Jennifer writes…Prayer for the Election

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Only a few days more, and the long election season will be over.  I hope each of you takes advantage of the marvelous privilege we have to participate in the process of choosing our leaders.

Is it all right to pray for the outcome?  If we do, isn’t there someone else praying for the exact opposite?  How should we pray? I think God wants us to communicate in prayer about every area of our lives.  I came across this prayer, and I think it is a good example of how we should pray for this important day in American life:

Lord Jesus Christ, You told us to give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God. Enlighten the minds of our people. May we choose a President of the United States, and other government officials, according to Your Divine Will. Grant us the wisdom to give You what belongs to You, our God. If we do this, as a nation, we are confident You will give us an abundance of Your blessings through our elected leaders. Amen.

So, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to vote, and always be in prayer for our leaders, and for the wisdom and guidance that will make us all better citizens of the United States, and of the world.

The Ephesians 3:16-21 Prayer

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Pastor Laurie Barnes writes:

A few years ago I attended a prayer conference on intercessory prayer.  One of the exercises we did was to get into pairs and pray the Ephesians 3:16-21 prayer for each other.  It is very powerful to have someone hold your hands and pray that God “strengthen you with power through His Spirit” and that you be “rooted and established in love.”  And that you be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” 

 

One of the most amazing parts of the prayer is verse 18 that talks about our grasping how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.  The footnote in my Bible for that verse reminds us that Christ’s love is total.  It is wide because it reaches out to the whole world.  It is long because it continues the length of our lives.  His love is high because it rises to the heights of our celebrations and praises and it is deep because it reaches to the depths of our discouragement and despair. 

 

I encourage you to pray this prayer for someone you care about today.  Whether you are able to pray it with them in person or pray it for them while you are apart, there is someone in your life who really needs this prayer prayed for them today.

Jennifer writes…Praying With a Blank Sheet of Paper

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A blank sheet of paper is not necessarily a friendly sight when it is Friday afternoon and you are trying to write your blog post, but it can be a wonderful prayer tool.  Prayer journaling can add focus, depth, and an appreciation of the power of God to your practice of prayer.

Here some ideas for beginning or expanding your prayer journal:

•    Use that blank sheet of paper to clear your mind.  If you find it difficult to concentrate in prayer, if thoughts of things to do or random pieces of daily life intrude, stop and write them down. Then set them aside and promise yourself you will come back to them when you are through praying.
•    Write out a psalm of praise to begin your prayer time.  Good psalms for this: Psalm 9, 27, 34, 40, 84, 92, 103, 111, 135, 139, 146, 149, 150 and many others. As you write, really concentrate on the praises the psalmist wrote. When you reach the end, write your own psalm of praise!
•    Write a letter to God.  Use the rules for letter writing you learned in school: begin with a greeting, naming God. Next, an opening paragraph telling God about you and your relationship to him.  Then, the body of the letter.  Pour out your heart to God, who wants to hear all you have to say.  Close your letter with whatever requests for action you have.  Sign off in a way appropriate for communication with the creator of the universe – praise!
•    Don’t limit your prayer journal to just one kind of writing.  Don’t have a lot of rules about what goes into your prayer journal.  Let the Holy Spirit lead you in your writing.  Some days it may be a letter, some days a simple list of requests, some days just psalms and words of praise and on other days it might be examination of a portion of scripture and what it means to you. It might even be pictures you draw or doodles!
•    Periodically go back and review your journal.  Do you see a pattern in your journaling?  Is there an issue or issue that always seems to come up?  Have you made progress in working on that issue with God, or do you need some help to work it out?  What answers do you see to your prayers?  Add those to your list of praises!

There is only one real hard and fast rule in prayer journaling, and it is the same as in any prayer:  focus your journal, and all your prayer on God.  Unlike a diary, a prayer journal is not about you.  It is about the relationship between you and God.

If you haven’t ever tried prayer journaling, or if you journal regularly, let us know about your experience with prayer journals.  You can leave your comments here.  Would you be interested in a workshop or class that included prayer journaling?

Pastor Laurie Barnes writes about Moms in Touch

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A few years ago when my step-kids were in high school at Shawnee Mission North, I participated in a weekly Moms in Touch prayer group.  Moms in Touch is a wonderful ministry that encourages moms with school-age children to regularly gather together to pray for their school, teachers, administrators and their kids. There was a specific model for prayer that was followed so we always began our prayer time together with Praise.  We praised God for who He is.  Thanksgiving was separated out from praise so the opening part of the prayer time was focused solely on praising God for who He is. 

 

This week, let’s remember to spend some time praising God for who He is before we jump right to supplication.  Jumping immediately to supplication (for myself and for others) is often my tendency unless I discipline my thoughts.  Here is just a small sampling from the Bible of ways we can praise God for who He is. Praise you God for being:  a faithful God (Deut 32:4); a forgiving God (Neh 9:17); an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1); the God of grace (1 Peter 5:10); my light (Psalm 27:1); and our refuge and strength (Ps 46:1). 

 

In your Bible reading this week, find dimensions of God’s character that you can use in your prayer time.  Write them down in a journal or notebook and add to your list.  Let us know if your prayer time is enhanced by beginning your prayers with praising God for who He is.

Laurie Barnes is the Pastor of Prayer and Congregational Care at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection.

 

Pastor Laurie writes – Exciting Prayer Initiative – Get ready to Pray!!

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Last night at the closing session of Leadership Institute 2008, the Prayer Initiative Vision was cast by Pastor Dagney Pullin for the 1600+ people in attendance.  Pastor Dagney described how the Prayer Initiative dream was born at a recent gathering in Atlanta of 80 United Methodist pastors of the largest United Methodist churches in the U.S. The dream was articulated for United Methodist congregations all over the U.S. to be encouraged to pray for the same thing for a week.  All the prayer requests are directly related to the renewal and revitalization of our churches.  How exciting is this!!

Monday we are to pray for laborers for the harvest.  For God to raise up 2000 young United Methodist clergy in America.

Tuesday we are to pray for 400 new United Methodist Churches in America where there is no vibrant witness for the Gospel right now.

Wednesday we are to pray for God to use the United Methodist churches to alleviate poverty and stamp out malaria and HIV/AIDS.

Thursday we are asked to pray for renewed vitality to the United Methodist Church.

Friday we are asked to pray for a healthy unity across the United Methodist Church.

Saturday we will pray that as the Word of God is preached in our churches on Sunday, fruit that will last forever will be born.

For the 500+ churches that were represented at Leadership Institute, this could have an amazing impact on their churches and on the individuals in the churches. 
As Pastor of Prayer at the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, I look forward to hearing stories of how churches are impacted by this prayer imitative.  I am going to be attending the Walk to Emmaus later this month and I hope that this Prayer Imitative will be part of the buzz I hear as I meet and interact with other United Methodists from all over the Kamas East Conference area.  Let me hear your stories too so we can rejoice together!  God is so good!


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