Category Archives: Prayer

‘Tis So Sweet: To Trust Him More

ID-100463957

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

-Tis So Sweet to Trust In Jesus,  Louisa M. R. Stead

I haven’t talked about it a lot here on my blog, but one of the most amazing parts of my move last year has been my church. I switched campuses a few months ago (same church, different campus location), and for the first time in a long time, I really feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be. Not only do I feel myself growing more spiritually than I have in the last 10 years, but it’s really one of those things where I feel like I fit. Not because everyone is like me, but because we are all so unique and crazy and wonderfully made–it’s truly a blessing to be in a church that is charismatic and I don’t have to “hide” my gifts or attend elsewhere to get my fill. Every single week at church, I am filled in more ways than I can count.

One of the biggest blessings has been the prayer ministry at my church. I have known that I am an intercessor for many years, but I was never in a church environment where that call was supported and grown. Yes, at past churches I have prayed with other people and prayed for other people, but here, the call to intercession is celebrated and many women are a part of my life who stoke the fires of prayer in me.

In fact, I knew this was going to be the right campus for me when the first Sunday I attended, a beautiful sister came up to me during the church greeting time, pulled me into a warm embrace, and said very boldly to me, “You are an intercessor. You are called to it. You need to be doing it more.” I was surprised–not at what she said, but at her boldness. And though I initially fought it, I knew from that one interaction that this was the church campus for me.

So I was incredibly excited when that sister and others organized a prayer night for the women of our campus in August. I did not attend expecting anything of myself, only that I would experience the Lord’s presence. I received that and so much more.

As the ladies prayed over me, one of our praying sisters and a friend of mine spoke several prophetic truths over my life…truths that have done more to increase my faith and trust in the Lord than anything before. I hate to say it, but I haven’t been someone who has had a lot of trust in the Lord. I have claimed to have it, but I have found it so difficult to trust in Him despite His repeated attempts to show me that He is completely trustworthy. After this prayer night, though, God’s grace has proven faithful once again as He has grown me so much in the area of trusting Him.

This new blog series is going to highlight many of the things that my beautiful sister prophesied over me and their subsequent impact on my life and trust in the Lord. I’m so excited to share with you these amazing, life-changing truths. And I am excited as I continue to grow in my trust and dependency on my Lord. It truly is so sweet.

 

 

Advertisements

The Trio: Worship While Waiting

trio of chairs

image courtesy of satit_srihin at freedigitalphotos.net

This one is a hard one to write! I wanted to save him until last–because I wanted to figure out what was going on here before I wrote about it. That did not happen. But I actually believe it’s fitting to put my former worship leader in the middle of the trio blogs. Of the three, he’s my favorite. But he’s also the most confusing.

The Introduction

The first time I saw worship leader (WL) was my first visit to the church when I moved here back in May. I immediately looked at my friend and said, “Who is that guy?” And she said, “One of the worship leaders.” And I said, “He’s a mercy gift. Trouble.” I know my history with mercy males–I wanted to avoid at all costs. He was young–only 21, and those younger mercy males are always drawn to me, which makes my life infinitely more difficult. So I made note and decided to keep my distance. WL was a great guy–he loves Jesus more than anything, always seems willing to learn, and did a pretty good job of transitioning into a leadership role when our former worship leader left abruptly. Knowing that he was a great guy AND a mercy gift, I stayed away from him for the most part, even after joining the worship team. But he did not do as good a job on his end (lol). And besides, no one can really stop the mercy-prophet magnetism. It just is. And the magnetism intensified once I stopped praying for my coworker. But I was careful to guard my heart and stay accountable in my interactions with him.

The Involvement

I was unsure what God wanted of me in this situation. I would pray for WL intermittently, but not like I was praying for my coworker. I didn’t feel called to pray for WL as much–he seemed to have a good head on his shoulders, a pretty solid relationship with the Lord, and he was a growing role model and leader in our church. Not to mention, he has great parents and a solid, Christian family and framework. But WL kept showing up in my dreams. Sometimes, he would just be standing there, sometimes he and I would have a conversation–it was nothing inappropriate or ridiculous, but my mind would not let him go. So I did what every smart pushy prophet girl would do in that situation.

I switched church campuses.

Now, before you go and say that I ran away from the problem, let me explain. No, it’s too much–let me sum up. (Name that movie!) I moved further away from my church right around the time I joined the worship team last fall. Then at the beginning of this year, I joined a small group at a campus right down the street from my house. While I was struggling with these emotions related to WL, I was also struggling with whether I should even be at that campus in the first place. I had found my PEOPLE at the campus near my house…women that I was really connecting with, serving at the food bank there…and when I visited for worship one Sunday, I just felt at home. It’s not that I did not love the campus with WL, it was just that this one near my house felt like the perfect fit. So after a lot of prayer, I made the switch. I told WL that I was leaving, and he said the most perfect mercy male 21-year old leader things in return, and I left.

