Authorpreneur Dashboard – Leoma G Gilley

Leoma G Gilley

Praying for BIG Things

Christian Books & Bibles

We face many issues in our world today that we don’t really know how to pray for: addictions, illness, depression, loss, leadership, refugees and persecuted communities, natural disasters, racism, sexual abuse as well as violence and terrorism. This book aims to offer prayers based on scripture for these issues, praying God’s Word.

Book Bubbles from Praying for BIG Things

Grieving hurts

This week, a very close friend passed from this life to be with her LORD and Savior. She was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer last year. After some chemotherapy, she had a brief reprieve, but this week, she left this earth, confident in her future. She knew on Friday she would not be here on Tuesday, and she was right. I rejoice for her, but I miss her. Let's remember to pray for those who are suffering, that they too can be free of pain and weakness.

Freedom from Addiction

The news is full of reports about illegal drugs flooding the country. Hundreds of thousands of people die each year because of these dangerous drugs. Many others are caught in the downward cycle of alcohol addiction. They and their families need help and protection. Let's join together to pray for God's Spirit to rescue these addicts and put them on a positive path to true freedom.

Know someone in trouble?

We all know someone who is going through a difficult time. Here is a prayer of protection from Psalm 121 that you can pray for them. I have a friend who may soon be going into hospice. She is in a lot of pain. It is a comfort to me to pray that God protects her from stumbling, guards her from every evil, and watches over her as she passes from this life to the next. Who can you offer this prayer for?

A prayer for Earth Day

We have just had Earth Day, so here is a prayer that we humans will take care of the planet God gave us to live on. It's the only one we have. Let's seek to be good stewards of the beauty and resources we enjoy.

Vengeance?

Has someone hurt you? Have you experienced injustice? Are you eager to pay them back for what they've done? Many are, and the world is in a mess as a result. But in these verses we are reminded that God says "Vengeance is mine. I will repay." We may fail to see that happen as quickly as we would like, but I believe God's vengeance will be much more appropriate than anything you or I could do. Let's conquer evil by doing good.

Overcoming Discouragement

These days, discouragement is hard to avoid. The brokenness of our world touches us in so many ways. What can we do? This prayer from Psalm 1 helps us to focus on the LORD. God will help the weak, and won't give up on us. In fact, God makes us stronger as we feed ourselves with God's Word. Let's depend on the One who knows ALL to guide us through our darkest days.

What if your child starved?

Northern Gaza is in the news these days. Famine is killing children and adults. If your child were starving, how would you pray? What would you do? We need to stand with those who suffer to ask the God who has no limits to intervene and bring help to those in such desperate need. Will you pray?

Are you Fearful?

Many of us live in fear. We may be in a hostile situation like people in Ukraine. Or maybe there is a shortage of food and water as in Gaza. Some fear for their loved ones who have been taken hostage as in Israel. Families may be living with an abuser and afraid to leave. Others may have just had bad health news and fear the outcome will not be what they had hoped. For any of our fears, we can pray to take refuge in God, our fortress that cannot be shaken.

Hungry and Thirsty

Having spent many years living in Khartoum, Sudan, my heart goes out to the people caught in the middle of a civil war. A recent report said that one out of every 20 people can each one meal a day. Starvation is very real. We know the people in Gaza lack food, clean water, and medicines. You are probably aware of other places where people are in need. Let's ask the Lord of the Harvest to provide and protect these people.

Loving our Neighbors

In this prayer, we ask for God to provide for the needs of those who are weary and anxious, widows and orphans, along with the oppressed and hungry. How often do we think of people who are struggling in one way or another? It's easy to forget about them, but God never forgets. Let's try to have the mind and heart of our Savior.

Chilean Fires

The Chilean people need our prayers as fires sweep the land. Lives, homes, and possessions have been lost. As we are learning from a similar event in Maui, rebuilding is a very long and painful process. Let's support the people affected through our prayers.

Pray for your enemies

Have you ever prayed for God's mercy for sexual predators? It's a hard thing to do. We could pray more easily for judgment, harsh punishment, and even destruction. But to pray for their salvation after the many little ones they have hurt? That takes remembering how much God has forgiven us. But God tells us no one is beyond his grace.

Order in the midst of chaos

When I look at the issues and challenges of the world around me, the difficulties of those I know, the frustration and helplessness about things I can't control, I get upset! Where is God? Well, God is seeing all of this chaos as well, but God has a plan. That plan has never changed. God will bring his purposes to a good conclusion. God's will cannot be shaken. It is good to remind ourselves of this fact.

Prayers for Leadership

As we begin this election year, we need to be praying for those who want to lead us at all levels. We can choose, so as God-followers, we should choose wisely. We need to consider not only policy, but also character. May God give us the leaders we need.

Prayers for Weather

Do you pray about the weather? This week, the US is experiencing an Arctic blast across the country. When the power goes out in homes, how do people keep warm and eat? How do homeless people survive? In this prayer, we ask God to deliver those in difficult circumstances. We have hope that God can and will provide places of shelter and safety. We are grateful that God cares about all the needs in the world.

Changing minds and hearts

Have you noticed? People can be really mean. I just watched a short video of people running down a dusty street with the sounds of gunfire and bombs exploding. Small children wailed while the one filming cried "Jesus is LORD." and "Christ, have mercy!" But how do we pray for those causing this chaos? Today's selection offers some words when we may have none. Pray them for some situation that touches your heart.

Is this the time?

As we enter this new year, we will need to make millions of decisions. Some of those will be simple, others complicated. What should I say in this situation? Should I not say anything? We need to ask for help from God, who is aware of what we should be doing and when we should do it. May God give us wisdom and understanding as we make these decisions.

2023 Hottest Year on Record

As I listened to a news report this morning, I learned that this year was the hottest on record for over 150 years. 2024 is likely to be worse. The disasters associated with a warming planet include: fires, droughts, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes that are increasingly intense. We haven't done a great job of managing our world, and we need to improve on that or we will suffer the consequences. We must ask for God's forgiveness and ask for guidance and courage to change the direction.

Love reaches out

Yes, genuine love reaches out to those around us and those far away. We can express our love in words, cards, gifts, contributions to those in need. God reached out to us by sending Jesus to show us what God is like. Now it is our turn to be God's hands and feet to bring hope and healing and love to a broken and hurting world.

We Need PEACE

While Isaiah wrote these verses thousands of years ago, they are appropriate for today. With fighting in Israel and Gaza, Ukraine, Sudan and so many other places, we long for all wars to stop and the need for military training to come to an end. May God bring our world to a place of peace, and may that begin with me.

Who needs HOPE?

Have you found yourself or someone you know in need of hope during this season? The holidays can be very difficult for some. Others find themselves dealing with illness, loss, depression. There are places in the world where fear and fighting have become the norm. We all go through times when we need hope, but true hope really comes from God. God dispenses justice to those in the wrong, which gives hope to the innocent who suffer. Let's pray for hope during this season of Advent.

Holidays can be lonely

Sometimes we are alone. At other times, people can surround us, but we still feel alone. The verses that provide the basis for this prayer remind us that God is always with us. In fact, we can't get away from him. God knows where we are, how we feel, what we need. We just need to open our eyes and hearts to see it.

Troubles got you down?

Alone in a hospital? Wondering how members of your family are doing? Feeling estranged from family and friends? Whatever the reason, loneliness can get us down. The holidays can be very difficult if we do not connect well with family or friends. One thing is sure, God never leaves us or forsakes us. God is present if we just take time to notice.

Injustice is all around us

It seems everywhere we look there is some kind of injustice. How do we begin to pray about all those things? It's easy to throw up our hands and give up. But let's allow the Scriptures to help us. This prayer is based on Psalm 35. We don't always know who the righteous are or who is standing with them, but God knows. We can't go wrong praying God's words back to him.

Do You Want Justice?

We see so much boasting and bragging from leaders today. It is discouraging, but God has a message for them. God will judge those who are wicked. God decides who will rise and who will fall. Let's pray together that God will increase the power of the godly.

No way out

People are feeling trapped in situations they can't get out of: Palestinians, soldiers, patients, those who are being abused. We need to pray for those in such difficult situations to endure and to be brought to a better place.

Prayer for Pastors

How often do you pray for the leaders in your church? I don't do that nearly enough. I found this prayer to be very helpful to direct my mind and thoughts and prayers to supporting my church leaders and missionaries. They often face difficulties and struggles we know nothing about, and yet they must continue to lead. They need God's help, and we can support them in that by our prayers.

Israel and Gaza

Our hearts grieve for the loss of life, heartache and devastation we see on our TV screens after Hamas' attack on Israel and the reactions to it. As Deuteronomy points out, people have choices between life and death, between blessings and curses. We must pray for the leaders of all the nations to choose life so that people thrive rather than struggle to survive.

Hamas and Israel at war

Hundreds dead, captives taken, uncertainty reigns. How do we pray for countries at war? We can choose a side and hope God is on the same side we are. Or, we can pray for an end to all conflicts, as in this prayer for peace. Our world is broken and in need of God's healing power. Let's pray to that end.

It's cancer!

Two weeks ago, I found out that a very dear friend has Stage 4 cancer. It is widespread. Other complications have prevented her starting on chemotherapy, and no one can tell whether she will tolerate the treatment. For someone who wasn't on ANY medication, this is a fast come-down. But how do we pray in such situations? I feel hopeless, and yet hopeful, as she is a Christian and has no fear of death. She just wants more time to be doing what she loves and does so very well. She is walking with the Shepherd.

Libya's Disaster

It is hard to imagine a quarter of a city disappears in a wave of water. People and homes washed out to sea. Whole families lost. Homes and businesses destroyed. Possessions gone. Those left behind try to make sense of what has happened while they dig in the mud for the dead, find bodies washed up on the shore. They face financial loss in addition to the loss of family, homes, everything. How do we pray for people in such a condition?

Moroccan Earthquake

A 6.8 magnitude earthquake has killed nearly 3000 people. I cannot imagine such loss and devastation. Once again, we feel helpless, and even if we send some money for relief, it seems such a small amount. What else can we do? Of course, we can pray. We can pray for strength to go on for those who survived, comfort for those who mourn their looses. We need to remember that our God is not helpless, nor was God caught off-guard. Let's call on our all-powerful God to be their defender.

Suicide Prevention Month

While I wrote this prayer during the pandemic, it is still relevant today. So many of our young people struggle with loneliness and isolation and poor self-image. Let's pray for God's protection over those who struggle with life that they find hope to keep going. Also we pray that God will protect them during the hard times and bring help when it is needed.

Praying for those in dark places

This week I read of 13,000 children starving in Chad because their parents fled the violence in Darfur and Khartoum, Sudan. They didn't deserve this! Their parents are helpless in the face of war, violence, and few resources. The people in Maui whose homes burned are still trying to figure out how to cope with their losses. They are walking in darkness, and they need the light of hope. Let's pray for God's light to shine on them and give them the strength and provision they so desperately need.

Fires, Floods, Earthquakes

There are so many disasters in our world today. The news is full of lost homes, lost loved ones, and lost hope. As we interact with these situations, we can pray for deliverance for those affected. Thankfully, our God knows the details. We don't have to. God answers our prayers, so let's be faithful to offer those prayers on behalf of those in such desperate need.

Losing homes, losing hope

Recent fires and tornadoes have destroyed people's homes and businesses. These losses are devastating. Anxiety, depression, and fear can quickly take over. We can support these needy people through our prayers. God is the ultimate comfort, and we can petition God to restore hope and bring peace to those in need.

Conquering prejudice

In today's prayer, the solution to our prejudice is to start with ourselves. We all react to people and situations we don't know or understand with caution, but sometimes we also have preconceived notions about them. Is God prejudiced? No, he loves all of us equally. So, if we ask to have our hearts reflect God's, we will all be better people, showing love and compassion.

