Jun 27 2015

Prayers of Psalmody in Depression

With my voice I cry out to the Lord;
with my voice I plead for mercy to the Lord.
I pour out my complaint before Him;
I tell my trouble before Him.
When my spirit faints within me,
You know my way!
Psalm 142:1-3 (ESV)

Depression. Sometimes we can be so overwhelmed with the discouragements of life that we use this word to describe our outlook. Sometimes we are so sad and grieved by circumstances that we apply this label to ourselves and our feelings and our emotions. And sometimes there are those of us who suffer clinical depression, where it is an uncontrolled chemical imbalance in our brains and bodies that weighs us down regardless of circumstances or happy blessings. Sometimes these “types” or “definitions” of depression even overlap and collide and combine with one another. I have personally experienced each of these three broad categories of depression that I have just briefly described for you—each one is extremely painful, and can be absolutely suffocating. I have been so depressed at times that I could not get out of bed, could not stop crying, could not face seeing any people, could not cope, could not recognize joys, could not even pray outside of basic juvenile attempts to simply cry help, God!

So today I am kneeling in the quiet of my own room, asking for my Father to hear the cries—no matter how muffled, how simple, how tear-choked, how even unspoken—of my sisters who are struggling with depression, anywhere along the spectrum of this particular suffering. Especially because in the Christian realm, there is a stigma about depression that makes it almost impossible to talk about with any sort of honesty or vulnerable integrity. My heart aches for you, and my hands are lifted up to our Father, and you are represented on my palms before His throne. Come with me now, and let us pray together.

 

O Father, You are in heaven, high and lifted up. You are holy and all-powerful, yet I confidently come to You with these open hands, lifting broken and downtrodden hearts to you. You know the needs before I utter them, You discern the pains of these suffering saints far more intimately than I can begin to understand. So through Your Holy Spirit and by the intercession of Christ my High Priest, would You please accept these prayers and bend low to lift up these faces, lighten these paths, and restore the souls here who are in desperate need of Your encouragement? Lord, hear my prayers.

You go before us and You are with us; please help us to know that You will not leave or forsake us, regardless of the inner turmoil we may fight. Please grant us Your grace so that we do not fear, and keep us from dismay. (Deuteronomy 31:8) The anxiety in our hearts weigh us down and build heavy walls of depression within us, but good words gladden us (Proverbs 12:25), so please Father, surround us with words to restore joy to our hearts, and specifically use Your Word and words from Your people to encourage us with wisdom and truth.

Father, depression is a stormy sea—O, Father, You know!—so please send from Your high place, and snatch us out, drawing us out of these waters. Rescue us from the strong enemy of depression, it is too mighty for us on our own. Depression is a continual confrontation for some of us, and Lord, it brings so many calamities. Lord, be our support! Bring us out into a broad place by Your hand of rescue. Show us Your delight in us! You show us Your mercy and fill us with the righteousness of Christ because we are His—so cleanse our hands and grant us rewards from Your grace. Even in depression, Lord, we do not depart from You. We keep Your ways, we fall at Your feet. (2 Samuel 22:17-22) Enable us to serve You in new ways, even while we are in the darkness and ride on the stormy seas. Remind us that You are our Savior. Remind us that You are our support. Remind us that depression itself can never separate us from You. Make us conquerors by Your love, even as You remind us of Your surety and continual companionship—that in addition to what Paul lists for us, no more can anxiety or depression or doubt separate us from Your love when we are in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:37-39)

When we languish, be gracious—when we are troubled all the way through our bones, heal us—oh! Lord, how long will You allow this great trouble of soul to persist? (Psalm 6:2-3) Lighten this darkness! You are our lamp, O Lord, so disperse the dark veil of depression in front of us! (2 Samuel 22:29) In this oppression, in this trouble—Lord, be Thou our one and only faithful stronghold. (Psalm 9:9)

