Why Prayer Is A Powerful Piece Of My Worship

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“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18  NIV*

Have you ever prayed and were totally at peace with whatever the outcome?  I mean the legit calmness and “all is well within my soul” kind of feeling?  One particular prayer of mine was all about me.

I had been a widow for two and a half years and quite frankly I was not thinking about, meeting, dating or looking for another husband.  I know my family and friends had good intentions and would ask frequently if I had gone to any of the singles events at church or would I be interested in online dating.  I took their advice and visited a couple of singles bible study groups and events.  Can you say-AWKWARD?   I discovered quickly there is a big difference between being single because of divorce and the death of a spouse.

I quietly panicked at the thought of possibly being alone for the rest of my life.  There would be no one to share life with day to day, inside jokes, laughter, intimacy, or growing old together.  I quickly came to the conclusion I could not do this on my own.  So I started praying.  It was not a prayer to bring me a husband, but a genuine, heartfelt plea to God.  Let His will be done and let me swallow and accept the outcome.  I received such peace from this prayer and understood I could face my future with grace and embrace it.

Only God could answer this type of prayer in His timing and His perfect plan.  I lived in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area with six million other people and then I met Randy. The God thing is how I met Randy.

A girlfriend and I decided on a cruise which meant flying to Florida to catch the ship.  I got on the luxury liner with my friend and to fill a full dinner table in the evening, we were seated with six other women.  The group was from New Orleans, LA and I became fast friends with one of the ladies, Robin.  She had a beautiful smile, loved life, and was celebrating with her friends on her remission from breast cancer.  We dined, talked to one another, and hung out over the next few days.  When the cruise was winding down Robin started asking me if I was ready to date.  I laughed and told her my family and friends were ready for me but I was not as confident.  She explained she had a brother who was forty-one, a care-free bachelor who lived in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.  She got my information and told me she would be in touch.

A week later I received an e-mail from Robin with her brother Randy copied in on the message.  Randy kindly thanked Robin and asked her to butt out.  For a couple of weeks, Randy and I emailed back and forth.  We had common interests in recreational sports activities, music, food, and our faith.  We decided on a lunch date in early December 2003.  I was extremely nervous since I had not dated in over twenty years!  After a couple of dates, I invited him to my church and we began to date exclusively.

On June 18, 2005, we were married in our church’s garden with our best friends and my three children.  Now they are our three children as Randy calls them his own.  He is a genuinely selfless man who listens to us tell stories about my first husband over and over again.  He told me if he had ever met him they would have been good friends.

 Remember how I prayed about my future and would be at peace with the outcome?  I am so blessed because God did bring another man into my life.  A new best friend who makes me laugh, shares inside jokes and a partner to grow old with gracefully.  I was totally prepared for how my journey would play out and knew God was in control.  Prayer is all about developing, strengthening, worshiping, and deepening the personal relationship with God.   Prayer is powerful and as long as you are open to His will, it can move mountains and make possibilities into reality.

Please visit my prayer request page because I would love to pray for you.  Lord, I hope to encourage others to pray more openly with You and build a relationship.  Your will and timing are perfect and I thank you for all of Your blessings.  Amen!

* The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

WARRIOR

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“He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.  Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:10-11*

I felt mixed emotions when I heard Billy Graham had passed away.  Of course, the first emotion was profound sadness for the loss of a great man.  But then I found myself smiling and envisioning the joy in heaven as the faithful servant had joined ranks with his eternal family.  I have found myself watching many video clips of Billy preaching for the pulpit and some interviews with his family members.  One segment was with Franklin Graham, his son, who was recounting a conversation he had with his father about what to put on Billy’s tombstone.  Billy replied with one word, “Preacher”.

Wow.  To be able, to sum up, all of his life works in one word which defined him.  A question popped into my thoughts as to how could I sum up my life in one word?  I have thought and prayed about it for a few days and this particular word made itself loud and proud of me; warrior.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines warrior as a person engaged or experienced in warfare; broadly: a person engaged in some struggle or conflict.**

I can relate to the second piece where a person is engaged in some struggle or conflict.  In my younger years, I loved conflict, and not always in a good way.  I was quick to make my opinions known, without care for others feelings or thoughts, and loved to engage in debates which most of the time turned into arguments.  It was extremely difficult for me to see others’ viewpoints and easy for me to distance myself from those who did not think like me.  There were many life lessons learned early on in my adult life which were painful but necessary.

