Thursday, March 30, 2006

40 Days of Prayer (day 16)

Note: I wish I had started posting this at the beginning of Lent, but I didn't realize how it would grow, or be used in my journey, so I'm entering a day, or a few days' worth each day (depending on length) until I get caught up to the present day.

Day 16
March 20, 2006

In reading “The Possibilities of Prayer” by E.M. Bounds, he speaks of the “boldness” of prayer; of expecting answers to specific prayers. I’ve always struggled with this. While I pray with expectation, am always “looking for” answers to prayer, and pray (I think) with faith, I am still wary that perhaps the prayer might not be answered, that it might not be “God’s will” to be answered, and thus would not be.

I am mindful, also, of praying “in the Will of God” and in “Jesus’ name”. Therefore I hold tightly to Romans 8: 26-28 in asking the Spirit to lift my prayers to God in the way that the Father would want them lifted, and conversely to have the Spirit bring into my heart the Will of the Father, so that, my prayers may be in His will…

But I guess my question, therefore, becomes “How Bold?” How bold should we be when we bow at the throne of grace? While I absolutely hate what I’ve come to call “Generic Jesus is Wonderful” sermons, I still pray the generic prayer of “lead, guide, and direct us, Oh Lord, in all that we say and do…” Do I ever stop to thank Him for answers to that prayer? Isn’t it obvious that He answers that prayer? But if He didn’t, how would we know… It is a “safe” prayer - one that doesn’t require an answer so that the “world” sees.
“How bold?” and so I pray this morning…

Father, I pray for a solid answer to the question of the direction my business needs to take. (some private specific needs here, then...)

I don’t know whether to pray for an employee for the framing side, or to be able to complete more of the work myself. Glenda was an answer to a prayer unprayed. She was, in and of herself, a delight to work with - just the perfect person for me. If she had not been so “perfect” in the situation, I may not have ever hired an employee - and what a loss that would have been in the long run, as well as in that time and place.

Perhaps the “growth direction” and “income producing arena” of the business will come from supplies sales, or book writing, or website growth, or even all three. Maybe, even from hiring another caner - who knows? God knows! Perhaps the growth will even come from my becoming more focused and disciplined in my own production time.

But, for me to become more “hands-on” in the studio, I must become more “hands-off” of my computer, and books, and studies, and writing… (Or find a way to be more disciplined with my time management.)

Therefore, I am coming boldly to the throne and asking for “something” to direct my path. If I am to write devotionals and studies, then that “necessitates” time out of the shop. And too, devotionals and studies aren’t creating any income. Should it? Will it? Is that an answer to the prayer? I don’t know, Lord. I just place this at the throne of grace and ask for a definite answer…

Then Lord, I pray in boldness for my children (son, son, and daughter-in-law as they are all my children now) that You would show them “the place” where they are to minister. You said (Psalms 37:4) “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” God, my desire is that my children would serve You. I pray, Father, for an answer for this prayer so that I may sing of Your Name, and relate, time and again, of Your Faithfulness in answer to prayer.

I also pray with that same boldness for Joe that he would find “fulfillment”; that he would find a “place” of service, as well… He is reaching an age Lord where he questions himself deeply - “Have I done what I should have?” Have I accomplished anything that will “live after me” for the Glory of the Lord?” Father, I pray for a “place” of service for him that he will take delight in.

We have “served”, Lord, all our lives in our church, but he can’t see the fruit of that service. I pray that he may be able to “do” and find a great “delight” in it; a great comfort in it.

And in all that we do, may we serve You.

In Jesus' name - Amen.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

40 Days of Prayer (days 10-15)

This Lent, (at least beginning on Monday, after the first Sunday of Lent) I will spend 40 days in prayer… on my knees...

March 13, 2006

Father, I bring to You this morning, my sin. I think we give Satan far too much credit. I know, Lord, that he is not omnipresent - he cannot be everywhere. I know he is not omniscient - he does not know everything. He is not omnipotent - he is not all powerful. And so, how can I blame him for all my weakness? For every struggle I face, every failing I have, every flaw I possess, cannot be under his control. They are instead, under mine - under my flesh…

Our flesh nature has desires - as long as we are in this “flesh” we will have “sin”. It is this flesh that desires foods that are not good for it; practices that are not good for it; and indulgences that are disastrous for it… And yet, we want to blame it on Satan.

