Why Pray? Day 40 - "DARE!"

Well we have arrived at Day 40 of the “Why Pray?” journey!  This is definitely not an end but truly a jumping off point to greater adventures in the kingdom of God for all of us!  That sense of expectation oozes from this meditation!  The title word “DARE!” gives off and aroma of possibility! A recounting of the leper’s expectant faith recorded in Matthew 8 sparked a hopeful “would I be so daring” question in me. “When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed him.A man with a serious skin disease came and bowed down in front of him. The man said to Jesus, “Sir, if you’re willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out, touched him, and said, “I’m willing. So be clean!” Immediately, his skin disease went away, and he was clean.   I tend to disagree with Devries’ assumption that Jesus had not healed anyone, let alone a leper, at this point in His ministry. (see Matthew 4:23-24) That notwithstanding, this man’s faith stretched over some grave obstacles to access Jesus but somehow by a merciful act of God’s spirit in his heart he “DARED to BELIEVE” and then acted like it! The main stage actor here is Jesus – not the leper!  Jesus heals, Jesus touches, Jesus responds, Jesus loves – the man “DARES to BELIEVE” in this Jesus!  His opening line reveals an expectant yet humble and surrendered faith – he believed Jesus “could” but he allowed Him the option “not to” – He DARED to BELIEVE! “Sir, If you’re willing… You can make me clean!”  He surrendered completely to Jesus!

This whole experience of “Why Pray?” is reminding me that I am not the main stage actor – Jesus is – but that I do have a key role in which I “DARE to BELIEVE” in what God wants to do to me and through me! Then I am expected to “act like it”!  Prayer is a vital non-negotiable part of “acting like” I have “DARED to BELIEVE” in Jesus!

I find myself purposely writing this Day 40 blog in the dawning hours of Day 40 to more fully grasp what God is doing in me on this day.  I believe He desperately wants me to remember and bring along in my “living” what He has taught, shown, inspired and mentored in me over these 40 days.  What has He called me to “DARE to BELIEVE” about Him, His Kingdom, Prayer, me, my role, etc?

I think we all will do well to reflect and retain every morsel of good that He has given us! I also believe what He has shown us collectively as a church is vital to our future ministry.  He is calling us as a congregation to “DARE to BELIEVE”!  Listen to Him in John 14, 12 “I can guarantee this truth: Those who believe in me will do the things that I am doing. They will do even greater things because I am going to the Father. 13 I will do anything you ask the Father in my name so that the Father will be given glory because of the Son. 14 If you ask me to do something, I will do it. What kinds of things has God called you to “DARE to BELIEVE” through this “Why Pray?” journey? Let’s talk about it.  In fact, I am going to reply on my own blog and offer one of the many things He is showing me!  Please join in!


BTW – the BLOG CONTINUES!  The 40 days is over but the journey has just begun! Come right back here tomorrow for continued conversation, inspiration and reflection!  In the weeks to come Sunday messages will shape the blog themes and daily scripture will ignite the discussion!

Your stories are so important!  Please share all stories, comments and inspirations at whypraystories@pointofgracechurch.org



"Why Pray" Day 39 Step #3: Share

I liked Devries’ devotion today on Sharing.  I like the emphasis he put on listening being a key component in sharing and how that takes discipline.    I liked the four questions he suggests because they are simple, but effective ways to get conversation going and keep the real focus on God and others, rather than ourselves.  I believe we are naturally more inclined to share about us rather that listen to others.   In a family, small group, or community setting, opinions are important, shared struggles are important, keeping the focus on God and what we’re learning is important, and practical steps are important.  It’s a very holistic view of how to effectively share, care for others, and “act” on what we are learning!    It’s been difficult for my husband and I to find a rhythm of daily devotions and to find something that really works for us since we have become empty nesters.  I think these basic questions are perfect for us because it will prompt discussion about what we are reading in a much more practical and authentic way. As I read through this devotion, the last section or question really caught my attention on “What must we do?”    I feel really strongly that God does not want us to just sit around learning about Him until we’re so full we can’t move!  We learn then exercise by acting on what we’ve learned and we listen and act when HE shares with us His desires for our life.   Mission India’s three part training program of, “Learn it - do it - report it”, reminds me of something I learned at a conference a few months ago.  After every speaker spoke, we were asked to consider, “What is God saying... and what am I going to do about it?”   I’m telling you, as simple as that sounds, it was very profound and convicting for me!   You see, if I am going to truly SHARE Jesus with others, (beyond sharing in group or community devotions) I have to be authentically living my life in such a way that His Presence, power, and realness are evident in everything I do.  After that conference, I asked myself, “ when was the last time I really listened and asked God, ‘what are you really saying to me?’”  And even worse, I rarely consider acting on what He told me, because after all... what if what He called me to do was weird?  Was out of the box?  Was hard or something that I couldn’t see myself doing?  Or what if I heard Him wrong or had to take some serious step of faith way out of my comfort zone?  I don’t mind taking chances on things - as a matter of fact, I like it - but it’s different if it means people will think I’m crazy or look at me different... it’s much harder then!    But haven taken seriously the conviction from the conference, I began to pray and ask God what He was saying... and what He wanted me to receive and hear and do.   He began to answer me through conversations and circumstances that were obviously HIM.  Then there was an action that needed to be taken.  Yes, it was out of the box... so my husband and I... along with another couple that God was calling.. spent a couple of months meeting and praying over this “calling” and how He wanted us to move forward with it.   Another month later and we are living in community with this other couple on our farm.  Sharing everything, including a calling by God, to reach the Elgin area and beyond with the love of Jesus.   We are building a home together, sharing properties together, growing gardens and cows together, etc.  We are pooling resources in order to provide an environment and resources that will bless people and give them opportunity to see love in action.

So, on the Reflect/Discuss section at the end of the devotion, where Devries asks, “How can we “share” more effectively with each other?”  ...My answer is to live life totally available to God!   Sharing the Word, opinions, struggles, and wisdom in the context of family, groups, or community is so important... but living life in such a way that it is a testimony to the work and power of God in our lives is one of the best ways to authentically share Jesus with others.

“Why Pray” has been a wonderful journey for me.  And blogging has forced me to put my thoughts down and really dig deep to explain what I feel.  It’s put some meat to my convictions and has stretched me to share and bare myself.   I’m very thankful for that!   I hope we will all continue the journey...

Thanks for letting me share


Why Pray? - Day 38 - "Step #2 C.A.R.E."

Please read Day 38! Today we have a new acronym to consider:  C.A.R.E. (Caring and Receiving care Equally.)

The Author speaks about Adam and Eve being willing to receive God’s care, but refusing to return their “care” to God.  Page 229: “They refused to care for God, wanting only His care for them.  No ‘equal exchange of care’ occurred. Their love relationship with God was broken.”

Not long ago God brought this to my attention in a very interesting way.  I am ashamed to recall  the story – but I am glad God lovingly taught me this lesson.  I had been whining to God about the way I thought my husband had not been loving me “right”!  (sigh)  I was feeling neglected – upset about him not calling me during the day, not taking me out on a date, not engaging in conversations when he got home. (whine, whine, whine)  (me, me, me) Somehow, in between my pathetic whines, God lovingly turned the whining around and applied it to the way I treat Him.  I heard God sadly saying something like, “Hmm.  I wonder if Dawn will call Me today?  I can’t remember the last time she had time for Me.  I wish she would spend time on a date with Me. ” (sigh, again)

“Is that what you want to teach me through my whining, God?  That the way I longed for attention from my spouse, is the same way You long for attention from me?”  (groan) “Oh Dear God – I am so sorry – please forgive me for the days and months and even years I have ignored You and not shown You my love and care.”  That moment hurt.  But I am glad that it hurt bad enough to cause me to intentionally try to treat God differently.

The verse for today is found in Hebrews 10:24(NLT) “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds”.

