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.

Struck Down, Not Destroyed

Today we are praying for a largely forgotten group of people who are suffering tremendously under their leaders and governments: The persecuted church. We may forget them, but I assure you that the Lord does NOT. They are very dear to his heart.

About 215 million Christians are being persecuted due to their faith, according to a report released by the Open Doors organization. In other words, that means 1 in every 12 Christians live where Christianity is “illegal, forbidden, or punished.” The most dangerous place to be a practicing Christian is in North Korea. There is also a high level of persecution against Christians in the Palestinian Territories, the World Watch List report showed. The majority of the countries on the list saw an overall increase in persecution from 2016 to 2017.

It’s not getting better, it’s getting worse.

It’s hard to believe living in North American that this is still an issue in 2018 right?

“Every day six women are raped, sexually harassed, or forced into marriage to a Muslim under threat of death due to their Christian faith,” Open Doors reported. This number is likely low, since it includes only reported incidents. In North Korea alone there are more than 50,000 Christians in prison or labor camps.

And yet life in North America seems to go on as normal. Christians are (relatively) left alone, free to worship and live in peace. Some would argue that our rights are slowly being taken away, many fear for the future.

But we are not called to fear these things, we are called to PRAY!

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you. But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” 1 Corinthians 4:8-18

 

As you turn your thoughts to Jesus, think about his sacrifice and all he went through for us. He was tortured, beaten, mocked, spat upon, and finally, killed in the most gruesome way possible. And yet, he loved those who crucified him. I am in awe of this man. He said: “Father, forgive them!” He went through it all to pay for your sin. For mine.

Thank you Jesus! We can never thank you enough. You paid it all. You took my punishment, my place on that cross.

Pray for your family. Are they saved? Are they struggling? Oh, that they would know this love, that was willing to die. Oh that they would encounter the one who millions of people around the world are willing to die for!

-Pray for protection for the churches across the globe, for laws to be made to protect religious rights and freedoms.

-Pray for those who have lost homes, jobs, loved ones for the sake of Christ. Pray that God would fill the deep void with his love joy and peace. May they truly experience God’s supernatural peace in a deeper way than ever before.

-Pray for their basic needs to be met daily.

-Pray for those locked up in prisons cells to feel God’s nearness. May they not feel alone, but strengthened in the knowledge that God has promised to NEVER leave them nor forsake them.

-Pray for those who have been rejected or abandoned by family members to be surrounded with a new family, the family of God. Pray for healing from the deep pain of rejection.

-Pray for a specific countries on the persecution list as God lays them on your heart.

-Pray for those being tortured day after day to have miraculous protection and strength from God. For the gates of prisons to be opened supernaturally. For healing to their bodies. For restoration of muscles and bones.

-Pray for the word of God to spread quickly in these countries. For people to come to God in large numbers.

-For for Bibles to become available to those who yearn to read God’s word. May their hunger be filled.

-Pray for believers who have been mistreated, imprisoned, struck down, persecuted, that they would find the grace to forgive and even love their enemies. May soldiers and officers become so amazed at the difference in their lives that they too turn to Christ.

Remember these brothers and sisters in their suffering. May I never forget them in my prayers! One day, it could be my country, it could be my family, it could be me.

Summer Prayer Challenge: Week 2

Well it’s week 2 of the Summer Prayer Challenge. One thought that keeps reoccurring to me is that it’s one thing to say, “I’m gonna do this!” It’s completely another to follow through.

I’ve had a lot of hard moments and also some really good moments with God this past week. One such experience was when I was praying on my deck. I was really discouraged that day and I asked God if I was just trying to do something that he really didn’t want me to do. I asked him if there was any point in continuing this challenge. If people were annoyed of me. If friends and family were secretly rolling their eyes at my posts.

You know what he answered? Satan sure hates it when people begin to pray.

My eyes filled with tears, because I knew he was right! Often in life, the right path is filled with the darkest battles. God knew that I needed to start praying again, he also knows that I often feel self-conscious or judged by others. This challenge was his way of getting me to keep my eyes off of the likes on my blog, and on to him.

Getting “likes” doesn’t mean anything. I mean, I could post a before and after shot of myself from a few months ago and rave about how eating healthier and walking/jogging has helped my depression, about how much weight I’ve lost and you know what? I’d get tons of likes!

