518 posts categorized "Prayer"

Time for Rest

 

44567A4C-B159-4529-98EE-9775428692ABHello beloved SUMites! This month while I was asking God what he wanted me to write about I felt him say “REST”. I believe he is leading some of us into a time of deep rest, I know he is me! So today I am going to share with you a few things our Father has been showing me about rest. I hope it blesses you as it has me!

When our children are small we prioritize their rest. I don’t know about you, but nap time was taken pretty seriously when my kids were babies! Most days we would arrange our schedule around “rest time” to make sure we were home. During those times my house was transitioned into rest mode. I turned all the lights down low, my phone sound off, and all noise had to be kept at a low volume. Then I would read and sing to my babies while we snuggled up. They didn’t have to sleep, but they had to stay quiet and rest for some time. This was also a big part of how I maintained my sanity in those days! Haha!

So why was rest time so important? Because I knew what would happen if my babies did not get the rest they needed! The longer they went without resting the moodier, more irritable, and downright meaner they became! They would be unable to find joy in the things that usually made them happy, and they would make things harder on the people around them (ahem, me and their dad!). Rest was vital for us!

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1

We are not so different from children in our need for rest. Our bodies often crave it, but we continually deny it in an effort to be the most productive. Why don’t we prioritize rest? Why don’t we make it a point to shut off all the outside noise and just sit in silence with the Father for a few minutes each day? I believe even a small change like this could drastically change our spiritual health!

Our Heavenly Father wants rest for us in the same way an earthly parent wants rest for their baby. He sees us overloading our schedules and overstimulating our senses, and he is asking us to stop and sit with him. Just take a few moments each day to rest in him! Just as we brush our teeth every morning, resting in him should be part of our daily routine. We can steal a few moments on our lunch breaks, during the babies nap time, or even in the shower if you find that is the only place you are alone! Once you do make it a part of daily life, I believe you will start to notice a shift in your mind and spirit!

God has been calling me to a place of rest over this last year. And let me tell you, it has been  much harder than I thought it would be! I had not realized how much I had bought into the worlds idea that in order to be successful you had to “hustle”. Your schedule should be packed. That’s how you know you are doing something worth while. Oh man was I wrong! He has slowly been leading me out of my own chaos and into HIS calm. And what I am experiencing is so sweet and so precious. It took months for me to finally listen, to start lightening the load that I had burdened myself with, and fill those spaces with quiet and rest in him. 

I believe with all my heart that this is what he is calling a few of to do as well! Maybe there are some things you need to let go of, maybe you need to get better at saying “no” (this was me!). Whatever it is, I pray that you can make time for your rest with him. He sees how bad you need it, he is just waiting for you to snuggle up next to him and REST!

I would love to hear from you in the comments! What do you feel you need to change in your life in order to make room for rest? 

Love you all, Amanda 


A Night of Holy Laughter

By Ann Hutchison Wedding cake 2

My friends, I had a reallllly interesting night a week ago. It was one of those nights where you see God move and you drive home with a head full of thoughts.

To tell you the story, I need to backtrack a little. One of our SUMites, Paula Blackie, lives about an hour's drive from me, and every now and again I meet her for coffee.

The first time we ever met in person, we randomly picked a cafe halfway between our two houses. When we got there, imagine our surprise when we saw that the cafe was decorated with model wedding cakes ... Everywhere. 

I meet a SUMite in a place where the walls are adorned with wedding cakes? ... Love it!

But God had more fun for us than that.

A few months ago (sitting in this cafe), Paula shared with me that she'd been asked by God to gather families in her neighborhood on the beach on a Sunday night. She obeyed.

Shortly after that, she was nudged by God to phone a particular man, and ask if she could use his house for these gatherings. Well, he had already been nudged by God about this too, and said yes. So began a little house church.

This house church has grown to about fifty people, and a competent team of four leaders -- amazing, sold-out, on-fire Christians -- have come around Paula to help her. As a team of three men and two women, they love this 'church' as much as Paula does and they run it as a team. 

Can SUMites do this? Well, sometimes God works in unusual ways. The Bible has many stories that demonstrate that.

Having heard all this, I needed to go and visit this house church. For me, this story of Paula's has become a much-loved extension in our SUM family; it's something one of our community is doing and it's exciting.

Here's where it got fun...

I turned up thinking I was going to just eat a meal and enjoy meeting some people; but, Paula got nudged by the Holy Spirit: "Ask Ann to join in with ministry."

They're all sitting in the room on couches, we've listened to some worship and taken communion. Paula sidles up to me and says: "We're going to walk round and give every person a marshmallow and say 'Jesus loves you'. Then, Ann, would you be happy to pray for each person and give them a blessing?"

I'd never done this before with a room of strangers ... but I really was very happy to do it, so said a joyful yes.

Each person in that room was a stranger to me, bar Paula and one other. Strangers yes, but brothers and sisters in Christ. I knelt in front of each person one by one, asked Jesus what to pray, waited to see what popped into my mind, and used that to pray.

Honestly, I couldn't tell if those prayers were resonating with them. But I do know that if you pray blessing over someone with the right heart, your words are powerful. 

It came to Paula, and I somehow got the sense of tears of laughter, so I said, "I bless you with tears of laughter." What a funny thing to pray but it was what popped into my mind.

Well ... I finished, plonked myself down on a dining seat, and turned to someone to talk to them, when snorts of laughter started to emit from Paula's corner. I looked over thinking, "She's being quite loud"... But then I saw the man next to her double over, tears streaming down his face, joy on his face. He looked over at me, said, "I feel the presence of God so thickly," then burst out laughing again. Then, suddenly, the man in the chair next to me leant forward, head in hands, and started to giggle.

It was Holy Laughter! 

Well, when we bless people, the joy of heaven comes. I love the fact the laughter came after that round of blessings. Funnily, I never felt the laughter myself -- so instead I watched them curiously with a smile on my face. 

On the drive home I said to God, "Whether or not each prayer resonated, I do pray that those blessings will come to fruition in those people's lives."

And I, for one, cannot wait to visit that house church again. 

Oh I hope you liked that story, and I wish you a joy-filled weekend, and that the joy of the Holy Spirit will fill you to the brim, overflowing!

Love,

Ann


Prayer Strategies from the Parable of the Sower

By Ann Hutchison Sword bird

I often think it's great to use scripture in our prayers sometimes. That way we know that the words we speak in prayer are spot-on. 

Of course, there are many other ways to pray too, like having a big heart-to-heart chat with God. But using scripture is one creative little thing we can do; it's a specific prayer strategy.

With scripture, what we can do is take certain truths, turns of phrase, or key words, and speak them out. It is powerful to do that.

I remember once in church a minister came up to me and spoke a single line of scripture over me as a prayer. I fell over there and then!! Literally, the power of the Holy Spirit knocked me to my knees. All she did was speak a line of scripture. 

That has never happened to me before or since, but it taught me a big lesson about just how powerful the word of God is.

Anyway, there are all kinds of scriptures that can be used creatively as a basis for a prayer and today I thought I would look at a particular passage that applies to our unsaved loved ones: The Parable of the Sower. 

I say that parable is appropriate to our loved ones because it's all about what's going on in people's hearts when they don't believe. That parable explains why some people don't receive the Gospel, and why some people fall away even after they have been strong Christians. That last one is sobering. I often come back to this parable and re-read it, just to help myself understand.

