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Posts Tagged ‘Ephesians 6:18’

Recently, our eight-year-old granddaughter came up with a most intriguing Christmas wish list that boggled my mind:

Go Go Flamingo (an expensive toy)

Robux gift card (Max: $50)

Cloud Puddy (she means ‘putty’!)

Ipad with Apple pen

Pet hamster

Magic Mixies (another expensive toy)

Bunch of Reese’s chocolates from Nanna and Granddad!

New TV in my room

Five-dollar allowance monthly (optional)

Drivers’ licence, car and keys

Makeup desk with chair and wall mirror

Snuggles Dream Puppy (yet another expensive toy)

Hmm. Nothing like a list that ranges from special playdough and a few chocolates to a drivers’ licence and car—oh and the car keys would help too! Although Maxine has been quite reasonable, I suppose, with her request for a five-dollar allowance each month—especially since she has stated it is optional! I strongly suspect, however, that Maxine may be heading for disappointment as far as this list is concerned, except perhaps for one or two of the cheaper items included. And I know her parents would not welcome a hamster into the household!

I laughed at my granddaughter’s wonderful list when I first saw it. But as I have thought about it since, I have realised I have often made up equally weird lists over the years when it comes to asking God for things. In my late teens, I used to pray I could become a famous opera singer one day! Instead of heading to the Conservatorium, however, I ended up studying languages at university. Now, I think God honestly preserved me from making a big mistake back then.

Much later, I remember praying our children would turn out to be geniuses and always top their classes at school. In the end, God had to show me my prayers were really driven by my own desire to achieve academically, rather than our children’s own desires and interests. I was pushing my agenda onto them—and I was hoping God would step into line and make it all happen.

Of course, we can—and should—bring all sorts of requests to God, as the Apostle Paul urges us to:

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Ephesians 6:18

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6

Yet, sometimes, like a petulant child, I can demand things from God, then become upset and disappointed when I don’t receive them. How much better would it be if I took time to try to listen and hear God’s heart on these matters, even as I pray? And how much better it would be too if I accepted it when God, who is all-loving, all-knowing and all-wise, says no or perhaps ‘wait a while’?

I hope Maxine won’t be too disappointed when she doesn’t receive that car for Christmas—I suspect she was only kidding with that request anyway! I am sure she will be happy, whatever gifts she receives. And I am sure she will still love her parents and will know they love her so much too. As for me and those prayer requests of mine—and yours, I hope we can all continue to love and trust God, whatever the outcome, because God will never give up on loving us.

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p1040399I love each of my electronic devices. I almost live on my trusty laptop. I wouldn’t be without my mobile phone. And, as of Christmas Day, I now own a Tablet—although I have yet to figure out how to use it properly! But there is one thing I draw the line at. I refuse to give up my ‘hard copy’ diary. Yes, I know I can use a calendar on all these devices I own and link them in a way that is beyond my understanding. But no—I prefer my humble little diary, purchased from a Hot Dollar shop for $2.50!

There are advantages of swapping to an electronic diary/calendar, I’m sure. I could check my calendar via my mobile phone while out and set up appointments much more easily. I would have a record of the year ahead at my fingertips on several devices. I could store information about each speaking engagement in one place, rather than putting the main details only in my diary and typing the rest into a Word document on my laptop, as I do now. Surely this would be more efficient all round?

On the other hand, there are decided advantages in having a little paper diary. It will always open and ‘work’, wherever I am and without any power supply or wireless connection. I can scribble information in it quickly, even while still talking to someone. I don’t need to worry about the calamity of stored information disappearing altogether. But best of all, there are those pages at the back which enable me to keep all sorts of valuable information on hand—including the addresses and phone numbers of family and friends. Yes, I need to take time to transfer this information each year to my new diary—but that in itself is a huge blessing, as I discovered afresh this past week.

God has ways of ambushing us, don’t you think? As I began copying over details for close family members, it was as if God was reminding me to be thankful for each one of them and their unique personalities and to pray for them as the new year begins. What will 2017 hold for the one hoping for a new job? What about the ones studying hard to complete university degrees? How will our grandson fare as he starts ‘big school’?

Then as I write down details of close friends, I pray for them all as well. Some have big mountains in their lives to climb. Some have had such difficulties in the past year. Some are slowing down and enjoying retirement. I ask God to bless and strengthen them all. I pray too for our doctor, as I add her details. Who knows what issues she has in her life? Only God.

I am thankful God used my humble little diary to keep me on track in praying for each of these people. And I am so thankful for those who pray for me too. So as we step into 2017, may this be a year when we each faithfully keep track of and support one another in prayer even more.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:18 NLT

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Jo 23Over the past few years, I have had many interesting experiences speaking at all sorts of places. As I head out to these events, I sometimes wonder what lies ahead. Often, I have never met the person who has invited me to speak, since arrangements have been made only by phone or email. If it is a large venue, will I be able to find this person easily? I comfort myself with the thought that I look pretty obvious turning up with a couple of boxes of books to display. Surely that makes me somewhat recognisable—even apart from that photo on my website.

But I have learnt from experience to ask myself a few other questions as well. Will everything I need be there as promised? Will I be able to use my power point presentation with the equipment available or will I need to get my own from the car? Will I have time to attend to this, as well as set up my book display? And will too many people come and chat to me beforehand so that I can’t think what I need to do?

Having sorted all this out, will there be enough time left in their program for me to share all of my input? Or am I just there to fill in that ‘speaker’ space they know they have to have? Will people be interested in what I have to say? Will I be able to ignore the one or two who might fall asleep and instead focus on those lovely people who are smiling back at me?

No wonder I’m glad I have a secret weapon at my disposal in all my ‘book adventures’! In fact, I would not want to undertake these at all without it. You see, I have a little email prayer team, consisting of nine women who pray for me as God enables whenever I head out to speak anywhere. With one brief email, I can let all nine women know at one and the same time all about my next exciting speaking adventure. I know not all of them might be able to pray for each particular event or exactly when I speak. In fact, all some can do is just pray as they receive my email and ask God to guide and watch over me when I do speak. But who would not want such prayer? Surely our God is big enough to hear whenever we pray and to sort it out?

The longer I continue my speaking and writing journey, the more I am thankful for these women, some of whom have tracked with me for more than seven years now. I am so grateful for their ongoing faithful support in the midst of all the other demands on their time and energies.

But how about you? Do you have those around you who will stand by you and pray God’s blessing on you as you face life’s challenges? Are there those you could ask to provide this secret weapon for you? Or could you even perhaps activate that secret weapon for someone else in the new year?

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Eph 6:18

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