Tag Archives: prayer

Help Me Lord!

Prayer is powerful.   I believe that not only should we pour our hearts out to God with our cares and concerns  but we can also use the bible to frame our prayer life for every situation we are going through.  Below is an example  of taking scripture and turning it into a personal prayer.

 Help Me Lord!  A Prayer taken from 2 Samuel 22

O Lord my God, by the blast of your breath, split the darkness that has covered me; rescue me from above; draw me out of the deep waters – out of the darkness. Save me from the stranglehold of the enemy and all his power and circumstances that are too strong for me to fight alone.  For the enemy came upon me with a fury in the day of my calamity, but, O Lord, be my salvation, be my light, be my hope, be my future.  Make my darkness bright and may others see Christ in me.  Help me to get out of Your way and to quit trying to control outcomes. Help me to allow your holy spirit to work in my life and to change and mold me.  Use me for Your glory and rescue me and set me free by the power of Your glorious might.  For You are my salvation. 

 May I become Your delight and walk with righteousness before Your throne.  Break the strongholds that bind me and my family and set us free from the hurts of the past.  May we do good before Your face and be a great blessing to You. Thank you that You bore my shame and my despair and please carry it all for me.  For I am weak and tired and have no strength left to hide it or “put on a good face” 

May I once again, become Your delight. Give me skill to know how to fight this battle, help me to destroy the army that has come against me.  Give me the strength of the young and the strong; be my fortress and keep my family and me safe.

I Praise and exalt the rock of my salvation, I will sing praises to your name. For you are a glorious and powerful God.

I ask all of this in the holy and mighty name of Jesus Christ the holy son of God.  In Jesus name Amen.

 

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

 

Rise Today and Praise His Name

FORTRESS

I’m fighting hard for daylight my heart is filled with fear,
I’m begging for the answer that my heart wants to hear.
Why has this trial happened, did I do something wrong?
Or has God just allowed this, to change me in this storm?

Its true God sees inside our heart and knows what we long for,
And He does love to answer prayer from a humble heart.
But sometimes He has work to do to change and make us better,
And in the trial we’re refined; our chaff burned in the fire.

Oh what a God that loves us so, that sees each ones potential,
He’s calling us to grow and change into a shining vessel.
Just like a loving parent whose discipline brings pain,
To teach their beloved child, to find a better way.

Oh what a peace that’s offered when we lay down our way,
Oh what a joy that floods the soul, when we trust God each day.
When we love the Giver, far more than all His gifts
Then no matter what we walk through, our hearts and souls will lift.

Oh praise Him in the roaring fire and in the raging storm,
Walk upon the towering waves and know you’re in His arms.
Let go of what encumbers, the chains that bind so tight,
And rise today to praise His name, He turns the dark to light!

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

The Healing of a Wounded Soul

                Healing the wounded soul          

Amy let out a guttural growl followed by a loud “darn it!” Protectively, she wrapped her wounded finger tightly with the other hand, applying pressure hoping to alleviate the pain. Her frustration level was already high today. The kids were ornery and her husband Chuck appeared to be deliberately employing every last irritating quality he had.   Accidentally smacking her already injured finger on the counter’s edge was the end of her rope. She could feel the irritation boiling up inside; a full hissy-fit was about to erupt. “Family hide”, she thought, “I’m one unpleasant women right now.”

While running cold water over the offended finger hoping to minimize the pain,  Amy realized the house had grown strangely quiet. “Odd” she thought “they were just here deliberately bugging me.”  Putting some crushed ice in a zip-lock bag she headed to the family room for a little rest; the house was still quiet. Her mommy instincts said it would be wise to see where everyone went, but she didn’t want to, she wanted peace and quiet.

Lying down on the couch she propped up her right hand on a pillow. The pain was subsiding a bit however, her irritation was not. Lately, Chuck had been difficult, prickly like a Sea anemone, reacting to everything negatively. At first Amy had given him grace, after all his career had hit a difficult patch. But instead of receiving her grace with the minutest amount of gratefulness, he’d became more difficult. Amy’s feelings were hurt. She believed her reaction to his prickly mood would be different, maybe her patience greater, if they hadn’t been through so many difficult years already. Amy felt used up and tired. Why couldn’t Chuck just grow-up, mature, evolve, become a better man; and stay that way instead of lapsing back into old negative patterns?

