Tag Archives | prayer

Practicing pausing

 

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I am learning to practice the pause on a daily basis.  I think I am getting better at it, little by little.

The pause is so powerful.  Just stop, breathe, and call on God.  Then let your heart talk to Him.  Anywhere you are.  Any time of day.  And pray for what He can give you–strength, patience, open eyes, peace, healing, guidance, trust.  I am learning that I can’t pray for specific answers–He doesn’t work that way.  Only He knows what will be best.  I just need to be open to HIS answers, not mine.  And that, dear ones, is what the pause does–it opens us up in a moment to Him.

So often I know that we want to pray for a specific answer that fits in our understanding and desires.  But that isn’t always going to be the answer He gives.  We must remember that Christ promised, promised, we  would have struggles–and most likely more struggles because we are believers.  The world is not going to conform to our beliefs.  The world is not going to live up to our standards.  We must wait for heaven–it is not here on Earth.

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Then we see enlightened hope

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Let’s pray today:

Dear Heavenly Father,

We come to you humbly today,  knowing that our days have been filled with mistakes–things we did on purpose, things we did unintentionally.  Open our eyes to the lessons in our inadequacies.  Let us see that all your children have these same deficiencies.  We ask you to fill our minds with the hope that you give us that all is forgiven, all is understood.  May we take that confidence and knowledge and apply it to our tomorrows, to our experiences with others, and to our faith in you.  We grateful for the instruction you provide that brings us closer to you Jesus.

In your name we pray,

amen

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Crown Your Efforts

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Let’s pray today:

God, we know that when we put you first that you direct our paths.  We know that we need only follow you and your golden road to salvation.  But sometimes it is hard in this world to stay on the path, to not look to the right or the left and wonder…and even worry.

Help us Lord to put you first in everything.  Focus our thoughts on the road ahead that leads to you.  Purify our hearts with your love and tenderness that we may step out in faith that glorifies you in everything.  Train our eyes to keep your plans for the future in our vision.  Strengthen our hands to resolve to do your good works.

We are grateful Lord that we know you will crown us with the amazing gift of love, hope, and life with you when we do all of this in your name.  We are grateful that the ultimate success is to bask in your favor.  We are grateful that you give us so many opportunities to do this for you.

Amen!

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Serenity Prayer

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I remember seeing this prayer hanging in my Grandmother’s house as a small child.  It is printed on a plaque.  And even as a child I remember thinking it was very wise and correct.

Serenity is NOT a word I would use to describe myself in any way shape or form.  I am a bit of a live wire.  🙂  I realize this, always have been.  My ADD seems to be getting worse again as I get older, and along with it my ability to be serene.

But I do pray for serenity–a state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.  And I do pray for the courage and the wisdom to do so.  I pray this a lot.  A LOT.  I have to pray to calm myself down many many  times a day.

The good news:  it works.  There is something about stopping, taking that deep breath and thinking about the whole courage and wisdom thing that helps me re-center and realize that God has got this, I don’t have to freak out.

How about you?  Do you recite this prayer?  Any memories surrounding it?

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Strong God–and a bit of a soapbox on shootings

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This is from the song “Strong God” (Writer(s): Meredith Andrews, Jason Ingram, Jon Egan).

(link and verses at the bottom)

This is such a powerful song.  I pulled it up for the link, and as it started to play I had to stop writing, I just sat and rocked, listening and singing along–and it has that effect on me every time I hear it.  It stops me in my tracks.  As Jon Egan, the writer, says in another video, he based this song off Psalm 68.  He wanted it to be “a massive proclamation of truth, to sing out”.  He achieved that.

Our strong God is so needed.  The latest mass killing in California saddens me.  But even more so, I saw this article from PBS news about all of the mass shootings in the US in 2015.  We hear about some of them, but only a select make national headlines.  That is what is really sad.  The number of people shot in Chicago on a DAILY  basis is alarming.  2, 771 have been shot this year just in Chicago–on average EIGHT people every day.  THAT is really sad.

This weighed heavy on me yesterday, especially as I listened to others discuss this incident.  And I came to two conclusions:

  1.   There are a lot of people who need our STRONG GOD.  It is not guns that shoot people–it is people shooting people. People who are sad, and mad, and lost, and hurting, who feel unloved.  These people need God in their lives.  And not Christ shoved down their throats God.  But gentle, sweet assurances, deep help for what is wrong in their bodies, brains, and hearts.  They need to know there are other ways.  So today I am singing this song to the powerless, to the father of the widows, to the weak, to the prisoners of hate and sadness that God will move in their hearts.  And I will do what I can for those around me to spread His love.
  2. I will NOT BE AFRAID.  I heard a Christian radio station morning host talking about how he is afraid to let his kids go places because of the shooting.  It ENRAGED me.  Really–I was yelling at the radio in the car.  (I know..strong reaction…maybe a little crazed myself.)     But this is why I got mad:  we are not to be afraid.  We are the ones who are supposed to trust our Strong God in all circumstances.  We are the ones who are supposed to go out and help these lost–NOT HIDE in our homes and cower in fear.  If we are afraid as Christians then our culture is in even worse shape than I thought.  And as those numbers up above tell–if we are going to hole up in our homes afraid of a shooting, we  might as well never leave because it happens every stinking day in every stinking place.

