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Praying by Memory

Parachute Prayer PostShortly after our family moved to the Netherlands, I went on a road trip with a few of the ladies from our chapel to visit the Ten Boom* Clock Shop in Haarlem. We were about halfway there when we stopped at a rest stop. One friend said, “I don’t really need to go in there, but I’ve learned that on a road trip you never pass up the opportunity.” Ever since then, whenever my family pulls into a rest stop on a road trip, I think of this friend.

She might think this is an unfortunate way to be remembered, but it makes me smile. I also remember her whenever I get to buy lunch for a friend because, on that same trip, she insisted on buying lunch, saying, “If the day ever comes when I can’t afford to buy lunch for my friends, I will be in dire need.” Since she and I had only just met, I was touched to be considered a friend so quickly. That memory has stuck with me.

Prayer for MentorsWhen actions of my own such as these (stopping on a road trip or buying lunch for a friend) remind me of someone I’ve admired or appreciated, I see that as a call to prayer. As I take time to enjoy the memory, I thank God for the friend and whisper a prayer for her. If we’ve kept in touch over the years, I may know how to pray specifically. But even if we haven’t, God knows her situation, so I can ask Him to provide whatever she needs. The memory may even be the Holy Spirit’s way of prompting me to pray at just the right time for a serious concern. Knowing this, I’m even more thankful for precious memories that remind me to pray.

Father, thank You for the gift of memory and for the people You’ve blessed our lives with throughout the years. As memories of these people enter our minds, please prompt us to pray . . . to show our gratitude . . . to honor our friends . . . to intercede for them. Amen.


If you’d like to learn more about Parachute Prayer, my new book is now available on Amazon.

*For the record, Boom is pronounced Bohm. Corrie was too sweet to correct the American pronunciation, but as one who spent her growing up years explaining and defending the pronunciation of her maiden name, I feel the need to set the record straight. The tour guide at the clock shop agreed. (And, in case you were wondering, Benlien is pronounced Ben-lynn. But that’s a story for another day.)

I’ve shared this post on the Grace & Truth Link Up! Visit that site to find more inspirational thoughts this weekend.

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Exploring Other Blessings of Parachute Prayer

Parachute PrayerIn my new book, Parachute Prayer, I discuss four of the blessings that come from practicing these simple prayers. These are the primary blessings but not the only ones. Today I’d like to explore another one:

Parachute Prayers make us more aware of the trials other people face, giving us a stronger sense of compassion and empathy.

Here’s how this works:

Several of the prayer prompts in my book come from considering our own struggles. We identify the problem and pray about it, for ourselves, but we don’t stop there. Instead, we take a little time to think of others who may be going through the same thing and pray for them. If we don’t know anyone else who is suffering in the same way, we realize that, even so, our problem is not unique. God knows others who are challenged by it. So we pray for them. It doesn’t matter that we can’t pray for them by name. God knows who we are praying for. He knows it breaks our hearts that others are feeling the same pain we feel. He cares about us all.

Today’s new Parachute Prayer is one of these:

Fraud VictimsWhen someone treats you unfairly, pray for victims of fraud – people who’ve been conned, scammed, hacked, or just plain lied to. God sees it all and hates it. Ask Him to make things right, as only He can.

Then ask Him to help you and other victims to trust His ways. He doesn’t always work the way we want or expect Him to. He is working on behalf of everyone. He will make everything right in His time, delivering justice or offering grace. Our job is to talk to Him about the situation, forgive the offender, then trust God to work in the offender’s life.

And if forgiveness doesn’t come easily – I suppose it rarely does, ask God for help with this. Decide to enter the process of forgiving, be willing to forgive as God works on your heart, make forgiving the offender your goal. This process will help you draw closer to God while keeping bitterness out of your heart.

Father, thank You for all of the blessings of prayer. To think You hear us when we talk to You! You hear and You respond. Please help us to remember to bring all of our concerns to You. Help us to bring the similar concerns of others to You, too. Make us compassionate and forgiving, trusting You to see what’s wrong and make it right in Your perfect time. Amen.

To learn more about Parachute Prayer and its blessings, order your copy of my book here.

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“Parachute Prayer” Is Here!

Giveaway!It’s here! It’s finally here!

Parachute Prayer: the Practice of Praying Continually is now available on Amazon in paperback or for Kindle. Within the next few days, it will also be available at other on-line retailers such as BN.com and BooksaMillion.com.

Here is what it’s all about:

In her new book, Parachute Prayer, Janet helps readers understand what Paul meant when he urged people to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and encourages them to develop a regular habit of prayer, one that will help them keep their prayer concerns before God as they enjoy a greater sense of His constant presence. Janet hopes that her book will help readers discover how “the practice of praying continually” can draw them closer to their Savior, benefit their people and their world, and launch them into deeper, more focused times of prayer.