This reminded me of child-rearing.  If I remember correctly – we never had to teach our children how to be selfish! The “outbursts” in our home have rarely been “outbursts of love and good deeds”!!!  Most of the outbursts were outbursts of selfishness and self-centeredness!   We had to teach our children to share their toys, to share their cookies, to be nice, to not hit others, to say thank you, to let their guest pick what to play when they came over.

Sadly, we carry these self-centered ways into our teenage years, into our relationships, our marriages, our divorces, etc., etc., etc.  Right?  Until our dying day we will struggle with “self” and the problem we have returning God’s care to Him.

One final concept that “jumped off the page” for me today is “Care must be given and received equally.”  The “receive” part took me to another direction.  What about the struggle to “receive?” Have you met people who are excellent at giving and serving, but not very good at letting others help them or serve them in return?  We need to also be Good Receivers.  I have no trouble with seeing myself as a "wretched, miserable sinner."  I do struggle with letting God lavish His forgiveness on me - the miserable sinner.  That is a dangerous place to remain.  It's time to grow in this area of Receiving His Grace, Forgiveness, and Love!

Last week I had the joy of taking a mom and her five children out to McDonald’s for lunch.  They are having extremely difficult financial times.  It felt so good to “treat” them.  After an hour of visiting and watching the kids play, she said, “Dessert time – my treat!”  Oh, I wanted so much to say, “No – I’ll get dessert!”  Or, “No, I don’t want anything, I’m fine.”  After all, they couldn’t afford it.  But I think the Holy Spirit intervened and shut my mouth!  She needed the dignity to be able to do something nice for me.  I needed to let her have the joy of giving, too.  I had to be a good Receiver!

That’s the journey God had in store for me, today.  How about you?  I am so thankful for this “Why Pray” experience.  It has change my personal prayer life, as well as the prayer life of our entire family.  I can’t wait to see where God leads us next!

Don’t forget to send in your stories, too!   Email them to whypraystories@pointofgracechurch.org.


Why Pray? Day 37 - Step #1 Prayer as Praise

Welcome to today's Blog! You know the drill...if you haven't read Day 37 in "Why Pray?" yet -- please do so now. Our conversation will make much more sense! Over the years, I have learned some things about myself and how I communicate: I'm a thinker, a talker, a writer, an observer and a ponderer. I speak well in public, but I have no clue on how to use a microphone and I have more tics than I probably should. I really don't get excited at sporting events even if I enjoy watching them  -- probably because it's hard for me to figure out what was just performed by whom on which team. I'm not much of a crier, a laugher, or a yeller, either. I have very little confidence in my singing voice, and I am pretty sure I have range of 4 notes. Maybe - but I don't know if they should be high or low. I don't even know how to whistle.

I'm just not a very demonstrative person. Now, put me in front of kids, and I will absolutely do almost anything to make a fool of myself, but only because they make the most amazing, appreciative audiences, and that is the language they often speak. It is completely worth it to see the kids "get it". For the most part, however, I'm a fairly reserved word person.

It is from this place - this knowledge about myself - where I became highly uncomfortable about the steps in today's reading. I'm betting you processed each step differently than I did -- for me the words Mr. DeVries wrote for #1 actually read as "Have the family stand in an uncomfortable circle in the living room. Use Psalm 145 as a outline to create a script for your family to pass around and read, taking turns at the appropriate stopping points. Discuss. Cue the CD to the preselected songs and play loud enough so that all are okay with not being heard as they sing the songs. Go to step #2." Yes, I didn't exactly "hear" what Mr. DeVries intended me to hear about "Exalting God" in step #1. As I kept reading, I kept feeling even worse - I can't do these steps! I even began to wonder if our family has even been seeking God right in the way or if these steps are required and they are how we MUST praise God in prayer. I became very sure that these steps couldn't, can't apply to us and how can I sing, I'm not a singer, and I don't even cheer loudly at games among thousands, how could I possibly cheer on God in a group of four, and.....so on.....

.....so I stopped right there. Processing today's reading suddenly became very uncomfortable, very personal, and very "no longer about this blog". So please forgive me if my writing is at all foggy.

I stopped right there and I prayed. I thought. I talked with God about what I was thinking, why I was uncomfortable, and why I couldn't "get" what Mr. DeVries was trying to say.

As I prayed, different moments came to mind - moments of spontaneous praise and discussion, moments of prayer and listening. Some examples are the four of us driving with the convertible top down, singing the Lord's Prayer part of "Manifesto" by the City Harmonic as loud as we could sing with the wind rushing by on the way to school. The way our family talks to God and about God each day as a member of the family, pointing out the good things He has done that day, or wondering what He's up to, or thanking Him, or asking for help.

I realized that we do pray in praise now -- it's just not as structured as Mr. DeVries is discussing in the book. And maybe that's okay. Maybe we're more of an unstructured "praise-prayer group" than a formal one. Maybe our level of expression is great and nothing more is necessary.

Or...maybe we are being stretched into something more than we already are now. Maybe we are (I am) being asked to look at the daily prayer life in our family and see it through different lenses. Maybe God is asking me to stretch beyond what I "know" about myself, and He's giving me the best support system for learning to be more demonstrative - my family.

"David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and the sound of trumpets. As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart. They brought the ark of the Lord and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it, and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings[f] before the Lord. After he had finished sacrificingthe burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, he blessed the people in the name of the Lord Almighty. Then he gave a loaf of bread, a cake of dates and a cake of raisins to each person in the whole crowd of Israelites, both men and women. And all the people went to their homes.

When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, disrobing in the sight of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!” David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” (II Samuel 14-23)

This topic is definitely a work in progress for me....'I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes.' ...I will be thinking about this a great deal more.


Please share below any thoughts, praises, struggles you might have with this week's topic.


And please send your stories of how your prayer life has changed and grown to whypraystories@pointofgracechurch.org. We are all learning and growing on this journey, no matter how big or small you think your growth might be!









Why Pray? Day 36 - "The Vision of Hope"

Hi! This is delton and we are kicking off the last week of Why Pray? The relationship between prayer and hope central to today’s meditation was both encouraging and challenging.   A consistent fervent everyday prayer life for us and our families is essential for a life of HOPE.  I love the call and promise to HOPE found in Isaiah 40.  It resonates deep within me. “Do you not know?    Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

HOPE’s source is God himself and all those who hope in Him have life.  Prayer is vital to that HOPE filled relationship.  Prayer is life line for the relationship of HOPE which God has made possible for us in Jesus.

Today my wife and I went to a wedding celebration in my extended family.  The two young people are devout, active Christ followers.  They have HOPE – they have Jesus – they have HOPE!  Without Jesus they only have limited hope – hope in themselves – hope in their personal best efforts to make a marriage work.  These kids had a HOPE that was so much bigger than that.

As I was engaged with this Jesus-centered ceremony my mind clicked over for a second to a movie I watched recently, “The Descendents” with George Clooney.  It is a raw and unsanitized look at a family walking through some monumentally difficult life situations (coma, death, betrayal, affair, broken relationships)!  For me, it was an portrayal of real life without Jesus – and it was hopeless – even the somewhat positive ending that was supposed to make you feel like everything is going to be ok left me feeling so empty !  The story had so much less hope in it than what Jesus could have brought!

The dramatic contrast of these two experiences is the framework from which I read today’s meditation.  So, Yes - I do believe there is a vital connection between prayer and HOPE!  And Yes – I believe every Christ follower must take the vision of having a Home Of Prayer Everyday (or a version of it) very, very seriously.   I believe as a father and husband, I have an opportunity to redouble my efforts to have our home be a Home Of Prayer Everyday!  HOPE, HOPE, HOPE is what I need, my wife needs, my children need, my neighbors need , the whole world needs and we know the source.   That is really good and really compelling news!

I look forward to reading your thoughts!

Please continue posting “Why Pray?” stories on this blog or send them to www.whypraystories@pointofgracechurch.org!  Please consider also sharing anything under the topic “What I have learned from this journey and want to live out…!”   I would love to hear how God is changing our lives.

