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Summer Prayer Challenge – Week 6

This post marks the halfway point of this challenge AND summer holidays!

SAY WHAT?!?

How is it that February feels like it lasts 100 days and summer feels like 20 days?

Last night I had a dream about wasting my summer…I woke up to realize that I need to spend time with my kids NOW. Isaiah, my oldest is 12. That means that counting this one, I only have 6 summers left with him before he’s 18.

Now that’s an eye opening thought.

One that prompted me to get up in the night and make a note to myself to be with my kiddos. I don’t need to go on an extravagant vacation or expensive outings.

Isaiah loves running with me and playing dodgeball with the family. Bella likes reading side by side and drawing together. Easy enough! I like the same things! Jonas likes biking with me, he also loves doing crazy tricks and dares…which is not me at all, but I can watch him get hurt…nooooo problem. 😜 Dallas is my game guy; he LOVES any card or board game. He’s also a huge sports fan: soccer, badminton, baseball, anything really! And Emerson, he doesn’t really care what we do, he just likes being with me.

What are your kids like? What do you do together? I’d love to hear!

One of the most important parts of parenting is connecting with each individual child…but each day, it starts with connecting to God and praying for them.

Here’s the prayer topics and Saturday’s challenge for this week:

Monday- Pray today for your home church that you attend.

Tuesday- Pray for the persecuted church again. These suffering brothers and sisters NEED our prayers!

Wednesday- Pray for Mental Health. Specifically, for God to provide godly councillors and intercessors for those struggling.

Thursday- Pray for us believers to return to our first love: Jesus. This week specifically (and maybe ironically???), I’m focusing on praying into our idols of social media/smart phones.

Friday- Pray for our Countries. I’ll be praying about Canada’s outright flaunting and celebrating of sexual sin, confessing my part in this and asking God for a desire to walk in purity and holiness with him.

Saturday-  Those Who Have Not Heard. Basically I’ll be praying for the unreached and also those who have maybe heard of Jesus, but don’t really know his message.

CHALLENGE: God didn’t leave his followers on earth for them to sit back and live comfortably until his return. That’s just not what scripture teaches. He chose to leave it up to his followers to share with the world our amazing hope, the message of the cross. Ask God: How can I share the gospel in my workplace? In my neighborhood? In my city? Am I ashamed of you Jesus? Am I afraid because of how it may look? Am I closing my eyes to those around me who are starving to hear the message of hope? Obey what you feel the Lord speaking to you!

Sunday – Lay Down Your Hurt And COME. There are many reasons a lot of Christians have stopped attending church. Maybe thy’ve been hurt by the church or people in the church in some way. Maybe they’ve become bitter or angry at God. Maybe they don’t feel good enough or worthy. This week I want pray for them.

You can also follow along on Facebook or Instagram for more insight into each prayer for the day. Find me as everysmallvoice on IG and Heather Bergen on FB. Love doing this together 💕

– Heather

 

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Summer Prayer Challenge – Week 5

I know many of you who follow my blog also read my posts on social media, so as this one is a complete copy of all I’ve already posted this week you can skip this one 🙂

BUT to those of you following solely on my blog, I apologize for this post being so late. I already put the previous days’ prayer topics on Facebook/Instagram, however, this week was a busy one for me and I hardly had a minute to spare.

Better late than never right??

Thank you for joining me in this challenge!!

Here’s the overview of the prayer focuses for this week:

Remember above the lists, to meet with Jesus. Experience his love for you. Allow yourself to relax and thank him for all of his many blessings. Turn your mind off all the business of your day and just think about Jesus: Who he is. His wonderful character. Pray for your spouse and individual family members by name.

