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Why it is vital to hold still

 

Have you ever tried to keep a puppy quiet when he was awake and ready for action? Impossible, isn't it? Sometimes I think that's how we must appear to God.

When we set out to live a life of prayer, walking and talking with God, there are times we absolutely must hold still.

In Psalm 46:10, God says, "Be still, and know that I am God."

Did you know that being still is a form of prayer? It is a form of communicating and interacting with God. When we are still, He is not. He is working on us from the inside out, doing all kinds of things we can't comprehend … and some things we can comprehend, like recalibrating us, healing us, redirecting us, tending His garden in our hearts.

Contemplative prayer is one way to "be still" before God. We can learn more about this from the fourth century Desert Fathers, or the more recent writings of Thomas Merton, and Cynthia Bourgeault (Centering Prayer). 

But even without reading a book, God can also teach us to be still.

About ten years ago, I lived in Russia as a visiting university lecturer. I lived in Siberia and traveled on occasion to Moscow and to other cities where I gave guest lectures. Conditions were rough, and I became injured a lot, and encountered many exhausting situations. I found myself very often going to some place in the city, like the river in Moscow, or someplace with a view, wherever I was, and just standing and staring. Not staring at anything in particular; just holding perfectly still and "being." I did this so often, and I credit having done this with the fact that I remained sane, no matter what happened.

It wasn't until much later, when I learned about contemplative prayer, that I realized God was teaching me to be still. I needed those times of just "being," so He could recalibrate me and keep me on course, no matter what craziness was going on around me.

Today I find myself doing the same. But more intentionally. I have to take time out each day, and sometimes more than once, throughout the day, to just be still. When I do, I intentionally surrender to God, and invite Him to be in that moment with me. I don't talk to Him, or listen, or approach Him with my concerns or any kind of agenda. That's not what "being still" is all about. Instead I just purpose myself to sit with Him, quietly, just aware of His presence and nothing more. 

I know He is there, and I know He is doing things in my heart, because I can feel the difference later in the day. But in that moment, all I purpose to do is just "be" with Him.

It makes all the difference in the world.

Have you tried to just sit with God, quietly, no agenda, just "being" present with Him?

It's not easy to do, in our world of distractions and rambling thoughts. But try it. Even if you can sustain it only for a minute, try it. Even if you have to keep bringing your thoughts back to silence, try it. Submit quietly to God. Tell Him you want to just sit in His presence. Invite Him to join you, and just be with Him.

You will come to appreciate these times of stillness before God. You will find yourself wanting, needing to do this more and more.

Photo credit: lasgalletas via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Photo credit: lasgalletas via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

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Janet Eriksson is an intercessor, writer, teacher … and one of God's kids. She volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing in Dawsonville, Georgia. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Family Bible verses

Praying God's Word is powerful. Praying words from the Bible is a great way to pray. God loves for us to pray Bible verses back to Him. Bible verses are God's love notes to us. When we pray these back to Him, it's a way to tell Him, “We got Your awesome message and thank You!” And prayer is one way He helps us take these words of truth into our hearts.

Praying Bible verses is also a great way to pray together as a family. You can do this in many different ways.

One way is to create a “family prayer time” each week, when the whole family gathers and prays together. During this prayer time, find a Bible verse to pray together as a family.

You can take this one step further and choose a family “Bible verse of the week.” Write it somewhere that you will see it each day. (It might be a great idea to create a “prayer space” or “prayer board” in your home, in a highly visible place.)

Each person in the family then prays this “Bible verse of the week” each day. There is something wonderful about praying the same verse together. You will be amazed at how God will speak to each person in your family through this verse. Find a time to share together during the week what He has shown you as you pray this Bible verse.

The next week, choose another “Bible verse of the week” and keep going like this each week throughout the year.

Some churches offer a "Bible verse of the week" for the entire church family to pray together. If your church does this, you might choose the same Bible verse as your family's verse of the week. (Or maybe your family wants to choose a different verse just for your family.) If your church does not offer a "Bible verse of the week," pray about whether God might lead you to suggest this!

Have a blessed week with God and with your family.

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Janet Eriksson is an intercessor, writer, teacher … and one of God's kids. She volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing in Dawsonville, Georgia. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Why every intercessor needs a cover

 
Meet my friend Sally. She’s an intercessor. Every time she prays through a battle zone, she emerges feeling as if she is covered with black and blue marks. “That’s just part of being an intercessor,” she says.
 
Wrong.
 
Intercessors should not walk around with targets on their backs. It isn’t necessary for intercessors to wear battle wounds.
 
Every intercessor needs a cover.
 
Imagine gunfire breaks out on the street. You look out the window and see a child huddled against a building. Will you run out to rescue the child, and risk both the child and you being shot? Or will you ask a friend with a weapon to cover you while you run to get the child?
 