To celebrate this book’s release, I’m running my very first ever giveaway here at Wildflower Faith. I’ll be giving one winner two signed copies of Parachute Prayer: one to keep, one to give to a friend. Follow instructions below to enter. (Don’t forget to click on any tasks you do to tell Rafflecopter you did them and claim an entry in the giveaway.) Thanks for celebrating with me!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions: Giveaway ends February 28, 2015 at 12:00 AM EST. Open to Residents of the US only. Winners will be selected randomly via Rafflecopter.com and notified by email. Each winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Janet Benlien Reeves will send the prize to each winner directly. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. Facebook and Twitter are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to Janet Benlien Reeves alone. She will not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send Janet an email!

I’m sharing this post with the Friendship Friday Blog Party and A Little R & R. Visit either of those sites to see what creative endeavors other bloggers are up to this week.

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Four Days to Book Launch! “Parachute Prayer”

Dear Reading Friends:

Cover RevealI’m so excited to announce the upcoming release of my new book, Parachute Prayer: The Practice of Praying Continually. It is my heart’s desire to encourage people, through this book, through this blog, through my life, through whatever means possible, to pray. God loves to hear our voices (and thoughts) directed toward Him, conversing about anything and everything all the time. He loves it when we pray because He adores us. I am praying that Parachute Prayer will help the people who read it to understand this and practice it in a new way.

Here is the back cover synopsis of the book:

Have you ever wondered what Paul meant when he told us to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)? Do you long to develop a regular habit of prayer, one that helps you keep prayer concerns before your God while also reminding you of His constant presence? He is with you. He loves you. He wants you to talk with Him!

Through a personal prayer concern, author Janet Benlien Reeves discovered that God has planted prompts to pray all over the place. Training herself to notice them and respond became a fun and meaningful exercise—one she’s eager to share with you.

In the pages of this book, you’ll read Janet’s story, learn the concept of Parachute Prayer, and find more than one hundred Parachute Prayers to try yourself as you begin to develop this simple habit. You’ll also discover how “the practice of praying continually” can draw you closer to Your Savior, benefit your people and your world, and launch you into deeper, more focused prayer times.

I am writing this post today to let you know that Parachute Prayer will be available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle this Friday!!! (The Kindle version is even available for pre-order right now!) Friday is just four days away, so I’m doing everything I can think of to spread the word about this book.

Would you like to help? I would absolutely love it if you would like to help!

Prayer Prompt for BookMy first request: please join me in praying about this book’s release. I’ve even turned this request into a Parachute Prayer prompt to remind you. When you see a dandelion, real or drawn or photographed, please pray that God will use the book Parachute Prayer to call people to pray, to draw them and their loved ones into a closer relationship with Him, and to strengthen His kingdom. Please ask God to get this book into the hands of people who will benefit from the practice of Parachute Prayer, from the practice of praying continually.

Thank you so much!!!

Here is a short list of other things you can do to help me if you’d like to:

1. Rumor has it that Amazon is more likely to promote books whose author pages have a following. Did you know I have an author page? If you visit it, here, and click follow, Amazon will be more likely to help me to promote this book. (And you’ll receive word from Amazon once the book is released.)

2. If you have a Goodreads or Shelfari account, add Parachute Prayer to your list of books to read.

3. If you are a fellow blogger who likes to review books, send a link to your page along with your mailing address to me at Janet@WildflowerFaith.com. I would love to send you a complimentary copy of Parachute Prayer in exchange for an honest review on your blog. (And if you wanted to post that review in other places like Amazon.com, BN.com, Goodreads, or Shelfari, I would love that, too!) (U.S. addresses only, please.)

4. If you know a fellow blogger who might like to review Parachute Prayer, please let that person know about this offer.

5. If you have a Facebook profile, like my Facebook page, then like, share, and/or comment on announcements about this book and on any Parachute Prayer prompts. (I usually post these on Mondays. Please feel free to share them to encourage your friends to pray!)

FluParachute6. If you have a Twitter account, use #ParachutePrayer to encourage people to pray and introduce them to the concept of the book. For example, using a prompt I posted on Facebook this morning, you could Tweet: When you see a box of tissues, ask God to help people with the flu to recover quickly. #ParachutePrayer

7. Tell people about this book! Word of mouth is still the most effective means of recommending something.

These are just a few ideas, but I’ll appreciate anything you come up with. I only have one little voice, so your voices help me so much!!!

I’ll be back tomorrow with another post about Genesis. On Friday, I’ll be launching a book giveaway to celebrate the release of Parachute Prayer: The Practice of Praying Continually. I hope you’ll come back then!

Thank you, my friends–

Janet

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A Parachute Prayer for Groundhog’s Day

Parachute PrayerHappy Groundhog’s Day!

