|#4 sent this to me and I couldn’t wait to share it with y’all.
Wow. Just wowl.
Let me know what you think.
This is the National Day of Prayer. Is it a day set aside for our entire nation to pray or a day set aside to pray for our nation? Whichever way you understand it, today is a day to pray!
According to Wikipedia, the first Thursday of May is “an annual day of observance held on the first Thursday of May, designated by the United States Congress, when people are asked ‘to turn to God in prayer and meditation’. The law formalizing its annual observance was enacted in 1952.”
So there has been a NDOP for a looooong time. I don’t know when I first heard about it, but it has always seemed just a little bit silly to me to set apart a day to pray. Don’t most Christians pray every day?
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (New International Version, ©2011)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Did we need to have a day set aside for it?
Recently, I started thinking. (Good thing to do now and then.) It’s not really a day to remind Christians to pray. It’s a day set aside to remind everyone in the world that America is a praying Christian nation.
We may not all pray in the same posture. Some do it standing, some kneeling, others face down on the floor and yet others lifting hands to the Lord.
We don’t all pray the same prayers. Some pray only scripture, some prayers written by others and some of us wing it.
And we don’t all pray in the same way. Some pray aloud, some silently, some murmuring and some through tears. (And some of us combine them all!)
But the point is, we are a praying Christian nation. And the world should know.
While I’m on the subject of prayer, I wanted to share a blog I happened on today that really blessed me. It’s written by a woman in Denver. I don’t know her, but I loved what she had to say.
This woman has a sweet voice, and on this blog she has a Bible Study she wrote on a “new” way to pray. (It’s not really new, but she shares it with a fresh view.)
In it she refers to scriptures that thrill the heart. James 4:8-“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” Zephaniah 3:17-“The Lord your God is with you, the mighty warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love He will no longer rebuke you but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Don’t you love the idea of God taking great delight in you? Not just delight but great delight! And to think of God rejoicing over each one of us, singing, just brings me to tears.
Check out Jennifer’s blog if you get the chance.
And don’t forget to pause today to pray.
Are you excited? Do you feel the pressure mounting? It’s almost here!
Remember the “Obama stopped the National Day of Prayer” spoof someone got me with on Facebook? (Thanks, Larry.) I blogged about it here.
Tell me the truth. When you first heard that rumor, in that very first twinkle of an instant, did you think, He can’t do that. We don’t need presidential approval. We’ll do it on our own!
All right, maybe everyone isn’t like me (Be very glad about that!) but I was ready to line up people along C-Town’s main street so we could make a statement while we all prayed together on the National Day of Prayer.
Now it’s May. And the National Day of Prayer is the first Thursday of May. Let me repeat that. The first Thursday of May. That’s like, uh, tomorrow. I can’t believe the time has flown so quickly, and now it’s here.
Just one more day! And *sigh* I still don’t know how I’ll be spending the day. But I will be praying.
When I realized the time is nearly here, another thought hit. What are we supposed to be praying about? Is there assigned praying? You know what I mean. Has anyone issued a list of things that need praying about? Are they listed in the order of importance? Will we know what to ask?
Or is free-for-all praying–where you talk to God about any and everything–the order of the day?
Did you know there are 224,457,000 (that’s two hundred twenty four million!) Christians in America? If every Christian in America spent a portion of this Thursday praying for America, can you imagine what might happen?
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14.
If Christians (not everyone in America, just the ones who call themselves Christians) would humble themselves, pray, seek God’s face and turn from their wicked ways, then He will heal our land.
Be humble. Pray. Seek God. Turn away from sin. Isn’t that what being a Christian is about? Don’t all Christians already act like, well, Christians?
From what I hear every day on the news and in the streets, our land needs healing, and needs it bad. We can do it–well, God can. If we’ll just act like the people we’re supposed to be.
So here’s my question for you. Will you pray tomorrow? And if so, what will you pray about?
I’ll be praying for America and her leadership. For my Small Town World. For my church and my family. And I’ll also be praying for a woman I’ve never met who has hit Another Lump in the Road.
What about you?
Have you ever wondered if God could see you? A friend of mine did.
She had a great life. But she was so busy working, keeping house, doing laundry and cooking as if she was a stay-at-home mom. She was exhausted.
Now this friend has never doubted God’s existence. She’s always known He created the world and authored the Bible—no doubt in her mind. But she also had a startling grasp of reality. She knew how many people were in the world and she knew all about the terrible problems that were out there.