This challenge isn’t about popularity or gaining followers. It’s not about entertaining the masses with cleverly worded anecdotes. It’s about prayer, and God’s call right now on my life: It’s time to wake up and pray.

Beginning my prayer time with thanksgiving is key. Psalm 100:4 says: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.”

I don’t want to pray off a list. I want to enter His gates. That’s what captured my heart so deeply in David Wilkerson’s biography. My goal is to meet with Jesus instead of just rushing into a one-sided dialogue. A sure way to dry up your prayer time is to never actually enter into relationship with him. This is why I continue to encourage whoever is following the challenge to first set your eyes on Jesus before jumping into your prayer list.

Today ask yourself what Jesus means to you. Where would you be without his word, without his hand of provision, without the people he has put in your life? Spend time praising him for these things.

Do you sometimes doubt that there is a God? Ask yourself what causes your doubts. Then admire the complexity of the simplest things in the world around you:

A flower. When I study a simple flower, I am completely in awe of how much time and thought would be put into just one kind. And there are hundreds of thousands of them!! Our best art is all just a copy of His!

A bird soaring in the skies above.

The wind. It can be gentle enough to rustle the leaves in a tree or powerful enough to uproot it! Incredible!

Food! How we can eat it and TASTE it. How it brings satisfaction and energy to our bodies. How our digestive systems work to remove what we don’t need, and keep the vitamins and minerals we do need. AMAZING!

Think about how wonderfully he has made YOU.

How could these things happen by accident? Would it not take intelligence far above any human being to design such remarkable works?

Pray for experiences with God that will bring certainty in moments of doubt. Pray that God will bring to mind the miracles and experiences you’ve already seen from him. Thank him for these God-given moments which we can hold onto in our darkest times of trial.

Next pray for your family. This is something I’ve neglected in my life for WAY too long. If you, who love them more than anything, won’t pray for them, WHO WILL? Pray blessings over them, for help in specific problems, for breakthrough in area of struggle. Pray for them to have meaningful friendships, to grow in a desire for God, etc.

Lastly pray for all the summer bible camps taking place this summer: This month many children head off to a week or a couple weeks of bible camp. It is here that many testify to significant growth or even the beginning of their walk with God. However hard we try to set up a fun/meaningful week of camp, ultimately, we need God to move in the hearts of the campers!

-Pray for safety for the campers and staff.

-Pray for a strong sense of love/belonging for the children.

– Pray for God to soften hearts that are hard, to heal wounds that are deep. Some children come from such HARD places! It’s difficult to imagine that one week will make any difference in their lives. Pray that their experience with God and God’s people will become a firm foundation in their lives.

– For lasting experiences with the living God, powerful encounters that change the path of lives.

-For JOY to be found from within and not outward circumstances.

-For unity and character growth among the staff.

-Pray for lasting fruit!

Thanks again for praying with me! If you missed the initial challenge, visit my blog post: Summer Prayer Challenge .

What’s Happening to Me?

 About two months ago, I went to the doctor thinking that there was something seriously wrong with me. Most days it was a struggle just to get out of bed. Exercise was out of the question. I could not last the day without taking a nap. And the pain…EVERYTHING hurt. These were just a few of my symptoms. In short, I was functioning way below my normal capacity level and I knew it. The things I used to enjoy became things that caused me stress. I dreaded them. Social outings felt meaningless. I wished I could just go to sleep one day and never wake up again. No matter how hard I tried to be joyful, the sadness was so deep in my soul I could feel it in my chest.

I thought that I must be dying.

After tons of tests and blood work, I was shocked to hear the results: “You’re as healthy as they come! Everything looks good and normal!”

And then the doctor began asking me lots of questions, with deep compassion in his eyes, “How have you been doing emotionally? What do you do for a living? Do you often have feelings of despair/hopelessness? Have you recently gone through something traumatic? How’s your support system? Do you ever have suicidal thoughts? Have you recently stopped enjoying the things you used to love?” Etc…

And suddenly the light went on.

I wasn’t able to just “cheer up” or “snap out of it” because my mind was telling me there was something very, very wrong. Basically, I was in constant fight or flight mode, our bodies way of responding as if we are being attacked. The stress I had been under for so long, was literally causing my brain to begin to act as if I were in constant emergency.

