I'll Pray For You

Night and day I mention you in my prayers. I am always grateful for you, as I pray to the God my ancestors and I have served with a clear conscience. 2 Timothy 1:3 CEV



“I’ll pray for you.” Those four words spill from our lips as easy as “Have a nice day.” I’ve been guilty of it, and maybe you are, too. We tell someone, “I’ll pray for you.” Then we offer a quick prayer and move on.

The words I’ll pray for you took on new meaning for me after my mother died. Until then, I don’t think I fully appreciated the awesome power of ongoing intercessory prayer.

For as long as I can remember, every afternoon Mom would retreat to her recliner in the living room and spend time reading her Bible. Afterward, she’d lean back in the chair and close her eyes. She’d stay that way for a while, and I always thought she was napping. In fact, as a young adult I sometimes resented Mom for taking her daily catnap while I, and the rest of the world, worked. What I didn’t realize back then was that Mom was silently praying. Every single day, she made time to pray for others. When my mother said, “I’ll pray for you,” it was a promise. Those words didn’t mean I’ll pray for you once, they meant I’ll pray you through.

Mom prayed me through life. She prayed me through my tests in college, tough decisions, job interviews, health issues, rocky relationships. As I matured, I felt Mom’s prayers, and I counted on them. I knew that at the precise moment I needed prayer, Mom was in her recliner, eyes shut, deep in intercession for me. When she died, it left a gaping hole in my heart. My gentle mother, my prayer warrior, was gone. Christian friends have told me that now she’s an angel in heaven, praying for me there. Still, I miss being able to call my mother, ask for prayer and have her say to me, “Don’t worry, Honey. I’ll pray you through.” I miss knowing that without a doubt someone is fervently praying for me.

Today, I’m careful when I say, “I’ll pray for you.” I’ve learned that those four words are a sacred promise, not only to the person being prayed for, but also to God. I try to follow my mother’s example. Every night I make time to pray. I sit in my chair in my own living room, shut my eyes, and quietly intercede, day after day lifting the promise of my prayers to God. These prayers, I’ve discovered, create a spiritual bond not only between me and the people I know, but also with people whom I’ve never met: a young man injured in a snowboarding accident, a woman horribly scarred from an encounter with a wild animal, an Internet friend whose dad is battling cancer. It’s that bond formed through prayer that connects we Christians to God’s love, and it’s intercessory prayer that gets us through the scraps of darkness in our lives.

If I say, “I’ll pray for you,” I promise that I will, and I hope that you will find peace knowing that someone is praying you through.

Please let me know -- how can I pray for you?

National Day of Prayer 2010


The 59th Annual National Day of Prayer will take place Thursday, May 6, 2010. Millions will unite in prayer at thousands of events from coast to coast. The theme for this year is “Prayer for Such a Time as This” and is based on the verse from Nahum 1:7 which states: “The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in Him.”

On April 15, 2010, United States District Court Judge Barbara Crabb, for the Western District of Wisconsin, struck down the National Day of Prayer statute, 36 U.S.C. § 119, as violating the Establishment Clause. Judge Crabb ruled that the statute serves no secular purpose, but rather calls the nation to engage in a religious exercise – prayer.

To read more about it and sign an online petition to save the National Day of Prayer. Click HERE.


Running Late

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! Romans 11:33 (NLT)

Running late. The scent of fresh ground coffee fills the kitchen. I pour almost-boiling water into my French press coffee pot and wait.
I grab a sweater and stuff the laptop into my book bag. Then with strong coffee in my travel mug, I head for the lake.

Car windows down, spring surrounds me, fresh and uncooked. I see gentle waves sparkling like diamonds in the early morning sunshine. A female mallard dives head-first-rump-in-the-air, fishing.

I park in the beach lot
facing the lake. Then I slide from the driver’s seat to the passenger side and stretch out my legs. Eager to write, I open the laptop.

I'm barely settled when childish laughter leads a dull, hollow thud. A yellow ball bounces off the right front tire. “Daniel!” The female voice comes from behind. I see a flash of red hair pass my right shoulder. Then a freckled face appears and two hands grasping the ball.

“I’m sorry,” he says softly.

His mother stands behind him, hands firm on his shoulders as if he might float away. “We're sorry,” she echoes.

“Whatcha doin’?” Daniel asks.

“Writing,” I answer.

He bounces the ball, fumbles, bends down and grabs it before it rolls away. “Writin’ what?” He peers into the open window at my laptop screen.

“Daniel!” his mother scolds him. “Don’t bother the lady.”

The ball slips from Daniel’s hands and falls through the window, accidentally on purpose. I lean down and retrieve it from between my feet.

“I’m writing stories,” I say, giving him the ball.

Daniel rests his chin on the window frame, green eyes brimming with questions. “What kind of stories?”

“Mostly stories about Jesus.”

He turns and looks at his mother. “Mom, who's Jesus?”

She's embarrassed, smiling shy without an answer.

Just then, I remember. In my book bag there’s a copy of John MacArthur’s I Believe in Jesus: Leading Your Child to Christ. I pull it out and give it to her. “Jesus is God’s son,” I say. Daniel grabs the book from his mother’s hand and starts flipping through the pages. She takes it from him, and offers it back to me.

“Keep it,” I tell her. “I have more at home.”

She thanks me quickly and guides Daniel away.

“Read it, Mom! Read it to me!” He pulls on her arm and reaches for the book.

She opens the cover. As they walk toward the beach I hear her read aloud: “The Bible says that in the beginning there was only God. He has always been . . . “

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for those days when we run just a little bit late. It is impossible for us to understand your ways, but your timing is always perfect. Amen.







Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

What Jesus Desired From Friendship

A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Proverbs 17:17

For as long as I can remember, I’ve snatched random bits and pieces of information and turned them into stories. My story starters come from brief glimpses of people and events that leave me wondering. I see a joyful bride enter a church on a Saturday afternoon, and I wonder if she will be as happy five years from now. I catch a quick look at faces in a bus window, and I wonder. Are they traveling toward a bright future, or running from a desolate past? Recently, I made a surprising discovery. The Bible is filled with story starters. God’s Word provides just enough information to whet our appetites and leave us wondering about the details.

During Lent when I read the gospels, three story starters jumped out at me from the pages of my Bible. I had read them before, I’d even written about them, but this time they left me wondering about Jesus and his friends. What did Jesus desire from friendship?

The first story starter comes from Luke 10:38-42 (NIV):

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."


Jesus desired devotion from his friends.

I imagine Martha as an ancient Martha Stewart. Her house was always clean, dinner was on time and her chores followed a very strict schedule. Only when the work was done, did she have time to be a friend. Jesus shared a close friendship with Mary, Martha and their brother, Lazarus. He desired time with all of them, but Martha was too busy to give it. I wonder. Did Martha change her priorities, or did she weep at the cross wishing that she had more time?

The second story starter is from Mark 4:35-40 (NIV):

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, "Let us go over to the other side." Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, "Teacher, don't you care if we drown?" He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"


Jesus desired that his friends trust him.

I imagine that Jesus was a trustworthy friend. Why then were his disciples unsure of him? It is in our nature not to trust. Even with those we love, there is still a speck of doubt. I wonder. Did his disciples view Jesus as a faithful friend only because of his actions? Even after he calmed the storm, did they trust their friend completely? Absolute trust is next to impossible.

I found the third story starter in Matthew 26:36-46 (NIV):
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?" he asked Peter. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done." When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"


Jesus desired support from his friends.

I imagine Jesus trusted Peter, James and John, his best friends, to stand by him on that fateful night. He confided his deepest feelings to them and asked for their support: “Stay with me. Watch over me!” I wonder. Did they comfort him and promise not to leave him? Was Jesus heartbroken when he discovered his best friends sleeping when he needed them the most? Jesus desired support from his friends -- but he didn’t get it.

These three stories, void of details, leave us imagining and wondering. Still, one thing is certain. Jesus loved his friends unconditionally. Martha was too busy for him, his disciples doubted him and his best friends betrayed him. But Jesus kept loving them. He even died for them!

Oh, to have such a friend.


He Lives!

"Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!"
(Luke 24:5-6)

Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Jesus' body. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.


And they said among themselves,
“Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?”
for it was very large.

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away.

And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; And they were alarmed.

But he said to them:

“Do not be afraid. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him? Go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”


So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, trembling and amazed.
Mark 16:1-8

"They have taken the Lord out of the tomb!
We don't know where they have put him!"
John 20:2

Peter ran to the tomb. And when he stooped down and looked in, he saw only the burial clothes. Then he left, wondering what had happened.
Luke 24:12

But Mary Magdalene stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?"

They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was him.

"Why are you crying?" he asked her. "Who is it you are looking for?"


Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."

Jesus said to her: "Mary." 


She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic:

"Rabboni!" (which means Teacher).

Then Mary hurried to the disciples with the news:
"I have seen the Lord!"

John 20:10-18

HE HAS RISEN!
CHRIST LIVES NOW AND FOREVER!



Jesus said: "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die."
John 11:25-26


Have you accepted Christ's gift of eternal life?

Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins, and he rose from the grave to make a place for us in heaven.

Jesus Christ bore our sins --past, present, and future-- in His body on the cross, and now he offers you eternal life (heaven) as a free gift.

This gift is received by faith in Jesus -- faith that he died for your sins and rose from the dead, just as he said that he would. This is the meaning of Resurrection Sunday -- Easter.


A prayer for accepting Christ's gift of eternal life can be found by clicking HERE and scrolling to the bottom of the post.




HAPPY EASTER!


NEW FROM THOMAS NELSON

CLICK ON THE BOOK TO PREVIEW. VIEW THE BOOK TRAILER BELOW.
FROM BARBOUR BOOKS
I'm proud to be a contributing author to the following series of humorous devotionals.
And check out my "Kid's Bible Dictionary" and pre-teen mysteries, also from Barbour.

See all the books in the Camp Club Girls series.

See all the books in the Camp Club Girls series.
Click on the picture.
I am the author of these books, but I have not been compensated for mentioning them on this blog or linking them to the seller's website. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

By Max Lucado, Published by Thomas Nelson
Max Lucado has a unique way with words, and his children's book Hermie A Common Caterpillar is no exception. With simple text and bright, watercolor illustrations, the story of Hermie unfolds.

Hermie wonders why he looks and feels so common. Whenever he asks God why, God simply answers, "I'm not finished with you yet." Then, one day, Hermie feels very tired. He gets into his cozy, leafy bed, and he sleeps. And while Hermie sleeps a transformation takes place. When he wakes up, Hermie discovers that God has done something grand. You can guess what it is. Every caterpillar that lives to adulthood knows the end of the story.

Parents, please share this book and its powerful message with your children. We are all special because God loves us, and He has a unique purpose for our lives. Whenever we slump into feeling ordinary, we know that we have hope because . . .God isn't finished with us yet!


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


©text on this blog copyrighted 2012 by Jean Fischer unless otherwise credited. You may link to the blog, but please don't reprint the text without my permission.

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