Tag Archive | Prayer

Make Me an Instrument of Your Peace

instrument of peace 2

Words are timeless. The Scriptures are the purest example of this, but sometimes even mere mortals manage to write down a few thoughts that last centuries. The poem below was written about 800 years ago. You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s a good reminder of what we should strive for as Christians.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon:
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope
where there is darkness, light
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

~A Prayer of St Francis of Assisi

Jesus, I am so much more inwardly focused than I should be. Lord, “grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand, to be loved as to love.”

In His Love,

Rebekah L.

Praying with a Muslim Part II – Friend of God

Those of you who have been fMuslim Woman Prayingollowing this blog for awhile know that about a month and a half ago I had the opportunity to pray with a Muslim co-worker.  You can read the original post here. What you may not know, is that these prayers have continued and my relationship with this co-worker has deepened during this time.

As a devout Muslim, my co-worker has to pray at least five times a day at specific times. There are relatively few places she can do this where we work. Since I have one of the few offices, and the only truly private office in the building she comes to do these prayers in my office a few times a week.  While she prays to Allah, I pray in the name of Jesus. My prayers are focused on one thing – her salvation. I pray for Jesus to reveal Himself to her. I pray that she will feel the Holy Spirit moving in my office.  I pray that she will get a revelation of who He is.

On Friday she came in for her mid-afternoon prayers and I sat next to her praying to Jesus. After she finished praying she looked at me in a way I have never seen her look at me. She had this amazed and almost bewildered look on her face. Then she said in a sort of confused tone, “You are not Muslim, but I think God told me you are His friend. I don’t think I’m His friend, but I think you’re His friend.”

This truly was amazing! I don’t feel much like God’s friend with all the mistakes I’ve been making lately, but I do believe God was trying to tell her something. Is it possible that He was trying to convey to her that I know Him in a way that she doesn’t? Perhaps if she believes I am His friend, she will be more open to listening to what I have to say about Him.

NailsI believe He is slowly revealing Himself to her and I have faith that He is going to transform her life. Will you believe God with me? Will you pray for my Muslim friend to come to know that Jesus is her Savior? I am looking forward to the day when she will declare that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

In His Love,

Rebekah L

Praying with a Muslim

love_is_the_answer

For the last year or so I have been developing a relationship with a Muslim co-worker. She regularly comes to my office to share her fears and frustrations. She has slowly come to trust me. Just as I know she is devout in adhering to her faith, she knows I am a faithful Christian. In some ways this has been a point of commonality between us. While our two faiths are vastly different from each other, they are both also vastly different from secular Western society and so in our own way, we are each a bit of an outcast here. I think this is part of what drew her to me; she can see that I dress and act differently than the world. What she does not yet realize, is that it is not me, but rather Christ drawing her to Him.winning muslims

I have desired and prayed for her to get a revelation of who Jesus is. At the same time, I have been careful to allow things to progress organically in our relationship. I am aware of many of the misconceptions that Muslims have about Christians (i.e. they think we worship more than one god) and because of this, straight preaching won’t work. Certainly Bible thumping won’t work. She needs to see Christ active in my life. She needs to see the love of Jesus poured out in my life. She needs to see that a true Christian will show care and concern to a Muslim.

A few years ago when I was witnessing to Buddhist friends, God told me to worry less about what to say and concern myself more with what not to say. Bashing someone else’s religion rarely works. We don’t need to disparage what someone else believes, but instead we just need to show Jesus. Live Jesus. And when necessary, speak Jesus. Rather than cutting down what someone else believes, just share what you believe. Share who He is in word and deed to anyone who is willing to listen.

This week, an amazing thing has happened between my Muslim co-worker and I. It may be considered somewhat controversial and no doubt not everyone will agree with my actions, but I believe that God has opened a door for her to feel His presence in a way that she would not otherwise be able to.

