What Happened While I Was Praying Colossians 3

Last weekend I was with 7 Sisters at the Great Homeschool Conventions Northeast event in Hartford, CT.  We had a vendor booth there, and met the most wonderful folks.  What a blessing to get to sit and talk with homeschool families who are using our curriculum, learning about their challenges, struggles, and successes, and being able to pray with them.  I LOVE my “career” as a BIG SISTER to other homeschoolers; can you tell?

With all six of us on site, we took turns working in the booth and going elsewhere at the convention, to workshops, to other vendors, etc.  I was roaming at one point and felt the Lord tugging on me to get off to the side in some quiet and pray.  I pulled up a chair outside the food court and got as quiet as I could (it was an exhibit hall; the word “quiet” has to be defined in that perspective!).

Immediately my mind went to Col. 3 because I’ve been working with it daily this month.  So I sort of “ran through” the passage mentally for a moment.  I got to verse 12 and pulled up short —

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved…”

God said, “That’s the essence.  For right now, grab onto that tightly, Sabrina.  You are not a homeschool curriculum vendor.  You are not a homeschool mom.  These are jobs, but they are not your identity.  Who are you?

I said, “I am Your chosen woman, holy and dearly loved.”

God said, “You forget that way too quickly.  Meditate on that for a bit.  How does that change your actions, your attitudes, your fears, your relationships?”

So I sat with it and meditated on who He says I am.  And then I started to get excited for my sisters back in the vendor booth.  So I began thanking God for them, for who they are even when they are not working shoulder to shoulder with me in 7 Sisters.

“Thank You, God, for Allison.  She is Your chosen woman, holy and dearly loved.  Thank You for Marilyn; she is Your chosen woman, holy and dearly loved….”

As I finished the list of my dear friends and business partners, God ramped it up a notch.

He said, “Look across the aisle.  See the lady with the Art booth?  She could use someone praying for her right now.  You’ve never met her, but who do I say she is?

I said, “Thank You, Lord, for her; she is Your chosen woman, holy and dearly loved.  May she see herself as You see her.  May she find her identity in Christ.”

God pressed on.  “Pray for every person here.  The unity you have in My name is so far beyond what you realize.  You look at each other as strangers, but I have given you My name, and I want you to start recognizing each other as family.  You can start by talking to Me about all of it; keep thanking me for what I have done in the lives of each person here who follows Me.

Wow, what a paradigm shift!  I strolled the vendor aisles passing family after family, vendor after vendor, thanking God for “that mom with the baby in the backpack; thank You that she is your chosen woman, holy and dearly loved Thank You for saving her.  Let her see who she is in Christ Jesus.”  I thanked Him for “that vendor with the cool swords.  Thank You for being his Lord and Savior.  Thank You for choosing him to be Yours, for making him holy, for loving him dearly.”

What would happen to the witness of followers of Christ all over homeschooling if we began to pray this way for one another, to see each other as the redeemed of the Lord, celebrating His work in all of our lives, instead of focusing on labels, externals, and the things that show how different we are on the surface?  Jesus prayed it for us when He was in the garden – “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in Me and I am in You.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”  (Jn. 17:21)

What do you think?

 

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Faithfulness – Verses for praying frutifully

Like the verses on goodness in the Bible, most of the verses about faithfulness are speaking about God’s amazing faithfulness.  News flash:  He is dwelling in all followers of Jesus Christ by His Spirit, so that means His faithfulness is our faithfulness as well!

Faithfulness is not the same thing as stubbornness, determination, perseverance, even though we often play it out that way.  Being faithful means firmly sticking to a person, an idea, a cause, a community.  It means more than carrying out the duties you have to carry out or cause a stink; it means a HEART-level commitment.  It’s more than just not cheating on your spouse; it’s choosing moment-by-moment to love your spouse, to honor him, to desire good things in his life.  It’s more than just doing your job at work; it’s choosing over and over to prayerfully find smart ways to do your work while encouraging those around you, working for God instead of just the boss who signs your paycheck.

That’s why we need the faithfulness of our God to grow the fruit of faithfulness in our hearts….and from there it can spread into the rest of life as something wonderful!

Here are some verses I love about faithfulness (are you writing these down and meditating on ’em?):

Psalm 57:3  He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me — God sends forth His love and His faithfulness.

