot imagine the horror this family went through. Instantly I said a prayer for his safe return. As of a couple of days ago the news broke that the little boy was found, unharmed, with only scratches from his two days in the woods where he had wandered into. 

I know there were countless prayers across the country for his safe return and it was nothing short of a miracle that this young boy survived the weather conditions, and was safely returned to his family. What if there was no one praying? God longs to hear and answer the cries of His children. He delights in the faith we place in Him. In fact, without it, it’s impossible to please Him. (Hebrews 11:6) 

I was speaking to my best friend the other day who happens to be “Supermom,” she’s amazing! She was sharing how one night she encouraged her two young children to pray with her. As they sat down, she said, “Let’s just pray in the Spirit and if God reveals something to your heart, pray it out.” Her young son tapped her leg and said he felt like God was showing him a little boy in Africa and called him by name, saying he no longer wanted to go to church. My friend said, “Well, keep praying to see if God shows you anything else and we will believe that God will turn this young boy’s heart back to church.” We will never know the outcome of this story on this side of heaven, but I believe in my heart that a little boy in Africa is turning his affections back to God and to church and the prayer of little boy here in the U.S. was used by God for this to happen! 

Now, I know many of you reading this would say, “That is too far-fetched.” But as you nurture your relationship with God and spend time in prayer, the Holy Spirit will reveal things to you and teach you how to pray specific prayers in faith.  

I remember when I moved to Phoenix years ago. I was 18 years old and I move there with nothing but $500 in the bank, and a whole lot of faith. I was trusting God for a car, and I knew what I had to work with wasn’t much, but I trusted the Lord. Each morning my precious mentor would require me to meet at 5:00 am for prayer. I hated it at first because I wanted to sleep, but it instilled a lifestyle of prayer in me.  One morning, I felt God lay on my heart to spend 3 days praying in the Holy Spirit during my lunch break about a car. This was on a Monday and for 3 days I obeyed and prayed. In my mind I thought I was praying about a car I was going to get. 

The final day of my 3-day assignment was on a Wednesday and that night, coming home from church, I was in horrible car accident at one of the busiest intersections in downtown Phoenix. Someone running a red light struck us on my side of the vehicle.  That pushed our car over to the curb, beyond the lanes of where oncoming traffic would be. Thankfully, there wasn’t any oncoming traffic at that specific time. My side of the car was so damaged I couldn’t open my door.  I remember searching my body to see if anything was broken or cut and nothing.  I climbed out of the driver’s side and was completely fine.  My mentor was also coming home from church and saw the scene of a bad accident. I saw her car pass by and screamed her name. She turned around and drove me home that night. I walked away with only a bruise on my chest from the seatbelt, and a back that just needed a good adjustment. All parties involved were fine! As we drove home I was quiet and just thanking God for His protection when I heard God speak to my heart, “This is the car you’ve been praying over for 3 days.” I still get emotional when I think of this story.  

Sometimes we think of prayer as a checklist or something we do to “clock in” our time with God when actually prayer is for our benefit.  The Holy Spirit guides us and teaches us things to come. The Bible says that even now Jesus is at the right hand of the Father praying for us. If Jesus Himself has a prayer life, how much more do we need one? 

Prayer with the Father is so much more than making our requests known although that is part of it. It is communion and sweet fellowship with the Lover our souls. The One, who created us, knows us by name and even knows the number of hairs on our heads. He knows you, He loves you and He longs to hear your voice in prayer! 

By the way, the end of my story is sweeter still.  By Friday of that same week, God laid it on the hearts of a beautiful couple to give me my first car. God is good and His mercy endures forever!

Where You Lead by Kenika

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whatever is going on in my life, the world, or in the lives of those around me typically makes up for the varying content of my prayers.  It’s also important to me to make time to go beyond what’s temporal and on the surface by praying for God to show me what I can do for Him.  Asking Him to make it clear to me how my life and actions can bring glory to His name.  Years ago the theme of such prayers was that I would go wherever God told me to go.  I would repeatedly commit to being willing to do whatever He told me to do, go wherever He told me to go, and say whatever He wanted me to say.

This confession, if you will, certainly opened up some interesting doors in my life and sent me to some very unlikely places.  My experiences and my adventures are not necessarily what this is about.  Recently I asked a question (to myself because I often talk to myself. Don’t judge me, I heard it’s only strange if you answer back), “I wonder how many times Abraham moved before He got to the Promised Land?” Or more importantly, “How many stops did it take for him to get there?”  Anyone who knows me has heard my story of how Abraham departing from his homeland, family, friends and life, as he knows it, to go follow God was a major inspiration for my move from Michigan to Florida.

