A Book to Pray Through

Why We Think the Prayer Book Is Important

Prayer: Forty Days of Practice

“May love be stronger in me than the fear of the pain that comes with caring.”

This isn’t a traditional book about prayer. It is a book of praying.

Simple prayers. Maybe one sentence. Maybe two. They are broad and poetic and illustrated.

“May I cease to be annoyed that others are not as I wish they were, since I am not as I wish I was.”

Prayer: Forty Days of Practice contains four parts:

  • 40 guided prayers
  • 40 contemplative images
  • 7 reflections on the nature and practice of prayer
  • 7 practices from the historical tradition of prayer

There is no particular start and finish (but I did pray through it in the order given).

“May I have the eyes to see this as a good world in need of restoration rather than a bad world and an obstacle to my personal peace and rest.”

It’s more about the time you spend outside of the book, rather than inside the book. It encourages you to actually pray instead of just reading about prayer. It invites you to do.

“May my good works be a fruit of my life rather than justification of it.”

If your expectations are adjusted accordingly, this book is well done for what it is. As the authors say, “This book is not ‘content.’ The ongoing conversation between you and God is content.”

“May I never grow tired of starting over or helping others do the same. My hope is always in renewal and resurrection.”

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Is it easier for you to read about prayer, to talk about prayer, or to actually pray? Let’s talk about it here.

My thanks to NetGalley
for the review copy of this book

sharing with Ronja,
GaylAnita, Terri


Do You Have a Point? 10 Questions to Ask Yourself

Have you ever used a dull knife or dull scissors?

Or been bored in a dull class?

When it’s your turn to lead—whether a lecture in Sunday school or a discussion in a Facebook group or just at lunch with your friends—don’t be the dull one.

How? By keeping your point sharp.

Have something to say. Make your point clearly. Stay concise enough to be heard and felt.

Get our printable of 10 questions to ask yourself as you lead.

Read it all here:

What’s Your Point? 10 Questions to Ask Yourself as You Lead

10 Questions to Ask Yourself - What's Your Point

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We’re giving tips all month at Do Not Depart on how to be an effective small group leader.

Will you join me there today and get your free template?

sharing with CharMeg, Kelly,
Kelly, Lyli, Maree, Deb, Susan, Crystal,
Debbie, Crystal, Lori, Rachel


You’ll Always Get a Refill

Grace comes with refills

The Juice Spill

Larry stopped preaching. He was ready to offer communion, the Lord’s Supper. He pulled out his loaf of bread. He opened his grape juice bottle and poured it into a large cup.

But as he was praying, the wind picked up. The Spirit blew in.

With one breath, Larry’s notes fluttered, hitting the cup, and knocking it over.

The juice spilled on the ground.

Anything can happen at Outdoor Church. This (see “This Stirs Up Grace”) had already happened.

Life happens to all of us.

We think we’re prepared for the next thing, then something else sneaks in first. We say the wrong words. Or our bodies succumb to a germ. It rains on our hike.

Or the Spirit blows in.

And things spill. The juice pours out.

Have we used up our chances? Were our efforts in vain? Are we wasting good grace?

Come Get Your Refill

People may tire of our mishaps. We may get tired of ourselves after stumble upon stumble.

But God never tires of us.

He gives us another chance. Nothing can stop him . . . not the worst sins, not the hardest times, nothing living or dead, thinkable or unthinkable. Absolutely nothing hinders the love God has for us. (Romans 8:35, 38-39).

Grace is never wasted. And we can’t use it up.

For every mess-up, there’s a grace fill-up.

Where offenses add up, grace multiplies even more (Romans 5:20).

We never have to be hopeLESS but can stay hopeFULL if we’ll come get our refills. Collect God’s grace.

Hope starts by believing that God is good. That there’s always more. Always better. Always another chance.

So try again. Even when you want to give up on yourself, don’t give up on God.

Don’t give up on grace.

There’s More

What did Larry do after the grape juice spilled out?

He smiled, despite our nervous laughter in the crowd. He said, “There’s more!

He pulled out his juice bottle again. He poured it into the cup, and kept right on going.

As Jesus freely poured out his blood 2,000 years ago, he continues to today. It may look like it’s wasted when we see a drop on the ground.

But grace is never drained. Love is never depleted. God is not yet finished.

Keep a heart full of hope because we have a God full of grace.

Grace comes with refills.

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When do you most need a grace refill? When I get discouraged, tired, or hungry, I definitely do. Please share in the comments.

sharing with Mary, Patricia, Kristin, Holley,
Ronja, Meg, Char, Kelly,
MaryAnita, Terri


Who Needs Your Stuff? The Cycle of Sharing

Cycle of Sharing

We’re prepping for a yard sale.

