Posted in Faith

Filthy Rags

Lately, my prayer life has felt kind of empty. I’ve still been praying, but I’ve missed the warm hugs of the Spirit’s presence; the thrill of hearing Him speak so perfectly into my situations. I’ve been hungry.

And this past Sunday at church, although the music was well-executed and the energy in the room was incredible – I felt numb inside. So I sat down in my chair and began to pray.

“Why do you seem so far away? Why can’t I hear you? Is there anything I should be doing differently?”

I sensed an immediate response from the Lord. But initially, it seemed odd. And, simpler than I expected.

“Take off your jacket.”

What?

I was wearing my brown leather jacket, which I really like – and today was one of the first days warm enough to use it. It was a steal a couple of years ago at $50, on our local buy-and-sell website.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret. When I’m nervous or uncomfortable – usually, around other people, and usually, away from home – one of the things that I do to hide myself is keep some kind of outer layer on. A hoodie, perhaps, or a bulky sweater. Sometimes, it’s my parka – even if I’m hot. I’ve done this for many years; at least since I was a teenager.

And that morning, I happened to be hiding in my favorite jacket.

As I sat and reflected, contemplating whether I had the courage to take it off, I remembered the phrase found in Isaiah 64:6: “…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.”

My jacket isn’t a filthy rag, but if I’m using it to hide behind, it’s no more effective. I can’t help thinking of Adam and Eve in the garden, who covered themselves in leaves and hid from the Lord, when they became aware of their sinful nature. “Righteous acts” can be a way of attempting to cover this nature. We hope that what we do will make us more worthy of being accepted by God and others.

Maybe, if I’ve spent a lot of time in the Word, volunteered at church, and haven’t lost my temper with the kids that day, God will draw near. Bonus points for walking in on Sunday morning with a smile, and my hair done. And my nice jacket – on.

But what does He say? All these “righteous” acts are like filthy rags. Sure, He wants us to do good things, but as a loving response – not as a means of gaining His approval. There’s nothing I could ever do that will make me worthy of His presence. Only the cross can do that, and it has already been done.

What is required, then, to experience God’s presence? James 4:8 simply says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”

Come near. That’s it!

But come near with the real you. He doesn’t need us to shroud ourselves in good deeds, false personalities, success, smarts, or leather jackets. He just wants us.

The real us.

So I took my jacket off. I felt weird in the shirt I had on, my hair hadn’t fallen quite right that morning, and my make-up itched my face. But, there I was. And the pastor, in his message, began to talk about how we needed to get real with God when we pray.

Coincidence? I think not.

Do you hide from God, or others? Where, or when, do you feel most like yourself? What would it look like for you to bring that real-self to God, and to your other relationships?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Warm wishes,

Lisa

Posted in Faith

Where are the Shepherds?

I’ve been struggling hard with my church life for a long time and trying to put my finger on what the problem is. It’s complicated, and there are many factors at play – but one in particular has captured my attention so distinctly that I feel the need to share.

It began with a heaviness, a sadness. Every time I would watch a service from my church on TV, or go there in person. A feeling of being invisible and on the outside. Despite attending a cell group the entire time I’ve gone there, and serving as I’ve been able.

And a repeated thought, playing again and again in my mind: Sheep without a shepherd. Sheep without a shepherd.

The word “pastor” comes from the Latin for “shepherd.” Now we all know that the Lord is our perfect shepherd. We’ve heard Psalm 23, again and again: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want” (verse 1).

But have we forgotten the many verses, in both the old and new testament, in which God seeks to admonish and/or stir up the human pastors/shepherds that He has anointed over His flock? He has given them a most pivotal role.

Consider the story found in Luke 9. Jesus is attempting to withdraw from the crowds, but they follow Him. What does He do? Welcomes them. Speaks to them. Heals them.

And then: “Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, ‘Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here'” (verse 12).

The disciples want to send them away. These people have too many needs! They can’t fill them all.

But Jesus says, “You give them something to eat” (verse 13). And of course, what follows is that Jesus takes their meager supply of five loaves and two fish, and feeds the entire crowd of five thousand.

