A Prayer (8)

          Alright God, it is like this, there is a prayer I want and need to pray but I’m afraid to speak it aloud much less pray about it. I know that as soon as these words part my lips you will start the gears to bring this prayer to fruition because it’s in alignment with your will for my life. I’m not ready for what I am requesting to be granted because there are things I don’t want to let go of yet but I know that I should. If I wait until I am ready, I will never release this prayer because I will never be ready. It is akin to someone waiting to “get right” before turning to you who can make them right. If I don’t pray this prayer, I will block you from moving me in a favorable direction and deny myself the blessings available to me if I but ask and move out of your way, so here goes nothing.

          God you are omniscient, ergo you can see the future whereas I can’t. You have revealed to me what I need to excise from my life but I am having a hard time because though my spirit is willing, my flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41). My will power is insufficient and inadequate in the face of your omnipotence. In order to remove the undesirables from my life, I need you to make me busy. Make me so busy that I do not have time to indulge in the things that bind me to this world. Of course, I don’t want to just be any kind of “busy”. This is something specific. I want to be busy doing your will. Of course, I don’t just want to be busy doing your will but I want to be busy doing your will in a way that is unique to me. I offer up to you the talents you have gifted me. Use them for the edification of your kingdom through me. These hands, this mouth, this brain, my body is only on loan to me. It belongs to you. What I want is to bear good fruit and affect people in such a way that they say, “That girl knows God and I want to know Him too”.

          I am sick of myself. Change doesn’t always come easy for me but this place I’m in is no bueno and I have got to move. We both know that I cannot do it alone regardless of my sincerest intentions, so Lord do it for me right now. God I know that you are preparing me for something that I cannot handle right now. You’re making me ready just because you care. You are preparing me to handle the next matter in my life. You’re arranging me, rearranging me, training me, tuning me, purging me, pruning me; you have big plans for me. I KNOW it.

          God put me to work while you are working on me so things will work out for me. Now that this prayer has been released, I am waiting with excited anticipation of what you are going to do with my life. I claim it and thank you in advance Lord. Amen.

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A Prayer (7): A Procrastinator’s Prayer

            I could not decide whether to share this prayer because I was a little embarrassed. Procrastination and laziness often go hand in hand and for some odd reason I did not mind sharing that I am a procrastinator but having people think I am lazy as well made me a little hesitant. Well I have concluded that I am lazy (circumstantial) albeit not nearly as lazy as I am a procrastinator. If anything I hope I can spark someone to make a change in his or her life and ask God for help no matter how trivial an issue may seem.

So, here it goes:

         Lord, you are great and worthy to be praised. You have done many things for me that I could not possibly have done myself. Actually, you have done everything for me because I cannot do anything myself. Because of who you are, I know that you can help me with my procrastination problem.

          I have never prayed about it before because I just recently realized how ungodly and unhealthy procrastination is. Procrastination is cancerous in nature. It metastasizes, affecting so many other aspects of my life, like stewardship (I’ll take care of it later), health (I’ll eat better tomorrow), temperance (I’ll do what I want now and change later), finances (I’ll pay later), giving (I’ll give next time), relationships (I’ll call later), education (I’ll study later), spirituality (I’ll pray later) and even my hobbies (I’ll paint later).

            The point is that I do not want to be a procrastinator anymore. Thank you Lord for allowing me to realize how my bad habit hinders me in my daily life and how unattractive it is. Please help me handle tasks as they come my way and motivate me to see them through. Continue to help me see the value of time and guide me in using it effectively so I can better provide a living example of your word even when no one is around.

           I need time to multiply the “talents” you have given me (Matthew 25:14-30) so that when you return, I will have the pleasure of hearing you say “well done, thou good and faithful servant”. Let me know when I am squandering my time and remove the spirit of laziness from me that causes me to neglect the things that I need to accomplish. I look forward to watching you work in my life and in your holy name I pray, Amen.

           I prayed this prayer and I did not just sit and wait for God to put some force field around me that prevented me from procrastinating. I made an effort, and the first step was changing my attitude. Instead of “I don’t feel like it”, I tried saying “there’s no reason I can’t do this right now”. Of course, change does not happen over night but something so simple as changing my perspective made it much easier and each small victory makes me feel like I am winning the war.

A Prayer(6)

           I am a shy person, so when I am asked to something that requires me to stand before a group of people I usually decline. Of course, I want to do my best for God so I am making an effort and saying, “yes” more often. One thing that I enjoy doing is praying. All I have to do is step to the mic and say, “Good morning church, please bow your heads and close your eyes” (or some variation thereof) and spill my guts to God. Everyone’s eyes are closed, no one is looking at me and my knees stop knocking together (as much).

