Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Does Prayer Make Me Smarter?

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Check out this story: Andrew Newberg argues in his new book “How God Changes Your Brain,” that meditation alters our gray matter, strengthening regions that focus the mind and foster compassion for others, and calming those areas linked to fear and anger. We already knew this, didn’t we? It’s nice to see science catching up…  

 

 

Putting “Play” in “Pray”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

I have a new spiritual director: the four year old daughter of a friend who confides her heart to God the way she whispers to her Teddy Bear and the way she giggles when her father whisks her off her feet. I don’t often put “play” and “pray” together in the same sentence; she does. Not that she’d actually say it in those terms, but she acts it in those terms. I use other language to modify my efforts at praying, words like “labor,” “discipline,” “perseverance,” and “pressing through.” For me, talking to God takes the form of a mission of utmost serious business. For my four year old mentor, prayer is simple and pure wonder. I have a lot to learn, and unlearn to discover the “play” in “pray.”

Not easy! Last week I attended a conference hosted by my home church, a Lutheran Church mind you. During an extended time of music and worship someone in the crowd inflated five beach balls and began batting them about. Yes, I said “beach balls” in a worship service in a Lutheran Church! A rush of giddiness broke loose among the 2,500 people present. They began to play through the songs of worship, and the songs thanking God, and the songs asking God to do something. As we prayed we played. And there, in the middle of it all was my friend’s daughter dancing – yes, I said “dancing” in a Lutheran Church – and marching and waving things in the air as if she owned the place. Of course, as a daughter of the True King, she most certainly did own the place.

Jesus said that unless I come to God as a child, a small child, I can’t find my way into his Kingdom. Coming as a child means coming with beach balls, with dancing, with things waved in the air, and with my heart laid bare. Praying as a child means playing as a child. Of course! After all, in light of all eternity we’re all still like tiny children. The sooner we see this and relate to God as we really are – dependent, unpretentious tikes – the better and truer our prayers.

My pray quotient needs the play quotient.

How can you increase your play as you pray? Play is different for everyone. Maybe you play by walking in the woods, or skydiving, or painting a picture, or making music, or making love. Anything pure as play can also become a way to pray, when we focus the fun on and with God! Try it.

The Sex Prayer

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Last week writer Matthew Paul Turner dedicated a week on his blog, “Jesus Needs New PR” to talking about sex. He calls it “Sex Needs New PR.” Jennifer Schuchmann, my co-writer on Six Prayers God Always Answers, and Nine Ways God Always Speaks added a post on prayer and sex. In “Prayer Plain and Simple” we’re talking about praying for EVERYTHING in our lives… Sex counts too. Here’s Jennifer’s take.

I’ve been thinking about desire a lot after a recent conversation with my sister. Annie is married to a Navy man and lives in Italy in a little resort village near her husband’s port. When the men are out to sea, the Navy wives get together and hang out. Annie was surprised that they also wanted to get together when their men were home.

“I didn’t want to go out, I wanted to stay home with Tony,” she told me. “And when we did get together, I couldn’t believe what they were saying. They kept saying that they wanted their husbands to go back out to sea. They were tired of them being around. I don’t understand that,” said Annie. ” I just want to spend every waking moment with Tony. I would be happy just the two of us alone in our house forever.”

Did I mention Annie has been married for less than a year?

And her husband has been gone more than half of that year?

I think we all feel that way when we’re newly married. We can’t get enough of each other; we can’t keep our hands off each other. But somewhere down the road when we’ve been married a few years a phone conversation with a newlywed reminds us we don’t have that same passion and desire for our spouse we once did.

Is this normal?

I’m not sure if it’s normal, but it’s certainly common. Women talk. And I’ve heard women talk about how they don’t want their husband touching them because the kids have been hanging on them all day, or because they’re just too tired from their jobs and taking care of the house. They blame their husbands for not helping and when you’re mad at someone, it’s hard to get excited about having sex with him.

Sometimes desires wanes for a spouse because of physical changes. After you’ve been married for a few years, one (or both!) get a little flabbier, a little grayer, or occasionally have to take a little blue pill to get their blog up, and things just don’t seem as exciting as they once did.