The parable goes like this --

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matthew 13:3-9, NIV)

Then Jesus interpreted that story:

“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:8-23, NIV)

It's such a helpful parable, I love it. But it's even richer when we turn it into a prayer strategy. If we take the above truths and turn them into prayer for our spouse, we can pray like this:

"In the Name of Jesus:

  • I declare with absolute authority that the enemy will not be allowed to snatch away the message of the Kingdom that is sown in my spouse's heart.
  • I pray for a deep root of belief to grow in my spouse so that when they do finally have faith it will withstand trouble and persecution.
  • I declare that the deceitfulness of wealth and the worries of this life must not be allowed to choke the word of God in my spouse's life.
  • I pray that my spouse will hear the word, understand it and produce a crop that yields much."

Amen!

Dear friends, how about we pray these things for our spouses and children this weekend?

Ann


Not My Will, But Yours Be Done.

Garden picture"Then He withdrew from them about a stone's throw, knelt down, and began to pray, 'Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me - nevertheless, not my will, but Yours be done.' Then an angel appeared to Him, strengthening Him. Being in anguish, He prayed more fervently, and His sweat became like drops of blood falling on the ground" (Luke 22:39-44, CSB).

Jesus felt fear, He felt anguish, He felt overwhelmed, He felt exhaustion. We know this because of scriptures like the one above. But what did Jesus do about it? What was His response to this event He knew was causing all these feelings? Even in the face of pain beyond measure, He told the Father, "Not my will, but YOUR will be done." Jesus had human feelings. That is one of the beautiful things about conversing with Him in prayer, we can be honest with Him and take comfort in knowing He truly understands what it is like to be human. We know Jesus NEVER sinned, yet He did have feelings. It was His response to those feelings that we can learn so much from!

Jesus did not take human emotions lightly. He knew exactly how much trouble they could cause if one gave in to them. I am sure that is one of the reasons He frequently sought alone time with God. He knew He HAD to stay close to the Father, every moment of the day. This was one example He gave us of how to survive in the flesh and not fall into temptations. Constant communion with Father! He also showed us how to fight against Satan, using God's word (Matt 4:1-11), resting when we need to (Matt 8:24), and in the gathering of the disciples He showed us the importance of a supportive faith community!

His simple, yet profound prayer in the garden showed us what we should all do in times of great crisis and pain, times of fear and exhaustion, times of sorrow and anguish, even in times of hope and anticipation: "Not my will, but Yours be done."

I recently had a sort of come-to-Jesus moment in my life. Emotions were running high and I was faced with a hard decision. One that would very much change my life. I could run towards this issue. Face it and work it out. Or I could run and choose the easy way. The calmer waters full of instant gratification and self righteousness. So I prayed, but it was one of those prayers where you THINK God is going to agree with you, ya know those? Well just imagine how I felt when He gave me very clear instructions to do exactly what I DID NOT want to do! Funny how that works isn't it? ;)

So, after crying my eyes out and having a little pity party, I said, "Okay, not my will, but Yours be done." And you know what? The weight of this issue, which before felt suffocating, was suddenly lighter. Peace has been filling me ever so slowly and gently as each day passes that I keep choosing to live in His will. I have not seen the fruit of this decision yet, but the obedience and trust in the Father is more important than the result itself. I know I am on the road God wants me to be on. I just need to quit thinking I know a short cut, because He has the map! ;) "Not my will, but Yours be done." Not my way, but YOUR way Lord!

Is there anything in your life to need to let go of? Or maybe even trying to let go of before God has told you to? Ask God about it today! With a humble heart and listening ears say "Not my will, but Yours be done," and see what peace comes when you walk in His will! I would love to discuss this with you all in the comments. Have a blessed Holy Week my SUM family!

Amanda


A Prayer for Us to Speak in Unison

Hi SUM family, Lord send revival

It's Ann here, and today I wanted to share some words that we can pray out loud for our families -- Words I'll share in a minute. 

Our families are our land, much like the land that the Israelites fought for. Like the Israelites we have to fight for them, boot the giants out, that's Satan and his minions, and bring the Kingdom to that territory.

"But the land which you cross over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water from the rain of Heaven, a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year." (Deuteronomy 11:11-12, NKJV)

It's often a long road to fight for our loved ones, a prayer battle of years. And in battling on our knees sometimes we need new ideas, a little variety, and fresh words.

So here's a creative way that we can pray today. It actually comes in the form of a song. The song is called Lord Send Revival by Hillsong Young and Free, and its words are a prayer and plea to the God of the Heavenly Armies for a particular territory.

Can I suggest you find a quiet corner, put on the song and speak or sing it as a prayer specifically for your family? The lyrics are here, and a video of the song is below. I'll be doing that too this afternoon as this post goes live.

Happy praying, and may our joint prayers come up for a memorial before God (Acts 10:4).

Peace like a river, wash over me.

Immerse me in water as deep as the sea.

Hide me in love your healing embrace.

Peace like a river, wash over me.

 

As I worship Your majesty,

I worship Your Holy Name,

Jesus my everything,

All that I am is Yours.

 

Come Holy Spirit, rain down on me (I feel his presence as I type that!)

Break open the Heavens and drench the unseen.

Pour out Your presence as I pour out your praise

Come Holy Spirit, Lord have your way.

 

Open the Heavens, fling wide the gates

Flood every heart with mercy

Pour out your presence, inhabit our praise

As we cry Holy Holy

 

Lord send revival, Lord send it now

A move of your Spirit, Heaven break out

Come now in power, cover this land

Like you've done it before

Would you do it again.

 


Praying for Adult Children

By Ann Hutchison Adult baby birds

Recently I was on the phone to my mum and told her I was going to take my two boys on a hike without Bryce. This sent her into instant Mum-anxiety mode. Breathing heavily down the phone she said, "Will you be ok?" and ... "Make sure you take water."

So funny. She will never stop acting like my Mum. Even though I am 46. To her I am like the big baby bird in this picture here -- Big, but still her baby.

I know many of you watch your adult children with baited breath: You watch them exercise their free will in matters that may get them lost ... And so does God watch them. I still have this to come, but I can only imagine how easy it is to get anxious about an adult child.

As an adult child myself who was spiritually lost, one day my Mum ever-so-gently gave me a book as a gift -- A Christian book. It was called Journey into God's heart by Jennifer Rees Larcombe. It was a powerful spiritual memoir and testimony. I read it on the plane home after visiting my parents and by the end of the plane journey I was bawling. That book had a big part to play in bringing me to God. Behind the scenes, of course, was my Mum.

Jennifer Rees Larcombe, that book's author, is now a minister in the UK and, because her book brought me to God I have a special love for her ministry (Beauty from Ashes). She remains one of my favorite people to read on Facebook. She is also a grandparent and has six adult children, some of whom have walked through some really tough stuff. 

Last week she posted this question on Facebook, and I'm going to repeat it because the replies people gave contained so much helpful stuff. She said: Jen's post

Could you help me with your practical tips?
I never know how to pray for my grown up children so I have a stone for each of them and, one by one, I pick them up and lift them to the Lord. What helps you?
 
Then she posted a photo of the stones .. Which I just had to include because it's lovely. I love the fact the stones are all different, capturing the uniqueness of each child.
 
Even better, in the comments an array of wonderful suggestions came back. Here's the link to the Facebook page where you can see all the suggestions more fully, which are well worth reading (the post is on 27 January), but for now here are some of the suggestions people gave:
 
- Make prayer for your adult children a daily routine; 
 
- Use a poem, hymn, or passage of scripture and insert their names into it, reading it out loud;
 
- Remember to thank God for these children and thank him for looking after them;
 
- Use a photo as a prompt to pray for them when looking at it. (One lady said she keeps a photo of each child in her Bible, another said she has a mug with their faces on and when she drinks from it she'll pray).
 
- Journal words of prayer and blessing over them.
(One lady said she writes their names down and then doodles creatively, writing ideas and words as she prays).
 
