Recently, I was having a down spell. A low energy, low creativity, low — well, you get the picture. These times are as much a part of life as the up spells, even for those of us who try to be funny.
I was weepy at everything. At the practice for my daughter’s piano recital I cried when one girl played the theme from Beauty and Beast. I mean it’s a beautiful melody, but~ good grief.
But two friends, from two very different places, sent me two very different messages, on a particularly difficult day.
The woman who shared the following prayer, asked me to pass it along. So I shall pass it along to you.
For if you somehow happened upon this, you might need to read it as I did the day she gave it to me.
PRAYER BEFORE STARTING WORK
My Heavenly Father, as I enter this work place,
I bring Your presence with me.
I speak Your peace, Your grace, Your mercy,
and Your perfect order into this office.
I acknowledge Your power over all that
will be spoken, thought, decided, and done within these walls.
Lord, I thank You for the gifts You have blessed me with.
I commit to using them responsibly in Your honor.
Give me a fresh supply of strength to do my job.
Anoint my projects, ideas, and energy,
so that even my smallest accomplishment
may bring You glory.
Lord, when I am confused, guide me.
When I am weary, energize me. When I am
burned out, infuse me with the light of the Holy Spirit.
May the work that I do and the way I do it bring
faith, joy, and a smile to all that I come in
contact with today. And oh Lord,
when I leave this place, give me traveling mercy.
Bless my family and home to be in order as I left it.
Lord, I thank you for everything You’ve done,
everything You’re doing, and everything You’re going to do.
In the Name of Jesus I pray, with much love and Thanksgiving….. Amen.
Sally had a dream. One God placed in her heart. (Well, it would be in her heart, if oysters had hearts.)
“I have a heart, silly.”
Sorry Sal. Yes, oysters have a three-chambered heart which pumps colorless blood to all the body.
Not making that up.
Colorless blood? Can that really do the job? Like if Sally had to run a marathon or something.
Yes, sorry Sally, you do have a heart and a soul and you pray like mad all day long to Jesus.
There’s one thing I respect about you Sally. You seem an humble little bivalve. I know that only pearl oysters produce pearls. The oysters I love to eat with wild abandon swimming in cocktail sauce are not pearl oysters.
You are special.
There is the power in you to create a jewel.
Some of Mathison’s questions for Day 14.
How much water have you had this week?
Okay. Is that like literally how much water or spiritually? If you count all the glasses I made myself ingest and the tons I swallowed swimming at the pool, I’d say about 32 oz.
What is God waiting for me to partner with him to do?
Ride a tandem?
What’s in my mind’s eye?
Dreams. Again that’s personal. But Sally just put 500 down on a Cannondale. One thing about Sally, the girl knows what she wants.
All Sally would need is a little help reaching the pedals.
Sally the oyster found the more she prayed the more she conformed to God’s will. Or was it conformed to her shell?
It’s not really “you lose” today.
It’s more the products of prayer. “You lose” just rhymed.
Products of prayer.
You lose. (Okay, doesn’t rhyme this time, either.)
How does prayer change me?
It changes me for the better. The problem is that the resulting peace never seems to last. I have to keep plugging back into the source.
What’s the biggest challenge for me when it comes to conforming to God’s will?
That is easy. One common thing ~ that shall remain a secret. For now, anyway.
When have I seen prayer help strengthen the community around me?
That is easy too. My Women of Faith Sunday School class. We did a study on prayer – and during that study, we learned of the power of “praying in one accord.” James 4:3. Whenever someone is going through a trial, we surround that person, holding hands – and pray. The key is while someone is praying, you concentrate on the words spoken by the person praying.
That kind of praying make you tight as group. Not like your jeans after spending too much time in the dryer on high. But the best kind of tight.
Sally the oyster couldn't do much ~ bedridden as she was. But she could pray for her friends. And pray she did.
I love this from the story of Acts. And it was the first thing I thought of after reading Mathison’s thoughts about church dynamics and prayer.
