As the pandemic hit New York City in the middle of March, I thought this crisis would be a blip in our lives, a few weeks at the most before we got back to normal. Now, as we come to the end of the year, I’m sure like me, you find yourself bracing for the dark winter months ahead—not just the cold days and darker evenings, but how to cope with the gloominess of the continuing pandemic. Surviving the next few months seems to be the only choice. Yet, this season is also a reminder that we can pray and live with expectation and hopeRead More →
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is an award-winning author, my fellow co-director of reNEW – retreat for New England Writing and Speaking, and a wonderful friend. Below, Lucinda shares her practice of turning scripture, God’s Word, into personalized prayer. Grab a pen and journal because as you read you will realize how powerful this practice of prayer can be for your own life. Today our yard was enveloped in darkness by 4:30 pm and I realized that we are now in the midst of shorter days and longer nights. Figuratively speaking, during this past year, moments of darkness have felt more prevalent than the moments of light. Read More →
Sometimes we can feel like giving up. And we find ourselves in a situation where all hope has gone. Maybe the pandemic and quarantine has you in this place, or some other circumstances. You’re tired, stressed and feel like you’re run out of options. In the Bible, we find a woman just like that. Hagar found herself in total despair, not just once but twice. On the first occasion, Hagar had run away from an abusive situation. Pregnant with Abram’s child, Hagar was mistreated by her mistress Sarai, Abram’s wife. Sarai made Hagar feel so wretched and humiliated Hagar fled the abuse. And, it seemedRead More →
I have admired Lyli Dunbar’s writing and her passion for prayer for a long time. So, I was thrilled to meet her (virtually) at a conference we both attended this summer. And, equally thrilled to have her share her wisdom today. Be ready to find strength if you feel inadequate for the tasks and trials ahead of you. Last May, I unexpectedly became a first-time parent to an almost potty trained 3-year-old. I had never purchased a box of diapers in my life, nor could I ever have imagined reading bedtime stories to a toddler at age 52. When friends ask me how I amRead More →
Maybe you doubt whether your prayers can really be effective, especially when you’re asking for the impossible or what seems unlikely. In the back of your mind you’re thinking, “will my prayer really make a difference?” Or, as one of my readers asks, “Can I move God?” Just the other day, I found myself struggling with these questions. My daughter lives in Los Angeles where the wildfires this year have been particularly devastating—ravaging the landscape, towns, and homes of California, Washington and Oregon. The fires have been so widespread, they seem impossible for firefighters to put out. These areas of the country need ourRead More →
By Janet McHenry: Some years ago I was falling apart physically. I needed to do something about my health, but I also knew God had been nudging me to spend more time with him. So I decided to get up just a little bit earlier the next day to walk. And while I walked, I would take care of my prayer lists.
There was a lot of my-ness in those early prayers: my marriage, my kids, my teaching job. But that changed when I saw a young man entrust his blanketed little girl to the daycare worker outside Toddler Towers in our town of eight hundred in the Sierra Valley.
I’m sure like me, there is someone in your life you are desperately praying for because of the choices they are making or have made. Maybe it’s a brother or sister who has drifted away from faith. Perhaps it’s a child who, having left home or at college, is hanging out with a less than desirable group of friends. It can be heartbreaking and troubling. And again, if you’re like me, you are praying for them. Sometimes though, doubt and despondency seep in. It can seem like our prayers will never make a difference. So, I want to encourage you with three truths from scriptureRead More →
Drink deeply of the pleasures of this God. Experience for yourself the joyous mercies he gives to all who turn to hide themselves in him. (Psalm 34:8 TPT) Start with: God, I praise you because you protect me and keep me safe from everything and everyone who wants to harm me. I worship You because with You my fears can disappear. Think about the day ahead. Ask God to meet your needs. God of Light, I need Your help because I am afraid of: _________________________________. Pray for one person today who is living in fear. Today I pray for: _________________________________. Where have you not beenRead More →
We are encouraged to come to God and ask Him for forgiveness. Although we may find this hard and burdensome, it is freeing. Through forgiveness we find freedom. Keep this in mind as you pray. Use the following prayer prompt. Today, give praise to God for His gift of forgiveness. Use these words: Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am calling on you to forgive me for __________________. Give me peace, O Lord, as I give myself to You. O Lord, You are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for Your help. Listen closelyRead More →
Tim Keller writes that “there is no situation or emotion a human being can experience that is not reflected somewhere in the Psalms.” “Immersing ourselves in the Psalms and turning them into prayers helps us pray in accord with God’s character and will.” A prayer for when you need victory Lord, listen to me for I am having trouble with ________________. Lord, come to my rescue by _____________________. God, I ask you to ______________________ so all will go well for me. I bring you my praise _______________________, be pleased with what I bring. With you I will win victories, and I will celebrate praising yourRead More →