I then realized that although for many years I had told people I understood depression, I really hadn’t.

As a Christain, I have always believed that God is enough. For everything.

But I finally realized why telling someone dealing with mental health issues to just “lean more on God” or that they had to “change something” actually made things worse! You see, those living under depression or other mental health issues already realize quite clearly that something is wrong with them. And most likely they already are loaded down with feelings of inadequacy or shame or guilt because they know that they should be doing more, they should be trying harder…but they just CAN’T. Their brain isn’t functioning at full capacity…neither is their body.

According to the CAMH, 1 in 5 adults are currently struggling with mental health issues. And 1 in 25 adults live with a SERIOUS mental health illness. I bet you can guess which of my blog posts get the most hits: the ones where I share about my struggles with depression, anxiety or pain.

So why am I sharing all this?

Because this issue effects not only the MILLIONS living with it, but their friends and families as well. It affects relationships, the ability to work, parenting, employers, communities.

Just think: if 1 in 5 people are functioning at 25% or less capacity, how much the communities, the businesses, and families are missing out on!

Summer Prayer Challenge Week 1 – Wednesday: For the Church to Understand and Respond Appropriately to Mental Health

So here’s the prayer points for today:

As always start your focus on Jesus. Today thank him for his attributes: Holiness, Love, Kindness, Gentleness, his perfect Justice, etc. This is SO important, don’t rush this!!

Pray for each family member next, starting with your spouse.

And then for Mental health and the churches response:

-For Christians to have godly wisdom as they seek to help those living with mental illness.

-For us as believers to give less well meaning advice and just BE there to support these hurting people, not trying to “fix” them but  listening and praying.

– For the church to have compassion on those living with mental illness and not to lay further burdens/guilt/condemnation on those suffering.

-For us to find ways to practically help those in need, not by just offering a quick fix solution, but realizing that these issues go deep and most likely take months, years or in some severe cases, even decades to work through.

-For miraculous healings for people suffering with mental illness. You bet I believe that God still heals 🙂

-For grace, grace and even MORE grace…and patience – dealing with someone who is unstable is very difficult indeed.

-For eyes to see each soul, each person as GOD sees them and to speak to them with His tender heart.

-Lastly, I have realized that many going through depression or other mental health issues have been extremely accused or hurt by the church. I’ve heard testimonies over and over again that those who have gone to the church for help got turned away, brushed aside, not taken seriously or even rejected altogether. Many of these people have since left the church and gone elsewhere for help.

This makes me so SO sad. Pray for healing from hurts that Christians have caused. Pray that God would find these lost sheep and gently bring them back to himself. Pray that they would learn to trust the church again and be able to connect once more to the body.

Once again, if anymore thoughts pop into your mind, pray these as well. Thank you for partnering with me in this.

-Heather

Summer Prayer Challenge: Week One

Ok time to be honest about this ten week Summer Prayer Challenge: I couldn’t be more unsure of what I’m doing.

I’m actually terrified of what I got myself into.

I don’t mean prayer. I absolutely am 100% sure that I want to grow in my prayer life. I want to know God like a close friend. That is my deepest desire right now. I am desperate to see God work in my life. I hunger to know God in a way I’ve never known him before, to see things and people through HIS eyes and not my own. I’ve quite honestly realized that I’m a very average person, and not even a very good one. If I don’t have the power and love of God behind my words and my actions then they will amount to very little. I’m desperate to wake up and actually make a difference in the world. Prayer is my ONLY hope to make any positive change – of this I have become convinced.

But this social media challenge…it’s not me.

I don’t want to come across as some spiritual superstar, or as if I’m flaunting my prayer life online. That’s literally the furthest thought from my mind.

I’m simply beginning. Which means I’m decades behind many of you.

I’m also flaky on social media at best. I like to be on it for a while and then I turn it off completely and love being away from it. So I honestly don’t know if I can do this…if I can post regularly, if I’ll have the zeal, charisma and passion to keep going…I mean, I’m struggling with depression for crying out loud! How can I encourage others to pray?

Also, being open and honest about my prayer life online, in front of dozens if not hundreds of people whom I may or may not know, some who are probably far more experienced in prayer than I am, it scares me.

