Timely Ways to Pray for the USA

With all that’s going on in America this year, have you ever felt discouraged about the state of our nation? I know that Mary and I have. In the late spring, and into the summer, we were feeling stressed. Truth be told, we’d felt like that for a few months. We both had a lot of changes going on in our lives, even without Covid-19, the election, and the chaos in our cities.

Called to Hope

However, as the summer progressed, God was drawing us back to the basics, and one of the things that meant was back to our Only By Prayer website. We did a major revamp of the site and went into a planning frenzy. As we sought Him for what that looked like, God reminded us that Jesus calls us to be people of hope and to faint not. One powerful tool that we always have when we need to fight the enemy and his schemes is prayer. Rather than despairing of ever seeing things change for the better, God reminded us to be a catalyst of change for the better.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The lord is my portion,’ says my soul. ‘Therefore I hope in Him.’

Lamentations 3: 22-24 NKJ

Pray for the USA

Patiently, He impressed upon us the importance to stop moping and to start praying for the USA more and to mobilize others to pray too. With that said, we’d like to give you an update on what’s in the works here at Only By Prayer so you can join us if you’d like. 

  1. Facebook prayer group. We revamped a Facebook group we started four years ago and renamed it Pray for the USA. We then launched an event called 5 Days to Fast and Pray for our Nation in August. To our surprise, as of October 2020, God has brought over 800 people to the group to pray. Thank you, Lord! We’d love to have you join us as well. It’s a non-partisan group, and we do not allow any political arguments on the page — just praying.
  2. October Event. We are ramping up for our next event on Pray for the USA: 5 Days to Pray for the Election. This is another virtual prayer event held on October 28, October 29, October 30, November 2, and November 3. We are adding 24-Hour Prayer to this event in addition to our daily prayer topics. Be sure to check out the details. 
  3. Pray for the USA Prayer book! As we were organizing the prayer group, we realized how hard it can be sometimes to pray specifically about issues that are happening in our country. Mary felt God leading us to write a 31-day book of prayers targeted to culturally relevant issues of our day. Again the Lord came through. We recently finished this short book called Pray for the USA, and it’s now available for sale on Amazon. You don’t have to have an actual Kindle tablet to read it. You can download the Kindle app for your phone or computer and read it that way. We think you’ll find it helpful to pray through the relevant issues of our day. It only takes about two minutes or so to pray each prayer. If you happen to be a member of Kindle unlimited, you can actually read Pray for the USA for free. If you do purchase it/read it, we’d love if you’d leave us a review on Amazon.
  4. ThanksLiving event. In November we are hosting our 12 Days to ThanksLiving event. It will run from Friday, November 13, to Tuesday, November 24. It will be held entirely on our website and is completely free. Details to follow soon.
  5. Advent devotion. In late November through December, we will be leading a group through our Advent devotional (also published on Kindle) called Advent-urous: Seeking Jesus in the Season of Advent . This starts on Sunday, November 29 and runs through December 24, with a bonus week after Christmas. 
  6. 3 Weeks to a Healthier You. In the works for January 11-29 is a new venture we are starting called 3 Weeks to a Healthier You, Body, Soul, and Spirit. More information to follow on this, but we are excited because the body segment will include an exercise program developed just for our group by certified fitness trainer Sarah Lewis. Sarah is also available for online training in these Covid times if you’e interested.

Join Us

Finally, we thank you for your support. We hope you join us for Pray for the USA and however many of the other events you wish. We’re excited for the upcoming months and how God is working in each of our lives during these difficult times. We pray He is encouraging you and your families too. Let us know if you have any questions in the comment section below. May God bless you!

Our latest book on Amazon called Pray for the USA

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Reflections #6: For Those Who Mourn


Thank you for joining us for Reflections, short meditations on scripture intersecting life.

Show Notes

In today’s Reflections we are meditating on Isaiah 61:2-3

To comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.

The loss of a loved one is the most devastating loss we can endure. It shakes us as nothing else can. We are left bereft, dealing with a toxic swirl of emotions.

Like many of you, I know grief. I lost my second daughter when she was just 11 days old. God inserted Himself into the midst of my suffering, and walked through that time with my family and me. It was not easy, but as I held on to Him, He held me.

For those of you who know grief as your constant companion right now, I want to give you hope. You will get through this. I hope today’s podcast encourages you in this journey.

To listen, just click on the triangle below or subscribe on iTunes.

Pray on!


From Withered to Revived

I winced as I looked at my six-pack of wilted impatiens. Leftover from my butterfly garden, they had sat under the tree for two weeks waiting for me to find a garden bed to squeeze them into. Originally bursting impatienswith color, the now shriveled, drooping blossoms showed little signs of life. I picked them up to toss them into the trash.

“There’s no way they’ll ever recover from this,” I thought. As I opened the trash can, something made me stop. What could it hurt to plant them in the bed out front? It took only minutes to plant the bedraggled plants and water them.

