Pray

God called me in my sleep last night. Or this morning. I’m never sure which it is when I wake up so early with a very specific song lyric in my head and my heart. Was it the wee small hours of the night when all the house is quiet and dark and I’m in a deep restful sleep? Or was it those few moments before waking, when it seems that there is just the thinnest veil between this world and the next?

Though I’m silent, my heart is crying
‘Cause I was made to come to You

This line from Sanctus Real was singing through my mind as I opened my eyes this morning. Pray. That’s the name of the song. Even in my sleep when I am the most silent and still I ever get, my heart cries out to God, because that’s how it’s designed to work by the very God to Whom my heart cries out! His beautiful design is for me to love Him all day long, and in return God gives me a song in the night.

By day the LORD commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
– Psalm 42:8

I must have read this verse a hundred times in my life, but this is the first time I ever really understood it! The song my precious Lord sings over me in my sleep is The Holy Spirit teaching me how to pray (Luke 12:12, John 14:26)… A prayer to the God of my life. And all God asks is for me to love him when I’m awake.

So, this morning I’m going to pray, just like the chorus to the song says, even if it’s just to speak the name of Jesus.

So I pray
God I need You more than words can say
Right here in this moment
You know my heart, You know my need
You know every part of me
So even if it’s just to speak Your name
I’m gonna pray

Love Him all day. Listen for your song in the night.

Click here to listen to Pray from Sanctus Real.

It’s Not About Me

Satan wants you to quit praying. He wants you to believe God isn’t paying one whit of attention to you. That He’s moved on without you. That you don’t matter. There’s only one thing to do with that. Pray twice as much. With twice the faith. And a thousand times the thanks. -Beth Moore

This is one of those mornings that my mind is all over the map, but everything in it is screaming at me to pray. Focus on others. What is God calling me to? The song in my head is Start A Fire by Unspoken.

This world can be cold and bitter
Feels like we’re in the dead of winter
Waiting on something better
But am I really gonna hide forever?

Over and over again
I hear Your voice in my head
Let Your light shine, let Your light shine for all to see

Start a fire in my soul
Fan the flame and make it grow
So there’s no doubt or denying
Let it burn so brightly
That everyone around can see
That it’s You, that it’s You that we need
Start a fire in me

At the same time, I had words in my head that prompted me to write this verse…

It’s not about me
It’s not about me
It’s not about my fears and failures
It’s not about my hopes and plans
It’s not about what I want or need
It’s not about my desires or dreams
It’s not about who I want to be
It’s not about me

Cause if I know you, Lord
You know my every thought
And if I love you, Lord
Your love fills up my heart
If I remember You
You will remember me
And fill my every need

The above quote from Beth Moore came from an email I received this morning, after being awakened by Start A Fire and writing the verse. In that blog post, she also said, “Intercession for others becomes a guard against the narcissism of this present culture.” If I pray for others, it keeps me from thinking too much of myself, because it’s NOT about me.

It’s so incredible to me how God has thrown all this at me at the same time this morning!!! I can’t ignore it. Pray! Pray now. Keep praying. Pray for others. Pray for myself. Pray continually. Pray with thanksgiving.

Start a fire in me, Lord, because it’s not about me. Don’t let my prayers or my love for others grow cold, dull or boring. Light me up!!! Set my heart on fire for others who need You so desperately. Though it’s nearly overwhelming, thank You for throwing it all at me this morning. Help me not to let You down. Amen.

Click here to listen to Start A Fire by Unspoken.

Click here to read the full blog post on Prayer from Living Proof Ministries.

I chose the featured image because it reminds me of Matthew 6:26… “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” It is oil on 140 lb paper, 2.5″ by 3.5″, artist trading card.

Silent

Sometimes I’m speechless. I know that’s hard to believe, but I am a quiet person. Soft spoken, given to long periods of quiet, thought-full. My brain is running all the time, and my personal challenge is to channel all that brain activity.

“Though I’m silent, my heart is crying ’cause I was made to come to You.” These words from Sanctus Real were in my head when I came awake in the pre-dawn morning, and they’ve stuck. The song is called simply Pray. More lyrics…

So I pray
God I need you more than words can say
Right here in this moment
You know my heart, You know my need
You know every part of me
So even if it’s just to speak Your name
I’m gonna pray

I’m going to take this song at its face value today. I have several people on my heart this morning, and it can get heavy. But God knows my heart, he knows my need. He knows every situation and person I’m thinking about, and I know that he is already working in those situations. Hebrews 4:16 says we can “then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

For me, “draw near” sometimes means just be still, be quiet, stop. And, in that quiet, I can be confident because the Holy Spirit has it all under control. Romans 8:26 says, “For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” So even if it’s just to speak the precious name of Jesus, I’m going to pray. And speaking his name is enough.

