Hello everyone, and welcome to this week’s Prayers for the Week post. I’m writing to you today with a troubled heart; with concerns about the state of the church I go to; and with wondering if my church has been praying for money for the past four weeks.
Back in November, I wrote about the Opening Doors Campaign, and in it, I outlined what the objectives were that the church wanted to meet. When I first started helping out in the prayer committee team, I was under the impression that this was something that we were going to pray for the possibility of this happening, but I soon found out that the decision had already been made, and truly, what we were praying for was for our congregation to supply the needed commitments to make the project feasible. In essence, we were praying for money. However, the prayer group that my family and I attended — and I thank my Sister-in-Christ Monica and Brother-in-Christ Doug for hosting our prayer meetings — we didn’t just pray for that, we expressed our love for God, we confessed our sins to God, we gave thanks to God, we lifted up the initiative, but we also prayed our own prayer requests, and lastly, we turned it all over to God by praying His Will by reciting the Lord’s Prayer. I have been absolutely blessed beyond measure by being a part of the ordinary houses of prayer that went on in our homes.
However, at church for the past four Sundays, it truly has felt like all we have been doing is talking about money — how much money it will take to do this, how you should consider making a sacrificial gift for the campaign, and on and on. My friends, there are a lot of things that trouble me about this. It truly feels like we aren’t necessarily praying for God’s Will to take care of our church — it almost feels like we are looking to leave our legacy on our church! In many ways, I feel like the money changers have setup shop right in the sanctuary, and that I’m expected to convert my currency with them. Part of me wonders if Jesus will come and overturn those tables like he did in the Temple in Jerusalem all those years ago.
Today we will celebrate Jesus by partaking in communion, and it is my belief that our pastors will invite us to leave our commitment cards at the altar when we come up for the elements. Is today the day when Jesus — even if it is a symbolic act — turns over the tables in the sanctuary based upon the commitments of the congregation? We will soon find out.
My friends, I am sorry for laying all of this at you — but I would appreciate your prayers for me. All I ask is for prayers of Peace — God’s wonderful Peace, that only He can provide, that will calm even the most troubled heart — to come over me. Thank you my friends. Now, please read our prayer requests and praises, and thank you, as always, for praying for those in need. Your prayers are being heard by God, and He is answering those based on His Will. Thank you!
- Prayers for my sister-in-law Nancy. Here is what she wrote:
My dear friend, Lagratta Mitchell–passed away suddenly this weekend.
My prayers to her family and the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Smithfield, NC family who will miss her terribly.
I’ve got your Girl Scout cookies, LaLa!
Her ringtone on my phone was Aretha Franklin’s “Respect”—her motto was to get it one must give it and that everyone deserved it.
She cooked a mean leg of lamb, the best collards I’ve had (smoked turkey wings!) and a luscious pound cake!
I just may have to whip up one of her pound cakes, pour a little bubbly (which she loved) and have a little “Lagratta Party!”
I’ll miss you and all of our giggles and inside jokes with Sarah Barefoot Thompson while we served on the vestry together.
Peace, my friend.
- Please pray for my friend Lesley. Here is what she wrote on Facebook: Prayers please, Tim being admitted to have emergency gallbladder surgery.
- Please pray for Michael Morones and his family — Michael attempted suicide because of bullying he endured because of a TV show that he watched. Please pray for him, for his healing, for his family, and for the countless other people that are bullied. Please pray for this culture of violence, torment, and mean-spirited nature to change in our society. Thank you everyone! http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20783199,00.html
- Prayers and Praises to my friend Rusty, his wife Elise, and their daughter as they welcome to the family their new baby boy, born Sunday, February 2, 2014, at 712AM! He is early, and they all have some medical issues to work out, so please continue to pray for their healing and recovery, but give thanks to God also for the wonderful blessing He has given to them! Praise the Lord!
- My friend Joanna needs prayers. Here is what she wrote on Facebook:Putting it all out there because I am in need of very specific prayers right now. I have IBD, and flare ups are what caused me to need surgery. I’m seeing a new GI doctor tomorrow just in time, it seems. I’m having a flare today that’s causing a lot of pain where I had surgery, and I’m scared it’s a relapse. I need prayers that this heals quickly and that this doctor can help get my IBD under control, so I don’t keep having painful side effects from it. I spent too much on surgery to have issues again already less than 2 months later. I know my case is mild/moderate, so I feel strongly that we should be able to get me into remission. Struggle is that I’ve gone untreated since high school. Please pray specifically & earnestly.
- My friend Denise needs prayers. Here is what she wrote on Facebook:“Prayers please for my dad. He’s in the hospital with a fever and rash. He was dehydrated but they are fixing that up and they’ve ruled out flu, but so far no other details. Hard to be so far from home…..”Update from Denise:
Dad is better-the fever is gone but still a rash and swelling. I talked to him today and they are going to keep him in the hospital a few days and try to figure out what is wrong. He sounds tired and says he has no appetite but well enough to talk to me. Thanks for the prayers and good wishes!But then, this update:
Denise’s Dad has taken a turn. Here is what she wrote on Facebook:
Dad is not improving and they have put him in CCU for observation. I’m headed to Florida tomorrow to see him for myself.
Please continue praying for her Dad, as well as praying for her safe travels to Florida. Thank you!
Then, on February 6th, the best update of all: We’re headed home!
- My biggest praise this week was for my daughter Sophie. She had a truly incredible week, and it started on Wednesday, when she played for the second time the Star Spangled Banner before the boys basketball game. She did such a great job, and Cindy and I were so proud of her for putting herself out there in front of a lot of people, and playing to the best of her ability. I recorded it on my iPhone, and uploaded it to YouTube, so here it is if you care to watch:
- After that, Sophie also played on Thursday night. It wasn’t quite to her standards, but still, it was a valiant effort by a 12 year old. Then, the next day, in the pep rally, Sophie’s band teacher had them recognize Sophie for her efforts at the basketball games, and the entire school gave her a round of applause. To cap it all off, Sophie went off with some of her girlfriends from Sunday School to a weekend girls retreat for middle school girls. She’ll come home tomorrow afternoon.
- I would also like to give praise to God for all of you, especially those that remembered me on my birthday this past Thursday. It truly touches my spirit when my friends all take the time to wish me a happy birthday, and you all are more than just friends; you’re all family. I wrote these words at the end of that day, and I’m sharing them all with you now:
As always, February 6th is a great day — not because it is my birthday, although, because it is my birthday, my friends and family from all over the world come and wish me a happy birthday.
We are nothing without three things: Our God, who loves us unconditionally; our family, who do the same; and our friends, who share bits of their life with you and celebrate the joys and cry with the sorrows. On this day, I thank you for all the birthday wishes, and give thanks to God for the first 46 years! I love you all!
My friends, thank you for praying for all of these prayer requests — your prayers helped Denise’s dad in his condition; your prayers helped Lesley’s husband have a successful surgery; your prayers brought Peace and Strength to the family and friends of Lagratta; and your prayers help out all of those that don’t have the courage to speak up for themselves and leave prayer requests of their own. Thank you for taking time to pray for all of these, and please take time to leave your own prayer requests for us to pray for you!