Why Pray? Day 35 - Bringing the Presence of Christ

Welcome to Day 35!  If you haven’t read it yet, please do then come on back. Today DeVries asks, “Have you experienced the ‘presence’ of God through worship, or through a time of special trial, or in a time of special joy?”  How would you answer that question?  I would have to answer with a big “Yes!”  Let me share my story:

I was blessed with “porch time” this morning along with a couple of good friends.  Our goal (for lack of a better word) was time with God in prayer and ministry to one another on a good, old fashioned porch outfitted with rocking chairs and all.  The setting was serene with lazing dogs, a couple of cattle and a horse grazing nearby; there was no road noise, no honking horns, only crickets and the fluttering of a hummingbird in the bushes.  It was just short of what I imagine heaven might be like.  We prayed for the Holy Spirit to be present with us then started discussing, visiting really, until we sort of stumbled on what God had on His agenda for us.  Well, folks, we loved on one another in God’s Presence until almost noon when we realized it was getting fairly warm and the cooling breeze was all but gone.  Each of us had mentioned that we were amazed that it was “still nice enough to be outside” once or twice but it didn’t get uncomfortable until around noon (I know – who could orchestrate that but God?).  We began to pray before leaving and wouldn’t you know God blessed us with a few more minutes of light wind as we thanked Him for His goodness, asked Him to go with us throughout the day, and worshiped Him.  It was…well, heavenly.

Matthew 18: 20 says, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”  If we hadn’t invited Jesus to be part of the conversation on the porch this morning our time would have not been as well spent as it possibly could’ve.  Don’t get me wrong, the girls and I would have had a good time just visiting with one another but God wanted so much more for that time – He wanted to be asked to be part of our morning.  See, He’s the Ultimate Gentleman and will not barge His way into where He is not welcome.  But by coming together in His Name, we were reminded that God desires relationship with us.  As DeVries says, “Remember that prayer is something more than words, it is a relationship with God.  It is the relationship pictured in God, the Father of mankind, knowing our name, calling us, and saying, ‘I will hold your hand.’”  Or maybe, as in our case, He’s saying, “Let’s hang outside and chat for a while, girls.  I’ll adjust the thermostat and run a fan!”  Thank You, Dad; we had a great time with You!!

How about you? I’d love for ya’ll to comment and tell us about a time you experienced God’s Presence!


Why Pray? Day 34 - "Providing Resources"

Please read Day 34 in Why Pray, “Providing Resources” Almost every Christian has a story about God’s provision. Here’s one of mine.

When Sally and I prepared to move to Springfield, Illinois with three small children, we decided to pray that God would provide a suitable home. I prayed for an air-conditioned space where I could work, the children prayed for a fenced-in back yard and Sally for a nearby school.

God answered our prayer.  The house, on a lovely tree lined street, shared the condition of the Dodge motor home described by DeVries in today’s reading. However, it did have a small air conditioner in a dingy basement room, a rickety snow fence enclosing the back yard, and a short two-block walk to the Lutheran elementary school.

It may have been one of the first times that our children were aware that God answered specific prayer requests.  I always had a small regret that we didn’t ask for more.

Please let me know how God has answered one of your prayers for provision. It would bless everyone reading this Blog if you could share an answer to a prayer for provision that has happened since we have been walking through ‘Why Pray?’

In the reading for today, DeVries asks the question, ‘What are you doing in your home to experience God’s miraculous provision?’  I like the picture of a family or a group of a few friends bringing prayer requests before God with the confidence that He hears and answers.  After all Jesus did promise that, if any two of us on earth agree about anything we ask for, it will be done for us by our Father in heaven.

It’s nice to know that the promise also applies to our prayer ministry time on Sunday morning. It is why praying with someone is such a blessing and a privilege.

Don’t forget to share your comments at whypraystories@pointofgracechurch.org

-john frahm

Why Pray - Day 33 Function #1: Prohibiting Evil

Welcome to day 33 of "Why Pray?"! John Devries story today, of the morally degraded village and the fortune teller who came to know the Lord along with her family, was amazing!   What is your first thought when you read these stories?   For me it depends on how my day has gone, what mood I’m in, etc.  Sometimes I think, “Could this really be true?”...  or   “Wow, that’s incredible!”... or “I wish I could be a part of something like that.”.... or “Why aren’t I seeing these things happening around me?”.    Those are some of the thoughts I usually have - but I generally ask the question to myself and move on.    Not today though.   And as each day goes by in these  40 days of “Why Pray?”  I’ve been asking God more and more, “What am I missing?”.

I am trying really hard to listen and stay open to what God wants to do with me through this journey.   Honestly, some of the things Devries has said has ruffled my feathers a bit.  He’s so bold, you know?  I’m not exactly theologically astute, but I have definitely found myself questioning the validity of some of the things he says or the way he describes his thoughts.  However, I have loved the challenge of thinking outside of my tiny box that I have put God in!  I have felt totally convicted in so many areas, which I see as a good thing, by the way.  So I’m back to the question, “What am I missing God?”   What comes to my heart immediately when I ask that question is “faith”.   I’m missing faith!  I have faith, obviously - but do I have the faith it takes to grasp and claim the authority I have in Jesus to heal, to drive out demons, to prohibit evil, etc?  I know the right answer is that God’s working is not dependent on my faith - and I totally believe God is sovereign and can do anything He wants whether I have “enough” faith or not... but in the midst of this journey, I can’t help but ask, “what if the amount of faith I have matters in regards to how God responds to my prayers?”   If I’m praying wimpy little prayers and not really expecting God to act... or if I’m afraid to pray for healing for someone because HE may not heal that person - what kind of faith is that?  We serve a supernatural, all powerful God who, I believe, wants to do big supernatural things.  If I’m too afraid to ask, or if ask for such small things that His power isn’t seen, then what a small God I’m saying He is!   Those stories from India took big prayers... big faith... big boldness and courage - and then God answered in a big way.

So what does all this have to do with today’s devotion?  Well, it takes faith to believe and act on the authority I have in Jesus to prohibit evil through prayer!  Devries says, “I am not ‘merely a sinner saved by grace‘  but a royal priest operating from my spiritual position of being ‘in’ the King of kings.  From this position of rule, I have the authority and power to prohibit the demonic spirits from further activity in my village (domain, neighborhood, etc)”.  I have work to do here on earth right now and God has given me the power and authority through Jesus to take charge and to reign.  Imagine what He can do through me if I answered that call with a big faith!    If we can bind on earth and in heaven... and if we can loose on earth and in heaven - that means we have authority.  And if He is there with us when 2 or more gather because we are HIS... that means we have status in His eyes and in His Kingdom.  (Matt. 18: 18-20)

Before I close, I do want to share a quick story with you about prohibiting evil through prayer: My husband and I have a small farm in Elgin.  Last summer, we began to have some horrible things happen on our property.  We had goats dying for no reason and we would come home to buzzards flying over the fields, we had vandalism, we had all kinds of things going wrong with our home, we had a dog that got ran over and killed, we had car issues, we had strange vehicles driving down our driveway at 2am in the morning (in the middle of the country), and the list really goes on and on.  It was the weirdest period of time and it felt very dark and evil.  It was as if there was a curse on our property because this went on for several months... one thing after another.  So in September of last year, I got fed up and saw this as an attack on our property, animals and home.  I decided to walk the property and pray.  I walked it from boundary to boundary praying the whole time.  I bound the devil and his works, I asked for protection for our land and animals and home, and was bold in asking because I was fed up!   God answered my prayers for protection and I believe the devil had to flee because of the authority I have in Jesus.  We have not had any more of those issues since last September.  It all stopped after I walked and prayed.   That was a small step of faith for me - but God revealed His power in a big way.

I believe God has so much for me, so much more than what I’m receiving.  I want to step out in faith, in authority, and in trust and be a powerful instrument for the reign and rule of Jesus!  I want to be a part of His Kingdom coming!   I’ve actually been working through this authority stuff for a while, even before the “Why Pray?” series - but Devries has challenged me in a way I haven’t been challenged before in regards to my status as a child, brother, next of kin to God... and as an appointed ruler.   This is new for me and God is transforming my heart and mind to receive the truth in this!

