The Battle for Prayer (Laura)

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2
Pray without ceasing
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.
1 Chronicles 16:11
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
Philippians 4:6
When I read verses about prayer, I find the Spirit living in me leap for joy to talk with God. I get excited at the idea of the power of prayer but when it comes to actually praying, it seems much more complicated and difficult to protect time to pray. I may get in a rhythm for a day or two but then wake up on the third day and get distracted by my dishes or a to-do list.  Other times I feel at a loss for words or simply find myself not believing prayer is worth it. I could easily make a long list of all the different ways I become distracted trying to pray but it all comes down to one thing—it is a constant battle to pray.  And I would guess it is similar for many of you.
However, Jesus gave His life so that we may communicate with God.  In Old Testament times, there was a literal curtain that divided the people from the Lord’s presence. Only the priests were allowed to go directly into God’s presence and communicate to Him.  After Jesus died, it says “The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Mark 15:38). Now we each may enter into His presence and communicate personally with our God. What a precious gift!
The staff women and I who write on this blog recognize the difficulty it is to protect the time to pray or to know how or what to pray. Our hope is that the prayer & mission page can help give you suggestions on how to pray this coming week if you are stumped. Also,  we meet every Tuesday and spend time praying together. It is time we have protected and value and we would love to spend it praying for you. Please, feel free to submit a prayer request any time with the link on the right of this page. There is nothing too small or too large.{Your requests will be kept confidential}
Let’s continue to pray that nothing will keep us from communicating with God–especially since Jesus gave His life for us to experience this!

::r e d e m p t i o n:: (Brooke)

Hello friends.  I truly hope you are having a good week.

For the past couple weeks I have been using a devotional called “Seek God for the City” to guide my morning times with the Lord.  It is very good.  Each days entry starts off with a simple prayer– but this past Sundays prayer stopped me in my tracks:

{Fill our minds with knowledge.  Fill our hearts with wisdom. Fill our agendas with redemption.  And fill our city with peace like a river.}

The thought of filling my agenda with redemption makes me want to cheer! It’s what it is all about. I have been praying that thought over and over again to the Lord this week.

I love the word redemption.  It’s so full, beautiful, painful & packed with a grand story.

Redemption means deliverance from some evil by payment of a price.  The cross of Christ is the price paid to release the slaves, to let the condemned go f r e e.   It’s the process of freeing but by payment of a price.

The price is the blood of Christ.

Christ redeemed us by taking our place, by bearing our curse.  Redemption not only looks back to Calvary, but forward to the freedom in which the redeemed stand. (thoughts from New Bible Dictionary by Inter-Varsity Press)

—> You were bought with a price, so glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:20  

What does it look like to let redemption fill your agenda?  I’m not exactly sure but here’s what I’m thinking:

1. Ponder{consider deeply} the cross & the sacrifice of the perfect Christ.

          There is nothing in time or eternity more absolutely certain and irrefutable than what Jesus Christ accomplished on the Cross— He made it possible for the entire human race to be brought back into a right-standing relationship with God. He made redemption the foundation of human life; that is, He made a way for every person to have fellowship with God.   

-from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

2. Speak words of liberation over the people in your life that are believing lies that counter was is true in the Bible//God’s heart.  We need each other in this battle.

3. Pray, really pray, for your friends that are hurting and ache because of the pain that this world is filled with.  Pray with them on your own.  Pray with them over the phone.  Meet them and pray for them.

4. Make the most of the daily opportunities that the Lord gives us to point people to Christ, the Redeemer.
Have you heard the song “When my heart is torn asunder” by Phil Wickham?  It’s the best.  It’s a song of redemption for sure…I love every single lyric in the song but my personal favorite right now is, “I have found redemption in the blood of Christ—my body might be dying but I will always be alive!”  If you don’t have this song on Itunes– comment below by midnight tonight with your email address.  It’s too good to not have. I will randomly select a winner tomorrow morning & email you! hugs and loveee.

{Living on Mission} (Heather)

“If you haven’t chosen what you’re living for, you’re living life by default, acting out the scripts handed to you by family, other people’s agendas, and the pressures of circumstances.”
-Linda Dillow (Calm My Anxious Heart)

I read Calm My Anxious Heart a year ago, and I loved it. It challenged me to think about how I was living my life day to day. I didn’t want to live in reaction to my circumstances, and I wanted to be wise in the things I chose to do as well as the things I chose not to do. I wanted focus in my life, so I created a mission statement.

I started out by writing down verses that really captured my heart over the last few years [2 Corinthians 12:10; Exodus 33:14; 1 Timothy 6:15; Philippians 3:7-9; Psalm 51:10-13; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; Hebrews 10:23; James 5:16; Revelation 21:4] Then I looked for common themes among these verses. I also thought about the different responsibilities God had entrusted to me (such as being on staff with Cru, discipling women, and being married) as well as what passions He had given me. After praying through these things, I felt like God had given me a picture of how He wanted me to live my life for Him through the mission statement below.

For the sake of Christ I want to:
o   Grow through learning continually, thinking deeply, and the studying of God’s Word
o   Demonstrate my eternal perspective by being content and restful, living out of my weaknesses, and embracing suffering
o   Develop others by teaching, encouraging them in their strengths, sharing my life, and challenging them to grow
o   A wife and mother that puts her family first by encouraging them towards Christ, loving and serving sacrificially, and creating beauty and warmth in our home
o   All of this on the foundation of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, who is always faithful to me, and the hope that one day He will wipe away every tear from my eyes

I would love to hear what passions God has laid on your heart. How has He uniquely gifted you to express the Gospel to others? I’m praying that the following verse will be true of you and me as we reflect our beautiful Savior to the world!
Live life then with a due sense of responsibility not as women who do not know the meaning [and purpose] of life, but as those who do. Make the best use of your time, despite all the evils of these days. Don’t be vague but grasp firmly what you know to be the will of the Lord.

                                                                                                            Ephesians 5:15-17