Prayer for Peace and Justice

As the election season continues to heat up, we need to pray for our leaders. The leaders of our cities and counties, our state, our country and our world. Stirring up anxiety and anger leads to destruction, while peace and justice lead to prosperity. Let's keep this in mind so we keep our sentiments in line with God's desire for order and respect for those in authority.

Longing for justice?

We want to find justice and righteousness, but are we willing to offer it to others? I find I'm too quick to judge, to assume the worst in others. How often have I failed to show others the same compassion that I show myself, or that God has shown me? I fear too many times I've failed. This prayer of confession can help us deal with the log in our own eye before we try to sort out the speck in our neighbor's eye. May God help us.

Lost? Lonely? Afraid?

Recently a number of my friends have shared their fears, concerns, sadness and needs with me. I can't fix them, but I can pray for them. But what should I pray? Praying for BIG Things enables us to turn to the Scriptures for inspiration. We pray to the One who loves us best and has the power to overcome any difficulty. Let's pray BIG!

Anyone Distressed?

Do you sometimes feel everyone is distressed and you don't know how to think about it all, let alone pray for it. God knows each heart and all those who struggle - which is all of us at some point. These words from Luke are comforting. There is hope. there is help. And that help is now available. Let's take courage and pray for those in need as well as for ourselves.

Do you know a stubborn person?

I think we all know someone who has a strong stubborn streak. We all have that to some extent. We decide what we believe, and changing our mind is not an option. Many hold on to those beliefs, even when they are clearly not true. We need new hearts and new spirits that reflect who God is. Let's pray for our stubborn friends as well as ourselves, that God would make us new.

Lost in a submarine?

I can't think of a more helpless position to be in - in a submarine that is lost somewhere under the sea. As vessels rush to their rescue, we can add our prayers for rescue and recovery. But it isn't only those in physical danger who need our prayers. There are many struggles that bring us to a state of despair, and we need to pray to our God who raises the dead. Only God can bring life out of a deadly situation. Let's pray to a great God who is worthy of our praise.

Looking forward with hope

Life can get us down. There are so many problems we can't fix. Sometimes we even wonder if it is worth continuing to try. But we have hope in the One who does have the power to change things. And there will be a day when all will be made right. We can live with a lot of issues, provided we have hope. Let's pray for that confidence in God to bring hope to the despairing and to ourselves as well.

"How can I find food?"

I received a message from a friend in Khartoum asking which organizations were distributing food. Immediately I went on the Internet to find out, but there was little information. What do I tell this family whom I've known for years? I give them what information I have, limited though it is. And I pray for them. They live in a war zone with no food, no money, no way to get money, and no way to escape. They are trusting God to provide, and I'm praying for that as well. Will you join me?

Anyone struggling?

If I'm not currently struggling with something, I know someone who is. I'm guessing you do as well. Do you find yourself saying, "God, please help X." God knows how to do that, but I feel I need to be a bit more specific. This prayer for endurance covers a lot of things for a lot of people, and best of all, it comes straight from God. These prayers, based on Scripture, offer us a way to pray for ourselves and others using God's own words. How can we improve on that?

Anyone Struggling?

If we are not struggling with something, we know someone who is. Do you find yourself saying, "God, please help X." What does 'help' mean? We don't know so we just leave it up to God. That's not bad, but sometimes we need to be more specific. His prayer for Endurance helps us cover more specific situations, and the words come from God. So, how can we improve on that?

How do you fight a spiritual battle?

My heart is with the Sudanese people who are suffering terribly because of two proud rivals. While there is physical fighting, there is also a spiritual battle going on. The desire for power, primarily for personal gain, is deadly. Many Sudanese have fled, many more cannot run away. It is over 100*F with no power, no water, and very little food. Step outside your house, and risk being shot. But God is able to rescue, to stop this senseless violence. Let's pray this prayer for the Sudanese and others today.

Feeling alone?

Loneliness is at pandemic levels these days. We may feel alone, abandoned, not understood. But we have a God who completely knows us and never leaves us. There is no location where God cannot see us. What a comfort. In addition to finding support in God's presence for ourselves, let's also pray for others we know who may be feeling the same way.

Stand Against Aggression

First Ukraine and now Sudan - facing aggression in its most brutal form. People are without food, water, electricity. Even hiding in their homes isn't safe, as mortars can come through the roof at any moment. Leaving isn't an option because of fighting in the streets. What would you do to protect your children in such a situation? We must answer this aggression with the help of our mighty and powerful God. We PRAY for these BIG Things and God will hear and answer.

Living out Easter

We have just celebrated the amazing love and power of our LORD, Jesus Christ. He loved us to the end, and commands us to follow his example. How well do we love those around us, especially those we don't particularly like? Let us take up this challenge to live in love with those around us.

Stopping Violence

Violence and mass shootings are becoming commonplace in our nation. How do we stop this? The debate rages on, but the solutions are difficult to identify. One effective thing we can do is pray. Usually, we think of prayer as our last alternative, when it needs to be our first. We can petition our powerful God to deal with potentially violent people before they get to the point of action. Let's pray for their rescue and healing before it is too late.

Tornadoes and Loss

The photos of the destruction in Mississippi and Alabama are heart-rending. Tornadoes tore apart businesses, homes and lives. We can uphold these folks in prayer as well as sending aid to them. But how do we know what to pray? The losses are so great and the need so vast, only God can truly help them overcome these difficulties and challenges.

Feeling the Crunch?

Banks fail, inflation continues to rise, safety nets are removed. Is it any wonder people feel overwhelmed, crushed beneath the weight of it all? Yes, our circumstances may look grim, but as a child of God, there is hope. Not only is there hope, there is help. God is not limited by our circumstances. Let us pray with faith to the God who has control of it all.

Slaves to sin and corruption

Sin leads us into some very dark places, all the while telling us how free we are. Those who continue on that dark path can become twisted in their desires and perceptions. Then they lead others down that same hopeless path. Let's pray that they will become untangled and freed from sin. May they come to a knowledge of the truth and be truly set free.

Prayers for Christian Leaders

When was the last time you prayed for your pastor? What about the elders? deacons? mission leaders? missionaries? It's all too easy to assume these people have some special link to God, but they are people — just like you and me. They also need guidance and encouragement. Let's offer our prayers for them this week.

A year of war in Ukraine

We are just noting the first anniversary of Russia's war with Ukraine. How much suffering has taken place in both countries? How long will this continue? We know the people of Russia are not evil, but there is evil at work in the leadership of that great land. The poor and the orphans are suffering and need our prayers. They need HOPE most of all, and that hope comes from God. Let's pray for their protection and relief. May there be no more anniversaries to note.

Rescuers and Victims

As the number of dead continues to rise from the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, we know those left behind are experiencing unimaginable grief and loss. Why were they spared when others died? How will they live now their homes and possessions are gone? Those seeking to aid these needy people can also become overwhelmed with the task. But then there are those who want to benefit from the suffering of others, to steal what has been given. We cry out for mercy, for hope, for guidance, and for protection for these in need.

Despair in Turkey and Syria

I can't imagine the despair and hopelessness felt by the people impacted by the recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria. Buildings come crashing down, lives lost, injuries, loss of possessions, loss of loved ones. We need to pray for them that God, in his mercy, would protect, comfort and provide. We pray for the rescuers, as well as those in need of help. Praying for BIG Things seeks to offer prayers for these BIG issues in life for which we have no other words. These prayers come from Scripture, so we are praying God's words back to him. What better thing could we do?

As government gears up,let's pray

We have returning leaders at state and federal level that need our prayers. There are new legislators arriving and finding their feet in their new posts. We need to pray for honesty, faithfulness, and care for those they serve. Can we make a difference? YES! Our God is BIG and can solve BIG problems. So, let's regularly take our petitions on behalf of our leaders to our powerful, loving God.

Human Trafficking Awareness Month

January is Human Trafficking Awareness month, so I have included a prayer for healing. We need to "unblind" our eyes to this heinous problem. We must pray for those caught up in this practice, whether victims or perpetrators. Sometimes we think of prayer as a last resort when it should be our first. Prayer is powerful, and God is concerned about each person. Let us join with God to pray for rescue, healing and restoration.

While we feast, they starve

In the Christmas season, as we enjoy special meals and treats, there are thousands of people starving. I'm particularly aware of the famine in East Africa since I lived there for many years. Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Kenya are all affected. Less than 50% of the money needed for aid has been promised. What do parents tell their starving children? So, while we feast, let's pray for provision for those in dire need.

Showing Love

In this 3rd week of Advent, the focus is on Love. We want to show our love to friends and family by sending Christmas cards and buying gifts, making special foods, and getting together. It is also a time of giving, a time of compassion for those in need. We need to show our trust and faith in God by living out our love by what we do.

Do you have ADHD?

The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are chaotic at best. There are presents to buy and food to prepare, travel plans to make, parties to attend. It's easy to lose focus on what is really important - like love, joy, peace, hope, giving,. The LORD is our refuge and strength, always ready to help us when life spins out of control.

How do you pray about sex trafficking?

In my home area, an organization has started a safe house for underage girls rescued from sex trafficking. Hard to think about, isn't it? What if your daughter was lured into that situation? How do we pray for an incident where a man pretends to be a teenager on the internet, and then convinces a 15-year old girl into revealing where she is. He then goes across the country to meet her, kills her family and burns their house. How do we pray about that? The Scriptures give us words, even for these unthinkable situations. We have a powerful God and we need to pray BIG prayers for our broken world.

Provision in this time of Thanksgiving

We have many things for which to be grateful. Even when times are challenging and inflation is high. But we also know that many are struggling with intractable problems and need a helping hand. That help may be food or shelter and may include justice, freedom, or restoration. So in this season of Thanksgiving, let's consider our blessings and how we can be a blessing to others.

Longterm Illness

I have been house-bound with various illnesses for the past two months. It has given me greater sympathy for others who are suffering and facing discouragement and loneliness. This has been a time for me to trust God in new ways and to experience God's loving presence. So, this is an appropriate prayer for those you know who are suffering. And God will do more than we would ever dare to ask or imagine.

Elections are over, now work begins

We've had a chance to vote for our preferred candidates. Now it is time for those elected to get to work. As the Bible says in Matthew 12:25, a house divided against itself will not stand. We need to pray fervently for the peace of our cities, our country and our world.

Hurricanes Fiona and Ian

We grieve with the people of Puerto Rico, Florida and South Carolina as they've recently experienced the ravages of these powerful storms. Homes and businesses lost, lives lost, survivors whose lives are upended. We can make financial contributions, but we also need to pray. But what can we say? Praying for BIG Things offers a beginning for our prayers - words from Scripture so we pray God's own words back to him. How can we go wrong?

Opening closed minds and hearts

Do you want people to be nicer? More open to new ideas? More kind? More centered on God? Do we want to be more like Christ? We are called by God to be children of light. Let's pray that we and our neighbors will be more open to the Spirit, open to the truth, using helpful speech, showing kindness and forgiving each other as God has forgiven us.

How to pray for those in despair

Do you feel helpless in the face of floods, fires, drought, famine, war? It all seems too much to bear, and it is very easy to fall into despair. Using God's own Word, we pray for those facing despair - others or ourselves. We need hope to get through times of trouble, and that is what God offers in abundance. As the all-powerful God, there is nothing he can't overcome. What's more, God's forgiveness is unlimited. Yes, even in times of trial, we can have hope.

How do you pray for your pastor?

Our prayers are often about our own needs and concerns. But we need to be faithfully praying for our pastors and other church leaders. They are people just like we are, with problems, conflicts, ailments, and the burden of shepherding God's people. Let's not forget to pray faithfully and thoughtfully for these men and women of God.

How do you pray when disaster hits?

Floods destroyed lives and property in eastern Kentucky. Famine haunts the people of northeast Africa. Ukraine is in chaos. Maybe your life is in chaos as well. How do we pray for ourselves, for others who find themselves in hopeless, anxious circumstances? Praying for BIG Things helps guide us using Scriptures as the basis of our prayers. What more can we do than pray God's words back to him?

