Let what you SEE guide how you PRAY

We recently had a time for focussed prayer for the church, our community and the world. It was wonderful to know that we were praying together even though we were separate.  We have another opportunity to spend some time in focussed prayer - this time will be a little different.  You don’t need to sign up, and this time we would like you to be intentional about your prayer time as you go for a walk.  

 

May 22nd anytime during the day or evening, go for a walk as a family, by yourself or with a friend and take time to pray.  A “prayer walk” can be done a lot of different ways.  I would suggest praying out loud as you walk along (and with your eyes open so you don’t bump into anything or fall down LOL) in your neighborhood, or around the church or at a park, or at your school and let what you see guide how you pray.  

 

Here are some examples of what you could pray based on what you might see: 

  • When you pass a business you could ask God to bless the business owner and help the business to thrive and be a blessing to the community.  

  • When you see a sign in the yard with a Senior in high school's name on it, pray for that student and that God would guide them as they start the next chapter in their life. 

  • If you see children’s toys out in the yard, you could pray that the children are healthy and growing in their understanding of how much Jesus loves them and that they listen to their parents and have peace in their home.  

  • You can thank God for the beauty that you see with the flowers and trees in bloom

  • Pray for racial tensions to lessen and kindness and love to spread. 

  • When you pass a school - you can pray for teachers who are weary and in need of rest after this very difficult year that they would be encouraged and finish the year well. For students who are learning that they would do their best and stay safe and that those who are struggling with friendships or learning would be included and supported. 

  • Pray for any community worker you may see - postal service, road construction, firefighters, grocery store workers, police officers etc.

  • As you pass a cemetery you can ask God to comfort those who are grieving and that he would be their refuge and sustain them with His perfect love.

  • Ask God to bless those neighbors by name that you know - that there would be shalom in their homes and that marriages would be strengthened.

  • As you hear the birds sing thank God for his creation and praise him for who he is. (Creator, Redeemer, Savior, Friend, Companion, Healer, Alpha and Omega, Able, Good Father)

  • If you pass a church - pray for the Pastor and leaders that they would be grounded in the truth of God’s word and proclaim the gospel with love.

  • Pray that God’s Kingdom would come and His will be done. (and any other part of the Lord’s prayer that comes to mind - lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil)

 

Those are just a few of the ways that you can let what you see guide how you pray.  Take time to notice, and be aware. Ask God to guide your prayers before you begin, that you would listen as well as talk.  You could write a couple of scripture verses on a 3x5 card to take with you and pray those for the families that you pass.  (suggested verses on the prayer resource can be found on the Household WELL download page on our website, www.livelifetogether.com)  

 

As you are walking and you meet up with someone, you can certainly engage in a conversation and let them know you are praying as you walk and would be happy to pray for them as well if they had any concerns.  You could even offer to stop and pray right then if you would like to. There is no pressure to do this and not a requirement, but be open to what God might be wanting to do.  The amazing thing about prayer walking is that it can happen anytime, anywhere.  Certainly not just on May 22nd, but how fun to know many of us on that day will be walking and talking to our Heavenly Father asking him to help us love our neighbors and that they would know and love him as well.  

 

If you have any questions contact Amy at ameyer@livelifetogether.com.  You can share stories with us and let us know how it goes.  

 

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”  Romans 12:12

 
 

Which Door Will You Choose?

 

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” - Matthew 7:13-14

 

The Christian church, especially in America, has been accused sometimes by those outside the church of being exclusive -- of being too narrow.  And as believers, we might ask: Why is it that people look at religion and discard this idea of narrowness? Why wouldn’t people choose the right door? Is it because it is morally inconvenient? 

 

Yes. It is morally inconvenient because it doesn’t fit our own preferences, and that makes us uncomfortable. We want to be accepted in the Kingdom. We want to be loved but we want it on our terms. We want it however we want to make it up. We like to think about the idea of going to heaven when we die based on whatever and however we want to enter in. 

 

We tend to ignore certain truths in the Scripture because it’s not convenient to the way we are currently living our lives. And we change it so that it fits. And yet, Jesus very clearly introduces us to two doors, which means there are no options. So, what’s behind these two doors? 