And yet, it’s not about me.

It literally comes down to a stirring I had in my heart last week when I decided to pray all summer like I never had before. Something moved my heart to invite others along on this journey. Anyone who has this same desire, really. Because it doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old, whether you’ve been praying for hours a day or if you’re also just beginning: It is time for the church to seek God like never before.

And if this encourages even ONE person to pray, then it’s worth the time spent. 

Today’s prayer items are firstly: THANKSGIVING. Turn your focus off of your list and onto Jesus. Spend a couple minutes thanking Jesus for his provision, his goodness, his forgiveness, his blessings in your life. Don’t just say the words. FEEL them. Where would you be without these things? What would become of you if it hadn’t been for the Cross? Spend time in worship.

Secondly, pray for individual family members…each individual by name, starting with your spouse (if you have one). Thank God for them. Pray about your deepest concerns for them. For example, one of my children is struggling with angry outbursts and I’m seeking God for heavenly wisdom and eyes to see the root of what is going on in his heart. I’m begging for wisdom. Ask God if you are holding any offences against them. Don’t rush this. Spend time listening attentively and write down any thoughts, verses or pictures which come to your mind.

These two things will become your daily prayers before we unite in the third “weekly items.”

Today, as it’s Monday, let’s focus on praying for our home church pastors. Pastors in a way have a never ending job. There is tremendous pressure on them and their families to “have it all together” as they quite literally are like a showcase for the church they lead. This burden, is FAR too heavy a weight for a person to bear. Many leaders feel incredibly lonely because of this, yet at the same time they also feel overwhelmed with the needs of their congregation. I realize some of us have leaders that we look up to, others have leaders that we struggle to respect. But here’s the thing:

We are all human. We ALL mess up. We ALL say stupid things we regret.

Today let’s decide in our hearts to be very gracious towards our pastors. Decide to protect their reputation by refusing to gossip. If you are harbouring any hurt feelings or anger towards your leaders, now is the time to forgive them. Ask God to show you HIS heart towards them. And now pray. Pray for purity in their lives, for hunger for them. For him/her to have a close spiritual walk with God, to spend time with God daily. Pray for protection over your pastor and their family, as the devil would like nothing more than to see your leader fall. Pray for his/her health. Pray for them to speak the truth of God boldly, and to not water the message of the gospel down to gain popularity. Pray for their marriage, for their family time, for their children. Pray for them to have wisdom in each situation, and to keep a heart that is tender/merciful towards their flock.

If you want you can also ask God to show you something you can do this week to bless them. These are just ideas to get you going…keep praying until you feel your heart overflow with love and compassion for your leader. Bless them!

This will most likely be my only prayer blog post for the week. If you want to see the list for the whole week, check out my previous post: Summer Prayer Challenge or get daily updates by following me on Instagram as everysmallvoice or Facebook as Heather Bergen.

Thanks for joining me in this journey! And please! If you see any encouraging changes as a result of these prayers, or have an amazing/uplifting story to share, or even if you are just deciding pray for the first time, let me know in the comments or email me! I’d love to hear from you!

Love always, Heather

Summer Prayer Challenge

Today, here in Manitoba, Canada, is the first day of summer!!! Finally!!

And I didn’t even realize it until 2 minutes ago.

But either way, in my devos this morning I felt a stirring in my heart to start a Summer Challenge. It came on the heels of reading a bio on David Wilkerson’s life, a book I’d definitely recommend to anyone. The message I got was different than any other biography I’ve read.

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Let me explain: In the past, I have read countless bios, all incredibly inspiring and all uplifting. They strengthened my faith in God, the workings of the Holy Spirit and in the church. However, I always felt kind of inferior…as if I would LOVE to do big things for God…”but God, I’m kinda ‘stuck’ in the throws of family life over here!” And eventually I tamed down my desire for “great things” because I sincerely felt the “great things” had to look the same as the people’s lives I was reading about.

And then suddenly, while reading about David Wilkerson’s life, an “aha” moment hit me.

David Wilkerson was an average, skinny, not very spectacular human being. But he knew God and submitted to him above all else. And GREAT things happened.

