The Best Known Prayer

The Lords prayer

The Lord’s Prayer is familiar even to those who don’t know “our Father in heaven.” For many, it is a prayer to recite during a religious service, funeral, or moment of piety. But Jesus did not give us this prayer as a formal recitation.

The prayer can be viewed it as a menu of topics about which to pray, but it’s  more than that. It’s a pattern.

Jesus gave us a pattern for personal conversation with God and provides us with an outline for each concern we bring to Him. When I apply it, every aspect of the need I’m presenting is covered, even those I hadn’t considered.

As we talk about the parts of the Lord’s Prayer in upcoming posts, I invite you to choose one personal prayer concern and apply Jesus’ pattern to your specific request. I believe you will experience sweet peace.

Our Father

Sometimes I get no further than simply saying, “Our Father.” When my heart is heavy with concern for a loved one, I utter those words and peace invades. It’s not an attempt to convince my Father to listen and intervene, but a confession of faith. He is our Father—mine and the one I am praying for. When I speak those words, I’m acknowledging that God cares more than I do because He is their Father and I’m releasing the one I love to the One who loves greater.

Suddenly the complications that bewildered me, come to rest. My heart stills because my Father, our Father, has it covered. Those two words remind me that He’s in the picture, He’s present, He’s omnipresent.

Our Father is everything we could want an earthly father to be and more. He loves perfectly, provides lavishly, listens patiently. He shows mercy, kindness and grace without reservation. He understands our weaknesses and knows what’s needed to strengthen us.

His Father’s heart responds to me, His child, talking to Him about the needs of another beloved child.

Today, let the words “Our Father” bring peace to your heart as you speak them on behalf of your loved one, your troubling situation, your concerns.

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Oops! I Forgot (Again)

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One thing that frustrated me when my children were young was the need to repeat myself, constantly. I mean, how many times can a mother be expected to say, “Wipe your feet,” “Close the door,” “Say please,” or “Move back from the TV?” Why can’t they remember these simple instructions? Since this is now in my distant past I can assure you, it may be when they enter college, but eventually they get it.

I’m not only frustrated when others forget but I get irritated with myself when I’m unable to remember names, story details, birthdays, recipes, or book titles. But, more significantly, why can’t I remember the big things? Like…

  • Fear not
  • Judge not
  • Forgive
  • Get rid of bitterness
  • Speak words that build up
  • Be still
  • Give thanks
  • Trust God

Although I forget—often, God never says, “How many times do I have to tell you?” Or, “I’m not going to say it again…” Or, “I said it once in Isaiah 43:1—look it up!”

In every changing circumstance, personal failure, and life challenge, God sees my distress. He knows I’ve forgotten (again) and rather than reprimand me, He gently reminds me with consoling words:

  • Don’t be afraid, I’m aware of every detail, down to the number of hairs on your head.[1]
  • You won’t drown, I am with you.[2]
  • Cast those cares on me—I’ll carry them.[3]
  • You’re not forgotten. See, you’re engraved here, on the palms of my hands.[4]

[1] Matthew 10:30-31, [2] Isaiah 43:2, [3] Psalm 55:22, [4] Isaiah 49:16

Photo compliments of zeenews.india.com

The Lord IS my Shepherd..

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Not was, not will be, but is, right now, at this moment, in the present, the Lord is my Shepherd. He is always near, not catching up, not ahead of me, but with me.

Today marks thirteen years since Stacey left us to be with Him. Though time has moved on, deep loss remains, without compensation. The Lord shepherded me through the loss of our daughter, continues to do so today, and will be present every day of my future. On October 11, 2017, my Shepherd is comforting me, refreshing me, reminding me of my hope. As He is walking here beside me, Stacey is walking there beside Him.

Today, I will put a period after is—it is enough that “The Lord is.”

lighthouse*Image compliments of gmkfreelogos.com

The LORD is my Shepherd…

LORDgospelinlife.com

The Lord—ruler of all, sovereign, supreme, absolute, matchless—is my shepherd. There is none greater, wiser, or stronger… and, yet, He deems to notice and care for this poor lamb with all my foibles.

He alone knows the end from the beginning, works all things together for my blessing, protects me from harm, gives me understanding, leads and challenges and refreshes me. He is the only shepherd who is able to do all this and more. Therefore…

The Lord, loving and limitless, is my shepherd.