Even now as we cry aloud to You, we are confident that You hear us. Yet why do our souls refuse to be comforted?! In this trouble, we seek You, Lord, and we stretch our hands to You, remembering You and calling to You and meditating on Your Word. I moan! My spirit faints! The trouble can be so overwhelming—the depression so thick that our words will not come, even speaking feels too hard—You alone can keep our eyelids open when they just want to shut tight and let the darkness of this suffering suffocate and drown us. (Psalm 77:1-4) We know You are near. We know You save. We know You deliver. O Lord, fix these broken hearts, heal these crushed spirits, relieve these afflicted ones who wear Christ’s righteousness. (Psalm 34:18-19) You see this affliction, and You know this distress (Psalm 31:7), so be the shield we need to fight the strong enemy of depression and be our glory as the One who lifts up our heads! (Psalm 3:3) You can make our steps firm and grant us renewed delight in You! We might be stumbling around in this darkness, but O Lord, when You uphold us with Your hand, we can not fall! (Psalm 37:23-24)

So why are we downcast? Why are our souls tumultuous? Where is our hope? Where is our praise? Where is our salvation? God, where are You?! (Psalm 43:5) Even in the midst of depression’s darkness, our only hope is from You—for You, O God, help our souls to wait in silence. (Psalm 62:5) Be gracious to us, O Lord, for we are in distress (Psalm 31:9), and by Your Spirit, please help us in this weakness. Sometimes in our depression, we can hardly lift our hands our coin our words—the darkness and the anxiety and the walking round in circles just causes our bodies and minds to nearly shut down—so when we do not know how or for what we ought to pray, please by Your Spirit intercede for us through wordless groans. (Romans 8:26)

Our spirits faint inside of us as they are pressed on every side by depression; our hearts are appalled at the dark abyss they feel inside. And so we stretch out our hands to You; our souls thirst for You like a parched land. Preserve our lives—body, mind, soul, spirit, strength—for the sake of Your name, O Lord! In Your righteousness bring our souls out of this trouble! (Psalm 143:4, 6, 11) Please, O Lord, do not hide Your face from us—You have told us to seek Your face, so please hear us now as our hearts cry out! Lord, we do seek Your face! (Psalm 27:8-9) And so, Father, here we are—we will look to You, Lord. Pull back the blinders of depression and lift the veil of darkness all around. We will wait for the God of our salvation. You are our God, and You will hear us! Oh, enemy of depression that brings me sinking low, by the power of God, I will not let you rejoice over me. When I fall, I shall rise—yes, Lord! When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me—and amen! (Micah 7:7-8)

We call to You, O God of our righteousness—please answer. Give us relief from our distress, by Your grace, and hear our prayer. Please grant us peace so that we can rest—body and soul—because You are the only One, our Lord, who can fill us with the respite of safe haven. (Psalm 4:1, 8) You are our God, and so we continue to seek You earnestly. We thirst for You! We faint for You! In this dry and weary land of depression where we have no sustenance of food or water but for Your sustaining grace, lift us up and fill us, heal us and give us hope. We will bless You for as long as we live, and in Your name we lift up our hands, carrying our burdens and our depression and our suffering sisters in our prayers before You. (Psalm 4:1, 4)

Thank You for hearing the cries of our souls. Please send Your mercy into this darkness, and be our great Light. Amen.

3 responses so far

Jun 27 2015

Pull on the rope

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God’s kindness is the dock,
your troubles are in the boat,
and prayer is the rope.
But don’t think you pull the dock to the boat.
Other way.
~Douglas Wilson~

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Jun 25 2015

Be Still

Published by under Faith,Quotes

One response so far

Jun 24 2015

Firsts & Lasts

Right now, I have a thousand miles between myself and a painful ripping in my family.
Today, my grandpa is moving away from his wife and his home ~ his beautiful wife of 63 years who he no longer knows, although subconsciously sometimes seems to remember ~ his home since I was a toddler, where I envision him pruning roses, growing lemons & tomatoes, tenderly bringing in paradise flowers to fix with toothpicks in Grandma’s little crystal dishes to decorate their oval kitchen table with a whole collage of crystal & blooms.
Last night was the last time my grandma would get her husband dressed in his pajamas, and walk down the hallway with her hand in his toward their bedroom, to climb into bed together. He did not know it, he probably did not even know her, but she did. And thinking about that just absolutely breaks my heart.
Today was the last time my grandma would wake up in her bed with her husband warming the other side of it. This morning was the last time she would fill two bowls with cereal, and pile another bowl’s worth of fruit (bananas, peaches, blueberries) on top of each. Yesterday was the first time she had to buy half as many groceries when she made her weekly trip to Trader Joe’s.
Today will be the last time they walk out of their house together, knowing that they will come home together… today will be the first time Grandma leaves her husband in a different home and comes back to her house without him.

