Tag Archives: prayer

Keep Watch!

So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming (Matthew 24:42 NLT).

Keep watch.  According to Jesus, “keeping watch” is my daily job description. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But in our busy, noisy world, keeping watch can get lost in the shuffle. I have to be alert.  Attentive.  Mindful that Jesus is present. Constantly aware that His Holy Spirit is at always at work…in and around me.

Nobody talks more than the Holy Spirit.  No one acts with greater power.  But I will blow right past the invisible world of the Spirit if I am not alert. Watchful. Spiritual lethargy is a roadblock to effective prayer.

Here are three simple tips that help me keep watch on a daily basis: Continue reading


Woman of Valor: A Fierce Fighter

I still marvel when I think back to the beautiful young mother I once met in a tiny country in a forgotten corner of the world. She was a survivor of the horrific genocide in Burundi that had exploded alongside Rwanda’s frenzy of killings.

I’d been invited to teach a group of women—church leaders and pastors’ wives—on prayer. All had survived war and poverty and were trying to help rebuild their country. They were no strangers to prayer.  Several told stirring accounts of God’s miraculous power during times of great danger.

Finally, the young mother hesitantly rose to her feet and began to tell her story. She had eight children and lived in the countryside. One day she was gathering vegetables when a worker rushed to tell her that her two-year-old son had suddenly fallen ill and died.

“Desperate and afraid, I remembered the story of how Elijah had prayed for the widow’s little boy who died,” she said. “The boy finally came back to life.” So I cried out to God, “You did it for Elijah—do it for me!” She prayed and prayed. “Finally,” she said quietly, “I could not look at my son any longer, so I went outside.” She paused—faltering for words.

By this point, I’m thinking of how to comfort her. But I was not prepared for what happened next.

“I went back inside,” she continued slowly. “But this time, when I put my hands on my little boy’s lifeless body and began to pray, he suddenly coughed and sputtered and sat up—he was alive!” A hush fell over the room. I was face-to-face with an ordinary mother who lived oceans away from me. But I knew I was in the presence of a warrior—a woman of valor.

Maybe you’re thinking, Perhaps her little boy wasn’t really dead. Or, Why God didn’t heal my sick child? A story like this raises many questions for which I don’t have answers. But I do know this: God cares for his children all over the world. And in a place like Burundi—where they have tasted death up close and where doctors are nearly nonexistent—believers experience a dimension of God’s grace I seldom see in my safe, suburban world. I’ve heard similar stories firsthand from war refugees in the Middle East and slum dwellers in India.

Such women remind me that faith is a fierce fight. A far cry from the woman in my corner of the world who once said to me: “Oh, I prayed hard a couple of times for something I really wanted and it didn’t happen. Guess I won’t ever try that again.”

I walked away from my encounter with the young mother from Burundi in awe, but also challenged. I realize God doesn’t always heal or deliver or raise someone from the dead. But I was inspired by the way she fought for the life of her child. She was courageous. Persistent.  And she encouraged me to keep on fighting the fight of faith, even when things look desperate—and never to be too quick to give up on God.

Adapted from:  Marilynn Chadwick, Woman of Valor: Discovering the Courage and Strength God Gave You (Eugene: Harvest House, 2017).

 


“Trust Me” -God

Trust.  It’s hard to earn and easy to lose. Who do you consider to be truly trustworthy? In our fast-paced world, dominated by social media, it’s easy to create a friendly facade.  How much harder to maintain trust.

The Bible talks a lot about trusting God.  Our relationship with Him is based on trust.  So if we struggle with trust, we probably struggle with God.  That’s nothing new.  People have struggled with trusting God since those fateful days in Eden.

I remember several years ago when I had one of those “mother moments.”  It all boiled down to this: I was having a hard time trusting God with one of my children.  Ever been there?  I was letting my imagination run wild with “what if'” scenarios.  I carried the anxiety to bed with me.  I was still worrying in my sleep, when an audible voice whispered these words: “I can be trusted.”  First person, singular.  “Who was THAT?” I wondered, now half-awake. Continue reading


Stand Your Ground-Day 17

Remember those earlier days…when you stood your ground in the face of suffering  (Hebrews 10:32).

We’re on the homestretch of 21 Days of Strength. We’ve looked at several ways God makes us strong as we grow closer to Him. He helps us stand our ground through His Word, prayer, and joining forces with other believers.  Often, our strength is best developed during times of weakness—especially during seasons of suffering.

Life can be hard.  It’s not like Jesus didn’t warn us.  “In this world you will have trouble.”  But “take heart,” He reminds us.  “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).   I need to stay connected to Jesus if I hope to stand my ground and stay strong in the spiritual fight. Continue reading


Stick Together-Day 15

I am fascinated by bottlenose dolphins, the most intelligent creatures in the ocean.  Dolphins are easily trained. They can reason, solve problems, think abstractly, and even recognize themselves in a mirror!  Dolphins can also swim up to 35 miles an hour. They’re incredibly strong and can use their snout as a high speed battering ram. No wonder they have virtually no natural predators.

Welcome to 21 Days of Strength. Let’s see if we can learn a few lessons about strength from these powerful and magnificent creatures.

Stories abound of dolphins protecting humans against sharks. My dad happens to be one of the few living World War II submarine veterans. While on long, hot tours in the South Pacific, the sailors hoped to see dolphins swimming close by so they could dive off the sub for a refreshing swim–sure to be safe from sharks.

Sharks steer clear of dolphins for another reason.  Dolphins don’t travel alone. They find safety in numbers by sticking together in groups or “pods.”  Like dolphins, our teammates can help us gain strength in prayer. This, in turn, helps us defeat our spiritual enemies.

Jesus said it this way:  “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven (Matthew 18:19).  The Greek word translated “agree” is symphone, which comes from two words which mean together and voice.  So when believers gather for prayer, they are like a “symphony” of powerful prayer.

This principle is reinforced by a former Marine who saw lots of combat duty in Iraq. He shared a lesson I’ll never forget. “When danger hits,” he explained, “I’m trained to run toward the danger. But my second response is to look around for my men.” “So you can protect them?” I asked. “No,” he said firmly. “I look around for my men because I know I cannot do this mission by myself.”  Even the marines know they need to stick together to be strong.

Are you connected with other members of the body of Christ?  In prayer, in Bible study, in fellowship, and in service to others?  Our mission–the Great Commission–is too important, and too dangerous, to be accomplished alone.

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Romans 12:5-6).