He could have rained down bread from Heaven, but He didn’t. He wanted them to offer whatever they had to the people, and then He multiplied it.

So yes, Jesus is our perfect shepherd. He’s the one who’s actually taking care of us. But sometimes, I think, He’s waiting for His human pastors to make the first move.

And often, they don’t.

Where are my pastors? Where are my shepherds?

They are on the screen of my TV. They’re on the stage. They’re behind an impenetrable barrier of polished, picture-perfect social media accounts.

Their pictures and names are on the church website, but not their email addresses, so I could contact one of them if I were in need. (There are staff and volunteers to field those requests. Maybe, if I’m lucky, I could make an appointment to see a pastor. In a month.)

If I see them at the grocery store, they probably won’t know who I am.

What kind of a shepherd knows nothing about his sheep?

Sitting in the church pews

In the midst of this loneliness, God led me to Ezekiel 34. I felt like it was written just for me, in this moment. It was like a balm for my soul. I was finally seen – if not by my human shepherds, then by my heavenly One. (You’ll have to forgive me for the long quote below. It was difficult for me not to type out the entire chapter, because it resonated with me so strongly!)

“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock?…You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost…So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.

“Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them…I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land.”

Ezekiel 34:2-13

“I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”

Ezekiel 34:16

If you are feeling unseen, unknown, and excluded at church, I’m sorry. I know what it’s like. I try to remind myself, though, that being a pastor is a tough job. Pastors are fallible; pastors are human.

Nonetheless, God is noticing. He is holding them to account. And where they fail you, God is ready to scoop you up, and save you.

And finally, although this message is focused on the people set apart to be pastors, we sheep – the members of the flock – have something to take from it as well. What do we have, that God is asking us to give, so that He can multiply it? Just like the loaves and fish – whatever we have, it’s not too little, it’s not too unimportant. He wants us to give it away to His people, so that He can do something larger with it.

How are you feeling about church? Do you feel at home there, or do you feel like you’re on the outside?

And is there anything that you think God is asking you to give away to His people?

I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below.

Warm wishes,

Lisa

Posted in Faith

Speak Life

As I write this, my sons are battling it out laser-style in our dark basement. It’s just past 7:30 pm, and we’re hoping to see some of the northern lights before settling in for a slightly later-than-usual bedtime. The telescope is set up and ready to go. I honestly don’t think it will help much, but it’s fun to play around with anyway.

High hopes.

The weather? Cold, then snowy, then snowy again, and then even colder. The past few weeks, it has felt like there were more school cancellations due to weather than actual days of school. And that’s about all of the recap I will give you because I have officially reached the point of winter where I stop paying attention. Minus 30-ish, all the time, and that about sums it up. I’ve resigned myself to grit my teeth and wait for spring.

My husband, tunneling his way to somewhere warmer.

And on this cold evening, waiting for the northern lights to appear, my son decided to put on some TobyMac. Suddenly, I had a thought.

“Ooh!” I called to him from the kitchen, where I was cleaning up after supper. “You should play ‘Elements.'” What song would be more befitting of our arctic-like surroundings?

“That’s just what I’m doing!” he replied.

But as I sauntered over to the living room to watch part of the music video and listen to the song, I found myself getting choked up. The words were more relevant than I wanted them to be.

“…This world, is up in my grill

This world, is shooting to kill

This world always gotta be stealing my heart

This world always tryin’ to rip my family apart…”

“…This ain’t our home, nah, not even close

They camouflage like we’re fighting some ghost

You start to doubt everything that you know

I feel the heat and it’s starting to show

They try to break us, break us, make us wanna give in

Lay down our arms, Novocain us again

Lay down a fight, I could never relent

And I’ma take it all the way to the end…”

“…And I’ma go down swinging, if I go down

I’ma go down swinging, if I go down

I’ma go down swinging, if I go down

I’ma go down swinging, if I go down

Let’s go…”

“The Elements” by TobyMac

I went into my bedroom, under the guise of trying to spot the lights from another window. I haven’t cried in a while, but a few tears squeaked out as I peered at the sky.

