Tag Archives: prayer

What If They Don’t Change?

All of us have someone in our lives who makes us crazy. Whether that person is a menacing co-worker, judgmental parent, or rebellious teenager, it seems nothing helps when it comes to coping with the contrary personalities of people who don’t quite see life the way we do. If we are walking with the Lord and know that someone’s behavior and choices are clearly wrong, we often pray for God to change them so they will be more Christlike and easier to get along with. Then we try countless ways to persuade them to see the error of their ways. But what if they don’t change?

This is a problem that I have struggled with the past four or five years as the parent of a rebellious teenager. Many times I have recalled what it was like to be an adolescent and marvel that my own mother never raised her voice at me the way I have with my son. And she had six of us! When I went through a lengthy season of rebellion in my late teens and early twenties, I don’t even remember her “discussing” my derelict behavior with me, but I know she talked often to God about me. She learned that sometimes only God can change a wayward heart, so she simply prayed for me and left it up to God to fix me.

In his book, Handle with Prayer: Unwrap the Source of God’s Strength for Living, Dr. Charles Stanley writes:

A college student was having trouble getting along with her unsaved father. Regardless of how sweet she was, they just could not get along. She soon found herself becoming bitter. As she prayed, the Lord revealed a strategy to combat her bitterness.

She was to understand that the conflict wasn’t between her and her father but rather between Satan and God. She saw that Satan was using her father as an instrument to overcome the Christ in her.

When she adopted this attitude, things at home began to change. She no longer saw her father as her enemy. On the contrary, she saw for the first time how he really loved her. When conflicts would arise, instead of reacting to her father, she would go to her knees in prayer and deal with the real enemy.

It is so easy to become bitter when our words fall on deaf ears and the person who is clearly wrong doesn’t change. We become angry and self-condemning when others bring out the worst in us, and Satan just loves that! Could it be that we are so caught up trying to change others that we are getting in the way of what God wants to do in their lives? Could it be that the one who truly needs to change is us?

If you are struggling with a difficult relationship right now, get alone with God and pray it through. As much as it is possible, isolate yourself from that individual or simply refuse to engage in an argument by leaving the room or discontinuing a phone conversation. After all, it takes two to tango and nothing is ever solved in a heated debate.

We cannot win others over with God’s love if we allow Satan to quench it in us by arousing our anger toward them. If you feel less than loving toward a family member or close friend, draw near to the One who loves you unconditionally and tell him about your dilemma. Pray for that one you find it so difficult to love. Forgive the hurt they have caused you and ask God to forgive you for whatever hurt you may have caused them. Even if they are too stubborn to make a positive change, don’t you be. Ask God to change you first and fill you with his grace and love so that you can reflect his love to others.

Love your enemies and remember these words from Jesus:

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you falsely and say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:9-12 (NIV)

 

Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com

The Good Samaritan

My husband and I, recently travelled for three hours to attend the wedding of a dear friend.  The journey was as good as it could be, given that the weather had finally decided to become wintry!

Our return journey unfortunately was marred by an accident.  Not a big accident, but not a good situation.  We had travelled through white-out conditions on the major highways and turned onto a side road close to home.  This was where we encountered more heavy and blowing snow!  We could not see the road ahead and it took just seconds for us to realize we were sliding off the road!  We came to rest in a snow-filled ditch, and became well and truly stuck and the weather was not being kind!  The wind was almost gale force causing almost zero visibility. 

We called for help via our auto club and then had to wait.  We were told it could be as long as an hour or more!  We had no choice but to ‘hunker down’ and wait.

During the time we were entrenched in the ditch – we had so many offers of help from passing motorists.  Mostly offering to call for help!  Inquiring if we were hurt!  What could they do?  Their ongoing kindness and concern left us feeling less alone, in our awful situation. 

One man had suggested he try and pull us out with the use of a strap – but because we had called for a tow truck, we decided to wait for that.  However, as time dragged on and it was certainly not getting any warmer, when another gentleman came along and stopped; looked at our cars’ position in the ditch and reassured us that he’d be able to pull us out, we readily agreed to let him try.  He succeeded and then drove behind us for a while, making sure we really were OK!  How very kind he was!  How very thankful we were for his assistance and for all the other motorists who so readily offered help!  So many good samaritans!  

Luke 10:33-34  But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.  So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring oil and wine and set him on his animal…….

We, thankfully, did not have wounds!  But the many good neighbors who stopped to offer help warmed our hearts, just as the good Samaritan in Luke’s story must have surely warmed the spirit of the injured traveller.

We are all called to be good neighbors to each other and the travellers who chose to stop and offer help to us were indeed good examples.  They all, despite the bitterness of the wind and cold, put our welfare first in showing such concern.  We were very thankful for each one.  And, in case you are wondering – yes, we did call the auto club and cancel the tow truck; in fact we did this as soon as we had been pulled back onto the road and found there was no further need for that service.