Our nation is at war.  We are at war with ourselves.  We need our STRONG GOD.  Focus with me on Him, pray with me for our nation this weekend that we will stop fighting each other.

Father to the fatherless Defender of the weak

Freedom for the prisoner we sing

This is God in His holy place
This is God clothed in love and strength

Sing out lift your voice and cry out
Awesome is our strong God mighty is our God

You’re with us in the wilderness faithful to provide
Ev’ry breath and ev’ry step we see

There is no higher no
There is no greater no
There is none stronger than our God

 

 

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Prayers and Gratitude Week: Dwellings

Scan-012Two reasons for this week’s theme:  I want to share all of these artworks I created with no words (for blank notecards, and I liked the art and couldn’t figure out words to put on them to be honest) and I am a bit crazy getting ready for the holiday retail season.  (Hint, hint–the Etsy shop is stocked!  Click that Etsy button on the right and get Christmas presents!)  So I am not thinking overly deep this week.

But that being said….we are going to pray this week for what is pictured and what it stands for.

So today, take a moment and reflect and pray for the following:  dwellings.  Buildings that are homes, places of work, places of education, places of commerce, places of government.  Let us pray that those buildings are filled with the Spirit and that they are safe and welcoming places for all those who enter them.  Let us be grateful for these places of shelter.  And pray that we bless those buildings and that we are blessed by their prescence in our lives.   Let us pray that they will be harbors of peace and not hatred.

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I am His lighthouse

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I have been worrying a lot lately.  I know, I know, I preach don’t worry.  But I am human, and there have been several things in the last month that I just don’t feel sure about.

I have not been faith full.  I have not been constant.

And yet, God is coming through on my prayers.  Despite myself, I am His.  What an amazing light in the darkness.

As I have prayed, with eyes closed, I see a light behind my closed lids.  I am sure there is some scientific thing about the light transferred or mirrored or some such thing.  But to me, it is like seeing the light of God shining as a beacon to remind I am His, He will take care of everything in His own time.  Sometimes faster than I expected, sometimes slower.  But He is always there reminding me.  What a comfort and joy!

I hope that you see that light and are reminded as well.

 

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In His Hands

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I have done a HORRIBLE job lately of putting things on my calendar.  And saying yes and being over helpful, but then not helpful at all–because I have been not only double scheduling but triple scheduling.  We showed up late a lot last week.  I had to cancel plans because of previous things that I should have known about.  I needed a lot of grace last week.

This week, I am putting myself in God’s hands.  I need Him to take care of me.  I need Him to help me say no, to get organized, and to remember what is actually on that calendar.

How about you?  Do you struggle with margin and scheduling?  I am realizing I set this precedent for myself in junior high and I am only getting worse.  I don’t want my kids to be like this as adults.  I want to model something different.  How about you?

So let’s pray on it:

God we ask you to hold us right in the palm of your hands.  Hold us close and help us to see the big picture, lead us to a time of sabbath that will refresh us.  Show us the ways to leave margin in our schedules that we may have more time for you and our families.  Let us remember that we must set an example of margin for others, that by leaving space in our schedules we are encouraging others to do the same.  May this habit of allowing space in our schedules bless us and remind us that we are in your hands, that you care for us at all time.

Amen

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Power in His Name

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Inspired by this song:  Break Every Chain sung by Jesus Culture

A little on this artwork:  I was listening to this song, thinking about rocks–I think I painted this about the time I wrote the stepping stones series.  This time I was thinking of the purity of Christ and the whiteness of marble.  I was thinking about broken chains and just how hard that is to do.  About all the things He does, that I want to do with Him.  And this came out.

Notice the word at the top of the pile is the word I have been focusing on:  obey.  And from there I wrote ways to obey.  These are all ways I can do what Jesus is calling me to do.  And when I call on His power to help me do these things He shares with me–strengthening me in ways I will never imagine.

There is power in the name of Jesus.  There is.  There is power.

He breaks every chain holding us to sin, to the Earth, and He makes us pure in heaven with Him.

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House of Prayer

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Isaiah 56:7 House of Prayer by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

Let’s pray today:

  • that people will realize that churches are full of broken, real people
  • that we are all in search of daily soul healing
  • that more people will realize that they can find healing in churches
  • and that more Christians will be accepting of their own faults, and allow more who need healing in their midst
  • that Christ will lead those people in the church:  those in charge and those who are following
  • that churches will be visible cornerstones of communities not closed off buildings
  • that our homes will be filled with prayers to you Jesus and be focused on coming closer in relationship with you and your babies
  • for all people of this world:  those in governments with peace, those with governments in chaos
  • for all the people of this world who are healthy and those in need of healing
  • for those people who do not have homes, and that those who have them will be grateful for all they have

In your name Jesus….all God’s people said….AMEN!

 

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Stubborn Streak

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Stubborn Streak by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

If you ask my parents this has been my mantra since I was born.  Truly.  Apparently I was one of the most stubborn children ever.

