Monday, February 28, 2011

Believe the Truth

…for which I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned. 2 Tim 2:9

Sometimes when truth about myself slaps me in the face, it can be pretty hard to swallow. It is usually combined with a truth about God, maybe even one I have known all my life. But, when I truly envision myself in relation to that truth about God, I am overwhelmed once again with awe of Him and shame in myself.

Today I am confronted with the realization that I don’t live out the belief that the gospel message of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is unhindered by my circumstances. Instead, I buy into the lie that if my circumstances don’t work out perfectly, His message is compromised. Just typing it out is embarrassing because it’s so obviously ridiculous – heretical even - to think that way! But, if I am honest, I will admit that my actions reflect a belief that my unresolved sufferings reveal a chink in the infallibility of the gospel.

Fortunately for myself and everyone else on this earth, my erroneous beliefs do not affect the truth. The gospel is still infallible. God will always be glorified and His purposes will be accomplished. Not only can my beliefs not hinder Him, neither can my sufferings. If my beliefs aren’t in line with the truth, I will suffer more, and I will not have the amazing privilege of being a vessel through which He is glorified. But His purposes and will are not affected.

So obviously my challenge is to live the truth. The Word of God is always free, and it will always accomplish God’s will. Period.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Combatting Doubt

I’m mulling over a lot this morning, very little of which actually has much cohesion to it. But, I was reading something this morning that made me stop to contemplate two things. 

  1. When doubt rolls in to the hearts of my friends, do I recognize it in their eyes, speech, and heart and speak against it with the truth of God’s Word? Or do I try to comfort with the world’s empty comfort? Or, worse, do I miss it completely?
  2. When doubt rolls in to the hearts of my own family, do we have friends who truly pounce on that doubt with the Word? Or do we receive that worldly comfort that offers nothing? Or is our doubt totally missed?

When doubts assail us, we need the truth of God’s Word to fill our hearts and minds. And, we are responsible to put that Word into our own hearts and minds. We cannot neglect to read it, think about it, recall it, and surround ourselves with it. But, the world yells pretty loudly, compounding our doubts. Sometimes we need at least one human voice outside of ourselves that is speaking pure Biblical truth so that we are not standing alone combatting the both our own doubts and the yelling of the world.

In response to my two contemplations, I am sensing a two-fold challenge. First, I am challenged to be a friend who boldly combats doubt with the Word of God. Secondly, I am challenged to pray for intimate friends who will persistently do the same for me. There is a reason God doesn’t want us to try to walk through this life apart from encouragement, partnership, and interaction with our fellow believers. I want to be a part of that fellowship that makes a difference, that we may truly be turned from doubt.

Friday, February 25, 2011

I Need Wisdom

Proverbs 9 compares the homes of wisdom and folly as they prepare them for guests. It shows the steps each takes to build her house and explains how they go about drawing in their guests.

As I was contemplating this chapter, a thought popped into my mind:

It’s so sad that the people who most need wisdom end up with folly instead.

I was immediately ashamed of my thought as I realized its implications. Essentially, my thought implied that I need wisdom less than someone else simply because at some point in my life I have sought wisdom. That I can walk through the streets of life and pass over wisdom’s house while still maintaining the fortitude necessary to avoid folly’s house.

Just for the record, it’s not possible. Wisdom’s house is not for occasional visiting. It’s for residence. And furthermore, I am not in any less need of residence there than anyone else. Without wisdom, I cannot progress through this life.

I am challenged to remember that no one needs wisdom’s refuge more than I. And, as I remember that, may my hunger to see wisdom’s house full drive me to boldly seek out others who will be brought in as well.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

In Him

You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 Tim 2:1

One of the things that grieves me the most in my friendships is seeing people I once prayed with, studied the Word with, and grew with slip away from a hunger for the Lord. They get distracted by the world, pulled away by other arguments, or disheartened by struggles. It is heartbreaking, partially because I know they will endure a deep ache until they return to the path. But, I have to confess that the greatest pain is my own grief in knowing that we have lost much of our common ground.

