Wobbling in the Dark

I read an interesting devotional in Our Daily Bread:  https://odb.org/US/2021/05/18/facing-the-darkness (btw, Our Daily Bread is worth the read any day.)

It gave a synopsis of a research study on the effects of darkness on the human psyche. The study is given more detail in this article: http://thescienceexplorer.com/brain-and-body/isolation-dark-drives-humans-brink-insanity-studies-find

“Science suggests that darkness can do all kinds of things to the human body and brain: It can make us more likely to lie and cheat, make mistakes at work, and even see things we don’t normally see. ‘Darkness is like a mirror: It shows you what you don’t want to see.’” From   https://elemental.medium.com/darkness-can-do-all-kinds-of-things-to-your-body-and-brain-beb3d0da2fb4#:

Darkness may be defined as the absence of light or the absence of God.

Isaiah 8 gives us some Words that God has about darkness and light:

20To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. 21And they shall pass through it, hardly bestead and hungry: and it shall come to pass, that when they shall be hungry, they shall fret themselves, and curse their king and their God, and look upward. 22And they shall look unto the earth; and behold trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish; and they shall be driven to darkness.

And another verse over, He says: Isaiah 9.2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

Walking in the dark will cause us to take the wrong path: the crooked way instead of the righteous way. If we persist down this path, we will continue to stumble and fall (these are like roadblocks that God will use so that we fall and look to Him). We will begin to distort God’s plumbline in our hearts by altering, warping, and stretching it. We will blur the distance between where it is and where we are, therefore overshooting or falling short. When we wander in the dark, we forget what the light was like, how we cherished it and depended on it. We begin to cherish the dark. We put ourselves in danger of discounting God altogether, and eventually denying His importance or even His existence.

Beware of visiting or dwelling in darkness. Darkness is disorienting: walking in it leads to errors, believing lies, and stumbling.

Hosea 12.8 And Ephraim boasts: “How rich I have become! I have found wealth for myself. In all my labors, they can find in me no iniquity that is sinful.”

Alas for Ephraim, to be so lost in darkness that he thinks he is innocent and smart. But the Light speaks:

Hosea 13.1When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling; he was exalted in Israel. But he incurred guilt through Baal, and he died…. 4Yet I am the LORD your God ever since the land of Egypt; you know no God but Me, for there is no Savior besides Me. 5I knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought. 6When they had pasture, they became satisfied; when they were satisfied, their hearts became proud, and as a result they forgot Me.

Let us never become satisfied by the works of our own hands, may we never be so enthralled with the darkness that we wade in deeper and deeper, becoming lost.

Oswald Chambers: “Seeing is never believing. We interpret what we see in the light of what we believe.”

When we make our own “light,” we can believe anything in the dark.

If we walk toward the true Light, but do not step into it, then we are still walking in the dark.

The Light calls you, beckons you with tenderloving kindness. Accept Jesus’ invitation, Step into the Light.

Prayer Journal

Last month I was browsing through a bundle purchase I made, and found ideas for a prayer journal.

“A prayer journal?” I thought. “I always pray. Do I need a prayer journal?” The answer turned out to be a resounding YES!!!

As I started looking into what, exactly, a prayer journal is, and watched some youtube videos, I was immediately sold. Yes! A way to be organized and methodical with my prayers; some direction and prayer prompting! I got excited.

I got so excited that I started my own prayer journal, and hosted a prayer journal workshop at my church. We all brought our own supplies, and had opportunity to work together and fellowship while we put together our journals. I provided several handouts of prayer prompts that I’d found online.

I sewed a fabric and batting cover for it from a fabric that brings me God’s peace.

This was a process over a few weeks of arranging, re-arranging, making pages; and writing verses, prayers, and requests. It is still a work-in-progress as God gives me new insights and things to pray for. I love that this is a dynamic work.

I highly recommend a prayer journal (several of the youtube videos call them, “war binders”). My prayer time has blossomed. I am definite in my prayers for various people and organizations; my prayer time is focused and guided (instead of mind-wandering); I have a new and even closer connection with my Lord; I can easily spend an hour praying; and I LOVE my prayer time.

I use a mini-binder because I like the feel of the smaller size. (A mini binder fits pages that are half the size of 8 ½” x 11” pages.) I started with a 1” ring width, but had to go with 1.5” because I put so much in it.

Many of my pages that are filled with prayers have little sticky markers: I don’t pray every page every day. I pray one or two items on a page, then move the marker to the next one, to remind me where I left off.

To stave off distractions from taking me away from my prayers, I keep note paper nearby. When something pops into my mind that I don’t want to forget, I jot it down. Now I don’t have to worry about forgetting something important, and I can concentrate on praying.

