Specificity in Prayer: David’s Example


God wants us to ask the hard questions in prayer. He desires that we know His plan for our lives. This doesn’t mean He’s going to reveal the steps to get there all at once, because where is the fun in all that? Where is the faith in all that?


David, when uncertain about his next steps after Saul’s death, inquired specifically of the Lord in 2 Samuel 2: 1, he asked if he should go up to one of the towns of Judah. God said, “Go up.” David then asked, “Where shall I go?” “To Hebron, ” the Lord answered.


I want to share a personal example of answered specified prayer in my life recently and God’s astounding answer.

I sponsor a boy named Martin in Uganda through an organization called Children’s HopeChest. Martin is 14-years-old, loves to draw, listen to music and dance, and is a good student in school, but he’s different from his peers. Martin is a mute. From the time that I became his sponsor, I began praying for him: for his safety, his well being, his health and knowing that he didn’t have one of his own, I prayed that I would somehow, be his voice. I’ve been sponsoring him for a little over a year now and was presented with an opportunity a few months ago to visit his village this summer. Martin is just one of hundreds of orphans who lack adequate resources in a country ravaged by the AIDS epidemic, in-fighting and early mortality. I’m going to see him in July. Soon after I got the opportunity to go, I got specific in my prayers. I wanted more than anything to help Martin, so I started praying for a speech pathologist to go on the trip with us.

A few weeks later, we had our first trip interest meeting, and at that point there were 4-5 “definites“. The meeting at my friend’s house adjourned that night and I stayed behind to talk with her and started flipping through her photo album from her trip to Uganda the previous summer. I couldn’t help it. I broke down in tears, so burdened for all the children we were going to see, but particularly Martin. I reminded my friend that he was mute and told her that I’d been praying for a speech pathologist to go on the trip.

It was one of those moments when time stands still, because she looked up at me and said, “You’re kidding me.”
“Uh, uh.” I shook my head “No.”
“One of the ladies who is still deciding whether she wants to go on the trip, and to potentially take her son along, is a speech pathologist.”
I don’t think I could I could say anything, but the goose bumps on my arms may have spoken for themselves.
“I’m e-mailing her tonight.” my friend said.

Guess who’s coming on the trip?

I know that God has a very special plan for Martin’s life, just as much as He does for all of his children. He sets the lonely in families, He looks after the widow and the orphan.

The Lord He is God, the Lord He IS God.

A few weeks later at one of our team meetings, the speech pathologist (SP for short) casually mentioned she wasn’t sure that she could help Martin, as muteness is generally more of a psychological condition. I thought, “No, God’s not taken us this far to back down. She is going because of Martin.” So I started praying, I prayed that God would release whatever is on his heart, that the peace of God that surpasses all understanding would guard his heart and his mind.

The SP and I had a conversation just the other other night. She told me that she recently attended a professional conference, one that goes to every year and one of the break out sessions was on mutism, she says she’s never been aware of one like this before. She attended it.

Can’t wait to see how God’s going to work.

How about you? Would you like to share any answers to specific prayers in your own life?

PLEASE come back Friday for more thoughts on prayer and a review on the book, The Art of Listening Prayer with a *bonus* short author interview!! You don’t want to miss this, people.

Photo Licensed under Creative Commons by echiner1

Half-Handed Cloud in Atlanta

My daughter and I attended a Half-Handed Cloud show two nights ago in Atlanta. The venue was a house in the West End and the audience consisted of friends of the band and friends of friends. Half-Handed Cloud is a one-man band: John Ringhofer who hails from Berkley, CA. I got to know John while living in East TN and he’s pretty much the real deal, what you see is what you get. His friendly personality is infectious and you can tell that he loves what he does– but that doesn’t mean that he won’t surprise you, for instance, he did a “disappearing leg” trick for his audience after the show.


His music is rich in Biblical allusion and truth. Deep enough to soften the hard heart and light enough to make a young audience giggle (the strange noise you hear in his video clip below is that of a wind-up sheep toy perched on top of his keyboard). He sings about a wide range of topics from the Old and New Testament, for instance, his song, “Let’s Go Javelin'” is the account in Numbers 25 when one of the Israelite men brings home a woman of a different race, a man named Phinehas sees them and throws a spear “through the man .. and the woman through her belly.” This act pleases God so much that “the plague was stayed from the children of Israel”. Other songs are a bit lighter, for instance “We Don’t Know How It Grows” talks about sowing seeds into the Kingdom of God and He gives the increase.


