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Prayer for Those Who Must Push Past Their Fears

I’ve seen it. I’ve lived it. The fear that brings shadows to an otherwise-bright day. The self-doubt that keeps us from embracing a promising opportunity. The pain from the past that makes the future seem bleak. If you find yourself trapped by fear, if someone you love can’t seem to “just get over it,” if it’s taking you too long to do what you know you must do, then this prayer’s for you and the people you love: Father, today I lift up those who need to push past their fears. Whether they recognize it or not, fear has a choke-hold on their lives. It tightens its grip on their hopes and threatens to strangle their dreams. It’s ugly. It’s awful. And it’s wrong. You tell us in your word, Lord, that you have not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind. So these we claim today as we cling always and only to you. We may have every earthly reason to fear. But we know that you are greater, greater than any inability, insufficiency, or lack. Stronger than any problem. Bigger than any battle. Deeper than any wound. Higher than any obstacle. Wider than any gap. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly. Come to us in our insufficiency, in our trembling, in our fear. Come to these who are weak and weary. Bring them all of your power and might. Bring them all of your grace and mercy. Bring them all of yourself. Bring them an overwhelming measure of faith, for faith counters fear. Bring them a perfect view of yourself so their faith becomes the sight that allows them to move forward. Thank you in advance for the courage you will bring, the mountains you will move, and the darkness you will cast out. Thank you for the victories that will be won, not because of this prayer, but because of your perfect faithfulness. It is in that faithfulness and in your name that we pray today. Amen.    Is there someone specific who needs this prayer? Feel free to let me know via a comment here or on other social media or through the “Contact” link at the top of the page. As always, it is my privilege to hold others before Him in...

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Blessed. Grateful. Awestruck (Part 2)

Dear friends, Today I’m sharing part 2 of my “was blind, but now I see” story. It will make much more sense if you read Part 1. Next step: surgery: one eye at a time, two weeks apart. I hoped I would end up with decent vision. Maybe my glasses wouldn’t need to be as heavy, or maybe I could go back to my contacts. Maybe I wouldn’t need glasses for driving. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but based on how little I could see with my left eye, I knew to expect some sort of improvement. I had a clue after the first surgery** when they wheeled me back to the recovery area and I could read a clock on the wall from about fifteen feet away. I don’t ever remember being able to read a clock without corrective lenses. I smiled. My smile expanded as the week progressed. I had no pain. I had no light sensitivity—even the first day. And when I laid my glasses on my dresser after returning from the first surgery, I never picked them up again. “God must love you a lot,” Dr. Hunter said at the one-week checkup. “Of course He does!” I responded. Dr. Hunter then explained that something rare had happened: my near vision improved much more than anticipated for this type of surgery, to 20/20. No wonder I didn’t need my glasses! The second surgery went almost like the first with no pain, no problems. I told my husband I thought maybe the results weren’t quite as good, but since I had a little miracle the first time, I was more than satisfied. I was right. When I went for my one-week checkup, the vision in the right eye was 20/25. Not quite as good—but again, much, much better than anticipated. This time, Dr. Hunter said, “You have the special blessing of God on your life.” I’ll take that. And I am, and I do. Because today—almost three weeks after the first surgery and one week from the second—I have 20/15 vision in both eyes. And Dr. Hunter has no medical way to explain this. “You have the results people pay thousands of dollars to get—without paying thousands of dollars,” he told me. He also said, “You have the best results for this type of surgery of anyone I’ve ever seen.” Although he’s a person of faith, Dr. Hunter didn’t call what happened a miracle. But I do. I think eye surgery is a miracle in itself. And just as Jesus chose to heal some people with a word, some with a touch, some with mud made from clay and spittle, he chose to heal my eyes...

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Blessed. Grateful. Awestruck (Part 1)

Dear Friends, [I apologize for my delay in posting. March has ended up as my health month with lots of appointments, tests, and procedures as I make sure I maintain my temple. The winner (chosen at of last week’s review copy of The Caregiver’s Notebook  is Tiffany! Congratulations, and I’ll make sure to get the book out to you soon.] Blessed. Grateful. Awestruck. Those are the words embossed on the thin brass clasp bracelet I wear on my wrist. I wear it every day because these words describe the way I want to live. A few months ago, I knew I had to do something about my vision. The small cataract my optometrist had observed in my left (weakest) eye more than a year earlier eye had grown to the point that I could no longer wear my contacts. I knew I was depending almost completely on my right eye. We all need to see. But as someone who works with words and spends a great deal of time dealing with visual detail, my eyes are extra-important to me. And I’ve had serious vision problems since early elementary school. Ever since I got my first pair of (even then) thick glasses in second grade, I’ve been grateful to live in an era where vision can be corrected. I would read Bible stories about “the man born blind” and recognize that, had I lived in that era, I might have ended up begging on the street. I can’t say I loved my glasses or contacts, but I loved being able to see. And as of late last year, I couldn’t see much—not with my right eye, anyway. When I first visited Dr. Joel Hunter’s office this February, I had to say “I can see the screen” more than once during the vision test. And by that, I meant the screen was all I could see. No chart, no big letter E, nothing. “Well, you’re not faking it,” was the first thing Dr. Hunter said to me. (Exactly how do you fake a cataract, anyway?) He explained that the cataract on my left eye was a rare type and, if I waited for the surgery, it would worsen just as much in the next few months as it had in the past few. He and his staff did a great job of explaining the options. My eyes didn’t make me a candidate for the top level of surgery. But I could have chosen laser-assisted, or “precision” surgery had I wanted to pay almost $2000 per eye, the amount my insurance wouldn’t have covered. That would have brought my vision closer to perfection. But with three children in college/training school along with a mortgage and other family...

