One evening, a group of Christians and I met together for a home group (this was in a previous church I belonged to). I forget the subject of our Bible study that night, but I recall vividly what happened during the prayer time at the end.
As I prayed for the group, I got this nagging sense that someone was struggling with migraine headaches. From time to time, I believe God shows me such things and that this is part of my spiritual gifts. I shared what I had sensed, and as it happens, two of the eight people gathered admitted to having struggled with severe headaches all that day. Neither had mentioned them during the course of the evening.
We prayed together, and prayed for these headaches to cease. For one of the two, they did. I remember that person saying so clearly, “It’s gone!” for the other person, they said it had helped but they could not admit that the headache had completely gone.
Even so, it sticks in my mind as a time when God was truly faithful. It highlights that for a whole variety of reasons that not everyone receives healing every time we pray. That should not stop us asking however, and to see someone freed from an intense headache was truly something to thank the Lord for.
I have had migraines in the past, and they are no fun at all! It was an immense privilege to be able to hear God’s direction that day, and to be able to pray for a sister in need.
When it comes to spiritual gifts and the healing ministry, it is something I remain passionate about. God has blessed us with these gifts, and we are to use them to build up His church. Yes there are times when things do not quite work out as they should. For instance, this weekend I had a sense that someone had hurt their ankle. When I reached out to them, they had not. The most likely reason was that I was simply wrong.
Being wrong is something I have grown used to over the years, but that does not stop me trying to listen to Jesus and acting on His voice. The pain of a migraine, sore ankle or whatever ailment can be a real drag to people. if God should wish to use me to bring that relief, then I am humbled and clearly the glory is all His.
Have you ever had an experience like this? I’d love to hear about it.
I hope that this brief testimony has encouraged you. God cares. He loves you. He cares about your headaches, your bills, your entire life. For the most part, He will direct us through His Word, but I rejoice in the times He directs us through His Spirit too. Praise the God of love who cares for us each and every day! Amen!
At our church yesterday, we had our “World Focus” spot. This is a time where we think about another part of the globe, and see what the Lord is doing there. Often it also involves thinking about the challenges a country or region face, and helps us think on how we can support the church in that place. Given events in the Ukraine right now, this was our subject.
We learned about a woman named Jessica who works with orphans in that nation. She lives in a fairly dangerous region of the country in “normal” times, and even more so now. As of yesterday, she was heading for the border following the advice to flee. She leaves behind one of the orphans she has helped to raise, a young man now aged over 18, and so he cannot leave in case he is called upon to fight for his country.
This is but one story of thousands. How many families are being torn apart by this dreadful situation?
I have seen a number of blogs about the war in Ukraine, and many prayers uttered. I join with them today, and pray for peace in that land. I also pray for wisdom for both sides, and for leaders across the world. We know that such situations can quickly escalate, and it takes only a spark to set a great blaze.
We pray for the citizens of Ukraine as they bravely defend their homes. We ask you Lord to move in that place, to bring forth all or any good You can out of this time of trouble. We pray, too, for a swift end to this conflict, and that lives on both sides would be saved.
May Your church arise in that part of the world. May those who know You, and are seeking to follow You, be blessed with strength, wisdom and resources to shine Your light in that place. We pray for our brothers and sisters in Ukraine and Russia, asking You to unite them with one purpose in serving You. May their love for You far exceed the hate of people, and may their example and ministry bring many souls into Your glorious kingdom.
Lord, when we see such things happen, it can be hard to know what exactly we should pray. Give us wisdom, and direct our prayers so that Your will is done, and You may be glorified. Where people suffer, may You be there to offer comfort. Where there is hurt, may Your church bring healing in Your Name.
We pray in the mighty Name of Jesus, amen!
Thank you for joining me in these prayers. And do add your own in the comments if you wish.
Not wanting to miss the boat on #TestimonyTuesday, I thought I’d share a brief snippet with you.
It is not my testimony but rather a minor thing which happened to me once.
When I left university, I had little idea of what I wanted to do with my life. I took a job at a local employer and consider it my first “real” job. I was young then, both in age and experience, and it was rather daunting to step into this new world.
On day one, someone came by and handed me a wadge of papers. “Fill these out,” they said, “and give them to Alice.” Before I had a chance to ask anything, they were gone. I did indeed fill them out, but literally had no idea who Alice was! The building housed 1500 employees, and for me (with problems with my sight) the thought of trying to find said mystery woman was no easy task! I asked a few of my new colleagues, and they were not exactly sure.
I did all I could, and prayed! I asked God to help me find this Alice, and then set the papers to one side and carried on doing my other work. A while later, I looked up to see a small group of colleagues talking, and one of them said, “Alice…” addressing one of the others. This was the Alice I needed, and she walked right past my desk and I was able to hand her the papers then and there.