            I was asked to do opening prayer then teacher’s prayer the next week and I would like to share them with you.

            Holy Spirit, come and fill this place. Embrace and comfort us as we gather together in the house of the Lord. Spring brings revitalization, renewal and new life. The vegetation is being restored after winter, which reminds us of how you were resurrected in a hardened, cold world, we rejoice in the new life that you bring and worship your name in the spirit of holiness. Please be with those that are on their way as well as those who cannot make it. May we continue to be led in the path of righteousness with earnest and loving hearts, *Bless the teachers as they are the vessels that contain your word. Be with them as they pour knowledge into us so that we may overflow with you spirit. In your holy name we pray, amen.

            Merciful Heavenly Father, we humbly come into your presence with a spirit of praise. Thank you for bringing us through another week to see another blessed Sabbath day. You are the Great Teacher but you have impressed our Sabbath School teachers to instruct us in your word. Please be with them as they lead us. Let the words you speak through them take root in our hearts and may the Holy Spirit water us with your blessings so that our relationship with you will flourish. In your name we pray, amen.

            In an effort to become more involved in my church, I went to the Sabbath School Council meeting and Sister Nance made a comment about how the youth run from prayer and do not participate. I agreed and reflected on my own actions. Even though I usually pray when I am asked, sometimes I am not so eager. It is not that I do not want to talk to God or am embarrassed but I tend to revert to a “go-to” prayer of sorts and repeat myself when I am put on the spot (I like to write them out beforehand).

          When Brother Noakes asked me to pray again, I said “no”. I had done it the past few weeks (not that it meant anything). Then I remembered what Sister Nance said about running from prayer and I vowed right then and there that I would not say “no” anymore if anyone asked me to pray. So I changed my mind and said “yes!” I truly believe that God spoke to me through Sister Nance to bring my attention to something I could not see before.

           This time I prayed: Loving Heavenly Father, we come to you with a grateful spirit, thankful that we can see another Sabbath day. It is chilly outside but please send your Holy Spirit to warm our hearts so that we may be receptive to what you have in store for us. Be with as we fellowship and worship today in the spirit of holiness. Amen.

A Prayer (5): A Prayer of Protection

        Dear Heavenly Father, we humbly come before you bowing our heads in acknowledgement of your greatness. We come asking for your divine protection today. We are all walking targets and Satan is constantly attacking us, but you are our rock, our sword and our shield. Even when we are snared by Satan and step out of the bounds of your protection, you are always the one whom we can run to for cover, our first line of defense.

        Satan tries to cripple us with various maladies so we cannot carry out your will so we ask that you heal us spiritually and physically and strengthen us as a church so we will not be caught unprepared when the enemy tries to cause turmoil in our camp. Please touch our minds so you are foremost in our thoughts. Touch our hearts and make it a storage place for your word. Finally, touch our hands so that the work we do will glorify you and be a blessing to others. In your holy name we pray, amen.

 

I Have to Tell It!

            A while ago, I had the opportunity to share a testimony with my church family as well as pray as special prayer during the Sabbath School program in regards to attendance. And it goes a little something like this:

Good morning church,

            The testimony I would like to share with you is that lately, I have really been enjoying church. I am changing mentally and spiritually in a good way and I am excited about it. My favorite part of church is Sabbath School. Do not get me wrong, I enjoy the sermon and the music but if the sermon is the main course, the music is the appetizer and Sabbath School is the salad. It whets my appetite for the spiritual meal to come. Not only that but Sabbath School is the only part of the service where we get to interact with each other on the mental level and have a meeting of the minds. I think it is wonderful that we can share our thoughts with each other as well as learn from each other. Because I enjoy Sabbath School, it makes me a little sad when so many people miss it. I have dreams of Sabbath School being attended like 11 o’clock service and of 11o’ clock service being packed! I want to come to church to fellowship with like-minded people. I have been too blessed not to come. I have truly been showered by God’s grace and I am so happy that I want everyone to feel like I do. I feel so happy that I want to sing about it. [In fact, I will (insert “Amazing Grace” here)]. Have a blessed Sabbath.

            I took off my glasses, held my mom’s hand and closed my eyes (insanely nervous) and I sang “Amazing Grace”. I may be going abroad soon so I wanted to do that for her before I left. I thought I might chicken out so I would have just said, “Have a blessed Sabbath” and skipped the singing but I did it y’all! I sang for my mama! A little later I said my prayer for Sabbath School.

            Father we humbly come before your throne of grace to pray a special prayer for Sabbath School. Some of us work hard all week but when it comes to Saturday we just forsake the holiness of your Sabbath and keep hitting snooze while taking your patience for granted. Please grant us receptive spirits. Change our hearts and minds so we are motivated and joyful about coming to Sabbath School. We pray that you will ease our weariness from the workweek and remove the weight from our shoulders before the Sabbath even begins so we can enjoy it in its fullness feeling relieved, refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to fellowship with our church family in Sabbath School. In your name we pray, amen.

