Just Pray

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” – (Luke 11:1, NIV)

One time Jesus was out praying, and when He finished, one of His followers said to Him, “John taught his followers how to pray. Lord, teach us how to pray too.” – (Luke 11:1, ERV)

One day, as Jesus was in prayer, one of His disciples came over to Him as He finished and said, “Would you teach us a model prayer that we can pray, just like John did for his disciples?” – (Luke 11:1, TPT)

 

Yesterday, after having been away last weekend, I finally had the opportunity to listen to the podcast from Sunday’s message. This week, Pastor Omar continued his DNA series (A review of our foundational values). The message was about prayer, and spring boarded from the passage in Luke 11, verses 1-13. First and foremost, Jesus lived and modeled a life of prayer. He set the example of what we were designed to do to be in communication with the Father. When asked by a disciple to teach them to pray, Jesus did not rattle off some eloquent prayer, nor give a formula to be repeated; rather what we have come to know as the Lord’s prayer, is really a reminder of things to keep in mind as we pray. We need to acknowledge and praise God for who He is, ask Him to meet our needs; seek forgiveness and His help forgiving others, and His protection from temptation. Jesus went on to tell a story of a person seeking their neighbor in need, and pointed out that the neighbor would get up and help the friend, not because of the friendship, but because of their boldness to ask when it was inconvenient.  The heart of God is so much more than that of our friends, neighbors and family members. He gives the Holy Spirit to help and guide us, and hears every word that is raised heavenward, as He meets the needs we know, and even those we may not be aware of yet. Most of us, if asked, would respond that our prayer life could use a lift. Pastor Omar gave some practical reminders of how exactly we can do just that.

To strengthen our prayer life:

– Ask Jesus to teach us how to pray.

– Walk with the Holy Spirit.

– Find a rhythm for prayer. (Discover when your best time to pray is, and use it!)

– Recognize that there are seasons in life, and as life ebbs and flows, what our prayer life looks like will too.

– Understand that we each have our own personality and relate to God individually. Just as children interact and relate to their parents uniquely, so too, do we with our Heavenly Father.

– Commit for the long haul. Change, habits, lifestyles all transform over time, not overnight.

– Be okay with silence. Sometimes, prayer is sitting silently before God and waiting, listening, or resting in His presence. All are good things to grow in Him.

– Lastly, just pray. To strengthen a prayer life requires praying.

May we remember that prayer is not just a thing that we do, but rather it is a place we go to be in the presence of God to communicate with Him.

 

As for mom, today is the day!!!! After two months and eight days, I will see mom tonight! The moment I arrive home from work, Mark and I will hop in the car and head south to my sister and family’s home in Oregon. Typically, due to traffic, it is a six-plus hour drive. We are praying for traveling mercies and lighter than usual traffic, but no matter what, we will have each other and a great destination awaiting our arrival. The anticipation of seeing Mom and witnessing her progress with my own eyes is making the thought of working a full day prior to our departure, a bit painful. I am praying that today is one of those days that flies by before you even feel like you can blink, sort of days. 😊

 

Jesus has taught us, img_2019-10-18_04-57-472496001443635161835.jpg

The power of prayer;

To touch and change lives,

And show that we care.

It’s crazy to think,

That each time we pray;

He who gave us life,

Hears each word we say.

Holy is the Lord,

Who hears all our needs;

Forgives us our sins,

And in His way, leads.

Make time to reach out,

Spend time with the King;

It’s how lives transform,

As His love He brings.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we have the privilege of prayer. Thank You that You, the Creator of the Universe, care and have time to hear the heart and prayers of each of Your created; individually. Forgive us for not making prayer a priority, as communication is key in any relationship. Teach us to pray in a way that is comfortable and natural and sustainable. Show us how to love those around us well, as we lift each up to You in prayer. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You and pray to You, asking, seeking, and listening; for You are amazing and it is a gift to grow in relationship with You. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

I call on You, my God, for You will answer me; turn Your ear to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 17:7

Accepting Others Honors God

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. – (Romans 15:7, NIV)

Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other. This will bring honor to God. – (Romans 15:7, ERV)

So accept one another in the same way the Anointed has accepted you so that God will get the praise He is due. – (Romans 15:7, VOICE)

