Friday, July 29, 2011

It's "Marriage Prayer Friday!"

These weekly marriage prayers aren’t usually so personal but this time I want to dedicate a prayer to my precious husband — he’s an absolutely beautiful man who lives well his passion to love me and our family while honoring God.

Larry and I are celebrating our 23rd wedding anniversary tomorrow! We are those people who can truly say, “I married my best friend.” We’ve put up some fierce fights over the years, as any good friends sometimes do. Thankfully, those battles haven’t always been targeted toward each other. Most of them were battles we had to dive into with our elbows linked hard together and our hearts inclined toward Christ. So while this prayer (based on Colossians 1:9-14) is one of my own heart today, I hope many of you can join with me before the Lord bearing the same gratitude and hope.

A prayer for your own marriage—
GRACIOUS JESUS, it amazes me to consider how you chose me and my spouse especially for each other. From before either of us was born You knew what we would face together — hardships, joys, sins, consequences, dreams, and celebrations. Though we are often surprised by our life together, you are not. Lord, you know I have prayed for my spouse often since the day we first met. Today, I ask you again to fill him/her with the knowledge of Your will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives so that we may live a life worthy of You. We want to please You in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of You, being strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that we have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks always to You Heavenly Father. How can I adequately thank You, Jesus, for weaving us together the way you have over the years? Through our salvation, You have qualified us to share in the inheritance of Your holy people in the kingdom of light. Lord, you know we have not always lived in the light of Your grace and love toward each other. Yet, in Your great mercy, you claimed us out of the pit and rescued us from the dominion of darkness and anchored us in the kingdom of Your Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Thanks be to You, most awesome God, for this is a day of rejoicing in the Lord. And may the joy of the Lord always be our strength. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN


Something to pray for a friend's marriage—

GRACIOUS JESUS, as I pray for the marriages of friends and family that I love, I am amazed to consider how you place people in relationships with such great wisdom and vision. Before any of these couples were born, You knew what they would face together — hardships, joys, sins, consequences, dreams, and celebrations. Though they are often surprised by their life together, you are not. Lord, please prompt them to pray for each other regularly (even when they are not in the mood). Fill each of them with the knowledge of Your will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives so that they may thrive in a marriage worthy of You. Thank you for my married friends who want to please You in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of You, being strengthened with all power according to Your glorious might so that they have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks always to You Heavenly Father. How can I adequately thank You, Jesus, for weaving them together the way you have over the years? Through their salvation, You have qualified them to share in the inheritance of Your holy people in the kingdom of light. Lord, you know they have not always lived in the light of Your grace and love toward each other. Yet, in Your great mercy, you are willing to claim them out of any pit and rescue them from the dominion of darkness. You alone can anchor them in the kingdom of Your Son in whom they have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Thanks be to You, most awesome God, that the gift of marriage is reason for rejoicing in the Lord. And may the joy of the Lord always be their strength. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

FINDING GLORY Wednesday

Our focus this week continues to be on sharing life and ministry. This can be a challenging thing to do — and do well! Let's dig deeper.

Today’s scripture and discussion question are:

"Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, 'Sit here while I go over there and pray.' He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, 'My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.' Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.' Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. 'Could you men not keep watch with me for on hour?' he asked Peter." MATTHEW 26:36-40

Consider how Jesus felt about his friends' response during his time of anguish. What are godly ways to handle the temptation toward resentment when you don't experience satisfying support from others?

For more information about Finding Glory Groups, visit http://www.findingglory.com/findingglorygrou.html.

Today's reflections are copyrighted excerpts taken from Finding Glory in the Thorns: Group Discussion Guide.

Monday, July 25, 2011

As Iron Sharpens Iron

We have just spent the last three days on retreat with the Board of Directors for Walk Right In Ministries. It's been such an encouraging and sharpening time of fellowship, worship and listening to God for direction!