This is, in the grand scheme of things, a miniscule event but it was God’s way of reminding me of His presence in my life. I knew, in that moment, that Goid had answered this simple prayer and I knew that He would continue to support me.
Has God given you these little nods from time to time? Just small encouragements that remind you of His constant love for you?
Praise Him for the big things in life, yes, but don’t forget to thank Him for the small as well!
Do share below any “nods from God” which He has given to you.
This Sunday, after church of course, why don’t you take a walk around your neighbourhood and pray for those living there. You could focus on your own street, or else wander a little further afield. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you, and see if He will lead you to pray over a particular house or area.
Prayer walking is a great habit to get into. Not only does your physical body get some exercise, but it also gives you the chance to stretch those spiritual muscles. There are many practical ways to bless your neighbour, but only prayer allows you to invite God into their lives and do His miracle work.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)
Love your #neighbour as yourself #Bible #Jesus #Christianity
The chances are that the most popular name on your prayer list is your own… I know that’s true for me, I’m ashamed to admit. Yet verse 31 tells us to love our neighbour as we do ourselves. Well, if we pray mostly for our own needs, then let us each love our neighbour that way, and lift them before the Lord.
Perhaps it just isn’t possible for you to prayer walk right now, and that’s ok. If you can, pray at home for those living near you, as that will be beneficial too.
Finally, if you live in the UK, don’t forget your raincoat!
In my younger days, I was never much of a fan of country music. In more recent times though, I must admit to enjoying it much more. Not all of it is particularly edifying of course, so I’d advise you be selective (as with all things) if you tune in to country radio.
I heard a song the other day called “Buy Dirt” by Jordan Davis and featuring Luke Bryan. I will put a link below in case you are not familiar with it.
The song is about a younger man sitting down and sharing a coffee with an older gentleman, perhaps a grandfather. Over the course of their beverage, the older man shares some wisdom with the younger, and I thought I’d examine the wisdom given in light of Scripture with you today.
Chasing the dollar
When the older man asks the younger what he’s been up to, the younger replies that he’s been “chasing the dollar.” This is what prompts the wisdom sharing.
We cannot deny that all of us need money, and earning it takes up no small amount of our lives. Chasing after it though is a dangerous thing.
The Bible says:
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
1 Timothy 6:10 (WEB)
This does not say that money is evil, but that loving it is a root of all kinds of evil. Having too much or too little money can lead us into temptation. Loving money can even lead us away from our faith, so let each of us have a proper relationship with it.
Some devote their lives to earning and having more. To do this, they can sacrifice their health, their families, their friends and even their relationship with God. The thing is, when you are on your death bed, you are unlikely to ask for your accountant. Instead, you will be wanting the comfort of family and faith.
Do What You Love, But Call It Work
The older man advises the younger to do what you love, and call it work. This is a great nugget of wisdom in my view. It has been said that if you love what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life. This is so true!
There have been times in my life where I really did not enjoy my job, and those days were hard indeed! In more recent times, I have loved doing my job, and when that is the case, it does not feel like work at all.
We must remember it is a privilege to enjoy one’s job, as there are many who work to pay their bills and support their family, and “enjoyment” does not even come in to it.
As with all things, it is a balance. If you are doing a job you hate, then prayerfully consider a change. If you have little choice because of financial demands or to support those you love, then clearly I am not telling you to quit, do a job you love and face bankruptcy. Do what you need to do of course, but also do not feel trapped where you are. And look for opportunities to move towards a job that you love.
Throw a Little Money
At one point in the song, the advice is given to throw a little money in the church offering. While I do not want to overthink such a line, as it is clearly not a theological song, it does give you pause to think.
It is good advice to give, no question about that. The Bible is full of instruction for us to give to God’s work. Throwing a little money in the collection plate though is not the way we ought to be giving. That smacks of someone who is unprepared and just grabbing whatever they have in their pocket at the time. Our giving should be more purposeful than that.
Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I commanded the assemblies of Galatia, you do likewise. 2 On the first day of every week, let each one of you save, as he may prosper, that no collections are made when I come.
1 Corinthians 16:1-2 (WEB)
This instruction suggests planning on our part, and deliberate giving. Notice it is on the first day of the week, so that God is given to first and does not end up with whatever we have left over at the end.
Giving is also connected to the points above about working. We work, not for our own pleasure, but rather so that we might have something to share with the church.
In Ephesians, Paul states:
Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
Ephesians 4:28 (NIV)
We work to support ourselves and our families yes, but we work primarily that we might have something to give to the family of believers.