Father I fear, we give Satan far too much credit, so that we do not have to take responsibility.

March 16, 2006

A frantic search for a lost document, a desperate prayer “show me where it is, Lord” and an (immediate!) answered prayer brings a jubilant and tearful response.

Prayer moves into a cry like unto Moses’ in Exodus 33

A search for this passage brings a study of this section and an understanding of God with us in the “wilderness” that He led us to in the first place! Compare this with the Spirit “compelling Jesus into the wilderness” at the time of His temptation…

Oh Lord! It seems that I am so unorganized these days. I cannot find this [document] and You know how badly I need it. It is essential that I find it, but Lord, I have looked everywhere… Please Father, show me where it is…”

I began praying thus this morning in a frenzy and the very next place I looked - no I hadn’t even considered looking there, but my hand lifted a satchel and without even a thought, looked inside, and there it was… I began crying and fell to my knees…

Oh God! You are so good to me! How Father? How would You have me serve You? Lord, I am crying with Moses, “If I have found favor in Thy sight, let me know Thy ways, that I may know Thee, so that I may find favor in Thy sight…” (Exodus 33:12-13)

Father, as I study this passage I see that just as You brought the Children of Israel into the wilderness, and then “compelled” Christ to go there after His baptism, even so at times, You lead us into the “wilderness” as well. Moses cried out in boldness to You, saying that if You did not go with them, then do even ask them to go! (Exodus 33:15) He said in essence, “Better lie down and die here in the wilderness than go forward to Canaan without Your presence.” He “held on” just as Jacob did when wrestling with Your Angel. And Father, I hold on, begging, “Show me Thy way…”

You have led me to where I am, Lord. Now, If I have found favor, show me Thy way…

Just as Your presence with the Children of Israel showed the “world” that they were Your people, so Your answer to prayer and presence with me shows the “world” that I am Yours as well.

Father, may I live to serve Thee…

Friday, March 24, 2006

40 Days of Prayer (days 7-9)

This Lent, (at least beginning on Monday, after the first Sunday of Lent) I will spend 40 days in prayer… on my knees...

March 9, 2006

As I bow this morning, I am still - listening. You already know the desires of my heart, the needs of my soul, and the cries of my spirit. And; I have asked, and I have asked, and I have asked… and so, I listen.

I hear… birds.

I hear the birds singing and I know that they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor do they gather into barns, and yet You feed them. I know I am more precious to You than they. I know, too, that You do not place the food in the nests for them. They must indeed work - or maybe “put out effort” might be a better way to put it. And, as they are “putting out that effort” what are they doing? Why, they are singing praises to You. And so must I. As I am “putting out effort”, as I am on my knees, as I am in my shop, as I am in my kitchen, I must be “singing praises” to You - the God of all creation, and the God of all my effort.

There is a different “feel” to praying on my knees than “on my feet”. I feel just as close to You any time. I feel that my prayers are heard just as well, any place, in any posture. But, for other postures, praying is “conversing”. Praying may be praising, praying may be petitioning, and praying may even be soul-wrenching.

But when I am on my knees, I am before the Throne of Grace. I am bowing before the majesty of the God of the Universe. The “High and Holy God lifted up, Whose train fills the temple…” and Who still reaches down and gently strokes my head. I am filled with awe and “the fear of the Lord.”

And so, I begin my “pouring out…”

I don’t believe that prayer is like the government; that just because my children are “legally” adults, that I no longer have any “say.” I don’t believe that just because they are married, or in college and “on their own” that my prayers no longer “count”; that only their prayer (or lack thereof) carries any weight. And so I pray…

I have seen Your hand move in his life. I KNOW You move in lives - You direct, You instruct, and You “allow” things to happen. I pray, no I plead that You will continue to work. Please, do not leave him. Are Satan’s honeysuckles wrapped so tightly around his heart that he can’t hear You? I PRAY that he will hear You… and bow.

Now my heart turns to another - to a friend of mine, whose dying Mother’s last words to her husband were “Pray for (name)” I pray for him in her place. As he struggles tremendously with a “nature” that is sinful (well, actually, don’t we all!) may he overcome with the mighty and gracious power of Your name. I will continue to pray for him.