 

Christ accepts us just as we are, wherever we are at in our lives. We are called to do the same for others. In doing so, we are honoring God and bringing praise to Him. God does not ask us to clean ourselves up and get everything all together in order to come to Him, but rather He extends open arms toward us, and is ready to walk beside us as we learn to live and lead a life according to His good and perfect will. The Lord is so gracious with us, how can we help but extend the same to those around us? Furthermore, why wouldn’t we desire with all our hearts, to do the very things that honor He who loves us without limits? May we receive the acceptance that God has given us, so that we may in turn, go forth and accept others, extending kindness and love, grace and goodness, just as we have been shown by Him.

It was a full week for mom, as she reentered the rigor of both physical and speech therapists coming to the home to work with her to strengthen and create new pathways where there is still struggle. Mom’s initial take on the week is extremely positive, as she is encouraged to move forward and work hard toward her ultimate goal of regaining independence. She is strong and tenacious, and willing to persevere in her pursuit. Additionally, mom has a phenomenal support system surrounding her, as my sister, brother-in-love, and nephews, encourage, love and support her each day. I know the communication from her beloved friends and family near and far, makes a world of difference as well. She is accepted as she is, where she is at, and does the same for those around her. All honor and praise to God, for He is indeed so good.

 

We’re called to accept,

Peace Through Understanding

Each other in love;

Just as our Father,

Has done from above.

He does not require,

Qualifications;

But rather, accepts,

Our lot and stations.

The way that God loves,

Is how we are called;

To love and accept,

People, one and all.

For each time we choose,

To love with our days;

We honor the Lord,

And give our God praise.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for loving and accepting us as we are. Thank You that by doing so, You walk beside us and lead us into the life to which we are called. Thank You that You call us to love and accept others in the same way, and when we do, we are honoring You. Forgive us for the times that we have not been accepting of others. Show us where we have fallen short, and how to be better. Lead us to love and accept others in the same way that You accept us all. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we accept others in the same way that You accept us. Amen.

 

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

Called to Communicate

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. – (Colossians 4:2, NLT)

Keep on praying and guard your prayers with thanksgiving. – (Colossians 4:2, CEB)

Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. – (Colossians 4:2, MSG)

 

Prayer is our petition and praise presented to our Provider. We are called to be in constant communication with our Creator. God designed us with relationship in mind. Like any relationship, if there is not ongoing communication of some sort, a divide of distance, time and disconnect begins to grow. Being devoted to prayer is an ongoing commitment to communicate with Christ. As we choose to be intentional to pray, we become more aware of reasons to give thanks and come to value our ability to speak to the living God whenever and however we wish. He is good and He hears our every prayer. Each word whispered in the hollows of our heart to those which we cry out aloud. May we keep on praying, ever aware of the One to whom we pray, with our hearts overflowing with praise.

 

Help us keep praying,

dsc062165731713241987160062.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography ❤

Guard our heart and mind;

May we ever seek,

For in You, we find.

Reason to give praise,

For Your faithfulness;

The more we know You,

More we know we’re blessed.

Blessed with Your courage,

Presence as You stay;

Wisdom to choose well,

And walk in Your way.

Faithful forever,

Unending, Your grace;

Peace ever present,

Throughout all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to pray, and to protect our prayer with praise. Thank You that there is always reason to give You praise, even on our darkest days. Forgive us for our lack of communication with You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring all things before You first, being mindful that You are God and we are not. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates our gratitude that springs forth from our constant communication with You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray and give You praise, protecting the power that we find in Your presence as we are faithful to be in an ongoing, invested relationship with You. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6

Peace in Turbulence

But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all Your deeds. – (Psalm 73:28, NIV)

But as for me, I get as close to Him as I can! I have chosen Him, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful ways He rescues me. – (Psalm 73:28, TLB)

But the closer I am to You, my God, the better because life with You is good. O Lord, the Eternal, You keep me safe – I will tell everyone what You have done. – (Psalm 73:28, MSG)

 

