Praying Through the Pain

“In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the LORD.…she kept on praying to the LORD…” I Samuel 1: 10, 12 Infertility is defined as the inability of a woman of reproductive age to conceive after trying for twelve months. It’s a painful experience for women today, and it was a painful experience for women in Old Testament times, as well. In I Samuel 1 we meet Hannah – a woman who experienced the pain of infertility – compounded by another wife of her husband who provoked and taunted her.  The cycle of hoping and waiting and being disappointed …

I’m Listening

“Speak, for your servant is listening.” I Samuel 3: 10 The book of I Samuel opens during the time of the Judges. Chapter 3 begins by letting us know a little about the spiritual climate: “…In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.” I Samuel 3: 1 Perhaps The people didn’t hear from God because they didn’t want to hear from God. It was a low time spiritually for God’s chosen people. They chose to go their own way.  When they found themselves in a jam, they came back to seek Him out and ask for His …

What’s Missing

  Sometimes what’s not there is even more telling than what is: Thanksgiving dinner with no turkey leaves a huge whole on the dinner table A car up on blocks with no wheels tells a sad story– you’ve been robbed. Did your kids try to play the “last puzzle piece game” at your house? Sneak out a piece and hide it just so they could be the one to put in the last piece? No matter how beautiful the rest of the scene, our eye is drawn to that gaping hole. In I Samuel Chapter 4, the Israelites go out …

What or Who is Your BAE?

  I learned that term BAE from my millennial daughter.  It’s an acronym representing the phrase, Before Anything Else. And it’s a good phrase to use when doing a little self-assessment on the topic of idolatry. As followers of Christ living in the 21st-century western world, we may assume idolatry is one sin we can cross off the list – we may readily acknowledge struggles with envy, pride, gluttony, etc, but since our home is free of statues and we don’t make trips to bow to graven images, we are okay – right? Perhaps not. In our study in I …

Monuments, Markers and Memories

Wedding rings: Visual reminders of vows made to each other. The American Flag: A marker to declare allegiance, victory, ownership. Monuments: Honor the service and sacrifice of those who gave all and help us remember the high price paid to purchase freedom for us all. Scrapbooks and photo albums: Capture special events and keep records for future generations. Monuments. Markers. Memories. Sometimes we need something tangible to help us remember –to keep us from forgetting.  Our family, our community, and even our country– all erect monuments and markers to commemorate important events, great sacrifices, and extraordinary people. Perhaps it’s even …

A Call to Be Holy

God’s plan for His people was that they be a light to the world. He called them out to send them out. When God established the nation of Israel, He  said to Abraham: “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing…And all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”  Genesis 12: 2-3 Our Lord Jesus echoed these words in His Sermon on the Mount: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a …

Praying Before

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed….John 17: 1 John 17 captures the night before for Jesus. The next day would bring his arrest and subsequent crucifixion. Because He was fully divine and fully human, He knew what He was facing:  harsh judgment, abuse, condemnation, and horrifically painful death. When you and I have a challenge coming, how do we prepare? Reward ourselves with a good meal or a pedicure? Maybe some shopping therapy? Indulge in a chick flick with a big bowl of popcorn? Jesus could have hung with his friends … perhaps gone fishing or reminisced around …

Praying Through The Pain

“In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord.”  I Samuel 1: 10 Hannah wanted desperately to be a mom. Year after year she prayed, waited, and prayed some more. Her grief was great, made even more painful by the constant, cruel provocation of her husband’s second wife. But she kept praying. She kept going back to God and asking. Her prayers testify to her continued hope. And most of all, her continued prayers demonstrate her faith in God. Hannah chose to pray through the pain. Waiting to become a mom was painful for Hannah. Each year, …

Prayer-Begin With Praise

“The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.” Exodus 15: 2 The bulk of Exodus 15 is a song of praise to God by Moses and Miriam. Their delight in what God had done could not be contained. The joy in their hearts overflowed into praise on their lips. They were witnesses to an extraordinary act of God: the parting of the Red Sea and the deliverance of their people from Pharaoh’s Army. If you’ve grown up in church, the …

Open Eyes, Praying Heart

  “My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises.”  Psalm 119: 148   Insomnia. We’ve all struggled at one time or another with a sleepless night or two. Too much caffeine, too much noise from the neighbors, or a too-long to do list. The reasons are many.  Sometimes there is no reason. We can make ourselves do many things: get up every morning, cook dinner, grade math, pay bills, do laundry. But we can’t make ourselves sleep—in fact, the very process of trying to force sleep can produce adrenaline that does just the opposite—and difficulty …

Praying My Blessings

  “On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.” Psalm 63: 6   Sleep used to come easy. But getting older makes sleep more difficult—not only falling asleep, but sometimes staying asleep. Instead of pounding the pillow, flipping it to the cool side, or resorting to counting sheep, I’ve learned to count my blessings: specifically, to pray my blessings. If I’m going to be awake anyway, why not redeem the time by interceding for my precious ones? As I remember and acknowledge God’s faithfulness, I’m also reminded that He not only created my children: He knows them even …

Pray the Book

When looking over verses this week, it was a challenge to choose just one to unpack for a devotional. Instead, I opted to highlight three passages, and to suggest how to pray those verses back to God as you intercede for your precious ones: “My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you.” Proverbs 7: 1  “Lord, your word is life. I pray my children would not just memorize Your Word but would love it and live it. Give each of them an insatiable hunger and thirst for your truth that will never be satisfied this side of heaven. As they open …