Our Father

Towards the end of October, the pastor at my church encouraged us to turn Facebook into Gracebook.  After a powerful sermon, we all watched Miss Clara’s prayer on a big screen and we prayed for our church, our community, our nation, and the world.

I thought one way I could respond to the sermon was to journal my way through this powerful prayer.

Doing so took me through the Presidential debates, the election, the aftermath, and Veteran’s day.  I felt grateful for God’s love for the world on Thanksgiving and I moved gracefully into the Spirit of Advent.  I felt the experience brought me healing by reminding me who God is and how we are called to be His church in the world.  I pray that it brings you healing, too!

Here’s the whole prayer:

You’ve done it again, Lord.  You’ve done it again.

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You are good..

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You are  mighty…(I found quite a few verses for this line!  I needed the reminder!!!)

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You are merciful…

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And you keep taking care of me…

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when I don’t deserve it…

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Praise You, Jesus!  You are Lord…

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Raise up more that will call upon Your name…

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Raise up those that love You, and seek You, and trust you…

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Raise ’em up, Lord!  Raise ’em up!

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Lord, we need a generation of believers who are not ashamed of the gospel!

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We need an army of believers, Lord, that hate to be lukewarm, and will stand on Your Word above all else!

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that hate to be lukewarm…

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and will stand on Your Word above all else!

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Raise ’em up, Lord!  Raise ’em up!  I pray for unity among those that love You..

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I pray that You open their eyes

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so that the can see Your truth, Lord.

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I pray for Your hand of protection and guidance…

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Raise up a generation, Lord, that will take light into this world…

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that will not compromise when under pressure…

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That will not cower, Lord…

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when others fall away…

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Raise ’em up, Lord that they will proclaim that there is salvation in the name of Jesus Christ!

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Raise up warriors, Lord, who will fight on their knees..

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who will worship you with their whole hearts, Lord!

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Lord, call us to battle…

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that we may proclaim King of Kings, and Lord of Lords!

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I pray these things will all my heart.  Raise ’em up, Lord!  Raise ’em up!

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I pray these things in the powerful name of Jesus, who taught us to pray and we are bold to do so…

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AMEN!

I Pray These Things with All My Heart

I am nearing the end of Miss Clara’s prayer.  This is the first time that I’ve ever challenged myself to journal in my Bible on a a daily basis.  I’ve been doing so right before bed, and for the first the first time in months, I’ve been sleeping well.  I don’t know if there’s a correlation or its just a coincidence, but it’s been at least 30 days of no insomnia, and I’ll take it!!!

It seems a little funny to me that I spent so much time with the prayer of a fictional character from a popular movie, but someone wrote the prayer and whoever wrote it must have known the Bible so well that the language of the Bible just flowed naturally, as if it were simply part of the author’s vocabulary.  It was so easy to pick a verse for every line.

Searching for the phrase:  “All My Heart” took me to Psalm 111.  This short Psalm covered so much of what I’ve discovered about God as a result of journaling through this prayer.  God does great works and its a delight to study them.  His work is full of spendor and majesty.  God is righteous, gracious, and merciful.  He cares for us and keeps His promises.  The precepts taught through the Bible are trustworthy.  God alone is our redeemer.  The fear of the Lord gives us wisdom and putting faith into practice gives us a good understanding.  God’s praise endures forever!!!

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That We May Proclaim King of Kings and Lord of Lords

As I was putting my daughter to bed tonight, I was thinking about God as King of Kings.  I was thinking about believers around the world and how hearts are changed when they encounter God, how God arouses within us a desire to bring glory to Him.  It’s the most incredible, amazing power, especially because it depends upon our free response to it.  It’s never coercive, but inviting of our participation because it is such a joy to have Jesus in our heart, and when we experience this, we know we want to enjoy His loving presence forever.  Jesus says not a sparrow falls from the sky without God knowing and God embraces all of us, leading us all to be saints for his kingdom.  What a blessing!

All day long, I’ve had the song “He Reigns” stuck in my head.  I just watched the video and the images of believers around the world echoed my thoughts.

As I continue through Miss Clara’s prayer, I’ll join my voice to the loud Halleluiah chorus:  King of Kings, and Lord of Lords!  He Reigns!!!

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Call Us to Battle

I have a confession.  After praying for worship in my last post, I managed to oversleep this morning.  Personally, I didn’t want to miss the first Sunday of Advent, especially after my prayers last night, so I bolted out of bed, got dressed, and went to church.  I didn’t worry about getting the kids ready; they stayed home with Dad.  When I came home, I was amused to find my husband and my daughter engaged in a Shopkins battle.  (If you don’t know what Shopkins are, they are tiny little toys that look like groceries with faces.  They are cute.)  My husband’s army of Shopkins was lined up on the kitchen table and my daughters was on the piano bench.

It was just a reminder to me that as humans, we are drawn to battle.  I wonder if the movie “The War Room” would have had the same draw if it were called “The Prayer Closet.”?

The guest preacher today talked about Peter and said that Peter was everything that’s right about Christians and everything that’s wrong about us rolled up in one.  I thought about when the soldier came to get Jesus and Peter cut off his ear to protect Jesus.  Then Jesus healed the soldier.  I found myself wondering:  What does it mean to go to battle for someone who loves our human foes as much as he loves us?

First, it means that we must remember who the real enemy:  the thief who would come to steal and destroy.  Second, it means that we must go into battle with the spirit of Advent.  Our preacher told us today that Advent is the time to remember love wins, peace reigns, and God is king.