My husband and I have been married for almost twenty years and we’ve experienced all of the above. (Well, except for the little blue pill but that could still be in our future.) Over time we’ve learned some ways to cope. For example, my husband knows the best aphrodisiac for me isn’t foreplay; it’s a clean house. But recently, I’ve discovered there may be another solution to an occasional lack of desire. And believe me it’s an unexpected one.

I co-authored a book with Mark Herringshaw called “Six Prayers God Always Answers.” After the book came out, I started hearing about women praying to always desire their husband. One woman prayed that she would “always thrill to her husband’s touch.” Another prayed that all her children “would be conceived in passion.”

I wrote the book on removing the awkwardness from prayer, but can I just say praying for great sex is A.W.K.W.A.R.D.?

But apparently, it works.

My friend Kelley had an authentic marriage, and by authentic I mean the kind where her husband wanted sex more than she did. But over the years, it came to the point where she never wanted it. She would lie on her back and count ceiling tiles and listen to Fox news for the thirty or so seconds it took to uh, satisfy her man. But Kelley wasn’t happy with this. She believed in her marriage and wanted to find a way to love her husband better so she started to pray. She prayed that God would help her desire her husband.

As Kelley tells it, “It worked. We’re like rabbits. I keep pouring gallons of milk down the drain just to I can send my eighteen-year-old to the store so we can have a few minutes of privacy. We’re doing it upstairs, downstairs, and on the stairs.”

The next time your spouse says, “Not now, I’ve got a headache,” consider it an invitation to pray together as a couple. In fact, I might have to talk to my publisher about revising the book before it comes out in paperback evidently, this is the seventh prayer God always answers.

-To learn more about Jennifer as well as her latest book First Things First, a collaboration with Kurt and Brenda Warner, visit JenniferSchuchmann.com.

QUESTION: How does prayer influence your sex life?

 

A prayer for anyone with a broken heart

posted by Mark Herringshaw

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).

 

The image of heartbreak describing the devastating emotional pain of a broken relationship transcends culture and is expressed in the same way in almost every language.  We feel the pain of betrayal and separation deeply at the core of our soul.  It feels as if our heart really is breaking – because of course, it is. God understands this experience because he himself has lived through a broken heart.  God has been a jilted lover. Through his love for us, he has endured unfaithfulness and desertion. God understands our loneliness and identifies with us. We can talk to him about this experience and ask him for help at our deepest point of despair – because he’s been there himself!

 

Here is a prayer for those who have suffered a broken heart.

 

“God, you care deeply for broken-hearted people.  This is a promise you make: You are close.  We pray for all those who are crippled by broken relationships.  Our hearts take the blow of disappointment.  We feel crushed because our hopes are dashed.  God, heal broken hearts.  We cannot fix our own wounds.  But you can.  If pieces of our heart have been lost, or are held captive by another, recover them and bring them back to us and miraculously “put us back together” so that our heart is whole again.  You are a mender of broken hearts.  We ask for this miracle, in the name of Jesus.”

Previous Posts

Trump Your Fear
So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic... For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. ~Deuteronomy 31:6 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fa

posted 12:13:26pm Jul. 22, 2014 | read full post »

My Safe Place - A Prayer
If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. Psalm 91:9,10 With the convenience of instantaneous news from all around the world at our fingertips 24 hours a day comes the ever increasing ten

posted 8:38:35am Jul. 21, 2014 | read full post »

The Power of Your Words to Hurt or Heal, Harm or Help
The words of the godly are a life-giving fountain... The words of the godly encourage many... The lips of the godly speak helpful words...  The words of the wise bring healing... Proverbs 10:11,21,32; 12:18 Words from our mouths can be refreshing, uplifting, and edifying. One word from you tod

posted 10:37:17am Jul. 10, 2014 | read full post »

Don't Make Yourself At Home On Vacation. Or Ever.
Don't get comfortable. Don't let your guard down. Don't coast. Don't go on vacation. Don't retire. While we're in this world, we live in enemy occupied territory, in a constant war zone. We need to remember that while we don't wrestle with flesh and blood, we do wrestle all day long with an enemy

posted 12:25:03pm Jul. 07, 2014 | read full post »

Our Declaration of Dependence
A Prayer for Dependence on God. Lord, On this day when we remember the gift of our freedom as American people, as Your people, we choose to use that freedom to make a declaration of dependence on You and Your love and Your grace. We need Your wisdom and Your ways and Your Word. Please fill this

posted 10:28:40am Jul. 04, 2014 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.