Sometimes death comes so suddenly that it leaves us reeling in shock and surprise.
Sometimes death comes so slowly that it just peels away at our very souls, one tiny shred at a time.

I am not there, so I get to be numbed to most of the reality of what is happening. I did not go help buy Grandpa’s new room decorations or the twin-sized blanket for his new bed. I did not cook his last dinner at home or eat his last breakfast beside him at his own kitchen table. I am not the one who has to drive him down the cul de sac and away from his home. I am not the one who has to walk back out to the car and blow him a kiss goodbye after taking him to his new home.

But as I sit here thinking about my mama and my grandma, who are the ones doing all those things, I just can’t stop crying.
I am crying for their pain.
I am crying because lasts & firsts can both be so hard.
I am crying because mortality is a harsh reality when you face it head-on.

I went to bed last night, and watched my husband fall asleep on the pillow beside me. And reality is, I do not know when I will do that for the last time. Sometimes it is easier not to know. I can’t imagine having been my grandma last night, knowing that it was her last time.

I naively think that I am closer to the first time I went to bed with my husband than the last time. I remember sleeping in my bed in my old room the night before my wedding, thinking how that was the last time I ever had to sleep alone (business trips and such don’t count!), and how glorious it would be to have someone to fall asleep with and wake up next to for the rest of my life. (And it is glorious!) I bet my grandma had those same thoughts the night before her own wedding, just over 63 years ago.

So right now, I don’t cry for Grandpa, because my mother just sent me a picture of him sitting at his kitchen table, so handsome in a blue-collared shirt with a big smile on his face, his silver hair topping him like a halo. He is happy, he is handsome, he is oblivious.
But I cry for what was & no longer is.
I cry for my mama, watching her daddy disappear into the shell of what he was, slowly & painfully saying goodbye piece by piece.
And mostly I cry for my grandma, who has not only had to suffer through losing her darling husband little by little over the last couple of years to the horrible ugly monster of Alzheimer’s, but who has had to be the one to physically care for him every day no matter how hard the battles have been ~ and now she has to be the one to sign the papers, to drop him off, to kiss him goodbye, to go home to her new reality which includes her empty bed. And the empty bed simply symbolizes so much… and it breaks my heart.

I remember saying goodbye to my grandpa last fall, the last time I saw him in person. I remember telling him that if he gets to heaven first, to tell my babies hello for me. I remember him staring deeply into my eyes and smiling and saying “I will do that.”
I remember him throughout my childhood in various ways.
One of the most prominent places he holds in my memory is at his own kitchen table (perhaps because we ate a lot of meals there together).

So I am glad for this picture of his last morning at home at his table. With his wife and his daughter.

And while I don’t know when his physical body will die and his soul will fly to heaven, today my family endures a ripping that is a kind of death. It is a step closer to Death. And it is hard, even from a thousand miles away.

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It takes a different kind of courage
to face death when you cannot run,
when you cannot fight,
when you are pinned beneath heavy decades,
beneath the weight of life—
when  your faith really must be in Another.
~N. D Wilson, Death by Living, p45~

7 responses so far

Jun 22 2015

In Faith

Posting this kind of thing takes a lot of faith from me. So! In faith, I am sharing a recent belly bump picture, as well as a painting I did for Steven for Father’s Day which represents all 13 of our babies. The Lord is gracious, and that is enough.

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…You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
Psalm 86:15

9 responses so far

Jun 18 2015

shepherdly

We have a great deal to learn from David.
Although we might be tempted to see him as little better than a barbarian king,
we should actually be studying him with a far greater humility of mind.
From him, we learn how to fight,
how to trust,
how to cry,
how to pray,
how to repent,
how to sing,
how to write poetry,
how to marry,
how to reform the church,
how to curse,
how to submit to God’s rebukes and providences,
and how to worship.
What a man! What a man of God!
~Douglas Wilson, blog~

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This is what it means to have hands laid on you.
It means you are set apart to suffer and die for your people.
This is what it means to be a pastor, a shepherd:
it means walking toward the danger,
toward the threat,
toward the lions, the wolves, the swords, the flames.
~Toby Sumpter, blog~