Monday: Our Pastors/ Families – Today pray for protection for them. Each time I see a news article of a fallen pastor or a new “church scandal” my heart sinks. Are our first thoughts of them: “How DARE they? How could a godly leader do this?” Do these things really surprise us? Satan well knows that if he can hurt the head, he can cripple the whole church… “Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter.” Today, pray for your pastor and their family. For God to put his hand of protection on them. That they wouldn’t feel the need to look “strong” in the face of trials or temptations but that they would be able to have trusted people around them to share with and be supported by. Ask God to give our pastors renewal each day. May they never have to feel like they are in this alone. Ask God to give them hunger and a desire to walk closely beside him, spending time in his presence each day. Pray that they would overcome evil by the power of his blood. Pray that they would be quick to repent and to ask for help, that God would keep them from pride. Pray for their families, that they would not feel the burden of always having to look put together, but that we would view them as God’s children in need of his grace as well. Pray that God would give us, the church body, MUCH grace for our leaders. May we always be a support to them, ready to protect and believe the best in them instead of always looking for the next thing to complain about. God, may we be a church that is a delight, not a burden, to lead.

Tuesday: Philippians 3 for the Church

Today as I pray for the body of believers across the world, that is, in every nation, tribe and tongue, I am drawn to Philippians 3.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”

What if every believer lived like this? As if everything else was garbage compared to Christ? That knowing Christ would become the biggest priority. Truly believing that all our righteousness isn’t because of our good works, but because of Christ! I tell you: we would judge less, hate less, sacrifice more, we would forgive, we would let go of our idols, we would live for Christ’s mission and not our own. Pray for these things!!

“For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.”

Oh that we would not live as enemies of the cross! Pray that we would take our eyes off of earthly things and remember that our citizenship is in heaven! Pray that our glory wouldn’t be in our temporary idols. God, bring us into the joy of your presence!

Wednesday: Mental Health – Just why did I decide to devote one day a week this summer to pray into mental health issues? Was it just because I am coming out of a long season of depression?? Being diagnosed and then talking about it, completely opened my eyes to how HUGE this is. EVERYONE I talked to could relate in some way. “Wait. Did you just say EVERYONE?? You’re not truly saying that you believe everyone has a mental disorder do you?!?” No I am not. But everyone has mental health and physical health. And everyone I know has experienced sickness in some sort of way, so it would be naive to say that not everyone has experienced, to a degree, some hopelessness, depression, anxiety, etc. Here’s the thing: we feel ashamed to talk about it, as if we would be more righteous if we were just happy all the time. You know what has helped me the most? TALKING about it and finding people who will compassionately listen without judging or accusing me based on my feelings. Because feelings aren’t wrong, it’s what we do with them in our thought life and actions that matter. Today pray for those living with mental illness to be able to talk, to not lie to themselves and others about how they’re really doing, but to be open. When we are open, others feel free to be open as well. Pray for wisdom in responding to and dealing with these feelings. Pray that those who need medication for their illness would not be shamed because of it. Pray that they would also be open to Jesus, for he is the ultimate healer. Oh that we would find deep comfort in running to his arms and sharing the negative thoughts and feelings that torment us. He has promised to carry our burdens, if we only let him! Pray for our focus to daily be taken off our earthly situation and to be focused onto the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray for thanksgiving to flow from the lips of those who are struggling, for a thankful heart is a joyful one. Pray for mental illness to become a topic that we no longer fear. And thank Jesus that it is becoming easier to talk about. Thank him for the many ways he is already answering these prayers.

Thursday:  The Attack on the Family – Today, I am praying about the attack the church is facing in homes. Pray for marriages/families in the church. Thursday’s we pray for returning to our first love and I believe a part of this is strongly connected to what we do with Jesus in our homes. One of the ways we can show Jesus our love for him is to prioritize what HE does. And we have not prioritized the family. We have not taken seriously the marriage covenants we made before him. Today, pray for broken families, broken marriages, broken children in the church. Pray that we would learn to see the importance of those nearest to us. That the church would become known for a place where families thrive. Pray for parents to be willing to pour in the time it takes to raise children for the Lord. That we would not try to put this responsibility onto others/the church but that we would begin to seek God together, serve together, do devos together. May our families honor God and be a reflection of our love/devotion to him.