- And finally, don't forget simple prayers of simple trust, for sometimes we just don't have the words.
"Lord, I lift them up to you", "Lord, enter their lives", and "Lord I entrust my children to you."
 
There was so much more, and I was hesitant to copy people's individual responses so I kept the above summary broad, but if this topic speaks to you do take a look at the Facebook post (you don't have to be on Facebook to be able to read the post).
 
As for us, how about we answer the same question here: How do you pray for your adult children?
 
Nice chatting, 
Ann

Community Fast & Pray January 3-7

SUM Fast 2022Fast 2022

As far back as I can remember the SUMite Nation has fasted together the first full week of January. Well, at least for more than a decade now. That's amazing!

I’m convinced that any type of fast we offer the Lord, opens up the prayer line to our Father. However, a genuine food fast, in the manner that Jesus speaks, is truly life-changing.

Today, set your mind to fast with all of us.

The fast begins Monday, January 3rd at sunup. Fasting concluded on Friday, January 7th at sundown. If at all possible, fast solid foods through the entire week. End the week with the Lord’s Supper (Recipe below).

Or offer a daily fast from solid foods from sunup to sundown, taking the Lord’s Supper at the end of the day (recipe below).

Or fast sunup and then a small meal at night with the family. And finally, I urge you, fast time away from your phone and devices. Avoid television if you can and put your phone down. Don’t take your phone into your quiet time (this is a reminder to myself, ack!!!).

Fasting is a humbling process. It’s not arm twisting the Lord. But when we are humbled, our prayers become the loudest. Humility and honor are the keys to an audience with the King.

In addition to fasting. Get a large candle. Light it each morning and leave it in a room where you will see the flame flickering often. Each time you see the flame, pray.

Prayer prompts:

Jesus, what is your favorite thing about me?

Jesus, what word are you speaking over my life in this season?

Jesus, how can I pray with more effectiveness for my family? Home, Church, City, Nation?

Jesus, what areas exist in my life that give our enemy legal rights to oppress me? My children? My Spouse? Nation?

Jesus, how to I gain freedom in these areas?

Okay, finally, in the comments, I want you to state to the enemy: I AM PRAYING AND FASTING.

Here is the recipe. Thank you for my great friend, Jeanne Ritari! Jean, you ROCK! I’ve made this bread and it truly will bring you closer to the reality of communion and the love of Jesus.

Unlevened Bread 1Unleavened Bread

  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • Pinch of salt

Oven 400 F/ 200 C

Warm the milk and dissolve the honey in it.  In a medium bowl, stir the flour into the milk and add a pinch of salt.  Combine well and knead very briefly (only enough to incorporate the flour.)

Divide dough into 6 or 8 equal parts.  Form each part into a ball and pat or roll into a rough circle.  Divide into four or six triangles using a knife or pizza cutter.  Place on a baking sheet (I use parchment paper to avoid sticking.)  Repeat with all the balls of dough (you may need more than one baking sheet.)  Prick all the discs several times with a fork.

Place the baking sheet in a hot oven for 15 minutes.  Remove and let cool.  Store in refrigerator (it keeps for several days), or wrap unused portion well and freeze until needed. 

Unlevened Bread 2


I see a cloud the size of a man's hand

Hi SUM family, Ann here. Singing

Whew, it’s been an exciting week with us hearing about two spouses’ salvations in one week. If you missed those you can catch up here and here.

Well, unbelievably, there’s more! No sooner had I uploaded Monday's post about a second salvation than I got a message from another SUM friend (a local friend): Unbelievably, her husband had just responded to an altar call this past Sunday at church. 

Three in one week.

Are you pulling the same stunned face as me, I wonder?

All I could do then is play the song ‘God is on the Move’ on repeat in my living room and do some serious (uncool, Mum-looking) dancing in celebration. My teenage son, Miles, sauntered down the stairs midway through. He looked at me, smirked, shook his head, and walked on into the kitchen to get himself some toast.

So funny!

Anyway, somewhere in amongst this extreme excitement, God gave me a scripture. He said, “Go and look at the passage where Elijah prays seven times before he sees a small cloud.”

So I did; and I wondered what I would see. I suppose it’s one of those stories I’d read a few times so perhaps felt ‘old’. The thing is, scripture is so full of treasure it’s never old. I should have known better and, sure enough, I saw something brand new this time.

The story of Elijah’s cloud is in 1 Kings 18:41-46, and it goes like this: There has been a desperate drought in Israel, but then Elijah proclaims to the King that rain is coming. He says to the king, "Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of the abundance of rain." In other words, "You don’t need to worry about stashing up food any more, I promise you the rain is coming!"

Truly, I feel this way about the spouses in our community. Impossible as it seems, we can know something is coming in the spirit before we see it in the natural. It's just ... There's perseverance first.

Elijah went to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked, and said, “There is nothing.” And seven times he said, “Go again.” (1 Kings 18:42-43, NKJV)

Seven times, nothing.

Isn't that just like the prayer for our spouses? We pray. Nothing. Nothing. Oh, and nothing. Nothing? Nope, nothing. Nothing. Can’t see any sign of my spouse turning…. Years pass …. Nothing.

Shall I say that again for effect? Here we go, six 'nothings': Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Ok, I now hereby sign and seal this thing as officially impossible. That's not to say it won't happen; it's just it's an impossible thing that needs God. We all look at each other, nod our heads, agreeing and understanding that it will take a miracle the size of the red sea parting. 

Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, “There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!” (v. 44)

I wonder if even Elijah, let alone his companion, couldn't quite believe what he was seeing, even though he had sensed it in the spirit. After all, 'We're in a drought!'

So, with all that in mind, here's what just happened for us this past week:

One man’s hand goes up in surrender, ‘I say yes to Jesus’.

Another man’s hand goes up in surrender, ‘I say yes to Jesus’.

And a third man’s hand goes up in response to an altar call.

Oh, it's a cloud 'the size of a man’s hand' rising from the sea! A sign. A sign of more to come. We don't know how or when, but yes. More will come.

I am smiling here, and with that I’ll sign off for the weekend. Lynn will be here on Monday. In the meantime, for your pleasure here's 'God is on the Move'!

 


The Way We Fight Giants

My friends, Ann here.

I have a problem. Here I am writing a series on how to fight giants using the example of some fear I've been battling … But this week the fear has gone completely! So, that's inconvenient because I'm trying to write about it. Maybe the giant wasn't enjoying the fight and ran away. ((Haha!)) Giant fighting

Resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7, NIV)

It's true. As my fingers have typed words about how small giants are I’ve become increasingly fearless. To the point that I feel I've been injected with happy drugs!!

And, in that state, we've reached the part in our series where David picked up five stones to kill Goliath. 

“Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd's bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.” (1 Samuel 17:40, NIV)

This passage could be seen as an analogy for spiritual warfare in a Christian’s life. It’s easy to think ‘spiritual warfare’ has to be big and dramatic, but it’s mainly fought in the secret place, the place of intimacy with God. 

It can even be a restful battle, if we can get there. The stones are smooth, after all, and manageable.

I keep a pouch of five stones in my prayer room (TV room) as a symbol, I suppose. And I have an idea of what my top five regular stones (i.e., spiritual warfare tools) are. One is fasting, another is rest. Another, taking communion in my home. Five smooth stones

But there are probably 25 'stones' (i.e., tools) available to us, not just five. And in our community others will have a different 'top five' to me because, as an army, we have different skill-sets, gifts, and experiences.

I therefore posted a question on Facebook, asking our community what their top five are. Here’s what they said, including their quotes. I personally found these wonderful to read, and I hope you do too.

The five smooth stones of the SUM community

Worship. Private time spent in worship invites in the Lord’s presence and power; but even playing worship music in the background changes the atmosphere (2 Chronicles 20:21-22).

