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Sep 29, 2015 - 151-200, Everyday Prayers    No Comments

Prayers Around the World – Old Irish Blessing

Ireland-Sightseeing

Although this is a familiar blessing, often put to music, take a moment and ask the Lord to receive it in a fresh way.  Who would you pray this over?  What are the natural and spiritual meanings in the symbolism used?  If you wrote it today, how would you word it?

Enjoy this timeless blessing!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

 

Praying that today you feel held in the palm of God’s hand, safe, protected, and most of all deeply loved!

Prayers Around the World, Part 1

abstract - world connect

Every culture has a unique expression of worship to God.  We might not understand some of the traditions, but if we see through the heart and eyes of Jesus, there’s much to be gleaned from them.  In the next series of blogs, we’ll explore prayers from around the world, starting today with Israel.

Of course, since our Bible was written by Jews, we have many examples of Jewish prayers – Daniel, Nehemiah, Paul, Jesus and many more!  Today we’ll look at ones less familiar and more traditional to the Jews today.

Here’s some excerpts from the “Amidah” a series of weekday prayers:

“Blessed are you, Oh Lord our God, and God of our fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.  The great, mighty and revered God, the Most High God who bestows lovingkindness, The Creator of all, who recalls the good deeds of the fathers and brings a Redeemer to their children’s children for his name’s sake, in love.  O King, Helper, Savior and Shield.   Blessed are you, O Lord, the shield of Abraham…

You are holy and your name is holy and your holy ones praise you every day, Blessed are you Adonai, the God who is holy….

Return us, our Father, to Your Torah; draw us near our king to serve you. Restore us to your presence in complete repentance.  Blessed are you, O Lord, who desires repentance.

Forgive us our Father, for we have sinned, pardon us our King for we have rebelled.  For you are a Pardoner and a forgiver.  Blessed are you, O Lord, the gracious one who abundantly forgives…

May the Seed of David Thy servant flourish speedily and may you exalt in Your salvation, for in Your salvation do we hope all the day.  Blessed are you, O Lord, who brings forth the horn of our salvation….

We thank You, for it is You alone who is Adonai, our God and the God of our fathers, forever and ever.  You are the Rock and Shield of our salvation, You alone from generation to generation. We thank You and tell of Your praise, for our lives are in your hands,  and our souls are trusting in You.  Every day Your miracles are with us.  Your wonders and favor are at all times, evening and morning and afternoon.  O Good One, your compassions are never exhausted and your kindnesses are continual.   We put our hope in you.”

I love to see the beauty of the expression in these words and the different ways God is praised!  Notice the references of Jesus and Holy Spirit woven in, though they don’t see it!

Pray this prayer today and think of our brothers and sisters of Jewish decent whom we’ve been grafted into.  Some know Messiah, others do not, but we all believe in the same Father.

Psalm 91 Prayer

under his wings

I highly recommend the book Psalm 91 by Peggy Joyce Ruth.  It contains powerful, miraculous stories about praying Psalm 91 over your life and over those you love.  From everyday protection to on the battlefield miracles, God IS our refuge!

A friend of mine took Psalm 91 and personalized a prayer and I’ve included it here for you.  Take some time today to declare this over yourself or those you love.  Comment with any testimonies!

I dwell in the shelter of the Most High and I am abiding in the shadow of Almighty God!  You are my refuge and fortress, the One in whom I trust. I declare out loud, “You are my Lord, my refuge, my fortress and my God in whom I trust. From everlasting to everlasting, You are my God, El Shaddai!

Thank Father, it is You who frees and keeps me from the traps of the enemy.  You Papa cover me with Your feathers.  Just like a mother bird covers her chicks, you cover me and under Your wings I seek refuge.  Your faithfulness is a shield and a tower around me.

Father, thank You that I will not fear any turbulent changes, uncertainties or things of this world that I may see.  Evil may be going on around me, but nothing will touch me, either physically or spiritually.  For You say, “One thousand will fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand.” For You, Father, are my refuge and dwelling place.  No evil will come near me or calamity against me or my family.  I pray the blood of Jesus over every member of my family.

Thank You Father for You give angels charge and command over me to guard me in all my ways.  Thank You that Your angels lift me up in their hands.

I love You and know You intimately by name, You keep me safe and set me securely on high.  Thank you that when I call on You, You always answer me; for You Father are with me always!  Amen. 

 

 

Write a Psalm – Part Two

www.alexstemmer.com

Reading the Psalms recently I noticed a different kind of Psalm – where they rehearsed God’s history with them as a nation, His faithfulness, correction and lovingkindness.  Sometimes this history was interspersed with phrases like “His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136)

Think about your own history in God.  Take a few moments and make a time line of events in your life.  Pencil in God’s intervention, how you saw Him at work or the ways He’s demonstrated His love to you personally.  Now write it out as a Psalm of remembrance of His goodness to you.  Consider adding a phrase about His faithfulness or love to you after each sentence.  When you finish, read it out loud.  There’s something powerful about proclaiming our history in God and His praise.  You might even share it with a friend.  Pass on the encouragement!

What are you waiting for?  Write a psalm of your history in God today!

Write a Psalm

Relax on a cloud

I love reading the Psalms because they express real, raw emotion.  Sometimes it’s a high point of praise.  Other times sharing with God frustration.  While we want to avoid grumbling and complaining, we can be real with God in what we think and feel.  The key is to always turn it back to praise, releasing our emotions to him.