*Image courtesy of gospelinlife.com

THE Lord is my Shepherd…

THEespressoenglish.net

I don’t have a Lord as my shepherd; I have the Lord as my shepherd. How unfathomable that the one and only, all-powerful God of the universe takes notice of me and desires to shepherd me! Other shepherds vie for leadership—common sense, feelings, fears, insecurity, the need for acceptance or accomplishment, resentment, the status quo—but the Good Shepherd invited me to follow Him. And, since He’s offering, I’m taking Him up on it. I choose Him, the Lord, to be my shepherd.

*Image compliments of espressoenglish.net

My Wall of Fame

Wall2With twenty-six letters in the alphabet and eleven grandchildren, I’m fascinated that none of their first names start with the same letter. Eleven grandchildren with eleven different first initials—and their uniqueness doesn’t end there. Like your children and grandchildren, each one has different strengths, distinguishing qualities and distinctive gifts.

Always on the lookout for ways to build them up, I recently created a grandchildren’s Wall of Fame. Each of their initials is featured on the wall and written on each letter, are five strengths the child especially displays. My desire was to affirm them and show them they’re appreciated for who they are.

It was precious to watch them search for their letter and then examine the words on their initial, sometimes heartily agreeing, sometimes asking the meaning of a word. As children, they didn’t hide their pleasure at being known and appreciated. Adults may be more discreet, but it’s no less important for us to be valued than it is for my treasured eleven.

Wouldn’t it be great if we were more attentive to the qualities of others—each one created in God’s image? And wouldn’t it be even greater if we expressed our appreciation for one another?

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”     1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT)

Summer is Half Over

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Does that rouse feelings of disappointment or elation? For me, this is good news because summer is my least favorite season. However, I was checking my attitude as I laid awake the other night and I made a biblical decision. In line with 1 Thessalonians 5:18, I decided to give thanks in everything—even in summer.

How many things on my list resonate with you?

Watermelon. This has to be my favorite fruit. When I was a kid, eating watermelon included pit-spitting contests—there was no seedless variety. My daughter and I can finish off a small melon between the two of us (seedless, if you please) and a barbecue just isn’t complete without watermelon juice dripping from your chin.

Lightning bugs. If you’re not from New Jersey you might call them fire flies, but we’re talking about the same thing—those insects that fly and flash in the summer night, lighting hearts with their flicker and fascinating children who run in search of jars to hold them captive for awe-inspiring close examination.

Sparklers, sprinklers & s’mores. Kid-fun that’s right up there with lightning bugs. We use any celebration as an excuse for sparklers, any hot day to turn on the sprinkler, and any summer evening for s’mores. I’m strictly a toasted marshmallow girl, but I love to watch the kids make a mess sandwiching them with graham crackers and chocolate squares.

Pedicures. I get, maybe, three pedicures a year: June, July and August, making them a definite summer perk. For my July pedi I was daring and opted for my first blue polish job. Ugh—my toes are aqua! I hate it…but, hey, tomorrow it’s August.

Ice cream cones. Ice cream is pretty much a year-round treat, but put a scoop on a cone and it shouts summer. Ice cream licked from a cone simply tastes different, whether it’s soft serve or hard. My favorite is coconut with dark chocolate-covered almonds. So far, I’ve only found it at Bellvale Farms Creamery in Warwick. Yum! So worth the trip.

Barbecues. I’m not a cook but I can make salads so this is my favorite hosting venue. Everybody seems relaxed at a BBQ, spilled food waits for scavenging squirrels, and conversation mixes with easy laughter. And…even I can cook a hamburger.

Iced tea. I make the best iced tea. Period. When the kids were living home, I had to restrict them. We were going through a gallon a day so I insisted they drink a glass of water before guzzling my precious tea. Now they all use my recipe and I love having a cold glass of tea that they made.

Books. There’s reading, and then there’s summer reading. The lazy days without schedules and the stress-free atmosphere make reading in the summer delicious. I devoured the 550-page Poisonwood Bible without feeling guilty about spending hours engrossed in reading because, well, it’s summer.

I admit, this exercise in gratitude has improved my attitude, even if I still find air conditioning to be the best thing about summer. My outlook is more positive, I’m appreciative, and my heart’s lighter.

You are my God, and I will give you thanks; you are my God, and I will exalt you.      Psalm 118:28, NIV

And when I do, the benefit is mine!

What do you like about summer?

*Image from fastweb.com

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