As Larry and I prepared for the retreat, we had Christ-centered friendship on our minds. Of course it is a priority for us individually and as a family, but it is critical in the leadership and the very fabric of our ministry. As the weekend went on, we were thankful for the opportunity to wrestle through the mission, vision, challenges and opportunities with like-minded friends who will encourage us in Christ and hold us accountable to His ways. As we all dug into God's word and our passions together, we were reminded once again of what a privilege it is to live and work alongside others who love Jesus.
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 John 4:12

Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man...they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man,“Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:3-5

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24
We prayed that you have people in your lives coming alongside you in such an important way. Would you please take a moment to pray on behalf of Walk Right In Ministries? Let's ask God together that He would connect people in Christ-centered relationships and equip them for growth and abundant living that brings glory to God — even when life is hard. That's our mission. May God make it so!

Friday, July 22, 2011

It's "Marriage Prayer Friday!"

Let's kick off a great weekend by praying humbly for marriage!

A prayer for your own marriage—

LORD GOD, there are areas of pride in my life and marriage that need breaking. I am painfully aware that there are certain things that need changing in me but I know there are some areas where I am blind to my own sin. Help me to be receptive to Your correction, even when it comes through the voice of someone else like my spouse. I want to be a husband/wife who is growing and teachable in my marriage relationship not someone who is defensive and easily wounded. I also need Your help to be a compassionate partner who shares my needs, ideas and dreams with Your patience and grace. Shut my mouth and open my ears to hear what my husband/wife is trying to say about his/her wants, needs, ideas and dreams. Encourage us, Lord Jesus. We need to know again that you love us and delight in us as individuals and as a couple. Please reassure us that we can always rest in Your grace and presence despite any ugly moment or season. God, You know where breakthrough is needed. For Your glory, please heal, restore and grow us! I pray in Jesus’ name. AMEN


Something to pray for a friend's marriage—

LORD GOD, as I pray for the marriages of people I care about today, I am asking for your intervention in the area of pride. I am asking for a new release of Your power to break any grip of pride. There are usually some painful areas where things need to change or grow in every marriage, Lord. Help my friends to be receptive to Your correction, even when it comes through the voice of someone else like their spouse. Give them a desire to be husbands and wives who are growing and teachable in their marriage relationship not spouses who are defensive and easily wounded. Also, help them to be compassionate partners who share their needs, ideas and dreams with Your patience and grace. Shut their mouths and open their ears to hear each other. Encourage them, Lord Jesus. They need to know again that you love them and delight in them as individuals and as a couple. Please reassure them that they can always rest in Your grace and presence despite any ugly moment or season. God, You know where breakthrough is needed. For Your glory, please heal, restore and grow these marriages I name before you today! I pray in Jesus’ name. AMEN

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

FINDING GLORY Wednesday

Discussion last week was about how loving each other reveals who God is. This week, we turn our attention to what can happen when we share our stories and our lives.

If you are just reading "FINDING GLORY Wednesdays" for the first time, we hope you will join the conversation which is based on Finding Glory in the Thorns resources. We hope you’ll share your ideas and perspectives whether you have been a past reader or not.

Today’s scripture and discussion questions are:

"No one has ever seen God; but if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us." 1 JOHN 4:12-16

How can sharing your pain — talking about it, asking for help, giving help, etc. — be ways of expressing godly love?

In what ways might God be leading you or your family to ask for some help? In what ways might your seemingly selfish request actually result in positive things for someone else?

For more information about Finding Glory Groups, visit http://www.findingglory.com/findingglorygrou.html.

Today's reflections are copyrighted excerpts taken from Finding Glory in the Thorns: Group Discussion Guide.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Real Thing

Last week I shared the top three things I look for in a Walking Partner. I mentioned that authenticity was right up there among the foremost qualities I value in my friendships. Today I want to take a moment to share what I mean by authenticity and why I think it is so important in the relationships I treasure the most in my life. I do so because I hope we’ll all be challenged to go deeper and be more real with each other. It’s no easy thing but altogether worth it!

One dictionary defines authenticity as “undisputed credibility” and “the quality of being believable or trustworthy.” Interesting definitions, I’d say. The qualities I have usually associated with authenticity were integrity, transparency and vulnerability.

It was about 15 years ago when Larry and I first started talking about the preciousness of transparency and vulnerability in our friendships. We were in a small group Bible Study with six other couples at the time. Each couple had encountered a storm. Life-threatening encephalitis, serious depression, renewal after years in the grip of alcoholism, a financial crisis, the death of a child, infidelity — every family had stories of heartbreak and victory.

