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This one word means so many different things.
Asking. Adoration. Doubt. Despair. Confidence. Confusion.
We pray with expectation; we pray with hopelessness.
We pray in altruism; we pray in selfishness.
We pray boldly stepping up to the throne; we pray pessimistic, not expecting a favorable answer.
Regardless of how you view it, aside from what you expect from it, no matter how you approach it, the Bible is clear.
We must pray.
From seek and you will find to the story of the widow who bothered the judge enough that he finally gave her justice, we are told to take everything to God in prayer. Everything.
Whatever else prayer is, if we are praying without ceasing, the words we offer to God permeate everything we do, everything we are.
Whatever else prayer does, if we continually give our hearts to God, we end up also offering our selves to others.
If we offer our prayers to God while we offer ourselves to others, the power of God acts as a wireless network, acting for others to give rescue, healing, comfort, light.
As we offer our prayers to God, we become less ourselves and more a piece of a whole. A whole that covers the whole earth, bringing God’s love and kingdom to all.
We are woven into the fabric of God’s power and love, becoming a part of bringing His kingdom to earth, a part of His restoring of creation.
It (prayer) moves from God to others through us, because we have ceased to be self-centered units, but are woven into the great fabric of praying souls, the “mystical body” through which the work of Christ on earth goes on being done. ~ Evelyn Underhill (Christian philosopher and writer, early 1900’s)
All because of prayer.

Art credit: Gethsemane painting by Carl Bloch

Go Act Like It

Sometimes, when I forget who our King is, this world makes me want to run away and hide.
In a week when refugees number in the millions,
In a week when a friend, a friend with a wife and three small children, dies much too soon,
Kirk Workman
In a week when fellow believers choose to scream about gay marriage across the country rather than to do something about the poor on the other side of town,
It is easy to believe the lie that I can do nothing against the darkness of this world.
It is easy to believe that the darkness is too strong.
It is easy to believe that ISIS wins, that cancer wins, that politicism wins.
In a week like this, I want to give in to despair. To give up. To gather my babies around me and sit and wait for Jesus to come back and make all of this right again.
And then I remember.
I remember that Jesus calls us to fight. He calls us to be a royal priesthood. A people who rule on His behalf and a people who represent Him to the world around them.
If we hide from the darkness, the darkness will certainly overcome. At least, it will overcome those to whom God asked us to be the light. Perhaps it will overcome us as well.
God is light and He has commissioned us to bring that light to the world.
Loving the Littlest
I often tell my children:
You are beautiful. You are loving.
Now act like it.
Helping Others to Stand
So now I tell myself and I tell you:
We are royal. We are priests.
We should act like it.
Go dish out food at a soup kitchen.
Go babysit the children of a parent who has lost someone they love.
Go take a meal to an elderly friend who broke their hip.
Go have patience with that tantrum-throwing child one more time.
Go bake some cookies and take them to the gay couple down the street. Without a note that tells them how wrong they are.
Go find out how to help those refugee children who are lost and hungry and afraid (here’s a good place to start:
We are royal. We are priests.
Act like it.
Be the light that overcomes the darkness.
And take heart; Jesus has overcome the world.

Keep Fighting

To live life well is hard.
It is difficult to live deliberately, to continue to work for the good of yourself and those you love.  It is easier to coast, to react, to let things slide.
Messy Table
Messy Sink
For myself, it is easier to let the clutter pile up than to keep our house feeling like a home.  It is easier to read mind-candy sorts of novels than to ponder the nature of our God and this universe.  It is easier to let my children learn on their own or through their schools, to allow my girls get away with small acts of unkindness and to be passive in the way they discover God than to fight for their hearts and their minds.  It is easier to let my relationship with my husband drift, to sit in our separate corners in the evenings than to work to know him and enjoy him.
Often I do not want to fight.  I do not want to fight for what is good.  I do not want to fight for what is God-honoring and God-pleasing.
Yet I fight anyway.  I fight because I love and, in this world anyway, loving requires you to fight.
Loving Well
I don’t fight perfectly, though.  I fight in fear of the needs that others have.  I fight in fear of my own inability to give anything good.  I fight in fear of doing the wrong thing and causing irreparable harm.
But still I fight, imperfect as it may be.  I fight in obedience to One who fought for me.
Christ Fought Well
Just like you.  You go and you fight. You go to the bedside of the sick or even the dying and you fight.  You go to the home of someone who is lonely and you fight.  You go to a meeting of a church group in need of volunteers and you fight.  You go to the food pantry, the orphanage, the shelter, and you fight.  You go to funeral, the party, the study, and you fight.
We go because it is where His way leads us; and again and again we are blessed by our going in ways we can never anticipate, and our going becomes a blessing to the ones we go to because when we follow His way, we never go entirely along, and it is always something more than just ourselves and our own emptiness that we bring.  ~ Frederick Buechner
So keep going.  Keep fighting.  And be blessed because when you go and when you fight, you are never fighting alone.

Art credit: photo of Christ carrying the cross by Asta Rastauskiene


Hands Raised
Arms raised to the sky
Music swirls around
Voices reach to the heavens
Heaven reaches back down.
Hands Serving
Hands cleaning and scrubbing
Words of kindness reach out
Placing others before you
Giving to all those without.
Hands Clenched
Fingers clenching the blanket
Tears slip to the ground
Head bowed in anguish
Whispers of praise still resound.
Creation's Purpose
All this and more
Is Creation’s purpose
Let all life be filled
With this splendid worship.