I feel so sorry for that rodent. Punxatawny Phil must be the world’s most famous scapegoat. According to the calendar, Winter doesn’t officially end until March 19. That’s six and half weeks from today. Yet when February rolls around, many of us start longing for Spring—especially if we happen to live in a snowy climate. We become dissatisfied with Winter and look for someone to blame. I just learned that Phil isn’t even the one who decides whether he will see his shadow or not. The outcome is predetermined by an elite group of groundhog handlers known as The Inner Circle on Gobbler’s Knob.

Poor Phil doesn’t stand a chance! . . . except that he’s probably the most pampered and prized rodent on the planet, so I can’t feel too sorry for him.

Genesis 3 shows us that since the Fall, it’s been in our nature to blame. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. God saw the truth and disciplined them all. Which was a good thing because if He’d let Adam or Eve off without consequences, they’d have stayed in Eden, eaten from the Tree of Life, and been stuck living in a fallen world for all eternity. God loved them too much for that. God loves us too much for that. His “curse” was an act of grace.

Groundhog Day ParachuteSo in honor of Groundhog’s Day, let’s practice a new Parachute Prayer. Whenever you’re reminded what day it is, pray that hurting (or hurtful) people will stop looking for someone or something to blame, even if that blame is deserved, and take responsibility for their own choices and actions. Pray they’ll learn to offer forgiveness where it’s needed, to ask for it when they should. Pray that they’ll move forward to make things that have gone wrong right (as far as they are able) and that they’ll look toward a better future while letting go of any resentment toward what’s past. This is where healing begins. Let’s pray this for them.

The groundhog doesn’t determine how long Winter will last. Neither does The Inner Circle of Gobbler’s Knob. Blaming them won’t make the snow go away, so let’s be thankful for each season’s gifts and rest assured that Spring will come someday.

Father, when people use their energy to find scapegoats to blame, they get stuck in bitterness and pain. Please help them to move forward. Help them to forgive or ask forgiveness. Help them look for ways to make things right no matter who made things wrong. Please bless their lives with peace. Amen.

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Praying for People Who Don’t Feel Thankful

Parachute PrayerThough Thanksgiving is a time set aside for giving thanks to God for all He’s given us, I know with certainty that there are many people among us right now who are struggling to do this—if they’re even trying at all. Some are grieving. Some are lonely. Some are desperately in need. Some suffer from depression. For whatever reason, they just aren’t feeling thankful, and, though people can offer thanks to God whether their emotions are involved or not, this is a choice they must wrestle through, one that requires great trust and determination. It’s one that many give up on or refuse by settling for bitterness. As we give thanks for our blessings this week, let’s boost these people with prayer.

And since we’re praying for people who aren’t feeling thankful, let’s let the most unthankful one in our midst remind us to pray for these. When we see our Thanksgiving turkey (or ham), let’s remember that not everyone gets to enjoy a happy Thanksgiving. We make jokes about the poor turkey’s sacrifice, but it is a sacrifice just the same—and we’re thankful for it as we enjoy our dinner with all the fixings!

When God gives us reason to celebrate, we honor Him by doing so with all our heart—especially at Thanksgiving. We’re thanking Him by enjoying the blessings He’s provided, by inviting Him to be present, the Guest of Honor at our feast! But we honor Him even more when we remember in the midst of our fun that some aren’t experiencing it. Let’s take time to pray for their needs.

Father, Thanksgiving is a curious thing. It’s a matter of the heart really. On this soon-coming day, You will watch as some of the most wealthy grumble and complain while some of the most impoverished thank You for whatever they can all day (and the other way around). Circumstance isn’t what enables us to give thanks. So please help people who are struggling to be thankful to find reason for gratitude. Even the turkey, if turkeys could be thankful, might be grateful to discover the purpose of his sacrifice. You created him to feed someone hungry, to be the main course at a meal that honors You.

And Father, as those who are struggling to be thankful wrestle with this, please send comfort their way. You care about heart attitudes, but You also care about circumstances. Please provide what Your people need. Encourage them on their way. Let them know that You are the God Who sees and that You are taking care of them always. For this and so much more, we thank You, Lord. Amen.

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The Giving Prayer

Parachute PrayerI once read that Charles Spurgeon, a great Christian minister known for his amazing sermons, had an interesting practice of giving.* It was simple. Whenever he bought something, other than a necessity, for himself, he’d give an equal amount of money to someone else. For example, if he bought a book for himself with a cost of $13.00, he’d donate another $13.00 to charity. The purpose of the practice was to keep him from spending too much on himself while helping him remember to give generously to people in need.