Praise and gratitude. Speaking out or journaling such words (Psalm 100:4)

Asking for prayer and support from trusted prayer partners/friends. Sometimes we're too embattled to pray for ourselves except to eek out 'help'. A solid two or three, or a group (e.g., church home-group) who really care about your situation is like a strong, three-fold cord (Ecclesiastes 4:12). As is their emotional support.

Prayer. This is a huge topic, but it can include specific routines like praying on the armor of Ephesians 6:10-17 routinely, binding the enemy's activity and releasing glory and blessing verbally into a situation (Matthew 18:18); blessing the house, the bed, and more.

Healing prayer from a trusted source. Our battle may have at its source underlying spiritual issues (e.g., generational stuff, freemasonry in the family) that can be revealed and healed through prayer with a trained person. We're blessed to have access to that here with Lynn's healing prayer ministry.

Reading the Bible, and quoting scripture out loud, confessing God's truths and promises. Here's a great quote: "Throw a scripture stone to combat whatever battle you are currently facing. If it is healing, throw all the scriptures verses as a stone." 

Surrender to the Lord, exchanging our will for His. A couple of SUMites said here, "The fruits are like no other". 

Journaling. I loved this quote: "I put it all down on paper or computer the situation, including my feelings, and the Lord walks me through it. Then I can throw away everything except the lesson learned."

Time and intimacy with God. "Long walks outside with the Lord / Getting up early to be with him." "Walk n pray along with sitting on the beach and asking Jesus to be with me." This overlaps with other things.

And more, but I'm out of space:

Laughter

Rest

Delight in Him

Revisiting prophetic words we have received

Distraction from triggers

Fasting

Praying in tongues

SUMites, we are equipped and we're up to the task. For the stones are manageable.

Next time I write I'll continue with this series. For now: Do any of the above tools intrigue you and make you want to know more? If so, which ones?

Have a great weekend, everyone!


Belief vs. Unbelief: A Final Thought

Hi SUM family, Ann here. Ingredients of belief

It’s been fun this past week thinking about the different factors that go into belief vs unbelief. Thanks for reading along, and for your comments -- Reading what you had to say was like iron-sharpening-iron!

I know theologians write about deep matters like predestination and free will. But for us SUMites, we live out those questions every day and our view will be home-spun. We tend to do a very personal analysis right in our home, asking: “What is going on here, Lord?” After all, we desperately want to understand our spouse’s story.

From writing about it this past week I am left with one main thought, which is a little humbling:

O the deepness of the riches, both of the wisdom, and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! (Romans 11:33, GNV)

Yep, much of it is unfathomable. In some ways that helps me sit back and rest a little. If, for example, the spiritual mismatch in my own marriage has an element of God's timing attached to it, then who am I to complain. Alternatively, if the reason for my family's unbelief is that the demonic realm is trying to thwart our faith lives, then my attitude can be: "Ok, Lord, teach me to see it and to fight."

Overall, knowing that our loved ones have free will but the demonic has a role, and (importantly) the Father has some kind of clock or plan, here is a final prayer for us today as we finish this mini-series:

Lord God. We know You are sovereign and we know You are good.

We know You have a book written about our lives. From this day forward help us to align our own feet with the book you have written for us.

Teach us how to fight the enemy for the freedom of our spouse.

Teach us how to fight the enemy for our own freedom.

Show us how to walk in a way that respects our spouse’s free will but brings them the truth You want them to know.

And please keep speaking to us, the SUM community!

In the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we pray this. Amen.

My friends, that's all for now, and I'm praying about what to write next. I hope you are managing to keep marching and are keeping well out there.

With love,

Ann


Pray This Prayer For Your Family and Marriage

There are times we need to lean on other’s prayers. And today, I have a prayer that God gave me recently to pray for my home and family. Lean on it. Pray it aloud in your prayer time. Pray it often. It truly is from the Lord. Save it in your notes on your phone. Take it out and pray it as often as God reminds. Hugs, Lynn

 

Praying HandsFather, I come in the name of Jesus to Your Mercy Seat today to receive mercy and help. Today, I ask You, Father, to bless my home with the Shalom of heaven. Bless my family with divine health. Protect all of us from all evil assaults against our bodies, soul, spirit, mind, will and emotions.

Lord, decree and bless my marriage that we operate intentionally within a partnership of unity. Bless us with the spirit of mutual honor, love, respect and kindness. Bless our marriage to be filled with a spirit of cooperation and unity. Bless us to love one another with our words and our body language.

Lord bless my children with curiosity, with self-discipline and help me to also cultivate creativity, independence and self-responsibility and a hunger for God within their minds and hearts.

Bless us with a fierce protection and love for one another. Bless us to smile, to laugh and to uplift each other. Bless us with Your Presence and speak into our lives Your hope, truth and goodness.

In Jesus’ name. AMEN


How Do We Linger Long with the Lord?

Dear friends, Ann here. Linger

Last week I shared a story about a shift in my home. A good shift. If you missed that post, you can read it here. Essentially, a peace came and settled between me and my hubby, and we stopped having disagreements about faith or church.

Wonderful!

Perhaps at some point in a SUM, this is what happens. I would be interested to hear in the comments if any others of you have found that. I know that Lynn felt that shift one or two years before her husband, Mike, got baptized.

Now, I keep a careful diary about my life with God, and in the case of this particular shift I looked back and noticed something curious. At the very time that the shift with my husband happened, I had begun to do something new: I had begun to linger a little longer with the Lord.

It was right when I began to linger a little longer that a peace descended in my home. 

So, I'd like to share a bit about my journey with that.

Like many of us, I've had a busy life for a long time. I worked as a lecturer at the University of Auckland, a busy job. And, of course, I had my family. Despite the busyness, I would spend daily time with God, but there sometimes wasn't the capacity to spend as much time as I wanted. That is the case for many, I know. And life has seasons, God understands. 

Anyway, 2019 rolled round and God took me on a little adventure there. First, he made it clear that he had a new plan for me and that I was to leave my job. I didn’t know exactly why, but I duly waved goodbye to my colleagues, and began a time of being a housewife.

It was then that the Lord nudged me to do something rather counter-cultural. Here's what he asked:

“Ann, would you try giving me your whole morning, and see what happens?”

My whole morning? Every morning? Umm ... I'd actually like to!

So I did. It looked like this: Get up, make coffee, see the boys off to school, and then sit with God. Sit. Sit. Sit some more. Until midday. In those hours, I did nothing except chat to him, read scripture, worship, journal, look back on stories of his faithfulness in my life or others' lives, pray for others … And focus 100% on filling myself up.

Some might say to that: "Wow, that's kinda lazy!" Well, that was the question for me. Was I being lazy? I will confess to being a natural couch potato. So was it lazy, or was it the most worthwhile thing I could do? 

I had to count the cost. It meant we would not be living in a show home, for housework came second. I had less space in my diary. I didn't really get to go round the shops much that year, which I otherwise would have enjoyed. I did without some pleasures. It made me a bit serious in some ways, because matters of faith are serious if we go near the topic of others' salvation, good and evil, and so on. But, I became addicted to the Lord.

And somewhere in amongst this lingering, the presence of God came and brought some new peace. Things shifted. 

It wasn't just my marriage. It was myself. I began to feel constantly like I had been injected with happy drugs. For that is the abundant life of Jesus.

Now, to come back to earth: Yes, it was a treat, and usually it's not practical to linger that long. Especially if you work, or have toddlers. But what we can do is say this: "Lord, I'd like to give you a little bit longer than I have before" Then, "How can I rearrange my life so that I can linger with you?"