Over the years, I have continued to engage in struggles and conflict but I handle them much differently.  How you ask?  Instead of focusing on my opinions and refusing to believe I could be wrong about anything, I choose to fight for others.  I have channeled my combative energy into protecting, defending, and serving those who don’t or can’t find their voice, need physical, mental, or financial assistance, or desire prayers.  For me, being a warrior is fighting for others.

Protect-I will first and foremost protect my beliefs.  This does not mean if you don’t think like I do, we can’t be friends.  What I mean is I will not succumb to society’s pressure and hide my faith.  I understand not everyone is a Christian and I support their right not to be, although it makes me sad.  I am open to discussing my faith with others who want to talk or understand more about a personal relationship with Jesus.  Believe me, I am not an expert by any stretch, but I know what I know by my experiences.  I aspire to lead by example, even though I am a sinner and fail every day in my endeavors.  The cool thing is I wake up each morning, dust off my failures and try again by asking God to direct me.  Being a prayer warrior has strengthened my relationship with my Father and He has revealed a gentle reminder; it is not all about me.

Defend-I will defend my family and friends. People are most vulnerable in stressful situations such as illness, death, financial issues, and social pressures. There is a spiritual war going on and I will cover my loved ones in prayer to fight off the enemy.    This is not to say when they make mistakes, I won’t call them out.  Discipline and accountability are traits I need to demonstrate and have the same expectations for those in my circle.

Serve- I am truly blessed with my relationships, health, financial stability, and material items.  Sure, I love to be lazy and lie on the couch, nosh on junk food and watch meaningless television.  And it is in these moments where the Holy Spirit whispers a convicting message to my soul, “get up and out there to help others who are suffering at this moment”.  Some may think this is guilt but I see it as a reminder of how blessed I am and how I am here to fight for those who physically, mentally, or spiritually can’t defend themselves.  It is an honor and privilege to participate in events which impact and assist others during a low period in their lives.

I continue to learn more about who I am and my purpose here on earth.  It is to armor up with God’s truth and to be His hands and feet to help others.  It is to be the voice of those who are quieted by fear, illness, addiction, or circumstances beyond their control.  It will not be easy.  The more I fight in God’s name, the more attacks which will be hurled in my direction.  I have to equip myself daily and put on my breastplate, pick up my shield, and take my sword to fight against the enemy in Jesus’ name.  In the end, it will be worth it, and on my tombstone, I want one word, “Warrior”.

*The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

**https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/warrior

The Promise of Tomorrow

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Today, we are celebrating the graduation of the Mandeville High School seniors class of 2017.  Tonight after graduation, is the traditional Project Graduation party which I will be attending ALL night long!  It is a great way to honor their accomplishments and keep them protected.  I thought I would share the blog I wrote last year when my nephew graduated.  Join me today in lifting up this generation in prayer for a safe, successful, and blessed graduation.  So exciting to see what the future holds!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”-Jeremiah 29:11*

We were seated in the auditorium when the crowd burst into cheers and applause and my skin tingled with the excitement.  The 2016 high school seniors had officially graduated.  My nephew was one of this acclaimed group.  I sat there with a big smile on my face and tears in my eyes.  We were a hodge-podge group of family and friends who overcame all obstacles to be there in support of his big day.  We wanted him to feel the love because there was one person who could not be at his one and only high school graduation.  The void which we all were feeling was his mom and my sister in law, who had passed away seven years ago.  Oh, how she would have been the loudest and proudest one in our group! This day was bittersweet for all of us and a reminder even in grief, there are joyful moments.

As I looked into my nephew’s eyes, I saw a world of possibility opening its doors to him.  What a euphoric rush to think about his future:  pursuing a career, falling in love, and raising his own family.  As I reflect on the promise of tomorrow, I am reminded of God’s intentions for us daily.