Prayer:  Father God, we were blessed by the many ‘angels’ you sent our way to help us in our time of need, and we pray your abundant favor and blessing upon each soul who showed concern for their neighbors.  Whether they realized it or not, they were choosing to be good neighbors to people they did not know; showing mercy because there was a need.  We are thankful for each one of them.  In Jesus Name, Amen

 Patricia Day

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Backstage Pass

“Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Most of us have a favorite musician or celebrity we have dreamed of meeting one day, but few of us are lucky enough to secure a backstage pass which would give us that kind of access or a behind-the-scenes look into all that goes into a successful concert or stage production.  We only get to enjoy a limited view as fans and, with the rising cost of tickets, an expensive view at that. 

As Christians we don’t need a backstage pass to gain an audience with the omnipotent, omnipresent, all-knowing God of the universe.  All we need do is accept His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.  We may not always be able to see what God is doing to answer our prayers for provision or redeeming grace in the lives of those we love, but we have full access to talk with Him, the promises of His Word to give us hope, and the assurance that He is working all things together for good in the lives of those who love Him.

As you pray today for those you love, have faith that even though you don’t have a backstage pass that allows you to see what God is doing behind the scenes, you have full access to the One who hears and answers your prayers.  You don’t need to know all the details, but you do need to trust God to work them out in His own way and according to His timetable.  Don’t worry that you cannot see His hand at work, but trust His heart as you rest in His presence.  “Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”[1] 


[1] Words and Lyrics by Helen Lemmel

 Copyright © 2011 by Dee Dee Wike.  All rights reserved.  www.deedeewike.com

 

Cry Out to God

There are days that I just feel like crying. My soul hungers for answers and I groan before God. These are the times where I don’t understand His ways – even if I still trust in His heart.

May my cry come before you, Lord; give me understanding according to your word. Psalm 119:169

Sometimes it’s enough for me to simply cry to the Lord. To vent to Him. To have Him there to listen. It’s reassuring for me to unleash my heart on His shoulders; knowing that He carries all my concerns with such great care.

I seek understanding…often. I seek relief from my doubts, fears, and concerns. But it’s almost more important to me to be heard. I need to know that I matter. That my thoughts, heart, and voice…matter. I need to know and feel like God sees me.

Yes, sometimes that’s more important to me.

He DOES see me. He DOES hear me and I DO matter to him. He provides me a way for my cry to come before Him and to rest at His feet.

Some days my heart just wants to pour out. It doesn’t want advice or direction – although it might the next day or the day after that. It simply wants to spill. It wants to unleash all that lies within it – the emotion, the feeling, and the questions.

I’m so thankful that my cry can come before the Lord in those moments and on those days. I’m so thankful that He never gets tired of me and that I’m not a burden.

May my cry come before you, Lord. Today – and always.

 

~ Dionna Sanchez (http://beautyinthestorm.blogspot.com)

 

Pray for Their Hurts

“16 If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that” -1 John 5:16

This afternoon after church my wife and I found ourselves eating pizza at the same pizza place as the Lead Pastor of our church. We were with a group of teenagers and so as I was standing around Pastor Brett mentioned that he had read my devotional 75 Pounds. He then asked if I would be interested in sharing my story for a part of a series that is coming up called “I Quit.” We stood around talking about my story when we began to talk about exactly what 1 John 5:16 talks about.

If you read through my story you’ll know that I put on 75 pounds in a few years. I found comfort, from the pain of holding on to grudges and past disappointments, by eating. What was interesting though was that while people around me noticed that I was packing on the pounds…no one said anything. No one questioned if I had a problem. No one stepped up to say I needed to get my life under control. And no one asked if everything was okay.

1 John 5:16 calls us to pray for those people we see that are drowning their sorrows and pain in an addiction. We often see people who are in a tough situation and pass them off. We dismiss their actions by saying “that’s too bad” or by disguising a prayer request as gossip. We need to be cautious not to turn our prayer groups into a community of gossip.

Think through the people in your life that you know are stuck in situations that are caused by hurts or pain. Pray for those people. Pray for the people who you don’t know are covering up hurts and pain with unhealthy choices.

Can you hear me now?

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” – 1 John 5:14

I was in the middle of a staff meeting the other day at work and somehow the topic of cell phones came up. What was interesting is that everyone sitting around the table whipped out their phones. Several people had iPhones and a few other Droids, but everyone at the table had a pretty nice phone. Each of our phones allowed us to check e-mail, sports scores and update our Facebook status. Cell phones to us are a huge part of our lives and if we don’t have them on us we feel uncomfortable.

I like the old Verizon commercials where their slogan was “Can you hear me now?” So many times in my life I’ve felt like that was my prayer. I’ve been asking for God to touch a situation or a family member and I keep repeating the prayer over and over and I just want to cry out “Can you hear me now!??!”

1 John 5:15 teaches us that when we pray for His will..He hears us. When we ask for things that are selfish things…or I like to call them “Matthew things”…He turns His ear. When we pray for a ton of money so that we can quit our job and live in a huge house and forget about the rest of the world…He turns His ear. When we pray for Him to trust us with more money so that we can give it to others….He hears us.

Listen to your prayers as you’re praying and before asking for anything ask yourself what the intent of your heart is for what you’re asking. If you’re praying for His will…let it rain!