National Day of Prayer- 2018

nationaldayofprayerresources

Today is the National Day of Prayer! A call to unite together in prayer for our country and for all those who live in it. This annual spring observance was established by President Truman in 1952 and in 1988, set as the first Thursday in May. For sixty-seven years, Americans have gathered together to bow their heads and ask God to guide, protect, heal, and bless our country. In his 1983 prayer declaration, President Ronald Reagan said, “From General Washington’s struggle at Valley Forge to the present, this Nation has fervently sought and received divine guidance as it pursued the course of history. This occasion provides our Nation with an opportunity to further recognize the source of our blessings, and to seek His help for the challenges we face today and in the future.”

Four reasons why we should we pray today (and everyday)…

Prayer connects us to God. Being a follower of Christ means being in relationship with Him. Relationships require communication and prayer creates communication pathways.  It is a great privilege to pray. Our prayers do not need be perfect, wordy or beautiful. God loves when we come to him as messy, imperfect, broken people whose desire is to truly seek Him and His heart. When we come to Him with our praise, thanksgiving, hopes, dreams, requests, and needs, our relationship with God grows stronger.

Prayer is an act of obedience. God’s word calls us to pray and we must respond. Prayer is an act of obedience. And wholehearted obedience is done joyfully, with enthusiasm. The Bible says, “Obey him gladly” (Psalm 100:2a TLB).2

  • “This, then, is how you should pray …” –Matthew 6:9
  • “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” –Romans 12:12
  • “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” –Ephesians 6:18
  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” –Philippians 4:6
  • “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” –Colossians 4:2
  • “Pray continually” -1 Thessalonians 5:17
  • “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone …” -1 Timothy 2:1 1

Prayer equips us and empowers us through the Holy Spirit. Prayer gives us the courage to take the next steps of faith. As we seek the Lord’s guidance in our lives, callings and passions, the Holy Spirit will reveal, teach and illuminate the Truth. In a noisy world filled with loud voices, the voice of the Holy Spirit is a quiet whisper. Prayer helps us to slow down and listen. When we hear His voice, we can confidently embrace the Truth and walk in the power and freedom He gives.

Prayer Unites.  Prayer builds community and brings us together for a common purpose or action. It joins us in the Lord’s presence and helps us opens our eyes and hearts to the needs of others. Praying together focuses our eyes on the Lord and helps us to put our faith, hopes and dreams in His hands. Prayer helps us make unified steps toward where the Lord is leading us. “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”  Matthew 18:20prayerinworldmotherteresa

So on this National Day of Prayer, I challenge you to find some time to dedicate to prayer. Maybe it’s 15 minutes, maybe it’s an hour. Maybe it’s praying on your own, maybe it’s praying with a friend or co-worker, maybe it’s praying with your kids. However long, whoever it’s with, wherever you choose to pray, connecting with God’s heart is most important. I believe the time you spend with God in prayer will be both powerful and beautiful.

If have a desire to pray and are unsure where to start, use the file I created (link below in green) or send me a message. I would love to mentor you in how to start a prayer life with our God.

 

 

Ways to Pray for An Hour on National Day of Prayer

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER -WAYS TO PRAY FOR AN HOUR PDF (link below)

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER -WAYS TO PRAY FOR AN HOUR PDF FILE


Choose Gratitude Over Grumbling

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Hold on to your donkeys, elephants, porcupines, and stop to consider the Earthflowers. With Election Day on Tuesday, this week is sure to be an emotional one. The election has created an atmosphere of negativity and complaint that will continue if we do not do something about it. Come Wednesday morning, some Americans will be happy and celebrating and some will be angry and grieving. And regardless of who becomes President, I would like to suggest we all should be grateful.

Just like voting, we have a choice to choose gratitude over grumbling.

Did you know that grumbling is bad for your health? Complaining rewires your brain to expect more negativity forming a habit of negative thinking. Researcher, Professor Sapolsky at Stanford Medical School found exposure to just thirty minutes of complaining and negativity per day (including viewing this on TV) can cause physical damage to your brain.1  Indulging in negative emotions can weaken one’s immune system and triggers physical symptoms such as anxiety, increased blood pressure, and trouble sleeping. 2 Negativity attracts and breeds negativity.