As those relationships were developing and everyone was gradually feeling safe to share about past and current challenges, Larry and I found ourselves facing a mountain in our own marriage. The group surrounded us with unconditional love, prayer, encouragement and accountability about staying grounded in God’s Word. We felt tremendously vulnerable sharing our weaknesses but doing so contributed to the group’s deepening intimacy. To this day, we all marvel at how God seared our hearts and lives together in such beautiful ways as we walked together through “muck and mire.”

Not every meeting was so real, however. On more than one occasion, as we would share prayer requests around the circle of someone’s living room, one of our friends would say “it’s been a good week for our family” or “we don’t really have any prayer requests this week” even though Larry or I knew from a private conversation with the husband or wife that their family was wrestling through something. In those kinds of situations, we felt conflicted and would come home frustrated and confused.

Despite the treasured depth and intimacy that developed over the 3 years we met together, there were still times when we weren’t always genuine with each other. Larry and I have been in several small groups since that time and our experiences have largely been the same. People struggle with how to be open and balanced with one another. Understandably, we all wrestle with balancing privacy and intimacy. We crave relationships that are genuine while needing to respect confidences, especially with our spouse.

Thankfully, God has provided some guidelines that help clarify this for us. The Apostle Paul gives one of my favorite models of what Biblical authenticity looks like.

“…in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.“ 1 Corinthians 12:7-10

These verses are familiar but usually because of the point about God’s strength in weakness or the question “What was Paul’s thorn?” Theologians have speculated about this for centuries and I often joined them. Then one day, I saw something that shed light on this issue of authenticity. It occurred to me that perhaps it was God’s design that Paul didn’t reveal details about his thorn. By admitting he struggled, Paul becomes relatable to us. We resonate with him even though we don’t know the specific nature of what his struggle was — maybe even because we don’t know exactly what it was. Paul is open about his weakness and his ongoing struggle but shows respect for himself and his audience by keeping things general at this point. There are other times when he seems to encourage depth, especially when the goal will be ministry from the Holy Spirit:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. …We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 and 8-9

Over the past several years, Larry and I have spent much time talking through this quandary — when to open up and how much? One thing is certain: God uses authentic intersections between people to reveal Himself and build people up. Very little good comes from keeping secrets or trying to hide weakness. When we are struggling and feeling alone, we need to know that there are others who struggle. When we are discouraged and losing hope, we need to know that someone else has been in our shoes and has come through the flood victoriously.

I could go on and on singing the praises of authenticity in relationships. For now, let me just say that LIFE and GOD have never felt more “real” to our family than in those times when things got messy (for us or for someone else) and God’s people rallied together. That kind of Christ-centered, life-giving, adventurous fellowship cannot happen unless we GET REAL with each other. We don’t have to share the gory details, but we can courageously give one another information that is trustworthy.

Lord Jesus, help us to live the real thing! Help us to share authentically while also being worthy of our friends’ trust. AMEN

Friday, July 15, 2011

It's "Marriage Prayer Friday!"

It's Friday once again, and we're praying for marriages — our own and for those we love.

A prayer for your own marriage—

SOVEREIGN GOD, You stand in authority over our hearts. Thank you for your grace that softens even the hardest heart (like the Apostle Paul’s). I want to have a soft heart too — toward You and toward those I love, especially my husband/wife. Lord, I confess that my faith grows cold sometimes and my heart gets hard. This bitterly affects my marriage. Sometimes, it’s only for a moment or one bad day. But even cancer grows from one tiny bad cell. Help me to do my part in nurturing the “good cells” in my marriage. I know that you desire my marriage to strengthen me and my spouse both individually and together. I want to be a Christ-like encouragement to my husband/wife. I want to be more empathetic and truly understand his/her perspective. I want to see my spouse through Your eyes. Even when it seems necessary for us to correct or guide each other, I want Your help to do that graciously and tenderly as Christ would do it. Please stand in authority over my heart, God. Thank you for the healing and growth that is to come in Jesus’ name! AMEN