Her finger began to throb even with ice on it and she wondered if it was broken; the house was still quiet. Laying there absorbed in her pain a thought wiggled its way into her considerations. Her wounded finger was much like her relational wounds with Chuck. Both wounds were easily injured and each time it seemed to take longer for them to heal. Truth is, sometimes the reinjured wound hurt more than the original one. “How many times do I have to forgive the same old bad behavior” she stewed. “God, I don’t want to forgive him again, please help me, I know it’s the right thing to do.”

An uncomfortable thought floated across Amy’s mind. “How many times has God forgiven you for the same sin?” “Is your intolerant reaction to Chuck’s bad behavior equally bad behavior?” Amy didn’t like this thought, it put way too much responsibility on her; after all Chuck was the one with issues. This self-righteous attitude didn’t last long, she could feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Again, “Is your reaction to Chuck’s bad behavior also sinful behavior?” She thought about all the self-righteous thoughts she’d had and the disrespectful words uttered in response to his prickly behavior. Painfully, it dawned on her that her own destructive behavior could be hindering both of their emotional and spiritual healing.

“Oh God please forgive me; forgive me for not forgiving as you forgave me. Forgive me for being such a hypocrite. Please help me to see Chuck as you see him. Please help me treat him in a way that honors you. I’m sorry God, I didn’t realize how out of line I was.” Amy knew she needed to ask Chuck’s forgiveness and that was going to be tough.

“Why aren’t you holding Chuck accountable for his bad behavior?” she complained to God, even though she knew the answer. Everyone is responsible for their own behavior, it’s the only behavior we can control. “Ok God, I’ll humble myself and ask for forgiveness.”

Suddenly the kids and Chuck appeared with a bouquet of flowers freshly picked from the yard and some homemade cards. Stunned, she asked, “What’s this?” “We’re sorry for being ornery today, will you forgive us?” Yes, of course I will. Thank you kids.” Now it was Chucks turn.  He approached her with one beautiful red rose, got down on his knees and said, “Honey, I’m sorry for being such a negative guy lately, please forgive me.” Amy stared at him for a few moments then did what she knew she must. “I forgive you honey, but will you also forgive me; I’ve been harsh and disrespectful toward you.” Chuck looked at her and said, “I’ve waited years to hear you say that. Yes, I forgive you.”

An uncomfortable sensation enveloped Amy. “He’s been waiting years to hear me say that? He thinks I’m the one with issues!” She started to laugh and the kids and Chuck looked confused at her reaction. “We’re all such nuts,” she said “perfectly imperfect nuts and blessed beyond measure to have each other and God’s unmerited grace.”

May you be humbled with God’s gentle hand of correction and may you know you’re blessed to have an imperfect family that loves you.

Debora Shelford Hobbs

Quiet Before the Lord

           Quiet beford the lord

Over the last six months my emotional strength has been withered down to a nub. During this time most of my significant relationships have been challenged in ways I could have never imagined and I’m tired.  Blindsided would best describe the way I’m feeling right now or maybe like a deer caught in the headlights; one of my husband’s favorite analogies. If someone had asked me to list the ten most likely things to happen in the next six month my list wouldn’t have included any of the current situations.

Just a few days ago I was talking with my sister and she gave me some really good advice, she said; “be quiet before the Lord, you don’t have to carry the burden or be strong all on your own.” Her statement made me question why it’s so hard for me to be quiet before the Lord; it’s such a simple thing to do, right?

She said, be quiet before the Lord … mmm. Attempting to follow her suggestion I sat down to pray and within a few minutes the phone rang. After the call ended I return to praying; then out of the corner of my eye I notice a dust bunny and it starts to nag at me. I get up, quickly take care of the offending object. Quiet before the Lord. I will my mind to be still and then I remember I had forgotten to feed the dogs and I rush into the garage to feed the poor dears.

Quiet before the Lord.

Why is it so hard to be quiet before the Lord? I’ve been searching my heart and mind to answer this question and I believe the reason is I’m in a state of questioning God. I’m questioning why bad things happen to the innocent and whether God actually answers my prayers. I’m wondering if He has abandoned my family and these questions are keeping me from entering into a state of calm or quiet before the Lord.

Quiet before the Lord.

Realizing that to be quiet before the Lord I needed to be honest with myself and God, I told Him I was questioning some difficult issues, but quickly asked him to listen to my prayer even though I was in a terrible state. My spirit calmed when I admitted my struggles to Him. God seemed to be saying “its ok daughter, I understand your questions, life is tough, but I’m God and not hurt by your questions. Tell me your troubles and I will listen. Tell me your struggles and I will comfort you. Tell me about your pain and I will heal you.”