I have several sections that I pray through every day; and I have five other sections that I pray Monday – Friday. As specific needs occur, I write them down wherever appropriate.

  • Praise
    • Includes a Grateful section, Bible verses, clips from online sources, an Aha! section of things that strike me as being so cool about God, and pages of hymnals that I copied
  • Self
    • This is a pretty thick section, because I need a lot of prayer!
    • Includes prayers from Supplications, various clippings, Confession section, hymns, prayer requests from this Maggie blog, and a calendar page from pdfcalendar.com (link below) to remind me of upcoming events to pray about

  • Marriage
  • Family
    • Includes a sub-section for parents, children, siblings & families, and in-laws

My Monday – Friday sections:

  • Monday: City, State, and Nation (& World)
  • Tuesday: Social Issues (abortion, LGBTQ, trafficking)
  • Wednesday: my church (people / prayer requests, missionaries, outreach)
    • This would usually include specific prayer for church leaders, but my husband is a church leader, so I put that section in with his.
  • Thursday: Friends & Neighbors
  • Friday: Persecuted, Prison Ministries / Prisoners, Homeless

Following are some things to think about before you put together a prayer binder. At the end are several online resources.

Do you have a prayer binder? Do you have resources to share?

Binder options:

  • Ring-style or spiral / permanent bound?
    • Ring-style (regular or smaller-size):
      • you can add / take out / rearrange pages as you need
      • You can take out pages to use, say, for sermon notes at church, then insert back into your notebook; you don’t have to take the whole notebook with you
        • Keep a clipboard handy for when you want to take out separate pages to write on
    • Spiral or otherwise bound:
      • can’t move or add pages
      • but you can use sticky notes / sticky tabs; can glue in pages
      • easier to carry around
  • search “journal binder” or “prayer journal” on amazon or Christianbook.com
  • “3-ring binder” or “binder portfolio” or “mini portfolio binder” or “mini binders 5.5 x 8.5 three ring” or “blank journal” or “travel binder” on amazon
  • watch out for how many rings; be sure you have a hole punch / pre-punched papers for those hole patterns

Big picture considerations:

  • Is this a lifetime journal, or will I make one for each year?
  • What size?
    • Will I take this with me to waiting rooms? Prayer group?
    • Will this be a stationary piece in my prayer closet?
  • Do I want a separate section for answers to prayer, or will I include answers along with the prayers?
  • Will I write directly on the pages, or write on sticky notes to stick on the pages; or both?
  • Will this journal be only for prayer, or will I also use it for Bible study journaling?
  • In a pre-bound journal (i.e., spiral notebook), make pages and sections (or outline your plan) before adding section tabs, so you have an idea of how many pages for each section

You may want to include:

  • Calendar to jot events to pray for
  • A front page of prayer-inspiring Scripture
  • The Lord’s Prayer
  • Section for Scripture memorization
  • Sections for praise, adoration
    • Attributes of God
    • Praise Scripture
  • Section labeled Confess or Repent / what needs pruning
  • Bible studies / book study (group or individual)
  • Sticky notes / jot-a-note
    • Ideas to include in the journal
    • Random thoughts that intrude, and you need to take care of them later (i.e., don’t forget to add pineapple to the grocery list): put these in a special spot once you’ve written them down, so you don’t have to concentrate on remembering them.
  • Goal pages
  • Inspirational page(s): quotes, ideas
  • Printed prayers that mean something to you
  • Poetry
  • Hymn or praise song lyrics / sheet music
  • Names of God / Jesus / Holy Spirit
  • Coloring pages
  • “Aha!” page

Arrangement of sections:

  • Days of the week: Pray for specific issues on each day of the week (i.e., family, marriage, children on Mondays; church, leadership, church groups on Tuesdays; etc.)
  • Prayer issues (sections for family / church / ministries / prayer group, etc.)

Prayer / Section Suggestions:

  • Family
    • Self, spouse, children
    • My home
    • Extended family
  • Leadership / Government (local, state, national, world)
  • Workplace
  • Churches
    • Specific church ministries or groups
    • Church leadership
    • Church participation
    • Families in your church
    • Truth in preaching and teaching
    • Missions
  • Salvation
  • Health
  • Families / Marriages; legal battles, transgender / LGBTQ, etc
  • The persecuted
  • Prison ministries
  • Friends
  • Healing / emotional / relational
  • World events (abortion, persecution, etc.)
  • Specific ministries / schools / organizations
  • Work / school
  • Testimonies
  • Growth areas
  • Affirmations
  • God’s promises / witness to His faithfulness
  • Pouring out your heart / issues precious and dear to you
  • Listening to God: things God is telling me
  • Finance
  • A prayer group you belong to
  • Urgent needs (“Emergency Room”)
  • Other