Something to pray for a friend's marriage—

SOVEREIGN GOD, You stand in authority over our hearts. Thank you for your grace that softens even the hardest heart (like the Apostle Paul’s). Please make my married friends receptive and soft-hearted — toward You and toward their spouses. Lord, I know that cold faith and hard hearts bitterly affects a marriage. Sometimes, it’s only for a moment or one bad day. But even cancer grows from one tiny bad cell. Help my friends to nurture the “good cells” in their marriages. I know that you desire them to be strong both individually and together. Help them to give Christ-like encouragement to each other. Help them to be more empathetic and truly understand each other's perspectives. Help them to see each other through Your eyes. Even when it seems necessary for them to correct or guide each other, help them to do that graciously and tenderly as Christ would do it. Please stand in authority over their hearts, God. Thank you for the healing and growth that is to come in Jesus’ name! AMEN

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

FINDING GLORY Wednesday

Today’s scriptures and discussion question are, once again, taken from the Finding Glory in the Thorns: Group Discussion Guide. Please join the discussion. Share your comment below and invite others to join these conversations. The more the merrier!

"No one has ever seen God; but if we love each other, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us." 1 JOHN 4:12-16

"Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." EPHESIANS 2:19-22

How does the idea of being part of that Body (Christ's sacred Body) inspire and challenge you to embrace joy, practice gratitude, and share in the ministry of the Holy Spirit by loving one another?

For more information about Finding Glory Groups, visit http://www.findingglory.com/findingglorygrou.html.

Today's reflections are copyrighted excerpts taken from Finding Glory in the Thorns: Group Discussion Guide.

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Top Three (more on Walking Partners)

When it comes to having someone come alongside me in life as a valued friend, what are the three most important things I look for in a relationship? I think this is an important question to ask and it’s one I’ve asked myself many times. This is where I keep landing — I need encouragement, exhortation, and empathy based on Biblical principals that keep me pointed back to Christ. Authenticity is right up there too but, because it weaves through these first three, I’ll make it a topic of another week.

For today, I’ll share some examples of three things I value highly in my marriage relationship and the friendships that are most treasured in my life. Perhaps they can serve as an inspiration, challenge or guideline for some of our readers.

ENCOURAGEMENT — I was terribly bullied during middle school and heard a lot of messages that wore away at my confidence in myself and my trust in others. For that reason and others, I grew up craving advocacy, affirmation and affection. The Samaritans were not a well-liked people either. That’s one reason why the Samaritan woman was so shocked when Jesus talked to her at the well. I appreciate friends who value me for who I am, love me unconditionally, and are willing to help care for my deepest needs. In John 4, the woman came to the well thirsty for water. Jesus gave her so much more than that. In fact, He offered her a kind of friendship that poured out and satisfied the needs of many other Samaritans from her town too!

The world’s encouragement is fleating and based on superficial things.

Biblical encouragement means we hold unswervingly together to the hope we profess in our faithful God and “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:25).

EXHORTATION — There are some things I don’t like very much about myself so I frequently ask God to purify and re-shape me. But there are also times when I am blind to things that need re-molding in me and it can take a wake-up call from someone I trust and respect who will lovingly correct me. I can hang out with people who will tell me what I want to hear or I can choose friends who want to grow with me and won’t be afraid to rebuke me when necessary (2 Timothy 4:1-5). Together, we can help each other become an ever-increasing reflection of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).

The world says, “Stay out of each other’s business.”

Biblical friendship stretches us through a faith that asks, “Lord, keep me grace-filled, hungry for, and increasingly wise in handling Your Word which is powerful and effective for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

EMPATHY — Our daughter, Carly, was knocked down at day camp last week while dancing and her two front teeth were severely chipped. I was so thankful she had one of our own PCAs (personal care attendant) with her so she could be quickly comforted by someone she knew. Nobody likes to go through crisis without a friend alongside. Even Jesus brought his friends with him when He was distressed. Mark 14:32-41 describes Jesus’ expectation about how friends should stand together in the face of challenges.

Example of a common response: “You deserve to feel sorry for yourself sometimes.”

Example of a Biblical response: “In your situation, I might feel the same way. Can we pray together about this this right now?”

LORD, please plant me in relationships that are genuinely and courageously characterized by encouragement, exhortation and empathy that reflects Christ. Thank you, Jesus, that friendships like that will bless us and honor you too! AMEN

Friday, July 8, 2011

It's "Marriage Prayer Friday!"