I can pray it like this:

God, You have never let me slip out of Your loving hands.  You reach out over and over the moment I am in danger of being overwhelmed; You never let me crash and burn.  I want that in my relationship with _________.  I want to be tuned in to Your good plans for her so that I will be actively SENDING FORTH my love in action and word and attitude.  I want to be praying like I mean it for Your good work in her life.  I want to have a heart that’s ready to respond the moment I hear that she needs something from me.  Thank You for being faithful, and for making me faithful like You.

I wouldn’t be faithful to my blogging mission if I didn’t give you some more verses, so here ya go!

Psalm 85:10  Love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.

Psalm 86:15  But You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.

Psalm 115:1  Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to Your name be the glory, because of Your love and faithfulness.  (That’s a really easy one to pray, huh? It’s pre-formatted!)

Proverbs 3:3  Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

Proverbs 20:28  Love and faithfulness keep a king safe; through love his throne is made secure.

III John 1:3  It gave me great joy when some believers came and testified about your faithfulness to the truth, telling how you continue to walk in it.

 

Goodness – Verses for praying fruitfully

Here are some verses about the goodness of God.  It’s so cool to remind myself that He is God, He is good and He loves me.  He has placed His Spirit in me to make me over, to make me into the likeness of Christ.  To make me full of goodness, just like He is!

Psalm 116:12 What shall I return to the Lord for all His goodness to me?

I can pray it like this:

Lord, what can I give you in return for all Your goodness to me?  Nothing….I got nothing!  Well, that’s not exactly true.  I do have my will, my choice.  So I choose You and Your presence in my life.  I want the goodness that is YOU to fill up my life. 

Not GOOD enough?  Here are some more!

II Peter 1:5   Make every effort to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness knowledge.

Psalm 16:2   I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord.  Apart from You I have no good thing.”

Psalm 27:13   I remain confident of this:  I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Psalm 37:3   Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

Psalm 112:5   Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.

Psalm 133:1   How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!

 

Kindness – Verses for praying fruitfully

Here are some verses to pray when you aren’t feeling kind, but you know that kindness is God’s plan for you anyway.

(berry pic courtesy of my groovy niece Hannah Joy)

Jeremiah 9:24   “Let the one who boasts boast about this:  that they have the understanding to know Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord.

I can pray it like this:

I don’t know much, Lord, but I know this:  You are God almighty and You exercise kindness.  Being kind is something You intentionally DO toward us.  You delight in doing kind things for us.  I need to be like You.  I’m not feeling it right now, but I’m asking You to enable me to exercise kindness toward _____________ regardless of how I feel.  I want to delight you with my kindness toward others.

Would you like a few more?  I keep a little notebook in my pocketbook with these verses written in it, so I can pray fruitfully when I’m going through my daily chaos routine.  🙂

Colossians 3:12   Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Psalm 138:6   Though the Lord is exalted, He looks kindly on the lowly.

Ephesians 4:32   Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

II Timothy 2:24   The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

 

Patience – Verses for praying fruitfully

Here are some verses I go to when I find I am lacking in patience….which is pretty much all day long every day!

(apple pic courtesy of my niece Hannah Joy)

Proverbs 19:11  A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is one’s glory to overlook an offence.

I can pray it like this:

According to Your word, Lord, I am wise enough to overlook this.  You have given me wisdom and the mind of Christ, and the patience that comes from that is going to guide this situation. 

I am choosing to overlook the thing that he just did because I am wise enough to know it only makes a mess of things if I don’t.  I am choosing to wait, to see how You will work all of this out in Your time rather than adding to this mess by reacting.

In case you aren’t always patient (ahem!), here are some more verses that you can jot down to keep handy for tough situations that require waiting on God to move instead of tromping in under your own disastrous strength.

Ecclesiastes 7:8-9  The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride.  Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

Colossians 1:11   (We pray for you to be) strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that you may have great endurance and paitence.

II Timothy 4:2   Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.

James 5:7   Be patient then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming.  See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.

I Thessalonians 5:14   Warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.

 

Peace – Verses for praying fruitfully

Here are some verses I go to when I am tied up in knots or constantly butting heads with someone and I need the Spirit of God’s peace in my situation.