I’ve been keeping it together, mostly. Watching the news attentively, praying myself to sleep at night. Grappling for ideas of what to do with my rambunctious children when it’s cold, I’m tired, there’s no school, and we’re not allowed in any recreational environments.

May as well enjoy it!

I’ve felt gratitude that finally, FINALLY there were people in my country willing to make a stand. But my hopes crashed pretty quick when I realized my Prime Minister had no intention whatsoever of even engaging them in a conversation. My heart was stabbed when he painted them all with the same “tinfoil-hat” wearing brush. My feelings were enraged when he, of all people, told me from the screen of my phone to “do what’s right.”

I was disappointed – not surprised – by the biased media reports. The villainization of anyone whose thoughts differ from the dominant political narrative.

It’s old. It’s all old news to the point where I can hardly stand to hear about it anymore. We know what the reporters will say before they say it. We know who they will belittle in their articles. We know who they will undermine. We know when they will use diminutive taglines and quotation marks. Or, even outright insults and mistruths.

And in the midst of this, the feds are introducing an anti-hate bill that will seek to protect ethnic, religious, or other groups of people from hate speech, including online.

Sounds like a good idea, right? Well, it depends what you characterize as hate speech. Is my blog hate speech? Because I don’t agree with Mr. Trudeau?

The main reason I left Facebook was due to the mockery, disdain, and outright hatred that I often read directed towards my God, my heritage, and my faith. My church, at the moment, is bearing up under a steady stream of online abuse and slander.

Will those qualify as hate speech? Or are those things ok, because they’re directed at Christians?

I’m only basing this on my thirty-some years of life. But these elements…they feel intense.

Storm’s a-brewin’.

A few songs after playing “The Elements,” my son put on another TobyMac favorite – “Speak Life.”

Again, my eyes teared up a little. In the video, protesters are seen, shouting at a person until he is defeated. Then a child whispers something life-giving in his ear, and he stands up again.

This depiction, like the last video, was all too fitting. Because that’s the way to do this, isn’t it? Yes, we engage. We stand firm. But as we do so, we speak life. We use our words for good, and not to harm.

May the Lord give us strength and wisdom, to stand when it’s time to stand. May He protect us, and fill us with life-giving words. May He, and not the media, Bill C-36, or politicians, be the One to muzzle our tongues.

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16 NIV

Featured image by Nandhu Kumar from Pexels

Posted in Faith

Praying the Psalms – Psalm 14: The Prodigals

The Psalms is a book of prayers. It covers a wide range of human emotions and can be a catalyst for when you don’t know what to say to God! Join me as I pray through the Psalms. I would love for you to add your prayers and prayer requests in the comments, and I will pray for you right here on the blog.

Psalm 14 (Original text, NIV)

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.

The Lord looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.

All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.

Will evildoers never learn – those who devour my people as men eat bread and who do not call on the Lord?

There they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous.

You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the Lord is their refuge.

Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad!”

A prayer inspired by Psalm 14:

I’ve struggled to write this one, Lord. You know that.

Because it’s about those people. The ones who have turned their backs on you.

(Please help me get this right.)

When I see or hear what has happened since they turned away, it literally hurts. It’s so hard to watch.

If there’s any ounce of them – any little part – that still seeks you, that still wants you, you will find it. Awaken that part in them, that they would call on you again.

I love the verse in this Psalm that says you are looking for anyone who truly seeks you. And yet, the following verse is sobering, because it says there is no one who does good. So even though it’s tempting to point at people who turn away, I know the fickleness of my own heart. How easily I can be swept aside.

But what about when they go on the attack? Their words, their slights, the memes they post – they sting. They hurt.

We must continue to pray. Because in the long run, they are hurting themselves. We know that you are not shaken by mockery. So, neither should we be. Mockery never stopped you from loving – even as you hung on the cross and died.

May you heal us when we feel hurt or offended and strengthen us to pray with grace, putting our trust in you, and tapping into your love for them.