Thanks for letting me share - if you have any thoughts, I would love to hear them!   Don’t forget to share “Why Pray?” stories by emailing: whypraystories@pointofgracechurch.org !


Why Pray? Day 32 – “Foundation #3: Knowing What We Shall Be”

Please read Day 32 in Why Pray,  “Knowing What We Shall Be.” DeVries shares some wonderful childhood Christmas memories.  He writes, “I don’t remember many of the presents, but I do remember with great clarity the excitement of anticipating the moment when we could open them.”

Oh, how I can relate to this walk down Memory Lane. My dad loved giving Christmas presents.  He spent hours wrapping them with perfectly mitered corners; no tape showing; and bows he would make himself.  He loved the element of surprise.  He was notorious for adding rice and beans or bricks to a gift to confuse us when we shook the package!  That man could take the smallest gift – like a package of socks – and wrap it in such a way that the anticipation outshone the actual gift!  Many years he would put numbers on the packages instead of our names.  The numbers had no logic.  #1 did not mean the oldest child.  #2 did not mean the middle girl!  What fun we had on Christmas morning when he would reveal the secret code and we would be allowed to see what was inside – rice, beans, bricks, and all!  As a parent, I can now imagine the joy he felt watching us the weeks before, trying to figure it all out, and then unveiling the mystery to us on Christmas morning!

I don’t remember what was in the packages with the rice and beans and bricks.  What brings me joy is knowing that my Dad had so much fun loving us by spending hours plotting his surprises, planning the secret code for that year, and disguising and wrapping our gifts in such a way to make us squeal with delight!  Thanks Dad!

DeVries continues, “God has a ‘Christmas present’ called heaven waiting for each of us….What we shall be …. He is keeping that under wraps, wanting us, His little children, to trust Him and live in excited anticipation of His goodness as we wonder that it will be like.” The Scripture Account in Luke is very confusing to me.  It talks about rewards in heaven.  I cannot even begin to comprehend what this means. Again I surrender not understanding and ask, “God, what are You trying to teach me (Dawn) today?”  I think God is telling me that He is preparing a mansion for me in Heaven. He has surprises that I cannot even imagine!  He has so much joy as He prepares this Gift for me.  He asks me to simply trust Him –when the rice and beans and bricks are confusing –when I do not understand His ways –when the Scriptures are hard to understand.  He asks me to trust Him until that Glorious Day when it’s time for the gifts to be revealed!

The next part of today’s entry asked some tough questions regarding the spiritual training in our homes.   First, “Are we teaching our children who they really are?” 

 Maybe one Gift we get to open today is the reality of who we are!

We discussed this as a family last night and our two teenagers delighted us with their valuable insights!  Being a Pastor’s Kid (P.K.) comes with some special privileges.  Who else can waltz into the Pastor’s office, sit behind his desk and use his laptop without asking?  Who else would know the Pastor’s password?  (Besides the Queen!!!)    Because of their relationship with the Pastor, they have also had the confidence to bring many of their friends into his office without an appointment, and say, “Wait here – while I go get the Pastor – I bet he can help you – he’s my Dad!”

The next tough question:  Are we training them to use prayer as the scepter of their ruling?

The Dictionary defines a scepter as a staff or wand carried as the badge of command or sovereignty; Kingly office or power; to confer the scepter on; invest with royal power. 

Hmmm.   A Scepter.  Maybe another special Gift God wants us to unwrap today is His Scepter.  And who carries a Scepter?  Royalty.  “Are we teaching our children who they really are?”  Sons and Daughters of The King!  “Are we providing the motivation to rule?”  “Are we training them to use prayer as the scepter of their ruling?

We are God’s children.  He is our King.  That makes us Royalty.  Being related to this King comes with special privileges, and responsibilities.   We are His sons and daughters – which makes us Princes and Princesses.  Just like Joshua and Sarah have special access to the Pastor, we too have access to the Heavenly King!  In what ways are we sadly not accessing the King and all that He has to offer in order to make a difference in His kingdom?  What years have we wasted on not using that Scepter of Prayer to access the King on behalf of the people in His kingdom!  What opportunities have we missed using this Scepter to invest with royal power?

Finally, DeVries asks us to “compare the amount of time and energy that an average Christian family devotes to sports with the amount of time and energy devoted to learning to reign through prayer.”

Ouch!  Delton and I have not done a good job on this one!  We have been faithful taking our children to church, praying before meals, and reciting “Now I lay me down to sleep” bedtime prayers.  We have spent countless hours at soccer, baseball, track, softball, and football practices.  We have logged in hundreds of hours at Theater Rehearsals. But we have not the spent even a fraction of that time and energy devoted to teaching them how to pray with the scepter of prayer as a Royal Heir of the King!  What a Gift that would be!  As their parents, we are just now learning this concept at age 50!  Oh, if we were to give them this Gift of understanding prayer in this way – how could they use this Scepter of Prayer in their lives for the Kingdom of Heaven!

How exciting!  I am so thankful for these Gifts God has given me this day!  I am excited to open  and use these new-found gifts with my husband and children as we continue to pray for our neighbors and their families!  How about you?

After over three hours of struggling with this blog I was ready to post it.  I realized that I forgot to provide the Scripture for today - and almost decided to skip it since my Blog is so long.  And then I read it.

I Thessalonians 2:19   For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of the Lord Jesus when He comes?  Is it not you?

Oh my.  Is perhaps the best Gift of all hiding in this verse - amongst the rice and beans and bricks?  Is the best present of all the people that we will see in Heaven that we prayed for with our Royal Scepter?  Are the best Gifts of  all perhaps going to be  waiting for us in Heaven  --- the very people that we brought into our Father's 'Office' and said, "Wait here while I go get the King – I bet He can help you – He’s my Dad!”


P.S. Did you know that your comments and stories are wonderful gifts to all who visit this Blog? Please continue to share your comments.  We are also collecting stories of how God is working in your life at whypraystories@pointofgracechurch.org

Why Pray? Day 31 – “Foundation #2: Knowing what we are in Christ”

Please begin with prayer for an open heart, before you read Day 31. I heard the word wisdom defined as ‘An understanding of how reality works and the ability to navigate it well.’ I think this is an accurate definition and something that God instills in us, through trials over a period of a lifetime. There is such a tension in working with high school youth and observing their journey, through the wisdom gained of my own journey and a better understanding of God. I am able to witness things that tend to ‘wreck’ someone’s life in high school---the ending of a week-long relationship with a ‘soul-mate’, getting a used car, not being invited to a party, having a curfew earlier than their BFF, or only having an iPhone 3G. I joke a little and know that we struggle with things like this beyond high school as well. So much of this boils down to a question of identity. There is such pressure in high school that is related to establishing or just not ruining your identity! Am I good enough? Do I matter? Does anyone like me? Why do my parents not treat me like an adult? Actions become very calculated to portray and establish the identity we want or that we think others want in us. These questions haunt adults as well and if we don’t get confident in our identity, we will spend the remainder of our life grasping at things for identity that ultimately cannot give us security.

Our faith journey is no different. We abuse God’s abilities when we need them and He is basically a back-up plan when we run out of options or can’t solve something on our own. Devries says that ‘Perhaps one of the greatest tools of Satan has been the lie that we are “merely sinners saved by grace.”’ I think that’s a challenging statement and that it has truth to it. To me, it’s the difference in believing in a propositional truth, instead of receiving an all-consuming identity that births us as a key player in God’s redemption plan for humanity. (Remember---the story of God does not center around us, but centers on Him!!) The expressions of identity through being a New Creation, Bride of Christ, and Brother & Sister of Christ moves beyond mental acknowledgment of sins forgiven and confers identity to all who trust in Him. This guides and drives a lifestyle in the face of opposition in the world!

This identity is received and lived out in humility trusting our gracious Father. I think once we really grasp the extent of God’s love shown through the gift of His Son, it radically alters how walk through every day. It gives us priority, perspective, and purpose. We move from using God to being used by God! Then, prayer flows from this identity given to us and is not just a vacuum grasping at straws to get us through life. It reorients how we pray for our self, our family, and those around us. We typically move from selfish to selfless prayers, trusting in the grace, mercy, and provision of God.