He also sings a lot about Christ’s redemptive love, and His sacrifice for us. I think one of the songs that speaks to me the most is called, “These Crowns We Wear” from his album We Haven’t Just Been Told We Have Been Loved


When we’ve been dwelling long

On what we’ve done wrong

We forget what You’ve already done right

It escapes our sight

To know I just might

be a prince and you a princess yet


There’s these crowns we wear

heavy in our hair,

and they look like Wonder Woman’s jet


His latest album, released in 2010 is called Stowaways. Check it out.



Half-Handed Cloud in Atlanta



My daughter and I attended a Half-Handed Cloud show last night in Atlanta. The venue was a friend’s house and the audience consistent of friends and friend of friends. Half-Handed Cloud is a one-man band consisting of John Ringhoffer who hails from Berkley, CA. I got to know John while living in East TN and he’s pretty much the real deal, what you see is what you get. His friendly personality is infectious and you can tell that he loves what he does– but that doesn’t mean that he won’t surprise you, for instance, last night he did a “disappearing leg” trick for his audience after the show.


His music is rich in Biblical allusion and truth. Deep enough to soften the hard heart and light enough to make a young audience giggle (the strange noise you hear in his video clip below is that of a wind-up sheep toy perched on top of his keyboard). He sings about a wide range of topics from the Old and New Testament, for instance, his song, “Let’s Go Javelin'” is the account in Numbers 25 when one of the Israelite men brings home a woman of a different race, a man named Phinehas sees them and throws a spear “through the man .. and the woman through her belly.” This act pleases God so much that “the plague was stayed from the children of Israel”. Other songs are a bit lighter, for instance “We Don’t Know How It Grows” talks about sewing seeds into the Kingdom of God and He gives the increase.


I think one of the songs that speaks to me the most is called, “These Crowns We Wear” from his album We Haven’t Just Been Told We Have Been Loved


When we’ve been dwelling long

On what we’ve done wrong

We forget what You’ve already done right

It escapes our sight

To know I just might

be a prince and you a princess yet


There’s these crowns we wear

heavy in our hair,

and they look like Wonder Woman’s jet


His latest album, released in 2010 is called Stowaways. Check it out.


John got married this past summer in the Redwoods in CA. Yay, John!

//www.youtube.com/get_player

In His Hand

There is Strength

Your right hand, O Lord, was majestic in power

Exodus 15:6


There is Might
Your right hand, O Lord, shattered the enemy
Exodus 15:6

There is Power
You stretched out your right hand and swallowed them
Exodus 15:12

There is Sustenance
You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing
Psalm 145:16

There is Creation
In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind
Job 12:10

There is Help
For I am the Lord your god who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you.”
Isaiah 41:13

There is No Fault
Your right hand is filled with righteousness
Psalm 48: 10

There is Love
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me
Isaiah 49: 16

Photo Licenced under Creative Commons by Andre Maceira

Book Review Friday: Streams in the Desert Devotional

I have to admit, my copy of Streams in the Desert holds a lot of weight. Inside the front cover is the first initial and last name of my grandfather, and opposite on the front page is my mother’s name. Knowing their stories, their personal struggles and picturing their searching fingers thumbing through these pages, the book itself takes on more depth. However, I would recommend this devotional even without all these invisible familial fingerprints. I would recommend it for the tired, the weary, the despondent, the inquisitive, but especially the tired, because that is when I received this book from my mother when she came down for a visit over a year ago. This is the book I laid hands on every morning along with my Bible and the words in this book know hurt, they know despondency, and take it up boldly with every other emotion.


This devotional is authored by L.B. (Lettie) Cowman, wife of Rev. Charles B. Cowman, who was the founder of the Oriental Missionary Society. This organization was founded in with the purpose of setting up native ministries in Japan, Korea, China, and Formosa. Rev. and Mrs. Cowman served in Asia from 1901 to 1917 until Rev. Cowman’s failing health forced them to return to their home in California. Lettie Cowman turned her attention to caring for her husband until his death six years later. Out of these experiences, out of her heartbreak, came this book in 1925, which has a companion, Springs in the Valley. During the next twenty-five years, Mrs. Cowman inspired several nationwide Scripture distribution campaigns and wrote seven more books.


The words of L.B. Cowman from the introduction: In the pathway of faith we come to learn that the Lord’s thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His ways our ways. Both in the physical and spiritual realm, great pressure means great power! Although circumstances may bring us into the place of death, that need not spell disaster–for if we trust int he Lord and wait patiently, that simply provides the occasion for the display of His almighty power. “Remember His marvelous works that He has done; His wonders and the judgments of His mouth.” (Psalm 105:5)

Contest Winners

Thanks to all who participated in the 3-day Giveaway event for Every Day’s Best!