This is not to say that I never struggle or waver – not at all. Simply that as I finished 2 Timothy 1 and began chapter two, these are the thoughts that flowed through my mind.

It is hard sometimes to keep pushing on when I’ve lost friends this way. I can almost sense that Paul is seeing the same thing in Timothy. Paul has just mentioned three people – two who turned away from Paul and one who went out of his way to meet Paul’s needs. Then Paul tells Timothy to be strong in what he knows. I can almost sense here a statement of, “Don’t let what anyone else is doing be your discouragement or encouragement. Just be strong in His grace alone.”

I need the support and encouragement of godly friends, but I cannot let them be what holds me steady. They will change. I will change. We will have good days and bad, good years and bad. But, when it all comes down to it, we are not each other’s foundation. That has to be Christ Himself. I am challenged to make sure that my strength is found Him and His grace alone, not being swayed by the path of anyone else.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Challenge: Unashamed

For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 2 Tim 1:12

Every time I have read or heard one of Paul’s verses about not being ashamed, I have approached it with a single preconception: I must not be ashamed to share the gospel of Christ.

That concept is definitely not false. I must be a bold witness. But, I think being tied to that preconception has caused me to previously miss another truth.

In this particular passage, Paul is not talking about being unashamed to preach the gospel. He’s talking about not being ashamed to suffer. In our day and age, it seems as if we are embarrassed of and for God if circumstances don’t work out. If our prayers aren’t answered exactly as we hoped, we begin to dig for ways to justify God’s actions, or lack thereof.

This morning I realized that has been my perspective on the situation with our house in Mississippi. It didn’t sell immediately. It hasn’t sold miraculously. And now we are looking at the possibility of it selling in a way that actually seems rather negative. As much as I hate to confess this, I now know that I have been ashamed of the fact that God has not come to our rescue. How can He be glorified if He doesn’t do it all in a way that is glorious in human eyes?

I am challenged to not be ashamed. First of all, my sufferings are nothing compared to the real sufferings of Paul and of many modern-day persecuted believers throughout the world.  Secondly, my God will be glorified. Period. If it doesn’t look like it to me, it’s because I am not trusting in Him and in that truth.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chasing Wisdom

For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. Prov 2:6

Proverbs 2 is all about chasing wisdom. Seeking it. Hungering for it. Desiring it above all else. The chapter begins with an instruction to chase after wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. But, verse 6 indicates that it might not be the wisdom itself we are chasing after; it might just be that we must chase after God Himself, for He is the holder of wisdom.

It is that distinction that often catches me and causes me to trip. I do hunger for wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. I want to grow in those things continually. But, sometimes I seek after them directly.

There is so much confusion in this world, including among Christians, as to what is the right wisdom. We have so many different doctrines, theologies, and statements of belief that sometimes even two people actively involved in the same body of believers cannot discuss certain issues without strong disagreement. My response is to frequently shut down, greatly limiting where I even listen for wisdom. It’s all too confusing, and I don’t want to run the risk of buying into the wrong thing. Better to just be cynical and suspicious of it all.

The reason I get to this point of frustration is because I am trying to chase after wisdom and knowledge directly instead of chasing after God, letting Him guard my heart from wrong, and finding His wisdom flowing through my heart because of my openness to Him (Prov 2:10).

Instead of being caught up in a doctrine, I am challenged to be caught up in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Himself. The result may be that I don’t perfectly line up with any doctrine, but I will be filled with the wisdom that comes directly from God. And that is far better.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him, but also suffer for His sake, engaged in the same conflict that you saw I had and now hear that I still have. Phil 1:29-30 ESV

When memorizing Scripture it is almost inevitable that a deeper pondering of the passage will occur. Sometimes that deeper  understanding is encouraging and strengthening. Other times it’s painfully convicting.

Phil 1:29-30 is painfully convicting.

I can handle the first part: It has been granted that I should believe in Christ…yes, I like that. But then comes the second part of the verse: I am granted that I should suffer for His sake. And, in case that phraseology isn’t clear enough, here’s what the New Living Translation says:

For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. (emphasis mine)

Just for the record, I do not consider suffering a privilege. I don’t think of it as a generous grant. I think of it as a challenge to overcome. If I can just get past this tough situation, everything will look better on the other side.

