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Prayer from an Empty-Nest Mom

Dear God, I said lots of goodbyes this past year. And this year has started out much the same. I guess that’s the way it’ll be from now on, won’t it, Lord? Goodbyes with the start of every new college semester and the end of every college break. Goodbyes with summer mission trips, internships, and visits to faraway friends. Goodbyes with new job opportunities. Goodbyes after holiday visits. Goodbyes as more of our family moves out of state. Goodbyes as they start new jobs. Or marriages. Or other adventures yet unknown. When our five were younger, our house overflowed with shouts and giggles and messes and dirty clothes. And those times late in the evening when, for what seemed like the first time all day, no one was moving or crying or needed me to do something RIGHT NOW? I lived for those. And yes, God, I confess that I didn’t always appreciate the constant pressing-in, the rounds of questions, the brother-sister and sister-sister bickering. The coughing, nose-running, feverish-and-miserable trips to the pediatrician. The difficulty of navigating a grocery store with three or more helpers. The effort it took to buckle and unbuckle carseats. The challenge of keeping a newborn and toddler quiet and happy in the library while the older three made their choices. (Yes, for a few years, we brought along a double stroller to fill with children and books). What burdened me then has become cherished memories now. And so in this season, God, as my nest grows more and more empty, will you teach me to cherish the hellos? Because if they didn’t come home, I wouldn’t get to say goodbye. If they hadn’t wanted to see us for Christmas, I might not notice my empty bedrooms today. If they didn’t love our family traditions, I might not have a home to undecorate. If I didn’t love them so much, I wouldn’t miss them the way I do.                                                                               So in this time and at this moment, Lord, I thank you for the goodbyes as well as the hellos. I thank you for the silence. The peace. The ability to work at my desk uninterrupted. The ease of considering the likes and dislikes of only two people when planning dinner or a trip to the store. And I thank you for the promise of so many more hellos and goodbyes in the days and, as you allow us, years ahead. My focal word for this year is...

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Prayer for Those Who Need Something to Die

“Doctor is monitoring, but for once I need prayer that something will die.” My friend’s brief note explained it: an autoimmune disorder had caused her system to attack her thyroid. And in this case, her health would win if the thyroid lost. For once, she needed prayer for something to die. As I prayed for her, I realized what I often do when I’m praying through the needs in my daily #PrayerKeeper posts: this prayer could apply to more than one person and certainly to more than one situation. Maybe it’s a dream that needs to die. Maybe a relationship. An addiction. Or something harder, deeper, and both more personal and more painful. Father, I come to you today asking that something will die. It might be, like my friend’s thyroid, some reluctant physical piece of our lives that needs to cease function. It might be cancerous tumors and cells that, in order to preserve life, must stop growing and melt away. It might be the problem of pain and rejection. Lord, in your might and by your power, bring these things to a firm, forceful end.                                                                                                     Or it might be pride. It might be selfishness. It might be anger and bitterness. It might be any one of thousands of qualities that show our lives are not as linked to You as well as they should be. Cause these things to die, too, God. Burn away the dross and leave the gold. Blow out the chaff and leave the precious wheat. Thank you, Father, for modeling for us that life can come from death and victory comes from defeat. Thank you, Lord, for revealing to us that sometimes things need to die. Help us follow you so closely that we will know which ones and when. And help us die daily ourselves that our lives may be more fully alive in you. In your name, AMEN. Do you know of something that needs to die? Are you in a circumstance that overwhelms or a relationship that crushes? Contact me in a comment here or on other social media or in an email via the link above. I consider it an honor to pray for you. 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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