Beliefnet
Prayer, Plain and Simple

“Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” Psalm 46:2.

Amazed!

Sinkhole.jpg

This huge crater in Guatemala City formed after flood waters of tropical storm Agatha eroded soil hundreds of feet underground. The cavern swallowed a three story building which has disappeared without a trace into the bowels of the earth.

The death toll from Tropical Storm Agatha is growing, with 123 reported killed in Guatemala, 17 in Honduras and nine in El Salvador. Another 90 people are missing in Guatemala and another 69 have been injured.

Let’s pray for Guatemala as it deals with Agatha and also the effects of the Pacaya volcano, which erupted Thursday night.

“God, we ask for your blessing of peace and protection for the people of Guatemala as they deal with the impact of two natural disasters. Stand with those who have suffered the impact of the storm. Give them strength and health. Comfort those who have lost loved ones and those who have lost homes. Stand too with those who have endured the violence of the volcano. Protect them from further harm. Bless and give wisdom to officials who are helping in these emergencies. You do not cause these catastrophes, but you can always make something beneficial out of the pain. God, bless Guatemala. In Jesus name…”

 

Gary Coleman is currently on life support with a brain hemorrhage following an injury he suffered while in his home on Wednesday. Please join us in prayer for Gary, his family and friends at this time.

Heavenly Father,

Before we ask anything of you, we thank you that by your hands Gary Coleman has been able to lead a wonderful life doing what you have blessed him to do, entertaining people and bringing joy and laughter in their lives. May your healing come swiftly upon him in the hospital room clearing up his brain hemmorhage and bringing him into full consciousness. As many are gathered at his bedside, may they take the positions of angels constantly seeking your face for his healing and for the strengthening of their own faith during what seems like a time of uncertainty. Let this be a time when family and friends gather together to fill his hospital room with the good memories they’ve shared with Gary and may that outpouring of fond memories and positivity be a healing force around him. We believe you are a sovereign God who has full control over every situation, so we release this into your fully capable hands. We trust in your will and ask for your will to be done because only you know what is best. Whatever happens, we ask that it be well with our souls. That we may walk in confidence that you do all things well and that you are with us at all times and always. May we all be compelled to pray without ceasing and not worry or be anxious for Gary Coleman. We believe you for his healing.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

 

There’s heat in the kitchen… And President Obama is catching that heat about his response – or lack there of – to the environmental disaster caused by the oil well explosion and leak in the Gulf of Mexico. Even the President’s 11-year-old daughter, Malia, is weighing in on the issue. Obama said, “You know, when I woke up this morning and I’m shaving, and Malia knocks on my bathroom door and she peeks in her head and she says, ‘Did you plug the hole yet, Daddy?'”

No doubt, this is bad… BP’s top official, Tony Hayward  who had previously claimed that the environmental impact on Gulf of Mexico would be modest, has changed their tune and today call it “environmental catastrophe.”  Meanwhile BP engineers continue to pump heavy mud into the leaking well in hopes of stemming the gushing oil.

It’s all bad… and everyone and no one is to blame… It’s a helpless feeling because this is a problem caused by humans that humans themselves can’t remedy… Even the best case now after weeks of futility will mean years of destructive fallout…  Scenarios like this are one of the reasons we started this blog, “Prayer Plain and Simple.” Sometimes the best thing we can do is pray, and ask God for help in halting the consequences of our own stupidity. This is one of those times. Yes, BP needs to work harder. Yes, the Federal Government needs to step up. But even their best efforts won’t be enough now. We need a miracle. So let’s ask…

“God, step in and stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico! We ask this because we don’t know what else to do!  We acknowledge that humans caused this problem, that our actions and inactions are now corrupting this beautiful and bountiful part of your planet. Forgive us. And then step in to act where we cannot. Give BP engineers supernatural wisdom to make the right, rapid decisions to remedy the leak. Give them stamina and creativity that is beyond their own capacity. Bless their technology so that it works even better than it is designed. Give governmental leaders, local, state and federal, unity and focus to deploy all their energies in the right direction. And beyond all this, please reach out your hand to protect the parts of your creation that will be damaged by this disaster. We humbly come to you to ask you for your grace. May the consequences of our stupidity, greed, laziness, and ignorance in this case be less than they should be! We know we should reap what we have sown, but here, we ask for a stay in your hand of judgment. We do not deserve your pardon here, but we ask it anyway! In Jesus name, fix this problem that we so pitifully cannot!”

Joe Cocker got my vote to win American Idol, 2010. He was not eligible and I didn’t watch the finale (or any other episode), but Cocker sang on the show and that fact alone got my attention this morning. I have a long history with Joe Cocker, going back to the angst of high school and more recently in a real life bitter failure in my walk with God that I lived through a few years back. I tell that Joe Cocker story in my book, Nine Ways God Always Speaks. Here’s the excerpt…

Mark rose early on Saturday morning and realized there was no milk in the house. With company that would soon wake and want breakfast, Mark knew a trip to the store was in order. He threw on sweats, shirt, and a baseball cap, and headed out.

The aisles were sparse and the workers were few as the night crew was finishing their shift before the day crew arrived. Mark grabbed a gallon of milk and a package of blueberry muffins. As he walked to the front of the store, he looked for open checkout lanes. There was only one. He got in line behind a man with a cart filled with boxes of donuts. The man noticed Mark’s glance. “Garage sale,” the man said, pointing to his load.

Mark looked up and his gaze landed on the checkout lady. Clearly, she had worked all night. Exhaustion and boredom draped over her like a heavy blanket. She appeared to be in her mid-fifties. Life had been difficult, that much was certain. Mark glanced at her nametag. “Macy,” it read.

He shifted on his feet thinking of nothing in particular. Then from somewhere deep inside a Voice interrupted his indifference. “Tell Macy that I think she is beautiful.”

Mark coughed out loud.

“Not a chance,” he argued to the inner Voice. “I’d get slapped. Or worse, I’d get slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit! I’m not telling a 50-year-old grocery clerk she’s beautiful.”

Garage Sale Guy packed his donuts into the cart and headed toward the door. Mark set his breakfast items on the conveyer belt. Macy avoided his eyes and maneuvered the milk and muffins through the bar-code reader and waited for his payment.

Mark fumbled for time as he continued arguing with the voice in his head. “I don’t even know her. I’m married, and I’m a pastor. What would it look like if I said something like that?”

“$5.49,” Macy said. Her voice sounded worn from cigarettes and screaming.

“Tell her I think she’s beautiful,” the Voice said again.

“I can’t.” Mark felt sad–a helpless regret that comes when you buckle to your fears.

The Voice fell silent.

All Mark could hear was the Muzak playing over the store’s speaker system–some tired hit from the seventies. He reached into his wallet.

Macy waited.

“All right,” the Voice broke in with a tinge of irritation. “Then I will.”

One song ended and immediately a new one began. It was Joe Cocker crooning, “You are so beautiful, to me.”

Mark handed Macy the money, stuffed the food in a bag, and slouched toward the door.

He missed his chance, and he knew it.

Speaking is a volitional act, and God gives us the privilege of participating in his work, but he doesn’t need us to speak for him when he wants to get his message across.

He can do it himself, thank you very much.

I’m listening… Hopefully, I’m listening and responding. God’s voice comes to us in so many different and sometimes strange ways. He can even speak through the oddly placed lyrics of a Joe Cocker song. For that he would have gotten my vote, eligible or not…