As a devout Muslim, my cmuslim girlo-worker must pray five times a day at certain times every day. Usually at least two of these times will occur during her working hours. Yesterday, she came to my office to ask me to open up the conference room for her so that she could do her prayers. When I went to unlock the conference room, I found that it was already occupied, as were some of the nearby offices. Realizing she had nowhere else to pray I offered to allow her to use my office and said that I would come back after she was done. She felt bad about making me leave my office so she said to me, “You could stay and pray with me if you want.” Perhaps she did not expect me to take her up on this highly unusual suggestion, but I have been praying for God to open a door for her to get to know Him. I saw this as God opening the door. So I said to her, “I’ll pray with you, but I’m going to pray to Jesus.” She responded by saying, “Okay, Mama (she uses mama as a term of endearment), you pray to Jesus.” So we did. Side by side, the Muslim praying to Allah and the Christian praying in the name of Jesus.

Never in my life did I expect to pray beside a Muslim like this, but God works in mysterious ways. The difference is that while she went through her rituals of different postures and preset phrases, I was praying for her salvation. I was praying for God to intercede in her life. I was praying for Jesus to reveal Himself to her.

Afterwards she told me that what had happened she could never tell her family, but that it was very special. Muslims will often pray by themselves, but consider it to be an added blessing to pray with other Muslims. Most would consider it a serious affront to Allah to allow a Christian to call on the name of Jesus in front of them during their sacred prayer times. What happened here was huge. Bigger than mere words can explain.

Again today we had the opportunity to pray together. Afterward she reiterated that her family could never know about this, and hinted to me not to let any of our co-workers know. Then with a smile she said she would see me again tomorrow before slipping out my office door. It is clear that while this may be slightly outside the comfort zone for me, it is downright radical for her. And yet, when I offered to leave her alone to pray, she again invited me to stay. God is doing something here.

When I say we prayed together, I use the word “together” very loosely. It is more like we are praying at the same time, rather than praying together. But it is my prayer that she will feel the difference. I’m praying she will feel a move of the spirit when we pray together that she has never felt when she prayed on her own. So while we may not exactly be praying together, I believe she can be influenced by the Christ-centered prayers going on right next to her.

I suppose it is somewhat like two people going to the same restaurant. They may arrive at the same time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be eating together. No, they are seated at different tables and they order different items off the menu. But if they are seated close enough together, perhaps one of the diners will catch the aroma of the other diner’s food. Perhaps, their mouth will start watering and they will find they have a hunger for the other diner’s meal, even while their own food sits in front of them. Perhaps, one day, they will venture out and order that inviting dish and find it so satisfying that they never go back to their old meal.

Dear Jesus,

I pray that you would get a hold of this woman’s heart. I pray that this door you have opened will allow her to develop a hunger to truly know You. Lord, I ask you to protect me and my co-worker from any traps the enemy may try to set for us through these interactions. May You always be the reason, hope, and purpose of all our endeavors. Thank you for your love and care for the lost and misguided sheep in this world. Teach us to be laborers to reach out to a lost and dying world. I love you.

Rebekah L.

Just Show Up

“You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever.” ~Psalm 30:11-12

cross-rejoice

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” ~ 1 John 4:18

Well, God has done it again. I’ve posted earlier this week about needing to regain my focus. And about shame – how the farther you slide, the more tempting it is to hide your face from Christ who is so perfect and righteous.

And God has been doing a work in my heart today, telling me yet again how much He just desires us. He doesn’t desire the ideal of us, the ‘us’ that we’re supposed to be – flawless and righteous all the time. He desires us as we are; no matter how tainted, soiled, dirty we are, we are beautiful in the eyes of God. He knows our hearts and our struggles and our shortcomings even better than we do; He desires us anyway.

The Bible is very clear about being called to be holy and to live a righteous life and to not sin. And those directives are not to be discounted. We are indeed given the tools to be perfect, and we’re told to be. And we try to be. And that is great. That’s how it should be, in fact.

