Devotional

A Call to Prayer

Therefore I exhort first of all that all supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.    I Timothy 2:1-4 NKJV

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the focal point of the news and of conversations. Hospitals are bombed. People flee Ukraine for neighboring countries and beyond, as refugees without a home. Wounded and dead on both sides leave grieving families.

It’s tragic, but what can we do?

Pray.

Praying for a friend or family member who is ill or facing a crisis is natural. We love them, so their anguish tugs at our hearts. To pray for someone unknown to us may not come readily to our minds. Yet we are called to pray not only for those we know but for all people.

Pray for kings and all who are in authority, the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy. Pray for the governments of the Ukraine, Russia, and others around the world involved in trying to stop the war in Ukraine by sanctions or other means. Let’s pray for our own country and local government as well, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life.

Pray for peace.

Pray for peoples’ salvation. God desires all people to be saved regardless of political persuasion or nationality.  

Pray for truth to be known.

Pray for those who suffer. See James 5:13-15. Help if possible. During Paul’s missionary journeys, he gathered an offering for the Church in Jerusalem to help them in time of great need. Look for reputable organizations that are helping the refugees and the country of Ukraine.

Pray for other Christians at home, church, locally, and far away, including Christian brothers and sisters in Russia and in the Ukraine. Pray that they will stand firm in faith in the Lord and that they will follow the Lord in all things. Pray that they will not be swayed by false teaching. Paul prayed regularly for the churches where he sent his epistles. Paul prayed for those he knew, and he also prayed for those he hadn’t met. Paul had never been in Colosse, yet he wrote to the Colossians that he and Timothy gave “thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints…” Colossians 1:3, 4 NKJV

Pray for the persecuted. Many Christians in other countries fear letting others know they are believers in Christ Jesus because it is a death sentence where they live.

Pray for enemies. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44 NKJV.  When Paul instructed that prayers be made for kings, Nero was on the throne of the Roman Empire, the same Emperor that was killing Christians.   

Pray with a clean heart. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

It’s time to act. Let’s pray.

Dear Lord God, I come to You, confessing my sins. Clean my heart, Lord. I pray for peace, and for the leaders of the governments involved. I pray for the people of the Ukraine and of Russia, especially for those who are suffering, and for the believers in those countries. Please use this conflict to bring people to salvation through Christ Jesus. Amen.


Thank you for joining me and for reading my blog. Devotionals post every other Thursday, with past devotionals still available under Devotionals. You may follow my blog and it will be sent to you. Please leave a comment; I’d love to hear from you! ~ Kathryn

Devotional

Remember

Come to the Garden Series

I will extol You, my God, O King: and I will bless Your name forever and ever. One generation will praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.  They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, and shall sing of Your righteousness.  Psalm 145: 1,4,7 (NKJV) 

My cousin has a special spot in her garden, a place set aside where she can go to remember our grandmother. In it are Grandma’s chrysanthemums, tulips, her Mother’s Day peonies and other flowers from Grandma’s garden.

My own garden of memories is scattered throughout my flower beds. Special plants remind me of my parents and other people I’ve been blessed to know and love. The Paperwhites and Jade plants from the home I was raised in remind me of my parents and brother. The purple bearded irises especially remind me of Mom, as she generously shared them. The red Chrysler Imperial rose reminds me of Dad. Other roses bring to mind my friend Judy, or our family’s trip to the Rose Parade. Some plants have been chosen by my children or have come from friends, and I think of each one when I see “their” fern, bush, succulent, or flower. I use the memories to pause to pray for him or her, and to thank my Lord for putting that individual in my life.

***

Photo by rasik on Pexels.com

The LORD often called His people to remember what He had done for them, and to teach those things to their children and grandchildren. The Passover feast reminds the Israelites of God’s deliverance from their slavery in Egypt. When Joshua took over leadership after Moses, the Lord told Joshua to have the twelve tribes of Israel pick up stones from the midst of the Jordan River, and they heaped the stones on the bank and in the river as memorials of their crossing on dry land through the river (Joshua 3 and 4). The Lord’s Supper is also a memorial, instituted by Christ Jesus in remembrance of Him and of how He gave His blood and body for us. (Luke 22:19-20).

I think God calls us to remember and to tell of His works to each other so we will remember Him and what He has done for us. He knows how forgetful and unthankful we can be! King David realized the importance of remembering, for he told the Lord, “On the glorious splendor of Your majesty and on Your wonderful works, I will meditate. People will speak of the power of Your awesome acts, and I will tell of Your greatness.” (Psalm 145: 5, 6 NASB20)

Whether it is with a special plant, a pile of rocks, or a special meal, let’s find ways to remember to pray for others, and to meditate on God and how He has been at work in our life.  Keeping a journal helps us remember how the Lord has answered prayer or acted on our behalf in the past. We can see God’s faithfulness and provision in the small and the large things in our lives. Those memories can be shared with our families, so they know the way God has been with us and with them. Lessons we’ve learned can be taught to others. Like King David, we can commit to blessing and praising the Lord every day so that we quickly remember what the Lord has done for us.

How many things can you praise God for today?

Lord, help me to remember what You have done in my life and in the lives of my family. Help me to tell my children and extended family of the blessings You have provided. Help me teach them the lessons You have taught me. In doing this, “One generation will praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.  They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness.”  Amen.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Devotionals post every other Thursday. Past devotionals can be found in the Devotional archive.

