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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

Thanksgiving Prayer: Simple Reminders

posted by Mark Herringshaw

They’re playing Christmas music in my coffee shop this morning. By now we understand the marketing strategy: push the boundaries of Yule back one or two days a year. Do we actually spend more this way?

Thanksgiving used to be the threshold, with the Friday after “The Big Eat” being traditionally the biggest Christmas  shopping day of the year. We blew through that boundary a decade ago. Now, on November 6th, some eight weeks out, we’re already hanging lights and wreaths. What’s lost, I fear is Thanksgiving. We’ve crunched it down to a kind of overture shoehorned in between the commercial frenzy.

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I don’t suppose there’s any fighting this on the macro level. Forces larger then you and me are stampeding this herd. But on the micro level I think we can respond and counter the loss of the significance of Thanksgiving. We can do this by… well, being intentionally, individually, specifically, consistently, thankful. And the best way to be thankful is to aim our thanks in the direction that really matters – toward God.

Thanksgiving began as a prayer. The first tradition traces the holiday back to the Pilgrim settlements in New England and specifically to one harvest feast the colonists held with Native Americans who had helped them learn survival skills in the new land. Later Abraham Lincoln, during the dark and dire days of the Civil War declared “Thanksgiving” an official holiday. Prayer to God not football or stuffing the turkey and then stuffing ourselves was the centerpiece.

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In an effort to help us individually recover the heart of true Thanksgiving, we’re posting some suggested Thanksgiving Prayers this month. Each day if each of us will simply pause in the middle of our hectic moments to aim two simple words toward God, what a change would follow! There are so many things that God has secured in our lives, so many blessings even in the middle of trial and challenge and stress and fears, all of which are real and present. But above and beyond, God is good and present and real as well. Today, for a moment, say those two words.

Set the alarm on your watch to ring every hour to remind you to say, “Thank you.”

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Put up a Post It on your bathroom mirror, “Thank you God for…”

Ask a friend to call you and remind you to pray at least once today…

Tie a string around your finger…

Be creative… But by all means say the two words. It’s not yet the 4th Thursday of November. But if they can play “Jingle Bells before Halloween, we can say “Thank You, God” before we buy our turkey and stuffing…

“God, Thank you!”

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Prayer for the Unemployment Rate

posted by nsymmonds

Today it was announced that the unemployment rate hit 10.2%, the highest it has been since April 1983. This is startling news since it would seem that if we are crawling out of the recession less jobs would be lost. Unfortunately that is not the case as 190,000 jobs have been lost in October. Today we pray for everyone affect by the unemployment rate.

Heavenly Father,

Today we put our trust not in the economic system of the world, and not in soaring unemployment rates, but in God. Though these times bring forth uncertainty we trust in the certainty that God will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory. Help us not fear but instead cleave to you and believe that all things work for the good of those who love you. Your word in Jeremiah 29:11 said, “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” So we affirm that verse in our lives and walk forward believing that you want us to be prosperous in every dimension that prosperity can exist. We affirm that you have come to give us a hope and a future knowing that the future you have in store for us far exceeds anything we can conceive. Let us, according to Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” We know that this too shall pass us and we will be restored to better than we were before this recession hit us. So we ask for the capacity to put all our trust into you and your plan at this time. Be Jehovah Jireh, a provider for those who are unemployed and be a comforter for those who are concerned about their job stability. Be who you need to be in the lives of all who need you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

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Thanksgiving Prayer: Healing

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Praying for healing baffles me, if nothing else, because it seems so inconsistent. Jesus invites us to pray for healing and to expect he’ll respond. Even science has seen the evidence fo prayer. Jesus himself administered healing repeatedly while he was here on earth. And he delegated that work to his followers and through them all of us who claim his name as our identity. Healing is part of Jesus’ enduring legacy. What I don’t get is how and why the evidence of healing is so inconsistent.

I’ve witnessed unqualified miracles in response to prayer. I don’t doubt God heals and that prayer instigates his action. I’ve prayed myself people declared terminal by doctors. They’ve recovered. I’ve prayed for someone with a curved spine and watched as it straightened. I’ve prayed for accelerated recovery from a flu virus and the next day the person was normal. But on other occasions I’ve prayed for each of these kinds of conditions with no evident result. A good friend of mine named Dave died a couple years ago of cancer after battling cancer. Many of us prayed for him. We prayed hard. We prayed right. Dave died. I don’t always get this. It hurt. I was disappointed and, I admit, angry. Then again last month I prayed again for someone, and the experienced almost immediate healing. Inconsistent…

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The only way I can reconcile inconsistency is to remember that I don’t understand even 1% of all the contingencies in the world. I trust that God heals, that his promises to heal when I pray are real. But there are if/then conditions attached to these promises and some of those conditions fall behind the veil of mystery. I don’t know everything. I only know I should act and pray and believe, and ultimately be thankful. The results sometimes will and sometimes won’t become evident to me. That doesn’t always satisfy me. It is what is and I’ll deal with it by choosing anyway to pray… and be thankful for whatever comes!

There’s a great song in the Old Testament that relays the message of Thanks. It’s Psalm 103. It begins: “Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits…” And one of the benefits is… “Heals all our diseases. Okay, I’ll take that. I’ll be thankful. I’ll take this promise back to God and, when I’m confronted with a sickness in myself or someone else, remind him of this benefit. Whether or not I see an immediate outcome, I’ll do my step of thanksgiving, taking as a given what he says is a given. Whatever follows I’ll look for God’s presence and goodness somewhere at hand. I’ve learned from experience that whether or not the answer comes as I hope or expect, God does answer every prayer…

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If you or someone you know need healing, here’s a prayer.

“God, you do not create our bodies to be broken. When we are sick we are out of synch with your intended purpose. You promise that one of the benefits of relationship with you is being free to claim your healing power. Healing is a benefit. We thank you know for this power of healing, and in this specific need we thank you for applying your healing to the point of need. We will look for tangible impact and however you choose to respond we will continue to believe in your goodness and your power. In Jesus we pray.”

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Pray for Fort Hood Shooting Victims

posted by nsymmonds

11 have been killed and 31 injured in a mass shooting at Fort Hood in Texas. I submit this prayer for the family and friends of the victims who will be receiving news about their loved ones. Please pray and share your prayers.

Heavenly Father,

I come to you asking that you would comfort the family and friends of the victims of the Fort Hood shootings. Meet each of these people at the point of their need and speak the words they need to hear in order to be comforted at this moment. Let the families and friends bind together and be strengthened as they mourn the untimely passing of their loved ones. And for those who are injured, be in the hospital room with them right now. Be at their bedside and hold their hands. Impart healing energy into their room and do what you do best as Jehovah Rophe, the God who heals stitch by stitch. Be with their loved ones who are in hospital waiting rooms awaiting news. Be with the doctors who will treat them, giving those doctors knowledge, wisdom and discernment. Let everyone who will and can pray for the recovery of those who are wounded, the comfort of those who are mourning and even the remorse for the shooters. I pray all of these things in the mighty and matchless name of Jesus, Amen.  

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