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

Help in Time

I will give rest and strength to those who are weak and tired. – (Jeremiah 31:25, ERV)

For I have given rest to the weary and joy to all the sorrowing. – (Jeremiah 31:25, TLB)

I’ll refresh tired bodies; I’ll restore tired souls. – (Jeremiah 31:25, MSG)

 

Each of the translations of this verse have proven true for me over the past week, and throughout this entire season since mom suffered her stroke. To go from twelve hours each day at a hospital, where we did not know or understand the prognosis; to twelve hours per day at an acute care rehabilitation facility, in which we gained insight and understanding, yet had to return home to mom’s empty house; and on to the present, in which life is on the clock, twenty-four hours per day. The joy has been granted in the witnessing of each new gain of strength and restoration, and seemingly, right at the times when I find myself the most exhausted, sleep is graced and I am gifted reprieve through a visit from my husband and children or a change of the guard with my sister. This is not to say that every moment of each day is exhausting nor draining, as it is not. There are many laughs, and there is much joy in the blessing of so much time spent with mom. We have always been close, and this season together has only proven to strengthen our bond further. The times that bring the sorrow and the weariness are the long nights and the down time when mom is resting. Lack of sleep and a longing for my husband, children, and dear ones back home, bring sorrow as I miss the regular routine that I am accustomed to during this time of year. God is full of grace, and I am amazed at how He has shown me the key to help mom sleep better at night. Additionally, as my body is more rested, my soul is better equipped to accept the restoration He offers each morning as I seek Him.

Yesterday was a wonderful day full of family. Mom and I had a quiet morning as we prepared for my husband and boys’ arrival, enjoying a leisurely morning with time for an early breakfast, showers, trimmed her hair a bit, relaxed, worked on some stretching for mom, and did a little wandering around outside in the sunshine on the paved parts of mom’s property. Once the fellas arrived, my Viking set to work, making certain that all was working as it should with mom’s sprinkler system. The boys, mom and I set straight to it, playing a family favorite game. Mark joined us about halfway through, and was tribute dealer for mom, as we finished our first game, then partook in a second game with all of us together. Late afternoon, mom advocated for herself and decided that she ought to take a rest. The boys did their thing, and I was able to spend some much needed and appreciated time with my spouse. My grill master kept up tradition, and prepared the protein, while I took care of the side dishes inside. We all enjoyed a wonderful dinner together on the deck. There was a short escape to pick cherries at a neighbor’s small orchard (who offers anyone pick whatever they’d like) while the boys hung with grandma. Two gallon-sized Ziplocks later, and the Viking and I returned with our loot. There was time for mom’s exercises and a great game of Dominoes before we all were ready to call it a day. For each of us, I think the was refreshment and joy in the company of one another.

May we ever seek the Lord who is faithful to provide rest and restoration when it is needed most.

 

When weary and worn, img_2019-06-30_06-14-354704547889236371471.jpg

He’s faithful and true;

God grants us real rest,

Refreshes, renews.

Where there is sorrow,

The Lord will bring joy;

Tender His blessings,

Reason to rejoice.

Let not life’s burdens,

Crush you with the weight;

Instead seek the Lord,

Whose help’s never late.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give rest when we are weary and strength when we are depleted. Thank You that You meet us in our spaces of sorrow and bring joy. Forgive us for allowing the weight of life to overwhelm us. Teach us to place life’s heaviness in Your capable hands. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers help and hope, strength and joy in spaces where they are lacking. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for holding us in Your hands and providing all that we need – body, heart, mind and soul. Amen.

 

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

 

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11

Seeking Solace

I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, NIV)

I ask the Father with His great glory to give you the power to be strong in your spirits. He will give you the strength through His Spirit. I pray that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. I pray that your life will be strong in love and be built on love. And I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love – how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, ERV)

And I pray that He would unveil within you the unlimited riches of His glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with His divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life. – (Ephesians 3:16-18, TPT)

 

Paul’s encouragement to the church in Ephesus is still an encouragement that is applicable and relevant to us today. In fact, I had to take pause and recognize my own need to receive his words, as I realized just how much I have been missing my husband, boys, and community at home. It is not that I resent nor regret what I am doing here, as I would not trade this time with my mom for anything. I am overwhelmingly blessed with time that could have been stolen, had things gone differently, and I am witnessing daily, the miracles that come with healing and recovery from a stroke. It is a strange sort of struggle to be pulled between two places. During mom’s waking hours, I am fully engaged and focused on whatever lies before us, and we enjoy our time together, celebrating victories and giggling and the small stuff that comes in the wake of exhaustion and recovery. It is in the quiet moments while mom is resting, or her attention is fixed on a movie, that I am torn and struggle being away from my husband and boys. We talk and text daily, but it is not the same, and all of my guys are loves who are generous with their affection for me. I miss the comfort of their nearness and the easy interactions that take place so often. I know it is just for a season, and the line in the TPT version “the resting place of His love will become the very source and root of your life”, is the space that I need to seek His solace.

