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Thursday Thoughts August 3, 2023

 Thursday Thoughts

August 3, 2023


Isn't it fun to look back at old photo albums and reminisce? I saw some old photos today that brought joy and a bit of sadness. How does time go so quickly and how did I get old in a blink of an eye? The photos reminded me that situations and people change but life goes on.


Just as I have kept photo albums, it has been a habit of mine for years to keep a prayer notebook. It is just a three-ring notebook with personal prayer lists in page protectors. In it, I list people and situations that I want to be sure to pray for every day. It helps keep me focused so my mind doesn't wander too much during my quiet time. I am a visual person and need to see something in front of me to stay centered. Not only are there lists of names, there are handouts and other things in the notebook that are meaningful to me. I came across a comforting little prayer that was sent to us in December of 2016, a difficult time in our lives.


"Heavenly Father, we do not ask to always know the road, but we ask for the strength to travel it. We do not ask to see beyond the futures veil, but we ask for the courage to face the future. We do not ask that life shall bring us pleasure and ease. But we pray for patience and understanding so that come what may...our trust and confidence will be in thee. Amen"


Like a photo album, I perused the prayer lists from years ago. It is amazing to see how prayers were answered. Some of the people had passed on to their reward, some had problems solved, some were healed both physically and spiritually, babies were born, couples were married, marriages were healed, confirmands have all grown up, and so on. There were some divorces, some served in the military and returned home, troubled teens grew up and got their act together and some of the names are on my current prayer list. As we know some prayers are answered with "not yet" and sometimes a "no".


Even though it is messy and held together with tape, this notebook is a very valuable possession. The lists help me to see God at work. It reminds me how important prayer is and that it yields results, not always tangible ones but spiritual ones. The results may not have been as I would have liked but I am not in charge! The names and situations of these handwritten lists encourage me to remember and pray. A quote on one of the handouts in the notebook says, "The greatest thing anyone can do for God and for man is to pray." S. D. Gordon


Prayer doesn't come easy sometimes and it even gets postponed because "I don't have time". Prayer is like an open-ended conversation with God. We don't always have to take a posture of prayer, we can talk to God while we drive, in the shower, or at the line in the grocery store. I think of one of my great-grandmothers who was bedridden but still had a clear mind. When we would visit her in my aunt's home, she would be talking out loud but no one would be in the room. As a very small child, I thought that was odd. My mother told me she was talking to Jesus. That made an impression on me as a little girl. That is what the verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 means, "Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."


Often when we are anxious and upset, we turn to prayer asking for help. In Philippians 4:6 Paul writes, "Don't worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." He also writes to the Ephesians in 6:18, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people."


Each of us has our own way, time, and style of praying. And it is a beautiful thing to find a new and different way to talk to God. But the most important thing is that we do it. I know I feel empty when I don't pray. The world intrudes and takes priority and if I don't take care, the time between prayers gets longer and longer leading to more emptiness.


Being a list maker for all my daily tasks, it makes sense that I have a prayer list. You do prayer the way that works for you, God wants to hear from us. If we spend enough time in prayer, we will begin to "hear" from the Holy Spirit in us. Oh, don't think I have flipped my lid, I mean the more we immerse ourselves in the presence of God the more we will be assured of his presence and guidance in our lives. We will be led and comforted as we continue to add photos of life to our album.








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