Take a few minutes and write your own psalm.  How do you feel in this moment?  What challenges are you facing?  Are you battling fear, discouragement or pain?  What joys are you experiencing?  Are you overflowing with love?  Be real with God.  Share your thoughts and feelings.

If you are struggling with something, release it to Him and end your psalm with praise.  Too often we feel the “right” thing to do as Christians is to suppress negative emotion, maybe even try to hide it from others and God.  But usually that only strengthens it.  Instead, when we are honest with ourselves and God and then simply give it to Him, He often does a “divine exchange” taking away our pain and filling us with His joy.

Share your heart with Him today!

Aug 11, 2015 - 151-200, Corporate Prayer    No Comments

Pictionary Prayer

picn

Looking for a fun way to pray with your small group?  Here’s an idea a friend gave me – Pictionary Prayer!  Form two teams.  Have one person from the team think of a prayer need and draw while their team tries to guess.  When they do guess it, pause and pray.  Move on to the next team.  You can give a special prize to the team who guesses the most prayer drawings correctly, but ultimately everybody wins!

Prayer doesn’t need to be dry and boring!  Be creative and enjoy spending time with each other and with God.

Aug 3, 2015 - 151-200    No Comments

Why Pray?

magnifying glass and question mark cloud shape

 

Why Pray?

While most of the time this blog focuses on creative ways to pray, my heart was stirred today to focus on why.

Why?

Because I’m supposed to?

Because “someone” says I have to?

Because…?

You fill in the blank.  Why do you pray?

While it seems basic, sometimes we get so caught up in life, we forget the reason behind it all.

Relationship.  Love.  Communion.  Friendship. With the God of the universe!

If your prayers are routine, boring, or complaining or begging sessions, think again.

It doesn’t matter how many hours you pray, if it’s not motivated and saturated in love, it’s like “sounding brass or clanging cymbal.” 1 Corinthians 13

Is it time for a fresh start to your prayer life?  If you are in the area (Sacramento, Ca), please join us this weekend for the Tree of Life retreat where we will explore abiding.  Register at: www.EquippingTheKingdom.com.  Email me for discount and special rates (adena@EquippingTheKingdom.com).

Jul 27, 2015 - 151-200, Corporate Prayer    2 Comments

Alphabet Prayers

alphabetsoup

Bored with the routine of family prayers?  Want to “spice up” small group prayer? Here’s a great prayer activity for groups!

Using the alphabet as a prayer prompt, the first person would take the letter “a” and think of something to pray for with that letter.  It could be a person (Annie) or a group (actors) or a problem (addictions) or a country (America) anything that prompts them to pray.  Then they would share their “a” word and pray a short sentence or two prayer based off that letter.  The next person takes the next letter.  Be creative and have fun!

B – Aunt Betty or the Beatles or Basketball players or Bosnia…

C – Carla or California or a friend with cancer or a coffee shop

You can stick with one category or mix it up and let it be a free for all.  You get the idea, now have some fun!

Jul 21, 2015 - 151-200, Everyday Prayers    2 Comments

Refrigerator Prayers

Refrigerator-Fridge-Magnets

What’s on your fridge? Some outdated coupons?  Kid’s (or grandkids) latest artwork?  A reminder about an upcoming event?  How about making it a prayer space?

Using plain paper (or something pretty), post a list of prayer requests for you and/or your family.  Leave a space to check off when the prayer is answered.  Every time you go to open or close the refrigerator, say a quick prayer and thank God for the answers!  This is a simple way to keep prayer in the forefront for you and your family.  Celebrate together God’s goodness when a prayer is answered!

It’s also a witness to unsaved family or friends who visit and might be a great conversation starter to share answers to prayer!

Jul 14, 2015 - 151-200    No Comments

Prayers that Heal the Brain

Treeoflife

Thoughts are real and powerful for good or not so good.  They take up space in our brain and affect the choices we make on a daily basis.  These thought patterns actually look like trees in our brain.  Each time we think along those lines, the branches are strengthened and impact how we respond to the world around us.  If we have negative thoughts, they develop toxicity in our brain, affecting our emotions and choices.  The good news is that our brain can be “re-programmed”.  God calls it “Renewing your mind!”  We don’t have to be victims to our thought life!  There is a better way.  As we strengthen positive God thoughts, we can weaken the negative or toxic branches until they no longer affect our daily life.   I highly recommend Dr. Carolyn Leaf’s 21-day Brain Detox program where you can learn specific ways to literally heal your brain from toxic thoughts through prayer.  When we practice “praying without ceasing” and intentional, specific prayers, our thought life (and our brain) is changed!

On July 18 we will be hosting our Tree of Life Workshop where we will be giving an introduction or “appetizer” to our Tree of Life Retreat, August 8-9 at Christ the King retreat center in Citrus Heights.  At these two events, we will be sharing God’s solution to negative thinking, how to go deeper in the abiding relationship with Christ that yields a fruitful life and practical steps to renewing the mind.  Both the workshop and retreat will include teaching, small group, hands-on activities and guided healing prayer. If you live in the area, I encourage you to come!  You can register by clicking here.

None of us are immune from negative or toxic thoughts.  Whether it’s a moment by moment battle or we are further along in our journey of renewing our mind, there will be new insights, experiences and encouragement that will benefit anyone who comes to the workshop or the retreat.  Its not a magic formula, but a process of growth in abiding in Christ and developing a new mindset.  We believe people will leave encouraged, strengthened in their prayer life and with tools for a better thought life.

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