So she wondered if God saw her. Just her. So many people had drastic needs so much worse than hers. Did He even notice hers?
Was she special to Him? Did He even hear her prayers, and if He did, did He answer?
So my friend drove across town one afternoon , and as she drove, she prayed. I don’t know the exact words of her prayer, but she poured out her heart to God. Do I matter to you? Do you see me? Are you close to me?
She stopped at a stop sign, and as she started through the intersection, she glanced up and saw a marquee with only three words.
I’M STILL HERE.
My friend’s heart nearly stopped and she had to blink hard to be able to see because hot tears filled her eyes.
God heard her prayer! And he answered! Immediately in no uncertain terms.
Jehovah God is here and He loves her as if she were His only child.
I wish you could hear the awe in my friend’s voice as she tells about this day. I wish I were a better writer (and listener) so I could share her emotions with you as she did with me.
Not long after that, this friend and I found we were going to the same Beth Moore Study in different places. This is a friend I rarely see, and I don’t think we’d ever discussed Beth. But God had brought us this connection through Him.
A WGT? Oh, yes!
If you read yesterday’s blog, I mentioned I was going to a celebration of Gene Williams’s life. I went along with Dad, Jeffrey, Amy, Cindy and Deb–all the sibs who live in Oklahoma. (#4 was there in spirit)
I knew it would be a celebration, but I had no idea how much I would enjoy it. Yes, I saw lots of friends, but that wasn’t what I enjoyed most. We got to visit and catch up on what was happening in the lives of lots of people, but that wasn’t it, either.
What I truly enjoyed was worshiping while surrounded by my family. We don’t get to do it often–Jeffrey goes to The ‘Ford to worship, Cindy to the church where her husband serves, Amy to the Baptist with her husband and Deb sings on our worship team and sits up front. (While I really enjoy the back.)
So yesterday, singing with Deb on one side of me and Cindy on the other was a little bit like Heaven. They both sing beautifully, and what was funny was while they both sing alto or tenor, they never sang the same part.
I sing soprano. They couldn’t hear each other, but we sounded like a trio. Okay, maybe we could use a little practice 😉 but together we made a joyful noise!
The funeral had a full worship team. I couldn’t see some of my favorite people up there, but I heard my friend Junebug played the keyboard while holding her grandaughter.
Isn’t that a beautiful picture? A woman teaching her granddaughter to praise God before the child can even carry on a conversation?
She doesn’t only tell her, she shows her. I love it!
The part of the service I enjoyed most was when Marsha, Gene’s daughter, spoke. She touched the heart of everyone at the service, telling us of her father’s faith in God. How he rarely met a person without asking them if they knew Jesus.
When Gene was in college, he received an award from ROTC because he saved another man’s life. They were in a chemistry lab and somehow his lab partner caught fire. The guy panicked and started to run, but Gene stopped him and beat out the flame with his bare hands, saving the man’s life. When help came, Gene told them he was fine, but when he tried to open the door to leave, the skin on his palms came off and he collapsed.
His palms were tender after that, but because of that God gave him the gift of healing.
She said they took him from the hospital to a healing service once, and while they were there, he prayed for the others, not himself. I don’t think that suprised anyone who knew him.
She told of their final communion together in his hospital room and of the scriptures they prayed over him. 2 Cor 5–the entire chapter, but special verses stood out.
Verse 1, which talks about the earthly tent we live in and when we leave it, we have a heavenly house for eternity. And verse 8 where we’re told that Christians who are absent from the body are present with the Lord.
Speak at your own father’s funeral–even a celebration–can’t be easy, but she did a fantastic job. When I told her that, she said, “If I did, it was all God.”
My brother told Marsha about when he was a kid. He loves to hunt and as a teen, because our dad doesn’t hunt, he asked Gene if he’d take him some time. Gene took Jeffrey several times, and for the rest of his life he’s been grateful.
I wonder if Gene ever knew how much he affected others’ lives?
I wonder if any of us realize how much we all affect the lives of others?
Sometimes, without knowing, we hurt them. More often, by asking God to work through us, we can help, support, encourage and love them.
And never cease to pray for them.
Pryor Creek, Oklahoma. My boys spent much of their growing up years in that wonderful town. I miss PC. (You might have guessed that if you’ve read many of my blogs.)
When we bought the pharmacy and moved to PC, #1 Son was starting 3rd grade, MS was starting preschool, and BB wasn’t a two-year-old yet.