Do you diminish the true story of Christ and the identity that He offers? Have you noticed a drastic switch in where your identity comes from as you came to faith or matured in your faith? Do you believe you are a crucial part of the body of Christ? How would you know if you were using God or being used by God? Does 1 of the 3 identities Devries references resonate the most with you?

I would love feedback on your identity and how your life and prayer life has shifted, because of who you are in Christ.



Why Pray? Day 30 --"Foundation #1: Knowing What We Were"

If you haven't read Day 30, yet, go do so, and I will meet you back here.

Yes, I'm a child of the 80's.

For those of you that aren't, let me share a brief explanation. The above quote is repeated multiple times in a very entertaining movie called "The Princess Bride". Definitely worth a rental at Redbox or on Netflix, if you get a chance. Multiple plot tangles take place throughout this tongue-in-cheek comedy, but one that especially stands out is Inigo Montoya's obsessive hunt to find the six-fingered man that killed his father. He has spent his whole life training, searching, rehearsing, remembering, and singly focusing on this one task - to honor his father - his kin.

As I read today's reading, and kept "trying on" in my head the various aspects of being God's next of kin that Mr. DeVries describes, the image of Inigo Montoya sharing his life's story kept coming to mind. Yes, there are big differences between this character and what God is calling us to be, but I think a few similarities are present as well. Humor me.

1. Inigo made a vow and is religiously seeking to fulfill that vow. He goes throughout his life on a quest to fulfill it and will not cease until he is done. He is not afraid of what people think, he is not deterred by others who try to derail his focus. He perseveres. He is confident he will succeed.

As God's Next Of Kin, aren't I to have confidence like that? Confidence that I can persevere over anything the devil puts in my way? That I can act in the power of my Dad, my Ruler and not cease in His calling for me because of some worldly obstacles in my way?

2. Inigo remembers where he came from. He recites his story to anyone he encounters of what he learned from his father, how his father was a good man, and what he remembers about his father's last day. He asks all he sees if they have "six fingers" (like the man he is searching for) and he explains why. He is proud of being his father's son, and proud to honor his father.

Do I remember "where I came from"? Do I eagerly tell others the stories of my Heavenly Father, and the the things I have learned and experienced with Him? Am I ready to ask anyone that crosses my path if they know Christ, no matter who or why? Am I proud to be a Christ-follower? God's next of kin?

3. As he battled the "six fingered man" at a young age right after his father's death, Inigo realized he did not have the skills to honor his father. In one part of the movie, he shares the story of the sword training he did to make sure he would be ready when the day comes for him to face his father's assassin. He didn't know when that would be, but he was determined to be prepared whenever the situation arose.

Do I spend the time necessary to learn how to have God's authority on this earth and what it means to do so? Do I spend time in relationship with Christ, in prayer and word? Do I seek Him out to be closer and closer to an extension of Him on this world, so my actions, thoughts, and words can't help but extend from His desires for me and those around me?

4. "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." Yes, this sounds brutal, but the movie really is a comedy, so please understand this phrase as it is intended. In the movie, Inigo has rehearsed this line his entire life. He rehearsed it so that he would know what he needed to say/should be said when the time was right. The words gave him power and authority to continue his quest to the end.

Do I practice my story - the testimony that I carry of my personal relationship with Christ? Do I know my story? Have I asked what I should share when I am called upon to share?

5. Inigo is a good friend - he listens, he is loyal, he is true. He makes mistakes, but he is ready to admit them and move forward.

Do I really share my heart with God, as a friend shares with another friend? Am I listening to You, God, as a friend? Or do I know how to be a good friend, what that really means in Heavenly or earthly terms? 

Again, there are obvious gaps in this illustration - Inigo is honoring a father that no longer lives and is seeking revenge to do so; we are intimately connected with a very REAL, living God who is calling us to love, honor and forgive. He has created us in His likeness so that is what we strive to fulfill.

I guess I just wonder what would happen in the world around me - my family, my neighborhood, my community - if I deeply sought to live out my connection to who I am - Whose I am - every single day, and if I doggedly, passionately lived to share that truth with all that cross my path. Would it be words, actions, or both? Would I make an "In Jesus' Name" impact so that my Heavenly Father, my friend, my next of kin, would be honored and glorified, and then I could run and jump in His lap and tell Him all about it afterwards? Would I know what I am? Would others know?

Here's the scripture for today: "Now Moses used to take a tent and pitch it outside the camp some distance away, calling it the “tent of meeting.” Anyone inquiring of the Lord would go to the tent of meeting outside the camp. And whenever Moses went out to the tent, all the people rose and stood at the entrances to their tents, watching Moses until he entered the tent. As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent." (Exodus 33:7-11)

So many questions for me on today's reading. How about you? Please share.

Speaking of sharing -- this week we are beginning to collect “Why Pray? - Stories”!  Please share through the comments for today's blog or send an email to whypraystories@pointofgracechurch.org .  We would love any and all stories (long or short) of how God has used the “Why Pray? Journey” in your life!

.....As we close for today, can you stop with me and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you right now to make your own statement of what God created you (us) to be? Try to limit it to just a few sentences. Make it simple, so that it can be shared with people who are not familiar with the Bible. Feel free to share below as well!

God's Blessings to you today!  Lisa

Welcome to Day 29 in Why Pray? – “Developing a Spiritual Self-Image”

The stories in today’s reading remind me of a trip I took to India about a year and a half ago to learn about the intense Christian missionary work happening there.  When I used to read stories about evil like the “curse of the thorns on devil day” my mind would say “yea right” - Not anymore.

The picture above was taken in Varanassi in Northern India.  It is one of holiest of cities to Hindus and Indian Buddhists.  The heaviness and weight of evil was almost palpable in the city.  This picture of a snake charmer brings back such vivid memories of my walk and boat ride tour through Varanassi.  The images and experiences are far too numerous to list here.  The evil control of a village by Satan through a witch doctor as described by today’s reading is definitely possible in a land where the name of Jesus is virtually unknown.  The sights and sounds and images of spiritual bankruptcy, bondage and lost-ness flood back into my mind and heart even as I write this!

The next part of the story - where the little boy prayed to His God Jesus and Jesus healed and freed his grandma from an evil curse - is the best part of the story! This part of the story reminded me of this picture of a Children’s Bible Club we visited in southern India which met on the roof top the teacher’s home.

The joy and life that exuded from these children as they sang songs about Jesus stand in stark contrast to the oppressive spirit in Varanassi. I can just picture little Luke (perhaps like one of the boys on the right) taking the reality of Jesus home to grandma and in the authority of Jesus setting her free!

Devries says we are going to spend this week in “Why Pray?” discovering more about our spiritual self image in Christ and specifically the authority we have in His name.  How did he put it, “We must regain the self-image that little Luke had; a self-image of courage and fearlessness.  … We will see who we really are and be called back to our position of spiritual authority and inexplicable, spiritual power!”

I am very excited about this upcoming week – about learning and experiencing the fullness that God has for us each day.  I think especially about how I am learning to deepen my prayers for the homes and families God has called me to pray for.

Talk to me!  What is going through your heart and mind on this DAY 29?

Thanks for continuing on the journey – Enjoy!


PS.  This week we are beginning to collect “Why Pray? - Stories”!  Please share through the blog or email (whypraystories@pointofgracechurch.org)    any and all stories (long or short) of how God has used the “Why Pray? Journey” in your life!



Why Pray? Day 28 – Deliver Us from the Evil One

If you haven’t had a chance yet, please read Day 28, “Deliver Us from the Evil One” in Why Pray?...then come on back here. Thanks!

I love the Lord’s Prayer! What a privilege to get to pray the same words Jesus prayed to Our Father! Thing is, at the very end of the Lord’s Prayer there is a wee little sentence that so many of us tend to overlook…as if maybe it isn’t really that important:

“…but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6: 13b

Jesus directly addressed spiritual warfare in many places in the Bible so it is obviously something that requires our attention. Satan is not only real, he desperately wants to separate us from God. UGH! He does it by any means necessary, too. He lies, he cheats, he steals…he plays rough and dirty.