Click here to listen to Pray by Sanctus Real

I posted about this song from an Easter perspective back in April. Read Pray here.

The featured image is a shot I got in early March at the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. A very quiet place.

We’ve got it all already

I’ve been in grandmomma heaven this weekend, because my grandkids came to stay. Four of the most beautiful kids you’ve ever seen, and they we’re here for 48 wonderful hours. No agenda. No plan. Just spending time together.20140720-204340-74620160.jpg Aren’t those the best hours we spend with anybody? No agenda, no clock, no plan… just time together.

I think that’s what God expects from us. We are His children, after all, and every parent wants time with their kids. Down time. Dinner table time where we ask, “How was school today?” Bed time when we read stories together and find out what was the best part of their day. I know as a mother, it nearly killed me when one of my kids didn’t tell me when they were hurting, when they needed something. If they kept it to themselves or went to somebody else rather than coming to me so I could help… Well, it sure didn’t make me feel like Mother of the Year.

So why are we so skittish about approaching the throne of God’s grace and mercy? Why do we pick and choose the things we bring to God in prayer? Why do we feel silly praying for ourselves or about something we feel is trivial? Would we want our kids to feel that way about coming to us? I know I don’t. Even though they’re grown ups now, I want them to feel like they can call me any time.

Luke 11:13 tells me God loves me as his child. Ephesians 1:3 says God has already blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing. The same in 2 Peter 1:3… He has already granted all things. And 2 Corinthians 9:8 says we have all sufficiency in all things at all times. Already.

Already. Finished. Done. I don’t have to place an order with God and then wait while he whips it up. His blessings and goodness are already with me. The cookies are on the counter ready for us to take one and spill our hearts out.

Hearing Chris Rice’s Untitled Hymn (Come to Jesus) in my mind. Please have a listen. I cannot wait to kiss the world goodbye, to “go in peace and laugh on glory’s side.”

Do Something!

If not us, then who?
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something!
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain?
It’s not enough to do nothing.
It’s time for us to do something!!

Matthew West was shouting these words at me when my clock went off this morning. It’s a pretty edgy song and an eye-opener for sure. Listen to Do Something

My Bible study this morning was on the love of God, how nothing… Absolutely NOTHING… can separate us from the love of Christ. And if I have His love in me, if I call myself a Christian, then it’s time for ME to do something. Between the song and the scripture this morning, I have no choice.

So what can I do?

LOVE others any way I know how
Pray for and with others whether they want me to or not
Give what I have when I can
Tithe whether I think I can or not
Teach others about God’s love, teach music
Serve my church, my family, my community, the world around me
Feed others through Soups on Us, Salvation Army
Share God’s love, my heart, my time, my home
SEE the need! Keep my eyes and ears open to the hurt around me

It’s a start. Even if I pick one thing every day, I’m doing something instead of nothing. I’m doing something instead of talking about doing something. God, open my eyes, my ears, my heart and my mind to the world around me… To what You have to say to me, to what You would have me DO. Today. Right now. It’s time for ME to do something!

Pray for Hope

I am fasting and praying for a very special young woman this morning. Hope has been serving The Lord in Budapest for several years, and is scheduled to return to the states next month to complete her graduate work. But things are in turmoil as she waits to see what the tests show. She is having a PET scan this morning, and asked that everyone fast and pray with her for six hours that it will be clear when they review the results. In the US, that’s until about noon. Her request…

Pray that the scan would show a miracle–that the cancer cells would disappear. If God does not choose to work in that way, pray that no more cancerous lymph nodes will be found, my organs would be clear, and that the mass on my collar bone is just scar tissue or a calcification… Please continue to pray for the logistics and peace in the waiting.

Please lift Hope to The Lord as you read. Thank you for your faithfulness. Hope is appropriately named. What an incredible young woman!

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:19

Hope on the left, with my daughter, Sharon.

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Multi-tasking

This is one of those rare mornings when the song in my head is the same one as yesterday. The words repeating in my ears are, “even if it’s just to speak Your name, I’m gonna pray.” So I made my coffee and headed to my studio, and hit my knees. But I’m having trouble focusing this morning.