But for those times when that’s not how it is, when we are very much less than perfect and righteous and when we have in fact sinned, do we then hide our faces, knowing that we were told to behave a certain way and failed to do so? No we don’t. Because the punishment will never outweigh the love. And I’m pretty sure that our idea of ‘punishment’ is a worldly definition anyway, not necessarily a spiritual one. God isn’t about judgement and punishment. He is about growing us, and He’s patient with us until we get there. 2 Peter 3:9 even tells us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentence.”  Because when you think about it, it’s not about following the rules. It’s about desiring Him so deeply and being so attuned and led by the Holy Spirit within that our desires are the same as His. It’s about getting our hearts to the place where we love what He loves and detest what He detests and desire what He desires. Getting to the place where things we’d call ‘sin’ aren’t even appealing to us anymore. It takes a lot of growing and a lot of shedding of oneself to get there.

So my prayer partner and I today laid our fear and burdens down, and sought Him together. We knew we might be in a little bit of trouble for losing perspective, but we needed Him. Hiding isn’t particularly helpful, by the way; if we muck up enough to lose focus in the first place, and that is with God’s guidance, we are most certainly going to muck up everything we try to do without Him. And so it was. And truth be told, we missed Him. So we chatted for a bit, bolstered each other, broke down a wall or two of self-denial and self-justification, and then we prayed. We sought God. We waited on Him. We worshiped Him. We loved Him, and we let Him love us again. 

And what I found was not judgement or wrath, but rather a “I’ve missed you and I’ve had so much to tell you and I’m so glad you’re here”. As we were praying, both of us well aware of certain mistakes we’ve been making in our lives and simultaneously praying for others who we think needed it, something cool happened. I was praying over one of her friends, and instead of hearing her own friend’s name, she heard my friend Scott’s name. Scott has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and recently came home after a scary period of time in the hospital.  Anyway, she corrected me. And I said, “what? I didn’t say Scott.” “You definitely did because I definitely heard his name.” “Nope definitely not, Scott’s doing fine and I haven’t really been thinking of him during this prayer time.” SO, rather than figure out whether I misspoke or she misheard, we decided that Scott had been thoroughly inserted into our conversation and so it was best to pray for him too. So we did. And it got a little bit intercessory. It was a little odd, but this certainly isn’t the first time this has happened to us, so we went with it and prayed for Scott. Hard. Then, about an hour later, my roommate (Scott’s best friend of 30 years) came home from work and said, “I have an update on Scott. He’s not doing well.”

So, we were called to pray without even knowing why. And this, my friends, is the God we serve. Not a God who seeks to punish for punishment’s sake, but a God who seeks to spiritually grow us. Sometimes that involves consequences; sometimes it involves mercy. Either way, we are never tarnished enough to dull His desire for us. His love is pure and His plan perfect. This time around, God sent us a very clear message: We don’t always have to be cleansed to come before Him; we don’t have to be perfect vessels to show up in His presence and be used. We just have to show up.

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Perfect Peace

 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” –Isaiah 26:3

Yesterday through Facebook I got a frantic message that a very good friend of mine was in a motorcycle accident. It was a terrifying moment for me. I kept rereading the words and trying to make sense of them. I felt incredibly helpless. This friend lives on the other side of the globe and there was nothing I could do to help him. Or even to get more information.

How did it happen? Was he hurt? Would he be okay? Is he in the hospital?

I had so many questions and so little information. I was scared of losing him. “Please please please let him be okay”, I prayed, feeling the emotion welling up inside me. Irrationally, I considered going to the airport immediately to catch the next plane to get to where he is. There was a time that he and I had planned to get married and I still love him deeply even if the nature of that love has shifted. To consider that he might be seriously injured and I wasn’t with him was more than I knew how to handle. I really did not know what to do with myself. I kept refreshing my Facebook page over and over again, hoping for a new message from his friend. I was desperate for more information. I felt paralyzed. Absolutely helpless. The fear rising up in me was fierce.

Then suddenly it occurred to me that even from half way across the world, there was something I could do for him. I could trust God, and I could pray. My focus then shifted from the situation to God. I remembered that God is the Creator, the Almighty, and our Healer. Everything is in His hands. When I began to meditate on that, I immediately felt peace. I knew God was taking care of the situation. This time when I prayed, I prayed with the assurance that God was in control and no matter what happened He would still be in control. I reminded myself that this man knows the Lord. If the very worst should happen, he is still safe in the Lord’s care. Regardless of how long he has life on this earth, he has the promise of eternal life with the King.

