Help Us Lord

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Jesus,

It seems like every day we have demands put upon us that are necessary but sometimes harsh and unnecessary. Help us to discern what is important, to prioritize the demands upon us and to reply to others with love, patience, and kindness. We also ask you to help remind us to give you a portion of our day to sit in your presence and feel your strength around us.

We ask in our name, Amen

Prayer

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This past week in church, our pastor reminded us to pray. Not just a quickie kind of thing, a real, honest-to-goodness type prayer.

With busy lives, it is so easy to pass on the prayer and gloss over the importance of a chat with God. I’m not going to do that. I’m going to work on talking one-on-one a little more often.

It’s good for the soul.

Lord, Save Us!

    

Psalm 118:25

Lord, save us! Lord, grant us success!

Lent is a traditional time of self reflection and soul-searching.

In reality… I should do this daily. My soul needs to be renewed, refreshed, searched, and recharged. My soul gets weary.

I cry out to God… Lord, save us! Save this land, save my loved ones, and save us from a bountiful harvest of sins.

I know He hears us. I know He hears me. I pray He grants success to all who call upon His name.

Amen and amen.

The Power of Prayer

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My precious granddaughter has been struggling lately. It’s hard to be perfect when you are only in first grade.

As a new school year starts, it becomes a challenge for her to earn a daily star for being on her best behavior. School rules are tough for a child who is precocious, charming, lively, and very active. She reminds me of her mother. She reminds me of me.

My daughter suggested we start praying with her every morning and ask Jesus to help her behave in order to obtain a star. The results were superior. We were drowning in stars and accolades.

Yesterday, they forgot to pray before school but my grand-girl came home with a star anyway. At this juncture, she declared that praying was no longer needed since Jesus wasn’t essential to her success. This became an opportunity to explain how much she needs Jesus all the time. There are days when prayers are answered and days when life sends us in another direction. Either way, stopping prayer is not an option.

I learned a valuable lesson from my 6-year old granddaughter. At the core, I am regrettably like-minded on the prayer issue. I am guilty of self-centered thoughts.

I seek God for the trials and tests of this life but give up prayerful communication when all is right with my world. If I need something important, I pray heartily. If I don’t need something, I should remember that someone else does. If I don’t need something, then I should praise God. Regardless of life’s circumstances, prayer is mandatory. Prayer is the glue that holds my life together.

At dinner last night, I asked Lily about her day and she told me about the great report. I applauded her and added that I hoped it would be so because I had prayed for her that morning. I asked Jesus to help Lily have a good day.

And he listened.

He always does.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Prayer – What does it look like?

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There seems to be an on-going debate about what constitutes prayer.

Can prayer be defined by speaking out loud to God, bowing our heads, talking to Jesus while driving a car, or being silent on our hands and knees?

Prayer doesn’t come with a clear form of protocol and no one should tell you so. Prayer is prayer.

It is an active and voluntary communication with God. You can plead, beg, thank, or just be still, but prayer is an individual endeavor with guaranteed results.

A favorite author, Anne Lamott once said, “Here are the two best prayers I know: ‘Help me, help me, help me’ and ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you.” If this is all you can squeak out…it is enough.

The only thing that is asked of you is to pray.

Lord, hear our prayers.

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 17:6

My Soul Will Wait for the Lord…the Watch

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Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:37-38

Loneliness is a terrible thing. The fear that grows from the despair of loneliness can be difficult to bear.

I have experienced a deep sense of loss and loneliness. But, I have never experienced or could even fathom what Jesus felt that night in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus counts on His beloved disciples to watch with Him as He prays. They can’t do it.

As sweat turns to blood and Jesus cries out in prayer to the Father, the disciples sleep.

Preparing to drink from the cup filled with the sins of mankind would be beyond human comprehension. It is unimaginable. But Christians believe in the unimaginable. We believe in a Savior who died for us. We could not drink a cup containing just our own personal sins. So, imagine the sins of the world…it is too much to ask of anyone.

But Jesus went on that lonely journey to death for me and for you. He carried the cross, endured the humiliation, the beatings, and the pain for our sins.

Tonight, I watch for one hour. One hour of my time for a lifetime of grace.

I sit and I watch and I am grateful. I sit and I know I am unworthy but I sit and I am glad. I sit remembering His sacrifice and I mourn until I can rejoice again.

I sit…

The difference an hour makes – Lent 10

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Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. Matthew 26:40

One hour is not a long time. But giving up one hour for anything you don’t want to do can seem like an eternity.

When Jesus goes into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray he asks his loyal disciples to wait and watch (and pray) for one hour. But when he returns to them, they are all asleep. This follows the Upper Room discourse where Jesus tells them that soon He will be gone. He warns them of what is to come. Yet, they still can’t stay awake.

Some of us are awake and functioning Christians. But our spirit is not. Our soul is asleep. We can’t keep the light of Christ going for one hour. Sometimes, not even while we are in church.

The lessons of Lent are greater than this but they do require us to be mindful, vigilant and on watch for Jesus. Can you not give Him one hour of your time?

Quiet Please – Lent 5

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I crave silence. I crave a peace-filled moment.

Sometimes when I visit my parents’ graves, I sit on the bench and I am still. I sit and do nothing other than glory in the quiet and peacefulness. The occasional birdcall is welcome as is the gentle breeze on my face. But for the most part, I just sit. It is glorious.

Pretty soon we will celebrate Maundy Thursday watch. This is a time when we sit in prayerful silence in the sanctuary. It is a time to reflect upon the night that Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane; the night His disciples could not watch with him for just one hour without falling asleep. It was a night that Jesus spent alone in prayer with the Father.

I haven’t missed a night watch in over 20 years. Next to Christmas Eve Mass and Easter Sunday, it is my favorite day on the church calendar.

There is something so holy about sitting quietly and pausing from this busy life to seek the face of God. If you sit quietly enough, you hear the creak of the church, the scurry of feet, the groan of the building as it sways with the earth. And sometimes, just sometimes, you hear a still small voice in your soul saying it will all be right with the world. Jesus has overcome the world.

Somehow we are reminded that without a moment of silence, words can lose their meaning. That is the moment when silence really is golden.

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. “Couldn’t you men 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 flesh 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 has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Matthew 26:36-46 (NIV)