PROVISION-God knows His plans for you and He will provide.  All you have to do is seek Him in everything.  It is not ever too late to build your relationship with God and understand your purpose.  In my daily prayers, I share with Him I want to honor and glorify Him in all actions.  I also ask God to PROVIDE me with tools necessary to complete His works.    “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus”. – Philippians 4:19*

PURPOSE-What are your goals?  Each one of us is made uniquely and God has an intended purpose for you.  I have reveled in the process of finding my purpose and look forward to how the journey will play out.  I know it is right because God orchestrates every detail and the pieces start falling into place like a puzzle.   I ask for my marching orders every day in my prayers and I know it is one more step in fulfilling my purpose; in His time.  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose”. – Romans 8:28*

PRESERVATION-Because I choose to walk with God, I know He will protect me.  There will be physical attacks and events on my body, (accidents, illnesses, injuries, aging) but He will ultimately guard my soul and deliver me to spend eternity with Him.   When I meet with Him daily in His word, I am assured of this promise to live with Him in His house forever.  “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless.  He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.”- Psalm 18:30*

In retrospect of my life over the last fifteen years, I am in awe where God has taught, inspired, and led me on this journey.  If I can get excited about the future in my fifty-something life, I pray for my nephew and all the 2016 graduates who are giddy about their future plans.  His generation will be the one to move our society forward, for better or worse, and I am optimistic God’s promise will shine through it all.

*The Holy Bible, New International Version Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

A Prayer Prescription

A Prayer Prescription

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”-James 5:16

It finally happened.  I had invested in so many cleaning and disinfectant products I could open my own restoration cleaning service.  The little beast was not making its way into my abode, not without a fight.  We struggled and we fought hard, but lost.  Influenza made its ugly way into the front door and took over every square inch of our house.  Blame has to be laid somewhere, right?  I blame the school where it has bred and grown every day for weeks (the word on the street was there were hundreds of kids out with the flu) and I begged my sixteen-year-old, please wash your hands all day long!   I could have asked him to wear a mask and gloves because no one would have noticed or made fun of him, right?

We are all rarely ill in our family and so when we become sick, we are not good patients to ourselves or each other. The best course of action was to go to our three separate corners and fight through this by ourselves.  But in hindsight, I realized we were not alone.  God had our backs.

Even though I did little advertising we were all down for the count, people did check in on us and offered prayer.   I barely could whisper a “help me” to God and yet folks were reaching out.  You would think with all the hours of lying in bed, in and out of sleep, I could have spent ten minutes giving thanks for my circumstances (I could unload a list of diseases worse than the flu to have to fight for a much long time than a few days) and ask for healing, but instead I laid there, void of thought, other than feeling rotten.  It is nice to know others were praying for me during my time of need.

My lesson had revealed itself to me as I was on the mend.  My friends told me they would pray for me to feel better, heal quickly, and get back to feeling right with the world.  I was able to experience all of these steps and I believe it happened because they kept their word.  When I offer to someone I will pray for their circumstances, my intentions are to make it happen.  I try to pray immediately for their needs and also put their request in my journal so I can continue to pray over them.  I want those who ask for prayer to feel my appeal to God for them and know I care.  Prayer for others is a way to be the hands and feet of Jesus and demonstrate my commitment to raising their needs to Him.
Tweet: Prayer for others is a way to be the hands and feet of Jesus and demonstrate my commitment to raising their needs to Him.

As I get my house back in order, (can you smell the bleach?) I am relaxed with a certain peace in my heart.  I had several activities which were planned last week and they were not completed.  I am not stressed or panicked and I am able to re-schedule items which were neglected.  I think someone must have prayed for me to experience grace as well because, under my normal way of conducting activities, I would be in full freak out mode.  Not this time.  So thank you for the prayers last week for me and my family, you helped a sista out more than you know!  Let me know if I can pray for you.  Blessings.

The Power of Prayer

Two hours or less

James 4:8- “Come near to God and He will come near to you.”

