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Lent Day 24, Ways of Your Household

Welcome to Day 24 of our Lenten Devotional! We’ve been focusing on simplicity this week, and today we have to take a clear look at our homes. Are our homes places of organization and peace, or are we floundering in disorganization and clutter? Join us by clicking on the link below as we look to the ways of our households.

Lent Day 24, Ways of Your Household

Image: Bill Longshaw / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 




A Franciscan Benediction

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Franciscan Benediction

May God bless you with discomfort

At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships,

So that you may live deep within your heart.

 

May God bless you with anger

At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,

So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

 

May God bless you with tears

To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger, and war,

So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and

To turn their pain into joy.

 

May God bless you with enough foolishness

To believe that you can make a difference in the world,

So that you can do what others claim cannot be done

To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

Amen.

(from many sources, including Prayer, Does It Make Any Difference by Philip Yancey, p. 105)




P.S. Pray Specifically: Rest by Mary Kane

“Jesus calls us to live a simple life also. Please unplug, detach and spend a few quiet moments at the feet of Jesus simply resting. ” To pray specifically for Rest, please click on the link.

Image: Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 




How To Try Listening Prayer

I have to admit, at first I felt a bit apprehensive about trying listening prayer. But, I decided to not let my fears stop me from pursing this time with Him and pressed ahead. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it helps me to hear what others are doing when I’m trying out a new spiritual discipline. So with that in mind, this is what I do to practice listening prayer.



4 Steps to Listening Prayer

First of all, I get into a comfortable position. You can sit on the floor, in a comfy chair, kneel, whatever seems to fit the moment. I quiet my mind by following up on a suggestion from Pastor Ron Stohler at my church. He uses a breathing or centering prayer to quiet himself. Very simply, you choose a short verse like Psalm 46:10. You breathe in and as you do this you would say, “Be still and know,” then you exhale and as you do this you say “that I am God.” Do this a few times until you feel quieted and at peace.

Next, I just ask God to tell me what He wants me to hear this day, what’s important for me to know. Then I wait. Sometimes a verse of scripture will pop into my head. Other times a word, like forgiveness or courage. God may reveal a sin that I need to confess. Often a person will come to mind. I pray for insight as to what I need to do.

Journal It

Next I will write down what God has shown me, because I’ve found that I quickly forget if I don’t record it! I purchased a small spiral notebook that I use just for this time.

Finally, I thank God for that time with Him, and that’s it. Listening prayer can be as long or as short as you want it to be. Each day may be different. Sometimes I like to have instrumental music quietly playing in the background or I may light a candle. Do what helps you to connect with God.

Safety Net in Listening Prayer

One thing to keep in mind is to know that God will never reveal anything to you in this quiet time with Him that violates scripture. Use scripture as your safety net as you are practicing these times of silence and solitude. Reject any thoughts that are contrary to scripture and move on.

I pray these suggestions help you. You may have other things that work for you. Please leave a comment and share your insights with us.

Pray on!




When Your World Is Rocked …

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

I can hardly believe that the holiday season is already over.  Most people look forward all year long to the feast that they can devour without judgment at Thanksgiving and the festivities of Christmas, but for my family this year, those traditions were moved to the bottom of our priority list.

About two months ago, my mom started getting really sick, and the doctors couldn’t find any source to her illness. They ran test after test, yet nothing made sense as to why she had a low blood count and was losing weight at an alarming rate. Christmas was right around the corner, and we decided to take a break from all the doctors’ appointments and just enjoy the season with our family. We would worry about possible causes for these symptoms after the tree had come down and the media had stopped showing all their Christmas specials.

This seemed like a great idea, but God had other plans. Plans that would rock our world… but then again, God seems to like switching up our plans, especially around Christmas time. The whole point of this season is that God flipped the script and sent His Son born of a virgin to save us. So when everything stopped going according to plan this Christmas, for me it was a lot easier to deal with, because I knew that God was still in control, just as He was 2,000 years ago.

About a week before December 25, my mom started coughing up blood. It wasn’t a lot the first day. But then it continued day after day, until her whole hand would be covered with the blood. Christmas was just days away, but it was time to act. We rushed her to the hospital to find out that she had lung cancer the size of a baseball in her left lung. The doctors had not thought to look for that specific form of cancer because my mother had never smoked or worked in a vocation that might contribute to lung cancer.

After that, things started going pretty fast. We were rushing my mom to many CT scans and biopsies. It was originally believed that she had stage three cancer, which would have given her about eight months to live. However, my God is bigger than doctors’ diagnoses, and after much prayer my mother returned for another doctors appointment to find out that the cancer was not spreading as fast as they had first thought and that they might be able to get all of the cancer with surgery. That surgery is still going to be very rough and we are all anticipating January 18, when my mom will have her entire left lung removed, but we are trusting God and know that He will protect my mom and continue to give us all peace throughout this difficult and scary experience.

On behalf of my mom, I am asking that any one reading this would please pray for her on January 18 as she goes into surgery. It would be so powerful and amazing to know that thousands of people are out there praying for her to have strength and to feel God’s presence throughout this time. My mom’s own personal prayer is that God be glorified in all of this. Thank you.

Pray on!

Brittany

Brittany Jean is a nineteen-year-old college student living in the Midwest with her parents and younger brother. She is currently majoring in pre-law and is planning on using that degree for ministry.




Unconditional by Mary Kane

Rejoice! And again, I say rejoice! Wouldn’t it be great if you could be joyful all the time? With God all things are possible–even unconditional joy! To do the study, “Unconditional,” just click on the link!