 

Behind Door No. 2 = Wide Door 

The wide door seems inclusive, loving. It seems free, but it leads to a different and dangerous place: DEATH. But why does it seem to be appealing, iInclusive, loving, and freeing? It’s because through the broad and wide door, we don’t have to make many choices when it comes to evil, things that are contrary to God’s holy will. 

 

Evil is all around us. We have but to let ourselves go to experience it and to get caught up in it. It’s easy to be swept up in it and through it. That’s how wide this door is. It is easily accessible. Sin and wickedness is very much available now to us. We’re very much surrounded by the temptations to do evil. This is one reason why there are times we find it easier to get anxious and be worried than to be patient and to trust. It’s more convenient to respond in anger rather than hold our tongues whenever we’re caught up in a swell of emotions. It’s sometimes easier to be affected by the news that we hear than to stay calm and keep ourselves in God’s truth.

 

It is so wide we cannot miss it. We need to merely permit ourselves to go with the crowd and we’re caught up in it. Why is the wrong way broad? Because sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4) and if there is no law in sin, then it makes it easier for us to fall into. The wide variety of evil makes it appealing. It’s everyone turning to his own way. We are counseled today by the world to accept all that is on the wide path and count it as equal to the truth. But what if all the outside paths actually lead to death? And all the other doors actually lead to danger? Wouldn't it be wise to stay on the one right path?

 

Behind Door No. 1 = Narrow Door

 

The door is narrow because there is only ONE way. And if there is only one way to experience this abundant life with God, why then would we question this door in favor of all the other options that we might discover? Why couldn’t we stop and say: “Lord, thank you for creating a door. Thank you for giving us a way out. Thank you for giving us a way into the streams of living water. Thank you for showing us a way where we can experience that!”? 

 

We need to remember that there is no other person in the history of mankind who has faced death and died and rose on His own power. There is no other one. There is no other one who fulfilled all of the prophecies in the Old Testament written and transcribed hundreds of years before His birth. There is no other one who effectively fulfilled all that Father commanded in the law and prophets, thus satisfying the holiness required to be perfect and holy. Only Jesus. (John 14:6

 

Jesus provided an open door for us. Because we can’t do it. We can’t fulfill all of it. The door cannot be opened by us because we all fall short ( Romans 3:23), and that’s why God had to do something about our predicament, so He sent Jesus to be the only door, the only way to the Kingdom of God. Think about Jesus. There is no other who perfectly loves the world and transforms the human heart than Jesus.  He opens the door from death to life. There is nothing more broad, more loving, and more inclusive than the Christian message, the message of the Gospel of Jesus that is for ALL people. It is not designated for a few. 

 

We can choose to celebrate that there is a door to receive the blessing of life that the Father longs to share with each of us, and as we think about Jesus who claims to be this door, let’s remember what He did on the cross for us and follow Him through the door that He opened. 

 

The truth is, while there is an infinite diversity of wrong ways, there is but one right way and that is JESUS. Today, once again, we are given our choice. Which door will you use?

 
 

Prayer Boxes

This year, as we focus on our homes becoming Household Wells in our neighborhoods, we thought it would be fun to come together and make something tangible we could each use to bless our communities. Have you heard of a neighborhood prayer box? Simply put, it's a box that you leave in your yard/porch/office/anywhere visible. People are invited to leave a prayer request in the box. Then, you as a household pray for those requests. 
 
Where you put the box and how you set it up is up to you. Perhaps you can attach it to a pole next to your mailbox. Or maybe you leave it outside of your apartment door. Maybe a local business will let you leave it on their counter. Or perhaps on your desk in your office is where you want to offer support. Start dreaming and praying about how God wants you to use your prayer request box!
 
On June 27th, from 10:15-noon (come anytime in that time frame) we will have a prayer box assembly party. All of the materials you need, as well as step-by-step directions, will be available so you and your family can put together your own wooden prayer box. We will have work stations set up for families to be distanced from others. We will also have these boxes available as take-home kits. The boxes are $25 each to cover materials, but we don't want anyone left out for financial reasons. You can read more about these kits and all the details in the sign-up form.
 
Please register by June 1 to allow us time to prep the prayer box kits. You can find out more and register here: https://forms.gle/s6YmAqfNqDT1xxJ7A
 
I also found a neat blog and video about a family who used a prayer box in their neighborhood. You can check that out here: https://www.sallycressman.com/creative-ideas/putting-a-steeple-on-your-house-through-prayer/.
 