But, it got me ready for adulthood and seems to be working now.  🙂  And actually it has made me a strong, stubborn Christian.

I have been reading the posts this week right along with you.  I wrote them a week in advance as usual, but every morning I am reading them to remind me, to bring me confidence this week while I make lots of business-y decisions.  And this is helping me remember no one can stop me but me right now:

Romans 8:30-31

30 …and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. 31What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?…

Repeat this with me, out loud!:

If God is for this:  He will not stop me in this ministry.  Only I can stop me.  Only I can give in to satan, other worldly desires, or pull myself off track.  Only I can give in to other people’s expectations or negativity.

God is for me.  He has given me permission to do what He has predestined and called.  He will freely glorify me and give me all the riches in heaven I need.  He does not give earthly things but those of the heart–strength, patience, love, hope, peace, eternal life.  He freely fills my bucket from a never ending well.

No one can let me or stop me with my God by my side.  I will be stubborn about this!

AMEN!

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Doug Did it Again

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Romans 10:14-15 Beautiful Feet by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

It is often funny how my cousin, Pastor Doug Hollenbeck (remember I shared this post last Tuesday from him) are often in sync.  And it is not planned at ALL.  We are posting from Chicago and Virginia.  We only communicate through Facebook.  But God connects us often.

Last week at Bible Stories from the Heart I posted some more “get to know me” type posts.  My first, I thought for a Bible study, should be about my faith.  So I published “Enduring Faith”.

Monday morning Doug posted this and the prayer:

Sharing our faith is an amazing way for us to let others get to know us. When we share our faith in Jesus Christ with others we are inviting them into our lives and into a world full of blessings. When is the last time that you invited someone into your life and shared with them your faith?
Pray with me today:
Lord God shine your light of love and life within me. Place me where I can do the best for you Father God and where I can serve your will. Bring people into my life that I can share your faith that is growing in me and my love for you, for your Son Jesus, and for the Holy Spirit. As you have invited me into your life let me invite others into mine that they may know and love you too. Amen.

AMEN!  And that is why I paint, and blog, and sell my artwork.  That is why I share the blessings God is giving this ministry.  AND I think that is WHY God is blessing the ministry of nicplynel.  Thank you for being here!

I love you all, my family in Christ!

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The Benediction–Go in Peace

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Numbers 6 Benediction Go In Peace by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

 

As you we end this week–as you stay home or travel this weekend–may you remember this verse.

In the ELCA Lutheran church we end every service with this. And then the pastor will say:  Go in peace, serve the Lord.  And the people respond with:  Thanks be to God.

It gives me peace, I hope it does for you also.

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It is WELL with my Soul

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It Is Well with MY Soul by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

Ahhh.  And this dear friends is the culmination.  To feel that peace.  To feel the positive outcomes of a little time of solitude.  To enjoy our dream places of staying.  To know that we are loved by family and friends.  To know that we came home to what we really should focus on.  To know that God is with us.  Yes.

It is well with my soul.

Drink it in, breathe it in deep.  repeat it to yourself over and over, as a prayer.

It is WELL with my soul.  It is well with MY soul.  It is well with my SOUL.  

Isn’t that wonderful?  Do you feel it change you?

Remember that piece in orange, one positive thought a day?  This can be it.  This is all it needs to be.

Rest in the face that faith makes our souls well.  We are WELL.

Here is the song and the fascinating story behind it!

 

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Ya Can’t Use Up Creativity

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You Can’t Use Up Creativity/Maya Angelou by Nicole Plymesser Nelson

This is how I operate.  The more I paint, the more I write, the more it flows.  It just keeps comin’ and a comin’.  Sometimes, I won’t get a few days to paint and I will get so cranky!  And I think, “Oh it has dried up!  I am all out, empty.  I can’t come up with another single thing.”  And then I sit down, start doodlin’ and before I know it a morning has passed and I have a pile of stuff started.

God proves this is true, He sets an example of this all the time.  I am so often truly amazed, dumbfounded, electrified by the sheer magnitude of His creativity.  From the DNA that makes our core, to the clouds in the sky, to the infinite colors flashing on a fish, to the delicate petals of a flower, to the speckles of a pebble, to the majesty of a mountain.  He is is the ultimate creative soul.  He is the great innovator of all time.  He is the one who inspires us all to be more, see more, experience more.

Let’s pray today:

Thank you God for this amazing world you created, that you designed and formed from the beginning of time–that you continue to shape in each and every moment.  I often wonder if you sit back with satisfaction and enjoy your galaxies.  Help us to remember to take the time to appreciate all your work, forgive us for when we take it for granted. We thank  you for inspiring us to use the creativity you knit into our very DNA–to worship and glorify your name in the ways you created us uniquely to do.  We pray that you will lead us to recognize our gifts and to trust you that you have a plan for those gifts at the right moment that only YOU have planned.  Lord, you are.  You simply ARE, and we are so very amazed by YOU.

In Jesus’ name–all God’s people say…AMEN!

Have a great Memorial Day weekend!  Get out there and enjoy some creativity!

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