Prayer

Dream Big

As we continue through the Circle Maker journey at First Trinity, I find myself more and more excited about how it seems to be a thread connecting many areas of my life. God is doing some cool things in, through, and around me right now. While they are not the result of The Circle Maker, some of the things we’ve been learning there seem to put into words some of what I see God doing.

One area I see this is in the HUGE needs I see everyday. From people in need of knowing Jesus love to family members in need of healing. From people searching aimlessly for some meaning and purpose to the people wandering aimlessly praying and hoping to find their next meal or a warm place of shelter for the night.

These needs, are big. Our God, is bigger.

As I get excited about some dreams I see God planting and growing in my heart and others around me (which I hope to share soon), I can’t stop thinking of this song.  It seems to be a perfect fit with this week’s Circle Maker theme, “Dream Big!”
(If you’re viewing this in a blog reader, you may need to click to the actual website in order to see the video.)

What are your big dreams?  What things in your life are so big that they’re destined to failure without God? If we really think about it, I think we’d realize that even the seemingly “small” things truly are BIG in that definition!

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Bekah's Heart, Prayer

Prayer Genealogies

We’ve started a congregation wide study of Mark Batterson’s book, “The Circle Maker” and already it’s really making me think.  One of the things I most loved from the class I attended last night was the concept of what Batterson calls “prayer genealogies.”   Here’s one thing he says about them:

“I believe every blessing, every breakthrough, every miracle, and every dream has a genealogy. If you trace it all the way back to its origin, you will find a prayer circle.” (“The Circle Maker – Participant Guide; Loc 107)

In one of the discussion questions, you were encouraged to write down a time when you experienced a blessing or a miracle or a fulfillment of a dream and then reflect back on the people who were praying for you.  Because of a previous question I was thinking about what a blessing and answer to prayer it was to be placed at First Trinity for my DCE internship three years ago.  There are many reasons why in the world’s eyes, I should have never ended up here, but I believe and trust God wanted me here and generally speaking, God gets what He wants. 🙂   I couldn’t be more thankful!  (See some of those answered prayer here and here.)

As I began to create my prayer genealogy it was such a joy to think of all the people that were praying…

  • My parents
  • My amazing roommate, Katie
  • My DCE professors: Mark, Tim, and Thad
  • My fellow core staffers
  • Other friends, teachers, and professors
  • Pastor Bruick and the rest of my practicum church
  • Camp friends
  • Other DCE students and other DCEs I knew

But then I was thinking about FT.  While they didn’t know who I was or that I would be coming here; they were praying circles around the person, whoever it would be, that would be serving in high school ministry.

Then I thought about how people were praying all the way back in 1959 when the DCE profession was created.  I’m sure that as it was formed, prayers were said for all those who would become DCEs and the process they would go through to become one.  DCEs circling future DCEs in prayer.

I thought about First Trinity getting ready to celebrate our 175th anniversary as a church.  I pondered the prayers said nearly 175 years ago as the founding members set out to form a church in Buffalo.  Perhaps they prayed for all those who would be members or serve in this place and that it would always be a place that proclaimed Christ and his love.  175 years (and counting) of prayer circles.

Even farther, I thought of Paul, writing to the people of Ephesus talking about all the different people God called to be a part of the church, including teachers, called “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the son of God.”  You might even say PAUL circled my internship in prayer.

Then there’s Jesus, when, in John 17, he prays for all future believers.  As Jesus prepared to go to His death, He was circling you and me.

Farther back still, even before the creation of the world, God knew me… and chose me… you might even say he circled me:

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In lovehe predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (Ephesians 1:4-5)

Yes. Every prayer has a genealogy. And if you trace it far enough, you’ll may just find yourself at the very heart of God.

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Bekah's Heart, Devotional, Prayer

A Fresh Perspective

Do you ever find yourself reading a familiar verse and not giving it much thought because you’ve heard it SO many times.  Whether it’s John 3:16 or Psalm 23, you see it and you kind of just skim past.  I hope I’m not alone in this.  Proverbs 3:5-6 can sometimes be one of those verses for me.  What’s interesting though is many of those verses became SO popular and SO often used because they are SOOOOO good!!!  If you’ve heard this proverb, try to read it again now as if you’ve never heard it before:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Recently I was having a conversation with God and this verse came up.  At first it came up because I was reading verse 26 of the same chapter and I just happened to see it highlighted on the same page:

“…the Lord will be your confidence…”

I was thinking back to what the A Confident Heart Ladies had mentioned in our last study together about how having a “confident heart” isn’t so much about being self-confident, but rather the ability to have confidence (trust) that God is who He says He is, loves us the way He says He loves us, and has made us exactly who He wants us to be.

As my conversation with God continued and drifted off this topic, I found myself wondering whether I should be praying something or not.  As much as I wanted to pray for this situation, I started to question whether I should.  It felt selfish to pray for this and yet, it was a desire.  In the midst of talking this through with God, I heard him whisper to my heart:

“Bekah, who else would you want to trust with the desires of your heart?!?”

Suddenly Proverbs 3:5-6 came into perspective in a new, fresh way. Just like “a confident heart” could mean multiple things, so could this verse.  “Trusting in the Lord with all your heart”, is not JUST about trusting God with every ounce of my being; it could also mean trusting Him literally WITH my heart. Trust him to hold it and to see it and to give my heart the reassurance it needs that He really is in control and worth trusting.  It wasn’t just me saying, “Okay, I’m going to trust you no matter what.” It was, “Okay, God, here’s my heart, I’m trusting you to take care of it as One who created it and cares more about it that maybe I even do sometime. I won’t lean on my own understanding and feelings, but on the One who gave me my heart and mind and everything else.”