What will happen to these young women?

For several years, I've traveled to Africa to teach on a course. As I'm leaving, I often see many young African women dressed in hijabs on their way to the Middle East. I don't know what they've been promised, but I often wonder what will happen to these innocent young women. From stories I've heard in the past, they may experience some serious difficulties. Will they be allowed to return home if they so choose? I've overheard the immigration officer question if the woman actually wants to go. Most say "yes". Hopefully all will be well. For those caught up in something more sinister, let's pray.

Leadership matters

When we are blessed to live in a country where we can choose our leaders, we need to take that opportunity seriously. But in every case, we can pray for our leaders, that they will choose life so that the people they lead will live and prosper. May our leaders choose to obey God and firmly commit themselves to following God's commands, for this is the key to life.

Ukraine fallout

Russia attacked one of the world's food baskets, the Ukraine. Now we see shortages of food impacting many, many people.In addition, climate change has meant less rainfall in many areas of the world, resulting in food insecurity. These events are largely out of our control or the control of the people facing the challenges. But there is One who is still in control, and we offer our prayers to God. We pray for provision and even more for hope.

Meeting God's Expectations

God wants the best for us. But to find God's best, we need to give up some of our deeply held, but still sinful beliefs. We are broken people, but we want to think we are perfect,. We lie to ourselves and to God. It is time to stop and confess so that we can live out the way of Christ.

How should Christians disagree?

Decisions are made that we don't agree with. Those we choose as leaders sometimes make laws or decisions that make us angry. How do we respond? Do we send wrath-filled letters or emails? Do we forget God's command to show respect and obedience toward those in authority? We need to be gentle and show courtesy to everyone, even those with whom we disagree. In this way, we can set an example of good behavior that will honor God. We have choices. Let's make good ones.

Is your world out of control?

I like to be in control and have everything go according to my plan. How about you? I suspect we all have these feelings at least on occasion. But we soon discover that we are not in control and it seems our worlds are just running wild. Chaos and confusion are everywhere. But today's prayer reminds us that whatever things may look like here, God is in control and God's purposes can never be shaken. Hold on to that truth and live into it.

"I'll get him back for that!"

Someone makes us angry and immediately we want revenge. Maybe the act was intentional or perhaps not. Even so, too often we don't take the time to calm down and investigate, we just want to get them back. Our scripture today says to leave such vengeance to God. Instead, we are to be kind and gracious to our enemies. We are to conquer evil by doing good. That's a very difficult assignment. May God help us to follow the path of peace.

Experiencing Opposition

In this last week, the course I'm teaching on (43 staff and students) have been sent away from our booked accommodation because other customers will pay more than we can. We had paid the deposit and been promised many things. But in the end, we were told, "We can't do anything for you. Pack up your things and go wherever you can find." We had less than 24 hours. We found something for a month, but the next month is still a question mark. We want justice. God has promised justice, so we are praying for God's provision and also conviction for those who have failed to honor their promise. Where do you need God's intervention?

Feeling alone

There are many times in our lives when we feel lonely. We may be with lots of people or we may be alone, but regardless of our situation, we are lonely. There is no one who seems to understand or is willing to listen. The person we need is waiting for us to notice his presence. We are never far from him, we are just blind to him. God is faithful and patient, waiting for us to come so he can show his love and compassion. Let's pray faithfully for those who are lonely and need to know God is present for them.

In the Wake of Tragedy

We grieve with the families and friends who lost loved ones in the recent mass shootings in NY and CA. Whatever the cause, the results for those left behind are much the same: fear, sorrow, loss, anger, emptiness, helplessness. As we pray for these experiencing loss, and for ourselves as we debate what to do, let's ask God to provide a sense of safety. Only God can calm the storms raging about us, only God can change the hearts of people filled with hate. May God bring us to a place of safety and peace.

The Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has been in focus this past week because of the pending decision on Roe vs. Wade. We need to pray for our leaders as they face complicated and challenging choices. We don't all see "justice" in the same way. But God is just and God's wisdom and authority take into account all our positions. Instead of getting anxious, angry, or self-satisfied let's do something positive and pray for God's wisdom and discernment to be given to our judges.

Drought relief

According to the Smithsonian Magazine, the western United States is experiencing the worst drought since 800 C.E. That's 1200 years! Do we just shrug our shoulders and sigh or should we DO something? Do what? PRAY. People are being affected by the lack of food. Animals suffer from lack of rain. Our God will hear our cries and answer. Let us not fail to ask.

Do you pray for your pastor?

How often do you remember to pray for your pastor? We often have high expectations for those who lead our places of worship, but we are not always so careful to pray for their welfare. The apostle Paul knew the importance of praying for the pastors and teachers he had trained. We should follow that good example.

What if it were your daughter?

A home recently opened near where I live to house and re-establish dignity and worth to minors rescued from sex trafficking. I'm grateful for a place like that, and for the staff who will be helping these girls. But how did we come to the place of needing a resource like this? What if one of those girls were my daughter? We have become a depraved people in so many ways. Clearly, we need to be praying for God's convicting power to change hearts, minds, and actions.

Does prayer work?

We may wonder if prayer is really effective. Have you watched the news of Ukraine? Kyiv did not fall in 3-5 days as expected.The Ukrainian army has repulsed the Russian invasion to such a degree that Russia has changed its plans. Were these events just chance? I don't think so. People prayed, and we need to continue to pray. How should we pray? We can pray for the earth to be at rest and quiet once the tyrants have been removed. Yes, God hears and answers our prayers. Let's be faithful.

Praying for our Leaders

In our politically divided world, we urgently need to pray for our leaders. They don't know the future any more than we do, yet they must make decisions that will affect that future. Today we pray for our leaders to realize their responsibility before God, and the importance of maintaining the high values of honesty and impartiality taught in the Scriptures. Let's pray for our leaders regularly rather than always criticising decisions with which we disagree.

Does prayer make a difference?

As Christians, we know we should pray, but sometimes our lack of faith gets in the way. We are asking the all-powerful God of the universe for something. Why not ask BIG? So, in these days of strife, conflict, and war, we need to pray for peace. God promises our prayers, prayed in faith, will have great effect. May true peace come in our time.

World leaders

As our world leaders meet in Brussels to discuss what steps to take for Ukraine, they need God's guidance. As they debate various options, they need God's wisdom, protection and fresh ideas. They need strength to carry out their resolutions, while considering the cost. Let us uphold them with our prayers.

A prayer for Ukraine's refugees

What would you need if you suddenly had to leave your country with only one suitcase? Peace and safety would be high on my list. We are grateful for the neighboring countries who are showing compassion and care for those fleeing Russian aggression. Let's offer our prayers for those in distress that God will provide places of safety for each person. As they receive care, may they also know God's peace in the midst of their loneliness and despair.

2 Million Refuguees in 2 Weeks

Two million refugees have left Ukraine in the past two weeks. Our hearts go out to them. Many are sending aid to help them. But what they really want is to go home and live in safety. Somehow, amid this disaster and chaos, God has a plan. We don't see it now, but we will later. Therefore, we hold on to the promise that God is in control and that brings hope to us all. Let's join together to pray for refugees around the world, that they may soon return to their homes and live in peace.

Concerned for Ukraine?

The world watches in horror as the devastation in Ukraine continues. We feel helpless and hopeless. BUT GOD. We believe in prayer, but hardly know what to pray. That is why Praying for BIG Things is so important for today. The topics cover some of the darkest in our modern world: war, terrorism, devastation, loss, addiction, leadership. Prayers are based on Scripture, so we can pray God's own words back to him.

Ukraine! Want to help? Pray.

As we watch the disaster in Ukraine unfold, we have many feelings. We are angry, sad, sorrowful, frustrated. For the most part, few of us can actually intervene to help refugees or stop the invasion. But we have a resource more powerful than sanctions or weapons, more resourceful than The Red Cross or UNHCR. We have a powerful God who invites us to pray. This situation did not catch God by surprise. We can pray for protection, provision, for an end to fighting. We have more power than we imagine as we enter the throne room of God.

Did you know 75% of addicts recover?

In a recent study, researchers found 75% of addicts recover and live meaningful lives. The substance causing the addiction didn't matter, alcohol or drugs. Even the severity of the addiction didn't change the statistics. The challenge was to keep the person alive long enough for the change to happen. On average, the addict needs 10 years to come to the point of health, and will likely experience multiple failures along the way. This prayer is offered to support those seeking and those who have found freedom from their addictions.

Praying in the New Year

We enter a new year with our hopes and dreams for a better future. However, our worries, fears, sorrows and challenges come with us from this past year into the new one. That is why we need a prompt to remind us and those we care about to pray. Jesus told us if we ask anything in his name, he will do it. Why don't we ask? Ask the Good Shepherd to walk with you into and through 2022.

Pray against aggression

We hear about Russia massing troops on the border with Ukraine. Presidents are talking to each other, trying to find a way forward. We sit by, feeling helpless. But we are not without resources because we have a mighty God who controls this world. We can PRAY. Here is a prayer that we can pray for the people of Ukraine.

Showing Respect

In these contentious days, some people are more apt to respond to others with whom they disagree with harsh words and angry emotions. We can get so convinced that our viewpoint is the ONLY legitimate one that we fail to listen to each other. The Bible teaches us to be respectful, gentle and courteous to everyone. Praying for BIG Things contains prayers based on Scripture to help us pray God's words back to him.

Election Day

Our leaders need our prayers. We must uphold them in their difficult roles in our communities, states, countries and world. There are many pressures. Good leaders who serve the people they represent are hard to find. Those who advise them should be honest and wise. So, let's use this prayer to guide us as we pray for those who seek to lead us.

Concerned about leaders?

Good leadership is vital to any organization, business, or country. The success or failure, perhaps life or death, result from leaders who work together or tear each other apart. As Christians, we need to pray for unity, and that they will make a commitment to do what is best for the people being led.

Hurricane Ida

In the aftermath of hurricane Ida, rescue teams are assessing the vast damage and trying to find victims. We can pray for the rescue effort, that God will give strength and success.

Afghanistan

As we watch the horror, chaos and despair of the people of Afghanistan and other places in the world, we long to do something to bring relief, but find ourselves powerless. What we can do is pray. Here is a prayer from Praying for BIG Things, for peace and safety. There is a whole section of the book offering prayers for those who are refugees, displaced people, or migrants.

Prayer for Safety in these dangerous times

COVID-19 and the Delta variant are causing everyone to think again about how to stay safe. With schools starting back, we are concerned for the safety and welfare of our children. This prayer expresses some of those fears and asks for help from the One who can provide it.

Launching Into the Unknown

Biographies & Memoirs

While preparing to move to Africa for several years, I asked, “What should I bring?” The answer came, “Whatever makes you feel at home.” Having always lived in the southern United States, I had no idea how to make that decision, short of taking everything I owned. Once I arrived in Africa, I adjusted more quickly than expected to the various places I lived. “Home” became more of a state of mind than a physical location or set of things.

“How is life in Sudan different from the USA?”
• Waking in the middle of the night to find the house invaded by army ants
• Realizing you are the only white person on a very full bus, and feeling comfortable with that.
• Meeting someone at a shop and ending up in their home having breakfast
• Spending an afternoon at the Sudanese ambassador’s house
• Enjoying sheep intestines while thinking it is macaroni.
• Entering the home of a stranger and being welcomed like a long-lost friend.

Life in Africa was not what I expected. It is fuller, richer, changeable, unpredictable, fascinating. The people are gracious, forgiving and hospitable. The tastes, sights, and sounds reflect a vibrant, determined, joyful richness that overcomes poverty and significant difficulties. I’ve been challenged and encouraged while learning great patience and the value of perseverance. I am deeply indebted, especially to the Sudanese, who have taught me so much.