Reclaim your people, Lord! Your love and desire for them has not changed. May they find their way back to you…and back into fellowship with us as well.

Amen.

To catch up on the rest of this series, you may click the following links:

As mentioned earlier, please feel free to add your prayers and prayer requests in the comments. I would love to pray with and for you. May you be blessed today!

Warm wishes,

Lisa

Posted in Faith

Praying the Psalms – Psalm 13: The darkness that overwhelms

The Psalms is a book of prayers. It covers a wide range of human emotions and can be a catalyst for when you don’t know what to say to God! Join me as I pray through the Psalms. I would love for you to add your prayers and prayer requests in the comments, and I will pray for you right here on the blog.

Psalm 13 (Original text, NIV)

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall.

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.”

A prayer inspired by Psalm 13:

A dark tunnel without an end. This is how life has felt, at times, Lord. Or, a dark cloud that stalks me. Follows me around, even if it is sunny everywhere else.

When I feel that way, it’s very hard to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Even to get up and brush my teeth is a challenge. It’s the loss of hope that does me in sometimes. Blinds me. Even if there are good things around me, I can’t see them. Or, they don’t matter. They can’t compete, sometimes, with the darkness that overwhelms.

I’ve heard someone refer to it as being your own worst enemy. Yes, I’ve definitely had days like that. When I just can’t take it any more. My mind in distress. Anxious thoughts taking over. Consumed with anger and frustration. Weeping uncontrollably. Unable to interact with anyone.

Those days are awful, Lord. And the worst part? I can’t even stop it when it happens. It’s like a runaway train.

Please be with us, Lord. We need your help severely, when those attacks are unleashed upon us. They don’t only affect us, but our families, and the other people around us.

Calm our hearts and minds. Give us the strength to stop crying. To brush our teeth. Make dinner. Smile, and interact with our kids.

Help us to be able to take breaks when we need them. Please show us what we need to do to calm ourselves – maybe just go into the bathroom and close the door for a few minutes. Lay down on the couch and close our eyes. Send the kids to their rooms for a breather.

Lord, bring Bible verses to our minds to encourage us. Infuse us with your Spirit, and breathe into us your peace and life.

Show us practical steps that we can take, to prevent ourselves from falling into overwhelm and despair. And Lord, reach into our lives and help us. Relieve us, Lord, of those problems that we just can’t take anymore. Where the heartbreak is just too much to bear.

And Lord, if the time has not yet come for those situations to be resolved or removed, give us the strength to bear up under them, moment by moment. Provide us with miracles of sustenance, allowing us to be filled with joy and peace that defies expectations and enables us to again rise up in worship of you. For that, O Lord, is the place of purest relief.

Amen.

To catch up on the rest of this series, you may click the following links:

As mentioned earlier, please feel free to add your prayers and prayer requests in the comments. I would love to pray with and for you. May you be blessed today!

Warm wishes,

Lisa

Posted in Faith

Spiritual Starvation

Have you ever come out of an especially dark season and been surprised by joy? Or been released from an extended period of fear and tension, to finally collapse into the warmth and rest of safety? Has a load ever been lifted, that left you feeling lighter and freer than you ever thought you could feel?

Or, on the other end of the spectrum – have you gone without something for so long, that you acclimatized to the gnawing pains of hunger within you?

Have you become accustomed to starvation?

This is the question that has been winding around my brain over the past couple of weeks – ever since I participated in a three-day food fast along with my church. Now, I really suck at fasting. I’ve never been able to do the full three days, as many people are able to do. This time around, I fasted from breakfast and lunch for two days, and that was as far as I got.

But it always amazes me, even with the partial fast, how I notice such an intense difference in my body as soon as I begin to eat normally again. With my first meal, I can literally feel my energy being renewed. Minute by minute, my alertness and strength return in fuller and fuller measure. It is as if I am a depleted gas tank, and fuel is being poured into me – from my head, to my stomach, and into my limbs, fingertips, and toes.