It’s time to redistribute the junk. Sell some; buy some; give some away. Shift its home. Round and round it goes.

A few years ago I was given a gift in a ziplock bag: the starter for Amish Friendship Bread. I accepted with enthusiasm because it was from a friend.

But I had serious doubts. I’m not a bread baker. I’m a bread eater.

Ten days of instructions were included. On the tenth10th day, I reluctantly began baking, mentally preparing for a disaster. But to my surprise, an hour later, I pulled out two beautiful loaves of bread.

One loaf to eat; one to give away. The neighbor next door had just been released from the hospital, and with four young kids at home, a loaf of freshly-baked bread would be welcomed.

I wonder how often I internally moan at a gift. When someone gives us something, we have to find a place for it, a use for it.

But sometimes those very gifts are ones we use to bless others.

I ended up making the bread several times. Each time I ate some. But I also had plenty to give away to someone different.

It’s the cycle of sharing. God starts it; we keep it going.

In times when we feel stressed, worn down, with nothing to give, the Lord sends a giver our way. Perhaps we can use their gift right away. Or perhaps it’s something we put in our closet and pull out later to bless others.

Either way, keep the cycle going.

  • When we’re the needy ones, receive.
  • When we see others in need, give.

Learn to do both. With grace and thanksgiving. Not reluctantly. Not with shame nor pride.

My yard sale items this weekend may go quickly or not at all. Either way, I won’t keep them myself. They’ve served me well.

Now they need to bless someone else.

Father, help us receive with grace the gifts you give us through others. Help us return gifts with equal grace to others in need. You provide both ways, and we thank you for your provision.

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What have you been given that you can share with others? Please share in the comments.

sharing with Rachel, Crystal, Debbie


5 Ways to Get Home in the Rain

It Rains on Tuesdays

It was a Tuesday afternoon.

I’m often driving home on Tuesdays after spending a few days with my new grandbaby.

It rains on Tuesdays.

I fill the 3-hour drive with a couple hours of podcasts and a good hour of my favorite worship music (hello, Matt Maher and Cory Asbury).

It was raining particularly hard on this Tuesday. So hard I began to fret. I turned off the music. I concentrated on seeing.

But seeing wouldn’t come easy.

On I-65 the road is crowded with big trucks. I was behind an 18-wheeler in the pelting rain. I eased back a little from him, but not enough to lose his lights.

I needed him.

Isn’t that the way life is? When circumstances or relationships or illnesses begin pelting us, we temporarily lose vision. We can’t see the way. We’re not sure where the boundaries lines are on the road we’re traveling.

We need a light to follow.

5 Ways to Get Home in the Rain

5 Ways to Get Home in the Rain

  1. LOOK FOR A LIGHT

When you can’t see far into the future, look for a light close by. One light may be enough. Just for the next step in front of you. Maybe it’s a faithful friend. Or an encouraging scripture. Or a promise from God that keeps you on the path.

Find the light and focus.

  1. STAY IN YOUR LANE

Driving on the interstate that Tuesday, my main goal was to stay in my lane. I didn’t want to veer into traffic in other lanes or off the shoulder into the trees. I needed to follow the path that was already there.

Don’t let confusion paralyze you. When you don’t know what decision to make next, keep going the direction you’re headed unless God turns you around. Trust him to let you know if he wants you to turn right or left.

Until then, stay in your lane.

  1. SLOW IT DOWN

I couldn’t drive 70 mph in the rain that day. It was too dangerous.

Likewise, when your pathway gets foggy, slow down your walk. Don’t rush through the steps, pushing through life to get through to the other side. Take a breath and decrease your speed so you can pay closer attention to the details in front of you.

  1. KEEP THE RIGHT DISTANCE

When I got too close to the truck in front of me, I drowned in his splatter. But if I drifted too far behind, I lost his light. There was a balanced distance that was just right.

When you’re seeking help from others, keep a balanced distance there, too.

Don’t become so dependent on another person for wisdom that you’re consumed in their shadow. But don’t become a loner either and try to do life alone. Let Jesus guide you in healthy relationships to see you through.

  1. TURN ON YOUR LIGHTS

I immediately turned on my own car lights when the rain started. Not only did I need to see better myself, but I also needed to be seen. I didn’t need to disappear in the rain and have others bump into me.

When your own problems seem overwhelming, it’s easy to tend toward isolation. But don’t disappear under the weight of your circumstances. Let others know you’re here. Let them see you. Get vulnerable and be helped.

The Rain Will Stop

I experienced something new that afternoon in the rain.

The harder the rain fell, I noticed a change in the truck’s lights in front of me. No longer a solid stream, they became flashers. And the car’s light beside him, too. And the one in front of him.