Book Bubbles from Launching Into the Unknown

Forty years later

As I write this, I'm once again in Nairobi, Kenya. It has been 42 years since I first arrived here. Over the years, there have been many changes. In 1982, there were 3 kinds of t-shirts. Now there are thousands. Traffic was bad in 1982, now it is much worse. One thing stays the same, it is best to be home by 6:30. The plants are still beautiful, and bless my eyes and soul. In some ways, life is much the same, but in many ways, it is vastly different. I still love it here.

My first linguistic paper

During my first year in Sudan, I learned to speak Arabic. Once I left Khartoum, I decided to write up some of what I had learned. I found Arabic verbs fascinating, so I explained what my teacher had taught me. One of my colleagues read over my paper, and said, "Yes, that's correct. You've reinvented the wheel, but at least it is round." I took courage, and started on my next, more challenging, language learning: the Shilluk language.

But it's a dry heat!

Rubbish! There is nothing dry about the heat in Khartoum. Yes, it is very dry in the winter when it is cold, but the rest of the year it is humid. I often felt like a grease-spot on the ground. How can people live in those conditions? I think you need to be born there. I stayed for 20 years, so there is a certain tolerance one can develop. Still, it does affect how much work I could do and when I did it. Like many new experiences, I had to learn to adjust my expectations. How do you think you would do?

April 1982 versus 2024

I first arrived in Nairobi in April, 1982. A lot has changed since then. Soon, I will be back in Nairobi, April 2024. While I know the city, the changes I saw last year on a quick visit made me wonder if I could find my way around. Without change, things die. There is no fear of that with Kenya or Nairobi. It is a thriving, busy, hectic city. For that reason, I'm glad I will be in Karen, a relatively quiet, peaceful suburb. I wonder what I will see this time?

Raw liver anyone?

There's nothing like being at the home of someone important, like the ambassador from the country you are about to move to. That was my situation as the Sudanese ambassador invited me to lunch. Mostly that went fine until the servers brought out the raw liver dish. Oh dear! Thankfully, he was gracious enough to offer me a way out of my predicament. Just another example of Sudanese hospitality.

Hippo blood in the ice cream!?

Life is full of surprises in Sudan. You never know what tomorrow may bring. On Easter Monday in 1983, someone sold my neighbor, Bill, some hippo meat. We had visitors coming, so no time to deal with that now, just stick it in the fridge for later. Close the door quickly to keep in the cool so we could make the ice cream more easily. Hmmm

Cultural Adjustments!

When I moved to the land of the Shilluks in South Sudan, I had a lot to learn. They did things I couldn't understand. Wearing a wooly hat to walk home in the sun when the temperature is well over 100°F was inconceivable to me. Why? They grew up with a different set of values. So, how should we respond? Learn what is important to them and why, then get used to it. It's not wrong, it's just different.

Settling into Shilluk-land

I was grateful to have Bill and Lois helping me learn to live in the village. They had been "around the block" many times. So, when a man turned up at my house to inquire if I might be interested in getting married, I had someone to ask what to say. They had hosted me for several weeks while my house was prepared. I invited them to dinner, only to discover I had changed! I needed a teapot. The influence of my British and Sudanese friends had taught me a teapot was one of the necessities of life.

Mud house, grass roof

It may not sound like much, but it was way better than the metal two-story building I started to move into.Trust that the locals will find a reasonable way to live, and follow their example. I loved my mud house, mud floor and grass roof. Adding cow dung to the mix keeps the mud nice and smooth and discouraged insects. It was much cooler, and the grass roof was beautiful. I didn't get to stay long, but while there, I did enjoy it.

Initiation Rites

Many ethnic groups in Africa have initiation rites when children go through puberty and become adults. The older people introduced them to the rights and responsibilities of adulthood. Part of this tradition may involve marking the body in some way to distinguish their affiliation. With the Shilluks, the marking involves creating bumps on the forehead. The process is described here. Once I heard about it, I decided not to undergo thay wij.

Showers of blessing

At our house in Juba, Sudan (now South Sudan), we should have had running water. However, the system didn't work well, and we virtually never had city water. We depended on a water truck to come by or for a team from the SIL center to bring three drums of water and pump it into our water tank. So, when it rained, we hurried to collect as much precious water as we could. And when we got wet, all the better.

Me? On a Motorcycle?

There are some things in life we are not meant to do. These things are different for each person. I con't water ski and I don't drive a motorcycle. Attempting them is usually challenging and humbling. I find the quicker one identifies these "no go" areas, the better. Concentrate on the things you can sort of do until they become accomplishments. But for those things that are clearly not meant for you, steer clear.

Men wear pink

It didn't take long to have culture shock once more. The Shilluk have a distinctive way of life that has developed over centuries. I quickly realized that I had to adapt to a new reality and find the real meaning of customs. What's more, I needed to learn to live within those cultural norms. As a "white single woman" they gave me lots of latitude. It was clear I had not been educated to their standard, but they gave me time to learn. People don't always know WHY they do things, that's just the way it has always been. So, as I learned about this new culture, I did some evaluation of my own. It's an interesting exercise.

Arrival in Malakal

After 1.5 years of linguistic study, a year of raising my support, 3 months of cross-cultural training and a year of Arabic language study, I finally reached the land of the Shilluks. The first task was to meet with the local officials so they would know who I was and what I was doing there. Once again, my world was turned in another direction. What kind of adventures awaited me?

The Dust Descends

Khartoum, Sudan is the world's hottest capital city. It is also one of the dustiest. A dust storm is called haboob in Arabic. When you look out and see hundreds of feet of dust barrelling your way, it's time to close the windows and get ready to sweep. The dust gets in everything, even a sealed ziplock bag in a closed drawer in a room with the windows closed. Trust me, I lived there.

The World's Hottest Capital

I checked it out the other day, and yes, Khartoum is still the world's hottest capital city. When I lived there, learning to speak Sudanese Arabic, i learned the value of evaporation and why salt is so important. Of course, I learned a lot of other things as well. The Sudanese taught me so many useful lessons about being patient, accepting, hospitable, and kind. I'm grateful to them.

Looking back to 1982

I was living in Khartoum, Sudan, learning to communicate in Sudanese Arabic. My housemate and I lived in Omdurman, an older part of the city. There were many shortages of just about everything in those days. This is a short story about trying to get fuel for the car. From these experiences, I learned to always have 2-3 plans for doing anything. Even more strategies may be required!

The New Year in Sudan

Khartoum is the capital of Sudan and is about 1000 miles north of the city of Juba. Juba, in 1983, was the Regional capital for the south. In the new year, I went from the chilly capital to the muggy regional capital, and my world changed dramatically. The culture, language and expectations differed radically. It was like going through culture shock all over again. I never expected to spend much time in Khartoum again, another misconception. What makes you feel "at home"? I had thought little about that before I arrived in Africa, but soon learned what I missed. Eventually, I learned to enjoy what I had wherever I was.

Christmas in Sudan

Sudan is a majority Muslim country, so Christmas doesn't figure into their holiday calendar. However, there are a lot of Christians there as well, so it was good to learn how they celebrated. Biscuits and sweets (cookies and candy) are very important. People also spend time at church on Christmas and visiting friends and family. There are not so many outward signs, but the spirit is very clear. Merry Christmas!

MAYBE saved the day

Some of the words I learned in Arabic really have no easy equivalent in English. The word insha'allah is one of those. Literally, it means God willing. I once asked someone what you say if God is not willing. They just looked at me like I was an alien. Of course, I was an alien in a way. It is used as an escape clause, as in "I will visit you tomorrow, insha'allah." That way, if you don't show up tomorrow, the reason is because God didn't will it. You may have no intention of visiting, but you say you will anyway, and add insha'allah. Friends used to say they would see me on the day I was traveling. At first, I worried about how I would have time to even greet all these people while finishing my preparations. I didn't need to worry. God wasn't willing.

Flying by the seat of your pants

Due to the inconsistency of Sudan Air flights, I traveled to Juba from Khartoum on a USAID flight. It was fun talking with the pilot, and I quickly learned that flying in the Sudan was not for the faint of heart! Following the Nile was key to getting to your destination. If you had to leave the Nile to get somewhere, you returned to it as quickly as possible. While this story occurred some 40 years ago, I expect the same conditions apply today.

Greeting a friend

In our family, we greet with a hug. We also part with a hug, and maybe a kiss. Some cultures greet with a hug and a kiss on one cheek, other cultures give kisses on each cheek. It can be hard to keep up with which one is appropriate. In Sudan, if someone doesn't greet you with at least a handshake, then there is a problem. Maybe they had a fight with their spouse at home, or they are angry with someone at work. Perhaps they don't like you. It is wise to tread carefully, just in case.

Shortages

Shortages occurred frequently in Sudan: bread, sugar, fuel, motor oil. During 1982, fuel was in short supply and queues were long. The Sudanese are the most patient people I know. They put up with these inconveniences and then make jokes about them. I learned humor was a good way to cope with stress. Not only did you need a good sense of humor, you also needed to be creative and observant, like my friend John. The Sudanese are masters at getting around a blockage. Their creativity knows no bounds.

Visiting a Sudanese high school

Language learning took me into many situations. In this story, I went to high school with one of my Sudanese friends, Amani. It was eye-opening to see how the girls had to learn their lessons - no books to read, just writing down as much as they could. For the tests, they memorized their notes. Rote memory is the typical teaching/learning method in Africa. Thinking is not encouraged - as it may pose a threat to the teacher. This experience provided good insight into the mindset of the people with whom I was in contact.

Language Learning

I don't get impatient when listening to a conversation in a language I don't know. There are all kinds of things to learn. The rhythm of the speaker, the intonation used, and even the odd non-speech sounds are important. In this story, my Sudanese friend Layla kept making the "Giddyup" sound as she listened to her friend tell a story. I couldn't work out what that signalled, so I asked. Sure enough, it had an important meaning, so even if I couldn't verbalize a response, I could signal the speaker to keep going.

Keep your hand in your pocket

Pickpockets are common across the world. I've lost things in airports, on buses, and on the street. This story explains how one woman took precautions and caught a potential thief. I've included some warnings that the wise will follow, wherever you are.

Becoming Adaptable

Moving to a new country presents many opportunities to learn lessons. This story represents one of my early lessons: Don't be the last one on the plane! I also learned from Ken's example, talking to the agent for hours in order to get on the plane at all. We can either stick to our cultural ways or we can learn to adapt. My suggestion is, learn to adapt. It makes your life so much easier. After all, you are moving to their country. Don't make the mistake of taking your culture and expectations too seriously.

Where's that light switch?

I lived in Sudan for about 20 years, and what's more, I lived very closely with the Sudanese. They have my undying respect as they've learned to cope with far more than I can imagine. I wanted to show the good side of these amazing people, but that required me to understand at least something of their lives and personalities. If someone is the fool in these stories, I am that person. After all, I was the newcomer. The experience wasn't always easy, but I think it was very worthwhile. I hope you will enjoy getting to know these wonderful people.

I'm afraid to breathe!

Getting used to the heat in Khartoum is not easy. We've had visitors afraid to breathe outside for fear of burning their lungs. But, breathing is an essential part of life, so get on with it! Once I had adjusted to that climate, everywhere else in the world was COLD. The first warning sign was using the toilet on the plane. The seat was cold. It is amazing how quickly we forget.

Aren't we all alike?

it's easy to think "everyone thinks like I do" because most of the people we live with think like we do. Or we think like they do. But move out of that little comfort zone, and the world is a different place. I never dreamed I would stay with a couple from Austria while in Nairobi, Kenya. Nor did I expect their having guests from Germany. Yes, they thought differently, and spoke freely in German, but kindly noticed I didn't. It didn't take long for me to learn to observe, listen to the cadence of languages I didn't speak or understand. It's amazing what you can learn. I've grown as a person, broadened my mind and realized the world is a much bigger place than I had imagined.

