A couple of years ago, I received a call from Joyce (not her real name). She had recently accepted Jesus as her personal savior and was in the process of trying to solidify her relationship with the Lord. After reciting her understanding of the basic tenets of Christianity and sharing her beliefs about salvation, she admitted that she was still confused and a bit frustrated. She needed clarity.
Someone along the way had told her to pray about it. And so she did. Joyce told me that she had been praying the same prayer every day, three or four times a day, for the Lord to reveal a way forward. Then she repeated her prayer and exclaimed, “It’s not working!”
Like so many other new Christians who are seeking maturity in their relationship with the Lord, Joyce thought that her prayers had to take on the characteristics of a secret formula in order to be authentic. She believed that by saying the “right” words in the “right” order, God would hear her petitions and answer. What she failed to realize was that her approach did little to help her build a relationship with the One with whom she desired to have intimacy.
Joyce and I used this experience as a way to broaden her thinking about prayer. There is more than one right way to pray! There is power in all forms of prayer. And the Lord God hears them all!
Praying from the Bottom Up: Beside Still Waters – A Devotional and Prayer Journal can serve as a tool to help you learn more about prayer. Using scripture, photography, and reflective prompts, the journal provides a scaffold for those who wish to develop a daily discipline and build a relationship with God.
My gift to you – Obtain your eBook FREE between June 1 and June 5.
Read what others are saying about the book:
“I love it! We are entering what someone referred to as a ‘different’ normal, and we need to relook at those things we considered normal for a fresh take. Dr. Reed has provided this with God’s Word in an easy to follow format that counters the complexity of this season. The journal offers readers an opportunity for deep reflection in a non-intimidating structure”. – Rev. Melody L. Seaton, Pastor, Grace United Church of Christ-—
“I love the format of the prayer journal. The purpose of the book, instructions on how to use the journal, and the layout are all clear and easy to understand. I feel that people of all ages, backgrounds, etc. will be able to utilize this resource. The beginning provides sufficient instruction and information concerning prayer. This will also be a great resource for someone who is a new Christian and is being disciple-d by someone more mature in Christ. This can even be useful for “seekers” – those who do not actually have a relationship with Christ. I feel that it will help them to draw closer to Him. Overall, I think it is great for people of all levels!” – Valarie Cooper, Member, Waukegan Community Church—
Do you remember?
For people from my generation, the question might be, “Where were you when John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, at 12:30 p.m.? That date evokes vivid memories that spring forth in living color. I was in junior high school, and our concert band was participating in a regional music festival involving dozens of schools in Lake County, IL. The clarinet section was rehearsing for the big concert to take place later that evening. When the announcement came over the loudspeaker, we sat stunned in a state of disbelief.
Where were you when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed in 1968? When I heard the news, I was visiting with my sister during her college spring break. We ventured onto Michigan Avenue in Chicago that afternoon just to see what was happening. We cringed in disbelief as angry people threw trash cans through shop windows in the South Loop. Later on the news, we saw buildings and businesses on the West Side blazing out of control. The crowd chanted, “Burn it down!”
What about “9/11” when the Twin Towers came crashing down in 2001? I was teaching at the university that day. Before class, I entered the office to retrieve my mail. People huddled around the TV as they watched in horror. The networks played the scene over and over again. Airplanes crashed into the buildings, and smoke billowed from wounds gashed into the majestic skyscrapers.
One day, your children may ask, “Where were you during the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020?” What will you tell them about this historic event? What did you see? How did you feel? What messages did your soul whisper to you as the earth struggled to arrive at a “new normal”?
I suspect that various interpretations of the incident will emerge. Various voices will narrate the history of this incredible period in our lives. Will your voice be among them? What will be your version of the story?
Don’t miss this opportunity to journal your journey. Write it down so that others will know what you went through in 2020. And, when the time is right, consider publishing your story to share with future generations. Just let us know when you’re ready.
By Lorrie C. Reed, Ph.D.
It is my fervent prayer that something will be found soon to control COVID-19 and stem the spread of the current pandemic. Most of us will be at ease, no doubt, after the pandemic has subsided. Unfortunately, some groups will remain vulnerable to other tenacious killers that continue to show themselves strong in our communities of color.
The persistent killer I’m talking about disproportionately compromises the lives of millions of the poorest members of our society each year. This killer shows up in the form of a complex consisting of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and related maladies that shorten the lives and diminish the well-being of Black and Brown populations.
Such diseases proliferate because of discrimination against individuals based on race or gender. This includes the restriction of opportunities for employment, living conditions, nutrition, healthcare, and other manifestations of systemic racism. If it remains unchecked, the disease can lead to death.
Finding a cure for such racism has been an ongoing battle involving those who value fairness, compassion, and justice for all people. Perhaps justice makers should begin to tackle this ubiquitous presence in the same way public agencies have addressed the recently pernicious virus – one person at a time, one policy at a time, and one practice at a time until the malady known as systemic racism is wiped off the planet for good.
When our society decides finally to become aggressive in this fight, the well-being of affected people will rise, and we will all be able to go outside once again without wearing our social masks for protection.
During this COVID-19 pandemic, have you ever felt overwhelmed? Have the reports of gloom weighed heavily on your spirit? Sometimes it’s enough to make our souls ache. No doubt, even the strongest among us have felt the need to get away from the bad news on occasion. Prayer is a remedy that works for most believers.
When your soul feels disquieted, you can turn to prayer. You can follow Jesus’s example of stealing away to a secret place, a quiet place for prayer and renewal. Beside metaphorical still waters, you can embrace the comforting words of scripture and empty your soul before the Lord.
This journal provides spaces for you to record your favorite scripture, and write down your thoughts, prayer concerns, and praise reports. The daily devotional prayers evoke reflection and invite application to your personal situation. Breathtaking photographs draw you into daily meditation. The prayer petitions will surely give you comfort and peace in these troubled times.
The journal is a great tool to use during your devotional time. It also makes a great gift for others.
I went to retrieve my mail the other day. It contained the usual junk—pre-approval notices for credit cards, information about supplemental healthcare insurance, and all manner of appeals to separate me from my hard earned money. Most of it was bulk mail. I was very close to tossing the whole pile into the trash when I spotted it.
The squarish envelope had my mailing address written neatly in the center space. A colorful return address label adorned the upper left corner. In the upper right, was a real “1st class” stamp. On the inside, there was a notecard. The message, written in beautifully rounded cursive, expressed well wishes and hopes for my speedy recovery. This sentiment from friends made me smile and feel very special.
I still have that note. It occupies a place of honor on my desk where I can look at it from time to time. In this age of electronic communication and junk mail, that simple hand-written note stood out. It told me that I was important and worthy of special attention. It really did uplift my spirits and make me feel better that day.
Let’s bring back the fine art of note writing. Boxed notecards make a perfect holiday gift!
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As writers, we use storytelling to impose a narrative structure on events that might otherwise seem random and meaningless. The craft of writing allows us to take command of a powerful tool for drawing upon our memories, adding new information to old, and, thereby, portraying the world in new contexts. Storytelling helps the mind to make sense of the world.
Beyond that, good stories captivate us as they propose solutions to some of the really tough dilemmas in life. Quite often, through storytelling, we can explore new pathways to hope and encourage each other to look for solutions in unanticipated places. Good stories often lift our spirits and open our minds to new possibilities. Not only that, the act of storytelling helps us get our realities straight. As storytellers, we possess the power to reimagine life as an ageless mosaic and figure out how the pieces fit together from one generation to the next. What’s your story? Are you ready to share it?