As for mom’s progress from yesterday, she walked farther than she has walked (with a walker and slight assistance), since she had her stroke! For those who have been in mom’s house, she walked up and down her entire hallway. (The length of it is over 30 feet!) What I loved even more, was the recognition of hope that mom found through the process. After Victor, her physical therapist had gone, we sat down in the living room. She looked at me and said, “It really is possible, isn’t it?” I looked at her for a moment, studying her face, and realized that for the first time, she was recognizing that walking again was indeed possible for her. I let her know that we had seen and known the possibility all along, and after today, imagined that it would come even more quickly than we might have originally thought. Hope is a beautiful thing, and I am in awe realizing that despite her not really thinking it was possible to walk again, she was positive and hard-working, loving and kind. We reminded her all along that it was possible, however, I guess she had to physically experience the possibility for herself to understand. Mom was again open and receptive to short visits with a few friends, as she met with one dear one in the morning, and another prior to lunch. Both were wonderful boosts that brought much delight to the day.

I am so thankful that He does strengthen us with His power, out of His glorious riches through His Spirit in our inner being, and He dwells in our hearts through faith. As we are rooted and established in Him, may we together, grasp how great is His love.

 

Dear Father, I pray, Be strong and courageous

From Your vast supply;

You’ll give strength to those,

On You, choose rely.

And by Your Spirit,

Where in hearts Christ dwells;

Grow stronger our faith,

So we trust You well. dsc04451587116784.jpg

Each rooted in love,

Together by grace;

May we understand,

How great all Your ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a loving and gracious God. Thank You that You know and see our need before we are aware of it ourselves. Thank You that You give us strength and grace, hope and love. Forgive us for allowing our fears or frustrations to find footing, rather than releasing all unto You. Teach us to trust You more, as You are our Provider and Place of Peace. Show us how to love those around us well, so that each may be strengthened, encouraged and find faith that is ready to nourish and grow. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You in all things and at all times, praising You for Your presence. Amen.

 

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

 

May Your unfailing love be my comfort, according to Your promise to Your servant. – Psalm 119:76

To Lead with Listening

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. – (James 1:19, NIV)

My dear brothers and sisters, always be more willing to listen than to speak. Keep control of your anger. – (James 1:19, ERV)

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. – (James 1:19, MSG)

 

Who would have known how necessary and true these words would be in our present circumstances? Though I know that anger can be a stage of grief, the flashes of anger that I have experienced have been out of fierce protection, as people have not understood mom’s need for space and rest as she heals. Countless times, I have had to take deep breaths, listen to His still small voice, and speak with kindness to explain that mom is not able to have guests visit when she is tired or resting or simply not ready to see visitors at this time. I imagine it is extraordinarily difficult as one of mom’s friends, as she loves and is loved well by so many. As she transitions to her home this coming week, mom will need time to adjust to being back in her own environment and find her “footing” in her own space, before she is ever ready to receive visitors. Please do not just “drop by” or “come say hi”, or you will be met by one of her girls who is doing everything they can to listen before speaking and keep anger in check, but push too much, and you may see a ginger, snap.

Mom is continuing to work tirelessly in her therapies, as she is determined and focused. Her desire is set on regaining full movement in her right side, and each day she regains a little more strength and control of what was lost. Mom will be released to home in a wheelchair, as she continues to work on relearning how to walk and regain her strength and mobility. We are extremely grateful that her home is a rambler, so little needs to be done to prepare for her return. Additionally, because my sister or I will be with mom at all times, there is room to recognize anything that may need to be done in the future to make mom’s mobility more approachable for her on her own. Time and experience will be our best teachers. Please continue to pray with us for mom’s ongoing healing, for a smooth transition home, for ears to listen, mouths that are slow to speak, and anger to be kept in check as grace abounds so much more.