Becoming an International Citizen

Life abroad requires a number of adjustments. First, there is the host culture to adapt to. Next, there are numerous people from countries across the world who live there as well. I was invited to a party with a bunch of other people, especially Brits. Some brought salad, others brought dessert, and both turned out to be Jello! I learned early on that it is important to listen to the stories of those who have been in the country longer. They made mistakes, and if I wanted to avoid those mistakes, I better listen up! I could make plenty of my own, but I don't have to repeat what others have done and learned from.

Visiting the neighbors

When I was learning Arabic in Sudan, it was important to get out of the house and talk to people. Fortunately, talking is one of the most popular activities for the Sudanese. I'm so glad I went to Khartoum in the 1980s, as people were welcoming and eager to meet someone new. I look back on the many delightful visits with families, and their patience with my slowness of tongue in speaking their language. So many good memories to enjoy now.

Africa Orientation

It was a good thing my first experience in Africa was to attend a training course on how to live there. I learned about water filters, bleaching all vegetables and fruit that I wanted to eat raw. What if there were no electricity? Kerosene can be your good friend. Learning what resources are available increases creativity and the freedom to try new things. I never mastered riding a motorcycle, but I'm grateful for all the other nifty things I learned.

Totally out of my comfort zone

I started reading when I was about three-years-old. When in doubt, look for a sign. But when I landed in Khartoum and walked into the airport, that strategy failed me. Everything was written in Arabic script and I knew NOTHING. At first I felt bemused, then a bit afraid. Someone was supposed to meet me, and they were not there. I stood rooted to the spot. Should I risk going outside? Should I stay put? My eyes must have been the size of saucers. At last my colleagues came inside and found me. What a relief! Together, we headed into the city and into my new and unexpected life.

No Internet back in those days

When I left my family and friends in the US and moved to Africa in 1982, there was only snail-mail. And in Sudan, we had very slow snails. It took at least 2 weeks to send a letter to my parents. If they replied immediately, it took another 2 weeks for me to receive it. By that time, I had forgotten what I told them as that was a month ago. Still, letters from home were precious and reread multiple times. Thankfully, my mother kept many of my letters, and I can now reference them. I have a file drawer full.

Learning Arabic

My first big challenge in Sudan was learning the language of wider communication, Arabic. Since my assignment was for 3 years, my supervisor wanted me to concentrate on spoken Arabic, not the written version. After this initial period of language learning, there was never time to go back to learn the written version. I lived in Sudan for about 20 years. Ah well, such is life. Some of my colleagues were learning French, and progressing much more quickly than I was.Then I realized that 25% of French words are similar to English words, so they had a significant head start. My study lasted about 9 months. It was time well-spent.

Landing in Africa

I first arrived in Africa in January 1982. The weather in the US and Europe was very cold and I was dressed for that. However, once I deplaned in Douala, Cameroon, I discovered I was overdressed. That discomfort was increased when a group of us discovered our names were not on the passenger list to Yaoundé, our final destination. Our goal was to attend an orientation course so we lived successfully in the African context. This initial experience set us up well for the rest of the course!

Has your life gone according to plan?

My memoir series is called Not How I Planned It. My expectations for my life were very simple: working as a speech therapist, buy a house, settle down and maybe travel a bit. But that's not what happened. A few critical decisions and my life became an amazing adventure that still surprises me. I found myself in Africa on my way to living for years in the Sudan, particularly in Khartoum. And after nearly 40 years, I wouldn't change anything. I hope you enjoy reading about my very true adventures.

Prayers of Confession for Lent

Christian Books & Bibles

Lent is a time of repentance and confession in preparation for the celebration of Easter. These prayers, based on Scripture, offer a topic for each day for us to ponder and if need be, confess. Each Sunday offers a prayer of praise because Sunday is always resurrection.

 

Book Bubbles from Prayers of Confession for Lent

Your Choice

God calls us to come to hear words that will make us wise and give us understanding hearts. We have a choice. We can come or we can choose to ignore God's call. We know when we have not paid attention, and that God will likely point that out. We don't want to think about what we have failed to do, or to admit we have actively done wrong. So, we hide away, look elsewhere, and miss the greatest blessing. What will you choose to do today?

Running from good things

Why do we avoid doing something that is good? Why do we run away from the One who loves us the most? We act like teenagers, ignoring the wisdom of our elders and going our own way, sure that we know everything. God must shake his head, as do many parents. Life could go in a much better direction, if we listen to the wisdom offered to us. During this Lenten season, let's try to come and let God make us wise.

Sunday Praise

During this season of Lent, Sundays are special. They are not included in the 40 days of Lent because on Sunday, we celebrate what God has done for us. Today, we thank God for our salvation through Jesus Christ. Let these familiar words help you speak words of thanks.

Care for the earth

As an American, I feel ill at ease without a car. I like liquid shampoo and body wash. Having the thermostat set at 72°F is more comfortable. But are these necessary things? I've gone to bar soap and turned my thermostat down to 70F. I still have a car, but am thinking about buying a hybrid or an EV. Why? Plastics are everywhere, even in my drinking water. Power generation puts more carbon in the air, as does my car. As climate change brings more flooding, fires, stronger hurricanes and tornadoes into our lives, we need to make changes. I don't know about you, but I'm trying to start with me.

Lent doesn't include Sunday

In Prayers of Confession for Lent, I've included prayers of praise for Sundays. Why? Because Sunday is always resurrection! We celebrate the Lord's rising from the dead, so that day is not included in the 40 days of Lent. At the end of the six weeks, we are ready to rejoice together in the greatest of our Christian festivals, Easter!

Hot? Cold? Lukewarm?

How open are we to seeing God in our day? Do we think of God mostly on Sunday or each day of the week? How eager are we to meet with God throughout our days? In truth, we can all improve on this. That's the purpose of Prayers of Confession for Lent. We can become lax, forgetful. These prayers remind us of areas where we need to put more effort, thought, and yes, confession.

Thinking of others

A recent study showed that if we reach out to others, we receive joy. Do we really need a study to tell us that? God placed us in communities for a reason, because we need each other. If we opt to keep to ourselves, no wonder we are lonely. Let's make reaching out to those around us a goal for this year. It's never too late to start.

Do you observe Lent?

I wasn't raised observing the Christian calendar, and particularly the season of Lent. But I've come to see the value of it as I prepare myself to increase my awareness of why Good Friday was necessary. I am broken. I'm so broken, I don't even know how broken I am. In these prayers, I've tried to address a variety of "sins" I need to confess. Of course, it is up to each individual to confess, repent, and change. May God have mercy on each of us who seek to be more like our Lord.

Possessed or Possessing?

God once asked me, "Do you own your possessions or do your possessions own you?" It is a good question for each of us to ponder. If we own our possessions, then we can give them up. If they own us, then we can't. With today's inflation, bank failures and insecurities, there may be some possessions we need to give up. God challenges us to trust that as our loving father, he will make sure we have what we need. How much do we believe that?

Still Small Voice of Love

Christian Books & Bibles

The Still Small Voice of Love is a devotional book. It includes a brief Scripture reading in the text as well as reflections from that reading in the form of a dialogue between the Beloved and the Lover. Then there are Scriptures that reflect what the Lover (Jesus) has said and an opportunity for the reader to do their own meditation.

Book Bubbles from Still Small Voice of Love

Struggling with doubt?

In this reflection, I faced my real problem. I believe, but then I have doubts. Is that wrong? Is that normal? When I look back on my life, I see God is faithful. But when I look ahead at problems looming, I wonder, "Will God get me through this? How?" One way to have faith for the future is to look back at God's faithfulness in the past. Then admit to focusing on the problem rather than on the solution. Faith is not complete in a day, but grows over a lifetime.

Where's the harmony?

By now, most of us are aware that we have many divisions in our country. People disagree about anything, but everyone wants to be seen as "right". Life doesn't work that way, but God has given us a path toward harmony. We need to respect others even as we disagree. Even our different views can result in a deeper, more beautiful outcome. Maybe the secret is found in our Scripture: "Everyone felt great respect for God." It's worth a try.

Why am I like I am?

I often feel inadequate to do the things God puts before me. I wish I had the gifts other people have. But in today's reflection, I realized God made me just as I am because that perfectly prepares me to be all God wants me to be. That's a novel thought! We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Now that's a calling I can look forward to. How about you?

Can we respectfully disagree?

The foundation of a democracy is that people are allowed, dare I say encouraged, to hold and express different points of view. Our backgrounds, needs, and situations are different, and thus create different perspectives. When we cannot listen to or entertain an opinion different from our own, we move toward intolerance. So, how do we move toward living in harmony? We must learn to respectfully disagree.

Forgiveness

As Christians, we receive forgiveness by faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus can offer us forgiveness, but do we take it? All too often, I want to earn my forgiveness, but it is a gift. I fail to live out the freedom, joy and closeness to God that has been offered. Who's fault is that? Yes, Mine. Let us live our our forgiveness even as we offer forgiveness to others.

Shepherd, Lover, Friend

I wrote this reflection on Christmas Day. Jesus speaks first on this occasion. God has given me many gifts, and it was rewarding to think that God enjoys watching me use those gifts for his glory. Using this contemplative method of reading God's Word has made a radical difference in our relationship. I listen better, understand more, and sense God's presence with me more and more each day. Maybe you would like to try it as well.

Worried? Anxious?

Anxiety and worry are so common today that we think it is normal. It is not normal for one who believes in God, the Father almighty. It may not be normal, but it is a reality. Some worry about having a job, a place to stay, food to eat. Others worry about who the next President of the USA will be, the situation at the southern border, Ukraine, Gaza. There are many things to worry about. But worry is destructive, and for the most part, we can't fix it. Has God taken care of you over the years? In the bad times, have you found your way out? Do you trust God to do that again for you? If so, then don't worry. God's got this!

How about a fresh start?

As we enter this new year, it's like having a clean sheet. There are no blots on our paper or mistakes yet made. But we still have leftover issues from last year that need to be dealt with. It is wonderful to know that God is ready to forgive and forget our wrongdoings. We don't like to admit them, but God already knows. God offers us hope and help so we can become all we were created to be. That's a great prospect.

In Need of a Miracle?

When you look ahead to 2024, how do you feel? Are you hopeful? Are you depressed? Are you afraid? Maybe it depends on what you are thinking about. It is so hard to know which choices to make since we are limited in how far ahead we can see. If this happens, then...We just don't know if we will come to that bridge or not. But we have a God who knows the end from the beginning. God doesn't have to guess. God knows. As we place our trust in this all-knowing God, we can let go and be at peace. As I prayed the other day about a situation, I felt God saying to me, "I am in charge, and I have EVERYTHING under control." I needed that. Maybe you do too.

Loved more than we think

The longer I live, the more amazed I am to learn how much God loves me. Maybe you are feeling unloved, rejected, alone. Look again. God is extending his love to you 24/7, it's just we don't see it. Be still and ask God to let you know. Be open to the answer. At this time of year, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we can begin to see how great God's love is. God sent his only son into the world to take our sin away and bring us to God as his dearly loved children. What a gift!

Feeling Scattered?

As I look back on my life, I see times when I hit rock bottom. All my hopes and dreams lay in ruins. I felt scattered and shattered. Do you ever feel that way? I bet you do. God uses those times in my life to hone me into the person I need to be for the next role God wants me to fill. It doesn't look like anything good could come out of such a time, but in hindsight, these times of struggle are essential. Going through a rough patch? Take hope, there's a reason, and it is one to give you hope.

Remember what God has done

This verse caused me to reflect on my past, and then to remember all the things God has done for me. It's all too easy to forget. We may remember the hard things and forget the good. We forget nothing is outside of God's control. We forget that God wants to accomplish great things in us. God remembers that we are frail, and promises to do what is best for us. Let's try to remember that.