This online dedication to praying for marriage is becoming a cherished weekly event here on the Walk Right In Ministries blog! It started out of concern and compassion for struggling marriages along with conviction that God WILL bring BREAKTHROUGH. Larry and I want to thank you for coming alongside one another in this way. It is really a privilege to witness the power of the Holy Spirit using Christ-centered community to encourage, comfort and strengthen marriages and families. Even when we don't know one another's name or situations, God hears our collective voices and delights that we stand in agreement that this is a valuable process and we, together, TRUST HIM!

A prayer for your own marriage—

HEAVENLY FATHER, thank you for the abundance I inherit as your adopted son/daughter. You have purchased my freedom, you reveal the mysteries of Christ to me, and you shower me with kindness, wisdom and understanding. As a child of God, I enjoy certain rights and privileges to experience Your blessings, Lord. But as a spouse, I often need to waive my rights and be a servant of grace to my husband/wife. Sometimes that seems to come at great cost, pain or sacrifice, Lord, and I desperately need Your wisdom and strength. God please help me to be clear in my understanding about healthy, godly boundaries while trusting You to be my Protector and Advocate when I feel hurt, violated or misunderstood. Your word reminds me that I can be quiet and still because You are at work on behalf of your precious children (Exodus 14:14). Season my attitude toward my spouse with respect. Show me how to yield to Your ways of loving my husband/wife and keep me from stubbornly holding onto my own perspectives about what I might “deserve.” Bring new freedom of expression and affection into my marriage, Lord Jesus, that I might be both a giver and receiver of Your good gifts through my relationship with this precious man/woman given to me in marriage. I say this in Jesus holy name. AMEN

Something to pray for a friend's marriage—

HEAVENLY FATHER, thank you for the abundance inherited by Your sons and daughters. You have purchased our freedom, you reveal the mysteries of Christ to us, and you shower us with kindness, wisdom and understanding. As children of God, we enjoy certain rights and privileges to experience Your blessings, Lord. But in marriage, it is often necessary to waive rights and be a servant of grace to a husband/wife. I carry names of married friends to You right now, Lord, knowing that some of them are experiencing great loss of things they deserve in their marriages. God, please grant clarity, discernment and discipline where healthy, godly boundaries are needed. But also reassure my friends that they can trust You to be their Protector and Advocate. Your word reminds us that we can be quiet and still because You are at work on behalf of your precious children (Exodus 14:14). Season my friends' attitudes toward their spouses with respect. Show them how to yield to Your ways of loving each other and keep them from stubbornly holding onto their own perspectives about what they might “deserve.” Bring new freedom of expression and affection into these marriages, Lord Jesus. Help my friends, both husbands and wives, to be givers and receivers of Your good gifts through their relationships with each other. I say this in Jesus holy name. AMEN

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

FINDING GLORY Wednesday

We are so thankful for how God is using Finding Glory resources to stretch and strengthen people in their relationship with Jesus while cultivating their experience of Christ-centered community with others. Your comments in these online discussions and within one-to-one relationships or small groups are so valuable! Because we have readers from Canada to England, Australia, and Belize, your contribution to these discussions helps spread growth and encouragement throughout the world.

We hope you’ll listen to God’s promptings to post a comment or engage a friend in Christ-centered conversation today so that more and more people might experience God's tangible expression of love in their life.

Today’s scriptures and discussion questions are:

"All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 CORINTHIANS 4:15-18

"Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." COLOSSIANS 3:2-3

How would having a Kingdom perspective change the way you feel about and/or respond to your circumstances right now?

How is God enlarging your appreciation for the fact that something much bigger than your circumstances is unfolding in your life?

For more information about Finding Glory Groups, visit http://www.findingglory.com/findingglorygrou.html.

Today's reflections are copyrighted excerpts taken from Finding Glory in the Thorns: Group Discussion Guide.

Monday, July 4, 2011

How Are You Indulging Your Freedom?

It’s a happy 4th of July here in Minnesota and our family is at the lake. Just as we’re deeply grateful for the many freedoms we have as citizens of the United States of America, we’re appreciating countless freedoms because of our faith in Christ and we’re even enjoying a few special freedoms simply because we’re on vacation.