Prayer is powerful.  I love the term “prayer warrior” because I envision myself dressed in armor and waiting on my marching orders to pray again. Today, I feel empowered by praying, but it has not always felt this way.  A few years back I would catch myself saying casually to someone, “Oh yes,  I will pray for you” and not follow through.  As I spent time with God, it was pointed out to me in big, bold, letters, “Don’t say you are going to pray and not follow through”.  I got it.  My prayer life has changed dramatically.  I pray throughout the day and when a request comes through, I stop what I am doing and pray.  I believe in prayer and am certain of one thing -God answers all prayers.  I have learned there are different ways He answers prayer.  I have decided to share with you in a three part series my prayer life and how God answered my prayers; in three different, but perfect ways.    In developing my personal relationship with God, I have come to recognize how prayer is powerful and I am blessed to be able to lift up others.  My first prayer experience is when God and I saw eye to eye.

TWO HOURS OR LESS

My desire was to be a mom.  When I was pregnant with my first child, I asked numerous friends to give me the details of going through labor and delivery.  I did not care how horrible the experience was detailed.   I wanted to prepare myself for the worst in pain level.  Sufficient to say none of the horror stories prepared me for the inducing of my labor, screwing up the epidural (so I had to lay flat on my back through labor, pushing, and the unplanned C-section) severe shakes in coming off the medication, the stitches, and the long recovery process.  As I looked at my beautiful nine-pound baby girl, I told myself-NEVER AGAIN.  God had another plan.  By the time my daughter was a year old, the horrific experience of giving birth was a faded memory and my husband and I talked about another baby.  I started praying to God if he could let me do the entire labor and delivery process in two hours or less, I was game.  I also told him I knew it would be extremely painful with no drugs and as long as He was with me and it could be done it two hours or less, I‘ve got this.  I prayed this prayer for two more years and when my daughter turned three, I was pregnant with my first son.  The pregnancy was relatively normal and uneventful, meanwhile, I was praying my two hours or less prayer.  When it became close to the due date, my doctor discussed the different paths I could take with pain medication.  I smiled at him and said, “no drugs for me, thank you.”  He promptly chuckled and said I would change my tune when the contractions were going down.  In the wee hours of September 16th, (around 3:00 AM) I was the most uncomfortable I had been all evening.  I did not know what it was like to go into labor (my daughter was induced) but a little voice told me this was it.  I woke up hubby and said let’s go.  We got our friends to come get our daughter and we were off to the hospital.  I arrived at 4:00 AM and my husband dropped me off at the emergency entrance and left to park the car.  I could barely walk down the hall and a nurse saw me and grabbed a wheelchair.  At this point the pain was excruciating and I kept holding my breath.  I was put in a room and my hubby was given the paperwork to fill out while the nurse examined me.  “Wow,” she said, “You are at eight centimeters!”  I remember, okay God we have got this!  It was me and my husband in this quiet little room and then it happened.  My water broke (more like exploded) and I started pushing (uncontrollably) and my poor husband faded to white and screamed for help.  In less than 20 minutes, my beautiful nine-pound son was born!  Let me tell you, I could have jumped up on the table and fist pumped while celebrating.  I felt awesome!  No drugs needed and my son was born forty-six minutes from the time I arrived at the hospital.  You might think this was a coincidence, but let me share one more piece.  Seven years later, I was pregnant with my youngest son and I started the same prayer request again-two hour or less.  Guess what?  Same scenario, I arrived at the hospital at 6:30AM and at 8:04AM he was born.  No drugs and I wanted to jump up on the table again and celebrate: two for two!

There are times in our lives where God’s answer to prayer lines up with our heartfelt, desired outcome. And it is worth sharing an answered prayer to bless others.   I love to hear about uplifting and positive stories and when it revolves around an answered prayer-SCORE!!   I encourage you to share an answered prayer with others.  There may be someone out there who needs to hear and experience another God moment.

I want to pray for others so I have added a prayer request to my blog site.  Please let me know if I can pray for you.  Come back next week as I share another example of the power of prayer in my life.

Be the Hands and Feet

Be The Hands and Feet

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send?  And who will go for us?’  And I said, “Here I am.  Send me!”-Isaiah 6:8

My heart aches.

So much devastation.

I can’t keep up with the statistics.