(Speaking to some Jews who didn’t understand Jesus’ comments) “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8: 44

Satan even tried to bring Jesus to His knees before him:

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. ‘All this I will give you,’ he said, ‘if you will bow down and worship me.’”Matthew 4: 8-9

Thankfully we have been given a way to rebuke Satan! Jesus has given us enormous authority to send the devil away from us IN JESUS NAME. When you are being attacked by evil, Satan MUST flee when we rebuke him by the power of Jesus. Friends, the enemy cannot stand in Jesus’ presence! Praise God for His goodness and mercy!

I saw a rubber bracelet in a Christian bookstore a few years ago that said, “A.S.A.P. When life gets tough, Always Say A Prayer”. What a great reminder of the power of prayer and our need to connect with our Dad through prayer! He even cares for us so much that He gave us a “blue print” for communicating with Him (Matthew 6: 9-13 is where Jesus’ teaches The Lord’s Prayer). What Love!

Do you ever think about spiritual warfare? Has it ever affected your life or the lives of your loved ones? How about praying for others in Jesus’ Name – is it just “for good measure” or does Satan really have to flee in the presence of our Lord? Let’s discuss!

Blessings, Jennifer

Welcome to Day 27 of Why Pray? – “Lead Us Not Into Temptation!”

The journey continues!  This is delton by the way!  It is so good to be with you today! So what did you think of John Devries’s take on “Lead Us Not Into Temptation?”   What did you think of that amazing story of the egg?  So cool!

I have always been a little confused by the way Jesus worded this petition.  The “Why Pray?” book is helpful in suggesting that another (yet honest) way to say the petition would be “lead us away from temptation!”  Jesus seems to know just how vulnerable we are to temptation and that temptations are exceedingly abundant so He teaches us to pray for God’s leadership “away from temptation” or to say it another way “not into temptation”!

Now comes the really helpful part of the reading for me.  Not only do I need help “not succumbing to temptation” I need help “listening” for the way God is leading.  It seems to be a given for Jesus, as He teaches us to pray, that “Our Father in heaven does indeed LEAD and desires to be asked to do so!”  That is really good news!    I do not have to be a rudderless ship tossed to and fro.  I can pray to be led away from the temptations that so misdirect me!  Again, that is really good news.

Let me put it another way.  See if this resonates with you in any way! Maybe praying this petition creates kind of a “safety zone” within which I can listen and receive His leading.  It is a “not into temptation” safety zone for my mind and heart to listen and receive all God has for me!  Jesus is teaching me to pray for and trust God will provide a “not into temptation” safety zone where my heart can relax, put down its guard and be open to the leading of His Holy Spirit!  This might sound a little confusing but I really think there is some real power in this petition as we seek to understand the depths of what Jesus is teaching us to pray.

Finally, when I think about the people I am trying to pray for daily – I so want this for them.  As I pray “lead us (notice the plural) not into temptation”- Am I not asking God to construct a “no temptation allowed” safety zone around their heart where they can more effectively discover God’s leading in their lives and His intense love for them?  Am I not asking for God to lead “us” (me and the persons I am praying for) to a “not temptation place” for our hearts minds and spirits to experience Him?  I truly, truly want that for the people I am praying for.  I want that for my family and all of you reading this. Our Father is bigger than the temptations we face and He can lead us away from them.

Awesome! Awesome!


Welcome to Day 26 - "Forgive us...as we forgive..."

It’s amazing how God works.... He took me on a journey this week that led up to a new revelation for me regarding the power of forgiveness.  His timing is so cool considering my blog topic this week is on forgiveness!  Here’s the journey: Last Saturday, I flipped on the TV in the early morning and CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) was on.  They had a story on the show about a girl who had suffered abuse up until she was 17 years old.  She was invited to church by a friend, went, and was transformed by the forgiveness and love of Jesus.  Her comments at the end of her testimony touched my heart and reminded me of the power that comes when we accept God’s forgiveness and when we forgive those who have hurt us.  She said that you have to let the love of God come in and heal your heart.  She said the key is forgiveness and you can’t allow what others have done to you to keep  you from what God has purposed for your life.  She said there is liberation in forgiveness!  Devries says, “The prayer for forgiveness is for reconciliation with God and with each other.  It’s a prayer for love.”  This girl needed love in a big way.  She had been mistreated and overlooked her entire life before she met the Lord.  She was looking for love, for a Father, for reconciliation – so she could let go of the pain and shame – and God was there for her.   She received liberation and freedom and her life became whole and purposeful.  Imagine what direction her life would  have taken without God’s love and forgiveness and without her forgiveness of those who abused her.  Her testimony is amazing, so I am including the link here for you to watch! http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/mp4/JTS27v2_WS

On Monday, I had a friend text me and tell me she was in a very dark place in her life and needed prayer.  This friend had experienced some similar abuse situations to the girl on CBN.  But she was having trouble forgiving those who had hurt her... and felt shame from her abuse, so was having trouble receiving forgiveness from God.   I prayed for her and I tried to speak truth to her about the power of forgiveness and the freedom that comes from receiving God’s love and forgiveness, but she was having trouble getting past the tormenting memories and shame.  My words weren’t enough and she just couldn’t see or understand the power of that reconciliation.

On Wednesday in our staff meeting, there was also some conversation about forgiveness.   God brought this scripture up during our discussion and it was so powerful for me.   It’s  2 Corinthians 5: 17-20. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.  We implore you on Christ’s behalf:  Be reconciled to God.   As I read this scripture, what really spoke to me and brought me to tears was that we are ambassadors for God and He makes His appeal through us.  He wants to use us to impart forgiveness into people’s lives ( like my friend) who can’t seem to receive or give forgiveness on their own because of that “dark place” they are in.  You see, I was wondering how my friend would ever understand the power and healing of forgiveness if my words were just words to her.  But as an ambassador for Christ, I have the authority in Jesus’ name, to look in her eyes, and speak boldly to her that she is forgiven in the name of Jesus!  Not just my words telling her, but the ministry of the Holy Spirit speaking through me to her and imparting forgiveness to her.   This is so empowering for me... I don’t have to feel helpless to convey the “message” of forgiveness, but can actually be an instrument of God to “give His forgiveness”  to my friend through His Presence and power at work through me.

This takes praying for my neighbors and my friends to a whole new level.  God has given me the authority in His name to pray for reconciliation in homes around me... to pray that forgiveness happens... and to speak it to my neighbors when God opens that door.   Not just praying over the homes, but actually praying INTO those homes and situations where the healing power of forgiveness is needed.

Lord, I want to speak your forgiveness into the life of my friend.  By your authority and in the name of Jesus, please give me the opportunity to do this and prepare the heart of my friend to receive the transforming power and the healing power of your love and forgiveness.  I am humbled to be an ambassador for you Lord.  I am humbled that you would use me to be a conduit for your grace and forgiveness in someone’s life.  Forgive me Lord... and thank you for your forgiveness and love and sacrifice.  Amen

How did this devotion move you today?  Did God reveal anything new to you like He did to me?  I would love to hear it!


June 20, 2012 Why Pray? Day 25 – “Give Us Today Our Daily Bread”

Please read Day 25 in Why Pray,  “Give Us Today Our Daily Bread.” In today’s reading, Devries shares many wonderful examples of how we are not to worry – and of how time and time again God provides.  He asks us to read Philippians 4:10-20.  It talks about how Paul had learned to be content no matter if he had plenty or if he was in need. Today’s  focus  verse is, “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)

Matthew 6:34 then came to my mind - “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

The Message version says,  “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

“What are You wanting to talk to me about today, God?”  I think He is saying, “Take time to Remember how I have provided for My people since the beginning of time, and take time to Remember how I have provided specifically for you, too.  Remember and Tell others.”