Has God been faithful?

I found rewriting Psalm 118 an interesting exercise. As the Psalmist reflected on his past life, he noted how God had been faithful. As I did the same, I had to admit that even when things looked at their worst, God was faithful to me. Maybe you want to give this exercise a try. It might be good for your soul.

Knowing you are loved

I went through a time of questioning whether anyone loved me, even God. As I reflected on the scripture, I wondered if God really loved me. What a wonderful realization that God really did care about me, even enjoyed me. Reflecting on God's Word is so important to learning to hear God's voice.

Just as I Am

God doesn't expect me to become good enough for him to accept me. But God promises to make me better once I trust in his grace. Often the things I want are not the things I need. Some things I need I really don't want, like pain, suffering, sadness. But these are the things God most often uses to help me become the person I am meant to be. Each night I pray a prayer of confession that ends, "Thank you for not abandoning me." I've given him plenty of reason, but because of God's great love and mercy, he still holds me fast. Thanks be to God.

Ask, you might get

Twenty years in Africa taught me, "Ask, you might get." If you don't ask, the answer is "no". I have a friend who reminds me of a fly that sits on your arm. You brush it away, and it comes right back to the same place. Shake it off, and in a few seconds, there it is again. That's shameless persistence. My friend is not shy about asking for something and then reminding me of it repeatedly until I've done it. That's how we need to be with God. In fact, God invites us to be that way. Nothing is too small or too great for us to request, and to keep on asking. What an opportunity.

Looking for Peace with God?

"I'm not good enough to go to church." Has anyone ever said that to you? Have you said it? We are all too aware of our need to be at peace with God, but we are too weak to do much about it. We try, but we fail. Then we feel unworthy. The Good News is: Jesus gives us peace with God. The price he paid is sufficient. We don't have to add anything. Our commitment is simply to respond to God's love and seek to follow in our LORD's footsteps out of gratitude, not fear.

The danger of guilt

We like to project a positive image of ourselves so people will think we are good. But deep inside, we know that isn't really the truth, even if we hate to admit it. Guilt can pull us down into a spiral of depression and hopelessness. "How could anyone love someone like me?" "No one cares." But God takes us as we are. No improvements are required before being accepted. Thankfully, God doesn't leave us as he found us, but gradually works in us to bring about the change that makes us who we were meant to be. This light of hope and grace removes our guilt and frees us to live in wholeness. We have a future and a hope.

Feeling confused? helpless?

An 18-year-old once asked me, "Don't you have life figured out yet?" I had to laugh. No, the challenges just keep changing. It's all too easy to feel that "life" has taken control and we are left floundering about, wondering what to do. That helpless feeling is unnerving. We should be able to get control, and yet that eludes us. Thankfully, we have a God who is in control and is willing to take us by the hand and lead us along the right path for our life. We find security, confidence, and joy in living in God's love. What a wonderful comfort.

Struggling with doubt?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by life? Sometimes our problems and struggles are more than we can bear. We see no way out, no relief! The message from our church may be "have faith". We want to, but we just can't see how even God could fix whatever is wrong. We believe, but we also doubt. Thankfully, God doesn't expect us to have a lot of faith, just a mustard seed's worth. I like to look back on my life and see how God has been faithful so far, and that gives me hope that the future will work out even better. Let's hold on to our hope by faith and never let go.

Donor fatigue

With a 24-hour news cycle, we can hear about various disasters from around the world all day and all night. It is exhausting! And what can one person do? Instead of throwing up our hands and doing nothing, let's prayerfully consider what is the next good thing that we can do. True, one person can't solve all the problems, but together, we can begin to make a real difference in the life of at least one person. We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. "Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life." (Galatians 6:5, The Message)

Is life working for you?

Is that a strange question? When I look back on certain times in my life, I see a mess. I felt I was a hopeless case and could never get my life moving the way it should. As I look back on more positive times, I realize that God has been working on me, gently changing me into the person I was created to be. God doesn't force those changes, but allows circumstances to put pressure on when needed. I can honestly say, these changes were for my good, and as I look back at my life, I'm grateful for them. What about you?

Feeling uncertain?

You are not alone in your uncertainty. Usually, I find I haven't been listening well, or allowing myself to think outside the box. When we face challenges, there is a plan. Our loving and faithful God knows that plan and is preparing to do what is best for us. But if we don't listen? Yes, we can miss out on a blessing. Take time to listen to the still, small voice of Love.

Do you own your sin?

I don't like to own my sin or even to admit I have any sin in my life. But that is self-denial. I don't want people to think badly of me, and I don't want to think I'm a bad person. But I'm broken, so broken I don't even know what wholeness is. The only way out of this situation is to acknowledge my shortcomings and allow God to cleanse me. It is the most freeing thing I can do.

How to get God's blessing

We want the benefits, but are we willing to pay the price for them? What price is that? Being honest about ourselves and that we are not the people we pretend to be. We are broken, and we need to recognize that and repent of it before God can truly give us all we have been promised. I don't like to think about my brokenness, but my pride and self-sufficiency get in the way of true joy. I don't want to miss out, and neither do you.

God's Faithful Love

Here today, gone tomorrow. Our world is so transient. It is hard to know what we can really depend on. So, to know God's faithful love endures forever is a great comfort. Think through the uncertainties of your life, name them, then repeat the phrase, "Your faithful love endures." With that promise, we can move forward with confidence and hope.

How strong is your faith?

It's one thing to say, "I believe", but another thing to have faith when times are hard and the way forward looks impossible. At those times, we need to look at the past and see how God has been faithful. Then we can once again look forward with confidence.

How does God see you?

Moses was asking for mercy for Lot and his family before God judged Sodom and Gomorrah. Why should God listen to Moses? God listened to Moses' request because God looked favorably on him and knew him by name. Does God know your name? Of course he does! He has a special name for each of us, and as such, a relationship with us. Reflecting on these Scriptures will be an encouragement to you and bring you joy.

Want to hear from God?

Back in 2005, I learned about the ancient practice of lectio divina or spiritual reading. Learning to use this on a daily basis has radically changed the way I relate to Scripture and to God. I believe God speaks to me through his Word, and it changes me in the best way. If you haven't tried it, you have missed a blessing. Give it a try today.

Do you need a fresh start?

I'm a workaholic. I confess it. I try to stop it, but it's hard! Every now and then, God has to pull me up sharply and teach me that life is about my relationship to God, not about what I DO. I love what I do, but that's not a sufficient reason to damage my health by doing everything I want to. God keeps focusing me toward being more contemplative, thoughtful, resting in his grace and love. Thankfully, each day offers the opportunity to start afresh with a better perspective.

Feeling inadequate? There's hope.

Life can be daunting, and so often we feel inadequate. The imposter syndrome is very real for most of us. But in this passage, we find hope. God promises us a crown of beauty for ashes, joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. We can trust in God's strength and endurance to enable us to accomplish what is before us. God will not let us down, even when we fail. God sees the big picture and invites us to be partners in bringing glory to God.

Receive forgiveness

How many times do we hear our inner voice blaming, condemning, telling us how bad we are or how much we fail. Those negative messages may well be a sign that we have not chosen to live out our forgiveness in Christ. God can forgive us as we trust in Jesus. But if we continue to beat ourselves up, we are not living out our forgiveness. So, choose to live as forgiven and dearly loved children and find JOY.

Endure in times of weakness

Are you experiencing a time of weakness? It may be physical or emotional. It is difficult to be out of control, unable to carry on one's "normal" life. It's easy to be angry and frustrated. I'm in one of those places right now. This reflection was a good reminder to me, and perhaps to you, that God controls our times and our strength. We are called God's Beloved, not for what we do, but simply for who we are.

SIN - denied or confessed?

None of us likes to think we are sinners. We like to appear to be good people, always with the best of motives. But that isn't really us, is it? The only way to get rid of sin is to confess it and find forgiveness. Yes, it's uncomfortable, unpleasant, hard. BUT the reward is amazing. When we own our sin, then we can be forgiven, and God has forgiveness in abundance. The result of that is peace, joy, and blessing Come clean and be free.

Do you truly belong?

For years I felt unworthy to belong to a loving God. I tried to be perfect, lying to myself about how "good" I was. Yet, I knew my heart and what I was really like. How could God really accept and love me? But finally grace intervened, showing me my righteousness was not based on what I did, but on Jesus' sacrifice. Now, I'm just learning bit by bit how to have a relationship with the God who loves me. My lesson was: stop trying to win God's love. Realize I already have it and enjoy it. This gift is for you as well. Stop trying and accept this precious gift.

Are we missing out on the wonderful?

Our goal in life, as a Christian, is to bring God joy, glory and honor. But are we missing out on that opportunity? I was, and sometimes still do. I fail to recognize my own sin and rebellion, pretending all is well. As long as I do that, I'm unable to receive forgiveness and healing. I'm cheating myself. I'm missing out on the wonderful and settling for the inevitable. My sin holds me back. My fear of letting my true heart be known to God - when God knows me completely already - prevents me from finding healing. The only one I'm fooling is me. Can you relate? Thankfully, there is hope because God is ready and willing to forgive and restore.

Adopted into the Family

Why would God want me to be part of his family? I'm not that special or good. In fact, I often feel unworthy of such a position. But he delights in having each of us become part of the family of God. I believe God is even more pleased as we deepen our relationship with him and our brothers and sisters around the world. We are never alone. We always belong. It's personal and it is very real. Rejoice and be glad.

Loving in the Present

Sometimes I just get wrapped up in plans for the future or thinking about the past. The present seems to have no purpose, and yet, all we really have is the present. We have NOW. Do we want to continue as we began? Have we learned some lessons that could make life better if we changed our attitudes? Are we looking so much to the future that we forget to enjoy where we are now? I confess, I do. God is always in the present. God always loves us. I want to love back in the here and now. How about you?

Is God Doing a New Thing in You?

What is God doing in your life? Are some old ways changing? Are you faced with challenges you don't know how to handle? Maybe God is doing something new, but you can't see what it is quite yet. Perhaps you have created a bit of a wilderness for yourself and need to find a way out. We get into bad habits and need to be reformed. When he is at work, we can be confident God is moving us for our own good. We are moving through a dry wasteland in order to be refreshed.

Can you say "No"?

When I was growing up, "No" was not an answer I could give to any request made of me. It runs in the family. But as I grew older, and burned out several times, I realized I needed to learn to say "No" sometimes. But when are those times? Can I be confident that I've chosen the right ones? Staying in close touch with God is vital to understanding what belongs to me and what doesn't. God gives me permission to rest when I'm tired. He allows me to say "No" when the request fails to meet my gifts or my timeframe. Can you say "No"?

Does God speak to you?

In this excerpt, there is a dialogue between the Lover (God) and the Beloved (me). As usual, I'm the doubting one, unsure of the way ahead. Ever feel like that? But God assures me that there is a plan and if I keep my eyes focused on him, I will have the help and courage that I need. How do you hear a conversation with God. Listen. When I finally get quiet and still, I find God has a great deal to say, all of which I need to hear.

Why am I like this?

Have you ever wondered why you are the way you are? I have. I feel so inadequate at times. Today's passage tells us that God didn't make a mistake in the way I was created. I have works to do that God prepared in advance just for me. Sometimes I have to be pushed out of my comfort zone to do them, but I'm gifted for those tasks. And guess what! So are you.

Worried or Anxious?

Are you feeling worried or anxious about what's going on in the world today? In your life? I recently saw a quote from Hannah Whitall Smith, "there are two things which are more utterly incompatible than even oil and water, and these two are trust and worry." Those words spoke to me, and I think they can speak to you. The Still Small Voice of Love offers an opportunity to reflect on the Scriptures and let the God of the Bible speak peace into our hearts. We can trust God, but we often don't really believe that. It's time for positive action.