Friday: Our Nation

For me that is Canada. And there is something that deeply grieves my heart in this beautiful, multicultural country and that is the fact that racism is still strong and present. Many would deny this. But bring up the relationship between the white folk and the first nations and the air becomes eerily quiet.

Not all is well.

There is so much brokenness. So much pain. So much anger, hate and unforgiveness. So much judgement and jealousy. Conditions for most of those living on reserves is terrible. Many families are broken. And the most heartbreaking thing is that everyone know there is no really good solution. What has been done in the past is now done. It can not fully be restored. From a human standpoint, improvement in this area is impossible…but with God, ALL things are possible.

This is my prayer today for Canada and the indigenous peoples:

“God, heal what has been broken. Restore what has been lost. Bring comfort to all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve. Bestow on them a crown of beauty, instead of ashes. The oil of joy, instead of mourning and a garment of praise, instead of a spirit of despair. Father bring the indigenous people out victorious! May they be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour. Oh God, bring compassion and forgiveness on both sides, soften our hearts toward each other. Money can never right the wrongs that have been done in the past. Only you can bring restoration. Come Lord Jesus.”

Saturday: I’m MUCH too Righteous for THEM!!! 

Outreach is one of the most important callings of the church, but I believe it is widely the most neglected one. Many, many Christian’s have no heart whatsoever for the lost.

I sometimes wonder if I do?

Do I care if people spend an eternity without Jesus? Do I care about the hopelessness that many people feel day after day after day? Or…do I deep down feel that some of these “sinners” deserve to live in pain? Alone. Forgotten.

Do I somehow feel that I’ve earned the right to walk with Christ, to know him? Today pray about this attitude. The attitude of thinking: if they would just smarten up, then they would be able to find Christ and turn their life around! You know the thing about lost people? They’re LOST! Lost people need help to find their way. LOTS of help. I needed lots of help. You needed lots of help. Think of the people who have all poured into your life. Where would you be without them? Pray for patience and a willingness to not just share the gospel, but to walk with those living in darkness. They NEED you to help them see! Pray that we would become so thankful for our blessings in Christ that we could not help but share them with the world!

  • CHALLENGE: Reflect on your attitude to those around you. Are there those who you don’t associate with because of something you feel they’ve done? Talk to someone you may have misjudged. Remember and imitate your Heavenly Father who “causes the rain to fall on the good and the bad.” Bless them in some way.

Sunday: Love for those Hypocrites/Sinners – As we gather together in our services, pray that our eyes would see those around us through the eyes of Christ. Often I believe many Christians are hindered in worship because they are so distracted by “those sinners/hypocrites” around them.  May we realize, but we are also among the sinners and hypocrites. Not one of us is 100% consistent with everything we believe. Not one of us always does the right thing and this attitude needs to go. Come and worship. Come and love. Come and receive grace and forgiveness. Come and serve others. Come and connect. Just come!

God bless you this week!

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Why Facebook “Comment Wars” Never Change Anyone’s Views…

Listen. I get it.

The comment section on a controversial piece is eye catching, heart pounding and it brings even the best of us to a new low of frustration and name calling.

We all want to be heard. And in the heat of the moment, we read something that causes a flash of emotion and feel a desperate need to respond. We know it’s not true. We know it’s unjust! We just KNOW it. And desperately we want everyone to see the truth…at least the way we see it.  And maybe, just maybe, if I explain my argument in just the right way others will come to their senses. Right?!?

After a few years on Facebook, I’ve come to realize that the comment section is absolutely useless unless used to encourage, express love, compassion or sympathy for those around us.  Or if you’re a real “soap opera” type, I guess it has some entertainment value…

But, truly, never has anyone’s political views been changed because of what some “Joe Commenter”  said.

Why then, do some of us still waste endless hours in these comment wars? Why then do we feel like we’re making a difference at all while sitting on a chair typing a long-winded response to who- knows-who, who’s also doing nothing more than sitting on a chair behind a screen, ferociously typing back theirs?