There are many others; husband, pastor, friends, neighbors…

And then, I am back again to listening. I could literally pray all day, but “day” calls me. And I must get up from before the “throne” and go out into the kingdom, but a song tumbles forth from my heart. “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus… there’s just something about that name. Master, Savior, Jesus… Like the fragrance after the rain; Jesus, Jesus, Jesus… Let all heaven and earth proclaim, Kings and kingdoms will all pass away, but there's something about that name!”

And it is in that name I pray...

March 10, 2006

In preparation for a prayer breakfast tomorrow morning (and due to laziness of staying in bed when Joe left for work this morning) the “prayer time” came in the afternoon before work on my talk.

It felt different than praying in the morning. It felt more “forced”.

I pray for direction and words to be shared. I pray for those listening to my words, that yes, they may be listening to me, but that they are “hearing” what You would have them to hear through my words. I pray, still, for [my family - and specifics] but felt led to lift up [my employee and specifics.] - I pray for her - Your direction.

And for others by name - and struggle; and again for my words for tomorrow.

March 11, 2006
(Speaking at a Prayer Breakfast…)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

40 Days of Prayer (days 5-6)

This Lent, (at least beginning on Monday, after the first Sunday of Lent) I will spend 40 days in prayer… on my knees...

March 7, 2006

I pray this morning for intervention. You’ve always intervened, Lord. Always. And I have no reason not to hope in Your intervention now. And not only that, but “Exceedingly, Abundantly, Above…” intervention.

Father, I pour out my heart to You this morning.

And I pray for affirmation. Affirm in [our younger son's] life, his calling. Oh God, he is so struggling right now - not so much with the work, not so much with the lack of sleep, as with the lack of vision.

Upon my knees, these things took a “crystallization” this morning. Thank you God, for bringing me to this place at this time…

March 8, 2006

Thank You Lord, for answered prayer! John gained some much needed affirmation yesterday - some encouragement; some hope. Thank You for your wonderful love…

Oh Father, Thou alone art God. Oh God, Thou are our Father…

I fall at the throne of grace, I bow at the feet of my God, but God, sometimes I don’t want to be here at Your feet. I want to crawl up into Your divine and loving arms and just be held. I want to imagine being held in a loving and comforting embrace, feeling that loving patting and hearing comforting, murmuring words of endearment.

How can I end “prayer”? As “a thousand ‘thought prayers’ go up every day” so my prayer continues. As there are “sins” and there is “Sin”. So there are “prayers” and there is “Prayer.” My “prayers” may have ended this morning, but my “Prayer” never stops.

Revelation speaks of the “basin” which holds the incense from which the upwards smoke arises as the “prayers of the saints.” These are the “prayers” of the Saints. They are the continual, nonstop, habitual, lifestyle communication and petitionings of God, the Father, Almighty. They are individual “prayers”, but they are corporate and unified “Prayer.”

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

40 Days of Prayer

I wish I had started posting this at the beginning of Lent, but I didn't realize how it would grow, or be used in my journey, so I'm going to start now, and enter a day, or a few days' worth each day (depending on length) until I get caught up to the present day.

Some of these prayers are "rambling" and some are personal, and some parts I won't even share, but this has been an awesome experience! I hope you enjoy it, and that God speaks to you as He has to me!



This Lent, (at least beginning on Monday, after the first Sunday of Lent) I will spend 40 days in prayer… on my knees. I have always prayed - at least as long as I can remember - I have prayed.

“Since from my days of childhood…” I have prayed. And so, what makes these coming 40 days any different? I am praying on my knees - physically.

I (I think) have always prayed “attitudinally” on my knees; “symbolically” on my knees, “spiritually” on my knees, but seldom “physically” on my knees. Oh, at times of deepest duress, I have fallen to my knees. At times of deepest pain, and suffering, and fear, and yes, even jubilation - I have gone to the floor beside my bed (isn’t that the place where one is supposed to go) and gone to my knees… and even, at times, put my face to the floor before my Father and my God.

But, it hasn’t been a “habit” of mine to pray upon my knees. I feel that I “converse” with God all through out the day - why take a separate “time” to be on my knees? I don’t know. I just know that as I did this morning, I felt this “calling” to do this, and so I will.