But that is not what this passage says about suffering.  The immediately preceding verses point to the necessity of living a life worthy of the gospel of Christ. The suffering mentioned in these last verses of Phil 1 is the result of walking worthy. Real suffering is almost a litmus test for living a worthy lifestyle.

My challenge is to learn to think this way. To consider suffering to be an honor that reminds me that I am living a life worthy of the gospel of Christ.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Challenge: The Truth of Discipline

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 2 Tim 1:7

Today the word “discipline” really hammered me. First of all, there is the simple fact that I have not been very disciplined lately. So, I am convicted.

But, there’s a further thought. This discipline is not just what I need to eat well, keep the house clean, exercise, and move smoothly through each day (all things I have struggled with this week).  Yet, that is frequently what I limit the discipline to, narrowing my mind to contemplate only the temporal and immediate.

I won’t argue that those things are unimportant. In fact, at least in my life, when I am diligent in those areas, I am more diligent in overall obedience to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But, I must remember that those disciplines are simply a reflection, not the fullness of, my obedience.

The true Scriptural image of this discipline is that it is what is given to me instead of timidity (2 Tim 1:7); it is intended to strengthen me in the gifts God has laid upon my life (2 Tim 1:6); it is meant to give me the boldness to stand unashamed and not turn away from suffering (2 Tim 1:8).  It is the discipline necessary to boldly spread the gospel of Christ and accomplish the ministry of Christ through me on this earth. It may reveal itself in mundane, daily disciplines, but that is not the true fulfillment of it.

My challenge is to set my perspective right. There are many ways in which that challenge will be practically implemented in my life, so the furtherance of the challenge is to make sure this is not some abstract idea but is instead a concrete action. I’m excited to see what impact this perspective shift has on my daily disciplines.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Pure & Unashamed

Note: Today I’m just going to reference verses. If you are reading this on my blog (as opposed to in a reader or email), you should be able to scroll over the references and see the verses themselves pop up in a little window.

Today I’m not even sure where to begin. I’ve been stuck on 2 Tim 1:8 for three or four days, asking several questions of myself.

  • Am I ashamed of His message, messengers, or their circumstances?
  • If so, in what ways?
  • Or am I simply cynical, lacking faith in the messengers?
  • Is that the same as being ashamed?
  • Would I join in the suffering of any of them, knowing it was for the sake of the gospel (a running theme in Phil 1, which I am still working to memorize).

Then there’s 2 Chron 5:13-14. The worship there at the dedication of the temple is so pure. So real. So beautiful. It grabs me and makes me hunger to be right there with them, praising God in such an amazing corporate setting, and seeing the overwhelming glory of God descend. My heart pounds, my breath catches, and chills cover my skin just thinking about it.

Somehow it all comes together in my mind. There is an overwhelming desire to be pure and to truly give my all for the gospel, suffering joyfully with my dedicated fellow believers.

I’m far from there. There is much clutter in my life. I have not put aside the flesh and the world in so many ways, and it keeps me from true purity. The cynicism I mentioned earlier truly is there, and it keeps me from sharing in the work with other believers.

But, I’m challenged to get there. And I desire to start today.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

No Grumbling

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world. Phil 2:14-15

Psalms 119 talks about having an intense love for the Word of God and how that fleshes out. The thing about fleshing out that love for the Word of God is that in just the “right” moment, the Holy Spirit brings it back to my mind. Even if it’s not a verse I’ve specifically memorized, if I have a familiarity with it, He can use it.

Like this morning with these verses from Philippians.

Yesterday I faced my day with an incredible amount of grumbling. Things just weren’t going my way, and I was willing to let everyone know. I never once stopped to ponder the idea that maybe – just maybe – God had other plans. Maybe my plans were in the way, and He needed to make some adjustments to get me where He wanted me. Nope, that never came to mind.

Looking back over yesterday, I realize that if God had some purpose for my day, I flat out missed it. Fortunately, He is a God of grace, and His mercies are new this morning.