It might just be 10 minutes more than we did before. It might be one lunch-break a week at work. That is lingering … A little longer than we did before.

And, if we find it hard to concentrate, hard to linger, if we find we get distracted, we can pray for help with it: Lord, help me to linger a little longer with you!

How easy or hard do you find it to linger at the moment? What kinds of obstacles get in the way? Let's chat! 


FAST DAY THREE - TWO PRAYER POINTS

Prayer and Fasting 2021My SUMer friends,

I have LOVED Ann’s posts for this fast. I literally teared up yesterday. So touching.

I am thrilled to lead today’s focus for our prayer and fasting. This is the midweek stretch. It will be very difficult today. But press in. I’m finding I’m overwhelmed by tremendous fatigue. Weird. I think it’s more spiritual than physical. So, I have a large cup of tea present most of the time and I’m making myself sit with my laptop. Need to finish this next book!!! Thank you, Jesus.

Two things. I can’t ignore the significance of what is happening in America today. Please pray for America. What happens today and the weeks ahead have long lasting implication upon our world, our faith and freedom, and our future.

Today let’s ask Papa what purpose is ahead for us in 2021. Ask Him for a word. In years past my good friend, Dineen, would ALWAYS receive a word for her year. This never happened to me. However, I wrote about my first word in Marching Around Jericho.

So, let’s ask the Lord about the Word that is written over our lives right now.

Also, ask the Lord this question. Father, what is your purpose for me this year?

Please, PLEASE, write what you hear, your word, purpose and more in the comments.

I will echo each of them as a witness in the heavens. I love all of you deeply. Keep pressing in as breakthrough is imminent. Love and hugs, Lynn


A Prayer of Blessing Over Our Children

Dear SUMites, Ann here! Vidya

As a mum of two teen boys, I have to say that parenting is the biggest thing I bring to the Lord. Dare I confess that it really can send me over the edge when I think too long and hard about my precious boys and how precarious it feels to let them detach from my apron strings and fly free. Anyone else out there feel this way? These days my prayers have ramped up for that very reason and, in particular, it's their faith life that occupies me.

Yet, just like with my husband, I find I can't just make this thing happen on my own strength. And it takes a good deal of thought.

I know that many of you feel the same, and it's a big part of our SUM journey trying to figure out how to raise our children effectively in faith.

Well, today I want to share a prayer that one of our SUMites, Vidya Rodney, has written for us. She too is a mum and I always love the thoughtful prayers she contributes. This one is a great one for us this Friday.

Thanks, Vidya!

***

Blessings Over Our Children

My child is the head and not the tail. My child is above and not beneath.

I bless my child with favor, good understanding and high esteem in the sight of God and others, in Jesus' name.

I bless my child with wisdom and understanding in all study and endeavors, in Jesus' name.

I bless my child to be filled with the knowledge of the Father's will, bearing fruits in every good work, in Jesus' name.

I bless my child to prosper at everything he/she touches, in Jesus' name.

I bless my child with divine protection, to be rooted and grounded in love, in Jesus' name.

I place the whole armor of God on my child, in Jesus' name.

I charge the Angels with flaming swords and flaming wings to stand guard at my child's sides to defend, protect and preserve them, in Jesus' name.

I bless my child to be a man/woman/boy/girl of integrity in everything they do, in Jesus' name, Amen

I bless my child to be established in perfect love which casts out all fears, in Jesus' name.

Amen and Amen

**

I am Vidya Rodney. Married to my pre-believing husband Andrew for 10 years. We have a beautiful  5 year old little girl Anya. I live in St Charles, Missouri, and first accepted Jesus in 2011 after losing our only brother to suicide. I have been a lukewarm Christian for years, but now I am stepping out to find out more of what Jesus has for me.


Our Coatings of Protection

Hi SUM family, Ann here. Coat

Last week I had a ‘moment’ in my SUM life, as we do, that turned into a good wisdom lesson for me, so I'm going to share it today. It was about God's protection.

I was reclining in my favorite armchair before bed one night, cocoa in hand, when something occurred to me and my face fell.

It was this: Recently I’ve developed a routine where, once dinner is in the oven at about 5 or 6pm, I go to my bedroom and pray for my family. That includes Bryce, and I’ve been praying various things for him with gusto. I like that new routine, it's a happy one; but on this day a thought struck:

“I would love it if it was the other way round. I'd love it if he prayed for me.”

Aggh, and that thought snowballed. I got thinking about the fact that a praying spouse would be a strong source of protection and I'm perhaps missing some kind of 'protective coat'. Or am I?

To be fair, my family has plenty of people praying for us. And actually, it's possible my husband prays more than I realize. His levels of belief have inched up lately, and I do believe there is a quiet blooming that I shouldn't be quick to disregard. But that evening I got tangled. I eventually went to bed, and the next morning the Lord seemed to want to correct my thinking. He said this to me:

Ann, go to the Bible and look at what coatings of protection you currently have.

I love it when God gives me something to explore, so the minute the boys left for school I made myself an enormous pot of coffee and rolled up my sleeves, ready to take a look at what it was he wanted me to see. 

My pen scribbled furiously that morning. I came up with quite a few forms of protection that I have, but here - listed below - are four of the key ones. And these apply to all of us SUMites. In fact, once I had finished working through that task I quickly realized that I had no need to fret whatsover. And I should leave my husband to go at his own pace when it comes to his own prayer life. Here, then, are some of the ways in which we are protected:

Layer of protection #1:

The shadow of Almighty God is so powerful we may as well be sitting under a nuclear bomb. If we make every effort to stay in that secret place, there's this:

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

“He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
 You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day.” (Psalm 91:1, 3, NKJV)

Layer of protection #2:

The blood of Jesus Christ is our source of victory. I imagine it sprinkled on our homes like the Israelites smeared lamb's blood on their doorposts.

"They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony" (Revelation 12:11, NKJV)

Layer of protection #3:

Head to toe, we wear special spiritual armour at all times. This includes a helmet, a breastplate, a shield, a tool belt, and strong shoes (Ephesians 6). This keeps us safe and sound, and then we easily fight for our families.

Layer of protection #4:

The many prayers of other saints, past and present, is a force-field. This includes those who sowed seeds in times past, some in our ancestry, some who are now in the cloud of witnesses, and some who are currently shepherds to us -- And those shepherds who are in our lives know their authority and pray powerful prayers. All these prayers protect us and our homes from the enemy and plant faith seeds that will surely grow.

**

With these coatings of protection, then, we never need to worry about being victorious in our own lives. In turn, as fighters we are equipped to care for our families. And, of course, a big protective mechanism is this community, and its many prayers for each other. 

Friends, in that spirit, if you'd like prayer today, put a post in the comments, and we'll gather round you. In the meantime, here's to fewer and fewer of those wobbly 'moments'! 


Welcome Listeners of Chris Brooks on Moody Radio

Marching Around Jericho Cover 3DIt’s an honor and privilege to share with the listeners on the Equipped show with Chris Books, Moody Radio, the amazing journey I took marching around Jericho and my unsaved spouse's faith journey. Chris is an amazing host and our conversation covered many aspects of living and praying for our unsaved spouses.

VISIT THE BROADCAST PAGE: Praying For Your Unsaved Spouse.
Chris Brooks & Lynn Donovan

The broadcast interview will be Tuesday, July 7 from 1 to 2 pm CENTRAL; 11-12 noon PACIFIC time. Visit the station and listen in: Moody Radio

Welcome to all who have come to this church without walls, to find love, encouragement and hope for your marriage.

If you are new, grab your copy of Marching Around Jericho, and start your march this week. Also, visit our new here page and find our community. Leave a prayer request in the comments and we will pray for you. You can connect in a number of ways through the blog comments, on Facebook, Instagram.