The following comes from those times…

March 6, 2006

As I bow, I am thankful for prayer - for this wonderful gift of prayer. I think about the people of the Bible Lord, did they pray?

Oh, I know the “heroes of the faith” prayed. I know the “greats” prayed; David, Solomon, the prophets, the priests (well, at least the “good” ones) prayed. But what about the “common man”? What about the individual that went about his daily life doing his work, caring for his family, raising children; as he made the offerings and kept the feasts, did he pray or did he rely on the Priest to do his praying for him?

Did he not feel You and want to commune with You? Oh God, how could he “not” pray?

But then again, there are an awful lot of people today who don’t pray - even “Christians”. I can’t understand it…

The Back-up Singer

My husband told me yesterday that his dream has always been to be a “back up singer.” All he wanted was to “back up” someone and sing harmony. I teased him about wanting to sing the “do-wops”, but as I think about it, singing “back up” is just what he does, and does very well. He is my greatest supporter.

Psa 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
Psa 139:24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

“Examine me, Almighty God, and peer into my innermost being. Judge the course I’m taking and direct me to follow Your pathway, which leads Home.”

Search me Oh Lord, and know my heart, know my motives, know my desires. Search me and show me if there is anything lacking in my walk with You, show me if there is anything impeding my walk with You. Show me any thoughts that need to be removed, show me any actions that need to be curtailed. “Show me the manner” in which I am to serve You and Your kingdom.

Remove the sin from my heart…

There are some people that, personality-wise, I just don’t like them. Is that sin? I don’t have hard feelings toward them, I just don’t like them and don’t want to be around them.

Is there a difference between disliking someone and sinning?

Show me Thy Way!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

When my tongue slips...

I said some things the other day that I wish I hadn't. Oh, they weren't bad things, just silly and stupid things. Just as soon as they left my mouth, I wished they hadn't.

Oh man, I can relate to Peter! I've often noted in the margins of my Bible, "Then Peter, not knowing what to say, said..."

And then there was that time when he proclaimed "You are the Christ! The Son of the Living God!" and then turned right around and scolded Jesus for saying that He was going to die...

Why do we do these things...?


I’m striving today
to get “me” out of the way.
To put in its place
God’s Will and His Grace.

When my tongue slips, and flippant remarks come slithering out, know that I’m fighting a battle to submit those words to God. Know that it isn’t easy to control the “tongue” as James 3:8 says, “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison”.

In fact, the whole third chapter of James speaks to me. It begins by saying, 3:1 “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.”

If I take (and I have) the role of “teacher” then I am under greater scrutiny than if I did not speak. But I cannot not speak. God has called me to this place. And so when my tongue slips, and flippant remarks come slithering out, know that I’m fighting a battle to submit those words to God.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What makes a fine antique?

"If I should live to a ripe old age
May I possess some bit of individuality, charm and wit.
That I may not be discarded when I am withered, worn, and weak,
But sought after and cherished like a fine antique."


What makes a “fine antique”?

To be an “antique” something must be old - but not all “old” things are “fine antiques.” What’s the difference, and what would make one “sought after like a fine antique?”

To be a “fine” antique, something must be valuable, but what defines value?

Value is different in different situations, and means different things to different people.

If something is rare, it is often valuable, but is rarity alone enough to make one “sought after?”

Sentiment is another thing that creates value. To an individual or group, a memory of what once was and the feelings something stirs, creates great value. But, I wouldn’t want to be “sought after” because of what I once was, or could do - would you?

Value is also created by usefulness, as we often say in my business, “a chair is only as good as the seat that’s in it…” In other words, the oldest, most unusual, and memory jogging rocking chair is not valuable if it is broken down in pieces. If it has no seat, the “value” is greatly diminished.

But “usefulness” alone doesn’t define value, either.

Something doesn’t become a “fine antique” in a day. It takes years of being used for that which it was created - often times suffering a nick, or a scratch, or a chip. The finish becomes “weathered” and worn to a fine patina, and refinishing diminishes the “value” immensely.

Caring for the piece as the years go by - oiling the hinges, honing the blades, or polishing the finish, insures its longevity and function.

So, what would make one “sought after like a fine antique?”

Perhaps it is all these things…

“If I should live to a ripe old age…” May I have a wisdom and wit that is rare in its significance. May I retain a touch with history, without living in the past. And may I remain “useful” not just in my ability to “do” depending only on my physical strength, but in sharing what has so freely been given to me.