So, I started to remember some of the ways in the Bible of how God provided just what His people needed at just the right time.  In fact, He seems many times to be the “Last Minute Provider.”

I thought about the story in Exodus 14.  God had already delivered His people from Pharaoh.  But Pharaoh changed his mind, took over 600 chariots and all of his army and set out to re-capture the Israelites.  At the last minute, God parted the waters of the sea; His people safely crossed; then, with Pharaoh’s army in hot pursuit, God closed up the waters and drown Pharaoh and all his men!  I would say He provided just what they needed on that day!  I don’t know if He ever repeated this miraculous feat again – but on that day – that’s how He met all their needs!  “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

Just two chapters later the people seemed to forget how God miraculously saved them and started to complain that they had nothing to eat – that they would be better off if they were back in Egypt!  So, Exodus 16 recounts how God graciously gives His grumbling people Quail to eat at night and Manna in the morning to gather for the day.  The Lord commanded, “Each one is to gather as much as he needs.  No one is to keep any of it until morning.”  However, some of them paid no attention and kept part of it until morning, and it stank and was full of maggots!  On the 6th day, they were to gather twice as much since the next day was the Sabbath.  When they saved it on this day, it did not stink and there were no maggots.  Those who did not gather twice the amount on the 6th day – got up the next morning only to find no Manna.  Again – a beautiful example of how God provided just what they needed – on the day that they needed it. He seemed to be teaching them - "Trust Me - I will take care of you every single day - I will give you just what you need."   “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

Next, I think God is asking me to Remember and Tell how He has provided for me – Dawn Weiser. I want to share with you just one amazing story of when God met all our needs --  not to bring any glory or specialness to myself – but to give Him all the Glory as our magnificent Provider!

When we left for the Seminary, Rachel was 2 months old.  It came time to go to the doctor for her first illness, and money was very tight.  The doctor said to buy Children’s Tylenol and Pedialyte.  I remember that we worried about this because medicine was expensive.  As new parents, we didn't know if we had to use "real" Tylenol and "real" Pedialyte or if it was o.k. to use generics.  I don’t recall all of the tiny details of what happened next, but what I do remember is this:  that same day a sack of groceries appeared on our doorstep.   Tucked within the groceries was some baby formula, Children’s Tylenol, and Pedialyte!  No kidding! Not generic pain reliever or generic electrolytes, but Children's Tylenol and Pedialyte!!!   Come to find out, there was a woman who’s job was to pull medicines that were nearing the expiration date off the shelves at the store.  Instead of throwing them away, she would give them to Seminary families to help them out.  I don’t know how she knew who we were – I don’t know how she knew where we lived -  I don’t know how she knew that Rachel was sick - I don’t know how she knew we were told to specifically get Children’s Tylenol and Pedialyte. For all I know – she didn’t know a thing – perhaps the sack was full of random items as far as she was concerned!  But my Heavenly Father knew!   “And my God will meet all your needs (even Tylenol and Pedialyte)  according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”   “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow.  God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

The Author asks us to share some of our own experiences we have had in God’s miraculous provision of daily needs.  It would be really good to take some time and do just that on the Blog today!  Maybe you have not yet commented on the Blog – maybe today is the day! When we tell what God has done – it gives all the glory to God!

So I am going to ask you to please Remember and Tell.  Perhaps ask the Holy Spirit to stir up  memories and bring to mind the ways in which “God has met all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”  Maybe you can share one of your favorite accounts in the Bible where God provided!  Maybe you can share a personal story of God providing for you!

Today’s Questions to ponder are excellent.  The questions start with ourselves – but then move on to applying the same questions to our neighbors…

What are my real needs as I face this new day?

What are the real needs of the neighbors for whom I’m praying?

For whom am I to care today, Jesus?

How am I to care for that person?

In closing – I came upon the following quote from Frances Ridley Havergal (1836-1879).  It made me stop and realize that beginning with Adam and Eve all the way through history to June 20, 2012, God has been the wonderful “Provider” for all of our needs.  Even in the 1800’s Francis Ridley Havergal apparently learned how to trust in this same Almighty God to provide, as she writes….

“Begin at once; before you venture away from this quiet moment, ask your King to take you wholly into His service, and place all the hours of this day quite simply at His disposal, and ask Him to make and keep you ready to do just exactly what He appoints.  Never mind about tomorrow; one day at a time is enough.  Try it today and see if it is not a day of strange, almost curious peace, so sweet that you will be only too thankful when tomorrow comes to ask Him to take it also!”


Why Pray? Day 24 – “Your Will Be Done on Earth as it is in Heaven”

Please begin with prayer for an open heart, before you read Day 24.  I had to remind myself of that this morning, because it’s so easy just to start reading! There were 3 things that struck my heart from Day 24.  It probably won’t be a well-connected blog, but I wanted to comment on each.

  1. Devries begins by stating that ‘the 3rd great need in every home is unity.’  I think the biggest contributor to marriages breaking apart is selfishness.  Each person puts their own preferences first and lives for themselves, without regard for their spouse.  If we honestly reflect on how our own desires have served us in life we will see a long pathway of pain and mistakes.  In coming under the will of our Father, this is the uniting factor in a marriage.  In our home, the goal is it not to be Liz or Mike’s will, but God’s will.  If we are both seeking Him and His desires, we cannot simultaneously seek our own desires.  I know it’s easier said than done, but this is the trajectory we should all strive to be on.  Humility is opposed to selfishness, but this is a key to a strong marriage---putting others before you by surrendering to our Father.  So we pray for our home and the homes around us and seek to disciple people to seek God’s will, not our own.  If you are not married, seeking God’s will, not your own applies in every facet of life---not just marriage!  (Insert friend/co-worker/family member where spouse is written.)

I don’t think that God’s will is a rigidly defined plan (there may be specifics though---Jonah, Saul/Paul, etc.), but more of a renewed heart that walks with Him.  Galatians 5 talks about the tension between the life guided by the Spirit and the life controlled by the flesh.  When we are under His will, we are being lead more and more by His Spirit and less and less by our flesh.  It’s not a one-time meeting with God where He downloads His will in manual form, but a continual seeking Him through word, prayer, and community, in which He guides us through decisions, thoughts and actions.

  1. Devries continues and speaks of us needing to be obedient to the 1st and 2nd Commandments and the pervasive issue of idols in our culture.  I heard one speaker say that ‘the human heart is an idol factory!’  An idol is anything that we elevate to a position of importance or authority that only God can fulfill.  There is a constant tension between our culture and faith with regard to this and our homes are evidence of that.  Our physical home, our possessions, our spouse, our kids, our status, etc. can become idols.  The problem is that those things cannot fill the need for intimacy with God, through Christ, so we become frustrated, angry, and then seek something else that offers a glimmer of hope to make us feel better.  We must recognize the idols, repent of them, and not allow these to consume our hearts.  Additionally, as Devries says, praying against these in our homes, neighborhoods and communities.
  2. Finally, he says that another form of idolatry is fear---that’s a profound statement!  I think we feel entitled to stress out, worry, and be afraid of what’s coming.  Some of us actually thrive and feel lost if we don’t have stress/fear driving our days.  If we step back though---who is God in a situation of our fear??  We are!!  There is no trust in fear, because we fail to see God and His provision and direction in a situation.  Philippians 4:6-7 says, ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’  Those verses have a command not to be anxious, a step of faith and action of prayer, and a promise of receiving peace.  The biggest thing we need to do when we are afraid is move beyond our small, obscured perspective and seek the Creator of the universe.  We then act by faith and trust in Him and not our own abilities!

I would love to hear your reaction to the reading and thoughts above.  How united is your home?  (Be careful---this is a trap to point the ‘wrong’ out in your spouse---we must begin with our self and see if we are being selfish!!)  Do you seek God when facing disunity or dig your heels in and fight with your spouse?  What idols are in your home?  Community?  Have you seen fear as an idol and do you thrive on fear/stress?  Read through Philippians 4:4-7 to close.