It’s the same with intercession. Intercessors need intercessors. If someone isn’t covering you while you pray, the enemy will take you out along with the person you’re praying for. That helps no one.
 
It’s vital to find trustworthy intercessors to cover you daily, as you pray for others. Through their prayer cover, you will be invisible to the enemy, as you intercede for others. God will then move through your prayers to help the person receiving prayer. It’s like a cascade of intercession that keeps the enemy confused and allows God to move in. Intercessors praying for intercessors, so the prayers of intercession for the people asking for prayer can hit their targets.
 
To build your cover, start by asking God for names of intercessors who will pray for you daily. Ask these folks if they will pray for God to cover you, so you can do what you’re called to do. If those individuals don’t feel called, ask God for more names. Keep building your cover until you have commitments from at least five intercessors. You’ll need more as God expands your reach.
 
With a secure cover in place, you can move in and out of situations as God calls you to pray. You may feel some bumps and bruises along the way, but you’ll be able to stand firmly under cover and keep lobbing those prayers.
 

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Janet Eriksson is an intercessor, writer, teacher … and one of God's kids. She volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing in Dawsonville, Georgia. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Family prayer box

Here is one way to help your family become a praying family: Keep a prayer box in your home. Keep little pieces of paper and pens next to it.

When someone in your family needs prayer, they can write their prayer requests on the pieces of paper and place these in the prayer box.

Family members can also put in prayer requests for their friends, or other prayer needs that are on their hearts.

Each time you pass by the prayer box, say a prayer asking God to respond to the requests in the box.

At some point, stop and read the requests and ask the Lord to respond to them. Put them back in the box.

Choose a time each week when the family gathers together and reads and prays out loud the prayer requests in the box.

Don’t forget to write “praises” (a note about prayers that were answered) on the pieces of paper and put them in the box too, thanking God for answered prayers.

You can even write the prayer request on one side of the little piece of paper, and then when the prayer is answered, write the “praise” on the other side. This is a great visual way to help everyone see how God has answered the prayers.

You may want to keep a container beside the prayer box where you transfer answered prayers/praises.

And keep adding new prayer requests to the prayer box.

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Janet Eriksson is an intercessor, writer, teacher … and one of God's kids. She volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing in Dawsonville, Georgia. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

God is always with you

God is with you all the time. He loves to sit with you, walk with you, play and laugh with you. He shares your joys, and weeps with you when you're sad. He talks to you, He even sings to you. He is always willing to guide you, to answer your questions, to listen to the cries of your heart.

Even when you don't say a word, He loves being with you. But He also loves to hear from you. Whether you have something difficult to talk to Him about, or you just need to vent (He gets it!), or if you simply want to say, "Hi, God, how are You?" or just chat about your daily life, He loves to listen and to answer back. Spending time with you is His favorite thing to do.

This blog was created as a place to learn about talking to God, and to share experiences of talking with Him, hearing Him, seeing what happens from those amazing conversations.

Talking with God is prayer, so this blog is about prayer. Prayer is nothing more than a conversation with God. But it's a powerful conversation with incredible results – for us, for our families, for our communities. Prayer can move mountains, and we will share about that here.

But prayer is also just sharing your heart with God. Sitting with God on an ordinary day – talking, not talking, just hanging out. Just telling Him whatever is on your mind. Or just enjoying a quiet moment with Him. All of that is prayer. And sharing about prayer reminds us that God is always with us, and it's His favorite place to be.

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Janet Eriksson is an intercessor, writer, teacher … and one of God's kids. She volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing in Dawsonville, Georgia. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

Prayer works!

Prayer works. I'm telling you. Prayer works. It works because through prayer we invite God to work.

The past few weeks have not been easy but I've stayed mostly encouraged. Tonight while going into a group prayer time the enemy clobbered me with discouragement. I still went for prayer out of sheer obedience. When we finished I didn't feel any better. More prayers – heart cries, to be exact.

And then … for those who know me this is really big. The prayer leader tonight talked about how the enemy's biggest focus is to destroy us to the point where we are ineffective. Well, yeh – he does that with me in seeking comfort in food rather than in God. This is especially big for me because I have a personal and generational history of not wanting to choose life.

So tonight as I left the prayer meeting I wanted nothing more than to go home and eat some bad "comfort" food and keep feeling discouraged about everything.

Instead, I talked to God all the way home, simply asked, "Help!!!!!!!" And by the time I got home I was ready to sit and listen to Him. I made a very healthy meal, started praying and asking for prayer, and I feel completely uplifted and my focus is back where it should be: on JESUS.

HE did all this. He grappled the enemy and dismissed him. He grappled with me and my unbelief. He got me focused on "choosing life" for the generations, got me focused on Him … and kept that self-destruction our prayer leader had just talked about from happening.

GOD is so awesome, so real, so powerful, so faithful, so good, and there is nothing He can't do.

And PRAYER WORKS.