May I labor at the tasks God has laid out for me - enduring, and even embracing each nick, and each scratch, and each chip as a sign of successful service. And, may I deal with the “weathering” as a part of life and not put undue emphasis on it.

May I continually care for my charge - for whatever gift God has given me, and may I persistently “oil the hinges, and hone the blades and polish the finish” to insure a stewardship of purpose for as long as God would have me serve.

And then, I would indeed be a “fine antique” - sought after and prized as I reflect the “personality” of my Owner…


Friday, March 10, 2006

Be the Basin

I was struggling, while in prayer one morning, about what exactly to say - or pray.

There are so many people on my prayer list, and many others not written down, whose needs are so varied, or even unknown to me, that I don’t always know what to say. I do “lift them up” to God, as I know He knows their needs, but that seems like sort of a “cop-out” at times. I do want to meditate on each of them, but how?

I know, of course, the scripture of Romans 8:26 where it says, “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words…”

And as I was thinking about that, I thought about God’s Spirit pouring the words that we were to use into our hearts.

Then, I “imagined” or “saw” a antique china water basin and pitcher; the type that, before the days of running water, used to sit on a washstand for bathing or freshening up. I saw that if one pours water into the basin too quickly it doesn’t “stay” in the basin, but splashes back out.

And I had an “Ah-ha!” moment. YES! God’s Spirit (when we ask) pours the words into our hearts with such fervency that they can’t possibly stay there! They have to “splash” back out into the world, and back to God Himself! Living Water coming down in a torrent, into the basin, and sloshing back out the other side! What a wonderful picture of God’s Sovereignty. He actually tells us what to pray for, which is the very essence of “praying in the will of God.”

There are many scriptures that bear that thought out. Ezekiel 36:37 “I will let the house of Israel ask Me to do for them: I will increase their men like a flock.”

Can you imagine… God letting us ask Him for the very things He intends to give us. When we pray “in the will” of God; when He says, “I will give you the desires of your heart”; and when He says, “Whatsoever you ask, in My Name, I will give it to you…” He is telling us that He will “pour into” our spirits; what should “slosh” back out to Him.

We don’t have to worry what it is - we only need to be the basin…


Thursday, March 02, 2006

Reflections on our Ash Wednesday Service

Reflections on our Ash Wednesday Service.

First, let me say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was very well done and “filling.” As always, when I am in a service like this, I get “impressions.” The following is the “impression” that came from last night’s service.

Isaiah 6:1-8 (I absolutely love the King James Version of this!)

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.

Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:
And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.

During the service we each wrote our sins, or struggles, or “issues” on a piece of paper, then the papers were collected and burned along with the saved palm leaves from last year’s Palm Sunday service, thus creating the “ashes” for the service. As these were being burned, I thought of Isaiah 6:5 “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

I watched as my “sins”- my “unclean lips” - were being burned along with those of the “people of unclean lips.” I watched the fire rise up sending its flames upward as hands; fingertips rising to God seeking, begging forgiveness. Then, as the “live coal” touched Isaiah’s mouth, searing and cleansing the sin, so the fire burned our sins creating the “dust and ashes” of our remorse which we were to wear. These ashes were created by “my” sins as well as “the people’s” sins. Therefore, I wore the ashes from my sins as well as my “brother’s” sins and my “sister’s” sins. They were intermingled; they were one Sin.

As I wear my sins, I wear my brother’s sins and my sister’s sins. As they wear their sins, they wear my sins. We each are to (as Paul told the Galatians) “Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”

May I bring my sins to the altar and leave them. And may I bring Sin to the altar and leave it as well.

However, it cannot stop there. We each left with the sign of the cross in “dust and ashes” on our foreheads, knowing that our sins, past, present, and future, are forgiven, but it cannot stop there.

Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”

And I must say, “Betty Newman heard the voice of the Lord” and I must answer “here am I, send me.”

And I ask, with the ashes on your forehead, signifying that not only are your sins forgiven, but your brother’s sins and your sister’s sins which are co-mingled with yours, are forgiven as well, will you then say (your name) “heard the voice of the Lord, and I said, here am I send me?”

Betty J. Newman ©2006