Why Pray? Day 23 - "Your Kingdom Come"

Hello - It's good to be home! It was a wonderful vacation and great connection time with family. But I did also miss connecting with you! Let's take a look at Day 23 together - "Your Kingdom Come". If you haven't had a chance to read Day 23, please do so - just as Delton shared in his blog yesterday, I'm also very excited to see the Lord's Prayer with new eyes. It's challenging, humbling, and amazing to see where the Holy Spirit leads!

In Why Pray? for today, Mr. DeVries shares with us a vision of what God's Kingdom coming would be like....I can almost hear the loud clang and clash, and feel the immense energy wave created as the kingdom of this world collides with God's Kingdom. The change is instantaneous and immense. Wow!

I found myself dwelling for a while on this collision point - what happens before it? Are the changes really that immediate? What else happens - what about the other lives, the collateral - surrounding the colliding kingdoms?

Today's Scripture is from Luke 19:1-9, and it really shaped and molded some of my questions and thoughts: "Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, 'Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.' So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, 'He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.' But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, 'Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.' Jesus said to him, 'Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.'"

Zacchaeus' worldly kingdom had been built on the coattails of Rome and all it's political excess and pagan, self-centered worship. This worldly kingdom collided with God's Kingdom when Jesus came over for dinner. Zacchaeus experienced the overwhelming victory that takes place when the Kingdom of God comes. He couldn't help but immediately respond -- he was instantly changed and no longer the same.

But as I considered this, I also couldn't help but think of the ones observing all that is taking place between Zacchaeus and Jesus.

Muttering under their breath, I'm sure the bystanders - the collateral in the collision of kingdoms - took with a grain of salt the declaration that the 'sinner' Zacchaeus made about donating his money and repaying any individuals he had cheated. They most likely held out for proof. And many probably never believed that such a change could happen to a base tax collector.

I imagine that, after Zacchaeus’ transformation, he initially faced many difficulties in his relationships with those around him. People don’t really like change, especially change that can’t be explained - they can’t fit into their  'faith boxes'. When “Your Kingdom Come” collisions happen, faith boxes get blown to smithereens and the collateral people can have a hard time dealing with the resulting changes.

But I also hold out hope that there were those that witnessed Zacchaeus’ life transformation and that they were also changed - that they experienced “Your Kingdom Come” collisions for themselves.

I found myself thinking back to when my journey with Point of Grace first began. I grew up Christian and I've really never known life without a faith that Jesus loves me enough to have died for my sins and that it is solely through His grace alone that I'm now sinless in his His eyes. But knowing it, and...KNOWING it are two very different things, I came to find out.

My husband and I took an Alpha course not long after we began attending Point of Grace. For us, the Alpha course was a terrific tool that ultimately gave us the freedom to fully own and experience our faith in Christ. It also gave us a way to develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit, something that we didn't have or acknowledge before. God's Kingdom came strongly into our lives in a way that it hadn't previously. This change was immediate for us - it was like, we suddenly had new connection, new understanding, new relationship - almost like we couldn't remember NOT having it before.

I remember sharing our experiences with my parents - that was difficult. It was different than what they knew in their faith walk. I was talking about things they hadn’t really experienced. It didn’t fit into their box of what faith should be, and we got to a point that we couldn’t even discuss it anymore. Six years ago, I started praying for them - I prayed for a faith for them that was built on connection and relationship with Christ and not just the head knowledge of grace and salvation. I prayed that they could maybe even attend an Alpha course, that maybe that was a tool that could help them in their journey.

Over time our conversations on the topic of faith became easier. I could share with them things we experienced, what we saw happen in the lives of others around us, and how the Holy Spirit moved in our own family. Maybe my parents also started to see fruits from my family’s relationship with Christ growing - who knows?

Four years ago, my parents moved away from the area. Somewhere in there I stopped praying for them to attend an Alpha course, but our faith conversations continued and I kept praying for them to have a renewed, vibrant relationship with Christ.

Last year, a “Your Kingdom Come” collision happened for them in a way that ultimately led to them attending an Alpha course through Point of Grace via Skype. My parents have since led two Alpha courses in their hometown, and are laying the groundwork for two more courses to be held concurrently this fall. They are truly acting out of a relationship with Christ and a calling in their faith that they hadn’t known before now.

They were the collateral to the clash and clang in my life when one of our “Your Kingdom Come” collisions happened 6 years ago. It wasn’t pretty - at first. But with continued prayer, God’s Kingdom Came for them as well.

And they also have collateral - there are those whose lives are now also experiencing “Your Kingdom Come” moments just as strongly as my parents did. But then there are others that can’t understand the change that has taken place in my parents’ lives and they can’t fit it into their faith boxes. It is causing difficulties in those relationships.

So we continue to pray for “Your Kingdom Come”.....


What would it look like to have “Your Kingdom Come” into your life right now? How about in the lives of those you are praying for?

Welcome to Day 22 - "Hallowed Be Your Name"

Welcome to Day 22 of Why Pray? After reading the chapter for today “Hallowed Be Your Name”, I encourage you to spend a few minutes with a portion of Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

This “Why Pray?” journey has done it again!  It has taken something very familiar to me and repositioned it in my heart and mind in a new, refreshing and challenging way!  What use to be pretty much just about “me” is now about a world of other people God is using “me” to impact!

Let me explain!

Day 22 begins week four with the heading “How Should We Pray?”!  We enter somewhat familiar territory for this ‘how to’ lesson – the Lord’s Prayer - and more specifically today the first petition of the prayer, “Hallowed Be Thy Name”!  A tour through the Lord’s Prayer is not unfamiliar territory for me – but the “way” I am being encouraged to look at it is!  I am being encouraged to pray the Lord’s Prayer not only for myself and my family (that’s familiar) but to use it to pray for the deepest needs of people far from God for whom He has led me to pray.  He is putting a laser guidance system on my praying!

As I write this I am thinking specifically of one of the people that God has led me to pray for during this “Why Pray?” journey!  This person has experienced a great deal of loss, frustration and “life has not turned out so well” reality recently.  As I think about it… I am realizing that she desperately needs to “hallow God’s name” – she desperately needs to by faith receive the realness of God that all His names reveal.  She desperately needs to know and surrender to God  as Savior, Lord, Good Shepherd, Prince of Peace etc. – this is exactly what she needs and exactly what I am now finding myself praying for her as I work through this blog. Do you see? God is taking my praying for this person to a whole new level way beyond “…please bless so and so!”

Wow!  It seems this week’s journey may be through familiar territory – the Lord’s Prayer – with a whole new set of lenses!  This week I get to explore praying at a whole new level –a “laser guidance system” level - for the people He has called me to pray for who do not know Him and are not living in relationship with Him.  This is good really good for me!  God is shifting my focus strategically outward – to pray for those far from Him practically and specifically according to their deepest needs!

The journey continues and keeps getting deeper and richer!



Welcome to Day 21 – By Multiplication, Not Addition

Please read Day 21 in “Why Pray?” then come on back and let’s discuss! Well, folks, it seems today is my day for raw honesty.  I find myself really struggling with the stories in the book today.  They just seem too…”perfect”.  I’m pretty sure that isn’t going to be a popular statement, but it is honest.  Thankfully, in my struggles today, Pastor has been very patient with me and reminded me that DeVries had to keep each chapter very concise, therefore he had to get a lot of “bang for his writing buck.”

The story of the earthquake that loosed the chains on Paul and Silas in Acts 16: 25-28, seems like one of those “too perfect” stories:

     “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.  Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken.  At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.  The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped.  But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself!  We are all here!”

I have no trouble seeing that as a testimony to God’s power and willingness to come to His people’s rescue when they pray.  Why then do I see today’s “Why Pray?” stories differently??  I think I fall into the trap of fear set by the Enemy.  You know, the one that says, “God did miracles then (in Biblical times) but he won’t do them now because we don’t need them today.”  I really struggle with that lie sometimes.  Thing is, that ugly lie leaves no room for God’s Will in this world.  Who am I to hamstring God with my unbelief??  God tells me to pray…to be obedient when it’s all I can do…so pray I will.  I will do what only I can do.  I will trust God to do what only God can do.