I’m sure Abraham had no idea what he was getting into following God like that.  I often wonder why God didn’t make it easier for the one who was later named His “friend.”  (2 Chron. 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23)  So I went on a brief search for just how many stops he made.  It was something like 17 or 18 stops until He finally reached the place that God lured Him out of His comfort zone with.  When I thought about how many geographic moves I’ve made, and how many theoretical moves I’ve made, I realized this is what it takes to go wherever God leads.

Flowing, moving water is this life giving, life sustaining force, whereas stagnant water is a rancid pool of death. Okay that was kind of morbid, but you get my point. If we aren’t moving, we aren’t living.  I don’t just mean physical locations, but also growing in our mindsets, knowledge and understanding of the things of God, experiences, and how we treat people. To me all of those things involve “moving” as well.  Abraham’s name was made great, we are a part of his descendants and he was regarding as God Almighty’s friend! It’s worth it to move.  It’s worth it to be sensitive enough to God’s leading and allowing Him to show us what’s next. What are you waiting for? Go!

 

Photo Credit: ID 62777300 © Frantic00 | Dreamstime

Finding My Identity by Sonya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This new season in my life has brought me to a place of finding my new identity. I have been a stay at home mom for twelve years and my last child went off to kindergarten a week ago. I can’t describe in words the emotions I felt as my baby boy went off to school. My four kids don’t need me now like they used to but have different needs, as one is in 7th, 5th, 2nd and now kindergarten. So they are in different stages and don’t depend on mom and dad as much as before. I feel my identity has changed and I am now trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. This season has been so hard for me because you raise your kids and have invested so much time and energy into them that in the midst of it you forget what your identity is and what God created you to be.  Then I read 1 Colossians 3:1-2, “Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.” This verse spoke to me. As a child of God my focus is not on the worldly things but on heavenly things. I have put so much focus on my family that at times I miss what God is calling me to do beyond that. As I have reflected over the past week, God has called me to much bigger things than raising my family and has instilled in me passions that are tugging at my heart. I have been listening to His voice and praying and He has shown me opportunities. The more I am praying over these things the more God has opened doors for me to be a part of ministries that deal with human trafficking and working with single moms.  I realize after following His voice He is showing me my new identity in Him and the Kingdom work He has set in front of me. Finding my new identity has been hard because I had to cut the umbilical cord to my kids and let God grow and shape them when they are at school and anywhere. It doesn’t change the mom and wife I am but I am learning more than that and God created me to be a “light” in this dark world. Through listening to God and prayer it has helped to direct my steps and know His will for me and that He has chosen me for such a time is this. So remember your identity is in HIM and that comes first in who you are. 1 Peter 2:9 says it wonderfully, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness in to his wonderful light.”

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Full Speed Ahead by Kenika

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We can typically separate people into two distinct categories.  Those that go after life full speed ahead, and those that sit back and take life as it comes at them.  I am definitely one of the former.  Every day of my life I am looking to the future, to whatever the “next” thing is.  I live in a constant state of analysis, which includes where I’ve been, where I am now, and where I plan on going.  Very little takes me by surprise as I’m on the front end of my own journey.  Compare that to people who wait for doors to open, sit back and let opportunities approach them, and take everything one day at a time.  Honestly I think there is merit in both.  For the “go-getters” as they call us, we are moving and shaking and making things happen. We’re not sitting back and waiting on anyone to do anything for us, we’re willing to put ourselves out there in order to get it.  For the more laid back crew, they tend to take their time, weigh options, and allow time to do what it needs to and bring whatever it will bring to them.  They tend to be more content and less stressed in comparison to those of us that can’t seem to just go sit down somewhere.

There are also some negatives to both sides. For those that are grabbing life by the horns, there is more room for anxiety, restlessness, and discontentment.  For those looking for life to grab them, they can be unfulfilled, stagnant and so on.  Wherever you find yourself one thing is certain, we are all subject to time and chance.  Ecclesiastes 9:11, “Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.”  You can be the laid-back, super intelligent strategist, the one trying to run as fast as you possibly can or a combination of both. Either way you’re subject to time and chance.  Think about it like this, it doesn’t matter how fast you run if the opportunity isn’t open and available yet.  It makes no difference how much you sit back and plan and wait, you’ll eventually have to show up in a moment where chance presents itself.  However you approach life, one thing remains constant, you’ll still have to trust God for His perfect timing and for the chance to fully evolve into who He has called you to be.  Whether anxious or patient, stay your course, don’t drop out of the race and one day you’ll finally get a chance, and it will be time.

 

Photo Credit:ID 57314703 © Wisiel | Dreamstime