We have this illusion that because we have so many people that can read what we’ve written, we might just make a difference or change someone’s mind. After all, writing has power, doesn’t it?!?

In the past, reporters have gone into dark places and written powerful pieces, forever shaping and changing our views. It’s one of the things I love about writing! There is often more power in a pen, than in the all the long-winded speeches, awareness rallies and marches I could plan.

Examples of this?

Practically no one gave orphans a second glance in 1800s. But along came Charles Dickens, and with one book “Oliver Twist”,  people sort of snapped out of their hardened view of “the poor scoundrels” and their hearts began to care.  They began to see the lives of these children for what they were: hard, lonely, dark and hopeless. They realized the bleak futures these street children had. People began to bring these children into their own homes. Even the government started opening up orphanages as a result of his work.

Or how about the famous Nellie Bly, who risked her life going undercover in an insane asylum to bring light to the horrific conditions and treatment given to those living with handicaps or mental illness. The article she wrote became famous, resulting in the asylum firing many abusive employees and improving conditions for the patients. In addition over $1,000,000 was raised to help benefit the mentally ill.

Writing can and does make a HUGE difference! So why is no one listening to you in the comments?

1) On Facebook, you aren’t a real person, you are just a bubble on the screen with a name. This is why people are so incredibly rude and instantly resort to insults and name calling online. They would never talk that way to your face, but hidden behind a screen they are “safe” to say whatever they want. These cowardly “trolls” and online bullies often make fake profiles and accounts, just to really rile up the crowds. Ignore them. Really, you have no clue what kind of person is behind that screen! What are they doing for the world? What influence do they really have? What kind of job do they have? Judging by the hours they spend tapping their typewriters it’s obvious they aren’t a contributing member of society. Therefore you will not solve their problems or the problems they are causing by acting like them. Let it go.

2) Those who are in argument mode are already convinced of their stance. When someone is in a debate, most often they’ve already heard all the arguments before and are reading your comments with eyes half closed, thinking more deeply about how to give you a well thought out rebuttal than actually thinking through any of your points…But let’s say you actually do enter a conversation with an intelligent and open minded individual – maybe, just maybe, if they’re so open, there’s someone in their life who will be able to convince them of truth better than an online stranger? Do you really have a heart to convince every online stranger to think like you do? Is that your life mission? Ask yourself, “Do I really have no connections within my own circles of life which I would be better off discussing these things with in person?”

3) Finally, as my pastor so perfectly put it the other week, “There’s never enough proof for a hard heart.”

I will be completely open here: I’m 100% pro-life. Not only do I say it, I live it. And believe me, there’s nothing that’s as tempting for me to argue about than this cause. Because I truly believe babies are being killed by the thousands in the place that should be the safest for them: their mothers womb. I long for nothing more than others to see this as well. But I will not argue on Facebook about it. Because there is literally no argument, no proof of human life that I can offer that hasn’t already been said…A window into the womb perhaps? Oh right, that’s called ultrasound, we already can see the baby.

How about science? Oh right, we already have that too: the very first cell is completely, 100% human DNA. It divides continually, growing, LIVING. Not a parasite, as a parasite doesn’t share the genetic makeup for the human hosts eye color and skin tone.

How about bloody pictures, gruesomly showing the evil slaughter that goes on behind closed doors…oh right, we have that too! And most of us have seen enough of them that we hardly blink an eye anymore.

Let me say it again: There’s NEVER enough proof for a hard heart.

So what do I do about my passion for life and protecting the unborn? How about caring for the unborn AND their mothers? Encouraging women with my story of teenage pregnancy and how I got through the difficulties I faced, offering friendship to those in difficult situations, helping out a single moms, by babysitting or bringing meals, or even giving to them financially. There are so many other ways!

How about fostering or doing respite for foster families? Volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center…

If you’re passionate about making wrong things right, stop reading the comment sections and ask yourself: What can I really do to make a difference?

