Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Father's Example of Prayer

A Father's Example of Prayer
Magazine Senator John Ashcroft shares the following story about learning from his father's example:

Many kids wake up to the smell of coffee brewing or the sound of a rooster crowing. My wake-up call was my father's passionate praying filtering through the house. Sometimes I'd ease downstairs and join him. One knee was usually raised, so I'd slip in underneath, shielded by his body as he pleaded for my soul.

I never caught Dad praying for our happiness. He realized that the pursuit of happiness for its own sake is a frustrating, disillusioning, often futile effort. Happiness usually hides from those addicted to its sugar, while it chases after those caught up in something more lasting than momentary excitement.

I never heard him pray for a bigger house, car, or bank account. Instead, he prayed that our hearts would be ignited and inspired to do things of eternal consequence. "Turn our eyes from the temporal, the physical, and the menial," he prayed, "and toward the eternal, the spiritual, and the noble."

My father never pressured us toward achievement. He knew that the push had to come from inner reserves, not outward designs. He simply dangled before us the possibilities. Thanks to his example, we sometimes took the bait===>Click headline to access website . . .

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Inner~Views: 700 Prayer Quilts Spread Love and Prayer

Prayer Leader interviewed Peggy Pearson, a member at Inland Hills Church in Chino Hills, California and leads the Prayers & Squares Ministry as a volunteer.

Prayer Leader ~ Peggy, what is a prayer quilt and how are you using them to mobilize prayer for persons in your church?

I’ve attached the blurb that goes on the back of each quilt request===>Click headline to access that information . . .

Prayer Leader ~ How did this ministry begin? What was the inspiration the Holy Spirit used to launch
the idea?

A few ladies started an informal quilting group in 1992 at Hope United Methodist Church in Ranch Bernardo, California, with no other purpose than to have fun making quilts together. Then, a group member's 2-year-old grandson ended up in a coma following heart surgery. His doctors were very pessimistic about Kody's chances for recovery. The ladies decided to make a quilt in vivid primary colors. There was no time to quilt it, so it was tied with perle cotton thread as silent prayers were said for Kody. "There must be a prayer tied in with each knot" someone remarked. The group's first prayer quilt was rushed to the hospital that night.===>Click here for the complete story . . .

Prayer Leader ~ How many people are involved making the quilts?

We have over 40 ladies on our roster, but only about 18 actually create the quilts. We have a few that just insert the ties & others that just man the quilt tables at weekend services. What time investment is required? Turn around from request time to when the quilt gets out to the tables is about 2 weeks. Then it takes another 2-3 weeks to get them all tied.

Prayer Leader ~ How many quilts have been made?

We’ve made almost 700 just in our chapter. Are prayer quilts made only for people who are physically sick or suffering? No, we have never turned down a request. We’ve made them for people who have lost loved ones, people with psychological problems, etc.

Prayer Leader ~ Can you share a story or two of how God's blessings have been bestowed through the prayer quilt ministry?

My favorite follows from Mary Whitten. The Debbie Torian that she mentioned, was touched by the quilt that Mary made for Debbie’s late husband, John. Little did Debbie know, that hand sewing the binding on that quilt for John at Mary’s dying father’s bedside comforted Mary more than Debbie can ever know!

Here is her story:

My first Prayers & Squares meeting was 3 years ago. I showed up to help cut fabric so the quilters could do their magic. The first 2 people I met were Tina Abbott and Addie Dyer. They spent time with me explaining the ins and outs of quilting, Tina even throwing a pre-cut 9 patch kit my way. Next thing I know, I am hooked on this ministry of prayer quilts!
Unbeknownst to them, that hot summer day, my heart was breaking as my Dad had stage 4 colon cancer. My Daddy, my hero, was an amazing man with an interesting life. He was a captain in the Air Force even flying 106 missions over North Korea during the Korean War. So, there we were, my family and I with many hours of the cancer rollercoaster, chemo and other treatments.
Quilting and the P&S group became a wonderful outlet for helping others. Praying and sewing for others was comforting to me. That pre-cut 9 patch kit that Tina gave me? It was my first quilt and went to my Dad, Addie even teaching me how to do prairie points to finish it off. Dad’s hospice nurse was a quilter who was so touched that she started a P&S group at her church in Northern California!
As dad’s time here became short, I would sit at his bedside and handsew the bindings onto quilts. One of my favorite quilts was one I did for John Torian. It had an airplane theme and Dad loved planes! Little did I know that John’s wife, Debbie, would become a much loved member of our P&S chapter and dear friend to me!
This prayer ministry has been the wind beneath my wings. Our fearless leader, Peggy Pearson, has been instrumental in promoting our ministry at church. Her tireless efforts and great sense of humor have resulted in over 400 quilts in less than 4 years. Besides our regular church members, you can find our quilts outside of California, in the Dominican Republic and at a home for abused and neglected children.
If I had more room here, I would tell you about each member of our chapter! All of them with different talents brought to the group which rounds us out. I love these ladies and am blessed to be a part of the team.
Quilting and praying for others..... awesome.