I became completely filled with His peace. It is difficult to even explain it, but every ounce of fear left me. I was able to completely surrender the situation to Him. I continued to pray for my friend for mercy and healing, but it was no longer a prayer out of selfish desperation. It was a prayer based on who the Lord is and knowing what He is capable of doing. Mostly, I just prayed that the Lord’s will be done. I knew without a doubt that it would be.

A few hours later I got the message that my friend will be fine. He is scraped up, bruised up, and has a broken wrist, but he has no internal injuries. He will make a full recovery. The worst of my fears were not even remotely realized. If I had not surrendered to God, I would have spent all the time making myself sick with worry. All of my worry would not have accomplished anything.

I praise God that he is okay! Thank you Jesus for protecting my friend! I know it could have been much worse and the mercy of the Lord has kept him for another day. Thank you, Jesus for your peace in the midst of a storm. Thank you for calming the waves of fear and teaching me once again to trust in you!

Dear Reader, when you feel helpless, when a situation is beyond your control; it is never beyond God. He will give you perfect peace if you trust Him to handle every situation that comes up in life. In scary moments when loved ones may be hurt or in danger, give all of your fears and concerns the Lord. He will carry you through every difficult circumstance in your life if you let Him.

-Rebekah L.

Guarding Our Thoughts

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” ~2 Corinthians 10:5

Lately, God has been really emphasizing to me the importance of taking our thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ – I even prayed about it in a prayer Monday post. Literally every thought – even the ones that are emotional reactions to things (especially those!) – need to be brought into submission and obedience. If Jesus didn’t speak it, preach it, or advocate it, it has no business being in our heads.

Think about it. We humans are masters at working ourselves up over small things. Be it overreacting to something, or not addressing an issue as it comes up but instead letting it build, we are great at letting these negative thoughts run rampant in our heads. Great at it. Much better at it than at capturing these thoughts and stopping the process. Letting these thoughts run rampant is exactly what the enemy wants us to be doing. It plays right into his hands. He can use pent-up thoughts like this and expound them in our heads (he can’t read our thoughts but he sure can plant some pesky ones inside us). When he does, issues become bigger than they need to be and resentments build. Even small ones can be toxic. If you have a ‘record sheet’ of slights in your head committed by a person, or some other such thing, it affects how you chat, pray, and worship with that person. Again, that’s exactly what the enemy wants. He wants us to not be praying and worshiping freely together, because that’s the chief way we defeat him. So by getting into this cycle, we are doing him a huge favor.

Also, enemy aside, our thoughts can sometimes get in God’s way! How many times has God told us something that didn’t make logical sense, or commanded something and we didn’t ‘understand’ it so we reasoned ourselves right out of compliance? The problem is, our thoughts are based on either what we know or what we can imagine. God is beyond our comprehension and imagination. If we’re not submitting our every thought to Him, we’re essentially boxing Him in with our brains. Whereas when we do submit them, He can shape them and guide us – it becomes a partnership rather than a competition. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to put Jesus in a box! I don’t want to miss or misunderstand what He tells me simply because I’m too prideful to make Him master of my brain.

Or maybe we do hear and we do understand, and we let fear and worry get in our way of truly walking out along His path. Why do we fear and worry? Simple – because we thought too much. We don’t need to be thinking, we need to be obeying and trusting that if God ordains it, God will take care of it. The worry and fear, that’s not of God. That’s of us and us not trusting God to do what He says He will. He is the God of more than enough – He will provide our every need if we let Him and listen to Him. We, thoughts and all, are not gods of anything, and we’re certainly not more than enough. We need extra things, things beyond ourselves – food, clothing, shelter – to be sustained. We don’t inherently have it in us. But God inherently has it in Him and can provide every single thing. So let’s stop getting in His way, shall we?

I’ve been thinking a lot about how my walk would look if it were based on that level of submission to Christ instead of partially on my own reasoning power. I’m not sure, but it’d probably look different. And it would probably be way more bold. I think on some level, the more we submit the more bold we can be because we can stand on the fact that Christ is always right and has all situations in hand. We sure don’t, but He sure does!

