Monday, November 30, 2015

10 Prayer Books Every Regular Person Should Read

Why read a book about prayer? Do regular people read books on prayer without falling asleep?

I'm guessing prayers like "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" and "God is Great, God is Good" won't be able to sustain your prayer needs for the duration of your life. These rote prayers don't have the juice to carry you through sickness, grief, indecision, and worry. Okay, add in "The Lord's Prayer." Now you're making progress. After all, Jesus wrote that one. But are these prayers enough?

Although 85% of Americans pray daily, only 20% feel that prayer is an intimate, satisfying experience. Maybe we just need to know a little more about how to pray and why.

Over 100,000 titles on prayer are in publication today. If you, as a regular person, read just one good prayer book every year from age 30 to 70, that would only be 40 books on prayer. Just scratching the surface, and yet that's a tall order for most regular people who just want to get their prayers answered. Could you read 10 books (1 every 4 years)? What if they were books that you didn't need a seminary degree to understand the principles and apply them to your life?

These 10 books could radically change your praying--which, if you believe in the power of prayer, means that they will radically change your life. These are my favorites, and I'll tell you why:

Prayer--Does It Make Any Difference? by Philip Yancey--profound and challenging to your faith and theology of God by addressing common misconceptions and concerns about life's hardships



Becoming a Prayer Warrior by Elizabeth Alves--practical, how-to advice for those new to prayer and some new tips and routines for those whose prayers have gotten mundane



Confessions by St. Augustine--an honest and revealing approach to considering what keeps me from knowing God and praying effectively



Praying God's Word by Beth Moore--tackles common spiritual strongholds (like depression or anger) and teaches you to pray Scripture over your area of need

Prayer: Experiencing the Awe and Intimacy of God by Timothy Keller--excellent appeal to the purpose for prayer--intimacy with God

Too Busy Not to Pray by Bill Hybels--practical, interesting, and convicting plea for disciplining yourself to pray, with stories of prayer at work

The Prayer of Jabez: Breaking Through to the Blessed Life by Bruce Wilkerson--small, concise, but powerful truths about learning to believe that God will answer your prayers


The Red Letter Prayer Life by Bob Hostetler--funny, honest, and practical advice for praying Jesus' words over your life



Prayer by Richard Foster--deep and insightful, yet practical and basic in establishing the purpose and power of prayer



The Way of the Heart by Henri Nouwen (or Out of Solitude--really, anything by Nouwen!)--both are a sincere and contemplative approach to hearing from God and responding to His voice





Regardless of my prayer journey, you can have your own! Just order a prayer book and get reading. God will surely respond to your prayers! Click on the Amazon link below to find the newest books on prayer or search for the ones pictured above.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=books+on+prayer&rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Abooks+on+prayer



Sunday, November 15, 2015

Hate or Love in Paris?

Paris has always been a city of love. A terrorist attack doesn't have to change that. Let's take love to a new level.


Prayer for Paris

Jehovah-Rapha, the God of healing--
We ask for your power of love and hope to reign down on France, particularly the families traumatized by Friday's terrorist attack. We know you will bring good from this tragedy, although it's hard to see how. Inspire the Christians in Paris show the love of Jesus to their hurting city. I pray for the world to show support and fraternity to France, to lend aid, and to share the love of God. May this tragedy also draw all of us into closer relationship with You. We ask you to heal hearts, to convict evil-doers. and to help the suffering to search for You.
In Jesus' name, Amen.

image from architectboy.com

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

5 Prayers for Veterans

This blog is reposted from Guideposts, written by Bob Hostetler. As a daughter of a veteran killed in active duty reserve training, I can concur with the value and significance of these prayers. Thanks, Bob, for your discernment and compassion.

5 Prayers for Veterans by Bob Hostetler, Nov. 10, 2015, Guideposts

Though it began as Armistice Day in 1919 (celebrating the end of World War I), November 11 has been celebrated as Veterans Day in the United States since 1954. Many people observe the day with ceremonies and parades that honor the sacrifice and dedication of those who have served in the armed forces of the United States. 
There may be no better way to honor a veteran than in prayer. Whether it is offered in a religious service, or privately, or silently as a parade passes by, or in a personal card or note, prayer can connect you, a veteran and God in a meaningful and productive way.    
Here are five specific kinds of prayers you can pray for veterans (or, with a few small changes, for a specific veteran):
1) To Feel Honored
“God, please let every veteran of our nation’s armed forces feel truly and appropriately honored by the attention and appreciation of their fellow citizens. Let no one feel forgotten or neglected. Let every man and woman, young or old, feel the deep and enduring gratitude of our nation and its inhabitants.”
2) To Be Understood
“Father God, You know that it can be difficult for a person who has returned from battle or stressful military service to reintegrate into ‘normal’ everyday life. You know that veterans can feel isolated and alone even in the midst of their  friends and  families because there are few around who understand their experience. So I ask You to place in the path of our veterans those who do understand (or strive to), that they may feel less alone. Remind them often that while their fellow human beings may never fully comprehend, You see, You know and You identify with them in everything.”
3) To Be Healed
“Lord, You know how deep a warrior’s wounds go. You know the loss that many of our veterans in body and soul. You know the memories that haunt them and the scars that many of them continue to carry.  Please bring healing to those veterans who still hurt. Please grant patience and wisdom to those around them who cannot understand but can sometimes help the healing process. Please apply both natural and supernatural medicine to their wounds.”
4) To Be Rewarded
“Father, please turn your gaze to those men and women who in their military service have sacrificed time, comfort, strength, ambition, health and prosperity for the peace and safety of family and friends and others they’ve never even known. Please reward them a hundredfold for all their sacrifice and service. Bless them far beyond all their expectations. Reward them richly for all they have given.”
5) To Know You
“Almighty God, You know every veteran by name. You know their deeds, their hard work, and their perseverance. You know their needs, both material and spiritual. Please draw each one closer to you and grant them all the peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7), the peace of Christ to rule in their hearts (Colossians 3:15), and ‘joy in your presence.'


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Monday, November 2, 2015

At War


It's easy to forget that I am in a daily battle. I'm at war. And I'm not talking about fighting with my kids over their homework or the dry cleaners over pants that have vanished. I'm talking about real spiritual warfare--the kind that's kicking me in the butt.
I know a spiritual war is going on because I am praying against stuff that sometimes happens anyway. If I didn't know better, I'd say that my prayers weren't working. But I've been at the Christian life for awhile, so I know that's not true. 
I'm just at war. And in a war, nobody wins all the time. War always creates setbacks and casualties on both sides. Everyone emerges with scars. Spiritual warfare is the reason that life is hard.
So this spiritual war between good and evil becomes the reason that I pray, whether I realize it or not. My desire to push in against the enemy, to take back ground I've lost through wrong choices, to conquer new territory in my heart and mind--these are the reasons I pray. I know that I can't win any battle alone. I must pray.
But I must also prepare myself for injury. (That’s the point of armor, right?) I must count on sustaining some injury to myself, and I must certainly expect the quest for goodness to be agonizing. Prayer provides an avenue to fight, but it also provides a conduit for strengthening my resolve. As I lean into the source of power in my life, my faith in that power grows. I fight harder. I take enemy ground. I plant my flag on the hilltop.

And then I start over again. I'm old enough now to recognize that no war is ever really over.
Eph. 6:10-118  “And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.” (The Message)

Another blog on spiritual warfare can be read on my other website, www.susanwalleyschlesman.com. 
http://susanwalleyschlesman.com/at-war/