God is our faithful space of safety, and it is so good to know He is near. I am not the biggest fan of flying, and on our return trip from our honeymoon, we had to fly all the way across the U.S., broken into two connecting flights. As we were about to land in Phoenix, the plane barely touched the front wheels to the ground, then lifted off again. There had been more turbulence than my stomach appreciates and the very idea of having to go up and come down again was a bit overwhelming. The plane bounced around as we made another loop, changing altitudes less than smoothly, and all I could do was close my eyes and breathe, as I prayed for the landing to come quickly. Not normally one who perspires, my entire back was drenched as we circled around. Because we were in the bulkhead row, a flight attendant was seated adjacent me, facing us. He let us know what had happened, and was in communication with the cockpit. Soon the captain came over the speakers and announced what had transpired with the promise of an actual landing coming soon. Though my body was not pleased with the turbulence, my mind found peace in God’s presence and in the hand of my husband beside me. We safely landed, and I could not have been happier to get off that plane and stand on solid ground. Thankfully, our second flight, an hour later, was uneventful. May we ever trust in the Lord, be it in turbulence or in calm, for He is faithful to be near to all who call on Him.

 

A life with the Lord, fb_img_1533560993920686939278845347391.jpg

Brings promise of peace;

Though turmoil does come,

So too, His relief.

The Lord God is good,

Despite circumstance;

He holds us all up,

Gives reason to dance.

Though turbulent times,

Will happen, it’s clear;

God’s peace will be ours,

As we choose draw near.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that life with You is good. Thank You that You are our safety and our peace, no matter what comes our way. Forgive us for our fearfulness in the turmoil. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would rest our heart in Your hands as You are our Protector and Provider of peace. Show us how to love those around us in a way that demonstrates Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we draw ever closer to You, our faithful space of safety forever. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth (Moreno) Grabrick and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace. – Psalm 29:11

When We Are Real

For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. – (Luke 18:14b, NLT)

People who make themselves important will be made humble. But those who make themselves humble will be made important. – (Luke 18:14b, ERV)

If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to fall flat on your face, but if you’re content to simply be yourself, you will become more than yourself. – (Luke 18:14b, MSG)

 

After having had my first day with some of my sixth graders yesterday, this verse is an excellent affirmation of my approach. I have never taught sixth grade before, as my previous twenty years of teaching have been spent with seventh, eighth and even ninth graders. Rather than pretending to know what I am doing with this age group and that I have it all together, I began by being real with my students, and let them know that I did not know exactly what to expect from sixth grade students, and that I would need their help to figure it out. By establishing my need for their help as we work together towards success this year, and discover together what it will take for each to accomplish their goals, there was a sense of comfort and communication that began to take root. May we be real with one another, wherever we are at, and look for ways to encourage and lift each other up.

 

Let’s come as we are, Chosen With Purpose

Wherever we’re at;

For when we are real,

Character’s intact.

People will respect,

The truth that we speak;

Our need for their help,

Is not seen as weak.

We were created,

For community;

To work together,

To rise and meet needs.

So let us gather,

Join in and give grace;

Provide our support,

For all in this space.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that when we choose to be real and come humbly into whatever we are called, You meet us and provide the help we need to accomplish what is asked of us. Thank You that we are not meant to do everything all on our own, as You place us in community and provide help and hope as we are willing to admit our need. Forgive us for the times that we do not humble ourselves and admit our own need for help or for thinking that we somehow have it all together. Teach us to trust You more, as there is ALWAYS more to learn and room to grow in this process of being refined and becoming who You are calling us to be. Show us how to love those around us with humility and grace, so that they may feel safe and valued as You intended. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be honest wherever we are at, and trust You to make up for where we lack. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16

Don’t Let Worry Stand in the Way

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. – (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)

Don’t worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for what you have. And because you belong to Christ Jesus, God’s peace will stand guard over all your thoughts and feelings. His peace can do this far better than our human minds. – (Philippians 4:6-7, ERV)

 