So take the Thought Challenge with me this weekend. Track your thoughts (journal if you want, or just try to be more aware of them). See how many there are in a day that aren’t of God – pray for awareness and discernment on them. Submit them to Him as soon as they pop into your head. And see how God works in you!!!

I’m praying for each and every reader of this blog to have new revelation on submission of their thoughts. But of course, I can pray for additional things too, so write to me at being.rebekah.a@gmail.com and send me those prayer requests!

God bless!

~Rebekah A

Seek Him First

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. ~Matthew 6:33 

This journey of mine has been incredible. Where I once felt like my life had fallen apart, I now know that my life is just beginning.  Where once I had felt like I lost my future of the handsome, sweet husband, beautiful twin boys, and sweet little princess all living for Jesus, I know that regardless of the dreams a boy says to you, it doesn’t always mean he will follow through with them but God’s dreams for you will always stand.  For almost two months now, I didn’t care whether I lived or died since my dreams were shattered.  I wouldn’t do anything to speed the process along, but I didn’t care should the Lord decide to take me.  After my car accident a little over a week ago, I wondered why He didn’t just take me because I was in the middle of praying- I knew where I would have gone.  (Please know though that after God freed my heart last Sunday, I’m now ready to LIVE for HIM.)

This journey first started end of November when my boyfriend of the time asked for a break. The next day I spent it sobbing in bed, unable to do anything but pray desperately to God and try to hold on to anything else within me.  For those who haven’t read my other post, just a few weeks prior he had told me he was getting me THE ring, it was all picked out but he was just saving up to get it and then after a few rough weeks he’s looking at me in the middle of a restaurant saying that he hadn’t even wanted to talk to me on the phone two nights before and felt he needed a break.  After a day of sobbing and praying in my bed God told me I had two choices:

1) fear, worry, and doubt Him in this time or

2) worship Him knowing that He had all things in His hands

I chose worship.  

Last weekend, between the conference and the sunday services at my church, I felt something break. For two months now I have been fasting, praying at least 3 times a day, and especially in this last month pursuing Him with all that I have. Friday night post-service at the conference, I had a single guy on each side of me at the restaurant paying me attention.  Never in my life have I felt like a belle of a ball like I did then- and I was openly talking about God and how good He is! The next day, the very guy that I had said to Jesus “Lord, he’s cute.  Wouldn’t it be nice if he’d say hello to me?”  stopped me to say hello as I was passing by!  In the middle of this week, another guy has randomly entered my life via mutual friends and the first “get to know me” thing he asked was what sort of adventures have I been on before.  I quickly mentioned two then noted that more than any other adventure was doing things for God like saying something to a person that God heavily laid on my heart and finding out it’s what they’ve been praying about all week. After a lag in reply I said “Lord, if he doesn’t reply so be it- I’m not going to hide my love for You,” the next day he replied with stories of his own!!

Rarely in my life have I felt pursued.  Even when my ex and I were dating I still only briefly (for about a month or two) felt like he was pursuing me… much of the time I was worried he was ashamed of me since he never really wanted to introduce me to people and once he started to, he was telling me I had to get to the gym etc. These guys however… it amazes me that I’m not even worried about them half as much as I would have before, I’m surprised there’s more than one, and I unashamedly speak of my passion for Jesus and it seems to make them even more interested!

Dear Reader, 

Please take in the underlying concepts I’m trying to get across today: worship Him in the storm and live unashamedly for Him.  I went from shattered dreams to having a full life before me.  I don’t look like a super model; I’m not super amazingly special; yet, it seems guys are crawling out of the woodwork and I cannot even believe it myself!  Lord, You amaze me.  In shining for You brighter than ever, it draws guys  my way and it amazes me!  I pray You help me continue to seek You first for You’ve told me that the guys will all sort themselves out in the end.  Help me to unashamedly be a light for You and point the way to Your goodness, mercy, and grace.  I love You Jesus with all my heart. 

~Rebekah M.