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Prayer for Those Who Need to Stop Playing Games

Dear Friend, “Stop playing games.” We hear it so often it’s become cliché. But when people manipulate rules, rhetoric, and relationships, it doesn’t feel cliché, does it? Game-playing hurts. It wounds those deceived by the game. It harms those in any of the circles touched by the game. And of course, it hurts the game-player, too. Today’s prayer addresses this problem. As you read it, please know I’m praying for you or those you know who find themselves in this situation, intentionally or not. Lord of life and truth, I come to you today concerned about those who play games. I know about games because I’ve played them myself. I’ve acted like someone I’m not. I’ve used words to impress or deceive. I’ve even—at times—used you, or what people perceived as my relationship with you. So first, forgive me, Lord. Forgive me for the times I’ve been less than honest. Forgive me for putting my own reputation above yours. Forgive me for manipulating the scene or situation to make myself appear to be someone I’m not. And Lord, for those trapped in game-playing, please tear down the tiles. Take away their pieces. Throw the board in the air. Do whatever it takes, God, to cancel the game and the steps and schemes it includes. Bind the enemy and the shadows his involvement adds. I ask, Oh God, that you bring your truth, your light, your healing into this game-playing web of destruction. Let your Word have prominence and your truth pre-eminence. Cast down strongholds. Lift up the weak, the fallen, the scheming. And amidst it all, reveal your glory. We praise you, our Lord, for you are a mighty king. You are a sovereign master. You triumph over every lofty thing and lift up every low one as you choose. Thank you for hearing our cries and for stopping the game-players before they pass Go, before they collect $200. Thanks for your simple, sufficient love. In your name I pray—AMEN. Do you know someone caught in the deception of game-playing? Or do you find yourself in this snare? Feel free to share your prayer request here, on Facebook, or through the email link at the top of the page. Please know you’re on my heart and in my prayers as always. For His glory,  ...

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How to Fit Prayer into an Already Busy Life, Part 3

Dear Friend, How can I ever find enough time to pray? I’ve shared some of my initial thoughts in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series. But today, it’s time to share a secret that’s not. I call it a secret because most people don’t seem to know about it. But it’s not a secret because I find evidence of it throughout the Bible. Here it is, written out as today’s PrayerKeeper tip: Prayer is both a relationship and an activity. Think about it. We speak about prayer as though it’s something we do, an activity. I pray. You pray. We both want to pray more. But a while back, when I was answering the “How do I find time to pray?” question for myself, I kept seeing verses that told me prayer had to be more than something I did. How could I possibly “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) or “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18a)? I realized the only way this could happen was if prayer was more than something I did. Prayer, then, must be a part of my ongoing, continual, always-happening relationship with God. Prayer is not just what I do, but a part of who I am. One of my favorite small books, The Practice of the Presence of God shares the wisdom of Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth-century monk. The book shares how this simple man of God  learned to increase his awareness of his heavenly Father while engaged in the everyday chores of cooking and cleaning. Over the years, I’ve asked God to help me have the type of relationship with Him that keeps me more and more aware of His presence. And as I become more and more aware of Him, I interact with Him more and more. Who can have a relationship without communication? The marriages I know that lack communication become the ones that falter and fail. When a parent-child relationship takes a wrong direction, the problem can often be traced back to a lack of appropriate communication. If you hope to improve your prayer life, ask God to help you grow in awareness of His presence. As you grow in knowing Him, you’ll grow in talking to Him, too. Prayer will become less and less an activity and more and more a lifestyle. Have you thought of prayer more as a relationship or an activity? Have you tried practicing His presence? Let me know. If you’d like to leave a comment or prayer request, feel free to do so below, on Facebook or through the email link at the top of the page. For His glory,...

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Prayer for Those Who Need to Slow Down

Dear Friend, When I asked you to share with me what you would like to read in these posts, one thing you didn’t mention was prayers. No one said they’d love to see a prayer about this topic, that topic, or, in fact, any topic at all. However, when I review my blog’s history, the most popular and consistently viewed posts are (you guessed it) prayers. “Prayer for Family Healing” has multiple views every day. Other popular posts include “Prayer for Those Who Need a New Attitude” and “Prayer for Those Who Feel Betrayed.” (Search the “Pray” Posts in the blog archive if you’d like to find more prayers like these.) Because those statistics mean real people with real needs, I’ve decided to keep posting prayers–real prayers–every so often. Today’s came because on my morning prayerwalk, I was climbing one of the larger hills in our not-very-hilly subdivision when an SUV whizzed past me. Of course I don’t know its speed, but I do know it was traveling much faster than it should have been for neighborhood driving. Shocked at first, God reminded me of all the times I’ve buzzed past a person or a situation without taking time to consider the need. To slow down. To pray. Our Father, Thanks for stopping me mid-stride and turning my irritation into a prayer. Thanks for reminding me to slow down. Help each of us take time out for moments like this. Train our eyes to look beyond the speeding vehicle, the harried sales desk, the anxiety-filled waiting room. Train our hearts to see the people inside and to lift them before you. Help us also to see ourselves and our moments or season of hurry. Give us that longed-for refreshment from your Word and by your Spirit that whispers, “Peace, be still.” Push us from the rush of routine, remove us from the blast of obligation, keep us from the flash of folly and pull our hearts close to yours. If we don’t slow down, we won’t hear the whispers. And if we don’t hear the whispers, we’ll miss you. In your holy name, AMEN.   For His glory,  Marti Do you have a prayer request that pertains to the need to slow down? Post it in the comments here, on social media, or email me through the link at the top of this page. It will be my joy and privilege to lift you before...

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