The Importance

I am still dreaming about WL. In fact, this morning, I texted my friend and told her I wanted a lobotomy. What does this mean? Honestly, I don’t know. All that I know is that despite the fact that I no longer talk to WL, don’t see him at all, and have zero interaction with him, the Lord still puts WL on my mind both while awake and while asleep. So I have taken to praying for him a great deal, and praying for what the Lord wants to show me. I most certainly miss WL–he is good people. But I also miss my mom, and I don’t ever dream about her. So while I figure that out, prayer seems to be the best option–and in this case, it’s the only option. I can’t figure this one out on my own–and I might never figure it out. Perhaps there is something going on with WL that only God and WL know about, and I am supposed to pray for him when God injects him into my mind. Whatever the reason, it’s up to God to reveal them to me. It’s up to me to pray and worship while I wait for the answers.

Isn’t it funny when God keeps hammering the same lesson into your heart? (Maybe not!)

The Trio: Coworker Coexistence

trio of chairs

image courtesy of satit_srihin at freedigitalphotos.net

Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t. (Romans 12:6, The Message)

I struggled with which of the Trio to begin with because I have a lot to say about each of them. However, I’m starting with the coworker, because though I met him last of the three, he is the first one who influenced me deeply.

The Introduction

Coworker and I met on my first day on the job. I knew from the first moment we met that he was a mercy gift; I actually told my friend that my coworker was a mercy male, and I knew it was going to be difficult. He is my age—we graduated the same year, but he is already in a high ranking government position, making hand-over-fist money-wise, and one of the smartest people I know in his area of expertise. One time, he was talking shop in my office, and I thought, “wow, this guy is smart, good-looking, and wealthy–what is wrong with him?”

I quickly found out: he lacks identity in Jesus.

Within one week of working with him, I could tell that my coworker was rebelling against his mercy gifting. I could see it in his lack of compassion for others; the way he shuts everyone out, the way he refuses to let anyone care for him at all; the way he treats the people who work for him, the almost robotic nature of his relationships with others; the way he wraps his identity in his job; the rumors about his sexuality. I could see the struggles he was having, even though he tried to hide them.

The Involvement

I began praying for him and speaking very heavily into his identity as a mercy male. I wrote him notes to thank him for showing generosity and to encourage the compassion within him that I knew was there. We had a bit of a dispute—which is NOT the mercy’s strong point, as they just can’t deal with the emotions of conflict—and I made it a point to come into the office on the weekend, when I knew I could catch him, to talk the issue out with him. He hugged me (something that no one in our office has ever experienced, EVER), and we resolved the issue. I spoke life-giving words to him whenever I could, and my other coworkers noted that even they noticed the difference in him.

But after six months of praying fervently for him and speaking into his identity, I stopped. I found myself dealing with feelings for him that I did not want to have. I struggled so badly and felt so despondent about the experience that I asked a friend to take over the prayers and I pulled back from him significantly. And I watched much of the positive changes in him fade away.

During these last six months, I have seen him become even more withdrawn, argumentative, and wholly focused on himself. He has distanced himself from staff without reason and refuses to engage them when asked. He recently said that he could “take care of himself, because he had been doing so his entire life, and he didn’t need anyone.” And even worse, as I have not prayed for him, I have seen my own heart harden towards him.

The Importance

Praying is imperative, and one of the things that I said I was going to do for the mercy male, regardless of what else I felt led to do, was pray for them. And one reminder I gave myself was, “what if I’m the only person in this entire world that is praying for him?” I don’t know that his parents are Christians, and he doesn’t have many friends. So pondering that question drives home to me the importance of bringing him before the Lord. But I’m also under this realization: prayer is not sovereign; God is sovereign. God doesn’t need me or my prayers to work in my coworker’s life. God needs me to pray so that I can cultivate a better relationship with Him and become more like Him in my daily interactions with everyone, including and perhaps especially with my coworker. I want to see him walking in His God-given identity as a mercy gift, and doing so cheerfully (Romans 12:8). I want Him to know the Lord as I do.

I was worried that I was getting too close to my coworker through my prayers. Now, instead of worrying, I am learning the importance of trusting the Lord to protect my heart as I fulfill His directive to pray. And though he doesn’t know it, I have my coworker to thank for this invaluable lesson.

Breaking Bad: The Call

It’s tough being a prophet.Prayer Rock Word

(For those who haven’t read my other blogs, my redemptive/motivational spiritual gift is prophet. Read more about it here.)

What was I saying? Oh right. It sure is tough being a prophet.

So many times, I see truth in someone’s life and I just want to tell them. I don’t even have to know them—I can know just enough about them to see their struggles and know their pain. I don’t think I know everything, but I do know people…and I use what I know and what God shows me to see truth before it plays out in their lives. It’s a terribly awesome gift to have—if you understand how God wants you to use it. I can “see” into situations and see truth about others, which in retrospect should be a gift that brings joy not only to myself but to others.