Peter and John had been proclaiming Jesus’ resurrection in Jerusalem; those is charge of the religiosity ~ didn’t like it.
They had healed a man, lame from birth ~ then as he clung to them ~ Peter preached (and I take it that Peter could really preach.)
The council had them arrested and held a trial.
Peter and John spoke to the rulers, elders and scribes ….”And when they (the council) had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them.” Acts. 4:21.
After they were freed, they raced back to their friends and reported everything.
Persecution of the early church in Jerusalem had started…this ultimately was the spark spread the gospel to the known world…but really, persecution by those in religious power?
I’ll sleep in that Sunday.
When Peter and John told them of their adventure, what did these new believers ask in prayer? For money, food, clothes, safety from authorities, that my child be on a certain 4-5 year old soccer team?
(Okay, this is my most favorite thing in all the bible, maybe because I am the biggest chicken east of Marietta.)
“And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to you servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness…And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continue to speak the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:29-31.
That’s all they asked for.
We should boldly pray for our churches, our friends and fellow members and those outside who need to be with us.
Pray for Boldness today.
And be shaken.
(That would be kind of cool, don’t cha think?)
Persecution, no. But being shaken, I’m thinking yes.
Sally knew if she prayed long and hard enough, a cute dermatologist would eventually move to Bay City. And she could finally rid herself of this dreadful skin condition.
Mathison, “If we’re willing to pray and trust God, he will provide.”
The chapter points out lots of areas, believers of all levels of maturity struggle in prayer.
He gives a illustration using the fingers on a hand of how to pray petition prayers for others. (You got to get the book and read — remember,this is not Clip Notes.)
Other things he addresses:
“No matter who we pray for — whether it’s ourselves of someone else — it’s important to do it with the right motives. Does what we’re praying for line up with God’s will?
This is an issue that we have discussed lots in our Women of Faith class. Why pray?
Isn’t God always going to do his will, regardless of what we say?
He covers praying with the right attitude — thanksgiving.
And that we should be persistent in our prayers. Matt. 7:7. Every now and then Jesus says something that’s puzzling. Now what’s hard to understand for me might be clear as my windshield the day I drove off the car lot seven years ago for someone else. I’ve never gotten this. The story about the woman who keeps asking the judge (who is referred to as evil) and finally because of her persistence, her petition is granted.
Makes no sense to me. As a parent, don’t you withhold things from your child if they keep asking — and if you cave — isn’t that the wrong thing?
Maybe this guy would know the answer?
No silly, this guy.
Best to end with how Mathison ends chapter, “Here’s where the element of trust comes into play. If we’re asking with the right motives, a thankful heart, and persistence, God will take care of the rest.
Sitting at the bottom of the bay for hours ~ Sally had lots of time to think.
“There are moments when whatever be the attitude of the body, the soul is on its knee ~ Victor Hugo.
Mathison writes,”Prayer is just talking to God.”
I think. I think a lot. I guess that’s why I write. It’s just thinking that finally comes out some way in some form.
Because I think a lot, it’s always been easy for me to talk to God. It’s become the most natural thing in the world. I know that God must get a bit bored with it. I bore myself.
He loves it when we turn to Him — with the mundane or dramatic.
Of all that I’ve read these last nine days, this one statement I agree with completely. Reflecting on the well-known saying “Prayer changes things,” he writes…
“I’m not sure prayer changes things, but I know that prayer changes people, and people change things.”
It changes me. Not that I’m perfect. When I come up short, I talk to Him about that.
The more we spend time in prayer with God, the more it becomes a conversation. As well as commenting on the lovely blue sky, the beauty of the rain (when it finally comes) and dear cat that strolls up to rub your leg; we listen to His reply.
Not that I’m not never sad, questioning or pity-party tantrum mad — but I never feel rejected or alone.
God hungers for our attention. Spend some time talking with Him today — you can feel His pleasure.