Prayer Leader ~ How has prayer become more important or integrated throughout the congregation since the prayer quilt ministry began?

We now have a prayer room & many past prayer quilt recipients now regularly come by our quilt tables to pray over the quilts.

Prayer Leader ~ How could a prayer leader begin a similar ministry in their congregation?

That is also explained in detail on the website. What are the challenges they will face? Our biggest challenge was getting the word out about what the quilts represented. We still have people who think we’re selling quilts to raise money for the church. Now that so many people know someone who has received a prayer quilt, it’s getting much easier to explain.

Prayer Leader ~ Peggy, please write a prayer local church prayer leaders can pray with you about making their ministry more caring . . .

Heavenly Father, help us to be a shining witness of Your love to the people to which we minister. Help us to treat all of Your children as we would our own. Thank You for equipping us with our special gifts and talents to make our service to others so fulfilling and successful. In Your name, Amen.

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RESOURCE ~ Prayer Quilts Multiply Love & Prayer

Prayers & Squares
is an interfaith outreach ministry that combines the gift of prayer with the gift of a hand-tied quilt. Unlike many other organizations that make quilts for charitable causes, the purpose of Prayers & Squares is not to make and distribute quilts, but to promote prayer through the use of quilts. Our motto is: "It's not about the quilt; it's all about the prayers."

Each Knot Represents a Prayer
The idea behind these prayer quilts is simple. A heavy thread is used to take stitches through the quilt layers, and the ends are left free to be tied with square knot. As each knot is tied, a silent prayer is said for someone in special need, who then receives the finished quilt.

Through Prayers & Squares many quilts have been distributed, each a special gift of love. They have been made for sick babies, for cancer and AIDS patients, for adults and children facing surgery or personal crisis; for many reasons, but each for someone in special need of prayer.

The Ministry now consists of many individual chapters around the world. Each chapter has agreed to follow three basic rules, which we refer to as the "Three Commandments of Prayers & Squares".

The Ministry began in 1992 at Hope United Methodist Church in Rancho Bernardo, California. The history of Prayers & Squares includes the touching story about the first prayer quilt, made for 2-year-old Kody.

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A heart "filled with a passion for prayer"

If you have time, this church service will really bless you. The message is why I am sharing it...

First Baptist Orlando is Jim Henry's old church...their new pastor, David Uth shares about his recent encounter with God --as to the direction of his sermon topics. He shares openly about what happened to him...

He raises the questions:
Have you lost the "wonder" of God?
Have we lost the "holiness" of God in our churches?

He shares about wanting to share with those at First Orlando that it should be our desire to have "a heart that is filled with a passion for prayer" - Our churches should be houses of prayer and our "passion" should be "to want to converse with God on a daily basis". So what is wrong with us?

He has challenged his people to try when they are alone in their cars to "actively give up the seat next to them in their cars on the way to and from invite God to sit next to actively, LISTEN and to TALK to PRACTICE the presence of God" for the next 7 weeks! I believe that this is just a glimpse of what God is doing all over the country with our pastors...the Lord is beginning to put it on the hearts of our pastors in our larger churches to "press in" to try to model to their congregations, just how do we become houses of prayer...

Personal note:
David Uth is the Pastor of First Orlando -- "A Passion for His Presence" the first of a seven part series.

===>Click headline for . . .February 04, 2007 Prayer: A Passion for the Presence of God "A Passion for His Presence"
Dr. David Uth

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

Prerequisites for His Work of Prayer

Harvest Prayer Ministries is into its 14th year of ministry, and we are more determined than ever to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Obeying Him in our personal lives, in our homes and in our ministry is paramount. If He calls us to lay everything down for His sake, we are prepared to do just that. Yet, we sense a renewed enthusiasm and zeal for the work of prayer in a needy, dark world. So we press on!

As O. Hallesby has said,"The work of praying is prerequisite to all other work in the kingdom of God. By prayer we couple the powers of heaven to our helplessness, the powers which can capture strongholds and make the impossible possible."

