Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Prayers Rise Up Like Incense

"So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."-Mark 11:24 (New Revised Standard Version)

"Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."--Philippians 4:5-7 (The Message)

Prayer has been on my mind a lot this Lenten season as I have continued to pray through my Facebook friends list as my Lenten discipline. It is hard to believe that I began this practice six years ago and still am continuing to live it out. It is incredible to look back and see the ways God has answered the prayers I have lifted up to God. So often those prayers have been answered in God's timing and not my own. I have seen friend's adoptions finalized. I have seen broken relationships repaired or ended peacefully. I have seen the numerous ways God has answered the prayers I have lifted up on behalf of my friends and family.

Yet there are times...like today where my heart is heavy....heavy with the news of the world around me. I want our fears to be relieved. I want peace; only the peace that God can bring about to be here. I want God's healing hand to intervene where healing is needed. I want to trust that God hears every prayer that is lifted up to God. (Honestly, I know that God receives every prayer lifted up to God, yet there are days that my faith isn't enough and even I question)

But in a world where there is so much sadness and darkness, prayer is a way that we can rally together. Prayer is a way that we can lift our prayers up to God. And collectively those prayers can make a difference. Prayer reminds us of the beautiful promise of the resurrection as God is a faithful God who continually walks with us and promises to never leave us or forsake us. God loved us so much that God sent God's one and only son to die on a cross for each and every one of us.

I know there have been times in my life when I have felt like perhaps my prayers have not been enough. But then God has shown me that they are. God has this amazing way of hearing and collecting every prayer that is lifted up to God.

When my mom was laying in ICU my senior year of college, I remember sending out a prayer request email to my camp friends asking them to pray. For me, knowing that I wasn't alone in prayer gave me so much peace and hope so I asked them to pray with me. My friend Ben called almost immediately and prayed on the phone with me. In just that brief interaction, I found myself clinging to the words Ben was lifting up to God for my mom and our family.

Sometimes friends, it seems prayer is all we have! And prayer is this incredible gift that we can offer up to God. As we sing these words from Marty Haugen's Holden Evening Prayer during our Lenten worship services "Let our prayers rise up like incense," I picture all of the prayers being lifted up; just like incense rising, to God where God hears each and every one of them.

Together, as we gather at the holy table where bread and wine are raised to receive, our prayers too are raised and lifted up to God; the one who hears every prayer and promises to walk with us no matter what.

I love this quote I came across from Ghandi and so I am going to leave you with this thought today: "Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is a daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart."

And so my body exhales and let's out a sigh...a sigh that God sees and hears even without words.

I am linking up with these lovelies this week: Holly and Testimony Tuesday, Kelly and the RaRa Linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, and Holley and Coffee for your Heart:

 

 

20 comments:

  1. Thank you for these beautiful words. Your lenten tradition of praying through your Facebook friends really touched me. I believe in the power of prayer and know that God is faithful. The quote from Ghandi is wonderful. That is one quote I will need to write down to have in a prominent place to remind myself of the beauty of prayer.

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    1. Thanks dear Mary! I am so glad that my Lenten practice touched you. Isn't that Ghandi quote so so good?!?! I need to write it down and keep it in a prominent place too.

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  2. I have been praying for a niece or nephew every day foe several years now. They are aware as I usually post something on FB they seldom respond but last year when I was in a hard place, they were there to support me in prayer.what goes around comes around

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    1. Amanda, such a cool story. What goes around does indeed come around. Thanks for that reminder.

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  3. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:17. What a wonderful tradition of praying through your FB friends! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. I didn't remember this verse from the book of James. Thanks for sharing it.

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  4. Shelby8:06 AM

    Just beautiful. I pray often over my FB friends but would have never thought of praying through my friends list. WONDERFUL.

    As I have some major health challenges right now that are largely causing me to be stuck in a no-exertion state, I am finding the dichotomy of both being prayed for and having lots of dedicated time to be praying for others, a deep, deep satisfaction of something in my soul.

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  5. Absolutely one of the best writings from my girl Tara! Beautiful. Perfect.

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    1. ((Blushing)) Thank You!!! xo

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  6. Another beautiful post; thanks! As people have reminded us, we become closest to those we converse with the most—God loves to hear from us! Psalm 141 in the Service of Light that opens vespers long has been part of that office, and like you, I especially love Marty Haugen's setting. I've missed singing and sometimes leading Holden Evening Prayer this Lent.

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    1. Thanks Leah! Psalm 141 is a beautiful setting.

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  7. Tara, what an encouraging word this is! I will be sharing it with my online prayer group. Thanks :)

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    1. Glad that my words touched you. Also thanks for sharing with your online prayer group.

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  8. Tara, this is such an inspiring reminder. Prayer is such a comfort, as well as a powerful weapon! What a precious gift God has given us. Wonderful post!

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  9. Amen to these words: " God sees and hears even without words." I love this thought and the beautiful Ghandi quote! Tara, your prayers are definitely making a difference in the lives of others. And your words here are so uplifting and inspiring. Thank you! :) <3

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    1. Joy, those words are some of my faves in this post too. And that Ghandi quote isn't it wonderful?!?! Thank you so much for your kind words.

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  10. What a beautiful idea, Tara! And I know there's a heart after God behind it as well. :) Blessings!

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    1. Thanks Tasha! Blessings to you as well!

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