So I told God my troubles. I shared with Him in excruciating detail my troubles and questions. I said, “I’m questioning if you’re there listening to me. I’m wondering why bad things happen to little children. And why good people have terrible things happen to them. And why good families fall apart, or nice kids become drug addicts.”

Continuing, I added, “I find the concept that You created humans deliberately with all of our emotional weaknesses and quirkiness hard to fathom. However, if You created us, You must understand our weaknesses and appreciates our quirkiness.” During this honest prayer I remembered that He gave us the Bible loaded with answers if we take the time to read and contemplate it. And for the hard questions the Bible is silent on, faith and prayer are required. The Bible says if we diligently seek Him we will find Him. Am I diligently seeking Him or am I too consumed with my pain and questions to seek?

After laying all these issues before God I became quiet before the Lord. It wasn’t even hard. My mind slowed down and my thoughts focused on God. I was quiet before the Lord, freed by an honest prayer and sincere seeking. He didn’t send lightning bolts to strike me or give me a heart attack. He eased my pain, answered my questions, and hug me with deep spiritual peace.

Quiet before the Lord.

Yes, I can do that if first I’m willing to approach God with an honest heart that’s seeking truth.

May you rest quiet before the Lord.

 

Debora Shelford Hobbs

 

 

A Letter of Joy

                    Letter of Joy

Tears slid down Leanna’s face while she read the ESPN article about her brother’s life. She knew the story was coming out, they’d interviewed her for it, but somehow it still hurt. Ben had been brilliant, charming, a gifted strategist, and a hard worker; a coaching superstar. The talking heads proclaimed him virtually unstoppable, at the top of his game and predicted he’d move on to the NFL soon. With remarkable speed Ben had scaled the equivalent of Mount Everest in the coaching world; coaching football at a Top 10 University. Leanna’s mind drifted back in time reliving the excitement of watching him coach; he’d been so passionate and animated, a sideshow worth watching. Rubbing her weeping eyes she squinted once again at the computer screen.

Eventually all coaches hit a losing streak that shakes their confidence and leaves them questioning their sanity. Ben’s losing streak found him unprepared and ill-equipped to handle the stress. Many coaches seek counseling or religion to deal with it, but Ben chose to find solace in booze. The truth is, he’d been using alcohol as a coping tool for years; a life pattern had been set. Unfortunately after the losing streak ended, his drinking didn’t.   The respect he once held with other coaches on his team began to diminish and before long he was on probation. For a while Ben was able to hang onto his pinnacle position with the help of well-meaning coworkers, friends, and family who made excuses for his erratic behavior. Ultimately, he was fired and soon after that his wife filed for divorce. The golden boy was losing his sheen. A smaller university hired then fired him; a pattern that repeated itself many times over the next ten years.

Eventually, Ben found himself coaching a small, unknown team in Italy. It’s a long, lonely road from the top of the coaching world to the bottom and Ben’s decent had been a slow, painful, journey marked by failed coaching positions and relationships. He was self-destructive and it appeared to all his decent was unstoppable, and there it was written on the internet for all the world to read. She felt Ben’s life was being invaded and violated.

Leanna pressed back in her chair then stretched out like a starfish. It was so devastating having her brother’s life spread over the internet, waiting for judgment from all who read it. She could hear them saying, “what a loser, a mess, and a failure.” The article focused almost entirely on his faults as if there was nothing good left inside him. Over his ten year decent he’d gone to rehab twice and stayed sober for almost a year each time, but then something would trigger his addiction and he’d lose another job.

Ben and Leanna had had a tough childhood that left deep emotional scars on both. Leanna turned to Christianity to help heal those scares while Ben chose alcohol. He had been accepting of her faith and attended church with her when he visited. Thoughtful by nature, he sent her and the kids little trinkets from wherever he’d found work. He called regularly to see how she and the kids were doing, usually his words were slurred and his voice altered by the alcohol, but she was always grateful to hear his voice. Each phone call ended with her praying for him and the few times she’d forgotten to pray he’d say, “Aren’t you going to pray?” This warmed her heart and gave her hope. For Leanna’s part she’d send him Christian books about athletes who had turned their lives around by trusting God or music with a Christ centered message with hopes of softening his heart toward God. He read the books and would ask questions about the content, but never took the initial step toward belief in God.

The call notifying her of Ben’s death had come in the middle of the night. She would never forget the shock, disbelief, and bone crushing grief she felt at that moment. Leanna had laid in bed sobbing for hours mourning his life and his lost chance for redemption. The first week after Ben’s death she cried out God in frustration and disappointment, how could He let Ben die without saving him first. After a week of being mad at God and questioning His love she made an appointment to talk with her pastor. She needed answers.