Today, I’d like to suggest we turn the concept into a Parachute Prayer. Whenever we pray for ourselves, let’s take a little extra time to pray the same for someone else. For instance, if we’re praying about a personal health concern, let’s remember others with related concerns. If we’re praying about a financial need, let’s pray for people we know who are struggling financially. If we’re asking God to give us something or to help us solve a problem, let’s ask Him to do the same for someone else. If we’re praying for parenting wisdom, let’s pray for friends with kids.

God wants us to ask Him for the things we want and need. He also wants us to trust His wisdom in answering yes or no. He is our loving Father, Creator, and Provider. We show our confidence in Him when we take our concerns and desires to Him daily. But as we do, let’s take the concerns and desires of others to Him, too.

Father, Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” And so, we bring our daily requests to You, knowing You will provide generously and with our best interests in mind. As we trust You for the concerns of our own lives, please remind us to entrust You with the cares of others, too. You have more than enough for all of us. Thank You for Your love above all. Amen.

*Note: I read this story a few years ago. I’m not sure what book I found it in. My memory says it was Charles Spurgeon, but it may have been another well-known minister of the time. The idea is what’s most important. Please forgive me if I’ve given credit to the wrong person.

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Appreciating the Master

Parachute PrayerThe next time you see a work of art—a painting, a sculpture, or some such masterpiece—pause to consider the work the artist put into it. Each brushstroke, each cut into stone, each smooth curve—the artist puts serious thought into every detail of a creation. (“Just as a writer deliberates over every word,” she realized as she rewrote that last sentence four times.)

When I pause to reflect on the artist at work, my thoughts naturally turn to my Creator and His work and all we take for granted. He plans. He designs. He configures. He molds. Sunsets. Flowers. Creatures that fly and crawl and run and climb. People—every one as unique as the legendary snowflake.

Today’s Parachute Prayer is to let the works of art you see draw you from appreciation of the piece to thoughts about its creator to worship of Your Creator, the greatest artist of all.

Father, Your works are wonderful. We know that full well.* Thank You for giving us all things to enjoy* and for using this enjoyment to draw us closer to You. We love You, Lord! Amen.

*Psalm 139:14, 1 Timothy 6:17

 

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Praying for Those Held in Addiction’s Chains

The song Set Me Free by Casting Crowns played on my MP3 player the other day and prompted a Parachute Prayer. If you aren’t familiar with this song, the melody is haunting, making the message even more powerful. It’s the story of a demon-possessed man healed by Jesus (Luke 8:26-39). As you read the first verse and chorus, consider how this man would have felt:

It hasn’t always been this way
I remember brighter days
Before the dark ones came
Stole my mind
Wrapped my soul in chains

Parachute PrayerNow I live among the dead
Fighting voices in my head
Hoping someone hears me crying in the night
And carries me away

Set me free of the chains holding me
Is anybody out there hearing me?
Set me free

We don’t hear a lot about demon possession in our society today, but there is a group of people living in chains, sometimes living on the streets instead of home with their families. When they are in their right mind, they long for the former, brighter days. But then they give in to what has stolen their minds, wrapped their souls in chains, and left them fighting voices in their heads. These are the people who’ve become enslaved to their addictions, who will give up everything of value in their lives for more, just a little more, the more which is never enough.

This week, when we see chains of any kind (holding fences closed, keeping bicycles safe, blocking off driveways, worn as an fashion-statement accessory), let’s ask God to set people free from their addictions. Jesus set the demon-possessed man free and sent him home (verse 39). He can do the same for those held tightly in chains today.

Father, the chains of addiction are powerful, but You are stronger. This we know! Please set people free today. Amen.

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Praying for Our Hearts

Parachute Prayer“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”Ezekiel 36:26

Though most Parachute Prayers are meant to remind us to pray for other people, sometimes we need to pray for ourselves. And if we’re trying to follow Jesus who told us to love God above all others and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves (Mark 12:29-31), I think praying about the condition of our hearts is one of the most important prayers we can pray for ourselves. This world is designed to harden our hearts, to turn them to stone, to keep us from loving anyone well. This is something we must guard against (Proverbs 4:23).

Keeping this in mind, when we see stones, whether pebbles in a stream, rocks used as decorations outside a store or home, or boulders built into monuments, let’s pause and ask God to soften our hearts. Then, when time allows, let’s use that time to examine our hearts more thoroughly, giving God the time He needs to fully answer that prayer. Heart surgery can’t be done in a moment, but the Parachute Prayer can initiate the process, so God’s Spirit can begin to work, to let us know what attitudes need to change, so He can soften our hearts.

Father, thank You for designing us with a great capacity to love. Help us to protect our hearts, so we can continue to love You and others well. Please reveal any hardness in our hearts. Then show us how to cooperate with Your Spirit, so You can bring healing. Teach us to love as You do. Amen.