Go God!!!!!

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Janet Eriksson is an intercessor, writer, teacher … and one of God's kids. She volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing in Dawsonville, Georgia. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

 

 

More faces of Nepal … thank you for praying

God's beautiful daughter

A beautiful daughter of God in the Trishuli, Nepal marketplace … please pray for her and her family …

Worship at a Nepali church

A little one dancing with Jesus at a Nepali church service …

Foothills of the Himalayas, Nepal

At home in the beautiful foothills of the Himalayas … the pollution is real and painful to breathe … but God is real too, and more powerful … please pray for the fresh air of the Holy Spirit to ease aching lungs, refresh tired bodies, and renew hurting hearts … thank You, Jesus …

"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands" – Isaiah 55:12 …

Nepali baby

The future of Nepal … please pray for Nepali families … and their precious babies …

God bless your day, and thank you for your prayers.

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Janet Eriksson is an intercessor, writer, teacher … and one of God's kids. She volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing in Dawsonville, Georgia. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

 

Faces of Nepal … and prayers

Nepali children

Remembering folks in Nepal today … and praying for them.

So many beautiful faces … adults trying to get through the day, as we all do … trying to keep their families safe … food on the table … finding joy and laughter … Nepal is not an easy place to live, but the people are so willing to smile, laugh, find joy in moments of their day …

Lots of children … smiling, giggling, despite walking miles over dusty, rocky mountain roads from school …

Faces of the landscape … despite the pollution that lies like a suffocating blanket over Kathmandu valley, God's beauty cannot be dimmed… His beauty, His fingerprints, His heart can be seen everywhere you look …

If you'd like to join me in praying for people in Nepal, please take a moment to look through this post and the next one. These are real people who would love to spend their day with you, and they would love your prayers. Thank you!

God bless you –

Janet Eriksson – amazingprayeradventure.org

Family in Kathmandu

A family walking in the midst of a busy day in Kathmandu … please pray for them …

Kathmandu - peaceful afternoon

A peaceful afternoon communing with God on a hillside in Kathmandu … He loves His kids!

Nepali school girls

Nepali school girls … sharing their smiles and laughter after walking on a dusty mountain road home from school … please say a prayer for them … thanks!

Continued on next post …

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Janet Eriksson is an intercessor, writer, teacher … and one of God's kids. She volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing in Dawsonville, Georgia. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

 

Kids’ cross to Guatemala

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Today I enjoyed this blast from the past … This photo has always been one of my favorites. It was taken in the airport while I was on my way to Guatemala in 2011. Our children's director had the kids make the cross to send with us and I remember I was going to make absolutely sure it arrived. This has become one of my all-time favorite photos because to me it just describes being "sent" by God. I keep it on my website. Today I uploaded it to my profile on Pray! Network and immediately they grabbed it for their photo feature page! I thought that was cool. :) Some of those kids are probably in middle school or high school by now. But their desire to share God's love with people in Guatemala planted seeds He continues to nurture. The love returned with us as well – we always bring back more of Him than we brought with us. Visit Hearts for the Children and see the amazing things God is doing in Guatemala.

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Janet Eriksson is an intercessor, writer, teacher … and one of God's kids. She volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing in Dawsonville, Georgia. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.

 

Freedom for blessings

Scripture Verse

"And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the LORD your God: 'Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the country. Blessed shall be the fruit of your body, the produce of your ground and the increase of your herds, the increase of your cattle and the offspring of your flocks. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out.'” – Deuteronomy 28:2-6 (NKJV)

Reflection

This passage of scripture is just the beginning of a list of blessings the Lord promises His people for their obedience. This is the Old Testament, but the promises are not moot. The promises are fulfilled by Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Where we don’t see these blessings in our lives, including our health, something is blocking them. It may be generational iniquity, a curse in the land, or sin in our heart.

In whatever ways our blessings are blocked, our Lord Jesus Christ stands in for us to release these blessings. All He asks is that we surrender to Him. Surrender our hearts fully to Him. Stand in repentance for our personal sin, for our family's generational sin, and for cleansing of our land.

God wants us to be blessed, more than we can possibly imagine or expect. Where our blessings are blocked, He is ready and willing to show us how to find freedom, wholeness, and healing in Christ. All we have to do is ask, and be ready to surrender our whole hearts in repentance and obedience to Him.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for the promises of Your blessings that are fulfilled through Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Show us today where we have blocked Your blessings, through our own sin, or through generational iniquity. Show us the path to freedom in Christ Jesus, in every area of our hearts and generational lines. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Thought for the Day

Ask God to show you what sins in your life or in your family’s lineage are blocking the blessings He has promised you.

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Janet Eriksson is an intercessor, writer, teacher … and one of God's kids. She volunteers with The Center for Inner Healing in Dawsonville, Georgia. She would love to hear from you at hometownprayer.org.