The first day after my most recent fast, when I again ate a full three meals, I felt almost euphoric. That afternoon, I went out skating with my boys in the crisp air for a good hour and a half. Then as I was in the kitchen making supper after returning home, I felt positively light, awake, and even…bouncy! I asked myself, “My goodness, why do I feel so good?” And then I remembered: I had eaten that day!

It was as if, even in that very short amount of time, I had forgotten what it felt like to be full.

And it caused me to ask myself another question: How am I doing spiritually? Am I walking around full of the Holy Spirit? Or am I hungry? Depleted? Wasting away, and trying to fill the emptiness with all kinds of silly things that have no nutrition – no staying power?

How many of us – even Christians, in the Church, are bored? Tired? Longing? Famished?

And if so, are we even aware of our state? Or have we become accustomed to spiritual starvation?

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

If I reflect on my years of following Jesus, there have been a few precious times when He has jolted me awake with a shock of His love. For example – an unexpected affirmation, deep in my spirit, that comes out of nowhere and leaves me amazed at His goodness. Or a precise and immediate snipping of some kind of tie that had kept me bound for years. Or an overflowing of love for God and other people that I’m not capable of on my own.

But let me be honest – these moments are the exception, not the rule.

And though they leave me feeling full when they happen – sometimes, for days; the effect generally does wear off.

I get hungry.

And that is when I need to return and let His Spirit fill me again. Like having three square meals a day: if I don’t keep up the habit, I run out of steam.

No, it’s not always a feast that I can live off of for days to come. (Maybe this is intentional, because He wants us to keep coming back!) But it’s regular, solid nutrition, that keeps me grounded in Him and gives me the stamina to persevere from day to day.

And as I get into the habit of filling my spiritual stomach with what it needs – the Word, meditation, and conversing with God – it becomes the thing I reach for, without even a second thought.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”

Matthew 5:6 NIV

“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.

Psalm 34:8 NIV

“The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.”

Psalm 34:10 NIV

Dear Lord:

It saddens and surprises me that I could be starving spiritually, without even knowing it. Help us, as your Church, to learn what it means to be full. To not grow so accustomed to pangs of hunger that we fail to acknowledge they’re even there, or attribute them to something else. We need you, Lord – like water, like food. Fill us anew and give us grace to face what you have for us today, and in the coming days.

Thank you, Jesus. We love you, Lord.

Amen.

Are you hungry for more of God? Can I pray for you? Leave any prayer requests you may have in the comments.

Warm wishes,

Lisa

(Featured image is a photo by Monstera from Pexels)

Posted in Faith

Praying the Psalms – Psalm 12: Words

The Psalms is a book of prayers. It covers a wide range of human emotions and can be a catalyst for when you don’t know what to say to God! Join me as I pray through the Psalms. I would love for you to add your prayers and prayer requests in the comments, and I will pray for you right here on the blog.

Psalm 12 (Original text, NIV)

“Help, Lord, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men.

Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception.

May the Lord cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue that says, ‘We will triumph with our tongues; we own our lips – who is our master?’

‘Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise,’ says the Lord. ‘I will protect them from those who malign them.’

And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.

O Lord, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.

The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men.”

A prayer inspired by Psalm 12:

God, in my life, I have sometimes felt so alone. In dark places, where I was the only one who loved you. The only one who followed you.

It’s difficult to hold fast. To resist the temptations to just join in. Even in small ways, like insincerity. Flattering others, to better my own position. Boasting. Or dominating others – trying to climb over them.

Because the ones who talk (or write?) the fastest and the most get noticed the fastest and gain the most. We wave our flags and wag our tongues and claim that freedom of speech is a human right while shoving down the views we don’t like. That’s the way of the world. The way of business, the way of success.

But it’s not your way.

I imagine you shaking your head when we do this. Watching the quiet ones. The ones we climb over and push down, for the sake of our own gain.

Forgive us, Lord. This way is wrong.

Let us not be the ones to malign others anymore. Help us, instead, to listen. To consider. To thoughtfully respond.

And if we are the ones who are left behind, ignored, or shut down, help us to not despair. Because what really matters is that our hearts are right with you. That we continue to submit to you – our thoughts, our ways, our words.