A few hours later I opened the front door to walk out to the mailbox. A flash of pink caught my eye and I stopped astounded. The withered flowers were completely revived, their leaves and blossoms plumped out nicely, the picture of health. I couldn’t believe it. I had been certain they were beyond hope. All they needed was good soil, a thorough watering, and some time to revive.

“It’s the same for people too,” the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart. I mulled that thought over and let its truth sink in.

There was a time in my life when I’ve felt like those flowers. For months after my infant daughter died, I was depleted, devoid of energy, joy … life. I wasn’t sure I would ever recover from the blow of losing her. I barely went through the motions of life. My friends and family stuck by me and kept praying. Several months after she died, I joined a Bible Study Fellowship group and God started slowly putting me back together. Over the course of the next year, I was planted in the fertile soil of my group and watered by God’s word and the testimony and encouragement of wise women. At the end of that year, I had revived.

Maybe you’re there today. Perhaps you think life is over for you. Too much heartache, too many mistakes. Your blooming days are behind you. I’m here to tell you that if you plant yourself in the fertile soil of a healthy church or Christ-based group and water yourself with His word, you will recover. Expose your wounds/sin to the healing light of God’s truth and love and give yourself time to heal and hope.

Get ready to bloom again. God is going to do a mighty work in your life!Sacred and Everyday thumbnail

Pray on!


i pray: hope


i pray

short podcasts to bring the sacred into your everyday

Do you only have a few minutes for prayer today? You’re in the right place! Try one of our new i pray podcasts. A few minutes is all you need to pray God’s word into any situation by interceding for friends, family, and yourself. 

Show Notes:

Today we’re praying about hope.  We all go through seasons of life where hope seems to be in short supply. Perhaps you’re in the middle of a health crisis; maybe your marriage is rocky;  the kids have hit their teen years and decided to sow some wild oats; or maybe God feels like a distant relative. Whatever has caused you to lose hope, prayer is a powerful antidote to feelings of hopelessness.

Join Jane VanOsdol of OnlyByPrayer in praying for God to infuse some fresh hope into your situation.

Verse: Lamentations 3:22-24 “Through the Lord’s mercies we’re not consumed because His compassions fail not; they are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion says my soul. Therefore I hope in Him.'”

Short and Sweet: Hope, Wait and Pray

Short Bible studies, quick devotions

Short and Sweet Nourishment for the Soul

” … rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer …”

Romans 12:12

I like lists. You may already know that about me. I often start my day with a list of things to accomplish … complete with allotted times. It gives me great satisfaction knowing what to do and when to do it. That’s why I like Bible verses like Romans 12:12. It gives me three things to do, it tells me when to do them AND how to do them.

What to do when you’re hoping – rejoice!

Why can we rejoice in hope? Because we worship the God of Hope – therefore we always have hope. No situation is beyond God’s reach.

Are you sick? He’s the healer. Jehovah Raphe

Are you lost? He’s the God who sees you. El Roi

Are you in need? He’s the God who provides. Jehovah Jireh.

Are you neck deep in sin? He’s the God who washes away sin. Jehovah Tsidkenu.

Biblical hope is different than worldly hope. With worldly hope, you hope something will happen. With biblical hope, you have hope because something will happen. Whatever your need, God sees you and He’s at work. He is your hope. So start rejoicing!

What to do when you’re facing tribulation – be patient!

Since we can rejoice because we always have hope, we can also be patient in tribulation. I usually define the word patient as someone who controls their temper and frustration. In Greek, however, the word patient means to tarry, to wait, to remain behind. To wait for what? For God to act. Instead of trying to work a frustrating painful situation according to your will, wait for God to work it according to His perfect will. Everyone wins.

While we’re hoping and waiting for God to move, He gives us a job …

Continue steadfastly in prayer.

Don’t forget – while you have all this hoping and rejoicing and waiting going on, cover it all continually and steadfastly in prayer.  The KJV of continuing steadfastly in prayer is “continuing instant in prayer.” I love this definition. Every moment is the right moment to continue in prayer.

This instant.

No matter what you are doing.


Action Points

  1. How can you actively rejoice over a current hope you are waiting for?
  2. How can you show God you are waiting for Him to move in a current trial? What can you do to show Him you are waiting for Him and His will? What do you need to stop doing to show Him you are waiting for Him and His will?
  3. Pray! Pray over your hopes, your tribulations, your everything. Pray!

Life is sweet. Hope. Wait. Pray.


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1 Thessalonians A Life of Faith, Part 3: The Gospel

The Bible states God is the God of Hope. He offers His hope to us through the good news of the Gospel. By the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we can accept one of the many gifts of the Gospel–hope.  “The LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalm 147:11. In the face of hardship, trials and persecution, we please God when we choose to fear Him instead of our circumstances.

Because of the Gospel, we have hope for our trials, our diagnosis, our wounds and our brokenness. To learn about the hope of the Gospel, please click on the link below.

A Life of Faith: The Gospel, Part 3