Always the truth of His word is timely. I love that He cares for us individually and so personally. Tomorrow is the day of my grandmother’s memorial. Though I am not a fan of public speaking, I agreed to share. What’s more, is I don’t read my poetry aloud. It is such a space of baring my soul, that it is too vulnerable and raw for this girl who so seldom sheds tears. That being said, a few weeks ago, on my way home from work, the first four lines of a poem were forming in my mind in memory of my Gram. I knew that they were meant to be written down and shared, so when asked, I agreed to speak, despite my disdain for standing in front of folks. The four lines became twenty-eight, and contain words I know that I am meant to share. I have been worried about not being able to get through the reading, as a lump forms in my throat when I barely whisper the words out loud on my own. Yet here I sit, this morning, and am reminded again, that I am not to worry, but rather I am to pray and tell God what I need and thank Him for all that He has done. As I began to do just that, I was reminded of His faithfulness the last time I had to speak at a memorial for my dear friend who had passed. His peace was present in a way that guarded my heart and mind, and I was able to speak when I feared I would be unable to say a word. May we ever give our worries to the One who is able to grant us peace, let Him know what we need, and thank Him for all that He has done.

 

Let not our worries,

Hold Hope He is Faithful

Come stand in the way;

Instead, seek the Lord,

In all things, choose pray.

Tell God what’s needed,

Thank Him for what’s done;

Our faithful Father,

Holy, gracious One.

His peace will meet us,

Guarding heart and mind;

Calm out of chaos,

This love we shall find.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You don’t want us to worry, but rather You are ready and willing for us to bring our burdens and concerns to You. Thank You that we can tell You what we need and thank You for what You have done, and as we do, we experience Your peace that guards our hearts and minds. Thank You that we are Yours. Forgive us for allowing ourselves to get worked up and worried over things rather than bringing them before You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be in constant communication with You, allowing Your peace, comfort and clarity to come, rather than our anxiousness. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers peace and comfort in places of worry, so that they can see Your peace through us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we pray and give our worries to You, and thank You for all that You have done. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Answer me, O Lord, out of the goodness of Your love; in Your great mercy turn to me. – Psalm 69:16

The Weight He Bore

At noon the whole country became dark. The darkness continued until three o’clock. At three o’clock Jesus cried out loudly, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani.” This means “My God, my God, why have you left me alone?” – (Mark 15:33-34, ERV)

 

Probably the most powerful imagery that I have read about Christ’s hours on the cross, came from Max Lucado’s book, Six Hours One Friday. Jesus who knew no sin, had walked and been in constant communication with the Father. Suddenly, He who had never sinned, became sin and bore the weight for all of the world’s madness. Imagine a darkness so heavy that an entire nation loses it’s light. Jesus chose to take our place of scorned separation and suffering so that we would not have to. He bore a weight not one of us could bear, so that we could come close and know the nearness of our Creator. It is difficult to fathom a faithful love so powerful, that it kept the One who calls things into being, connected to the cross on our behalf. Thankfully, despite the devastating darkness that fell, and the somber sorrow that left the disciples distraught and directionless, did not last. Friday’s heartbreak was followed by Sunday’s discovery of a promise fulfilled. The grave could not keep Him. The Lord was alive; He had risen indeed! Our hope and our reason to celebrate this sacred season lies in the remarkable remembrance of what Jesus did on our behalf, so that we could have life everlasting in Him. May we hold fast to the hope of the light that is yet to come, even on our darkest days, for He is faithful to fulfill what He has promised, and our future is secure in Him forever.

 

Such darkness befell,Perseverance in the Face of Persecution

The whole countryside;

“Why have You left me,”

Our dear Savior cried.

The weight of the world,

He bore on that cross;

In love, willingly,

So none should be lost.

Buried in silence,

The world had to wait;

Then God’s mighty hand,

Moved to celebrate.

For on the third day,

The Lord rose again;

So we could have life,

Forgiven from sin.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible sacrifice that we cannot even begin to comprehend. Thank You Jesus, for bearing the weight of all of our sin and shame on that cross, so that we can have life everlasting in You. Forgive us for not standing in awe of the weight of what You did on our behalf. Help us to be forever grateful for the power of Your sacrifice and the joy found in relationship with You. Show us how to love those around us in a way that lightens their load and points people to the hope and joy that come from knowing You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we give You all our gratitude for the gift of life You give. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make His face shine upon us. – Psalm 67:1

He Speaks in the Silence

He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the Lord. – (2 Kings 4:33, NLT)

 

Elisha modeled how we are meant to pray. So often, life is jam-packed with distractions that keep us from hearing the voice of the Lord when we come before Him.