Then, for crying out loud, get off Facebook and DO IT!!

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Jesus is Perfect – NOT a Perfectionist and Week 4 of Prayer Challenge

I smiled as I fondly looked at the happy pictures of my family from this past week. These little clips are beautiful memories that will stay in my heart for years to come.

One would think, by looking at them, that it was a perfectly happy week. But the pictures don’t tell the whole story…

Camping with little ones isn’t easy. Hard mattresses, hot tempertures and unfamiliar settings make for long and restless nights. Despite our few snapshots of the best moments, not everything was as relaxing and peaceful as it would appear.  Doing without the comforts and convieneces we normally have can be exhausting.

I am reminded this week that life isn’t perfect, nor can we expect it to be. That’s the fallen state of our world. It’s broken; incomplete.

I have also realized that life is neither about waiting for those golden “picture” moments (for they are far too short and few) nor about making the right decision at every opportunity.

It’s about overcoming. Never giving up. Learning and then relearning. All the while, finding joy in the ups, downs, and curves of life.

My dear auntie shared something with me a couple weeks ago that I absolutely loved. She said, “If all is well only when we frail humans finally come to our senses and make wrong things right (even though this is very important) what do we do when things can never be made right? Where we can’t go back, where permanent damage has occurred; or where people simply see things differently and don’t apologize…it HAS to be possible to overcome in all circumstances or we will constantly loose our joy.”

This is key. We often think it’s the big things that we need to overcome. The huge tests and trials. But for me, especially struggling with depression, I find it’s all too often the little things that I need to relinquish my control over.

This week I “failed” in my specific prayer challenges. My prayer times were short, interrupted and scattered throughout the day. I slept in because the camping nights weren’t great. I had little alone time in a little camper with five kids, no room to go to have peace and quiet. And I was really stressed about it! Because I said I was going to pray this week and I want to always keep my word. But then I stumbled upon this painted rock, hidden one morning:

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And it hit me: Jesus isn’t interested in my perfection or my legalistic prayer agendas.

He’s interested in my heart.

Now I’m not saying that the prayer challenge itself is legalistic, but as always, I needed to get back to the heart of it. The heart of prayer is ALWAYS to connect with Jesus, not to “accomplish” this or that.

So I let go of the weekly agenda and practised “being still.”

Oh how sweet it was to connect with Jesus when the pressure was off! While kayaking, I suddenly was full of joy at the beauty around me and sang praises to God. While running or biking the trails, I was free to worship. While lying in the sun I would pray for loved ones. During meltdowns and temper tantrums I would grit my teeth and ask for grace, patience and wisdom.

There is no formula to a “good prayer”. All you really need is a sincere heart that desires God.

I am continuing the Summer Prayer Challenge, for I still desire to grow in prayer. Yet after this week, I am more sure of one thing then ever before: Jesus is absolutely perfect, but he’s not a perfectionist. Holiness/Perfection is NOT the same as perfectionism. To be holy means to be pure or set apart. Perfectionism says nothing is ever good enough. Jesus is perfect, that is, he is without fault or flaw, blemish or sin or stain…But he has chosen to work outside of perfection; in chaos, really. He is consistent, but knows very well that we are not. Yet, he has chosen the weak, the broken, and the unimpressive as vessels to work through. He’s not interested in our perfectly thought-out rountines, our well-structured lists or cleverly worded prayers.

He’s interested in YOU…in ME! Even though we could never be good enough on our own. He’s interested in relationship. He is able to work through us, if only we will listen to his heart. So for those of you this week, burdened by the “lists”, let go of them and “just be”…

Be still in his presence.

Be thankful in his blessings.

Be touched by his goodness.

Be filled with his love. Allow yourself to feel his love for you. He made only one special you!! Irreplaceable, unique, beautiful and totally LOVED. Feel his smile of delight, enjoying you “be” who he made you to be. Don’t bind yourself to a list. This week, make connection – not completion, your goal.