I Have A Testimony (…cont.)

           After I prayed, I waited and prayed some more. I did not worry or stress out but I prayed. The Monday morning of the taping I checked my email and there was a letter from school saying that I would not be granted my M.A. but I had fulfilled the requirements for a professional certificate and that they would retroactively enter me into the program so I could get my certificate for the Fall 2012 semester. Honestly, for a minute I was pissed. I felt like a failure and like all my hard work had gone to waste. Then I realized that God had answered my prayer. I asked for the situation to work out favorably so I would have a praise report to share and that is what happened. It did not happen the way I expected but I could have ended up with nothing at all and that realization changed my attitude in a heartbeat and all I could say was “thank you God!” (and then call my mom and tell her everything).

            Up until the taping, there was a little confusion as to whether I would give a praise report or prayer request. Whatever I had to do I was prepared for but nervous and it got worse, the closer it came for me to speak on camera and in front of the congregation. With every scheduled portion that passed I got more and more anxious. Then, something amazing happened…technical difficulties. The live feed cut out before the speakers ahead of me took the floor and they had to improvise (with some fancy iPhone technology). After that I was skipped! My heart raced as I thought about making it to the end without having to say anything. I was in the process of trying to become invisible and melt into my seat when Pastor Franklin called me up front (face palm). He asked me to give a prayer request (cool, I didn’t have to tell all my school business just yet).

            My prayer request was that in light of our congregation going through the process of discovering and utilizing our spiritual gifts, God would grant us an enthusiastic, refreshed spirit and that we would remember how we felt when we first came to know Christ and apply that attitude to our work for the church. Of course, I want to extend this prayer to cover all those who have a relationship with God and desire to do his will.

            Whew! That was a lot! I really wanted to share this testimony though and I feel like I would be doing God a disservice not to. He worked out my school situation, changed my attitude and made it so that I did not have to be on TV (looking like a deer caught in the headlights). I find that even when I pray for something, sometimes I do not even realize that God has taken care of it but this was very specific and “wow”! I had to tell it!

I Have A Testimony

           I have a testimony that I just have to share about the power of prayer. For the past six months I have been having a hard time in school. Basically I messed up big time and I was informed that I would not be receiving my M.A. in CSI after four semesters and about $80,000 of federal debt and without passing “Go” or collecting $200. Not only that, I could not reapply for admission. I was crushed. I poked, prodded and pleaded with my professors (very respectfully of course) and anyone else I thought could help me but the most pertinent thing I did was pray. I was scared, anxious, numb; all I could think was “if only I had…”.

           My parents never pressured me or made me feel like I was worth any less for making mistakes and I love them for it. In other words, the monkey on my back was me. I knew that even though I could always depend on myself to get into an unsavory situation, I could only depend on God to get me out. In the midst of all that, my pastor called me and asked me to give a praise report for the live segment of “Let’s Pray” that was being filmed at my church. Now, I am notoriously shy and usually say “no” to actions that require me to stand in front of an audience but I opened my heart and just said “yes” (then I immediately regretted it and got nervous). I was having a hard time and had no clue what I was going to share because at that point I was not a happy camper.

       From the time Pastor Taylor called me (Thursday 1/3/12) until the taping on 1/14/12 I had eleven days. I can rarely get anything involving school administration done on Fridays (everyone has mentally checked out by 12 pm) and weekends are unproductive so that gave me seven days to work on the school situation. Then I thought “eureka!” I will give a praise report about school. By then, hopefully I should have some good news. I let go of the reigns, stepped out on faith and trusted God fully. And no, I did not pray those “If you do this for me, I will never…again” or “I do not know what is going on God but your will be done” prayers (like Pastor Franklin mentioned to the effect of many an “amen” and head nods). I was open, honest and prayed for what I wanted while claiming his promises.

           I prayed something like this: God, I come before you with a spirit of boldness but humbly as well. You are King of kings and Lord of lords and capable of all things great and small. You know the mess I am in and this situation is catastrophic. I am solely relying on the faith that you require of me and asking you to handle this problem. You said that if I ask I will receive (Matthew 7:7) and that you will be my refuge in the time of trouble (Psalm 9:9). Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast (Psalm 57:1). God I want you to work out my school situation favorably so I can have a praise report by the Monday of the taping at church. In fact, I believe that it will happen and I will be waiting for it so that I can share my testimony about the power of prayer and faith so that others may be encouraged; in your holy name I pray, amen.

              To be continued…