Psalm 34:14  Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

I can pray it like this:

I know the choice to turn from evil is mine, Lord.  So I’m choosing.  I want to stop doing the wrong thing over and over again; I want to do the right thing, the thing that brings You glory and me blessing. 

But I don’t actually have the power to turn from evil and do good, so thank You that You are my strength in weakness.  Thank You that YOU are turning me away from evil and empowering me to do good. 

I am seeking peace, but more than just longing for it, looking for it, hoping for it, I want to pursue it.  Thank You that You are showing me how to pursue peace.  Thank You that in Your strength I will go after peace, catch it, and keep it in my pocket at all times.

Want some more verses to empower your pursuit of peace?  Put these somewhere accessible — we rarely get a warning when our peace comes under attack.  Having these scriptures close at hand is important!

Isaiah 26:12  Lord, You establish peace for us; all that we have accomplished You have done for us.

Isaiah 32:18  My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.

Isaiah 54:13  All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.

Haggai 2:9  “The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,” says the Lord almighty, “and in this place I will grant peace.”

Romans 12:18  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Romans 14:19  Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

I Cor. 14:33  For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.

 

Joy – Verses for praying fruitfully

Here are some verses I go to when I notice JOY is missing from my situation:

Psalm 30:11  You turned my wailing into dancing; You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.

I can pray it like this:

Thank You, God, for all the times You’ve given me joy before.  Thank You for giving me JOY in my salvation, especially!  Thank You for not letting me walk around with all the junk covering me, but giving me party clothes to wear instead.  You made me clean and beautiful and ready to celebrate because You loved me so much! 

I need to experience that again with You.  I’ve been rolling around in the misery about this situation, and it’s all stuck to me.  I’m crying instead of praising You.  I’m limping around my day instead of standing tall and listening to the music You’ve put in my heart.  Thank You for giving me joy in the past, and thank You for giving it to me again, right now.

So here are some more verses I like to personalize and pray for the joyless situations that drag me down.  Write them down and stash them somewhere handy for when your joy flies away and you’re out and about the business of daily life!

Psalm 68:3 But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before the Lord; may they be happy and joyful.

Psalm 86:4  Bring joy to Your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in You.

Psalm 94:19  When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought me joy.

Psalm 126:3  The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.

Proverbs 12:20  Those who promote peace have joy.

FRUITful Prayer

Galatians 5:22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

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The hard question is this:  Can I say, “But the fruit of Sabrina’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”?

If not, I’m apparently not letting the Spirit of God run the show; I’m doing it.

This is not a novel concept; I’ve heard lots of messages on it over the years.  But it bears repeating because it’s a great “quick-check” to see whether I’m accepting the Lordship of Christ in my day-to-day living or not.

Praying the fruit of the Spirit is something I haven’t heard a lot about, however.

A couple of years ago I was studying Galatians and the Lord showed me how praying from this verse was important and empowering.  If I know that this fruit is what results when the Spirit of God is in charge, then I can thank Him for producing that fruit…even before I see it happen.  That increases my faith.

Here’s an example:

“The fruit of the Spirit is love.”

Perhaps my darling little angel of a teenager isn’t enjoying our bond of parent-child much recently.  Perhaps I’m not either.  Perhaps he is pushing hard against my authority.  Perhaps he is developing an attitude and making my teeth itch the moment he starts to talk. 

I know that when the Spirit of God is in charge of our relationship, there will be love.  Love is produced by the Spirit.  If I’m not experiencing the love, I need to yield more of my lame excuse for love (I’m his mother; of course I love him!) and receive the real love that comes only from God.

I pray:

Okay, God.  Junior and I do nothing but fight.  He opens his mouth to draw in breath and my hackles go up ’cause I know what’s coming. 

But that’s not Your doing.  You said that the fruit of Your Spirit is LOVE.  So thank You for creating love in my relationship with Junior.  Thank You for loving him through me.  Thank You for loving me through him.  Thank You for giving us loving words to say to each other.  Thank You for giving us eyes to see one another the way You see us, with love and grace. 

I know You’ve already done all of those things because You are here in the midst of the mess we are making of things right now.  I want to get out of Your way and let You complete the good work You’ve already started.  Thank You that my relationship with Junior is full of love simply because YOU are there.