Prayer, Hope, Courage…

"We hear all that’s wrong with America today. I don’t even listen much to the news anymore. It depresses me: all the criticism, all the self flagellation. As one who’s come from abroad and made this now my home, I want you to know, many times when I come back from a long journey—and I travel over 200 days a year—I come back home, put my suitcase down, and my wife will tell you I get on my knees and kiss the kitchen floor and thank God that I’m home again. This is a nation that’s been blessed of God, empowered for such great tasks, and there are thousands and millions who come to its shores to find that kind of succor and hope and the opportunity to succeed and succeed again even when you have failed in several attempts." – Ravi Zacharias, National Day of Prayer address, 2008

I had a dream…and then I awoke

 

 

I was sleeping peacefully, when suddenly I dreamt that I looked out through the backdoor window and saw low, dark, gray clouds moving swiftly across the sky. The wind was whipping through the trees and our windchime was beginning to ring. As the first drops of rain started to fall, I said calmly and aloud, "Wow…these storms can really come upon us so quickly and without warning"

…then I woke up.

I was wide awake with the understanding that I was being called to pray. There was no time to not pray. The call was urgent. I prayed, not knowing why, but some thoughts came to me while I was praying.

I had a thought of large numbers of people – people I knew- that have no hope of Christ or of heaven, and yet God’s angels stand with sickle in hand, ready for the harvest. When the storms come, and all eyes are on us, the need is urgent for us to stand side by side with Christ and praise him and thank him and reflect his glory, that those around us would be able to see Him and know Him. Too often though, we draw more attention to ourselves than we do Christ, and the harvest withers or blows away from our neglect, or is poisoned by our bitterness.

The storms are coming faster now, making the opportunities more plentiful to heed Christ’s words that follow:

Luke 6:27-36

27.

"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
28.bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.


29."Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also ; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.


30."Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.


31."Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.


32."If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.


33."If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.


34."If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount.


35."But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return ; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High ; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.


36."Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

The National Day of Prayer

 

Well, I took a break from blogging and posting on message boards and most e-mailing, for the month of April.  I listened to very little music and radio and watched very little TV.  I did read the news and watch my e-mail for important things, as the point of the media fast was to pray and wait on the Lord for answers to some questions that we’ve had for a long, long time. 24 Hours after I started the media fast, God started answering those prayers and it’s been a tremendous time of refreshing.  Our life as a family is changing drastically now, and the changes are much needed.  Last night at church, the pastor who gave the message said how God wants "face time" with us, eye to eye.  I realized last month how fractured and hurried our habits have been.  

Today is the National Day of Prayer.  The pastor added last night that he has heard people say, "Prayer Works" and he replied to that "Prayer IS Work.  When the work of prayer is done, the rest of your work is as good as done" 

 

Journal Journey

I am reviewing my journal.  I’ve kept one off and on for 22 years.  This entry is an excerpt from January 2002:

"The beginning of a new year is always a good time for me. I like to put last year behind me and start a new schedule. I like to have a new calendar, correspond anew with friends and family….

My reading of late has spurred me on to spend time praying and concentrating on dying; the kind of dying where my will is crucified and Christ takes His rightful place on the throne in my heart, ruling this body of mine, His temple. Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ is a moment by moment endeavor. "Pray without ceasing" is a given, in this scenario. We are getting back to the routine. My schedule is a constant reminder to focus on my calling as keeper of the home and to practice planned neglect. Forgive me Lord,  for neglecting the wrong thing today…

Thank you, Lord, that you give me the privilege to inquire in Your temple. Make my one desire that I may dwell in the house of the Lord; Your house and that I may behold your beauty.

When I am in trouble, whether or not of my own doing, hide me in Your pavilion."

A Psalm of David.

Psalm 27 

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;

Whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the strength of my life;

Of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When the wicked came against me

To eat up my flesh,

My enemies and foes,

They stumbled and fell.

3 Though an army may encamp against me,

My heart shall not fear;

Though war should rise against me,

In this I will be confident.

4 One thing I have desired of the Lord,

That will I seek:

That I may dwell in the house of the Lord

All the days of my life,

To behold the beauty of the Lord,

And to inquire in His temple.

5 For in the time of trouble

He shall hide me in His pavilion;

In the secret place of His tabernacle

He shall hide me;

He shall set me high upon a rock.

6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me;

Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle;

I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice!

Have mercy also upon me, and answer me.

8 When You said, "Seek My face,"

My heart said to You, "Your face, Lord, I will seek."

9 Do not hide Your face from me;

Do not turn Your servant away in anger;

You have been my help;

Do not leave me nor forsake me,

O God of my salvation.

10 When my father and my mother forsake me,

Then the Lord will take care of me.

11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,

And lead me in a smooth path, because of my enemies.

12 Do not deliver me to the will of my adversaries;

For false witnesses have risen against me,

And such as breathe out violence.

13 I would have lost heart, unless I had believed

That I would see the goodness of the Lord

In the land of the living.

14 Wait on the Lord;

Be of good courage,

And He shall strengthen your heart;

Wait, I say, on the Lord