I am not where I planned to be today. Circumstances completely beyond my control put a stop to my plans. But, the thing I tend to forget is that those circumstances are not beyond God’s control. He has a plan for today, and since it wasn’t what I expected, I need to be especially sensitive to Him to catch it. I can’t do that if I’m grumbling. So, my challenge is to push that whining away from my heart and get in line with His plan for the day. Not only will I be useful, but I just might enjoy the day a little more in the process!

Monday, February 14, 2011


Now Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, except he sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. 1 Kings 3:3

What are my exceptions?

I’m not talking about individual faults and mistakes. Solomon had seen plenty of those in his father David. And, he knew that he wasn’t perfect as well. They both sinned. But, they both loved the Lord as well and hungered to follow him.

But this is different. This exception in Solomon’s life was his area of compromise. His “oh, it can’t hurt to do things this way” choice. Repetitive. Habitual. Decisive.

My current Bible reading is focused on the early years of Solomon’s reign, but I know the whole story. I know that this is just a foreshadowing of his downfall later in life.

God knows my full story. He sees the things that I do habitually and decisively today that are my exceptions to loving Him with a whole heart. And, He knows what the consequences of those actions are.

My prayer today is that He will reveal these exceptions to me. Part of me doesn’t really want the answer, but I know there are things in my life that have to change. There are areas in which I have to grow and change. There are things that will affect my effectiveness for Him. They have to go. Period. They are habitual sins, missing the mark of His perfect plan for me.

I am challenged to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s correction in those areas and to change those habits. Though I have far to go in whole-hearted love for my Savior, I hunger to start today to let go of the exceptions that are definitely keeping me from it. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Contagious Rejoicing

Then the people rejoiced because they had offered so willingly, for they made their offering to the Lord with a whole heart, and King David also rejoiced greatly. 1 Chron 29:9

As I read this whole chapter at the end of Chronicles, I got excited. The joy and wholeheartedness expressed in 1 Chron 29 is absolutely beautiful.

But, naturally, I was also convicted. What kind of example am I?

Whole-hearted giving produces rejoicing. Rejoicing is contagious. People who see someone else full of joy want that joy. It’s beautiful. It’s precious. It’s a core need for us all. And, so many people, believers and unbelievers alike, hunger to truly know that kind of joy.

I have the secret to that joy. Whole-hearted giving. And, as I sit here and ponder it all, I am convinced that there is really no other way to truly receive that joy.  Especially if we keep in mind that whole-hearted giving really has nothing to do with money and everything to do with the heart. Were we to never have a cent to give, we could still find the joy of this whole-hearted giving. It’s about giving of ourselves, surrendering all we have and are for God’s glory.

I am challenged to live that whole-hearted giving more faithfully. To more readily surrender myself day in and day out that I may rejoice in this contagious way and so draw more people to Christ.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Self Evaluation

I’ve seemed to have less to write lately from my morning times of Bible study. I have jotted a few things down in my journal for my own personal thought and perusal, but nothing really to blog about.

That’s not a bad thing on its own. Sometimes it simply means I need to be working through some of the challenges I’ve already posted. Sometimes it means there’s something in the works that takes some foundational learning to formulate in my mind.

But sometimes it means I’m not listening.

So, my challenge this morning is to evaluate my heart. Am I open? Am I listening? Or is there something that is keeping me from truly absorbing the living Word of God?

Some days the lessons and challenges flow. Other days are intended for nothing other than recognizing and knowing the presence of God. Still other days are a combination of the two – and other aspects of growing as well. But, foundationally there is a crucial element no matter what the specific interaction involves. That crucial element is a heart that is open and sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

Since I write to hash out my thoughts, I have to stop when I seem to have little to write and ask myself a few questions. Is my spirit open? Is my heart receptive to the voice of the Lord? Is anything keeping me from being taught by the Holy Spirit through God’s Word? Am I truly being open and submissive even in this time of silence?

So, today I will question, listen, and trust the Lord to straighten me out in any way necessary.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

View of Life

For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain. Phil 1:21

My family is memorizing Philippians along with several thousand others who have the goal to memorize the whole book by Easter. We’re a couple of weeks behind and probably won’t make it by Easter. But, we’re going to get it memorized.