The weather has been perfect for plenty of swimming and boating which is especially important to us as a family with a child who has Angelman Syndrome. To say that Carly loves the water is a huge understatement. Such a gorgeous weekend at the lake means hours of freedom for us relaxing on the dock while Carly entertains herself endlessly in her life jacket.

Along with the life jacket, a boundary is another thing we critically need in order to enjoy freedom with Carly around the water. We use a rope with floats on it to create a large “swimming area.” It keeps her from wandering into unsafe waters and allows us to supervise from some distance without having to constantly chase her back to the safe zone. The little rascal tests the boundary from time to time but has generally learned to respect it.

It’s ironic that creating a boundary actually creates freedom. How many of us tend to chafe at boundaries instead of appreciating what safety and rest they might have to offer!

What freedoms are enticing you today? Are they all they’re cracked up to be or is there just an illusion of something great out there when the reality is that pushing beyond the boundaries would bring danger, chaos or simply something you’re not ready for yet?

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. Galatians 5:13

Lord, thank You for the grace that saves me! Help me to grow in my appreciation for the eternal privileges and blessings I enjoy because of the ultimate sacrifice You made. Forgive me, God, for pushing the boundaries of Your good gifts and perfect design. Help me to trust You with all of my heart and avoid relying on my own understanding. I want to acknowledge the value of Your ways and live forever in the perfect peace and rest of Your presence. AMEN

Friday, July 1, 2011

It's "Marriage Prayer Friday!"

We appreciate all who are joining us in this weekly commitment to prayer for marriage — the critical and sacred union designed by God to bring His children great blessing while causing great glory to Himself.

Sadly, there are many who are struggling in marriage and often feeling very alone. If you are one of those today, please know that we are standing in the gap with you, committed to asking God for growth, refreshment and even miraculous restoration. Please keep praying and don't hesitate to let us know if we can pray more personally and specifically for you. The Walk Right In Ministries Intercessory Prayer team will gladly come alongside in strict confidentiality to pray for you and for your family. Contact us at prayer@walkrightin.org.

May God bless you all this holiday weekend!

A prayer for your own marriage—
PATIENT LORD, I am so thankful that you are merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Countless times you have forgiven me when I deserved nothing less than Your wrath. When I have failed to yield to the changes You wanted to make in me, You have still pursued me with Your steadfast love. Please help me to better reflect these things toward my husband/wife. The psalmist asked, “How long, oh Lord?” I have found myself asking that at different times too. (How long do I have to wait for my spouse to love me the way I want to be loved? How long do I have to wait for my husband/wife to give his/her life to You, Jesus? How long does our family have to wait for a better job or something important we need? How long must we wait for better health or healing to come?) You know what intimate questions I have asked You, God, and you know perfectly well what I am waiting for yet today, Holy Spirit. Please strengthen me and help me to persevere, God. Help me to discern when my waiting is necessary and worth it versus when You are prompting me to move on in some way. Help me to never rush ahead of You! Please fill me with Your peace, hope, and long-suffering love and help me to reflect Your mercy, grace, and abounding love to my spouse — whether I think he/she deserves it or not. I want this to be about what You think is best, Lord, not what I think is best. Thank you for the power of the shed blood of Jesus in my life, Lord God! AMEN

Something to pray for a friend's marriage—
PATIENT LORD, I am so thankful that you are merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Countless times you have forgiven me when I deserved nothing less than Your wrath. When I have failed to yield to the changes You wanted to make in me, You have still pursued me with Your steadfast love. This is also true for my married friends, Lord, and I pray on behalf of their marriages today. Please help them to better reflect these qualities toward each other. The psalmist asked, “How long, oh Lord?” Some of my married friends may be asking this question today as it relates to their marriage and family. You know perfectly well what intimate questions they have asked You, God, and what they may be waiting for yet today, Holy Spirit. Please strengthen them and help them to persevere. Help them to discern when their waiting is necessary and worth it versus when You are prompting them to move on in some way. Help them to never rush ahead of You! Please fill them with Your peace, hope, and long-suffering love and help them to reflect Your mercy, grace, and abounding love to each other. Increase their desire to follow Your ways, oh Lord. Thank you for the power of the shed blood of Jesus that allows me to pray in authority and stand in the gap for my friends, Lord God! AMEN

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