Start the year off right

Is one of your resolutions to spend more time in God's Word? Here is an interactive study that prompts you to listen to God and then respond to what he is saying to you. You, too, can discover his deep and abiding love for you, not only by reading what I have to say, but what God has to say to you. Try it!

Discovering the Father's love

Do you want to experience God's love in a new way during this Advent season? As we consider the birth of Jesus and what it cost him to leave the glory of heaven and come to earth to live as a poor carpenter, we realize the depths of his love for us. His love for me and for you. No matter our circumstances or our past, God wants us to know about and accept his generous, abundant love.

Give the Gift of Hope

It's easy to become discouraged with politics, the pandemic, the social issues. The Still Small Voice of Love offers a different perspective, one of hope, of being loved and cared for. So, in this season, give the gift of hope to someone you care about.

Feeling alone?

During this pandemic, most of us have felt alone and afraid. We can't get out and do our normal activities, see our friends and family, or even go to work without fear of becoming sick. Today's reading assures us we are not alone. We have a loving Father who cares deeply about us. Being with him gives us both great pleasure. Enjoy a few minutes of stillness with the One who loves you best.

Loved no matter what

Are you looking for a devotional book for this season? Feeling in need of God's love and companionship, then look no further. Life is difficult these days, but God wants to assure us through the Word that we are loved and cared for. We don't need to be perfect. We don't even need to be good, just open to the One who loves us most. God is always there and always cares.

Still Small Voice of Love

Religion & Spirituality

The Still Small Voice of Love is a devotional book. It includes a brief Scripture reading in the text as well as reflections from that reading in the form of a dialogue between the Beloved and the Lover. Then there are Scriptures that reflect what the Lover (Jesus) has said and an opportunity for the reader to do their own meditation.

Book Bubbles from Still Small Voice of Love

Is God waiting for you?

Is God waiting for you to spend time with him? God longs to help us know who he is and how very much he loves us. God loves to hear our problems, concerns, joys, thanksgiving. But I let other things interfere with my time with God. How that must disappoint my Savior. He took time to come to this earth to live, teach, love, and die for me. Why is it so difficult to find 20-30 minutes to spend in God's Word and prayer? Sometimes, we must give up the urgent to spend time on the important. What could be more important than spending time with God?

Not the typical Bible study

Have you been wanting something a bit different? Do you want to hear God speak to you? Have you needed something more contemplative? If so, this is the book for you. This practice has revolutionized my spiritual life and drawn me closer than ever to my Savior, Jesus Christ. Everything you need is in the book. It's so simple, you can't imagine that you didn't do it before. Read the Scripture. Look for a word or phrase that speaks to you. Ask why that is your word for today? Then listen, and you will hear what God has for you.

Which voice do you hear?

Those voices in our head! What do your voices tell you? Mine seem to accuse, make me ashamed, cause me to be more fearful. But if I listen carefully enough, I hear a still, small voice that says I'm loved, I'm enough. Which voice do you listen to? Are you willing to wait to hear the One who loves you most?

How hard is your heart?

For much of my life, I have not had a soft heart. Nothing seemed to reach me because I built a wall to protect me from my emotions. Everyone knew if I was angry except me. I even hid my emotions from myself. Unfortunately, that plan backfired as I felt more pain, but had no way to get rid of it. Once I realized what was happening, God was able to break through and help me feel, not just pain, but also joy. Jesus is gentle, but persistent. Let God do the work to bring you into a place of peace.

Are you paralyzed?

Maybe you are physically paralyzed, but more likely, we are paralyzed in other ways: emotionally, socially, psychologically. It is frustrating and isolating. Sometimes, we create our own paralysis through guilt, fear of failure. How do we get rid of those things? That is what Jesus Christ came to do for us, if we put our trust in him. We can be forgiven, healed, loved. Are you willing to take that step of faith?

Negative Feedback

When something wonderful happens, we want to share it. We don't appreciate it when others downplay the event or, worse yet, say, "You can't do that!" God deals with each of us in ways that we respond to. My "love language" is when people say they will do something, and then follow through, even though it is inconvenient. Someone will make a sacrifice for me. It is rare to find someone who will do that, but Jesus always comes through. I can depend on Jesus to complete his promises, to always be with me, and to always care for me. What about you?

Compassion for the Confused

Are you confused? Do you feel helpless and in need of guidance? I often do. Maybe that is why the words "he (Jesus) had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless like sheep without a shepherd." Many people see God as harsh and judgmental. But in my experience, God is full of love and compassion. God wants to help me through life and to come out victorious at the end. Maybe you have misunderstood what Christianity is all about. Give God a try. You won't be disappointed.

Do we take God seriously?

When I look at what's going on in the world, it certainly looks out of control to me. Yet, God says all is under control! How can that be? I admit, I have doubts. God must get tired of that. We don't take God seriously. We don't really believe God is powerful, just, holy, loving, all-knowing. If I did, I would live differently. What about you?

Are you in a desert?

Some days, I feel I'm lost in a desert with no resources, no guidance, and no strength. Ever felt that way? It's very unsettling for me, especially the no resources and no strength part. But as these verses remind us, we have a God who can make a way through the rough times. God can provide resources to give us strength to get through the challenges we face. But do we take advantage of those resources? I withheld myself too long and got in a burnout situation. God gently reminded me to come to the source and find refreshment. There is no substitute.

Are you ready for 2024?

During this season of Christmas, as we celebrate the first coming of Jesus and anticipate his second coming, we feel joy and love. But right in the middle of the 12 days of Christmas, we start a new year. There are many uncertainties, fears, worry. I was feeling down recently. I took my concerns to God and asked him, "So, what are you doing about all these problems?" In that gentle way, God replied, "I am in charge, and everything is under control." It doesn't seem under control to me, but then my vision is limited. So, I go on faith and hope you will also.

As they went

I don't know about you, but I like to know where I'm going before I start out. I like being in control. But sometimes, God doesn't tell us where we are going, we are just expected to start going and the way will become clear. When Jesus healed these lepers, he told them to go to the priest, and as they were going, they were healed. On one occasion, I knew I should be ready to move to another country, but there was no visa. As I waited for the paperwork, God said, "Get ready. When it comes, you need to be ready to go." So, I purchased the things I would need. I selected my clothes and other essentials. Suddenly, the visa came, and I was ready to get on the plane. What is God asking you to get moving on?

Is the struggle worth it?

None of us enjoy living through hard times. It could be a health crisis or a financial one. We could be Palestinians in Gaza or one of the Jewish families wondering about the hostages. Life is painful, and sometimes we just don't think we can take any more. But God seems to have a different viewpoint - these are times of significant growth. God promises not to leave us or forsake us. We learn to trust and when we look back on those times, we see the hand of God. Yes, there are hard and painful times, but that is when we learn the most about how much God cares for us. Yes, it is worth the struggle.

Confused and helpless

Do you sometimes feel confused, helpless, floundering in a sea of problems? As humans, we are so limited in our understanding of how "now" fits into life. What is the point? Why am I here in this situation? Where am I going? We don't know the future and what we can see looks like a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. What a comfort to hear Jesus say, "Take the hand I offer; let Me lead you to the path of peace. I have a plan for you, a purpose, and a clear direction." That's a relief. I don't have to figure it out because I trust the God who loves me and wants the best for me. God will take me through this and bring me out on the other side.

Stage 4 cancer

I received this news about a very dear friend last week. I went to see her and was blessed to hear her testify, "I'm a Christian. I'm not afraid to die. But if chemotherapy will allow me a few more productive years, I will take it. if not, hospice is my choice." At 82, she has run a great race already, but she's still ready for more if given the opportunity. That's a great model for ending well. But to end well, we need to know where we are going, and be assured of a loving God ready to receive us. May all hear that Good News.

Giving us the kingdom

Are you running low on hope in these challenging days? Our God wants to bless us and make us a blessing to others. As our culture presses in on us, we tend to lose sight of the bigger picture. We are aliens and strangers in this world. It is not our final home. God has greater plans for us, and this is a time of preparation. God carries us on eagles' wings. We are God's special treasure. Now that's a message we need to hold on to.

Feeling a need to change?

Sometimes I look at my life and think "What a mess!" How did I get into this situation? And how on earth will I get out of it??? Do you ever have that feeling? In this reflection, God admits change may come slowly. But God is constantly at work on us, and when we look back, we can see change and improvement. God doesn't guarantee easy, but does promise to make us all we were meant to be. Of course, we have to be willing, and that is an important choice.

God gently heals us

We all have areas of life where we hope to improve. I certainly have my share! Thankfully, God knows not to change me too quickly in some areas, or I would end up damaged. No, God knows me well enough to help move me at just the right pace from where I was to where I need to be. So, don't be afraid to allow God to do the same with you.

Looking for love?

We long to be loved, but so often we don't believe we are loved. We want someone to love us unconditionally, even when we don't return that love. God is love and is searching us out to share that love with us. Are we willing to allow ourselves to be loved? How will we respond to these overtures?

Are you hiding?

This reflection reveals a time when I was hiding my true self, feeling unworthy and unlovable. Ever feel that way? Then read God's assurance that all is known, yet I am still loved. I can be transparent with God because there are no secrets. I felt overwhelmed by such love, and I expect you will also. Bask in it, thrive in it.

What keeps you awake at night?

Anxiety or panic attacks are frightening. I had to go off caffeine to stop them. Even so, there are stresses in our lives that build up and can make their presence known through these attacks. There are so many things we can't fix, so many problems we can't solve. Thankfully, we have a God who is able to do more than we think or imagine. Reach out to this blessed Source and find love and comfort, and even a better night's sleep.

Longing for a safe place?

In these troubled times, we are all longing for a safe place to rest. We want to know that someone is in charge and has all these problems figured out, and most of all, that we will be okay. Our Shepherd fulfills all these things. The Shepherd will never leave us or forsake us, and in those arms, we never need to be afraid.

Longing for unfailing love?

When life seems to be beating us up and leaving us for dead, we need to hear from the God who loves us more than anyone else can. We need to drink deeply from that well of unfailing love, and find ourselves restored, renewed, fulfilled, and joyful. What are you waiting for?

How to make it through the day

When we wake up in the morning, we have little idea of what may happen during the course of the day. Some days, we just don't want to get out of bed because of uncertainty or just being too tired to face whatever is coming. And something is coming. I've found I can face anything if I know there is someone on my side. That assurance comes each day as I look into the Scriptures and see once again how much I'm loved, and how deeply God cares for me. Treat yourself to some encouragement, and then face the day with confidence.

Feeling vulnerable? Need a friend?

There are times in each of our lives where we feel weak, unable to go on. Usually at these times, we also feel alone, possibly abandoned. We've gotten so low, we don't even want help anymore. That's why I love this quote, "Come over here, where I don't want you to come. Jesus help me..." We can't hold on to Jesus, but in these verses for your reflection, we find Jesus is never far away. "With your right hand you would hold me."

I can't take it anymore!

Feeling overwhelmed? Exhausted? Too much to do, but too little time? When I get in this mindset, I realize I've taken on more than what really belongs to me. God has promised not to overload me, but I've taken on more out of guilt, external pressures, or just a failure to say "No". I need a reset. I go back to the One who loves me most to find out what is on God's list, and then let the other things fall away. Life becomes manageable once again, and my burden is lighter.

Worried? Anxious? Fearful?

I used to worry a lot. I was anxious and fearful of many things. Then I read in Scripture that God says we shouldn't worry. But how do I stop? In my own strength, I can't stop. But putting faith in God to take care of me, as promised in this verse, I can work on that. Do I really believe God is able and willing to take care of me? Am I willing to give up control? Will I accept that things may not work out the way I want them to? Do I want to seek my kingdom or God's kingdom above all else? Sometimes worry seems easier, but is it really helping?

Do you say "can't" but mean "won't"?