This week we are on Phil 1:19-26, and I am greatly convicted by it. Nothing tied Paul to this earth other than the conversion and discipleship of those to whom he ministered. Personally, he would have preferred to go on home. But, he knew he had to stay for the sake of the believers.

First of all, I don’t have that view of eternity. I like being a wife and a mommy. I like life. And I like familiarity. We are continually told that this life is fleeting, and I can see that in how quickly my children grow and the days, weeks, and months pass. So, why not enjoy it while I have it? God put me here for a reason, and I’m bound to fulfill that purpose before I head on into eternity.

Maybe that’s not so bad, but then I look at my reason for staying instead of departing. It’s pretty selfish. Look back at what I just wrote. I like, I like, I like. It’s not about the gospel. It’s not about discipleship. It’s about Ann. Ouch!

I hunger to grow in my view of life, both the fleeting life on this earth and the eternal life that is to come. Oh may my purpose for remaining here not be about me. May it be about Him! Wholly and completely about Him and His work. And may I hunger for the day I step into eternity, knowing that being with Christ will be far better.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Not Shaken

He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken. Ps 62:2

He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken. Ps 62:6

Two nearly identical statements, with the exception of one word: greatly. Is this progression not beautiful? Both verses show that David knows who God is. But, David is broken. He is struggling. He is hurting. He is tired. The first verse shows that even though David knows God will hold him up, he’s not yet fully convinced that he will be able to stand firm. But, he trusts anyway, and throughout the Psalm he reminds his heart and soul to wait for God, the only one who can give him hope.

As he waits, he grows stronger. Firmer. More confident. And he drops the word “greatly.”

As I look back over journal entries, I see some days when I have just pleaded with the Lord. I’ve laid my heart out before Him and asked Him to heal the pieces. Then I’ve stopped.

But other days, I haven’t stopped. I have instead intentionally moved into praise and trust. And, I have felt the healing begin immediately, even when the pieces are still laying all around me. My journal reflects the change, just as David’s Psalms reflect his changes.

I am challenged to have more days like that. More days when I truly record the change. When I go from not being “greatly shaken” to not being “shaken” at all. My words will not become Scripture, and it is probable that no one will ever read them other than myself. But, even if it is only myself, I still long to write them that I may be reminded of His faithfulness, even when the pieces are still scattered all around me.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Appropriate Discipline

for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 1 Tim 4:8

When taken in context, this verse does not say that we should not be diligent with physical discipline. But, it does point out that the majority of our energy and effort should go into spiritual discipline.

Physical discipline is a tool that leads us to the eternal benefits of spiritual discipline. If I don’t get up before my kids in the mornings, it is harder for me to focus on some personal Bible study time. But, if I get up on time but can’t stay awake because I’m short on rest, am I really exhibiting spiritual discipline?

I need to exercise and eat well to maintain the energy I need to serve my Lord Jesus Christ effectively. But, if I am not willing to sacrifice my exercise routine for a real need, then the exercise becomes my lord instead. If I put so much energy and resources into making sure that I eat perfectly that I neglect positive interaction with others around me, then nutrition becomes my master.

Our family works best when we stick to a schedule and pay attention to the clock. But, what happens to the spiritual development of my child if I she needs my interaction but I cut her off at 9:00 because we have to start school?

As one who fights perfectionism, I have a tendency toward an all or nothing approach to life. If I can’t do it perfectly, why bother? I’m miserable when I’m not physically disciplined, but I can be a tyrant, both to myself and to those around me, when I am overly focused on physical discipline.

It all comes down to this: who is my master? Christ Jesus or the physical discipline?

My challenge is to let physical discipline of all kinds be a tool of service to my true Master, Jesus Christ. May all that I do, whether following the clock, eating and drinking, or anything else, be for His glory and honor. And may spiritual discipline be my greater focus.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Ps 23:1

I remember being a child and wondering at the meaning of these words. I won’t want the Lord as my shepherd? What? That doesn’t make any sense! As I grew in knowledge and understanding, the words themselves began to make more sense, but the meaning still eluded me. Seriously, is it really possible to go through life not really being in want? In need?

