Praying for Strangers

Praying for Strangers

A while back I read the book  Praying for Strangers: An Adventure of the Human Spirit by River Jordan, and at the time I had no idea how that book would impact my life. The book is about the 2009 New Year’s Resolution of an introverted woman whose sons were about to go off to war. Her quest for comfort and to keep her own sanity in the face of every parents nightmare, led to the idea for the perfect resolution–to pray for a complete stranger every day for the following year.

While it seems like such a small act of faith, it grew her faith huge. It became more than a resolution to River, but an exploration of, and journey into, the human spirit. She found that not only did her prayer touch the lives of those she prayed for, but it changed her own life in ways beyond what she ever could have imagined.

After reading the book, I began to think about how frequently I hear people say, “I’ll pray for you.” And how often I have said it without actually thinking of the follow-through. It was simply lip service.

I was so moved by River’s book that I told myself I was going to do the same thing, but that follow-through didn’t happen on an every day basis. What did happen, however, was the awareness of making an effort to follow through when I said I was going to pray.

“I’ll pray for you,” now means I really will pray. I have found that it’s something that costs absolutely nothing yet rewards abundantly.

And the other thing that happened was the compelling awareness at the most unexpected moments to pray for a stranger that is brought to my attention by a God who knows all things.

When I see someone on the street corner holding a sign asking for money, I’m compelled to offer up a prayer for God’s hand in his/her life.

When I see someone crying, I’m compelled to pray for healing.

When I hear someone speaking ill of another, I’m compelled to pray they find peace.

And each time I’m compelled to pray, I’m the one that’s richly blessed.

It gets me out of my own head and self-centeredness and leads me to think about others. It puts others needs before my own. And that’s what helps me grow closer to God. By connecting my human spirit to that of another.

Prayer

“God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil.”.

– E. M. Bounds

Peace.

 

 

 

 

 

Silence – Part 1

 “We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness.  God is the friend of silence.  See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence: see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

Mother Teresa

Nature's Quiet Beauty

Nature’s Quiet Beauty

I’ve previously mentioned my conversion from New Year’s Resolutions to New Year’s Goals to the My One Word Revolution that began last year when I chose the word “Grace.”  The idea behind choosing one word is to pray about a word God leads you to by keeping in mind the kind of person you want to become and the characteristics that kind of person possesses.  If several words come to mind, choose just one that encapsulates them all the best.

Desiring to become better in an area of life that has plagued us in the past is a good thing.  However, when I made New Year’s Resolutions to change said areas, it was a rare occasion that I made it through January without “blowing it.”  And once I blew it, life reverted back to the comfortable, well-worn path of old behaviors, with the feeling of failure added to the mix.

Choosing one word to focus on, knowing I can start over at any time during the year, the month, or even the day, and start over as many times as is required, cements characteristic changes into place.  Even cement can crack, however, so a full year to practice living the principles surrounding the word God has led me to through prayer works perfectly.

2013 was a year I desired to explore Grace–living it, accepting it, and extending it to others.  I “blew it” numerous times over the course of the year, but that word, one that is pure and pleasing to God, remained engraved on my mind and in my heart, so that when I strayed from living through grace, it reminded me to do an about face and turn it around, doing whatever was needed to correct the behavior.  While I’m far from having perfecting living through and extending grace to others, I’m much better than I was when I started, and I’m okay with that.  Because for me it’s all about progress, not perfection.

photo (3)

Another component of the movement that I’ve incorporated as well includes choosing a bible verse that correspond to the chosen word.  I chose two last year and again this year.  Rehearsing the verses daily brings clarity and focus daily on the one chosen word.  I create cards on my computer with my one word as well as the chosen bible verses, in a fun and colorful font, and keep one at my desk at work, one by my bed to read first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening, and one in my car.

It’s much easier to focus on one word that signifies who I want to become than try to remember a list of resolutions to change things I want to leave behind.

If you make the choice to join the movement, or if you’ve been participating already, I would love to hear the word you’ve chosen for 2014, and why.

Wishing you all a safe and blessed New Year filled with His presence and peace.