But the part of this gift that I always, always forget about is the call to prayer. Every single redemptive/motivational gift of prophet is called to intercede for others. In fact, the downloads we receive from God about others, those truths that we can plainly see, those things are not things we are to always say or dwell upon—they are given to us so that we can give them back to the Lord in prayer. And as someone who likes to be right and sometimes likes others to know it :), I have a very, very difficult time doing this.

It’s not that I’m not learning at all. Last year, I met with someone and left the meeting thinking that this unhealthy person was going to wreak havoc on their church in some ridiculous way. I could have met with the pastor of their church and told him what I believed was going to happen based on the person’s unhealthiness. I could have called the person out about their unhealthy behavior. (These are the two things that I usually do when I get revelations or insight about someone.) Instead, I decided to just pray for them—that’s what I felt led to do. Oh, this person still wrecked a ministry in their church…but I didn’t feel ownership of the issue because I had prayed about it and prayed for the person. I had done what God had asked me to do. And I felt peaceful about it.

But unfortunately, that’s the exception and not the rule—at least for me. And what’s worse is that many times, the Lord will plant a dream or thought of someone in my head, and I will forget about prayer and run in the wrong direction with it—and what I mean by this is that instead of praying for the person, I will do the opposite. I will either dismiss it and forget about them completely, or I will begin thinking about them obsessively, especially if it’s a guy. And I know that, looking back on my life, I have wasted many opportunities to pray for someone who the Lord has laid on my heart because I thought they were in my head for a different reason. I have lost the opportunity to pray for someone AND I have objectified them in some way. What the Lord means for good, your flesh and the devil will always try to pervert and destroy—and even though I know this, I still let it happen. What’s amazing, though, is that what the devil intends for harm, the Lord can still use for good. He can redeem ANYTHING and ANYONE.

Eight weeks ago, I had a dream about Captain America star Chris Evans, and the repercussions of these last eight weeks have helped me to realize how I can begin to cultivate an important part of my calling. But more incredibly, it’s been instrumental in the birth of breaking bad. More soon.

Spiritually Healthy Habits: Prayer

spirit health by Stuart Miles

image courtesy of Stuart Miles / freedigitalphotos.net

“Pray continuously.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

When I was younger, this verse scared me to death. My mother would get up every morning and pray for an hour or so, and she would encourage me to do the same. I just couldn’t sit still that long, even as an adult. Plus, I wasn’t sure I could come up with enough words to say to God for a whole hour! And praying continuously throughout my day…well, I just didn’t think I could do that, either. Then one day recently, I realized that as I was going through my day, I was often stopping to whisper prayers to God, talking to Him while I was in the car or just doing things around the house, and listening for His still, small voice. And then it dawned on me: I had actually learned how to pray continuously.

Prayer is not meant to scare us, prayer is meant to invite us into deeper relationship with our God. If you want to be spiritually healthy, you must talk to the Giver of spiritual health! And here are three thoughts about prayer that have helped me to learn to pray continuously:

  • Prayer is talking to your Papa. Sometimes, my prayers are different, but mostly, I come to God as a little girl wanting to talk to her Papa. I think of when I want to have my mom’s undivided attention and I climb into her lap—yes, still, as a 37-year-old woman, I do that! I also do that in my head when I’m praying. I imagine that I’m climbing up into God’s lap and talking to Him about everything—my hopes, my fears, my failures, my successes. I confess, and I receive forgiveness there. I express my gratitude and I humble myself like a child. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Praying to my Papa in this way is how I live out this verse.
  • Prayer is talking to your Friend. Sometimes we think of God as a taskmaster waiting to punish us when we do something wrong. But Jesus tells us something different in God’s Word. In John 15:15, Jesus said, “I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.” A taskmaster has slaves, but we are not slaves—we are friends of God. Jesus confided in us what the Lord told Him, so we can be confident in talking to Him as a friend would. And just like our earthly friends, God can handle our anger and our doubt, He can share in our hurts, and He can laugh with us and enjoy our sense of humor. Even better, God is the greatest Friend who will never let us down!
  • Prayer is talking to your Creator. We have to remember that God is not only our Papa and our Friend, but He is also our Creator—and the Creator of the entire universe. I don’t call Him my “homie” but I bow before Him. I talk to Him as my Abba Papa and Friend, but I don’t disrespect Him or treat Him as a human being—because He is not! In Psalm 50:15, the Lord says, “And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.” God can deliver me from evil, defeat darkness, help me be an overcomer, and speak things into existence. He can bless me beyond my wildest dreams and answer every one of my prayers, if it is in His will. As such, I will regard Him with awe and respect, because He deserves it.

Knowing these three things about prayer has made it easier for me to pray continually throughout my days. Every situation I encounter can be filtered to my Papa, my Friend, and/or my Creator, so I can go to the Throne before I go to the phone (Joyce Meyer). If you want to be spiritually healthy, try increasing your prayer life and communicating continuously with the God who will be there for you in every possible way!