Thank you for joining me! I would love for you to leave your comments.

Devotional

Prayer: Hold On to the Lifeline

When Storm Clouds Gather series, devotional # 7

As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry in distress, and He hears my voice. (Psalm 55:16, 17 NIV)

A storm can make it hard to know where we are going. In Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book, On the Bank of Plum Creek, Laura described a blizzard so bad that Pa was lost in it for four days without knowing that he was very close to home. He couldn’t see the light in the window. During the blizzard, Ma had to hang onto the clothesline to find her way from the house to the barn to care for the animals, or she would have been lost. The clothesline acted as a lifeline.

In the storms of life, such as financial setback, ill health, or other crisis, we may not see our way to safety. The path ahead can be dark, and we may not feel God’s presence. It’s easy to lose our direction, our hope, and our peace.

Prayer is our lifeline.

Prayer is talking to God. It doesn’t need to be full of ‘spiritual’ phrases. Our Heavenly Father wants us to communicate with Him, just as we want our children to communicate with us. The Lord listens and He answers our prayers.

Jesus expects us to pray. When He taught the disciples how to pray in Matthew, chapter six, He said “When you pray”, not “If you pray.”

The Apostle Paul also told believers to pray. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)

Sometimes we may not know how to pray, or what to ask of our loving Heavenly Father. Is what we are asking according to God’s will?

We have a Helper. Paul assured us that “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us … And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8:26, 27 NIV)

In 1988 I heard a Focus on the Family broadcast that ultimately changed my prayer life. Dr. James Dobson was interviewing Fern Nichols, founder of Moms in Touch International (now called Moms in Prayer International). Fern described how she and other women gathered weekly to pray for an hour for their children and for their children’s schools. I looked at my three-month-old daughter and decided that when she entered Kindergarten, I would join a Moms in Touch (MITI) group. When that day came, I was fearful. I’d known Jesus since my childhood, yet how would I pray for an hour? I certainly couldn’t imagine that I would later lead MITI groups and eventually teach Moms in Prayer (MIPI) on mission trips.

I learned how to pray using Scripture, as I’ve done using I Thessalonians 5:16-17 in the prayer below. The following prayer format used by Moms in Prayer still helps me to pray. I hope that it helps you.

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com
  • Praise – Praising God for who He is, His attributes, His name, or His character.
  •  Confession – Confessing your sins to the God who forgives. (In a MIPI meeting the confession is done silently.)
  • Thanksgiving – Thanking God for what He has done.
  • Intercession – Coming to God in prayer on behalf of others.

Writing and dating the prayer requests and God’s answers to prayer in a prayer journal helps us to see the way God has worked on our behalf in the past and reminds us that God will answer in the future. Let’s talk with God.

Dear Heavenly Father, I praise You for being the God who listens. I confess that I grumble and I forget to seek You. Please forgive me. Thank you for loving me. Please help me to rejoice always, pray continually, and to give thanks in all circumstances; for this is Your will for me in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Devotional

Fear or Faith?

When Storm Clouds Gather series, devotional # 5

By Kathryn Hughes

“Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:3,4 NLT)

There is so much to fuel our fears right now. COVID-19 threatens our health and life. Loneliness can overwhelm us as friends and family are distanced. Jobs are threatened or eliminated, adding another level of fear for personal finances and our economy. Riots, looting, and social injustice amp up the fear level too.

A friend once told me that fear is an acronym for:

False

Evidence

Appearing

Real.

Yet there is so much that is real in our fears right now. How can we avoid drowning in the fear?

FAITH

Remember that the Lord is still in control. Sure, the winds are whipping around and the waves are high. But is our Heavenly Father throwing up His hands in despair? No. The LORD reigns…surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved. (Psalm 93:1) He isn’t surprised by racial injustice nor by a medical diagnosis. He’s not surprised by any moment in our lives.

When I received a diagnosis of cancer, my Heavenly Father already knew it. In fact, I believe that God allowed me to have a minor unrelated health issue so the mass on my kidney would be discovered in the ultrasound. Was I afraid? You bet.

I read a limited number of articles about kidney cancer and talked with my surgeon. But I couldn’t allow myself to read everything there was on the subject nor focus on my family history of other cancers or other unknown fears. It distracted me too much and made me fearful.

Instead, I clung to what I did know. The Lord allowed the disease. He will accomplish his purpose for my life. I will not die one minute earlier than the day He already planned.

Thankfully, the surgeon was able to remove all of the cancer.

Photo by GEORGE DESIPRIS on Pexels.com

When fears surface and try to pull us under their wave, focusing on God’s greatness and character helps us remember who He is. The LORD is compassionate and gracious, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive [with us,] Nor will He keep [His anger] forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. (Psalm 103:8-10 NASB) Like King David, we can say, I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears.”

Let’s be ready to confront fear with faith. Write down some Scripture that helps bring the focus back onto the God who loves us. Use those verses in prayer, personalizing them as I’ve done with a few verses of Psalm 103 in the prayer below. Here are a couple Scripture passages that mean a lot to me, I hope they encourage you too. Psalms 139:16-18; Psalm 103.

Heavenly Father, I bless Your holy name. May I forget none of Your benefits. You pardon all my iniquities. You crown me with lovingkindness and compassion. You satisfy me with good things. Please forgive me for focusing on fear instead of on You. Please help me to praise You and to trust You to remove the fear.  In Jesus’ powerful name. Amen.  

* * *