 

Lord, help us listen,img_2019-05-25_07-57-12278632563012603228.jpg

To be slow to speak;

To hear with our heart,

Let Your love repeat.

Keep anger at bay,

As it tries to rise;

The need to protect,

Fear’s ugly disguise.

God grant us wisdom,

Show us what to do;

To protect and love,

Bring honor to You.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to listen first, as I imagine that is why we have two ears and only one mouth. Forgive us for speaking without listening to Your still small voice first, or for allowing our anger to get the best of us. Teach us to slow down and breathe; to set all before You and allow You to show us what is righteous anger and what is not; what we are meant to do, and what we are not. Show us how to love people well, even when they do not understand the circumstances or expectations and frustrate us to the point of anger. May our choosing to love point they to a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we bring all things before You and choose to listen first and take our time before talking. Amen.

 

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

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

 

 

Rest from the Heaviness

“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

“Come to Me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, CEB)

 

It is good to work hard and complete the tasks that lie before us, yet there comes a point when we have to listen to our bodies and choose to slow down and rest. God provides the time and space necessary for us to rest, if we only choose to do so, and He grants us help and hope and relief when all seems too much to slow down. Often the thing that keeps us from resting is a busy mind. When the day is done and we actually lie down to rest, our mind continues to plan, prepare, and ponder ways to accomplish the long list that is yet to be done, further removing the rest that is so desperately needed. Thankfully, true to His word, when we turn our attention to Him, rather than what needs to be done, peace comes and rest enters in. May we ever seek the Lord in our times of weariness, for He is the perfect Provider of the rest our bodies and minds require.

 

Jesus is calling, Rest from the Heaviness

For He says to come;

All who are weary,

Seek the Holy One.

For He grants us rest,

And His perfect peace;

He loves us to life,

Grants heavy relief.

So, let us draw near,

To our God above;

As He grants us rest,

And fills with His love.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You in our weariness with our heavy burdens, and You will give us rest. Thank You that Your rest refreshes and provides relief so that we can press on in Your strength. Forgive us for not slowing down to rest, even though it is intended for us all. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would take time to rest and refresh in You, as You lighten our load and make our burdens bearable. Show us how to love those around us in a way that helps shoulder the heavy loads and encourages rest as it is needed. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You when we are weary and heavy burdened, knowing that You will grant us rest. Amen.

 

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

 

He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. – Proverbs 11:25

 

Where Strength is Reborn

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, NLT)

“Come to Me all of you who are tired from the heavy burden you have been forced to carry. I will give you rest.” – (Matthew 11:28, ERV)

 

After a good, but seemingly extraordinarily long day, I did not realize just how weary I had become. For whatever reason, when I returned home from work, I jumped right into cleaning and laundry mode without really pausing to take a break. From there, I went to my kettlebell training session, and then onto a Christmas gathering with dear friends. Despite the joy in seeing everyone, I felt like I needed to head home to check on one of my sweet sons who had been sick and missed school. Once home, all was well, the boys were resting and content, so I went to my room to lay down for a few minutes. Of course once cozy and warm, the few minutes became many hours. I woke at 2am, and had already slept five hours. Surprisingly, I merely turned off my bedroom light and went back to sleep until a more reasonable hour this morning. Nearly nine hours of sleep later, I am better rested than I have been since summer. God knew what I needed, and rest was granted beyond what I would have sought for myself. The Lord provides where we are lacking, and longs for us to seek Him to find rest. May we remember to seek the Lord in this sacred season, and allow Him to take our burdens as He is the One who will grant us rest.

 

Come all you weary,where-strength-is-reborn

Unto Christ the Lord;

He takes our burdens,

As rest He affords.

The Lord knows our need,

And lovingly gives;

Help to the seeking,

In grace, He forgives.

Bring all your burdens,

You weary and worn;

His rest is ready,

In Him, strength’s reborn.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can come to You when we are weary and weighed down, and You will give us rest. Thank You that at times, You provide the rest we don’t even realize we so desperately need. Forgive us for trying to gut things out in our weariness, and help us to seek You for strength. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would bring our burdens before You, as You are our Source and Supply. Show us how to love those around us well, and where we can help bear the burdens of those around us through practical help and support. May many come to know You as their Savior this season as they see Your heart through the actions and encouragement that You place around them. Be glorified O God, as we come to You when we are weary and worn, and receive the rest that You so graciously give so that we may go and do likewise. Amen.

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

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy. – Job 8:21