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!

A Saturday Story- Ting, ODU

Happy Saturday to you!  Meet Ting a doctorate student studying at Old Dominion University.

 “When I came to Norfolk, various Christians filled my life. My landlord is a Christian, my roommate is a Christian, my teacher is a Christian. I participated in various activities organized by Christians (like Cru).  The environment is so very much different than growing up living in a secular environment. This makes it   difficult for me to change or to believe. There were pieces of my own hard heart that I refused to change because I was too proud. But the Christians were so nice and loving, that I began to experience a lot of  life. After some time God revealed Himself to me in a dream. I was having a nightmare, but was being told to call upon the name of the Lord. After I did, my nightmare was gone and I slept. Good Sleep. I also dreamed some verses like, “You anoint my head, so my cup runs over.” Soon after I talked to some of my  Christian friends and they told me more about Jesus. I really appreciate these good Christian friends.  I  have decided to become a Christian too. I now see Jesus’ love as absolutely beautiful. I now know a love  from God, a love that only He can give me. I now want to bring God glory in my life. I want to be closer to God. I want to live out the Christian presence to my non-Christian friends.”

::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.
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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.