Summer Prayer Challenge- Week 4:

Pray each day with joy and thanksgiving, for your family. As each precious person comes to mind, lift them up to God. Picture them as you pray for them.

Monday: Pray for bible camps going on this summer. For staff and children to encounter Jesus and to be healed by him. For lasting change and lifelong commitments to be made.

Tuesday: Pray that God would unite his bride, the church. That we would set aside our differences and LOVE as he has called us to love.

Wednesday: Pray for those struggling with mental health. That God would bring break through and healing in this area. That he would bring miraculous healings. That God would give wisdom and tools to the church, to help those suffering to find victory, to overcome!

Thursday: For us as a church to realize our desperate need and hopelessness without God. For the church to call out to God, to wake up and PRAY. For our eyes to be opened to the idols around us.

Friday: For our country, our government, our leaders. Bless them and pray in faith that God is in complete control over our leaders! Pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

I’ll post again on Saturday with the prayers for the day and the weekly challenge!

Bless you this week, as you meet with Jesus. Always remember that this is really about him 💕

 

 

 

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Summer Prayer Challenge – Week 3

Hey Everybody!! It’s week three of my Summer Prayer Challenge!

Last week, I read a biography about George Muller, and I was so encouraged to keep praying! George Muller lived in the 1800s, when disease and poor living conditions had killed many on the streets of Bristol. Many children were orphaned and left homeless. God gave George a burden for these poor, helpless children and he built five large orphanages BY FAITH. Literally. He prayed, he believed God to provide and God did. Never once in his ministry did he ask anyone other than God for money.

Here’s an example of just one of the hundreds of miracles God did for the orphans under George’s care (taken from the book “Christain Heroes: Then and Now – George Muller” written by Janet & Geoff Benge):

“The children are dressed and ready for school. But there is no food for them to eat,” the housemother of the orphanage informed George Mueller. George asked her to take the 300 children into the dining room and have them sit at the tables. He thanked God for the food and waited. George knew God would provide food for the children as he always did. Within minutes, a baker knocked on the door. “Mr. Mueller,” he said, “last night I could not sleep. Somehow I knew that you would need bread this morning. I got up and baked three batches for you. I will bring it in.” Soon, there was another knock at the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. The milk would spoil by the time the wheel was fixed. He asked George if he could use some free milk. George smiled as the milkman brought in ten large cans of milk. It was just enough for the 300 thirsty children.”

George prayed, and there was always enough.

This week, I also happen to be camping with my family so, although I will continue to pray each day, this post will be it for the week, so you’ll get a nice break from me, LOL 😀

If you would like to continue following along with me, these are the topics I will be praying for this week:

Today (Monday): We’ll be praying for our home churches. Pray for the leaders and specific members of your church that come to mind. Pray for any difficulties your church is now facing. Pray for God to move in the hearts of his people, to renew their love for him. Pray a blessing over your church, thank God for the things he is doing!

Tuesday: We’ll pray for unity in local churches. They will know we are Christians by our LOVE!!! Pray the the churches in our community would not feel in competition, but work as a team for God’s purposes. May we pray together, forgive each other, work alongside each other in brotherly/sisterly love. Pray for specific churches around you that come to mind. Pray blessing over them, that God would increase their number. That God would be present among them. That they would experience his good gifts.

Wednesday: Mental Health issues are greater than ever before. We will pray for all those who have lost a loved one to suicide. Pray that God would be near them and comfort them, that he would take away feelings of false guilt and self-blame. That he would bring hope, in a very dark situation. That his peace would bring these family members/friends through the pain. That God would protect their lives against following a similar path/hopelessness. Pray for them to be able to comfort others who have gone through something similar. Pray for those around them to reach out and show them much compassion and tender care. Pray that we would know how to make a difference in the lives of those affected. Pray that God would give the church the right words to say, words to bring healing to a hurting world.