Because you are always listening, though the rest of the world may not be. Thank you, Lord, for being a God who hears our words, and even, our quietest thoughts. Even the things we’re barely aware of ourselves. You are good.

And your words, unlike ours, are purest gold. May we have nothing to say, nothing to write, unless it is blessed and enabled by you.

May we not join in with the majority, enamored by their success and the things they have on this earth.

We love you, Lord.

Amen.

To catch up on the rest of this series, you may click the following links:

As mentioned earlier, please feel free to add your prayers and prayer requests in the comments. I would love to pray with and for you. May you be blessed today!

Warm wishes,

Lisa

Posted in Faith

Praying the Psalms – Psalm 11: It’s Coming

The Psalms is a book of prayers. It covers a wide range of human emotions and can be a catalyst for when you don’t know what to say to God! Join me as I pray through the Psalms. I would love for you to add your prayers and prayer requests in the comments, and I will pray for you right here on the blog.

Psalm 11 (Original text, NIV)

“In the Lord I take refuge. How then can you say to me: ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain.

For look, the wicked bend their bows; they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.

When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?’

The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne.

He observes the sons of men; his eyes examine them.

The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates.

On the wicked he will rain fiery coals and burning sulfur; a scorching wind will be their lot.

For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; upright men will see his face.”

A prayer inspired by Psalm 11:

Sometimes I forget.

We don’t always want to talk about your strength, Lord. Your justice. That you are intent on setting things right – not just complying with whatever humans want to do.

It’s offensive to anyone who disagrees with you.

But God, you are the final word.

So why should I be afraid to follow you? To stand up for your ways?

Why should I fly away at the slightest threat, like a scared little bird?

You are giving us lots of time. You are patient.

But you are still on the throne.

And you’re watching. Nothing escapes your sight. You will acknowledge, all who acknowledge you. You will save whoever asks to be saved.

Thank you, Lord, for your watchfulness. Your alertness. May this be a sobering thought to us all. May we remember to be faithful to your guidance, rather than following our own selfish ideologies.

For we know, your day is coming. The day when you will again reveal yourself with power.

Prepare us, Lord. Please set our hearts right before you.

In Jesus’ name I ask.

Amen.

To catch up on the rest of this series, you may click the following links:

As mentioned earlier, please feel free to add your prayers and prayer requests in the comments. I would love to pray with and for you. May you be blessed today!

Warm wishes,

Lisa

Posted in Faith

Praying the Psalms – Psalm 10: A prayer for the helpless

The Psalms is a book of prayers. It covers a wide range of human emotions and can be a catalyst for when you don’t know what to say to God! Join me as I pray through the Psalms. I would love for you to add your prayers and prayer requests in the comments, and I will pray for you right here on the blog.

Psalm 10 (Original text, NIV)

“Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?

In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises.

He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.

In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies.

He says to himself, ‘Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.’

His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue.

He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent, watching in secret for his victims.

He lies in wait like a lion in cover; he lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net.

His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength.

He says to himself, ‘God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees.’

Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.

Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, ‘He won’t call me to account’?

But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.

Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out.

The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land.

You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.”

A prayer inspired by Psalm 10:

Lord, I usually don’t even want to think about it. I can’t bear to.

The injustices. The violence. Done to the most innocent and helpless of people. Every single day.

One of the reasons I don’t want to think about it is, it just seems too big for me to do anything about. But there is one thing I can do. I can pray.

So I lift them up to you today, Lord. The ones my heart cries for the most are the unborn children. Of the weak and defenseless, they are the weakest. And the most defenseless. And they are the ones that are killed regularly in my country without even a law to protect them.

Rather, what is protected, and fought for, is the right to continue killing them. The right to live without the distraction or bother of children that could have otherwise been born and loved.

Biblical beliefs are scoffed at and disregarded as foolishness or even bigotry. It is scary to even admit my beliefs on this matter, because there are so many who vehemently oppose them. And yet by saying nothing, I am part of the problem.