Something finally “clicked” and the thought came to me: What if I began to pray? Like REALLY pray. If my prayer list wasn’t just a rushed through checklist, but the desire of my heart. What if I had the hunger and desperation to actually persist in these prayers until I saw the fruit of them? What could God all do in my life, and through my life?

I mean… I do pray. I thank Jesus for his blessings every morning. I weekly go through my prayer lists. I pray when I’m in anguish. I pray before meals and before I sleep. I pray over my children most mornings before they go to school. And I’m not minimizing the importance of those prayers AT ALL.

But David Wilkerson’s prayers, they BIRTHED something! Hardened gang members were changed by his prayers. His preaching was literally read off a page, but it changed peoples hearts because the Holy Spirit was present when he spoke. He spoke with conviction, he saw people with the eyes of Jesus.

All because he PRAYED.

Now it will look different in my life. I will never start a Teen Challenge ministry, or pastor a large church in Times Square. But just think, God created each of us different, with unique influence and abilities. What can he do with MY life, if it is utterly surrendered to him?

I realize this post and the rest of my posts this summer will probably not get me more “likes” or followers. Most likely, I will lose a lot of followers, but there is a burning desire within me to begin a life of prayer and to invite as many with me to join as possible!

If you have no interest in joining with me you’re very welcome to unfollow me, I won’t be hurt…OR EVEN better, push past those feelings, keep following me and PRAY! We’ll learn how to do this together!

So here’s my Summer Challenge:

-Starting on Monday, I will post weekly prayer lists/other encouragements on my blog to pray through together daily. We’ll pray for our families, our churches, our communities and our nations TOGETHER. I know personally that during summer getting out of routine messes up my devotional times. But truly, what is a Christian life if it’s not built upon spending time with God?

-I’m back on Instagram and Facebook for the time being and welcome any of you to follow me as I will try to post daily prayer points/verses/motivation to seek God together in prayer. Follow me as everysmallvoice on IG and as Heather Bergen on Facebook and you’ll get new topics and thoughts that we can pray through together! Let’s pray together DAILY and see God work in our own hearts, families and communities.

-The outline will be as follows: EVERYDAY we will pray for our immediate families…specific requests for each individual.

-Each seperate day of the week we’ll pray for different things, which we’ll repeat throughout the summer but from slightly different aspects each time.

On Mondays we’ll pray for our own churches and leaders. Our leaders NEED our prayers. Their families need our prayers! Being in leadership is HARD and our pastors need renewal. They need to also know that we will not turn against them if they make mistakes. We’ll pray for the summer camps going on. We want to see people having REAL ENCOUNTERS with the living God!

Tuesdays we’ll pray for other churches in our communities and around the world. This could include prayers for unity, those being persecuted, holiness, etc…

Wednesdays we’ll pray for those suffering with Mental Health. According to the CMHA, 1 in 5 people live with depression or mental health issues in Canada at any given time! This number rapidly continues to grow. This issue is huge and it affects us greatly! Think of the hopelessness, the pain, the suicides that result from this! Mental Health has largely been ignored by the church but if we’ve ever needed God to come in and help us, it is now!

Thursdays is my favourite so far: We’ll pray for a renewed hunger and desperation for ONLY God. It is so easy to settle into “life as usual” and routine, but that is the very heart of a sleeping church. Our many idols get in the way of us truly desiring God’s will. What idols you say? Idols of money, fitness, appearances, wealth, sports, social media and smart phones. Basically anything that takes the majority of our focus. Remember our first love: Jesus Christ.

Friday we will pray for our countries. For me that is Canada. We LOVE our countries, but they are FAR from perfect. We will pray for our governments and leaders and the laws that are made which affect us and generations to come. This is SO important!

Saturdays we’ll pray for outreach ministry. We DESPERATELY need the church to move outside it’s four brick walls and become the church God meant it to be. A busy church is often a church who forgets the call of Christ: To reach out to the poor, the outcasts, the needy, the socially awkward, the elderly, the sick, hurting and lonely. This one will come with an action challenge so stay tuned 🙂

Sundays we’ll simply pray for the meeting and gatherings of other believers: For the truth of the gospel to be preached in its entirety and not be watered down. For gossip, bitterness and walls to come down. For authenticity and healing in our meeting places.

THANK YOU for joining with me in prayer. I’m excited to see God work!

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sins and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14