When we moved away from PC, #1 Son had graduated from high school and was attending college in Claremore. MS was in his last year of middle school and BB was in his first year of middle school.
Between those two paragraphs were ten and a half years of getting to know and coming to love a wonderful community. The thing I loved most? The people. (Big surprise, huh?)
I liked the heck out of our customers, loved most of our neighbors and every person in our church, and to be downright honest, I adored the women in my Sunday School class.
There were two woman I connected with in SS like few other people in my life. When we moved to PC, a town where I knew only the preacher and his wife from college, I started praying for prayer partners.
God answered that prayer in high def.
He gave me prayer sisters that I connected with so deeply, I can still feel their prayers in my life today.
We prayed through so much together. Family celebrations. Christian joys and family sorrows. National tragedies. We asked God; He answered.
These two prayer sisters were a wonderful blessing. And I miss them more than I can say. I learned constantly from them, grew deeper in Christ and came to know Him in an even brighter light.
These women are and have always been more than friends to me, and when I see Him face to face, I won’t be surprised to learn they were truly angels, we just didn’t know.
What does it take to make a prayer sister? A heart for God. I was very lucky to have God answer my prayer in such a beautiful way.
I haven’t found non-related prayer partners here in C-Town, except for the crew that we call The Church. The people there are ready and always willing to pray with and for others. There’s a short prayer list each week in the bulletin and a longer one available on the church buttetin board.
Do you ever feel the need for someone to pray with you for yourself or others? Is there someone special you join with in prayer?
Or do you stand on your own when you pray?
Come on and tell me about your prayer life.
This is a 1907 postcard I bought online. It’s early day C-Town–the community well. The buildings you see are still standing and are diagonal from our office.
I want to tell you a little more about our Small Town World. C-Town is a friendly place, and small enough that even if you don’t know someone else who lives here, you most likely do know someone they know or are kin to.
“Oh, you know Jane Doe. She’s that woman from Timbuktu who married Joe Blow’s cousin.”
I almost never go anywhere with SA that she isn’t spoken to over and over again. “Hi Amy! How you doing, Amy?”
(BTW-In this week’s newspaper, they asked several people what we could do to improve C-Town. SA was one of those people. She answered, “Convince people to be more friendly.” I told her I’m not sure that’s possible. She said the interviewer caught her unaware, and friendliness was the only thing she could think of.)
As I’ve said until you’re probably sick of hearing it, I work in the family business, and normally have lunch in the kitchen at the office. Sometimes, though, we go out. (Sister Amy loves it when we go out.)
There aren’t a lot of places to eat in our small town, but there are a few really good ones. One of those has pretty darn tasty Tex-Mex fare. We went there yesterday. We were quickly seated, our waitress of choice brought our drinks nearly as soon as our seats hit the seat (the sign of a GREAT waitress!) and a friend came in the door.
Now this woman is more than just a friend (although friends are VIPs in my book) she has a beautiful voice, has a heart for God and she’s my hairdresser. When I say to know her is to love her, I’m not exaggerating. Everyone adores this red-headed woman.
We invited her to sit with us, and she slid in the round booth next to Dad. She had her Bible with her and explained that she usually read the day’s segment during lunch. (She’s reading through the Bible in a year, too.)
That’s when she remembered a question she had about something she’d read and marked a few days earlier. She opened her Bible and we had a wonderful discussion about Moses and Exodus there, in the middle of the restaurant.
After we discussed that question, she moved on to another one. I loved it, eating lunch with some of my favorite people in the world and discussing my favorite subject! (I could talk about God’s love all day long.)
Not one person in our Small Town restaurant batted an eye. We weren’t whispering. We didn’t get loud or try to get everyone’s attention, but we didn’t hide what we were doing, either.
There were people in the adjacent booths and nearby tables, but I didn’t see anyone roll their eyes or so much as shrug at our discussion.
One of the things I love most about living in a place like C-Town is that they know us there, and expect to hear that kind of thing from our table. If we’d ordered alcohol or told loud, dirty stories, we would have raised a few eyebrows.
A few years ago, someone had a saying after their signature in their emails (Holly Jacobs, who says she lives in Hollyworld, maybe?) that said something like, “I love living in my own world. They know and accept me there.”
Maybe that’s the thing about the small towns that make up the world. You never have to be anything except who you are.
And they love us anyway.