Thursday: For many centuries, Christians around the world have been persecuted, imprisoned, beaten and even killed for their beliefs. Still today their are many willing to die for Jesus. They would rather be mistreated in this lifetime in this life and gain Christ, than live in comfort and lose him. That is what love and desperation for Christ looks like. Yet in the west, we live in one of the rare places and times that we are able to choose comfort AND Christ. Although we rejoice in this freedom, this hasn’t always done us good. Often I believe we forget what we are really here for we when are living in comfort. Often our lives are so good, we forget all about God, except for one day a week, when we show up to a service. And if that becomes to inconvenient, we stay home and maybe watch a sermon on youtube. Where is the love? Where is the hunger? Where is the joy in his presence? Where is the excitement to meet with other believers? Today pray for us to choose to follow him in comfort and in distress, in riches and in poverty, in strength and in weakness. Pray that God would truly become our everything. Pray for desperation for God. Pray for him to FILL us with immeasurable joy in his presence, so that we yearn to spend time with him, to know HIM.

Friday: For God to raise up godly leaders in our government, who won’t be afraid to stand up for truth. For God to bring about the “Esther’s and Daniels” for our day and age, with wisdom, insight and influence to bring our nation back to God. Pray for leaders who stand up for godly values, who protect life, who fight for the poor, the alien, the widows. Pray for leaders who remember the elderly and fight to provide good care for them in their final year. Pray for these leaders to not get caught up in the “hot topics” of the day, or endless debates that go nowhere, but to be filled with God’s authority when they speak, which would silence the enemy.

Saturday: For us to remember the forgotten generation – If there is ever a culture that has forgotten about seniors it is ours. I am also guilty of being too busy to remember that thousands of elderly people are bedridden or shut in a care home, as hour after lonely hour ticks by. Pray for them!! That they would see their incredible value to God and to our society. That they would realize that God has them here for a reason, we NEED them. Pray that we the church would find the lonely ones, that we would reach out and care for them, reminding them of their beauty and their purpose. Thank God for these men and women, who have gone before us. Pray that our generation would learn to honour them and respect them.

CHALLENGE: Visit a lonely senior this week. This can be a grandparent, a friend of the family, or an older relative. If you don’t know a senior who’s lonely, try asking your Pastor or church office if there are any who would appreciate a visit. Stop by a seniors home, or hospital and ask if there would be anyone who would welcome a visitor. Look into any local volunteer services for caring for the elderly.

Sunday: For authenticity in our services. Pray for us to leave the “masks” at home. To come as we are. Pray that we wouldn’t try to look perfectly put together, but that our desire would be to meet with each other and with Jesus. Pray that we would open our hearts to one another and be real and vulnerable.

As always, thanks for joining me in prayer! If you have a neat experience or story to share about prayer/this prayer challenge, I’d LOVE to hear from you! Feel free to either tell it in the comments or share it with me! Let’s encourage each other and build one another up as we continue to follow the unique plan God has for each one of us.

God bless you! See you next week.

-Heather

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Summer Prayer Challenge- Praying for Our Countries

Week 2- Thursday- True North Strong and Free

I love my country. 

When I go outside and feel the fresh air and see endless fields before my eyes, I am reminded how beautiful and clean Canada is. There’s SO much land untouched by civilization.

I love the diversity in Canada. I think it’s so neat that we have two national languages and I love hearing different languages spoken all around me. I rarely even notice differences in skin tone.

I love how it’s not weird to smile at a stranger and how when I bump into someone in a store, we both pause and say “sorry”. I love that I can worship God, speak freely and walk down the streets without fear. I love the different seasons: The way the colors change in the fall, the beauty of the first snowfall, the excitement when the long winter gives way to warmer, sunnier weather, the real appreciation for summer, because it only lasts a little while.

Also, poutine is kind of amazing…and it’s CANADIAN!!

I do sometimes fear for where were headed. It saddens me that many who are set against God seem to yell the loudest and get their voice heard in court rooms, in public school systems, in the legislative buildings. Things are changing. People are slowly seeming less friendly. Our eyes are on our phones. Tempers flare on the busy streets.