God has given us His prerequisites for this work of prayer:

* Have faith and do not doubt (Matthew 21:21-22)
* If you remain in Me and My words remain in you (John 15:7)
* Ask according to My will (1 John 5:14-15)
* If two or more agree (Matthew 18:19-20)
* Ask in My name (John 14:13-14)
* Obey My commands and do what pleases Me (1 John 3:22)

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Friday, February 02, 2007

RESOURCE: Indepth, Experiential Training for Prayer Leaders

Preparing Leaders for Reflection and Prayer Days and Short Retreats
Lead Facilitator: Dr. Evelyn Davis
Worship Leaders and Topic Facilitators will be announced
Prayer Coordinators: Fran Woods, Chesley (Tiny) and Ruth Ray

In the U. S.: May 17–26, 2007 at Lutheridge Retreat near Asheville, NC
October 4–13, 2007 at Brookhaven Retreat near Dallas, TX

Overview of Topics for Reflection and Prayer Days

A day of reflection and prayer begins with worship and singing, then there is a brief overview of the topic the group has chosen. Handouts describe the topic, with Bible verses for reference and thought questions for application. There is time for personal reflection and prayer, then the option of praying with someone else or continuing with individual reflection. There is a time of closure, with an opportunity to share.

A Spiritual Inventory and Spiritual Markers

It is helpful to identify spiritual markers in our lives—times when we have encountered God’s call or his direction. Then when we face new options and/or decisions, we can review our spiritual markers to be reminded of the context of the activity of God in our lives—his perspective for our past, our present, and our future. There are guidelines to assist you in working through your spiritual heritage, your salvation experience, times you made decisions regarding your future, and periods of your life when God clearly guided you.

Finding A Rhythm of Rest

We struggle with trying to find time for a real ‘Sabbath’—a time to take our hands from the plow, let our work lay fallow, and let God and others take care of things. However, it is finding that balance point at which, having rested, we do our work with greater ease and joy, and bring healing and delight to our endeavors—for when we are refreshed we can give more generously to others. Jesus found special times to be with the Father, and to pray. During this time of reflection, may we learn how to follow his example.

Life Tasks: Strength for the Journey

There are six life tasks that all adults encounter, with a different emphasis on each during the various decades of life. These materials describe all six, and you will focus on, and pray about, the one(s) that you choose. The tasks are: The Self, Identity (who am I?); Relationships, Intimacy (who will be with me?); Work, Accomplishment (what will I do?); Health, Wholeness, Freedom (can I achieve balance?); Faith, Spiritual Vitality (will my journey be meaningful?); and Commitment, Contribution (can I make a difference?).

Our Time of Need

What are you currently dealing with? Various points of need are listed (with related Bible verses) and there is space to add other needs. You will choose which area(s) to focus on, and pray about. Examples are: unmet needs; struggling with relinquishment; disappointments and discouragements; going through a barren time; health issues; family concerns; praying for a lost friend or a family member; carrying a heavy burden.

Prayer Areas and Issues

This topic focuses on specific prayer areas and issues such as bearing fruit; Bible study and prayer; finances; future direction and decisions; health, home and family; relationships; rest and renewal; restoration of life and ministry; seeking the Lord’s power, strength, and wisdom; service; and submitting to him. There are related Bible verses, questions for reflection, and short readings.

Personal Worship

When the group you are leading chooses a topic that an individual is not interested in, that person can use the time of reflection for a personal focus if desired. Individuals can bring their own retreat materials, or they can use these guidelines (with scriptures) that focus on the following steps: worship; attentiveness; approach the throne; submit to God; confession and forgiveness; prayer for personal protection; guidance; special needs; petitions for yourself, family, friends, church, others; put on Christ and commit the day to him; walk in triumph, freedom, and safety.

The Servant Leader (separate booklet)

Jesus demonstrated the fact that a leader is called to be a servant. The materials describe what leaders must do to follow Jesus’ example. First there must be a servant heart—leadership character; then a servant head—leadership methods; next servant hands—leadership behavior, and most important, servant habits—leadership commitment and renewal. This time of reflection focuses on all four, with thought questions and scripture references.

Overview of the Retreat Topics

These short retreats can be offered to groups over a weekend, or in sessions over a period of several weeks.

Life Passages and the Missionary Experience

How do our missionary experiences impact on the usual life passages? And how can we find the necessary joy and strength to sustain us? We will not experience this retreat during our time together, but an overview will be given the day the group focuses on ‘Life Tasks.’ A set of guidelines for leading this retreat will be included with the manual.

New Testament Images of Adult Growth and Change

What can we discover about the adult learning process from Biblical images? They have important implications for ways we discover spiritual truth, and how our faith can develop and grow. The six images are New Wine, The Body, The Blowing Wind, The Yoke, The Grain of Wheat, and The Bread and Cup. ===>Click headline for location, schedule, and application . .

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