The Power of a Prayer

The power of a prayer is that once uttered or written, it never goes away. I know that in my heart, but God gave me a sweet reminder of it last week. I was walking on the treadmill when a friend came over and told me she had something for me. Robyn is an owner of the gym and a physical therapist at the facility. She came back in a few minutes with a sealed letter from July, 2012.

I took part in a class Robyn led, and she had asked us to write a letter to ourselves before beginning the class which was to be mailed to us when we completed the class. I decided to write a prayer to God instead of a letter to myself. We both forgot all about the letter until it resurfaced last week.

When I finished walking, I decided to read the letter before moving on to the weights. I was dumbfounded because the prayer mirrored my emotions at the moment. I love it when God does that, and He does it all the time. I found myself in the midst of the same struggle I was having when I penned the prayer, and God knew I needed both the prayer and a reminder that He wasn’t going anywhere.

I wish I could say that I am always open to hearing God’s messages, but I am not. Luckily, my heart was open when I read the six-year-old prayer. I found sweet humor in words my heart and body so needed to hear. I find great reassurance in those ‘how in the world did you know I needed that’ moments because God always laughs or cries with me and reminds me that He is God ❤️

Prayers are permanent and once released remain in the hearts of those who pray them and those for whom they are prayed. I know that, but the letter was a sweet reassurance that I am completely surrounded and filled by prayers that beautifully connect me to others. I especially feel the prayers and presence of my paternal grandfather, Flavius Hart Holden. The letter and its message reminded of him.

Flave loved fun, and I loved exploring with him on his farm in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina. He played the piano with abandon and preached in a small Baptist church. He loved God and he loved growing things. He had a reverence for both that I admired and was a kindred spirit.

God and I have a special connection that reminds me of my connection to granddaddy. He knows me and loves me just as I am. He also knows that I am a mystic little monkey who delights in moments when He shows up unexpectedly. Like granddaddy, he also delights in delighting me.

Thanks be to God for that 😉

Journey With Gigi: Path to the Praying Life:)

The praying path leads to peace. In the midst of a storm with no power, I begin the second leg of this beautiful journey. I wrote the draft for the first lesson using the candle from my Emmaus Walk in May 2010. It is appropriate to use the light from that candle because it was on that walk I first heard God’s call to pray.

My first reaction to His call was to wait and pray for the rest of the call. I’m ashamed to say that I dismissed His call as not enough. I wanted more. I needed more. I had to have something more to do. I already prayed and prayed a lot, so what kind of a call was it anyway? I must have misunderstood. How utterly ridiculous that sounded to me as I wrote it last night and as I type it now. I suppose that indicates I have learned a little since then.

Darkness is necessary in order to see the light. That was clear to me as I sat in the dark last night with pen and pad in hand writing by candlelight. I pray I always remember the importance of Christ’s light as I navigate the darkness of this world. When all is sunny and bright, I still must light a candle of prayer. In fact, it is never more important to light a candle of prayer than in the midst of the bright lights this world offers to imitate His beautiful light.

I huddled near my candle in the dark, stormy night. (I have to admit here that the comedian in me so wanted to start off with, “It was a dark and stormy night….”) I’m glad I resisted the temptation, and I know you are too:) The darkness, accompanied by harsh winds and driving rain, forced me to be still and listen. I didn’t venture back to the church for the evening meal, but I did get out my laptop and go to the podcasts and listen to “Resurrection Living” from May 2011. Pastor John and I talked about the upcoming message in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 on resurrection, and I remembered that he had done a powerful message from 1 Peter 3 on the subject. I’m so thankful my battery lasted until I finished the message because it was just what I needed.

Here it is: “Resurrection Living” Dr. John Alden Tagliarini

In my study of 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 this week, I was shocked that some Christians don’t believe the resurrection actually took place. I can’t imagine leaving that part out of the story of Christ, but it’s done. Amazing! When I don’t live a resurrection life, I act as though I don’t believe it either. So, I won’t be tossing any rocks:) Without resurrection, Christ stays in the grave. Without faith, my praying life does the same.

The praying life is a resurrection life that provides evidence to the world that Christ is who He says He is, and His love is for all. Christ’s precious love is indeed the most precious thing on earth and in heaven. I always wonder what the angels must make of us and the way we deal with that precious gift. I let too much get in the way when it comes to hearing God’s message for me, embracing the love and forgiveness Christ offers, and letting the Holy Spirit do God’s work through me.

