post

Praying for People of Other Places

 photo 0390df65-96c3-4084-9efa-e09fd1ddaa87.jpgToday’s Parachute Prayer is simple: when you see pictures of famous landmarks, pray for the people of the city or country the landmark is located in. This includes seeing the picture on-line, on television, or used as décor in an office or home. It could also include seeing the landmark in person, if you are traveling. If you live near such a landmark, it can remind you to pray for your hometown. If you see a picture of the Eiffel Tower, pray for people who live in Paris or maybe all of France. If you see a picture of the Gateway Arch, pray for the people of St. Louis, Missouri.

This Parachute Prayer might tie in with the prayer for headlines. If you see the landmark in the news because of something happening in that city, you’ll know exactly what to pray about. But we know there are needs in every city, every country, whether they make the news or not. And God knows what these needs are. When we recognize a famous landmark, let’s take a moment to pray.

Father, help us to remember that people all over the world have problems and cares. Remind us to pray about these, and inspire our prayers that we’ll cover even unknown needs. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

post

Praying for Healthy Growth

Parachute Prayer

 

“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”Luke 2:52

I’ve been praying Luke 2:52 for my children since they were born. I continue to pray it for them even now, though they’ve most likely reached their full stature by now. I want my children to grow like Jesus, and I know this is something God desires for them, too. Luke 2:52 covers every aspect of human growth:

In wisdom = mental growth
In stature = physical growth
In favor with God = spiritual growth
In favor with man = social growth

People who grow steadily in all four areas are well-rounded and healthy human beings indeed.

So let’s turn this verse into a Parachute Prayer!

First, if you haven’t done so already, commit the verse to memory. You’ll need to keep it in your brain for use whenever you’re reminded to pray this prayer. It’s an easy verse to memorize because it’s short and it’s a list. All you have to remember is that Jesus grew and that He grew in four ways: in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Now here’s the trigger. Whenever we see a ruler or a measuring device of any kind, let’s let it remind us to pray. We can pray for our kids and/or grandkids, for our neighbors’ kids, for kids who go to our churches, for nieces and nephews, and for our kids’ friends.

We can also pray for grown-ups who are striving to grow in any of these areas. (When I do this, stature represents health in my prayer.) Until we reach Heaven, we all must strive to grow, prayerfully allowing God’s Spirit to make us more like Christ. So from now on, whenever we stop to measure something, let’s also pause to pray.

Father, thank You for making people able to grow, and thank You for Jesus’ example to follow. Please turn the measuring tools we use so often into reminders to pray about this process so crucial to all-around good health. Amen.

post

Praying for Churches in Headline Areas

Parachute PrayerI stumbled upon a new Parachute Prayer last week that I am so excited to share with you today. We were visiting a church in our community that we are blessed to attend from time to time. When the associate pastor stood up to pray, after a great time of worship through song, he took some time to pray for churches located near significant headlines of the previous week. For example, if he were to do that this week, he’d pray for churches in Northern California where the earthquake hit, churches in Iraq and Syria where all is in turmoil right now,  churches in Ukraine, Russia, Liberia, Iceland . . . you get the idea.

In previous Parachute Prayers, I’ve encouraged you to pray the headlines for those impacted by them and for rescue workers and decision makers involved in crises, but praying for nearby churches is a great idea, too! We may not be able to go to those places to help, comfort, and encourage, but the people of churches there can and are. And in some cases, they must risk their lives to do so.

When news headlines catch our attention, let’s whisper prayers for churches located nearby as we pray for victims, about conflicts, and for all people involved in trying to set things right again.

Father, when headlines break our hearts, please call us to pray. We aren’t there, but others are. Please use their hands, feet, voices, minds, and hearts to comfort, encourage, and mend as only You can. Amen.

post

Praying for Our Circles

In his book, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, Richard Foster says, “We are responsible before God to pray for those God brings into our circle of nearness.” This pretty much means that we are to pray for the people God brings into our lives. Parachute PrayerWe’re to pray for the people we come into contact with daily, the people we communicate with often over distance, the people we hear about who need to be remembered in prayer.

And don’t we all need to be remembered in prayer?

That thought aside, my imagination went to work when I read Richard Foster’s words. I pictured myself sitting on a park bench in the center of a circle that only I could see, quietly praying for each person who just happened to be located within that circle.

I’m not sure that that’s what Richard Foster had in mind when he said we’re responsible to pray for everyone God brings into our circle of nearness, but I do know it’s how some of my Parachute Prayers work: praying for everyone in the doctor’s office or grocery check-out line as we wait, praying for children we see walking to or from school, praying for people who happen to come to our door or call on the phone. Our circles of nearness can be defined in many ways.