For more information and questions, contact Emily at epowers@livelifetogether.com
 

Celebrate!

We have much to celebrate!!  It is good to recount our blessings and say THANK YOU to God!!  “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” That is the stanza that is repeated over and over in Psalm 136.  This is going to be a bit of a rewrite of Psalm 136 as we rejoice with one another at some of the ways God has blessed us over the last few months at the Church.

 

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever; 

To him who brought us 7 new households for our online Connections,

For his steadfast loves endures forever;

And who has enabled us to stream our worship services live while meeting in person,

For his steadfast love endures forever;

And who let us have 22 households start a penzu journal and live out being a well,

For his steadfast love endures forever;

And who has kept our preschool open all year without any cases of covid,

For his steadfast love endures forever;

To the one who has blessed us with faithful families who return a tithe to worship God for all his good gifts and support our ministry,

For his steadfast love endures forever;

To him who has brought so many back to in person worship,

For his steadfast love endures forever;

To him who has kept lifeGroups meeting virtually and caring for one another and praying for each other,

For his steadfast love endures forever;

And the one who has taught and deepened the faith of our Higher Ground students,

And brought 5 new babies into the family of God through the waters of baptism,

For his steadfast love endures forever;

And to the one who has sustained and supported those who are struggling and hurting and lonely and sick through His presence and through the love of the body of Christ,

For his steadfast love endures forever and ever. Amen

 

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!  We have many, many blessings to celebrate!!  

 

You can try this at home as well.  If you go to our website www.livelifetogether.com under Household WELL you can find a template for Psalm 136 for an individual and for a family.  Try it out!!  You could even post your example in your Penzu journal.  

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, 

to sing praises to the Most High.” 

 Psalm 92:1

 
 

Write to Remember

“Write it down so you don’t forget.”   Have you ever heard those words or said them yourself?  The meaning can range from writing down an appointment so you remember to show up, or a list of items that you need to pick up at the grocery store or writing down your thoughts and feelings about an event that you have experienced.  No matter the context one thing is for sure, when we write it down it helps us remember.  In the writing, we slow down to process and get it out of our head and onto paper, and then we can go back and read it again and again.  

 

In 2021 we have set a goal to have 40 household wells keep a journal.  We want our households to see themselves as a well where the living water of Jesus flows freely to others.  Where they Welcome in Jesus, Engage with neighbors, Listen to others and God, and Love to try.  The journal is a place to keep a record of what the household is learning, discovering, doing, trying, how they have seen God’s faithfulness, and what they are struggling with during the year.   Why write it down?  So we can REMEMBER and give thanks to God and encourage one another that we are not alone on this journey, and inspire one another to share the water with those who are thirsty. 

 

How are we doing so far?  We have 22 Households participating. (Yay!)  There is also a journal for the church staff for the Leadership Board and for prompts. 

 

We would love to have some more journals started AND the journals that we do have, to add more entries.  It is easy to forget to add an entry and we know most households have so much going on it can be seen as “one more thing - and I don’t have space for one more thing”.  Our encouragement to you, is give it a try!  Perhaps on Sunday evenings you could take a few minutes and reflect on your week as a family and consider what could be added to the journal.  (it doesn’t have to take a long time)

 

Check out the prompts.  One of the journals is called “Journal Prompts” and you will find several prompts for each month.  You don’t have to answer each one, pick out the ones that resonate with you.  Interview your kids and add what they say.  If you make it part of your rhythm it will be easier to do.  Maybe find someone to help hold you accountable.  Send each other a text reminder.   If you have a journal, who could you encourage to start one and join you in the fun of reflecting on what God is up to and recording it?  

 

You may be thinking, “I’m not a good writer.”  You do not have to be a good writer. No one is going to give you a grade on this or check your spelling.  It is simply a place to capture the amazing things that God is doing in our midst.  And we really can’t remember as well if we don’t write it down.  And, it does not have to be perfect! You can just add bullet points, and thoughts that are not complete sentences.  Try just adding pictures with a short caption.  

 

If you are unsure how to set up the journal, you can email ameyer@livelifetogether and I would be happy to walk you through the simple steps.  It is not too late to start!!