Since I’ve moved to the mountaintop, I haven’t had television. I have a pair of rabbit ears that help me get the closest local station with a lot of static. I only turn it on if there is bad weather coming or some big news event, and it’s a struggle to piece together the broken signal. God reminded me last night that He sometimes feels the same way when listening to my prayers:)

The lessons on praying came in the midst of a terrible storm, so I had no trouble praying, focusing, or listening to God. I was also very still which helps immensely. I pray I will have the same attention when things are bright, sunny, and filled with the busyness of my doing. That is the first and most important lesson when it comes to living a resurrection life and keeping to the path that leads to the praying life.

I’m ready to put God’s to-do list away and pray in a way that brings the sweet peace of His Holy Spirit’s indwelling. Jesus didn’t leave me alone, and that brings peace in the darkest storm. Last night, as the kids huddled together, I thought of how power outages have the tendency to pull us together. That calms the soul and lifts the spirit. I don’t know where the lessons will lead, but I do know they are off to an amazing start! Amazing what God can do with a storm, a power outage, and a little prayer candle.

Sweet Side Effect:)

Side effect is defined by Bing as “a usually undesirable secondary effect produced by something.” Usually is the key word; the side effect I’m talking about is a very positive one. As I pray, I notice a sweet side effect that helps me understand Christ’s call to prayer. When I pray for someone who has hurt me or treated me unfairly, I notice that my attitude towards them begins to change. It’s a slow process that requires more than one dose of prayer to get the desired result, but the beautiful feeling defies description.

I see why Jesus sits at God’s right hand and prays for me unceasingly. He knows those prayers change me and bring me closer to God. When I understand that, I am also drawn near to those who have been at arm’s length or further away. Barriers are broken, priorities change, and suddenly the distance is absorbed by the love that intercession frees. There is nothing more powerful than intercession or Christ wouldn’t be doing it.

As I told my class this morning at church, if you’re looking for a financial advisor, shopper, lawyer, or sugar daddy, you need to find another Savior. This One is about the business of praying and lifting me up to God. So many look to Christ to get and do and fix. He loves and prays. Others need a superhero who is going to vanquish and kill. He loves and prays. Some might ask if that’s enough. As I’ve come to understand Who Christ is and Who He isn’t, I have come to know it’s more than enough. Prayer is the least and most any of us can do.

It’s only taken me sixty years to come to that understanding, but I’m thankful to finally get it. The fifties allowed me the space to find out who I am and begin to understand Who God is. I’m thinking the sixties is going to be more about what I am here to do. The call to prayer came at 57, but I kept God on hold for three years. I prayed during that time but not as He desired. I came up with my own to-do list and ignored His. I’m humbled that He never hung up on me but rather waited lovingly for me to understand the nature and importance of His call. I often wonder if the human life span is getting longer because it’s taking us longer to figure out what it is He’s trying to teach us while we’re here:) I say that as the slowest and most stubborn learner I know.

I’ve been sixty for almost a month, and I have to say it’s been an eventful twenty-five days. The lessons have been difficult, but the learning has been amazing. Change may be the theme for this decade, and that’s okay with me. Whatever God has in mind, I want to be open and ready to hear and respond with love. The good news is that I’ve lost ten pounds and can wear clothes I haven’t worn in years! I wouldn’t recommend the diet plan to anyone, but I have to say that I learned that I have to make some changes when it comes to what and how much I eat. Another positive side effect!

Change is good, and I know the sixties are going to be wonderful. Lessons in love are pointing me in the right direction, and my heart is changing. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks if you grab her attention and use the right motivation:)

Share a Prayer

This prayer written by a seventeenth-century nun blesses me each time I read it, so I share the prayer this morning in hopes that it blesses you as much as it blesses me.

Keep Me Sweet Lord

Lord, you know better than I know myself that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from getting talkative, particularly from the fatal habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. Make me thoughtful, but not moody; helpful, but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, but you know, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end. Keep my mind from the recital of endless details-give me wings to come to the point.

I ask for grace enough to listen to the tales of others’ pains. Seal my lips on my own aches and pains-they are increasing, and my love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. Help me to endure them with patience.

I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally it is possible that I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet. I do not want to be a saint-some of them are so hard to live with-but a sour old woman is one of the crowning works of the devil.

Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.

I don’t know the name of the dear nun who penned this prayer, but I am thankful she had the courage and humility to put into words what I needed to hear. I love it when God does that:)