There’s no better way to go battle with our real foe than with the joy, the love of Jesus, and the peace that passes understanding deep in our heart.  And if the devil doesn’t like it, he can sit on a tack!!!

I picked out the verse:  But the Lord is faithful.  He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.   Then I discovered that I already made this page all about peace.  I decided to live with this irony:  We battle the devil by being at peace with ourselves and one another.

God, I pray that as Christians we can take our very human tendency to turn small things into battles and apply the same energy to living lives of peace, love, and joy.  Make it our first instinct at times of conflict to turn to prayer.  And may the devil go sit on a tack!!!  Amen!

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Who Will Worship You with Their Whole Hearts, Lord

This is one of the few lines from Miss Clara’s prayer that didn’t bring a verse to mind immediately.  Searching for the phrase “whole heart” brought me to Jeremiah:  “I will give them a heart to know that I am the the Lord and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart.”

The verse appears in a story about good and bad figs, which made me think about Jesus cursing the fig tree (a story that’s always confused me).

I wish I had some deep thoughts to share about figs, but I don’t.  I need to do more research!  But I found a cute picture of a basket of figs.

Here’s the honest truth about the tip-in, too:  I finished dinner before everyone else and there were art supplies on the table! It just sort of happened.

As I look at this page and wonder if it all works together or not, I pray that God is preparing hearts for worship around the world and that as we enter the season of Advent, Christians will bear the fruits of hope, peace, joy, and love.  Wishing you a beautiful worship experience!!!

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Warriors, Who Will Fight on the Knees

I started this journey through Miss Clara’s prayer in late October after my pastor encouraged us all to be praying for our country as a response to the anxiety caused by this year’s presidential election.  I prayed this prayer right through the election and I am still praying it in the aftermath.  It’s been quite a ride!

It feels to me like things are maybe beginning to settle into a new normal and that life is moving on, especially as the holidays bring us into a familiar state of mind.  I keep praying for healing and God’s blessing for the country.

I liked this whole page from James as it relates to the idea of fighting on our knees.  I love the encouragement to be patient as the farmers and the reminder not to grumble against one other.  Part of the battle for a prayer warrior is an inward one, to be as good as we can be for the glory of God:  “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  Keep praying and being the best version of you!

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There Is Salvation in the Name of Jesus Christ

After a blessed day with family and friends, I had a few moments of quiet tonight to continue on my journey through Miss Clara’s prayer at the end of the movie “War Room.”  This is the first time I’ve challenged myself to do something in my Bible every day.  I’m nearing the end of this prayer.  Maybe five more posts to go.

Feeling grateful tonight for many blessings, and especially the knowledge that God loves this world of ours and all of us who live here.  I’m looking forward to Christmas and celebrating God’s best gift of all, his Son!

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When Others Fall Away

This line from Miss Clara’s prayer reminds me of when Jesus tells his followers that he is the bread of life. It’s a long passage, but the part that confused and upset his listeners:  “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.  If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.  And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh…for my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”

After this speech, the text reads:  “Many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.”

Sometimes Jesus asks us to do things we don’t completely understand, but with Christ in us to nourish us and sustain us we will be more than alright.  Where else can we turn for the words of eternal life?

(The question that Jesus asks makes me think of the Hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.”)

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That Will Not Cower

As I was re-reading this passage from the first chapter of Joshua, it seemed to reflect the essence of Miss Clara’s prayer:

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you.  Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.  This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.  Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.-Joshua 1:7-9

God, I pray that your faithful will be strong and courageous, that we will love others as you love us.  I pray we will meditate on your word and be careful to live by it as you lead us by your Holy Spirit.  Bless us to be blessings to others and help us to know that you are with us wherever we may go!  AMEN!

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Who Will Not Compromise under Pressure

I’m still working my way through Miss Clara’s Prayer.  I wasn’t sure what I would do with this next line:

who will not compromise under pressure.

When I first read the words, I thought, “Isn’t that the trouble?”  It seems to me that we have an unfortunate ability to create high-pressure environments where compromise is difficult.  Instead of listening and presenting reasoned opinions, insults are hurled and opposing views silenced.

But then I challenged myself to think of Biblical examples where people refused to compromise.  As I did, I found that I could pray along with Miss Clara on this line, too.

Bible stories began coming to mind for me:  Noah living a righteous life in a wicked generation, the wise mother of Moses laying his basket in the river, Shadrach, Meshak, and Abendego refusing to bow to the idol, and Daniel who kept praying when doing so brought him to the lion’s den. Most of all, I thought of Mary and Joseph and how they raised and protected baby Jesus.  God’s kingdom on earth relies on everyday people doing their part to preserve life and the faith:  “Bless the Lord, o you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word obeying the voice of the Lord.”

I made a collage of coloring pages of these great Bible stories and colored them during my daughter’s dance class.  As I colored, I overheard one of the mothers saying that she waited 15 years to be able adopt her daughter.  I drove home thinking more about the mother of Moses.  The whole world was blessed by her imagination, courage, faith, and hope that preserved the life of her son.  It’s hard to imagine a world without Moses.

God, I pray for those who do the right thing, no matter what the cost.  I pray for parents and guardians doing their best to raise children and for the teachers and the work they do.  Please be with all those who work to protect us:  first responders, doctors and nurses, caregivers, our military, police officers, and air traffic controllers.  I pray for clergy who teach the faith by word and example and for your church where it is persecuted around the world.  There’s enough real pressure in the world; forgive us when we create them with just words.  Lead us to be better!  Thank you for people around the world who do your word and obey your voice to preserve life and keep the faith.  Amen!img_5714