One response so far

Jun 10 2015

My Family

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That’s how family gets made.
Not by ceremonies or certificates, and not by parties and celebrations.
Family gets made when you decide to hold hands and sit shoulder to shoulder
when it seems like the sky is falling.
Family gets made when the world becomes strange and disorienting,
and the only face you recognize is his.
Family gets made when the future obscures itself like a solar eclipse,
and in the intervening darkness,
you decide that no matter what happens in the night,
you’ll face it as one.
~Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines, p29~

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3 responses so far

Jun 08 2015

Beautifully Made

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Every rock is spoken by the Word.
Every time I touch a stone, I am touching the Voice of God.
~N. D. Wilson, Death by Living, p125~

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May 28 2015

Then & Now

May 2007 & May 2015~

DSC_0067  DSC_0286

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May 2008 & May 2015~

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…and after having numerous miscarriages and fertility struggles in May months in previous years (esp 2010 and 2014, but there were a couple other Mays right up there too…), this is marvelous for May 2015~

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17 responses so far

May 25 2015

Seventh: Final Thoughts on Serving those with Chronic Needs

SEVENTH: FINAL THOUGHTS ON
SERVING THOSE WITH CHRONIC NEEDS

… … … … …

… … … … …

Though you may feel that no one can understand
the depth of your despair,
our Savior, Jesus Christ, understands.
~D.F.U.~

… … … … …

As we come to the final thoughts on this discussion of serving those with chronic needs in our local bodies of Christ’s people, what should we come away with on our hearts? What new insights have you seen from those who are suffering for days, months, years on end with either their obvious or invisible manifestations? What about new perspectives from four church leaders from multiple places in the United States, different churches & varied denominations? What things did you see emphasized repeatedly from the women who chimed in with ideas on how they have seen their congregations serve the suffering, or ways they individually have sought to reach out?

What stood out to you?
What themes can be found repeated throughout this series?
What ways do you need served?
What ways do you need to serve?
How can you tailor your prayers?
Where can you offer your gifts or time?
How might the Lord be calling you to sacrifice of yourself?
In what areas do you see the Lord stretching your faith here?

… … … … …

… … … … …

Above all, keep loving one another earnestly,
since love covers a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8

… … … … …

I see a call toward tangible love toward our brothers and sisters in Christ.

~love your brethren with your prayers and your words but also your actions, no matter which side of the suffering coin you find yourself on personally ~ I see countless opportunities here for “one-anothering“~

I see a need for enormous grace on all sides.

~have grace with those in need ~ have grace toward those who serve ~ have grace on those who you don’t see either suffering or serving ~ none of us deserve grace (which is why it is classified as grace!), but all of us are called to bestow it liberally~

I see openings for each one of us to sacrifice more.

~there are very infrequent cases where someone may be already sacrificing to the fullest extent of what the Lord has called them to, but for most of us (especially in modern American culture), there are absolutely ways that we could deeper sacrifice for others in our finances, with our time, sharing our food or other physical possessions, praying more diligently, sending encouraging notes or making uplifting phone calls, spending an entire day per week or month simply living your life for someone else’s family~

I see opportunities for each one of us to humble ourselves and exalt others.

~as sinful humans, we are born with a grabby nature; but here we have been shown opportunities over and over again for how we can put others ahead & above ourselves and our own desires or needs ~ are you grabbing for assistance from others when maybe the Lord is asking you to simply endure your suffering for His sake with joy and peace? ~ are you grabbing at your own comforts or plans when maybe the Lord is giving you places to give up your comforts or plans for the sake of lifting the burdens of others? ~ in what ways can you (yes, you!) humble yourself and rather exalt someone else?~

I see the calling for each of us to be more like Christ.

~as Christians, we should continually be growing more and more into the image of Jesus Christ Himself, through our sanctification, so how can we open ourselves to more of His nature overcoming our selfish sinful humanity when we see people suffering around us? ~ how can we do that when we are suffering, bound to our house for endless months, or bound to a bed in home or hospital for days at a time? ~ how do you feel the growing pains of growing up into Christ your Brother, as you now look around you at the brethren who may be suffering, whether you currently know it or not?~

… … … … …

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will
entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

1 Peter 4:19

… … … … …

… … … … …

So in closing, what are a few last reminders & highlights of how we can serve those in our churches who are suffering various chronic needs?