And the winners are…
Stacey receives the beautiful Sprewell Bluff State Park at sunset, courtesy of William
Buki family receives the very utilitarian Barnes and Noble gift card, brought to us by Kristen
and Jessie get the Streams in the Desert devotional which I know bring a good deal of encouragement
This was pretty fun! We’ll have to try this again 🙂
Rachel

David’s Carousel


David: a man after God’s own heart. You know what I love about David–aside from writing some of the most beautiful pieces of prose found in the Bible? Is that he was human–full of doubts, fears, insecurities–confident in the Lord one minute, scared and uncertain the next.


I am like this. I see His goodnesses–tangible, mind-blowing answers to prayer and yet I still doubt God’s sovereignty. I experience his protection, but become surrounded on every side and cower in fear. I am wronged and I want revenge. God gives me blessings beyond measure and I selfishly crave more.


David had defeated Goliath, God had given him victory, success, fame and yet he feared: I Samuel 27:1

David hid from Saul: I Samuel 20:5,

When the going got tough, he lied: I Samuel 27

David was wronged by Nabal and wanted revenge: I Samuel 25:13-33

David had a powerful kingdom, several beautiful wives, yet he craved more: II Samuel 11: 2-3


I find myself doing this, God has provided, He has protected, I testify–and then I mumble my doubts. But because I don’t know exactly what is going to happen 1, 2, 3 months from now, I fear, I start getting antsy.

If David was an emotional carousel, then I’m a roller coaster.

Is this the same man that wrote Psam 62?


1 Truly my soul finds rest in God;
my salvation comes from him.
2 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

3 How long will you assault me?
Would all of you throw me down—
this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
4 Surely they intend to topple me
from my lofty place;
they take delight in lies.
With their mouths they bless,
but in their hearts they curse.

5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

9 Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.
10 Do not trust in extortion
or put vain hope in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
do not set your heart on them.

11 One thing God has spoken,
two things I have heard:
“Power belongs to you, God,
12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”;
and, “You reward everyone
according to what they have done.”

Indeed it is.


Find yourself on the up and down in just a matter of hours? Care to share?


*Picture Licensed under Creative Commons by vpickering

Awesome Giveaway #3: Final Day


Thanks to all who have participated in the contest this far, I appreciate your comments and feedback. Hope this means you all will come back as often as you can.


So, this is it, the final day to win a wonderful little treat…as you can see, I will be giving away the devotional “Streams in the Desert”. I’ll be writing a mini-review on it for Friday, but until then, trust me, you’ll want to own your own copy. It’s beautiful.


The rules, one last time:

1) Follow me: click on the follow button on the left hand side of the screen AND leave a comment=1 entry

2) You can also blog, tweet, or facebook about my blog and/or giveaway AND leave a comment=another entry

Back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow!

Awesome Giveaway #2


Hello Everyone, it is day #2 in the giveaway package. Today we will be offering a $30 Giftcard to Barnes & Noble. That’s right ladies and gents–$30!!


This gift is being sponsored by yet another lovely friend with an incredible blog. Kristen is a homeschooling mom who has taken her love and TALENT for crafts and sewing and amazing photography skills and transformed it into one of the most beautifully designed sites I’ve seen to date. And yes, she does a lot these crafts with her kids, so that means you don’t have to be a glue gun expert to at least TRY a few! Thank you, Kristen, for your generous gift, I’m sure a book lover out there will be forever indebted.

You may already know the rules to enter, but I’ll post them again just in case:

1) Follow me: click on the follow button on the left hand side of the screen AND leave a comment=1 entry

2) You can also blog, tweet, or facebook about my blog and/or giveaway AND leave a comment=another entry

Have fun, and Happy Monday!

-Rachel

Picture Licensed under Creative Commons by Manuela Hoffmann

Awesome Giveaway #1


Hello Everyone!


Welcome first timers and welcome back to everyone else.

First order of business is my post, “Finding Myself in Ruth” over at http://www.incourage.me/2011/03/finding-myself-in-ruth.html. Let me know what you think.

Secondly, today’s prize is this lovely photograph taken at Sprewell Bluff State Park, GA. It is being sponsored by photographer extraordinaire, William Haun.

William and his wife, Heidi have been good friends of mine for some time now and get my personal award for Most Creative Couple (the prize being a hug the next time I see you guys). I believe their son will be following their footsteps in someday.

You can learn about a few of their adventures on William’s site.

Here’s how you can enter to win this lovely work of art:

1) Follow me: click on the follow button on the left hand side of the screen and leave a comment=1 entry

2) You can also blog, tweet, or facebook about my blog and/or giveaway=another entry

If you’d like to see a bigger view of the picture, click on over to http://photos.whaun.com/p618894635/e3f3dc35a#h3f3dc35a

And, if you don’t happen to win this time around, check out his other photos anyway, they are super affordable and make great gifts.