To remember this concept and our responsibility, let’s use circles as our cue. Whenever we see circles, let’s pause to pray for the people who are in our circles, whether we’re praying for our family circle, our circle of friends, a Google+ circle we belong to, or everyone who happens to be standing in an imaginary circle we draw with our minds wherever we happen to be.

Father, remind us often of our responsibility to pray for the people You bring into our lives. And please find us faithful for their good, for Your glory, and for our growth. Amen.

Note: I’m sharing this post with the A Little R & R linky party.

post

The Biggest of All Blanket Prayers

Parachute Prayer“O God, creator of all humankind, I bring to you the cares and concerns of all your creatures. Look now to those who cry for help from every corner of the earth, for you alone are able to satisfy our deepest desires. Amen.” –from A Guide to Prayer for All God’s People by Reuben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck

My first thought when I read this prayer was, “Am I allowed to pray for such a thing?! That’s huge!”

Think about it: the cares and concerns of ALL God’s creatures—every person, every giraffe, every amoeba, every big and little, created thing! This has to be the biggest of all blanket prayers ever prayed.

But God knows the cares and concerns of every person, every giraffe, every amoeba—if amoebas are able to have cares and concerns. He even knows the cares and concerns of His creatures we haven’t discovered yet! And God, alone, is able to satisfy.

      • So when I pray that God will comfort, touch, encourage, and heal and family member with cancer, I pray He’ll do the same for all people who are suffering from the ravages of that disease and its treatment.
      • When I ask Him to protect my adult child who is traveling, I pray for all travelers everywhere.
      • When I pray for the homeless man holding a sign at the end of the freeway exit ramp, asking for work, food, or money, I pray for others like him, for anyone who is unemployed, hungry, or otherwise in need.
      • And when I ask God to help me follow Him carefully, discovering His purpose for my life each day, I ask Him to do this for my siblings in faith, too.

When we see a specific need, we can stop and pray for it right away. (In fact, we don’t even have to stop. We can pray as we go about our business.) Then we can follow that targeted prayer with general petition, knowing that God knows all the needs of all His creatures. He alone is able to provide.

Lord, thank You for hearing our prayers, big and small. Call us to pray often, to be in constant communication with You. We love You, and we know You love us, too. In confidence we bring our cares and concerns, along with the cares and concerns of all your creatures before You. Please satisfy those deep desires as only You can. Amen.

post

Revelation 21:4 on My Mind

NewOMM“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”Revelation 21:4, ESV

We’re memorizing this verse this week simply because of the hope it gives us. Someday the circumstances that cause us to grieve, cry, or suffer pain, whether physical or emotional, will cease to exist. And God Himself will wipe the last tears from our eyes. We need to remember this because in this world, we do have troubles and, sometimes, they cause us to mourn, cry, and feel pain.

Parachute PrayerICFor this reason, I’d like to use today’s verse as a trigger for Parachute Prayer. When tears come to our eyes, whether through our own hurts, out of compassion for someone else’s, or even because of a moving story in a book or movie, let’s pause to consider Revelation 21:4 and to thank God for what He promises to do someday. As we place our hope in Him, He’ll comfort us even now. That’s a truth worth remembering.

Father, thank You for the promise of Heaven. I look forward to seeing You face to face someday. I wonder if those last tears You wipe from our eyes will be tears of immense joy at finding hope fulfilled forever at last!

post

Watching and Walking with Prayer

Parachute PrayerI have two, closely-related Parachute Prayers for you today. The first comes from a long-time habit of mine. Whenever a family member leaves the house, I watch from the window until he drives from sight. Knowing where this person is going, I can pray for him and about the planned activity, whatever it is. (I can also pray for his safety.) That’s today’s Parachute Prayer #1: When family members leave the house, we can watch them go and pray.

The second is for ourselves. When we go to events such as Bible study, meetings, coffees, and such, we can pray for ourselves and the event, whatever it is, as we walk from our cars to the building. We can pray for friends who will be there, about topics we’ll be studying or discussing, for teachers, speakers, leaders, and participants. We can thank God for His Presence and ask for His blessing. Parachute Prayer #2: When we attend events, we can walk in and pray.

post

Praying for People to Reach Their Potential in Christ

Parachute PrayerHere’s a Parachute Prayer for Spring! It’s related to my post from last Thursday. If you missed that message, click here to read what I said. Sadly, the flowers I was watching so earnestly never opened up. One shriveled into a gruesome mass of purply-brownish blue overnight. The other is holding its shape, yet fading quickly, obviously drying up. No hope. It never really rained, but the weather did turn gloomy. Just enough to keep the flowers from reaching their potential.