  • write notes of encouragement, whether a real card or an e-card or an e-mail
  • make a phone call to pray with someone or just check in
  • cook extra food & put it in your freezer so that you have something to share when you see a need
  • offer to make food for someone, asking if they have specific recipes that suit their dietary needs that you can use
  • ask someone if you can come to their house to cook with their ingredients in their kitchen: show up with joy, do the work, clean up even more than the mess you personally made, and bless the person not only with food in their freezer but with your cheerful presence
  • read books or browse blogs for creative ideas on blessing someone who has X physical or mental need
  • rather than ask “how are you?”, tailor the question for the person, “honestly, how have you seen Christ show up in your suffering this week?” or “I would love to hear the nitty-gritties on how your week has gone”
  • give specific offers for help ~ specific tasks you are equipped to do, and a time you know you could show up to get it done
  • give your phone number and emphasize that you will do what you can to drop what’s on your plate if something emergent comes up
  • sign up to clean homes for those who are physically unable to do it
  • sign up to fill a freezer at your church
  • rally others to work alongside you to care for someone’s yard or run their errands or babysit their child(ren)
  • drop off flowers for a random person just to brighten their day
  • leave plates of goodies on a front doorstep, leaving unannounced without making the recipient feel awkward or have the need to make small talk
  • pray diligently for people, and remind someone when you have actually prayed for them
  • don’t be afraid to make people laugh, but don’t be afraid to make people cry
  • put on a spirit of meekness & humility, and stop judging the actions or inactions of others
  • recognize that there is not a single one of us who is not needy in one way or another; but we are still called to bear one another’s burdens
  • use your time wisely and well ~ when you are serving your own family, and also when you serve someone else
  • buy a $30 gift card next time you are at the grocery store, and find someone to bless with it
  • buy things in bulk (think Costco or Winco), and then give away the excess portions (the second bottle of shampoo, the third pound of ground beef, the extra green beans you know will go bad before you eat them…) to someone in need
  • dig up perennials from your yard or garden beds, and put them in little pots to deliver to someone who can not be out in their own yard or have their own garden
  • share the extra produce from your vegetable garden or produce box with a neighbor
  • when someone asks for help, go above & beyond what they have humbled themselves to request ~ give richly and joyfully
  • if you absolutely cannot fill a need when you have been specifically asked, try to help them find someone else who can fill the need! ~ ask your spouse, ask your best friend, ask an older woman in your church, ask a church leader ~ don’t just say, “I’m so sorry I can not drive you tomorrow to your appointment” but go the extra mile and add, “but let’s go find someone together right now who is available” ~ sometimes we can not fill a need, but there are ways we can help the need be filled nonetheless
  • preach grace ~ from pulpits and from fingertips
  • take someone out to coffee just because, or bring their favorite drink to them if they are homebound
  • remind someone with physical limitations that they are invaluable, and help them find non-physically-demanding ways to serve (phone calls? prayer chain? offering to have Bible study or choir practice in their home?)
  • remind someone with mental limitations that they are invaluable, and help them find ways to serve (if you can’t leave your home, can we come to you? if being around people or noise is overwhelming, could you do some cooking for someone else? can you cook or clean for someone else, even in the midst of your own mental suffering? if you have no energy, no time, no mental capacity to do a physical thing for someone else and can honestly not even keep up with the demands of your own home & family, could you write about your suffering to teach the rest of us who can not begin to wrap our heads around the thorn in your side? can you lead online prayer chains?)
  • ask to be on a prayer list ~ offer to put someone else on a prayer list
  • try your best not to stick your foot in your mouth ~ silence or an understanding squeeze of the hand can be enough
  • if you don’t know what to say, say THAT without apology
  • ask for elders to come pray in your home or to bring communion to you ~ if you are the caretaker or spouse of someone who is bed-ridden or home-bound, be the voice & advocate of the suffering one, and request these specific things ~ even leaders of churches will need someone to graciously teach them and help peel scales from their eyes
  • don’t give up when the suffering has no end in sight
  • acknowledge that you don’t understand what the other is going through ~ either in their obvious suffering or in their lack of it
  • offer free babysitting, along with a Starbucks (or other date-type place) gift card
  • invite someone over, and ask how you can make it possible for them to be comfortable in your home (allergies, dietary restrictions, time constraints, a place to lie down, making it quiet enough by having your children watch a movie in an upstairs room or putting the barking dog far away)
  • sometimes people have to plan way ahead, so make the sacrifice of putting something on the schedule to really help & truly fellowship
  • sometimes people can not plan more than a few hours in advance, so learn how to be more flexible and invite someone over last-minute
  • take the caretaker/spouse of the suffering person out to eat, out to play frisbee, or to your home for a time of prayer
  • focus more on others than on yourself
  • before you donate items to a thrift shop (furniture, clothing, books, appliances), see if anyone in your church has need of your things ~ be willing to drop stuff off for others at their homes if they need your old washing machine, your used maternity clothing, other clothing (sometimes chronic illnesses or even the medications for physical or mental illnesses can cause unpredictable weight loss or weight gain, and it can be difficult to shuffle one’s wardrobe back & forth without emptying the pocketbook), the books you collected on depression & anxiety or autoimmune diseases, extra chairs for around their table, etc.
  • don’t be shy about asking your church leaders for assistance; whether food or prayer or home/yard chores or childcare or transportation or financial assistance… humble yourself and ask for blessings… who would give a stone when asked for bread?
  • give an extra check in your church offering for the benevolence fund
  • remind your friends that it is okay if their kids need to be watching more movies than seems preferable, during this season of suffering
  • try not to give unsolicited advice
  • pray ceaselessly for the suffering around you
  • be in it for the long haul with joy
  • share what you have, give what you can ~ just show up and be faithful with what you’ve been given
  • grace, grace, grace, grace, GRACE!!!