Sometimes I'm afraid to try something, so I say, "I can't" But what I really mean is "I won't" I won't take the risk, I won't try because I might fail. Sometimes, I can't even believe what I know to be true, like the depths of God's love for me. Are you ready to let God whisper words of love, forgiveness and grace to you? Reflecting on the Scriptures, just taking some time to listen can make all the difference. I dare you to try.

Is your life out of control?

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Has your life spun out of control? It seems each day can add small things, but nothing seems to go away. Then a big thing comes along and WHAM! Or maybe it is just another little thing. In either case, I feel out of control. These verses remind us that God wants us to cry out in our time of need. God has offered to be our refuge, strength, fortress in the middle of the storm. We need delivering, and our God is willing and able to do just that. Call on God today.

In faith, start moving

Ever feel stuck? In limbo? an outsider? I get like that now and then, but I've found the root of my problem. My focus has gone to other people or a problem, and I've stopped keeping my eyes on the only One that matters. I need to move forward toward what God has instructed me to do, and stop worrying about what others think of me. Ultimately, their opinion doesn't matter - only God's opinion does. Keep moving and the rest will get sorted in time. May God bring you to a place of peace.

Doubt? Uncertainty? Fear?

The Apostle Peter's life often reflects my experience. At one moment, I'm bold, the next moment, I'm filled with doubt, fear and uncertainty. Like Peter after he got out of the boat to walk on the water to Jesus, I start to sink. Ever feel that way? But this passage called me to reflect on God's faithfulness. As I looked back, I saw God had never abandoned me, though sometimes it felt like it. I'm reminded not to focus on my circumstances, but to keep my eyes on my Savior.

What is Prayer All About?

If God knows what we need before we ask him, then why ask? We believe God knows everything already, so why do I need to bring situations to his attention? I found the answer to these questions rather intriguing. God wants to share what he;'s doing with us. I think God wants to pull us out of our self-centered worlds to see the bigger picture of how all things can work together for good to those who believe. God wants us to get to know who he is and what he's up to. That's what families do. That's what friends do.Let's open our eyes and our hearts and celebrate the majesty and wonders of our God.

Afraid to keep knocking?

As long as things are going well, I'm comfortable asking God for some things. But to ask with shameless persistence? That's a whole different level for me! I don't want to make a nuisance of myself and make God angry with me or tired of me. But the parable Jesus told about the neighbor who kept bugging his friend for some bread did get what he needed. Jesus encouraged us to do the same. He uses these opportunities for growth. Let's begin to ask God for important things and see what happens. We can ask without fear and with shameless persistence.

Caught up in guilt?

I am my own worst enemy. I can find more ways to get in to trouble than I can find my way out of. How about you? I confess my sins, but sometimes the guilt hangs on because I don't forgive myself and fail to believe that God can forgive me. Ever feel like that? Thankfully, God is very patient and doesn't push me faster than I can go. As our reflection verses tell us, "change the way you think." Then we will know what is good, pleasing, and perfect in God's eyes.

Are you paralyzed?

There are many ways to be paralyzed besides physically. There is emotional paralysis, relational paralysis. In my case, I could not forgive myself for past actions and words. Then I understood from the passage mentioned here, that God wanted to free me from my paralysis. God wanted me to forgive myself and then I could be free from my past. We no longer need to sit in our self-selected cell to suffer. We can get up and walk out and live the full life God intended for us. Thanks be to God!

Who is planning your life?

When I planned my life, my goals were small and simple. Even then, things fell apart fairly quickly, and I was discouraged. Then I gave God control, and while life has not been easy, it has been eventful, purposeful, and full. God and I still have places to go and things to do. But I don't fear the future. God is with me every step and nothing will ever go to waste. How about you?

Accepting the invitation

How many invitations have you missed? How many times have you failed to show up, even when you accepted the invitation? When it happened to me, I was embarrassed, and apologized profusely. But when I don't show up to meet with God each day, I find myself offering excuses. "I was really busy." "I was too tired to get up in time, and now have to rush off to meet someone else." Sound familiar? God has so much to give us, if only we have time to receive it.

Do you feel unworthy?

The LORD God, King of the Universe decided to adopt me! That is incomprehensible! And to beat it all, God wanted to do that and doing it gave him great pleasure. There's no point in trying to get God to love me more. He already does. Now, I want to do things to please him because of all the amazing deeds he has done for me. That's a very different scenario. I'm not unworthy and neither are you. We are deeply loved and valued.

Are you forgetful?

We are so caught up in our physical world that we can easily forget the reality of the spiritual world. We need reminders to bring us back to our spiritual reality. Communion is one way to do this, daily Bible readings are another. The Still Small Voice of Love is a different way to interact with Scripture. The text prompts readers to interact with portions of Scripture and to listen to what God is saying to them.

We all need love

In these times of masks and social distancing, we all need to feel we are loved - that someone cares what is happening to us. In this reflection we see how God receives us when we return, empty and broken. He lavishes his love on us. Then we realize, we should have come home sooner.

Lent, a time of confession

Most of the time, we prefer not to think about how we may have been wrong. However, the season of Lent gives us an opportunity to acknowledge our own short-comings and receive God's forgiveness. What a great time for "heart-cleaning".

God's invitation

In our busy lives, we often fail to show up to meet with God. God is there waiting for us, but we are too tired, under too much time-pressure or dealing with too many demands to respond. God calls us in love to come and enjoy the feast prepared for us.

Prayers of Faith and Hope: Prayers for Christians to Pray for Muslims During Ramadan

Religion & Spirituality

Prayers from the Holy Bible for Christians to pray for Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.

Book Bubbles from Prayers of Faith and Hope: Prayers for Christians to Pray for Muslims During Ramadan

Searchers

God promises that if we search for God with our whole heart, we will find him. Many Muslims are hoping to hear from God during these days. We can pray along with them that God will reveal himself to them in undeniable ways. God has good plans for those who seek.

We Represent Jesus

No one comes into the kingdom of God by force. As Jesus' representatives on earth, we need to be salt and light in order to draw people to Him. We can speak words of grace and peace into those God brings to us. By showing God's love to others, we can be the instrument to bring them into the freedom of being children of God.

Freedom to Ask

A Muslim friend of mine asked about Christianity. I tried to answer his questions without saying anything negative about Islam. However, he complained bitterly that Muslims were not allowed to question anything about their faith. If you did, others might call you a heretic. There are serious consequences to "rocking the boat". So, let's pray for Muslims to find the courage to ask their questions and to seek answers to their problems. May they be protected while searching for the truth.

Who is my neighbor?

When I lived in Sudan, I had many Muslim neighbors. In the US, I don't know as many, but a few. How do we respond to those Muslims we see in the store or on the street or in a class? They are our neighbors, and God has commanded us to love them. Let's overcome our hesitation and apprehension to reach out to our Muslim neighbors during this season of Ramadan. It begins on March 11, 2024.

Ramadan begins on March 11

Ramadan is the Muslim month of fasting from dawn to dusk. It is a time that encourages community as they suffer together. It is also a time to seek a word from God, and those are the people we Christians want to pray for during this time. We want them to be freed from the works to become right with God, to having a faith that makes them right with God through Jesus. Join me this month to pray for the salvation and enlightenment of many during the season of Ramadan.

Night of Power

During this last week of Ramadan, there is a special day, the Night of Power. Muslims want to hear from God on this night as they celebrate the Qur'an. We can join them in praying that God will reveal himself through dreams and visions and bring freedom to many.

Peacemakers

During this third week of Ramadan, we want to pray for people of peace. Those who long for peace and are open to hearing the Gospel of peace can bring hope and salvation to many. Likewise, we need to be people of peace so that Muslims will be attracted to the God we serve. May we be the kind of person who reflects God's love and draws many to seek him.

Seeking Understanding

Ramadan is the time for Muslims to seek truth and a word from God. As Christians, we can join them in those prayers that they come to know the Truth, the Way and the Life.

What is your response to Muslims?

When I see a woman with a hijab in the store or meet someone with an Arab-sounding name, I smile. What do you do? We can't win people to Jesus by attacking or hating or ignoring them. We need to follow Jesus' method of loving people into the kingdom. As Ramadan begins on March 22, let's seek to befriend, reach out in love, get to know, lose our fear and engage as Jesus would.

Freedom to hear about love

I once shared John 3:16 with a Muslim. She responded, "No one could love anyone that much!" My reply, "That's the amazing thing, God does." Let's pray that God will lift the veil and open hearts and minds to hear of his great love, and will find the freedom to really hear and to receive that love.

Ramadan begins on March 22

Why should it matter when Ramadan starts? The season of Ramadan is a time when Muslims fast from sun up to sun down. It is also a time for seeking to hear from God. As Christians, we can pray for Muslims during this time, that God will truly reveal himself to them. Join many around the world who pray and seek God's face.

What kind of fasting does God want?

The Koran specifies the type of fasting required for Muslims. But is doing without food and drink during daylight hours really what God wants? We learn in Isaiah that true fasting is giving to those in need, releasing the oppressed, and setting prisoners free. Let's pray that our Muslim friends will find the true meaning of fasting during this last week of Ramadan. Let's also consider if we should be doing some fasting of our own.

Truly Seeking

As the second week of fasting comes to an end, with two more weeks to go, we want those who are truly seeking God to find him. There is nothing we can do to earn God's favor. We are too broken, too blind to our own faults to come close. But God in his grace has made a way for us to find forgiveness. God's ways are not our ways, so we pray for open hearts and minds and that God will reveal truth to those who seek.

What do our words and actions convey?

Remember the old saying "Actions speak louder than words"? It's true. If we show resentment, fear or hostility to those we engage, the message will be clear that we do not love them. Anger never conveys love, but it is only through love that we can truly show others the way of Christ. This prayer is offered for us to get our attitudes and actions in order so that when we converse with those who believe differently, we can communicate in love. By your love they will know to whom you belong.

Ramadan begins on April 2

Are you ready with your prayers? We cannot effectively force anyone to come to faith. Each person needs to have a personal experience with the God of the universe. Let's pray for Muslims seeking to know and hear from God during this season of fasting. May they have dreams and visions. May they see the love of Christ in Christians. May they find the confidence and assurance of eternal life and forgiveness that they are seeking. Let's pray to that end.

Good News

The Gospel = The Good News. We are unable to do anything to become right with God. We are too broken for that. The Good News is that God made a way, through Jesus, for us to gain eternal life. With great love and compassion, God sent Jesus to take our place, to die the death we deserve. Then God raised Jesus from the dead, and those who believe are no longer under the curse of sin and death. What a wonderful message for everyone to hear.

Love or Fear?

How do we respond when we see a woman with a head covering identifying her as a Muslim? Do you feel love? fear? anger? sadness? God clearly tells Christians that we should love those around us. We are to be at peace with our neighbors. Our prayer focus for this day during Ramadan is to pray about our attitudes. God says they will know we are Christians by our love. May God help us to express his love to all those around us.

Loving our neighbors well

When we love people, we want the best for them. Fear can keep us apart. Prayer can bring us together. As Christians, we can support our Muslim neighbors by praying for God to speak to them during the season of Ramadan. They are praying for that. Let's join them so that they can be open to hearing of God's love and grace for them.

Ramadan begins on April 2

Are you aware that during the month of Ramadan Muslims are seeking to hear from God? Yes, they are also obeying one of the 5 pillars of Islam. Having lived in a predominantly Muslim country for many years, I wanted to find a way to pray for my Muslim friends during this season. Prayers of Faith and Hope was written to help guide us in this endeavor. Join me this season to pray for Muslims around the world.

Loving Muslims

Having lived for 20 years in the Sudan, I came to love and respect many Muslims. I've shared Ramadan fatuur (breakfast) during the month of fasting, and have enjoyed wonderful hospitality. It is a difficult month, especially with temperatures over 100°F. As a Christian, I wanted to pray for my friends while they are fasting, and so wrote this book of prayers to stand with them. While our beliefs differ, we can still support one another.

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