Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Thanks for Chocolate

Dear God, the Omniscient One--

Thank you!
You were wise enough and imaginative enough to create chocolate.
Or, at least, you created the cocoa bean, and You inspired some Latino to invent chocolate.

It doesn't matter.
Chocolate was perhaps the greatest invention of all time.
Thank you for its rich flavor and bitter-sweetness.
Thank you for its energizing and comforting qualities.
Thank you for its versatility: no matter what you bake, it will taste better with chocolate.
How remarkable that one square of dark chocolate or one sip of hot, foamy milk chocolate can reach down into the sad and tired places of my soul and stir up warmth and vitality!
You must want me to eat and drink it because one bite or one sip is never enough.

I must have more.
Perhaps this is a cautionary tale--a shot across the bow--a warning against a food addiction.

Whatever.
I just know that I love chocolate.
And for that reason, and many other more important reasons,
I love You.
(And now, I have finished my cup of hot chocolate, but I must have some more.)
Are you giving me a picture of how I should crave You?
I don't know.
It's hard to make any spiritual applications when I have chocolate on my brain.

Amen.


images by Mick Lissone,  and MALIZ ONG

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Praying the "Turnaround Prayer"


Today has been especially hard for me, for no particular reason except that I'm grieving, and today I'm grumpy and unsettled about it.

I am not a perky Christian right now. I feel dried up. Parched like a wind-swept desert, I am unable to quench the emptiness of my heart. My faith is strong enough not to rage at God or question His sovereignty; I'm just unhappy, lost even. How selfish that sounds! 
After a sad, scrolling-through of social media posts, I ran across my friend Bob Hostetler's blog on Guideposts, dated yesterday, Sept. 20, 2016. I appreciate his perspective on praying through hard times. Here is an excerpt from his blog "Pray for Blessings from Disappointments"--


"Most of us, when misfortune occurs, pray for relief or deliverance. That is natural, and it’s a good way to pray. 
After all, the psalmist David prayed, “Please, God, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me” (Psalm 70:1, NLT). And “Please, Lord, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me” (Psalm 40:13, NLT). . . 
I pray those kinds of prayers a lot. But sometimes I have the presence of mind—and the faith—to pray differently. 
I may start with prayers like those, but I continue in my praying to say something like, “God, turn this whole situation around. Where there is now confusion, bring understanding. Where now there is only pain and suffering, turn it into an occasion for amazement and joy and bring glory to Your name!” . . .
'Turnaround' prayers do more than ask God to fix something, they ask Him to turn a situation on its head and bring beauty from ashes, blessing from disappointment, glory from gloom. 
So try it. Don’t just ask God to heal you, ask Him to turn your affliction around and make it an occasion for rejoicing. Don’t simply request relief, ask for a 180-degree reversal of the situation, one that will bring glory to God. . . .
Pray 'turnaround prayers' and see if your faith and God’s faithfulness combine to do something special in answer to your prayers."


You can read Bob's prayer blog in its entirety (or any of his previous blogs on Guideposts) by clicking on this address:


Monday, September 12, 2016

Prayers from a stacked pot

O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer--

I feel like a stacked pot, waiting among so many others for something new and miraculous to overpower my life.

I forget what miracles You've already done on my behalf.
Now I'm asking for Your transforming power
to erase pain, redeem mistakes,
and use my years of working and waiting.
Somehow, take my ordinary life and transform it into a glorious piece of Your master plan.
Make me patient as I sit and wait.
Build my faith as I trust You.
Help me see past the pressures of this life that weigh on me and threaten to stifle my calling.

I feel so ordinary,
so confined in my purpose,
like a clay pot stacked among so many others.

I forget that
You made me for eternity.
I should not pine for it or waste my time here,
but I need to work like what I do here matters.
Because it does matter.
I must participate and fulfill whatever task you have placed in front of me.
You will redeem even the mundane.
Even the mistakes,
as long as I am a willing pot in the Potter's hands.

Mold me.
Use me.
Break me, if necessary.
Redeem my every move.

Amen.

Psalm 19:14--My the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.


image from Petr Kratochvil

Friday, September 9, 2016

Prayer for my sponsored child

Dear Lord,

You provide and equip us for the journeys we take.
Please provide a covering from evil and protection from violence for my sponsored child.
Keep the enemy away from his family and his future.
Give him hope, courage, and resilience to live in his present situation.
Help him to know You and love You. I pray for his salvation and surrender to Your will.
I pray for spiritual influences in his life that give him a picture of You and Your love.
Give him a hope and a future of Your designing.
May he always walk in Your ways.
I thank you for the privilege of speaking into his life and loving him.
Your grace is unfathomable.
Thank you for loving me enough to involve me in Your important work.
Make me faithful to Your calling.

I love you! And I love this child. May he grow up in the confidence of both.

Amen.