… … … … …

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:12-17

… … … … …

God our heavenly Father, please bless each of your children who have participated in this discussion over the last week. Please soften our hearts where we have been hardened, please humble us where we have been proud, please open our eyes where they were covered in scales, please unplug our ears where they were not listening. Teach us to love one another in word and in deed. Teach us to shower one another in grace upon grace upon grace. Make us more like Christ as we live together in local manifestations of His body.

We are Your chosen ones, O God ~ we are holy and we are beloved. Please teach us to treat one another as holy, beloved, chosen children of the Father. Please clothe us with compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience! Please enable us to bear with one another, and show us how to do this with the compassion, kindness, humble hearts, meek spirits, and patient diligence that would most glorify You. When we strive against one another, when we begrudge one another for any reason, please plant a root of forgiveness in our hearts that will grow and bloom and blossom and bear sweet fruit, just as the forgiveness You have so freely offered us through Christ our Lord bears fruit in our own lives.

But above all the rest of this, heavenly Father, clothe us with love. The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell! And this is the love that we need to imitate, that we must pray for, as we grow up as Your children into Your image. Grant us love beyond measure, so that we can be bound in perfect harmony by Your grace.

Fill our hearts with the peace of Christ, and rule us by that peace so that our homes and our relationships ooze nothing but peace. We were called to His peace in one body, and we ask You to fulfill that calling by filling our cups to overflowing with the peace of Christ. Make us thankful. Teach us to be content with where you have us, suffering and all, with thankful hearts. Put words on our lips that demonstrate thankful hearts.

Put within us the words of Christ so that His rich wisdom and understanding fills us and shapes our relationships with one another. Give us Scripture and holy words in our hearts and minds as we memorize and meditate on Your Word. Give us opportunities to teach, admonish, encourage, and exhort one another with wisdom ~ and increase our wisdom by Your grace more and more as the day of Christ’s return draws nearer. Help us grasp opportunities to sing together, to proclaim psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to one another and for one another. Fill our hearts and heads with music that glorifies You and teaches us all the more about You. Grant us thankfulness to You as we give and receive wise, godly counsel and song.

By the power of Your Spirit, O God our Father, enable us to do all things, in word and in deed, in the name of the Lord Jesus to whom we belong and in whose blood we ourselves are covered and granted forgiveness. Strengthen us to give thanks to You, Father God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, as we serve, as we suffer, as we live together in the body of Christ and as we pray for the furtherance of Your Kingdom here on earth in our own homes.

Thank You, God, for hearing our prayers and granting us grace in this conversation. To You be all glory, now and forever. Amen.

… … … … …

~part of our series, Serving Those in The Church with Chronic Needs~

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