Arise, Lord! Do not forget these helpless ones. I don’t know how you will do it. But please put an end to the killing of babies.

How can we believe there will be no consequences for these actions? How can we all go on as if nothing is wrong? You are witness to the blood that is spilt every day. You know who they would have been. What they would have looked like; what their personalities would have been. You designed them. You gave them life – a sacred thing. Only for it to be taken away from them without cause.

I commit these victims to your care, and though I tremble inwardly to say it, please call our nation to account on this matter. Be merciful, I ask, but put an end to this evil.

I have no way of influencing the leaders and decision makers on this matter but You, Lord, are the true King of all lands, including Canada. You hear the voices of those who have no voice. I praise you for this. Defend them; comfort them; protect them; put an end to their terror.

I ask in your name.

Amen.

To catch up on the rest of this series, you may click the following links:

As mentioned earlier, please feel free to add your prayers and prayer requests in the comments. I would love to pray with and for you. May you be blessed today!

Warm wishes,

Lisa

Posted in Faith

Praying the Psalms – Psalm 9: Remembering

The Psalms is a book of prayers. It covers a wide range of human emotions and can be a catalyst for when you don’t know what to say to God! Join me as I pray through the Psalms. I would love for you to add your prayers and prayer requests in the comments, and I will pray for you right here on the blog.

Psalm 9 (Original text, NIV)

“I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders.

I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

My enemies turn back; they stumble and perish before you. For you have upheld my right and my cause; you have sat on your throne, judging righteously.

You have rebuked the nations and destroyed the wicked; you have blotted out their name for ever and ever.

Endless ruin has overtaken the enemy, you have uprooted their cities; even the memory of them has perished.

The Lord reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment. He will judge the world in righteousness; he will govern the peoples with justice.

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Sing praises to the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done. For he who avenges blood remembers; he does not ignore the cry of the afflicted.

O Lord, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up from the gates of death, that I may declare your praises in the gates of the Daughter of Zion and there rejoice in your salvation.

The nations have fallen into the pit they have dug; their feet are caught in the net they have hidden.

The Lord is known by his justice; the wicked are ensnared by the work of their hands.

The wicked return to the grave, all the nations that forget God. But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish.

Arise, O Lord, let not man triumph; let the nations be judged in your presence.

Strike them with terror, O Lord; let the nations know they are but men.”

A prayer inspired by Psalm 9:

Thank you, Lord, for all you have done in my life. Please give me the ability to share it with people in a way they will understand.

Thank you for the relief and joy you have brought me over the years. I’ve called on you many times, and you have never failed me!

In my life, some problems have seemed insurmountable. And yet, they are problems to me no longer! To the extent that, sometimes, I hardly remember them. You have made a way in impossible situations. You have restored relationships. You have brought physical healing, material resources, spiritual freedom, and mental wellness. You have sustained me during my darkest times. For all of these, Lord, I praise and thank you. I don’t know where I would be without you.

You’re with us for the long haul. We read of your many victories in the Bible. We experience the touch of your Spirit. We look forward to your righteous rule on earth. You don’t give up on us.

You have a special way with anyone who is in distress. You never ignore us when we call on you.

You always remember us. We must always remember you, and all the things you have done in our lives. Lord, help us to not forget. To not forget your goodness and faithfulness. To not forget to thank you for the hope you have brought us.

I’m not done here yet, Lord. I still ask for your mercy. I will need your help. There are many things that scare me. Many things that threaten me. Struggles lay ahead. Be merciful, Father. Take care of me, through it all.

Help me to focus on your past victories in my life. May I gain strength from those memories, when my faith wavers.

I put my trust in your justice, even as I live out my days in a world that seems so dark. I know you have put limits on evil, on how far you will let it go. And no matter how dark or hopeless it seems, we know that you will always fight for those who remember their need for you.

Come back, Lord. We need you here. We need your help to restore our world.

Amen.

To catch up on the rest of this series, you may click the following links:

As mentioned earlier, please feel free to add your prayers and prayer requests in the comments. I would love to pray with and for you. May you be blessed today!

Warm wishes,

Lisa