Monthly Archives: March 2014

The First 10 Days

As mentioned in this post, click here to read, on March 14th I began to “Draw the Circle” and embark upon a 40 day prayer challenge.

Draw the Circle

The daily devotionals are rich and full of inspiration and encourage me that my prayers are the catalyst for what God will do.  Here is a summary statement (from the author) of each of the 10 days so far:

Day 1 – “If you pray to God regularly, irregular things will happen on a regular basis.”

Day 2 – “God is great not just because nothing is too big for Him; God is also great because nothing is too small”.

Day 3 – “If we give more of ourselves to God, God will give more of Himself to us.”

Day 4 – “Sometimes God delivers us from our problems; sometimes God delivers us through our problems.”

Day 5 – “The shortest pencil is longer than the longest memory.”

Day 6 – “The greatest tragedy in life is the prayers that go unanswered simply because they go unasked.”

Day 7 – “If you want to see God move, make a move.”

Day 8 – “One God-idea is worth more than a thousand good ideas.”

Day 9 – “Never underestimate the power of a single prayer.”

Day 10 – “Bold prayers honor God and God honors bold prayers.”

For each of the past 10 days, I have been reading the daily prayer devotional and praying for our church building project as it nears its completion.  I am praying for abundant, even miraculous, provision and peace for all involved.  The goal is to occupy our building in May, and that glorious day can’t come soon enough!

The prayer challenge was going well until Day 9.  Day 9 is when something happened that was in direct opposition to my prayers and that’s when it became challenging.  The sub-title of this book is “The 40 Day Prayer Challenge”.  Challenge – what an interesting word, with many definitions:

Challenge –

  1. A demand for explanation or justification; a calling into question: a challenge to a theory.
  2. A test of one’s abilities or resources in a demanding but stimulating undertaking: a career that offers a challenge.
  3. To call to engage in a contest, fight, or competition: challenged me to a game of chess.
  4. To invite with defiance; dare: challenged him to contradict her.
  5. To summon to action, effort, or use; stimulate: a problem that challenges the imagination.
  6. To make or give voice to a challenge.

Each of the above definitions, of challenge, has become meaningful 10 days into this “40 Day Prayer Challenge”.

  1. I am questioning my previous beliefs about prayer, I believed for far too little.
  2. My abilities and resources are being challenged (but God’s are not!).
  3. There is a spiritual fight going on, thankfully God will win.  My prayers help to ensure that.
  4. My enemy is trying to defy what I am doing.
  5. I am being summoned to action and my faith is being put to use.
  6. The author of this book gave voice to a prayer challenge and I’m so glad he did.

Because of the encouragement of this little book, I know the circumstances nine days into this prayer challenge are not the final answer.  I am looking forward to how the Lord will work and move in this situation.  What appears challenging to us is easy-peasy for Him.  God hasn’t gotten us this far to ditch us now!

What are you praying for?  Are you being challenged?  Let’s pray this prayer of faith together:

“Father, You are good and faithful.  Things that seem challenging to me are no problem for You.  Give me the faith I need to press on, knowing that challenges are what help me grow.  May my faith become stronger and may it please you.  In Jesus’ Name and for His sake, Amen.”

Your Friend in Ministry,

Name3

 

 

 

 

Comforters Need Comfort Too

This past Sunday at church, I was extremely emotional.  In my spirit, I was grieving about different situations that members of our church are experiencing – loss, illness, heartache.  As we were singing, “I will call upon your name and keep my eyes above the waves, when oceans rise, my soul will rest in your embrace, for I am yours and you are mine . . .”  the weight of what individuals in our dear flock are going through overwhelmed me to the point of tears.  I then had two choices to make – stuff my tears so no one would see them, or let them flow – potentially causing people to wonder what was wrong with me.