How could she trust a God who didn’t answer the one prayer that lay deepest in her heart? Heading to the car for her appointment with the pastor she walked across the street to collect the mail. Absentmindedly thumbing through it she suddenly stopped. There tucked between the electric bill and junk mail was a letter from Ben. At first she just held it, as if holding her brother. Carefully she opened it not wanting to damage anything he’d touched. The letter started off newsy, his job was fine although the players were dumb as logs and slow as slugs. The food was good but his apartment was small and moldy. The second paragraph started with, “I’ve something to tell you that will make you happy, very happy. I’ve been rereading all those books you sent and started watching some preachers online and well, I’m saved now. For the first time in years my spirit feels light. Did you know that God loves you even when you’ve been a complete screw up? I have a father now, it’s God; couldn’t ask for a better father. We, you and I, couldn’t have a more faithful father, God is good. Thank you for praying for me all those years. I get it now.”

Leanna reached over and picked up Ben’s letter. “Let them talk, I know who you were. You were brilliant, thoughtful, sincere, and charming, a gifted strategist, a hard worker, and an amazing coach. But most of all you are my brother and a son of God, forgiven and renewed in Christ.” She turned off the computer realizing the letter in her hand, a gift from God, held all the info she needed to know about her brother. “Thank you God, you are faithful all the time.”

Debora Shelford Hobbs

THE DAILY GRIND

busy 2

The Revelation…

Busy with demands of life
Lists so long I feel uptight
Caught up in the daily grind
To stay on top, not fall behind.
Working hard and trying to hurry
All around me seems a flurry.
Trying hard to be my best
So distracted that I forget
To shine the love that Jesus gives
To know my life is really His.
To keep in balance life’s demands
To step into His perfect plan.
To sit so still, before His throne
To hear His voice; to be His alone.

The prayer…

Lord turn my heart to  Godly gain
For things that last beyond the grave.
May my values and use of time
Bless and honor You, my God.
Help me to seek You every day                                                                               To read Your word; take time to pray.                                                                   O take away my tunnel vision
Please guide me as I make decisions.
Help me to stay out of Your way
To bless my neighbor… to serve each day.
Fill my heart with gratefulness
With peace and joy and love that lasts.
Help me Lord, to see like You
To seize each day and know Your cue’s.
To hear Your voice with ears wide open
With heart so soft and life devoted.
Please give me wisdom for each day
To guard my time and always pray.
To see where I am self absorbed
To care for those I once ignored.
May I fulfill the reasons why
You gave me breath and planned my life.
So when I stand before Your throne
I’ll hear You say, “My child… Well Done!”

Rhonda Shelford Jansen

The Power of Prayer

prayer

The Power of Prayer

 

If we knew the power of prayer
From an open heart that’s bared
Down on our knees, seeking God’s face
Crying out from depth of need
Knowing that our God is near
To humble hearts that are sincere
We would see His power unleashed
Changing our lives; victory released
In that prayer a mountain moves
Hearts are changed, our health…renewed.

As we stand washed in His grace
With prayers that touch His holy face
Asking for our hearts desires
While trusting Him with whens and whys
Seek Him with your heart and soul
Tell Him your cares; He’ll make you whole
Pour out your heart, pour out your needs
Tell Him what you feel and think
Don’t be afraid, He already knows
The hidden thought, the darkest soul.

Rather than shouldering worries and cares
Obsessing or’ problems and troubles you bear
Pray out each worry; tell Him what’s looming
Trust more in God for He knows what He’s doing
Ask Him to change you and make your heart pure
Take captive your thoughts and stand on His word
Bind Satan’s lies that say God’s not there
Bind every spirit of pride and of fear
Pray that what Satan intends for his purpose
God would take back and from ashes bring good
Don’t be afraid to approach our God’s throne
He’s waiting for you to finally come home.

What would we see if the church really prayed
With wide open hearts that are ready to change
Praying that God’s perfect will would prevail
Praying for hearts that will serve without fail
We’d see Mountains crumble and deserts that bloom
Christians that walk upon trouble and gloom
People fulfilling potential and purpose
Lives that are healed and faith that is certain
The power of prayer has barely been tapped
Oh what we’d see if we’d follow God’s path
Know who you are, you’re God’s chosen heir
His power is there if you seek Him in prayer.

Rhonda Shelford Jansen