On the other hand, gratitude makes your brain and body healthier. It changes our perspective, helping us to see beyond self-pity and self-centeredness. With practice, our brain becomes wired to seek out the good and positives in any situation and help us to appreciate the people and situations around us (even in the most dire circumstances.) Practicing gratitude has been associated with many health benefits including improved kidney function, reduced blood-pressure and stress-hormone levels, and a stronger heart. “A grateful stance toward life is relatively immune to both fortune and misfortune,” says Robert Emmons, a pioneer of gratitude research. We see the blessings, not just the curses.3 

For those of us who follow Christ, we are commanded to be thankful to God in all circumstances. Our heart and thoughts turned upward and outward in His love extended towards others through us.

This is the day that the Lord has made;  let us rejoice and be glad in it.  Psalm 118:24(ESV)
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (ESV)
14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, Philippians 2:14-15 (ESV)
15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17 (ESV)

You do not have to be happy with the election results. It is okay to be disappointed. In the days following the election, let’s all think before we speak. Expressing our dissatisfaction in respectful discussions that do not include stereotyping, assumptions, and accusations. Disagreeing in grace and in love. Allowing the words out of our mouths not to be ones of anger, wrath, malice, and slander (Colossians 3:8) but rather words used to build each other up (Ephesians 4:29.) Use the days to come as an opportunity to be an example to our children, our neighbors, friends, and our family members. Let our gratitude attract gratitude and let our words become actions that point others to the real Hope of these days. The hope of Jesus!

REFERENCES:

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

(3.) Kamps, L. (2016). What Gratitude Can Do For You. TIME Magazine: Mindfulness:The New Science of Health and Happiness, 54-57.

 

 

 

 

 


Notes on the Presidential Debate- Some Unsolicited Advice (which may or may not include a Snap Cup)

It’s Monday morning. I am waiting for the coffee to finish brewing and I’m feeling a bit punchy. (That should say something about where this post it going.) The reality TV show I watched last night, also known as the presidential debate, left me feeling like this….

voting

Normally, I shy away from writing about politics but as a teacher (and a mom) I feel the need to give some unsolicited advice to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Just a few little things I teach my children to help build character and improve my children’s social skills. I sure hope Trump and Clinton were once taught these skills but it may be in their best interest to practice and (re)learn some of them before the next debate.

  1. It is polite to shake hands.
  2. If you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all.
  3. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. (Abraham Lincoln and Proverbs 17:28)
  4. A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
  5. Listen politely (even if you do not agree.)
  6. Control your temper.
  7. Play by the rules.
  8. Do not lie and do not exaggerate the facts.
  9. Do not seek revenge.
  10. Be kind to others.

My absolute favorite question came at the very end of the debate from a man named Karl Becker. I clapped and cheered when he asked, “Regardless of the current rhetoric, would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?” Cue Elle Wood’s pink, glittery Snap Cup. How awesome would it have been to see Anderson Cooper pass out pink scented paper and fluffy, pink pens to write with. I can just imagine Martha Raddatz singing the “Snap Cup” song. It would have totally improved everyone’s moods.

I am sure it was very difficult to think of positive things to say with such clear dislike from both opponents but Clinton went first and managed to get out how she respects Trump’s children. Trump had a slightly longer answer and said he respected Clinton as a “fighter” who “does not give up.”

In the spirit of being helpful, here are a few “Snap Cup” worthy answers for both Trump and Clinton, you know in the case they were ever presented with a question like that again.

snapcuphillary

snapcupdonald

snapcuphillary2.jpg

snapcupdonald2

snapcuphillary3

snapcupdonald3

See, that wasn’t too hard to do!

In all seriousness, I still think this country is great. I still have hope. I am sad we have such a divided nation but I am not afraid. My hope is not in any candidate or even in the process. My hope comes from the Lord and He is not surprised by any of this. My heart is turned heavenward and my eyes pointed forward. I will keep on praying.  Praying for this country, for Donald Trump, for Hillary Clinton and praying for the leaders of the world. Whoever wins this election, I will continue walking in faith and doing the things that I am called to. There are people in need and people to love. A younger generation is watching and learning. I plan to do what I can to be a good example of what it means to love people and teach my children to do so too. I think we all can agree, despite political stance, that this country needs more love. May God give us what we need and may God bless America.

****If you are looking for free resources on character education. Check out Character First . Their elementary curriculum provides timeless character traits in a bold, fresh manner. Lessons are designed for students in public school, private school, home school, day care, summer camp, or any other educational setting.