Supplies:

  • Binder OR spiral notebook OR bound journal
    • Binder: normal size or half-size or other-size
  • Binder paper (pay attention to the kind of binder you’re using, and the hole placement)
    • Packets of paper sold for that style of binder
    • Scrapbook paper
    • You can design and print your own pages
    • Some pages can be cardstock
    • “Extra” pages can be glued into a spiral notebook or bound journal
  • Sticky divider tabs OR can make your own out of cardstock, and glue to pages
    • Divider tabs can go along the side and/or the top
  • Sturdy elastic headband or other method to keep your journal closed and secure
  • Binder pockets
  • Divider pages OR make your own
  • Different kinds and colors of pens and pencils
  • Eraser
  • Sticky notes of all sizes, shapes and colors
  • Calendar pages
  • Clipart
  • Hole reinforcers
  • Fun paper clips & binder clips
  • Page protectors / sheet protectors
  • Glue stick / double-sided tape / glue pen
  • Pen & pencil pocket (big enough to keep sticky notes, etc)
  • Scissors
  • Cutting board / paper cutter
  • Hole punch
  • Label-maker
  • Fabric
  • Hot glue gun
  • (Pretty) envelopes
  • Scrapbooking supplies
    • Lettering & numbering
    • Stickers
    • Pockets / pocket pages
    • Colored or patterned tape or sticky strips
    • Scrapbook paper
    • Cardstock
    • Stencils
  • Washi-tape (Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, dollar stores)
  • Sheet protectors for your-size binder
  • Old books to include pages (see what the library is giving away or very cheap; Goodwill; Salvation Army; second-hand stores)
    • Bible pages
    • Hymnals
    • Pictures you can cut out and glue in
    • You can separate whole books from their bindings and include some or all pages, or make a separate binder. Hole punch the pages to insert into a binder.

Online Resources:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Ft87GqgETs  How to Make Your Own Prayer Journal!        Stacey Johnson      41:12       spiral-bound student notebook w/ dividers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ElRJCoBvQNo  My Prayer Binder: Flip Through and Thoughts               Cori Spieker      1:01:35       3-ring ½ size binder

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-D9S6Yq6zBY  WAR BINDER PRAYER JOURNAL SETUP- How to Make Your Own DIY Faith Journal | Ideas and Flip Through         Kaye Lean Ramos     20:04     3-ring ½ size binder

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hmy3Dd9Djc  Bible Study Binder & Prayer Journal Notebook: How to DIY       Crazy Simple Truth, Nicki Drake    11:57       3-ring binder

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7chAgKsfVE Prayer Binder flip through with Dawne!     Kari Denker (with Stone Soup for Five)         45:30             3-ring, ½ – size binder

https://www.pinterest.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFKLXz1Cdkk Recycle your Toilet Roll Cores into Pretty Pockets!      Angela Kerr     44:11 and  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi6z_xI894c    Recycle and Reuse Toilet Roll Tubes   Gi Kerr      25:07

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15BoCfZK0Ew  Prayer Journal Set Up / War Binder DIY        Annie Smith      28:40      spiral-bound sketchbook

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPqnhlAX35M&t=0s  Prayer Notebook     Gina Garland           8:45      3-ring ½ size   binder

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRh8QBuTWTA Prayer Binder Walkthrough           Kari Denker      11:19           3-ring ½ size binder

https://www.stonesoupforfive.com/p/tutorials.html

https://www.stonesoupforfive.com/2014/11/a-walk-through-my-prayer-binder.html

https://www.stonesoupforfive.com/2018/05/all-things-prayer-binder.html  homepage https://www.stonesoupforfive.com/

https://www.dailydwelling.com/prayer-journal-printables-updated/

http://www.dailydwelling.com/prayer-journal-printables/

https://www.dailydwelling.com/category/printable/

https://hosannasmom.wordpress.com/tag/word-cloud/

http://inspiredtoaction.com/resources/

https://ifapray.org/resources/prayer-guides-and-resources/

https://www.josh.org/resources/spiritual-growth/attributes-of-god/

https://banneroftruth.org/us/devotional/a-disciples-renewal/  https://www.chapellibrary.org/book/dado/doctrine-and-duty-of-self_examination

http://storage.cloversites.com/arkansasbaptiststateconvention2/documents/Design%20Guide%20-%20Prayer%20-%20Long%20(Final)_2.pdf  Scroll down to Appendix A (pg 6) for a list of convicting questions

http://pdfcalendar.com/  create your own calendar

https://lovinglifeathome.com/

https://www.angellabundz.com/free-printables

https://latoyaedwards.net/notebook

https://momsinprayer.org/group-leaders/

https://www.opendoorsusa.org/prayer-resources/

Recipe Friday: Praying for Your Pastor and Church Leaders

This week’s recipe is a prayer list for our Pastor and church leaders, all over the world. I took notes from a pastor’s wife’s presentation, then ran it by my pastor for editing and input. Please, please, pray for our pastors and church leaders; pray also for leaders of households; and for leaders in our communities, states, nations, and world. Prayer WORKS: it is work to pray, so put in the effort and see what miracles God will work on our behalf.

