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prayer beads

A not fabulous photo of my prayer beads. Sorry! The camera is at the lake with the boys.

I loved Lori’s post, Proverbs and Peace, and planned to answer her question, “What are your favorite spiritual words of comfort?”, in my own post.  But it didn’t happen.

When I booted my computer to access this information, I got this message.  “Error 515: Power supply fan not found.” The machine is under warranty so we’re haggling with HP.

While I waited for HP to get it together, I called Customer Service for a yarn supplier to add another skein to my order since it was listed as “in process” and not “shipped.”  Unfortunately, in process can also mean packed.   No luck there.

When the boys left for their hunting trip, I set about fixing my dinner.  I always make stir fried broccoli when they’re gone because my husband can’t eat it.  Not surprisingly, given the rest of the day, I found some kind of caterpillar building condos in the broccoli.

There are times this would be the icing on an awful day.  Last night, I just laughed.

What made the difference?  This past week, I have made the time to pray each and every morning.  I’m not going to tell you that I pray for an hour or even 20 minutes.  The reality is probably a lot closer to 5 minutes.

But it is five minutes that I sit with my prayer beads.  I start with prayers of praise and recognition of God.  Then I move on to . . . whatever.  Some days I pray for various people I know who are sick or looking for work.  Some days I pray friends who are expecting their first child, or my son who is starting his second semester of high school, or my husband who has to deal with HP.

I don’t take long, but I focus, and I pray.  And I think it makes all the difference in the world in how I deal with life’s little bumps and detours.  IMO it helps because I’m taking time to connect with something bigger than myself.  I’m focusing on something other than myself.  I’m turning outward.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, try to pray quietly just a few minutes each day.  The more overwhelmed you feel, the harder it will be to focus.  That’s why I use prayer beads.  You can also walk a labyrinth or use a fingertip labyrinth.  If you find a way to pray, you’ll see a difference and you might even laugh at the worm in your broccoli.

–SueBE

One of the parables that I taught in my class was the Parable of the Persistent Widow.  Normally, I link to the Scripture, but I’ll include it here since this one is brief.

Luke 18: 1-8

1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’
4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”
6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

The first time I heard this parable, I wondered what the lesson was.  Sure, there’s the obvious lesson – if persistence will wear down the unjust, won’t God also hear us? But Christ never let a teaching moment go with just the surface message.  As I studied what other people said about this parable, I realized that I truly had missed the deeper meaning – the lesson of persistent prayer.

Often, when we pray, we bring something up to God one time and then brush it from our hands. Whew.  One prayer task accomplished!  We check it off our to-do list.

But that isn’t what God wants.  God wants us to pray persistently, to come before Him again and again.

There are several reasons for this.

Putting ourselves and our prayers before God, moves our focus to Him.  He wants us to reach towards him and one of the ways that we can do this is through prayer.

Reaching toward Him, gazing into his loving heart, we will gain what the widow had – Hope.  Faith.  If we come before God, it will strengthen our Faith.  Why?  Because we will be gazing into He who gives us all that is good.  We will not be focused on what is muddled up around us.

And finally, renewal.  How do I know that even in the midst of your troubles, you will be renewed?  Read Isaiah 40: 31.

But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Go before God.  Pray to Him again and again.  It will change your focus.  It will strengthen your faith and lighten your load. And the spring in your step will be there for all to see.

Go.  Pray.  Now.

–SueBE


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