“One of the reasons we need a quiet place to pray is because God’s answers are often quiet. We must be still in order to follow His lead.” – (Adventurous Prayer)

It is only in the hearing that we are able to begin doing that which we are called to do. If we don’t listen, how can we learn? If we don’t learn, how can we be led? May we be intentional to find a quiet space in our day where we can spend solo time in prayer, so that we may clearly hear His leading in all things.

 

As we come to pray,Anxious for Answers

Let’s find quiet space;

So we better hear,

His love and His grace.

Though in a whisper,

His answers are clear;

He makes the way known,

If we seek to hear.

Let every heart,

With longing, come seek;

He’s gentle and kind,

Gives strength to the weak.

A new life awaits,

Those who seek shall find;

Ask and He answers,

Gives new hope defined.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You desire time spent in communication with us, where our focus is entirely on You. Forgive us for not getting ourselves quiet before You. Teach us to be intentional with our time, so that we are still in Your presence, creating opportunity to hear what You have to speak to our hearts. Show us how to love those around us in the way that You are calling us to love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we make time to be alone before You in silence, so that we may better hear Your heart. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

For the Lord your God will bless you, …and your joy will be complete. – Deuteronomy 16:15

 

 

Avoiding Unnecessary Fights

Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only a fool insists on quarreling. – (Proverbs 20:3, NLT)

It’s a mark of good character to avert quarrels, but fools love to pick fights. – (Proverbs 20:3, MSG)

 

The mark of my closest relationships have always shared a common thread. Rather than assuming ill intent of one another and jumping into fight or flight mode, there has been a posture of seeking to understand. When we choose to approach a situation with the hope of gaining understanding, fights are averted and peace is maintained. Though we may not always see eye-to-eye with the person before us, if we approach conversation and communication with the intent to learn and grow, wisdom is gained and peace remains. May we go forth this day with the intent to listen and learn, seeking to understand those around us, so that quarrels are avoided and honor is upheld.

 

The best character,Who is My Neighbor 2

Will choose not to fight;

But rather listen,

To seek what is right.

To avoid quarrels,

With intent to learn;

Is good character,

How respect is earned.

Only the foolish,

Choose keep quarreling;

Honor comes to those,

Who have peace to bring.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the mark of good character. Thank You that He modeled what it was like to be a peacemaker in tumultuous spaces, simply by loving the unlovable. Thank You too, that You grant us wisdom to know when to stand up and fight, rather than walk away. Forgive us for stepping into unnecessary quarrels that could be easily avoided by seeking to understand one another. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You for wisdom and strength to do what You call us to do in each situation. Show us how to love others well, even when they attempt to pick fights. Let Your love in us diffuse even the most hostile of situations. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek to avoid unnecessary fights, and represent You well to the world. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.  – Genesis 21:6

Secure Steps Through Seeking

A person’s steps are made secure by the Lord when they delight in His way. – (Psalm 37:23, CEB)

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. – (Psalm 37:23, NLT)

 

God directs and secures our steps when we seek His direction. If our heart is seeking to follow that which He is asking, He will show us where we are meant to go, and what we are to do. The Lord delights in all who set their hearts on pursuing Him. Though there are times that the path we are called to travel seems unstable, He will secure our steps. Christ came so that we could come to know His nearness with every step we take, and learn to trust in His strength rather than our own. May we trust the Lord and delight in His ways, allowing Him to secure our steps.

 

Trust in the seeking,Breaking Free from Barriers

for the Lord is good;

He delights in us,

our heart, understood.

The Lord will direct,

each step that we take;

if we choose listen,

plain our path He’ll make.

Our steps are secure,

as we choose abide;

He delights in all,

who walk by His side.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that our steps are made secure when we delight in Your ways. Thank You that You show us the way, when we seek You. Thank You that You care about every detail of our lives, not just the tragedies and triumphs. Forgive us for not seeking You each step of the way. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would be in constant communication with You – about the simple and mundane, and the big and overwhelming. Show us how to love others every step that we take, so that they may see Your heart through ours. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we delight in Your ways and trust You to secure our every step. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you; …write them on the tablet of your heart. – Proverbs 3:3