This afternoon I dropped off my sweet nine-year-old boy at church to be brought to camp. It’s always hard for me to let him go. Some people who know my relationship with Jonas might smirk at this, because our personalities often clash, but it is absolutely 100% true, he’s always the hardest for me to leave.
I see him there, standing among the boys his age. I see the nervousness in his face, which I so relate to. BUT in spite his struggles with social settings, I see him TRYING. He waves at a boy who doesn’t see him. He awkwardly puts his hand down and waits, unsure of what to do next. He inches closer and calls out the boys name, waving again. The boy casually smiles and nods at him. Jonas’ face lights up with relief.
He belongs. This time he was not rejected. These types of settings are hard for him. I blink back tears because I can feel every emotion in this little boy and I pray for his protection this week as if I’m praying for my own.
This is essentially what I’ve discovered intercession to be: seeing, experiencing, empathizing and then bringing all these thoughts and emotions to Jesus.
Some of those following this challenge have sent private prayer requests, some of you have commented and shared publicly and I want to say THANK YOU! That is what prayer is for, carrying each others burdens and lifting them up to Christ. Please do not hesitate to share! I love to pray for each one of you and with you! I cry with your heartache! I hurt with you in your pain and struggles. I rejoice with you in your triumphs! This is the body of Christ!
Here’s what we’ll be praying for this week.
Monday: Summer Camps – I already posted this on Facebook/ Instagram yesterday but pray for specific bible camps you know of. For Jesus to meet the children. For safety, for protection, for belonging, for the staff, etc. The specific camps on my heart this week are Eagle Lake Bible Camp (my childhood camp), Bird River Bible Camp (my current church’s camp, where my son will be attending) and Roseau River Camp (my kids have also attended this camp).
Tuesday: Specific churches in our areas – Praying for our own churches is essential. But praying for other churches in our area to grow in numbers, in love, in gifts, in character is super important! We are not competitors, we are a team. Let me say that again, WE ARE NOT ON OPPOSITE SIDES. We are actually part of the same body. So that means if the church down the road is suffering, I don’t look down on them and say “at least my church isn’t…”
NO!!! We ALL are the church. We need to get this “us” and “them” mentality out of our heads. May we pray that God purifies our desires so that we rejoice when others are lifted up and that we weep when others are torn down or fall apart. Pray for truth to be taught in our churches. Pray for unity. Pray for healing and forgiveness. Pray for joy! Pray for connection and friendships. Pray for loyalty. Let’s lift our community churches up instead of bringing them down!
Wednesday: Mental Health – Insight into Roots of Depression/Road to Healing – Where there is hurt or pain there is a cause. Pray that we would have eyes to see into the roots of mental illness, whether physical, spiritual or emotional and that we would have grace and wisdom in dealing with each unique situation, so that true healing can be found.
Thursday: Returning to Our First Love – This week more specifically I want to pray into our attitudes as believers. Often we really want the world around us to change this or that – but are we ourselves open to change? Are we willing to stay true to God, no matter what the world around us begins to look like? Even if they DON’T change?? Pray for this kind of faith amoung believers.
Friday: Religious Rights and Freedoms – That God would protect our rights as Christians in our country. Right now we still have a lot of freedoms, but this is changing. Pray that our country would once again value what Christianity and see our rights as ones worth protecting. Pray that those in government positions who believe in God would stand strong and be a testimony to the world of righteousness and integrity.
Saturday: A Heart for the Homeless – Be Ready – A few months ago I was doing a devotional/journal our church put out called the “Abide Journal”. During one of the weeks God spoke clearly to me about my attitude towards the homeless. You see, I was always filled with good intentions to help, but when I would see a need I never had time. So my excuse to not stop and help was, “God, I guess I’m just too busy in this stage of life with my kids.”
And God quietly spoke to my heart, “If you’re to busy in the moment, why don’t you prepare ahead of time?” I was speechless. Because God had, in his gentle way, revealed the real reason for me not helping: I was too lazy. So that week, me and my kids put together a bunch of “blessing bags” to be kept in the car. These bags contain little melt-proof snacks, gift cards, mini bibles with a note explaining my testimony and the difference Christ has made in my life, sanitary products and other little items to make someones day. The kids had a blast! And now I am ALWAYS ready!
1 Peter 3:15 says: “But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”
Pray that we, the body wouldn’t be lazy about sharing Christ. Pray that we would be prepare to love, to give, to share the gospel!
CHALLENGE: I bet you can guess today’s challenge…Make a Blessing Bag or Buy a few gift cards to keep in your vehicle! Always be ready to share the good news!
Sunday: Popular or True? I absolutely LOVE that many churches have the desire to be as welcoming to everyone as possible! But loving people and connecting with them means that we absolutely must be willing to tell them the whole truth of the gospel, not just the easy parts. Pray that churches would fearlessly preach the word of God in its entirety. This includes teaching about the hard things: for without hell there was no need for the cross. Without confronting sin, there is no repentance or forgiveness. Without a heart change, there is no salvation. This doesn’t mean that we elevate certain sins and cover over others we feel are less important. Pray that our churches today wouldn’t be concerned about popularity or gaining numbers, but that they would speak the truth completely – unwilling to be ashamed of Jesus or his Word!
Bless you as you seek God with me!