Neighborhoods ruined, businesses wiped out, school districts closed indefinitely.  Where do these people go?  This is my backyard.  This is a part of Louisiana I frequently drive through as I travel to and from Texas.  I see on TV the familiar exit signs off the highway but can’t comprehend all the water up to and even over parts of a major highway.

Unbelievable.

I ask myself- how can I help?  The Holy Spirit whispers in my ear, “Be the hands and feet of Me”.

There are tragic events all around our country.  Flooding in the Southeast, fires in the west, riots in the cities, and anticipated hurricanes in the oceans.  I am calling on all prayer warriors to take your bible as your sword and shield and lift up all areas afflicted with devastation.  There is power in prayer and collectively we can change our world by lifting it up to Him.

There is a reason it is called “good works”.  It is when you are actively participating for the benefit of others.  There is plenty we can do in our area; gutting houses, feeding people, donating items, fostering animals, and the list goes on.  Don’t wait for something bad to happen.  Get out in your community and help.  There are nursing homes to visit, homeless people to feed, Habitat for Humanity or trash pickup in your town.  Be engaged in helping others.

Tragedies happen frequently in our world.  Living in Texas and Louisiana there are certain actions to be taken every year for hurricane season.  I make sure we have extra water, hubby checks the generator, and we make sure batteries and flashlights are ready for use.  I am taking it a step further and working with the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief group and going through certification to be able to respond to future disaster relief anywhere and provide assistance as needed.

This is not a sprint, but a LONG marathon.  It will take months for homes to be gutted, dried, treated, and rebuilt.  Insurance companies and contractors are stretched thin and those who are living the nightmare daily want to be back to “normal”.  Please pray for the first responders, doctors, hospitals, churches, volunteers, and the victims of this epic flood.  Blessings !

A Teachable Moment

Teachable moment

In the spirit of back to school, I have been reminiscing about my school days (Which by the way, don’t feel so LONG ago).   I remember drill team camp, school clothes shopping, and the back to school eve jitters.  Oh, how we would rush to school and get our schedules to compare with our friends: who was in whose class and the most important part; which lunch do I have?  I had some wonderful mentors and teachers and am so thankful for my school years.

Another crucial piece of my school career was discovering I am a visual learner.  Looking at pictures, hi-lighting words, and taking descriptive notes were the ways of absorbing knowledge.  I retained more information by watching demonstrations such as working math problems on the board or conducting a science experiment.  I also enjoyed reading books if there were pictures to go along with a story (it was hard for me to develop scenario pictures in my head).  This preparation was invaluable for me in college and the workforce.  I would describe myself as a visual learner when attending workshops, labs, or classroom courses.  I thought I knew myself pretty well until recently when I learned a new part of my learning equation.

I am also a visual teacher.

For years I have been labeled as a headstrong, Type-A, and I can do it better than you personality.  I would become frustrated in trying to explain to others how to tackle a project or task because they would not understand or complete it to my specifications.  The problem was when I try and show someone what to do; they viewed me as controlling and would give up.  I discovered it is hard to find the right words to instruct someone on what to do and I would get frustrated (with myself).  I would take control and feel more comfortable in performing the task in front of them then giving written or verbal instructions. I bought into the labeling of myself and would judge others for not meeting my standards.  I was convinced I had to do it myself.

Recently I have changed my opinions of blaming others for not “getting it” to realizing perhaps it was me and my communication issues.

HUH?

“God change my heart.”

And He has.

This has been a recent prayer of mine for the last few months.  In all the years I have struggled with the disappointment, anger, and frustration over simple items I thought I had to do myself because no one else could.

It was not them, it was me.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24 NIV

I can teach others but I need to approach the teaching moment differently.  I have to change the way I  present a request and to be patient with the recipient as they comprehend and learn.  When I struggle to explain or discuss something, I can be honest and say, “You know I am not the greatest at explaining a task.  I don’t want to be overbearing and do it myself.  Hang in there with me as we learn together!”  It is about being aware of my shortcomings and accepting the change in me-not them.

Letting go and letting God.

What a relief.

What is your struggle?  Is there a teachable moment for you in asking God to change your heart?  Blessings my sweet friend!