I think that in some way or another, we all love our countries. They’re different. They’re unique. They are HOME to us. We want the best for our people, our home lands.

Prayer Challenge:

-Thank God for your country. Spend time thinking of specific things to thank him for!

-Pray for your family members. Is there something difficult they are facing? Is there healing that needs to take place? Pray for each one, thanking God for his deep love for them.

-Pray for your own country: Confess to God the ways that it has pushed him out. Confess laws made against him. Ask God to bring your people back to him.

-Ask God to bless your country by opening up hearts to the gospel to prepare the way for many to come to know him.

-Pray for churches in your country to reach out in their communities, to make a positive difference around them.

-Pray for leaders to recognize the GOOD the churches are doing and to bless them.

– Pray for freedom of conscience. That our religious rights and freedoms would be protected, so we can continue to live peaceful lives, freely obeying and worshipping God without fear.

-Pray that it will remain (or become) free. That it will stay clean, beautiful and unpolluted. That it would be a safe place for the next generation to grow up.

-Pray for the leaders, that they would make wise choices to build up the country, to build unity within the people.

-Lastly pray that God’s will would be done in your country as it is in heaven.

As always, don’t limit yourself to my lists. If other thoughts come to mind. Pray!

On a personal note, I thought I’d share something really positive that God has been doing in my life through this. I don’t know who’s all reading these posts. I don’t know if you’re praying along or if your just curious and stopping by for the first time. I know I use lots of “churchy terms” or “Christianese” as some people call it. But I can honestly say that God is changing me. I feel it and I believe my kids feel it too. My mind has been more “present”. I am becoming aware of just how busy I have been most of my Mothering days and how negatively it affected my children. I am seeing things I haven’t noticed before.

Yesterday, one of my children made a huge mess. And I didn’t feel like dealing tenderly with him at that moment. But because of my prayers for him that morning, I saw the event in a new light. My eyes were opened to the SWEET, CARING HEART behind the act. He wasn’t just “making a mess”, he was trying his best to help. And God was pleased with him, because what he was doing was coming from a tender heart of trying to show love. Instead of getting angry, I was able to THANK him, hug him and appreciate him. Then I was gently able to show him a better way to do it next time.

This was exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for when I started this challenge: New eyes to see what God sees.

Keep on praying. It’ll be worth it.

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Summer Prayer Challenge, Thursday – Idols: The Love of Money and The American Dream

I don’t think I have to even explain this one in too much depth. In one way or another, I’d say most of us have struggled with this one. Whether it’s working far too many hours, ignoring family needs in order to “provide” or whether it’s never being happy with what we have, some way or another we have fallen into the trap of consumerism. I’ve met with people who’ve admitted that they can never feel joy when someone else gets something nice or new because they instantly want it too. And it’s no surprise either. Advertising tells us that these things bring us joy:

 That we will never be happy until_________

That we will never be secure unless____________

That we will have no friends, no lovers until I get that new_____________

That my children are missing out if they don’t have that ______________

In connecting with God today THANK HIM. For ALL he has given you. He’s provided you with your lot. I’m reminded of Psalm 16:5 “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” Rest in the fact that he is your provider.

Then confess any areas that you have shown discontentment in.

Pray for family members. That they would find satisfaction in the Living God. That they would not become discontent in life, but keep praising God through the ups and downs. Pray specific things as well. I have hesitated to put a specific time for praying through these things but all I know is that prayers for individuals while we’re in a rush…are rushed. Find a time each day where you can give yourself a good hour with nothing on your schedule. This way you won’t rush even if it only takes up 15-20 mins of your day.

Finally pray for the church not to fall into the trap of the love of money. Reading Matthew 13, in the parable of the sower and the seeds, the passage is clear: those who follow the worries and cares of life, the deceitfulness of wealth WILL be unfruitful. We want to bear MUCH fruit. Pray whatever comes to mind on this topic.

I’m glad you could join me again today.

Love Always, Heather