Feel free to print this out. You can copy it into a word processing document, then print in portrait; or split into columns and print landscape.

Another prayer resource is Supplications, which can also be printed.

May Pastor and Leaders fully accept and appropriate all God’s gifts, and use them for His eternal glory.

Protect Pastor and Leaders from:

  • Weariness
  • Frustration
  • Attacks from the enemy in thought, word, and deed
  • Fleshly temptations
  • Worldly pressures

May Pastor and Leaders receive from people of their congregation:

  • Words of encouragement
  • Prayer
  • Wise counsel
  • Tokens of appreciation
  • Palpable love

May Pastor’s and Leaders’ eyes be open (enlightened) to the next move, season; to attacks, not caught off-guard. May he see people as God sees, each sheep as worthy of God’s love and grace

Give Pastor and Leaders hearts free, pure, full of God’s agape love

Instill in Pastor and Leaders a spirit of excellence, of joy in their work

Inspiration

May Pastor and Leaders receive as from the Lord lessons of humility

Pray for direction in decision-making and for confirmation of decisions

God continually give Pastor and Leaders ears to hear what His Holy Spirit has to say through them to others, the congregation, and their families

And the other way around: ears to hear the Holy Spirit speak to them through others, the congregation, and their family

Flourishing, deep, fruitful, restorative, refreshing prayer life

Give Pastor and Leaders strength to carry out God’s special work

Pray for patience, understanding, timing; with that, that their time will be spent being productive, rather than just busy.

A stable mind: free of anger & bitterness, renewed day by day in the mind of Christ, centered on God’s Truth

Pray for the Holy Spirit’s perfect unity among church leaders; for love, understanding, compassion, empathy, inspiration, patience, direction

Pray for Pastors and Leaders to be good husbands and fathers, tenderhearted and loving toward their families.

Pray for Pastor’s and Leaders’ wives: protection, sustenance, purpose, patience and understanding, joy, peace.

And for their children, that they will grow in the nurture and understanding of the Lord, raised unto salvation.

Ephesians 6.18, 19 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;  And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel

National Day of Prayer

Tomorrow is the National Day of Prayer for the US. Below is information I received in an e-mail from IFA (Intercessors for America). When you click on a link for a resource, it asks for your e-mail. This has been safe for me, no sharing of info or spam. There is also an option to login and to sign up to pray. Those with accounts have access to all the resources. I have used several of their resources in guiding me to fervent, authentic prayer for my country.

To pray for specific legislative updates: https://prayforamericasleaders.com/legislative-updates/

MAKE THE MOST OF THE NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER
For the first time in 70 years the National Day of Prayer observance will not happen on Capitol Hill.But barricades, security, and politics in Washington, D.C. cannot stop Americans from observing this day and praying for our nation.How can you participate? Here are three ways:First, we encourage you to join us on our National Day of Prayer webcast on Thursday at 12:15pm ET (details below).Second,  many of the people you know who celebrate the National Day of Prayer may be encouraged to know that praying for the nation is something IFA intercessors do year round. It is more than just a day. Take this opportunity to introduce the Intercessors for America network to your praying friendsClick here for a great download to share with others in response to this day of prayer. And third, stay on top of what is happening in your state with Pray for America’s Leaders new Legislative Updates. Click below and see what needs prayer in your state today! 
GO THERE NOW

We encourage you to join us on our National Day of Prayer webcast, featuring Pam Pryor, former State Department official, who will be sharing about prayer in government. Dave Kubal, IFA President and CEO, will be on-site in D.C. to offer live, up-to-the-minute observances and commentary. Click here to watch IFA’s National Day of Prayer program on Thursday at 12:15pm ET or you can connect by phone at (712) 775-7430.
May America Bless God!


Dave Kubal
President/CEO




INTERCESSORS FOR AMERICA
IFApray.org

Serving One Another in God’s Love

Some days ago, during devotions and prayer, my Lord planted this in my heart. As I meditate on it daily, it grows and grows:

It’s not about me:

You will do Your work in me as I do Your work in serving others.

Several Bible verses support this. I leave one passage here, and ask that you leave your thoughts and pertaining verses in the comments.

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Philippians 2.3, 4

God bless you.