I have learned it is best for me to let the tears flow when they need to, rather than stuff them to be dealt with at another time.  So, I let them flow and as they did, a strange and wonderful thing happened.  The comforter became the comforted.  First a hug by a friend who asked what was wrong.  When I mentioned that I was grieving the things people were going through, she encouraged me that I have the heart of Jesus for those hurting in our church.  After worship was over and we went into our greeting time, I went to the bathroom for a bit of privacy and encountered more women who wanted to physically embrace me and offer me words of comfort.  It felt so good to cry on their shoulders.  One of them said, “Comforters need comfort too.”  Another older lady asked how she could pray for me.  Two others embraced me in a circle and reminded me that God gave us to each other to walk through difficult times together.

I didn’t expect to have an emotional break down at church that day, but I’m so glad I did.  The Lord used the power of His Spirit, a beautiful worship song and my sisters in Christ to comfort me.  Had I not been willing to be real and human, I would have missed out on the comfort I so greatly needed.

Comforters need comfort too.  When the weight of others sadness becomes too much for you to bear, where do you go for comfort?  I encourage you to make a comfort plan.  Here is what is included in mine:

  • Cry when I need to.  There is nothing like a good cry to release some of the emotions that get built up.
  • I Read the book of Psalms.  David is a master comforter; in fact, he’s penned some of the most comforting words in all of history – Psalm 23.
  • I remember that although God has called me to be a shepherd, the little flock under my care is ultimately His.  Two of my go to Scriptures when I need to lay people at the feet of Jesus are:  Save Your people and bless Your heritage; nourish and shepherd them and carry them forever. Psalm 28:9, Amplified and “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”  John 10:11, NIV
  • I let others comfort me.  There is no shame in needing comfort as a comforter.  In fact, if you want to continue to be an effective comforter, it is imperative that you let others comfort you.  This is a key to longevity in ministry.

Comforters need comfort too.  As you continue to give God’s comfort, make sure you receive it as well.  One of God’s gifts of grace to us as leaders is providing people who feel called to love, support and encourage us.  Let them do what God has called them to do!

Your Friend in Ministry,

Name3

 

 

 

Let the Challenge Begin . . .

This past summer, I read a simple little book that changed me.  The Circle Maker, (click here to check it out) by Mark Batterson, encouraged me to seek the Lord for His plans and purposes and then get serious about praying them.  This practice has had significant impact upon my prayers for my family.

Draw the Circle

I recently heard about Draw the Circle, (click here) the follow-up to The Circle Maker.  It came in the mail this Wednesday, 3/12.  I began to read it that very night.  The introduction laid out a plan for a 40 day prayer challenge by answering the following questions:

  • Who should I do the prayer challenge with?  Your small group, friends, family, don’t do it alone.
  • What should I circle?  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what to pray about.  He will show you what to concentrate your prayers upon for this next season.  As you seek Him for what to pray about, also seek Him about what Scripture He wants you to “circle”.  This verse/s becomes the basis for your prayers.
  • When should I take the challenge?  The most important thing is not when you do it, but that you start a specific start or end date.  This keeps you focused and on task.
  • Where should I pray?  Determine this by setting a regular time and place to pray each day.  At the beginning of your day, during your quiet time, would be a great place to add this prayer time.

Care to join me on this prayer challenge?  You don’t need the book (although I recommend it as each day gives a daily devotional with testimonies and encouragement).  All you need is a desire to pray for whatever the Lord lays on your heart, the ability to find a Scripture to pray, and the discipline to do it for 40 days.

I sensed the Holy Spirit leading me to “circle” our church’s building project.  I have been in prayer about it all along.  However, now that we are on the home stretch, I have a sense of urgency to pray more fervently and specifically.

I started this challenge on 3/12.  I counted 40 days and my challenge will end on 4/20 – Easter.  What a wonderful day to end a prayer challenge, by putting my hope in our risen Savior.  According to Ephesians 1:19-20, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is alive and living in you and me!  If that doesn’t fuel our prayers, I don’t know what will -smile-!

I will be reading the daily devotional and praying in the wee hours of the morning, which will fit nicely into my normal daily routine.

Over the next 40 days, I look forward to sharing how the Lord works through this prayer challenge and I would LOVE to hear if you will join me and what you will be praying about.  You can leave a comment by clicking on “Leave a reply” under the title of this blog post.

Your Friend in Ministry,

Name3