A week ago I attended the annual meeting for our Presbytery level women’s group. There were two speakers. The first, Judi Hodges, is always great. She was a missionary in Germany for a number of years and is now working with the Educational arm of our denomination here in the US. She talked about how her mother has always been amazing, but lately she can even be in two places at the same time, as Judi saw her in the mirror of her bathroom the other day. We all laughed in recognition as she continued to talk about how she sees so much of both her parents in herself. The serious point of the call was that we are called to be like Jesus and show a family resemblance.
The next speaker was Val Shepard, daughter of Jim and Elisabeth Elliot. She gave a simple but effective talk about the need for prayer. Some highlights;
She encouraged a serious weekly prayer group to pray for the church – for spiritual growth, unity, acceptance of odd people, the pastor and his family.
She mentioned Is 30:15-18 – God draws us to himself. When we run from him, he waits for us. When we wait on the Lord to do what He can – He comes through.
Psalm 50:14-15 We call on him and he will deliver us.
She made the very convicting point that some prayer requests we need to learn to keep quiet. We don’t have to “share” everything we know. Many times prayer requests are more like gossip.
She told another story about a friend who often has trouble sleeping when she worries. So, she gets up and prays and hands her problems to the Lord and then rests on the promises of God. She named her mattress “The Promises of God” 🙂
Psalm 53: 2 God searches for those who seek after Him
2 Chron 16:9 He strengthens those who obey Him. Prayer is drawing near to God. The Lord is in charge – be thankful. Don’t raise children in fear, but in faith in a covenant-keeping God. We develop the habit of knowing He will be with us.
He is worthy of my time and attention.
Psalm 86:11 unite my heart to fear your name – our hearts are easily divided.
She shared this prayer:
Lord Jesus, pour out a spirit of grace and supplication upon me and upon Your body the Church! Build us and transform us to become a house of prayer for all nations! I long to be a dwelling place for Your Spirit as you shape me into a purpose-filled, Kingdom-advancing disciple. May Your house be known for prayer that delights Your heart and moves Your hand!
Then she warned us not to let a list of prayer requests crowd out seeking God’s will. She encouraged us to sit quiet before the Lord. She told a story of a time when a study she was a part of encouraged the women to sit quietly, not thinking about or praying about anything, but listening to God for 20 or 25 minutes, and the panic that created in her. The study provided a list of words to focus on as a way to tame the thoughts. It included words like joy, cross and peace. Then at the end was the word “yes” and she realized she needed to say Yes more to God.
I need to remember these things. He is worthy of my time and attention – I need him.
Lynn, the new President for the Women’s Ministries ended the meeting talking about how we should pray for one another. She mentioned that Jesus is the most dependent person in the Bible. I automatically thought to myself she meant to say dependable. But then she added a sentence that clarified she had said exactly what she meant. Jesus was in prayer to God more than anyone else. If he was that dependent, how do I expect to be any more “self-sufficient” and get through life without prayer and quiet time and study of God and His Word?
Two more notes I have:
Zeph 3:17 God rejoices and shouts over me with gladness!
Col 1:9-12 great verses to pray for others!