Clip-clop, clip-clop. That sound meant one thing–the horse-drawn ice cream cart.
Years ago Mom and I flew across the Atlantic to her homeland of Lancashire, England. While visiting, I discovered the Accrington ice cream vendor, an old man atop a yellow stagecoach-style wagon pulled by a horse.
Every afternoon I waited on the street and listened for the clip-clop. I hadn’t been around horses much. So when the wagon stopped in front of Auntie Ray’s house, I gave the man my tuppence then he turned to scoop my frozen treat. That’s when I studied his horse. Chestnut brown, black mane, black tail. There was just one thing I couldn’t see, no matter what angle I looked–his eyes. Blinders, leather squares attached to his bridle covered them. I figured they must be there to keep him looking straight ahead.
Last Sunday, as the congregation sang, O Magnify the Lord, I saw that horse again–blinders and all.
Mary, when you magnify something you make it big, so big it’s the only thing you see. Forget who’s around you . . . what’s going on at home, at work, and yes . . . even at church, and worship me.
Yes Lord. Blinders on.
I sang and worshipped. When my pastor preached, I absorbed the message. Then came the closing song and altar call. I bowed my head. Sometimes I’m the one in need of prayer. Other times, I’m compelled to pray for someone else.
Yes Lord. Blinders off.
The inner chamber, a phrase from Isaiah 26:20, means any place apart. For Edward Wilson, it was the crow’s nest on the ship Terra Nova. He’d often climb to it during his expeditions to Antarctica. He called it his private chapel.
Vesta Mangun’s father, Royal Gibson would slip away to his favorite place of prayer–a secluded oak grove not far from his house. Many miracles and healings occurred throughout his ministry. He knew that power with God came through unwavering faith in His word and in the power of the name of Jesus.
Susanna Wesley, (1669-1742), mother of nineteen children including John and Charles Wesley, would sit down and pull her apron up over her head. Her children knew to be extra quiet during this time so they wouldn’t disturb her time of prayer.
What does this have to do with outreach? Everythng! John 6:44.
We must pray until~
This robe of flesh I’ll drop and rise
To seize the everlasting prize
And shout while passing through the air
Fare well, fare well, sweet hour of prayer.
(Last verse of Sweet Hour of Prayer)
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For years Nehemiah thought about his ancestors’ desecrated graves. These thoughts troubled him. Then one day he could no longer hide his feelings behind a forced smile and his routine servant-cup-bearing duties.
“Why is your face so sad?” asked King Artaxerxes. Thick silence filled the throne room.
How do I answer him, thought Nehemiah. Will my reply cost me? My job? My life?
With trembling knees and hands he drew in a deep breath, admonished the king, then told him his desires.
If an earthly king can detect a downcast servant how much more can our Heavenly King discern our intents and desires (Hebrews 4:15)?
You’re our Creator–a God of details. Your word teaches us we ‘have not because we ask not’ (James 4:2). You know the longings, and at times the aches in our hearts. Help us to give voice to those yearnings as we cast our cares on you. More importantly, cause our thoughts to align with your will. In your name we pray, Amen.
I’ve heard the secret to wilderness survival is what’s tucked away in your pockets, belt and mind. What’s kept there must sustain you when all else is lost.
As I make my way through this world of declining morals, I ‘ve found I must diligently put God’s word in my heart. Psalm 119:11
God saw that human evil was out of control. People thought evil, imagined evil–evil, evil, evil from morning to night. Genesis 6:5, The Message.
Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your master. Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Peter 3:15 The Message.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 KJV.
As I make my way through this metaphoric wilderness of life, I must answer as Jesus did, It is written. Continue reading
PIt’s in the wilderness I broke.
I emptied out and You poured in.
In weakness I gained strength and my vision became clearer as I viewed the battle of good and evil, flesh and spirit and the strategy of the enemy.
There I felt Your grace–genuine grace.
My unplanned wilderness was all in Your plan.
Such a productive time.
Thank you Lord.
Why do we pray before meals? Habit? Tradition? For the answer, click here:
When I read this eight years ago it changed my pre-meal perspective and consequently my prayer. Now instead of asking God to bless my food, I bless God, the provider of my food.
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During a weary time in my life I asked the Lord,
How Long? How long do I stay faithful?
Later that day I found the answer.
. . . be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life.