Today’s Parachute Prayer is for potential. Whenever we see a flower getting ready to bloom, let’s pray for those people we know who are on the brink of such a bloom themselves. These people could include children, high school and college students, people embarking on new careers or entering a new phase of life–the empty nest, a relocation, or retirement. We can also pray for newborn Christians discovering what it means to live for Jesus and discovering His purposes for their lives.DSC01411e

As I mentioned on Thursday, life is fragile and unpredictable. Each person’s salvation is what matters most of all. Yet God has plans for each person’s life. Let’s ask God to give each person all he or she needs to mature, bloom fully, and bring glory to His name.

Father, thank You for Your care and provision. You have a plan, but You’ve given us freedom of choice. Provide all we need to become the people You mean for us to be, then help us to use those resources wisely. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

post

Praying for Victims of Abuse

Parachute PrayerWhile out running errands a few days ago, I noticed a car stopped across the intersection that had some truly unusual dents. It didn’t look like it had been hit by a car. The paint wasn’t damaged. But both driver’s side doors had people-sized indentations–like two people had literally thrown themselves up against the car with all the force they had. I can’t imagine anything else that would have made dents like that. Knowing that people don’t throw themselves up against cars just for fun, I’m pretty certain that the situation which resulted in the damage to that car also resulted in some damage to people. It probably wasn’t a pleasant sight, and people may still be recovering both physically and emotionally.

These thoughts prompted a new Parachute Prayer. When we see dents in cars, let’s pray for damaged people–people who suffer from physical, verbal, and/or emotional abuse. Except in the case of extreme physical abuse, we may never see the wounds these people have received. The bruises are real, however, and these people are hurting.

If you have time, add prayers for those who self-inflict such pain. Pray that people who care will notice and gently steer them toward the help they need–or that they’ll recognize the need for such help themselves.

Finally, don’t forget to pray for those who abuse. Those who hurt others usually do so because they are hurting or because they have been hurt. Pray they’ll recognize their own suffering in the eyes of those they abuse. Pray they’ll choose to stop hurting others and seek healing. Pray they’ll seek forgiveness, too, from God and from those they’ve caused pain.

Father, this world is full of pain and sometimes people are cruel. Please bring an end to such suffering! Protect those who are being abused. Lead them to shelter. Help them to recognize their value in Your eyes and to seek refuge in You and with people who can help them escape. Stand up for those who are helpless by helping others to see what they are suffering. Bring hidden pain to light that victims can be saved. And please cause those who inflict pain to realize that what they are doing is wrong. Prompt them to do what they must to stop. We thank You for seeing what we don’t. We thank You for caring always! We pray that You’ll act to bring relief in all situations. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

post

1 Corinthians 12:26 on My Mind

NewOMM“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” -1 Corinthians 12:26, NIV

Today’s On My Mind meditation is also a Parachute Prayer. I found today’s verse in one of the devotionals I read this morning. The author of the devotional reminded me that part of the body of Christ is suffering. Right now. These courageous members are suffering for their faith.

While it’s true that North Americans may experience some measure of persecution on a small scale, few will ever really know what it means to suffer for Jesus. I can’t even begin to fathom how this is possible, but in some countries, what you believe or don’t believe can actually be a crime punishable by death or imprisonment. In some countries, Christian parents are declared unfit and have their children taken from them. In some countries, teenagers who choose to follow Christ are disowned and thrown out of their homes onto the streets or turned in to the authorities for arrest. Such things are beyond my comprehension–how people could be so cruel! And yet, Christians really do die for their faith. every. day.

So as we memorize 1 Corinthians 12:26, let’s also get in the habit of praying for this suffering part of the Body daily. Here’s how we can do that:

Most of us, I think, have some kind of physical quirk that perhaps causes us pain from time to time. (If you don’t, be thankful! Then call on your own creative nature to come up with a reminder of your own for today’s prayer. In fact, feel free to leave a reply to share your ideas with others who are blessed like you are!) For me, the quirk is a shoulder twinge from time to time brought on by stress. It’s no big deal, just something that prompts me to exercise regularly. Now it will also remind me to pray! You can let your physical quirk be your reminder, too. When we feel a little pain in our physical bodies, let’s pray for those members of the Body of Christ who are truly suffering in Jesus’ name.

Father, our hearts break when we read about our brothers and sisters in Christ who are being persecuted for serving You. Please give them strength to stand firm in their faith. Please build them up physically and spiritually. Please let them know that You are with them; comfort them as only You can. And please Let them know, somehow, that there are people in this world who also care. Bless them, Lord, as You have promised to. Thank You for seeing and honoring their pain. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.