If you want more information and free resources to help you on your march visit, MarchingAroundJericho.com. Click on the Equipping center.

Chris brooks Equipped

I’m deeply thankful to Chris Brooks and Moody Radio for allowing me to share the hope I have. And to share that we can learn to love, live and thrive in faith and our marriages while we pray for our spouse’s salvation

Love and hugs, Lynn Donovan

Start your march today, MarchingAroundJericho.com

You can find more of my Kingdom teaching at lynndonovan.com


Want Your Spouse to Be Different? Pray Different! Pay this!

SUMites, Lynn again. Some of you know that I offer Healing Prayer and Spiritual Mentoring. I was so blessed to spend some time praying with a SUMite, Vidya Rodney. I was talking with her about the power of blessings, which I write about in Marching Around Jericho. 

She put together a prayer of blessings to pray over her husband. It's FANTASTIC. If you even speak only a few of these each day in your prayer time, you will make a significant change in the spiritual over your home, marriage and husband. Try them out. 

Vidya RodneyPrayers of blessings for my husband. By Vidya Rodney

Proverbs 18:21a- The tongue has the power of life and death.

Luke 10:19- I have given you the authority to trample on all snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.

Isaiah 55:11- So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and it shall succeed in the thing in which I sent it.

Job 22:28-You shall also decide and decree a thing, and it shall be established for you; and the light (of God's favor) shall shine upon your ways.

Mark 11:23- Truly I Say to you, whoever says to this mountain, “be taken up and thrown into the sea," and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.

Romans 4:17- As it is written," I have made you a father of many nations."-in the presence of God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

Ezekiel 37:4- Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say "Dry Bones hear the word of the Lord!

A couple of weeks ago , Lynn and I had a healing meeting and I was given specific prayer strategies from heaven to declare prayers of blessings over my husband and here are my prayer declarations of blessings over my husband, me (his wife) and our marriage covenant.

My dear Sumites, I believe with all my heart that we have the power to change our circumstance with our words and declarations, so almost every day I pray these prayers of blessings and I pray it would bless you. You can edit to suit your situation.

I bless my husband with a new spirit and tender, responsive heart in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the mind, thoughts, will of the father, feelings, and purposes of Jesus Christ in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to be a man of integrity in everything he does and his hand touches in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to love me like Christ loves the church in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the perfect love of Jesus Christ that expels all fear in Jesus name.

I Bless my husband to be the man that honors our marriage covenant in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the fruits of the spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with humility and tenderhearted mercy towards me and others in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to submit his will to God the Father in Jesus name. I bless my husband to have a teachable spirit that will allow the Holy Spirit to minister to him in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to think of thoughts that are true, lovely, pure, right, honorable, admirable, and praiseworthy in Jesus name.

I bless my husband, so that his heart will be ready to receive the perfect laborer across his path in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with Godly mentors at his workplace, in his extra-curricular activities and hobbies in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to open his spiritual eyes to see how god sees and his spiritual ears to hear when Jesus speaks to him in Jesus name. I bless my husband to see Jesus at his workplace, on his YouTube videos, to encounter miraculous signs and wonders in Jesus name.

I bless his boss and his bosses’ s boss in Jesus name. I bless my husband's hands to prosper at everything he does in Jesus name. I bless him with supernatural favor at his workplace in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the abundance of financial favor to be a cheerful giver in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with supernatural protection from any form of temptation and for his spiritual ears and eyes to be heightened to walk the righteous path in Jesus name. I bless him with the spirit of discernment in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to receive revelation knowledge of Jesus as his Lord and Savior in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to receive the kingdom of god and to participate in the works and purposes recorded in his book before time began in Jesus name.

I bless to be a man of integrity in everything he does in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the angel armies with flaming swords to guard, protect and preserve his life in Jesus name.

I bless him with the holy ring of fire of protection surrounding him and keeping him from all forms of temptation in Jesus name.

I bless him to have a supernatural encounter with Jesus Christ that will change his life forever in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the wisdom of Jesus to be the husband and father God has called him to be in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to let his guard down and discover the freedom in Jesus Christ that he desperately needs in Jesus name.

I bless our marriage covenant with healthy communication, mutual respect, transparency, commitment, agape love, understanding and trust and I seal it in the heavenly realms in Jesus name.

I bless our marriage covenant with the Shalom of Heaven and seal it in the heavenly realms in Jesus name.

I bless our marriage covenant with humility, selflessness, kindness, tenderhearted mercy, quick forgiveness and with cords that cannot be broken in Jesus name.

I bless our marriage bed to be kept pure with love and intimacy.

I bless my husband to desire me and find me irresistibly attractive in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to understand how high, how deep and how wide is the Love of God for him in, Jesus name.

I bless our marriage covenant between my husband and I and I seal it in the heavenly realms in Jesus name. I bless our home with the Shalom of Heaven in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the tools, wisdom, and strength to overcome burdens and to tread on the right path in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to be a wise steward of our finances in Jesus name.

I bless my husband with the courage of Jesus to stay away from uncompromising choices. I bless him with supernatural wisdom to make right decisions in Jesus name.

I bless my husband to be a wise, good, and kind father to our child in Jesus name.

I bless myself his wife to be his help meet in Jesus name.

I bless myself his wife to honor and respect him with my words, thoughts, and actions in Jesus name.

I bless myself his wife, to do him good , and not harm, all the days of his life in Jesus name.

Be blessed and be blessing happy!

*****
I am Vidya Rodney. Married to my pre-believing husband Andrew for 10 years. We have a beautiful  5 year old little girl Anya. I live in St Charles ,Missouri and first accepted Jesus in 2011 after losing our only brother to suicide. I have been a lukewarm Christian for years, but now I am stepping out to find out more of what Jesus has for me.


Persistence in Prayer

ID-100433873
Photo courtesy of Suriya Kankliang and FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Hello, dear friends. Ian from Down Under, here. Another month passes, another month where the majority of us are still in some form of lockdown due to COVID-19. It’s fascinating that we are all in this experience together and that God created us for this season. This is our moment. God made each one of us and our particular gifts and callings for this moment in time. As challenging as this season is, I get excited when I reflect on this season through this fresh lens.

He has our Attention

I saw a fabulous Instagram post a few weeks from a famous retired wrestler, Hulk Hogan. It said something along the lines of: every idol we worship (athletes, music, actors, money, business, church) has been shut down and all we’re left with is the ONLY thing that matters: Jesus, so focus on Him.

A few surveys have indicated that more people are praying and attending church online. Hallelujah. What’s fabulous about church online is it is demonstrating that we actually don’t need all the bells and whistles of the modern church, we simply need to participate in community to experience the Holy Spirit so long as the Word is being faithfully preached, prayers are raised and some songs are played, often with simply an acoustic guitar (remember the old days of only the church organ or piano, anyone?)

Be assured God is moving and Jesus rules and reigns.

God loves to hear us pray because He simply wants us to want Him. He made us so we could have relationship with Him. I love knowing that. He gets excited when we pray and spend time with Him to also listen to Him. Remember, prayer is as much about listening as it is speaking, just like any conversation we have with a loved one.

Time to Pray and Pray some more

We’ve spent some time in these past months exploring Lynn’s wonderful testimony in her latest book, Marching Around Jericho. One of the explicit teachings in Lynn’s book based on the well-known story in the book of Joshua, is the importance of persistence even when obeying God may lead to doing some unusual things like walking, singing and praising, around a walled city seven times.

I was reading a parable over the weekend that features in Luke 18 about the persistent widow who simply refused to take ‘no’ for an answer from the judge. In this season (well every season really), persisting in our prayer is so important. Most of us who have been SUMites for a while understand this as regards our spouses – keep persisting in prayer. But we can also be doing it now for the God’s Kingdom to come and His will done in this unprecedented season.

