Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

A Prayer for Haiti

posted by nsymmonds

Yesterday evening at 5:00PM, a magnitude-7.0 earthquake hit Haiti, destroying much of the capital, Port Au Prince. Many buildings have been destroyed or sustained extreme structural damage, many have been injured and the body count is innumerable. Within the last 16 years, Haiti has been the bore the brunt of catastrophic natural disasters that have claimed the lives of many and destroyed the island’s structural integrity. Please join us in prayer as we lift Haiti, its inhabitants and all those affected by this disaster, up in prayer.

Heavenly Father,

It is with a heavy heart that we come to you, not necessarily knowing what we should ask for because many of us are wondering, “Why did this happen? Why has tragedy struck Haiti again and why do so many lives have to be lost again? Why has this beautiful island been struck by a catastrophic earthquake and ruined?” But as many questions as we have regarding the situation, we still humble ourselves before you to ask for your mercy to be upon Haiti and its people. Extend your hand upon the land and restore all that has been lost, destroyed and damaged to be better than it was before. As rescue teams search for casualties, give them foresight. May they be led by your wisdom, and encouraged by your strength and advised by your discernment. There are yet people who are surviving and I pray that the rescue workers would find them in time and revive them. For the lives that will be lost, we pray for immediate comfort to come to the family and friends of the deceased. For those of us who are watching this unfold from the outside, I pray that you would give us hearts of compassion so that we can give out of our surplus to fill the deficit that is widening in Haiti. May we all extend ourselves in any way possible to secure our brothers and sisters in Haiti. And may every prayer regarding this tragedy be heard and responded to in your good time.

In Jesus’ Name,



Our Annual Prayer/Planning Retreat in the Woods

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Every year in January my wife Jill and I take 3-4 days away in a cabin somewhere in the woods as a “working retreat.” We’ve done this now for about 20 years and it’s one the things we most look forward to. Our objective is to pray and then plan our year. We take our calendars, our journals and our Bibles and we spend the time asking God to help us set our priorities for the next 12 months. With four active kids at home and with each of us working 1 ½ jobs each we need God’s wisdom to help us set our priorities. He knows best how we should allocate our energies and when we take time to pray and listen, he fills in the spaces.



Anyone out there do anything like this? We’d love to hear your ideas.


That said, I’ll be off line from today through Friday night. I’ll let you know how it goes for us when we return.



The Eucharist Diet: How is this Working?

posted by Mark Herringshaw

January 11, 2010

Day 10

Weight: 203 lbs

Weight lost: -3


Come, all you who are thirsty,
       come to the waters;
       and you who have no money,
       come, buy and eat!
       Come, buy wine and milk
       without money and without cost.


Why spend money on what is not bread,
       and your labor on what does not satisfy?
       Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
       and your soul will delight in the richest of fare (Isaiah 55:1-2)

I’m down three – count ’em three – pounds in 10 days. I did not exercise Sunday or Monday because I’ve been over the top busy. And last night we had BBQ ribs for supper. Depending on the time of day you’re reading this, that is either a cause of envy or cause of sympathy in you. At any rate, they were superb. Our family of six – now seven – was celebrating the arrival of our dear Chinese “daughter,” Kim who lived with us two years ago and has now returned for graduate studies in Minnesota. She’ll be living with us for a time. Her homecoming called for a feast… Seems I’ve found several excuses for very eating well the last few days…



Still, I’ve managed to drop three pounds, without intention or sweat or flogging myself with denials. My only change in behavior has been a daily celebration of communion. Last night Jill (my wife) and I shared it together just before we went to bed. Sweet.


I really do believe something is beginning to shift in my relationship with food. It’s not magic, but perhaps it’s a miracle. “My soul is delighting in the richest of fare…”



Absence: I will be off line from blogging about The Eucharist Diet until Friday this week. Every year in January Jill and I head away for three days for a retreat praying and planning our year. It’s been a great tradition for us. This year we’re going to The Wilderness in the woods of Western Wisconsin and we’ll be staying in one of their small handcrafted log cabins. I’ll be continuing this Eucharist discipline but I won’t be able to blog about the results until later this week.



Until then… Bon Appetite!


“The Eucharist Diet” adventure is my six month experiment taking daily communion and tracking and posting the results in my personal life, relationships, health, and body fat percentage.  


Mark McGwire Lives in Denial… Say a Prayer for Him

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Disgraced ex-baseball star Mark McGwire finally sobbed out his steroid confession yesterday. No one was the least surprised; no one should be the least bit impressed.


I once cheered for McGwire who hit 583 career home runs with Oakland and St. Louis, and is best known for his 1998 record-breaking home run duel with Sammy Sosa (also a steroid customer) by hitting 70. Today, I’m cynical. Yes, try again, Mr. McGwire.


I’m not the least bit impressed with McGwire’s efforts at PR rehabilitation. Confession is one thing, repentance and honestly “facing the music” is quite another. While I cannot judge another man’s heart, I can hear and understand plain English. “Big Mac” added a revealing caveat to his seemingly obligatory exercise in public remorse that leaves no doubt: His tears are more about regret at being caught than admitting deception and culpability in the trauma he has caused the little boys game he got paid a fortune to play, not to mention the devastation his actions have had on the imagination of all of us “little boys” who played the sucker for his feats.



Specifically McGuire lives in denial: When asked if he could have still hit 70 homeruns in 1998 without the help of steroids he answered – with a straight face, “Absolutely. Look at my track record as far as hitting home runs. They still talk about home runs I hit in high school. I was given the gift to hit home runs.”


“Absolutely?” Are you kidding? That’s the whole point Mr. McGuire. You took these drugs to cheat an advantage. And now you still have the nerve to ask us to give legitimacy to your career? It will never happen. Let that fantasy go. The first step to your redemption, which now will have to be outside of baseball is to come clear and clean about the consequences of actions.



For those who believe they must and can “repair” their own damages, real redemption is impossible. While we continue to insist on casting ourselves in the best light possible and trodding the well worn path of restoration laid out by public relations experts, we’re still doomed and don’t know it That pattern is all too familiar. Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson, Koby Bryant and many other tainted “stars” have walked the course of public remorse, with a caveat to save just a bit of face. It’s never fully worked…



So try again Mr. McGuire. It’s all or nothing. Only when you go low to the level of total brokenness is your redemption possible. Only at the point where you save no sliver of self respect and cry for help – grace – from the only One at this point who can and will lift you up, can you hope to recover a glory, this time a glory not your own.



That’s my prayer for you.


I’ve written about my own experience with brokenness and repentance in my latest book, “The Karma of Jesus.” Yes Big Mac there is redemption, but it won’t come through drumming up your own efforts at good Karma. It will only come through seeking help from the outside…

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