My mind runs at full speed all the time. I’m a multi-tasker. I can be finishing an email, listening to someone else, and planning my grocery list all at the same time. It’s not something I work on or take pride in being good at… It just happens. From the minute I’m awake, I have to start sorting out the thoughts in my head. Making sense of them.

One of the lines from this song just popped into my brain, “in the silence, my heart is broken.” Maybe that’s why my mind runs so fast and seems so packed and busy… Because when my thoughts are still and silent, when I’m not running at full tilt, the hurt comes back. Painful memories, things I’d rather forget and keep tucked out of the way.

One of my coping strategies (sounds pretentious, doesn’t it?) is to make order out of chaos. When I’m stressed, upset, worried, angry, hurt… I take some sort of chaos and set it to rights. Clean up my kitchen. Do my laundry. Clean out my closet or the junk drawer. Anything that takes messy, disorderly-ness and makes it clean, organized, settled. And somewhere in the process, I’ve worked through whatever issue I’m dealing with… Or at least feel like I have a handle on it.

My other go-to is God’s word. And since I’m not a fan of washing windows at 5:30 a.m., I opened my Bible to John 17 this morning. Jesus prayed. For himself, for his disciples and He prayed for ME. If the creator of the world, The Lord of the universe felt the need to pray, why should I be any different? If Jesus is my Lord, my Master, my Savior…. If I call myself a Christian and say I’m a follower, believer, disciple… Then should I not follow His lead?

That’s why I love music so very much, because the songs sing these words in my mind, prayers sent straight to heaven from my heart. I “pray without ceasing” through the music, throughout my day, through making order out of chaos, through writing, painting, cooking…

I am so very thankful that Jesus prayed for me. That the Holy Spirit continues to intercede for me when I don’t know how to pray, that even if it’s just to speak the precious name of Jesus, I’m going to pray. It’s a gift. It’s free. And I can do it any time, all the time.

 

 

Pray

I love Holy Week, but never knew anything about it growing up. I had to learn about it as an adult while serving a church in a different denomination. I love Palm Sunday and the children waving palm branches and processing while we sing Hosanna!! Blessed is He who comes in the name of The Lord.

Then walking through the week and the stories of Jesus, some that we know very well. Riding triumphantly into Jerusalem on a colt. Washing His disciples feet to teach them about serving others. The last supper Passover meal he shared with his closest companions. Breaking the bread, sharing the wine. His anguish and despair in the garden of Gethsemane. His arrest and trial. Judas’ betrayal and Peter’s denial when faced with opposition. All leading to His death by Roman crucifixion.

I’m struck with how lonely a time that must have been, HAD to have been, for Jesus. Facing certain death in such a horrible way, knowing He could stop it if He wanted to, but not willing to disobey His Father. Willing to fulfill God’s plan for all humankind. Sharing the bread and wine with his friends, KNOWING one of them would betray Him. Another, the one He would build His church on, would deny Him three times. Praying alone in the garden while his closest companions slept.

The song in my head this morning is Sanctus Real… Pray. “Even if it’s just to speak Your name, I’m gonna pray.” I’ve been there. Knowing I need God’s help, His intervention, His grace and mercy and the only thing I can say is “Jesus!” Here are all the lyrics… They’re too good to leave any out.

I bow my head to pray, I don’t know what to say
I’m not sure how to fix the things I’m dealing with
I’m in a desperate place, I need to share the weight
But I just don’t know how, to let it all pour out
Though I’m silent, my heart is crying
Cause I was made to come to You

So I pray
God I need You more than words can say
Right here in this moment
You know my heart, You know my need
You know every part of me
So even if it’s just to speak Your name
I’m gonna pray

I failed to find the time, but You’ve been calling out
I let the days go by as if I could live without
But it’s gotta be here now, I won’t be pulled away
Cause it’s just You and I, so let the world around us fade

As I pray
God I need You more than words can say
Right here in this moment
You know my heart, You know my need
You know every part of me
So even if it’s just to speak Your name
I’m gonna pray
I’m gonna pray

(Father)
Will You meet me here right now?
(Father)
I surrender, lay it down
(Father)
And every time I close my eyes
I know that I was made
To lift my hands and pray
I lift my hands and pray

You know my heart, You know my need
And every single part of me
So even if it’s just to speak Your name
I’m gonna pray
I’m gonna pray

You know my heart, You know my need
You know every part of me
I bring willing words and one heart [?]
Take it as an offering

listen to PRAY acoustic version