My Pastor summed up it brilliantly when he made this comment regarding prayer for healing:

“God didn’t create microwave ovens, but He did create trees” and trees persist in pushing down their roots continuously.”

Jesus exhorts us in this parable to pray and to keep praying.

Call on the Word of God

I was reminded of a valuable lesson in prayer today that we should use the many promises and/or the prayers that feature in the Bible. Recently, I’ve started praying over a non-believing friend the prayer of Paul in Ephesians 3. I look up a photo of this friend and pray these verses over them:

“that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (v 17-19 NKJV)

God loves hearing us pray back His promises and/or prayers of the Bible. Remember, the Psalms are the great prayer book of the Bible and using these as prayers for yourselves and/or others is a great source of fresh Biblically sound material. Sometimes, we can be struggling to pray for whatever reason, and I find that using the Bible helps stir my spirit and the Holy Spirit soon takes over because He’s excited that we’re using words He's inspired.

If you’re discouraged because you wonder why God doesn’t appear to be answering your prayer, take heart that even Jesus didn’t get all His prayers answered the way He wanted, but continue to trust in God’s goodness and love for you.

Keep praying, keep believing, keep yielding to His ‘will be done.’

Grace and peace,


I Asked God Some Questions ...

Hi friends, Ann here!Close to God

We're spending time talking over on Facebook about intimacy with God, so I thought I would follow suit in today's post. Many years ago, I observed another Christian's intimacy with God, and it was so eye-catching that it kick-started my own relationship with Him. Here’s what happened:

I was at my parents’ table in Reading, England. I live in New Zealand, so only visit once a year. On this visit I noticed that in their home ‘everything felt nice’. Even the coffee had that little ‘something special’.

Are you suspecting something? Yep, my parents were both growing in their connection with Jesus. As a non-Jesus-lover, I didn’t recognize the atmosphere for what it was, but I did notice my Dad seemed to spend a lot of time in his study. The door was closed for one or two hours, then he’d emerge for a late breakfast, cheerful.

Huh?!!

One morning at the table, I said to him: “What do you spend your time on?”

He cast me a secret smile: “Well, Ann, the only thing that matters to me these days is my relationship with God.”

Huh?!! I pulled a face but eyed him up quietly. Never heard such a thing.

Well, um, as you can tell, these days I’m a closed-door kinda girl myself with that same secret smile; it's the kind of smile that says ‘God is exciting!’ It’s funny how these things are catching. Couch

Yes, a while after asking my Dad that question, my heart got stirred and I began to do business with God on the couch in my living room. I am a couch potato, so can do time on the couch very easily, and this is where my relationship with God has happened. That couch is so meaningful to me now it’s like a family treasure. It's in the TV room, which I now term 'the prayer room' (much to the laughter of my family) and I retreat to it throughout the day -- Especially when life as a Mum gets intense.

Those years ago, on that very couch, I began to ask God some direct questions. The first one was ‘Um God, Do You Exist?’ Blow me down, He answered over a period of weeks with some extraordinary occurrences. Oh. Next question: ‘What is True?’ At this point, I bought a special notebook and started to record these questions, documenting my blossoming relationship with Him. One notebook led to another, and these days I have a pile of them. The questions seemed to open up closeness. Journals

After asking ‘What is true?’ God started to show me it was Jesus who was the Way, and there was no other. It was so compelling that all I could say was ‘Ok, this is true – I’m in.’

Then came a time I prayed a dangerous prayer, without realizing it was dangerous. By dangerous, I mean it was the kind of prayer that brings the Kingdom of Heaven near because it is completely in line with His will and you end up never the same again. Dangerous, but exciting. The prayer I prayed was this:

Align my desires with yours Lord.

I've heard of others praying something like this (e.g., Let me really know you, Lord), and I've heard them say 'Sometimes I wish I hadn't prayed that prayer because it’s not been easy.’ That's a little of how I feel about that prayer though I would never, ever want it to be different. See, after praying that prayer, I could never get God out of my head again, and then I noticed how far from Him our culture is. That was the difficult part. My head and my heart became filled to the point that I felt constantly aware of Him. It felt like He had become as real to me as the person in front of me. Real.

Align my desires with yours, God.

Align my desires with yours.

This request, simple as it was, helped me draw closer to Him. 

I've been helped vastly in years past by others on this blog -- Not only the writers but also those in the comments who've shared how they get close to God; so I hope you enjoyed this one little piece of my own story. But now I'd love to hear your stories: How much do you ask God questions, and what other things do you do to draw close to Him?


The Enemy Cannot Handle This!

Hey SUM family, Tiffany Here!

Sunday, September 29th is the beginning of Rosh Hashanah. We've talked about this Jewish holiday over the years. In fact, the first time I'd ever been made aware of it's significance was because of a blog post from either Lynn or Dineen. For those who are not familiar or are new to this holiday, a simple "Rosh Hashanah" search on this site will provide you with a wealth of information. Feel free to check out the archives!

My prayer for us today is that we will each take away something fresh and new. Holy Spirit, reveal to us the heartbeat of God. Amen!

Rosh Hashanah isn't actually a biblical holiday but a traditional Jewish holiday. The term "Rosh Hashanah" means "head of the year" and is celebrated as the Jewish New Year. This is a two-day celebration that proceeds Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).

In the beginning of this month, the Lord really pressed upon me to watch Patty Tower's talk that was given at the SUMite Summit this last April. I decided to go back and watch it again. (I will provide a link below so you can revisit that as well. It is absolutely worth a re-watch!)

As I sat down to think about Rosh Hashanah and what I would include in this post, I went back to my notes from Patty's message. There is so much good in this message but I want to point out one theme:

  • Joshua 6 - God gives specific instructions about the destruction and taking of the city of Jericho. In verse 20 we see the result of following God's plan and not their own: "So the people shouted when the priests blew the trumpets. And it happened when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city."
  • Patty called us to march around our house 7 times and shout, declare, pray and praise things into existence. It was in the great shout that the walls fell flat down.

Rosh Hashanah isn't in the Bible; however, the first day of Rosh Hashanah, is. Let's take a look.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,  “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall have a sabbath-rest, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, a holy convocation.  You shall do no customary work on it; and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord.’ ” - Leviticus 23:23-25

The Hebrew word, Teruah, in Leviticus for blowing trumpets is the same word used in Joshua 6 where they shouted with a great shout. The first day of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Teruah, is a day of blowing trumpets or shouting.

Notice what else it says in Leviticus about this day - you shall have a sabbath-rest. Yom Teruah happens to fall on a Sunday. The day we, as children of God, call our sabbath!

So, why is this important for us? If we are not Jewish, what is the point of celebrating this time of year?

We've already seen in our community some amazing things worth celebrating. Many professions of faith and baptisms with our spouses, children or others we love. Libby gave us a beautiful word about the SUMite community with her picture of the mountain. The SUMite Summit where some gathered in California being at the top and from that trickle, the waters of our faith continued to pool together to create a river at the bottom.

I truly believe something was activated in the heavenlies and we have set off a chain reaction. The enemy has been stirred to anger and we have seen much push back from illness, discord with our spouses and children, financial struggles, backsliding, strongholds etc.

However, I truly believe that God is calling His children deeper. I believe that He is stirring in us a hunger and thirst that can no longer be quenched by fear, pain or opposition tactics from the enemy.  I believe that NOW is the time for us to press in all the more into the God of Miracles. NOW is the time to storm the gates of Heaven for our spouses, children, our complete freedom and healing. I believe that NOW is the time for us to suit up and prepare for battle.

