Adults

A Mother’s Part in Prayer

Throughout my journey with Christ, I largely believed prayer was for those desperate times—the big seasons and decisions of life. The daily, ordinary stuff I could handle on my own.

A few years ago, prayer became like oxygen to me. My husband and I were in a foreign country learning a foreign language during a time when the developing country was going through a natural disaster. We were getting sick from the food and water. We had just found out we were going to have our first child.

Everything, all the time, all day, was out of control. And, honestly, so was I.

“What wings are to a bird, and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul.”—Corrie ten Boom

Through this season of life, I learned quickly that I could no longer continue as if prayer wasn’t my lifeline. My soul needed to be connected to the Lord—completely reliant on Him at all times.

How to Pray When You’re Not Good at Praying

With the lights turned off and the blankets tucked right under my ear, I lay my head down on the pillow and get ready to say my nightly prayer. And then . . . crickets.

The pressure to say everything correctly and remember every prayer request weighs me down to the point where sometimes I just close my eyes and go to sleep instead. On the nights when the pressure isn’t quite so heavy, I pray through stilted sentences that feel far too formal. Or I get frustrated that I keep repeating things because I don’t know what else to say.

Prayer shouldn’t be this hard.

If you’re like me, speaking out loud (even in your head) doesn’t come naturally. The pressure to pray correctly becomes a hindrance in your prayer life, and you start to feel distant from God because you don’t know how to communicate.

Let me tell you something: It’s OK. God understands you. He knows you. Don’t get in your own way. Prayer is too important to give up on, especially when it comes to living a missional lifestyle. Everything must start with prayer.

Don’t Get ahead of Yourself

Sometimes I get so far ahead of myself on a project or a task that I forget what the original task was. I skim through the instructions, fail to ask my professor for any tips or guidelines, and dive headfirst into whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing—until I get stuck. Then, frustrated, I am forced to go back, reread, and ask questions, merely to discover I was only about 15% right in the direction I was headed.

Someone once reminded me that if you don’t have time to do it right the first time, what makes you think you’ll have time to redo it later? It’s some of the best advice I’ve ever received. Unfortunately I catch myself doing this with the gospel as well. I will set out in hopes of sharing the news of Jesus Christ without first talking with my Teacher and heading His instructions through prayer.

Link up with a Nearby CWJC/CMJC Site

Across the nation, more than 200 Christian Women’s Job Corps/Christian Men’s Job Corps sites are bringing God’s light to their cities, serving families who find themselves dealing with issues such as homelessness, drug or domestic abuse, imprisonment, or lack of adequate education. Adult missions groups looking for a ministry in which to invest their time, energies, and love will find a myriad of ways to do so by linking with a nearby CWJC/CMJC site.

Would your group commit to spending the next year reaching out to these women and men? What are some crucial needs your members could address? Take these steps to explore an exciting missions adventure:

Investigate

Learn about CWJC/CMJC by visiting wmu.com/jobcorps. Find contact info for a site near you. Invite the site coordinator or a volunteer to present a program for your group. Better yet, take some folks to visit the site during a session.

Minister to Local Officials: Let Your Light Shine in Local Government

In a city where city hall sat in the shadow of no less than 3 church steeples, I often found it odd that local congregations weren’t more involved with their local leaders. As an employee of local government, I would handle dozens of daily correspondence for local officials. Emails and letters from local organizations, schoolchildren, and concerned citizens were often present. Communications from local churches or believers offering encouragement or help—well, those were few and far between.

It would be difficult to pin down an exact explanation as to why more believers weren’t reaching out to their local officials. Perhaps they were too busy with the goings-on of their church’s event calendar or they simply didn’t want to be involved. Then there is the sneaking suspicion that many believed the lie that because of their religious convictions, they wouldn’t be heard. What a tragedy it would be if believers neglected to pray for and encourage local officials.

Celebrating Answered Prayer in Colombia

Brenda and Fernando Larzabal have served with the International Mission Board for 14 years, mobilizing the local church and sharing the gospel with the unreached indigenous people groups of Colombia.

They have been blessed by the prayers of God’s people in the 2 focal points of their ministry:

  • investing in the next generation of indigenous university students
  • training, mentoring, and developing strategy for 4 other teams through a national missionary agency

Brenda, who leads and mentors the all-female indigenous student ministry team, shared how important those prayers have been this past year. “We began this semester feeling that God was about to do something new and something big. We needed to find a new location for the student center much closer to where the students live. That would not be easy.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Travis and Staci Kerns

God is continuing to build His kingdom in Salt Lake City, Utah, according to Send City missionary Travis Kerns.

“We’ve seen God graciously bless us with 2 new church plants so far in 2017 and expect to see more before the end of the year,” Kerns said. This is an answer to prayer.

God also blessed the city with church-planting interns and apprentices. These college students spent the summer serving with the North American Mission Board’s GenSend program and working to see the kingdom expand in the most lost city in the United States.

“We also [had] 3 college students here for the summer [of] their own accord who [worked] directly with church plants in a specific area of ministry,” Kerns said, noting these students raised their own support.

What’s Your Part?

This month, we are praying—I mean really praying—for our part in God’s great mission. I’m pressing in to see my part more clearly. What about you? What’s your part?

For most churches, the fall kicks off a new year. It is a good time to pray about new things—new opportunities, new relationships, new routines, new challenges. What is new for you? Could it be that God has something new in mind? I love Isaiah 43:19. God is a “doing-a-new-thing” kind of God. He is able to do more than we can imagine (Eph. 3:20–21). I suppose that’s why, in my life anyway, He usually shows 1 step at a time. It is always new, always fresh.

Divine Flavor in an Ordinary World

I looked over and saw her, sitting at the table, eyes glued to her computer screen and focused on what she was working on.

I felt that nudge inside to talk to her, but I was doing my best to talk myself out of it. “She looks busy,” I thought. “And how would I start a conversation?”

I sat in that coffee shop, knowing that I wanted to share the gospel with this girl and take an ordinary conversation and make it a divine one. Then I remembered what I had talked with a friend about a few days earlier. She had suggested interviewing people as a way to start conversations.

I grabbed my pen and notebook, wrote down a few questions, walked over to the table, and began talking to the girl, who introduced herself as Leela*.

The conversation felt so natural, and it brought me joy being able to get to know her story. As it turns out, Leela became a believer in college.

One conversation led to another and another, and now I’d consider Leela one of my best friends in South Asia.

Praying for the Masses: Do I see refugees with Jesus’ eyes?

She came across the border with only the clothes on her back and several small children. Her husband had remained behind to fight ISIS and protect what was left of their home. At least, she hoped he was still there protecting their home, because she had not heard from him in over a year. Now she sat across from me at our English as a second language class looking tired and confused. How could I explain the basics of our lesson without knowing her language? How would I ever reach her with the gospel?

Could this woman have been one of the thousands of refugees crossing into Europe? When I watched them on TV, my thoughts were not so wholesome or Christian. You know the saying “Can’t see the trees for the forest”? Sometimes we can’t see the refugees for the media. Our views and eyes lose focus when we look at things through the lens of this world and not through the eyes of the Spirit.

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