Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

A Prayer of Augustine: “You are My Health”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

St. Augustine didn’t trust his physical body. Prior to his conversion to Christianity Augustine had lived to please and indulge his own appetites. For the rest of his life on earth he considered his “flesh” as the enemy of his soul. I believe Augustine overreacted a bit. After all, God created our bodies, and called them “very good.” One day we will be given new resurrected bodies. The idea can’t be all bad!

In this prayer Augustine recognizes that human life in the human body is something given and sustained by God. This prayer of praise recognizes that life and health are a gift. It’s something of a moderation for Augustine…

If you are struggling with health issues, lift this prayer to God and know that HE is your health, and all you’ll ever need!

Great are You, O God, and greatly to be praised; great is Your power, and Your wisdom infinite. We who are but a particle of Your creation, praise You. You awaken us to delight in Your praise; for You made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You. What are You then, my God? Most high, most good, most omnipotent; most merciful, yet most just; most hidden, yet most present; most beautiful, yet most strong; stable, yet incomprehensible; unchangeable, yet all-changing; ever old, ever new; supporting, filling, and overspreading; creating, flourishing, and maturing; seeking, yet having all things. You, O God, are my life, my joy, my health.

A Prayer for the George Sodini’s Victims and Family

posted by nsymmonds

Yesterday, George Sodini entered a Pittsburgh L.A. Fitness gym aerobic’s class, turned off the lights and opened fire. The 50 rounds of bullets killed three women and injured 10 other people. Sodini then turned the gun on himself and killed himself. Sources say that Sodini left behind a diary that documented his plans for yesterday’s event and detailed his desire for female companionship, his loneliness, and his discouragement with women.

It’s heartbreaking that one man’s inability to find love, led him to take lives instead. I beseech anyone who reads this to not only pray for the family of the victims and Sodini’s family, but pray for those people who you know–and even those you don’t–who are living alone and feeling lonely. Please join me in prayer and add your own.

Heavenly Father,

I am praying for the family and friends of the victims of last night’s L.A. Fitness Club shooting. These victims were innocent bystanders whose lives were taken too soon and I pray that your comfort would be with each family member, each friend, and the L.A. Fitness Club staff and members who had an opportunity to interact with these people. Healing will take time as they are confronting with the days to come without their loved ones. Help them to seek solace and understanding from you. For George Sodini’s family and friends, I pray Lord that you would comfort them and that you would allow them to have an opportunity to understand what was going on with him during the last days of his life. Protect his family and friends from the people who may try to lash out at them and seek vengeance upon them for what he did to their loved ones. I know that at this time it is hard for anyone to imagine interceding in prayer of behalf of a killer’s family, but Lord, help people to recognize that this is a moment for compassion to be extended to his family and friends. There are needs that I haven’t even addressed in this prayer, but you are a God who addresses the concerns of your people’s hearts. You know their concerns before they are even voiced, so Lord, attend to your children. Let each one of us turn our hearts toward prayer and when we run out of words to say, intercede for us.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen 

To Pray or Not to Pray, Part 2

posted by nsymmonds

So I’ve gotten quite a bit of response–both on this blog and off–from “To Pray or Not to Pray“. I’ve heard from alot of you that you think it is ok to continually pray about a situation, in my case, praying about a mate. I’ve certainly taken your words of wisdom in stride. My mom actually responded to this post on Facebook and she said the following,

“If what you are praying for is dear to your heart, then you should pray until you get an answer.” –Mom

I agree with her regarding my prayer being about something that is dear to my heart and praying until I get an answer. Why not? If I know how to be persistent in other areas of my life, then, why not be persistent in my prayers? I’d be no different from Jacob, who, while wrestling with God told him explicitly, “I will not let go unless you bless me.” So why not pray until he answer me? 

But of the comments that I received, the ones that resonated most deeply with me were the ones that helped me to remember that my prayers to God are to be regarded just as I would regard a conversation with a friend–of course with more reverence. The point that the first two commenters Juana and Tanya made, is that we talk to our friends continuously about what concerns us. We may talk to them until there is a resolution–and even if there is no resolution in sight. But we keep talking about our concerns with our friends because we know that they are listening to us, but most of all, talking out our concerns with out friends releases the frustration and stress and allows us to walk away with some semblance of peace. It’s not different with God save for the fact that God will never grow tired of hearing about our problems. That was such a wonderful reminder and I wanted to share the boldface points I received from Juana and Tanya with you:

The thing that I am learning about prayers is that as I pray or talk to God, God helps me work through my frustrations and doubt to provide some level of peace about the situation. It is through prayer that sometimes the answers come. And even in those times when they don’t, at least I’ve gotten the weight off of my chest. Besides, when my friends are tired of listening to me moan and groan, I know that God isn’t. –Juana

Prayer, just like any conversation we have with friends about a pressing matter, is a way to obtain advice or peace, and it ultimately empowers us to whistle while we wait. Sometimes we need several conversations to get there. Lord knows I need to whistle a WHOLE LOT about some things, so we talk often. –Tanya

So here I am on the other side of this “To Pray or Not to Pray” debate and I’ve walked away with my answer, that I am going to keep praying. I’m going to keep praying because God is my friend, a friend who sticks closer than a brother and the peace he offers me passes all understanding. He is going to able to comfort me in my season of singleness and he is going to be able to mold me into what He wants me to be to be a suitable mate for someone else. But most of all I will keep praying because, in the midst of my protracted singleness, I’m actually rather whole and the love I’m searching for is right in front of my face, waiting for me to come and talk to Him.

Thanks to everyone who shared their advice and were very transparent on this matter. I know it’s a sensitive one for the Christian woman, but by and by, if we trust in God and keep seeking His face, He will see us through.

God uses “heart recognition software”

posted by Mark Herringshaw

New experience: I am writing this post using the voice recognition software in my computer. I’ve never used this feature before and it is a weird experience.  When I first began to write from a keyboard it took time for me to begin to think through my fingers. Thinking out loud is a completely different process.  To think as I speak forces me to be very intentional about what I say.  I have a hunch that this discipline may be a very good exercise in learning to consider my words carefully.  For every mumble and stammer does carry a consequence.

My challenge is that I’m relating with a machine and not a person. The computer registers every sound I make and interprets it through its own preprogrammed assumptions.  And what the computer hears very often is not what I said, or at least intended to say.  This last sentence, before I corrected it read, “And wait the computer ears furry often is not wait I sad…”   

Prayer to God is not so mercilessly exacting. God is no computer.  He is a person I can dialog with intimately. No artificial intelligence can register my nonverbal cues, my moods and body language and all the subtle nuances that betray the secret ministries of my soul.  God knows all these things. As Jesus promised, God knows what I need even before I ask. He invites me to speak in prayer because it makes conversation. But he doesn’t need my words in order to register my heart. He knows me better than I know myself.

Once I finish rambling out this experiment I will have to go back and correct words and in some cases whole sentences so that you the reader can made some sense of my stream of consciousness.  Or perhaps for greater impact I should just leave it as it is! That would make the point, and frustrate you in the process!

Praise be! God is far more than a voice recognition system. God hears and responds and coaxes from me much more than what I say; he works with me until I say what I truly mean. I believe that prayer is the place where we all learn to truly talk. After all, we’re just infants in the eternal scope of time. We’re honing a skill we’ll be using for all eternity.  As we muddle through our efforts, God listens, reads between the lines and then perfectly esponds, sometimes with nothing more and nothing than less than a nonverbal, but perfectly timed, smile.

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