How have I been driving this many years and never before noticed flashers in the rain?

But it made a difference. It was easier to see in front of me with their flashing lights. I found my flashers and turned them on too for others behind me.

I knew we were all in this together. Strangers on the road were becoming friends on the journey. God never leaves us alone.

We all wanted to get home, wherever home was.

And eventually, as it always does, the rain stopped. The sun came out. The cars sped on.

And I made it home Tuesday night.

* * *

Have you ever had to watch the lights instead of the road? Please share in the comments.

sharing with Holley, Kristin, Patricia,
Ronja, Meg, Char, Kelly,
MaryAnita, Terri

 


5 Links, Books, and Things I Love – August 2018

Did you do anything exciting in July? What are you looking forward to in August? We share once a month with Leigh.

1 Second Everyday

[If you can’t see the 1 Second Everyday video, click here]

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5 Things Around the Web

1. Let Precious Moments Pass You By
by Greg Morse at Desiring God

Where’s my camera? Shouldn’t I be taking pictures of this? Sometimes, no. Here’s why.

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2. Yes, There Is Such A Thing As An ‘Introvert Hangover’
by Shawna Courter

Do you ever get introvert hangovers? I do. Read about it here.

And here are 17 signs that you have one.

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3. Why Does Every Soccer Player Do This?
by David Gendelman

It’s not just soccer players. It’s us, too. Why do our hands immediately go the top of our heads when we’re frustrated with ourselves?

soccer-hands-to-head

Carlos Sanchez of Uruguay.CreditJoe Klamar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

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4. What Does “I’m Tired” Really Mean
by Paige Wyant

Here are 22 things people with fibromyalgia really mean when they say “I’m tired.” I don’t have fibromyalgia. But I have friends who do. This is helpful.

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5. ‘Downton Abbey’ Movie Is Happening

This makes me happy! Anyone else?

Downton Abbey movie happening

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5 Things about Reading, Writing, Listening

1. 12 Podcasts for Summer Listening
at Christianity Today

If you’re looking for something entertaining, faith-sparking or brain-engaging, here are 12 recommendations to listen to. Most of them are new to me.

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2. Why It’s So Hard to Stop Reading Books You Don’t Even Like
by Katie Heaney

This is hard for me. I’ll stick with a bad book too long before I’ll give up on it.

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3. The Most Difficult Languages To Learn For English Speakers

I’m still struggling to learn Spanish, and it’s the easiest.

most_difficult_languages_to_learn_for_english_speakers

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4. Summer Reading List
from Barack Obama

I love to see what others are reading. Here’s a list recommended for summer reading by former President Obama.

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5. Nine Books I Recommend – July 2018     

I finished reading several fantastic books (nonfiction and fiction) in July.

Books-Recommend-July-2018-LisaNotes

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5 Things I Love

1. Is It Already Fall?

Not according to the calendar or the weather. But it’s “autumn mix” candy corn time. I couldn’t resist.

candy-corn

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2. Do the Math

From our 50+ years of friendship, we 4 Corners have birthed 9 babies, adopted 1, and buried 2. We’ve married off 6, and they’ve had 5. On this day we are celebrating a bridal shower for a 7th marriage coming soon. We’ve definitely run the gamut of emotions over a lifetime. This time, joy.

4 Corners

Kathy, Julie, Alicia, Lisa

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3. Special Photos

My oldest daughter Morgan and our granddaughter spent the weekend with us. My youngest daughter Jenna took some great 6-month photos. And snapped one with me, too. Even though I wasn’t dressed for the occasion, I’m glad to have the picture.

grandbaby

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4. Everyday Moments

Posed photos are awesome. But random photos are also important to catch the ordinary days. Jenna and I spent a couple days at Morgan’s house in July. I so treasure the time with all my girls. (The baby usually stays in the stroller; rare moment here.)

stroller

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5. ~1952

I so love old pictures, too. This one resurfaced recently. My mother is the girl wiping her eye in the back row (she was a teen), and my grandmother is the tallest lady on the front row (why did those genes skip me?)

generations

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5 Things on the Blog

  • Do You Have to Know? 
    Do we really have to know for sure? Can we idolize our need to be right?
  • Is Prayer Enough? 
    They need help. We say, “I’ll be praying for you.” Is that enough?
  • Your “Righteous” Anger
    How often are you offended? Are you irritated too frequently? Overly sensitive? Are Christians viewed as perpetually angry people?
  • Why They Listen to You
    What are they listening for? Are you saying that? “They look to us for wisdom, for courage…”
  • If You Pray Well, You Live Well?
    He said, “If you pray well, you live well.” If it’s true, why don’t we pray better?

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What was a highlight from your July? What are you looking forward to in August? Please share in the comments.

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