Bold and Intimate Prayer

Are you having a good summer?

In cold-weather Wisconsin, the answer is usually resounding “yes!”, no matter how things are actually going.  We northerners seem to get revived during the short and intense time of heat. We love us some summer.

That’s why one my favorite summer songs regularly echoes in my ears right now. It reveals my personal desire for comfort and joy with a soulful tune and intriguing lyrics:

Summer time and the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high,
One of these mornings, you’re gonna rise up singin’
And you’ll spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky,
But ‘till that morning, there ain’t nothin’ can harm you,
So hush little baby, don’t you cry…

Kids long for summer, moms relish the few short months, families reunite and people in general use summer to revive and refresh.

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But these lyrics haunt me just a little because life happens during summer, too.

When I was ten, my eleven-year-old cousin drowned at a family reunion, my parent got a cancer diagnosis, my friend died in a car accident, and loved ones suffered pain and sorrow. Tragedy waits for no one.

So, I pose a question… have you noticed lately, more and more people have need of and are requesting prayers this summer?

It seems the world is certainly not getting better, regardless of summer expectations.

Even though the mood is supposed to be lighter, how do you personally respond when you are asked to pray for someone?

Do you counter with…

  • “What happened?”
  • “Yes, I heard about that.”
  • “Oh no! That’s terrible.”
  • “Of course, I will pray for so-n-so.”
  • “Thank you for the opportunity to lift them up.”

In a previous post, we pondered prayer and the power of the prepositions “through” and “in” as Jesus answers prayer.

What is truly amazing is the part believers play in prayer requests. We are given an opportunity to approach God personally.

The question is, how?

A recent conversation about prayer brought to light a troubling circumstance with the response to most prayer requests:

People say they will pray for you.

But rarely do they pray with you.

The challenge is to drop everything and just throw the problem at the foot of the cross. Together.

Right there.

With them.

In that moment.

Out loud.

In Thessalonians Paul urges us to “Pray continually.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

We aren’t told how Christians throughout the ages have prayed other than Paul’s excellent prayers in the letters he wrote to the congregations. That’s probably because God just wants us to pray whenever and wherever we are.

However, let me ask you this:

Have you had a fellow sister or brother in Christ immediately pray for you when you had problems or troubles or situations?

From personal experience, I cannot begin to tell you how much it helps. It makes a huge difference for those who are suffering, sad, crying, or mourning.

Together you go to your heavenly Father and just throw yourself on his lap of mercy. Spending this time with someone hurting allows them to hear your concerns and love for them.

It also binds you together as family, and dispels emotions.

In response to your request, God grants you comfort, peace and a renewed certainty that things will be all right. Really.

Ask the Lord for opportunities to pray with others when you say you will pray for them.

Then keep your eyes open for those times and have the courage to give it a try.

You and your loved one will be amazed at the outcome… God gives a little breath of summer right then and there.

And the result of your bold and intimate prayers?

As God’s children, the livin’ IS easy, you DO rise up singing, you CAN spread your wings, no one CAN harm you, and Jesus dries all your tears, hushing both of your agonized souls.

So hush, little baby, don’t…. you cry.

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Small act, BIG results.

A year ago, I was in my dorm room. It was the quiet part of my evening - the time I typically spent sipping tea and making a to-do list for the next day, with something light-hearted on Netflix quietly humming in the background. I was picking out an outfit for the morning’s classes when the loud *buzz buzz* of my phone resting on the laminate top of my desk distracted me. My screen lit up, showing a text from one of my close friends.

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I finished laying out my outfit. I grabbed my favorite boots off of the shelf and put them by my freshly packed backpack. Pouring myself another cup of tea, I unplugged my phone from the charging cable, and nestled into the couch. Hair in a bun, cozied up in a felt blanket with my steaming mug in hand, I finally checked my notifications. Opening my friend’s text message took my breath away.

 

“How can I pray for you today?”

 

I nearly burst into tears.

 

My evening was nothing extraordinary, and my week hadn’t been either, but that simple text message engraved that moment into my memory forever. My LED screen lit up because I had a notification, but the light of the message itself burned so much brighter.

 

I can’t tell you how I responded to that text message. I likely asked him to pray for a mind focused on my studies or for strength to make it through another week of college life. I really don’t remember.


Whatever troubles and hardships were going on in my life at that moment - though probably inconsequential - have long been forgotten. My friend’s Christ-like act has not.

 

Isn’t that reassuring?



I have already forgotten the heartaches and stressors of last year, but I haven’t forgotten God’s love beaming through my friend.  A straightforward question deepened relationships - the relationship with my Father and with my friend. The support, encouragement, and love evident in both of these righteous relationships was made more apparent on that normal, quiet evening last year. A small, selfless action produced big results.

 

Reminds me of how a plain man endured a seemingly simple criminal’s death in an execution far more groundshaking than it appeared.

 

Small act, big results.

 

Today, I want to encourage you to shine. You don’t have to follow my friend’s example, but it might be a humble place to begin. Don’t fuss over being lengthy or eloquent. Don’t stress over the means of communication, if your message isn’t delivered face-to-face. I promise, it can be as simple as sending a seven-word text message at the end of the day. The Savior’s love will radiate through your efforts.

 

Humble yourself, reach out in a small way, and watch our Father pour out his big love.

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

 

Rev. 3:11

Let your crown shine today.

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A Prayer for the Littles

As I watch you imagining,

pretending,

sharing,

singing,

I have so many questions about you,

my sweet ones.

Will you be kind?

What will you be when you grow?

Will you be weak,

or will you be strong?

What are the things you'll want to know?

But so much more important, 

my dear littles.

Will you still believe?

Will you pray, learn, will your faith grow?

Will you be weak,

or will you be strong?

Will you share your faith and what you know?

So I pray hard and I pray often for you

my precious ones.

I pray your faith is fierce.

I pray God keeps you close to Him.

I pray you can be bold.

I pray you share your love for Him.

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May God keep you and I together

in a faith sure and true.

May the Holy Spirit guide us

to fan our faith flames blue.

May the peace in knowing

that      Christ      Jesus      has       died.

Help us be ever courageous

until we are there by His side.

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What do we tell them?

I'm not one to stay incredibly on top of current events. For better or worse, I can go days without turning on the radio and our television is rarely tuned to the nightly news.

Fortunately, I am married to a man who keeps a close ear to the ground when it comes to happenings around the world and he relays the major events to me in an abbreviated bare-minimum-what-I-need-to-know manner.

It's not that I don't care – I care very much.

It's just that sometimes, it's too hard to hear and feel helpless when it comes to changing the world.

And then I wonder: how much do my children need to know?

Does a six-year-old need to know that more than 80 people are dead in France as a result of a terrorist assault? At this age, do my children need to know that there are riots breaking out as a result of skin color? Do they need to overhear just how little confidence we may have in the two choices it seems we'll have for the president of this country?

While I wrestle with how much is too much for them to hear, there are a few things that I am certain they do need to know:

  • Jesus died for ALL people. He also LOVES all people – and so should we. No matter how hopeless the world, our leaders or society may seem, HE is still in control of it all.
  • We have a distinct privilege in this country to a) vote and b) worship God openly; we should make use of every opportunity to do both and thank those who have fought for these privileges.
  • Through prayer and the spreading of the Gospel, we can bring change to the world. We need to be the light in the darkness, the stranger here in this foreign land, the ceaseless prayer warrior for those who do not enjoy these freedoms and for those who try to eliminate them.

When it comes to current events, each one of us as parents needs to decide just how much we will share with our children. But regardless of what knowledge they have of the world around them, let us never fail to teach them the truths which they simply cannot live without.