There is a shifting going on right now. As we are in this transition period, it is up to US if we are going to take God at His word - for our destinies, purposes, signs, miracles and wonders. We cannot afford to give up or give in. The future of generations to come hangs in the balance. It sounds intense but don't worry! Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Patty's talk at the SUMite Summit: https://www.facebook.com/SpirituallyUnequalMarriage/videos/387269661859875/

There is so much more I could say but I've gone on a little long.

As we approach this Jewish New Year, what are the things you are coming to the Throne of Grace for? What do you hope to see in this new season? Shout

Oh, clap your hands, all you peoples! Shout to God with the voice of triumph! -- Psalm 47:1 (Shout here is the root word of teruah ::grin::)

We are going to shake the heavens and the earth with our shouts! In the comments, give a mighty shout to the Lord. Thank Him for the victory you've been praying and waiting for! Decree and declare that these prayers are answered in Jesus' mighty name! Now it is up to you to take Him at His word. Trust. Believe. Wait and see. God is so good. And He is worthy of the wait. Hugs!

 

 


Praise & Worship

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

SUMite Nation,

Today was amazing. I woke to a cool and overcast sky. It’s quite rare for southern California in August. I started on my walk at 7:45 am. My praise hour 8-9 am PST.

The Lord was so excited to meet me that He prepared the perfect weather for our walk. As I finished my walk at 9:15 the clouds pushed off to the east. The sun peaked through and the rest of the day was sunny and hot…

My praise walk was PERFECT!

Father IS JUST THAT GOOD!

I worshiped, signing the Lord’s Hebrew name over and over for most of the walk. (Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey) I was surrounded by perfect peace. I sensed so strongly the presence of angels. They were worshiping too.

I was about 40 minutes in and I heard the Lord whisper to my heart. The praise and worship by the community has touched My heart. You are known, all of you, known in heaven. This dedicated and united praise has brought favor upon the ministry.

SUMites, well done. Thank you for being a watchman on the wall. Now let’s anticipate the Lord’s response and look for His blessings in the season ahead. I pray you see the hand of the Lord THIS week in response to your praises and our intentional purpose to exalt our Lord during our 24-hour praise chain.

WHAT was your praise hour like????

AND…. Stay tuned. FRIDAY is the launch of our summer Bible study.

Hugs, Lynn


24/7 Praise and Worship- The House of SUM

24 Hours Praise and Worship

From SUMite Gladys Arias: ( SUMite Schedule below)

For us to know how to praise and worship God, we must first understand what it means to praise and worship. When we worship, we are expressing our reverent love and devotion to God. Worship is the act of doing something like reading the Bible, praying, or singing. However, worship is not limited to only to these things.

When we praise, we are expressing our admiration for God; we are lifting Him up in exaltation. Praise is the act of celebrating or boasting about the Lord. We praise through song, poems, or confessing the goodness of God to others. We should be giving God our praise and worship through our daily lives. We can do this at home, in our workplace, on the bus - wherever we are! Praise and worship is a way of life, the very heartbeat of our relationship with God.

We see how to praise and worship God in the Scriptures of the Bible:

  • The Bible instructs us to use musical instruments and singing. Psalm 98:4-6 says, "Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram's horn - shout for joy before the LORD, the King." Psalm 150:3-5 says, "Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals."
  • Offer up praise and worship with shouts of joy and clapping of hands. Psalm 47:1-2 says, "Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy. How awesome is the LORD Most High, the great King over all the earth!"
  • Praise and worship in the assembly and by ourselves.2 Chronicles 29:28 says, "The whole assembly bowed in worship, while the singers sang and the trumpeters played.." Psalm 22:22 says, "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you." 2 Samuel 12:20 says, "Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate."

Praising and worshiping God is done in many different positions and forms. Here are several biblical examples:

  • Sitting - Acts 2:1-2 says, "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting."
  • Kneeling - Psalms 95:6 says, "Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker."
  • Standing - Exodus 33:10 says, "Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to his tent."
  • Lying prostrate/bowing down - 1 Kings 18:39 says, "When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD - he is God! The LORD - he is God!" Nehemiah 8:6 says, "Ezra praised the LORD, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, 'Amen! Amen!' Then they bowed down and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground."
  • Bowing head - 2 Chronicles 29:30 says, "King Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to praise the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness and bowed their heads and worshiped."
  • Lifting hands - Psalm 63:4 says, "I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands."
  • Dancing - Psalm 149:3 says, "Let them praise his name with dancing and make music to him with tambourine and harp."

24 Hour Praise & Worship Chain

PACIFIC TIME ZONE:USA

Name

Time

Eva CST, Ian P 12-1 AM Australia,

12:00 AM

LuAnn EST, Jackie PST,

1:00 AM

Barb EST, Martha CST, Julie EST, Florence CEST,

2:00 AM

Cathleen EST NJ,

3:00 AM

Sarah EST, Cabiria EST, Judy CST,

4:00 AM

Teri PST, Karla EST, driftergal CST,

5:00 AM

Lori EST, Amanda CST, Maureen CST, Jan CST

6:00 AM

Carmen PST, Suzanne EST, Beth CST,

7:00 AM

Lynn PST, Kathy PST

8:00 AM

Lynn L. EST,

9:00 AM

Vicki CST

10:00 AM

Mirta PST,

11:00 AM

Cindy EST,

12:00 PM

Leslie EST, Nickole PST, Diana ?, Ivana Czech Republic C Europe,

1:00 PM

Angela CST,

2:00 PM

Ann PST not sure in New Zealand,

3:00 PM

Marvie PST, Kathie EST, Dorothy CST, Laura J EST,

4:00 PM

Charu EST, Rhonda MST, LEM EST,

5:00 PM

Karen PST, Becky PST, Melissa EST, Jacci CDT

6:00 PM

Gladys EST, Stefanie EST, Lisa EST,

7:00 PM

Natalie MT, Rebecca CST, Ellie EST

8:00 PM

Tiffany CST,

9:00 PM

Lu MacDonald PST,

10:00 PM

Lucy Australia,

11:00 PM

Thank you to my prophetic art buddy, Lu, who picked up the one remaining open slot. 

LET'S PRAISE!

Hugs, Lynn and Gladys


It's Worth The Waiting! Chronicles of the Donovan Clan

1 Corinthians 13Hello SUMite Nation!

Lynn here. I’m coming to you from my prayer room on a beautiful and somewhat unusually cool July morning here in southern California. It’s peaceful and a breeze is drifting in the front window. Oh, how I wish you were sitting here with me. I long to sit with each of you and listen to your story. I will one day. And it will be GLORY!

I just clicked off the phone after talking to my mother who called to check in on the job search, the book progress but mainly to tell me, I love you.

But as we talked about the book she said, “Lynn, I’ve shared that story with nearly everyone I meet. I tell it over and over.” She’s talking about Mike’s baptism story. “I tell them to NEVER give up praying.”

Never give up praying.

Don’t stop hoping.

Always lean into the impossible.

Twenty-seven years. I won’t look back at the years with longing for what might have been. I look back at the decades and see Jesus in every turn along the journey. I view the Father’s hand of favor and love and I feel the peace of the Holy Spirit as the Trinity lived within.

It was worth the price of waiting.

To all the weary SUMites, who linger in prayer and continue loving Jesus and your unsaved spouse, words from my beloved mother who has lived with the Lord for nearly eighty years, “Don’t give up hope. Don’t stop praying.”

I adore you my friends. Stay tuned because God is brewing up more fantastical stories in the Donovan Clan. I feel the excitement in the air and can’t wait to share all He brings about in our immediate future.

March on Warrior!!!!  WE WIN!!

Hugs, Lynn