In that moment, I found myself bold to pray the desires of my heart, and yet at the same time content to live in the paradox that the situation will probably play out very differently than my expectations.  BUT, with God holding my heart, that’s okay (and probably a good thing!)

One of Satan’s biggest lies since the very beginning with Adam and Eve is “God’s Holding Out on You!”  To be honest, this is another part of the reason I fear praying for things sometimes.  The truth is though, that God’s NOT holding out on us!

Instead, He’s holding ONTO us…

and holding out FOR us…

and …

simply holding us.

Who else would you want to trust with YOUR heart?

I will trust you, Lord with all my heart, leaning not on my own understanding.
In all my ways I will acknowledge You, for I know You will make my paths straight.
Here’s my heart.
Thank you for holding it.  Amen.

 

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Prayer

A Morning Prayer

Not sure who wrote this, but what a great prayer to start a new day!

“Dear Lord,
I give you my hands to do Your work;
I give You my feet to go Your way;
I give You my eyes to see as You see;
I give You my tongue to speak Your words;
I give You my mind that You may think in me;
I give You my spirit that You may pray in me.
Above all, I give You my heart that You may love in me – love the Father and love all humankind.
I give You my whole self, Lord, that You may grow in me, so that it is You who lives, works and prays in me. Amen.”

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(Photo: Easter Morning 2010 – Seward, NE)

Prayer

Answered Prayer

This afternoon as I looked through my journal for some notes I took a while back for some ministry stuff, I came across this prayer from back in September that sat at the beginning of about 11 pages of pouring out my heart to God.

I don’t know how to come to You today Lord and so I just come.  More than anything I long for my desires to be Yours alone and yet sometimes if they could be farther away.  I wonder if my longings are just the opposite… that what I’m REALLY asking is for You to change Your desires to match mine.  In the core of my being, that is the very last thing I want, because I know that You not only know, but also truly desire, what is best for me.

What struck me about this prayer in re-reading it today is that I saw the very thing I prayed for happen yesterday.  As I was talking with God about something, suddenly, my prayer shifted.  In a moment, without realizing what had happened, a prayer that I have been lifting up for months, perhaps even years, was changed.  In that shift, I saw the above prayer being answered and peace entered.  I saw God strip away my own desire and replace it with His own.  He really does know what’s best for me and sometimes it just takes me a while to see it.

What prayers have you seen answered lately?

31 Days of Intentionality, Prayer

10 years later… {Day 28 – Intentionality}

I’ve mentioned it before, but God really has been teaching me a lot about intentional prayer.  He’s called me in some pretty crazy ways to just STOP throughout my day and seek Him… seek His wisdom… seek His peace… seek His direction and guidance… seek His love and grace.  He’s pointed me to intentional prayer through His Word, through a couple books I’m reading, through some conversations with friends and teammates, through sermons and more.

Today, I got to see a little bit of the outcome … a little bit of WHY God calls us to be intentional about bringing our lives before him.  It came in a text message from a friend who has been praying for 10 YEARS that her father would know Jesus.  Today, a piece of that prayer was answered as he went to church this morning and, quoting her text, “he said he liked it!”

While I’m certain that her dad has a ways to go, what a beautiful reminder to not only be intentional in prayer, but persistent… even over the long-haul.  You never know when the day might come that God decides it’s time in His plan and way to answer, “YES!”

Please join me, and my friend, tonight in continuing to pray for her father! 🙂

31 Days of Intentionality, Prayer

Obedience {Intentionality – Day 9}

I’ve tried a couple ways to write the story I want to share tonight and it just won’t come out, partly because I am speechless in response to the amazing ways in which God works.

What I can say is that living with a focus on intentionality is changing me. Because of this focus I see God calling me to obedience more and more. And when I (by His grace, strength and wisdom alone) actually get my act together, the results astound me!

Intentionality comes with the responsibility and a call to obedience, for when we ask for open eyes and on-purpose hearts, He WILL call us to action. Not only that, but He will also show up every step of the way.

First Trinity, Music, Prayer

God’s Word is AMAZING! – Week 2 Memory Verse Song

God’s Word is truly AMAZING!  As I shared in the children’s sermon this morning, there are many things that amaze me about God’s Word, but the thing that amazes me the most is its power to change our lives.  I loved Pastor’s sermon today that outlined just 7 of the MANY ways God’s Word changes us.

Our memory verse for this week is a simple but POWERFUL prayer in which we ask God to show us those wonderful things in His Word.

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. (Psalm 119:18)

To help us memorize this verse, I bring you week 2’s memory verse song.  In addition to a normal recording below, you’ll find a recording of First Trinity’s choir leading the congregation in singing this beautiful verse in today’s traditional worship service.  I pray these songs help us all hide God’s Word in our hearts.

You can find and/or downloard all the songs throughout the series here.

Prayer

I want to want You…

Beautiful prayer by A.W. Tozer:

“O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more.  I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace.  I am ashamed by my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still.  Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, that so I may know Thee, indeed.  Begin in mercy a new work of love within me.  Say to my soul, ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.’  Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

When have you tasted God’s goodness and it both satisfied and caused you to be thirsty for more?