Send Your Prayers Up and Your Roots Down
This gem of wisdom needs little explaining. Indeed, we ought to be sending up our prayers regularly. In fact, not just regularly, but at all times.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word[a] of God; 18 with all prayer and requests, praying at all times in the Spirit, and being watchful to this end in all perseverance and requests for all the saints:
Ephesians 6:17-18 (WEB)
Likewise, putting down roots, in the context of the song at least, is about building your family in the community. As I write, I cannot think of a specific verse to quote here, but believe it is biblical for us to be a positive force in the place where we live. You could point to the Great Commission for instance on that one. I also feel that Christians should have a good level of commitment to the place where they live.
It All Goes By Real Quick
It sure does! Need I emphasise this point to you? Life is short, and goes by very quickly indeed! We must make the most of it, and never forget it is the preparation for all eternity.
In the psalms, we read:
You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
even those who seem secure
Psalm 39:5 (NIV)
It may seem negative to point out the shortness of life, but I do not mean it to be. Even a life of 100+ years is short in comparison to all eternity. God is Eternal, unending and beyond time itself. Our handful of decades here is a mere blip next to the infinite life to come. Ensure you make the most of it while you are here, and be ready for the next!
Buy Dirt and Thank the Good Lord For It
The song is titled “Buy Dirt,” and says although you cannot buy happiness, you can buy a home and build a good life for yourself and your family. This is true, and while a nice house does not make a home, we can all do the best with what we have and make our lives worth living.
Throughout it all, when times are both good and bad, we thank the good Lord for it all. He has given us life, and our very breath is dependent upon Him.
Join me in thanking Him today for all the good things in our lives, and for what we have learned from the bad.
Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Today’s Sunday Suggestion may seem an obvious one, but your pastor/minister/vicar needs your prayer support! I am not a pastor, but have been in church leadership for many years, and let me tell you it is no easy task! You know the phrase, “You can’t please everyone all of the time…”? Well that is sadly apt for church leaders!
If you have a faithful pastor or group of leaders over your church, then you ought to be eternally grateful. I know so many church leaders who have worked themselves sick for the sake of their flock, and now more than ever, pastors and leaders need our help and support.
The Bible encourages us to pray for those in authority over us. Scriptures such as Romans 13 and 1 Timothy 2 direct us to pray for kings and ruling governments, and I do not think it a stretch to include those in church leadership over us also.
A passage I return to when thinking of my own leaders is found in Exodus:
So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. 12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
Exodus 17:10-13 (NIV)
Now your pastor may not be facing a physical battle as the Israelites were (although I bet it feels like that sometimes!) but they need just as much support. Can you be an Aaron or a Hur for them, come alongside and hold up their hands for a time?
How can you pray for them right now? If you are not sure, why not ask them, or send them an email?
Most leaders or pastors would probably like the following to be prayed over them:
Prayers for strength, energy and good sleeping patterns
Prayers for protection for them and their family; physically, mentally and spiritually
Prayers for wisdom and discernment
Prayers to help them manage their workload and prioritise
Prayers for their own relationship with Jesus
Prayers for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in their life and ministry
The list could go on and on. If you have other good ideas of how to pray for church leaders, do share them below.
One final suggestion – you might like to set aside a specific day or time to pray for them each week. If your life is like mine, then it can get rather hectic at times. Set a reminder or put a weekly appointment in your diary or calendar so it does not get missed.
Your pastor will be ever thankful for your prayers and support!
WordPress helpfully keeps a total of the words you have written on your blog each year. Although we are only about a week into 2022, I am reliably informed that I have written nearly 4500 words so far.
This is good for me to know, because I really do want to make good progress on some unfinished books I am writing this year.
One project has around 10,000 words written, and another approximately 17,000 words completed.
Knowing that I’ve already written 4500 words on the blog this year, helps me to believe that it may even be possible to complete both projects in the coming 12 months!
why am I telling you this? Simply for accountability!
I want to try to post regular updates on how the books are progressing, as a way of keeping myself honest! Do pull me up dear reader, if I do not do this!
I also ask for your prayers, and that my writing would be fruitful. Please ask the Lord to help me complete these projects this year, but more importantly that they will be a vehicle for him to bless those who read them.
Word count is not the best way to measure the quality of a book… But in this stage of the project, it sure does help me keep track!
Continuing my “best of “series, it seems appropriate to share this post on prayer as it goes right alongside my earlier post this morning.
I hope you enjoy reading it!
Have a very blessed 2022!
During the height of the lockdown in the UK, where we were only allowed out for short periods of exercise, I began to fairly regularly record prayer videos which I put out here on the blog and on my Facebook page. You can see an example here, if you’re interested. I really love to pray…
— Read on andy-brown.org/2021/06/12/a-stirring-to-pray/