The difficult answer is yes. It is possible. Why is that difficult? Because so often I get caught up in what I am fully convinced I desperately need. I have longings. Desires. Intense wants. It seems that nothing will satisfy me until those specific hungers are met.

But when I really stop to think about those times of intense desire, I realize that they rarely come when I have full focus on my Savior. Instead my focus is on what I lack. And what I lack begins to consume me.

When I am able to focus instead on my Shepherd, my desires change. My one true hunger is for more of Him, and that is a desire that can always be met because His desire is to give me more of Himself. Meanwhile, He doesn’t withhold those other temporal things from me. But, they become true delights because I see them as gifts from His hand; things to more greatly show me His love. They become tools to accomplish His purposes rather than objects of my affection.

Unfortunately, that’s not where I typically live. My more typical response is to cling to my desires until they are fulfilled. Then I find that they aren’t nearly as fulfilling as I’d imagined they’d be. I’m still lacking, all because my focus is on those desires instead of on my Shepherd.

My challenge is to live less in the valley of want and more in the shadow of my Shepherd. Then I can truly say with David, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.”

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Challenge: Open & Listening

This morning I read the account of David taking the census in 2 Sam 24. In 2 Sam 24:3-4, Joab and the commanders of the army argued against the census, trying to talk David out of it. But, David was stubborn. He had his heart set on it, and he was going to do it – actually, he was going to make those who argued against it do it for him!

A couple of things stood out to me in this. First of all, other people have wisdom, too. I wonder how many times I make David’s mistake. I’m so dead set on something that I refuse to acknowledge other options. Even just sitting here pondering this question, I can recall times people have tried to redirect me, and I didn’t want to hear it. I was stubborn, just like David. And it cost me, just like it did David.

Secondly, and even more disturbing, other people will follow me in my stubbornness, even against their better judgment. In this specific case, it was the army’s job to obey David. But, there were many other times in his life when people followed him out of their loyalty. In my life, my children will follow in obedience. My husband’s wisdom keeps him from following blindly, but he will also support me fully in what I endeavor to do. How many others do I influence who will follow me simply because of who I am in their lives, whether I am right or wrong?

I am challenged in two ways. First I am challenged to listen. To learn. To be willing to accept the input of others – with discernment based on the Word of God. To be open to changing my stubborn course.  Secondly, I am challenged to pay attention to how my choices affect other people. Sometimes other people will face challenges because of my obedience, but far be it from me to bring trials to others because of my stubborn disobedience!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Heart of Prayer

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 1 Tim 2:1

Paul is giving Timothy instructions regarding how to “fight the good fight” (1 Tim 1:18) in ministry. Is it any surprise that prayer would be a primary key?

I have struggled for some time with the idea of prayer. How do I truly pray for all of the requests that get mentioned to me? In this era of Twitter and Facebook, I can get requests that are seemingly totally unrelated to me. I have enough to pray for right in front of me. How can more be added to it? I’ll never pray enough!

I think that’s the point. No, there are not enough hours in the day to pray for everything in this world that can be prayed for. But, do I really utilize all of the opportunities I have to pray? So often my mind is filled with uselessness. Thoughts that don’t even really have immediate edification, much less eternal.

Frequently I see requests here and there and intend to put them on my prayer list to pray over. Yesterday I approached one differently. I saw the request, knew that if I didn’t pray immediately I’d forget, so I stopped right then and prayed. Thirty seconds. Quick prayer. I honestly cannot remember now the details of the request, and yet somehow I still feel connected to it. A part of it. A peace that it’s under control. That’s prayer.

I am challenged to see my privilege and responsibility to pray in a new and different light. In the light I saw it in yesterday. Stop now. Pray. Be involved. Even if I only pray over it once for thirty seconds, it’s still useful petition lifted up to heaven. And, when I do this one for thirty seconds and that one for thirty seconds, eventually I will be in the habit of continually lifting up “entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings…on behalf of all men” without being overwhelmed or limited. Oh may I truly, truly learn to have a heart of prayer!