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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.

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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.

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Isaiah 58:11 on My Mind

NewOMM“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” –Isaiah 58:11, NIV

Oh, how I needed to read these verses this morning! They’re just perfect for a Monday—don’t you think? Especially for a Monday after week like the one just past: I was so sick last week! My poor husband kept looking at me in confusion and saying, “But you don’t get sick.”

It’s true. I don’t. Not usually. But last week I did and nothing I tried to do to hurry myself well again would work. I drank tea by the gallon, ran on my treadmill, took Vitamin C, ate healthy—mostly, and firmly told myself not to be sick. I laughed one evening when my husband and I were watching a television show about a virus that was claiming victims one by one. The main character looked at herself in the mirror and said, “I will not be sick.”

I said, “Give it up, Honey. I tried that. You’re doomed.” I was right. She got sick, too.

At least I didn’t get what she got! I guess things can always be worse.

Sometimes our bodies just have to ride illnesses out. On the bright side, these illnesses, if they’re minor ones like sinus infections or colds, force us to rest and relax—they actually give us permission to do so as they insist on it! I didn’t reach my writing goals for the week and missed attending Bible study, but I got lots of reading done and enjoyed catching up on the US Figure Skating Championships. I’m ready to watch the Olympics now; I know what’s going on.

That said, this week I’m feeling mostly better, so Isaiah 58:11 encouraged me greatly. I hope it will encourage you, too! God’s given us some beautiful promises for the start of a new week:

1. He will guide us always. As I begin to feel better, I long to dig into all the projects I had to neglect last week all at once. Trying to do so will only defeat me—and maybe cause a relapse. I’m thankful God is there to help me prioritize as I complete one task at a time. God doesn’t only guide us through the big decisions of life. If we’ll let Him, He’ll guide us through our daily decisions, too.

2. He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land. My land is currently covered in frost, but God will meet my needs here, too. He knows our needs better than we do; we can trust Him to provide.

3. He will strengthen our frames. Aren’t you glad God made our bodies able to heal themselves most of the time? As I am recovering from this recent illness, I’m looking forward to running again in a few days, rebuilding endurance and strength. I realize, though, that God, in His perfect, yet often mysterious wisdom, doesn’t always grant physical healing. Even so He does always give strength. He will always provide all the strength we need to accomplish His purposes for our lives. We can count on this.

4. He will make us like well-watered gardens. Gardens are fruitful, beautiful, pleasant, temperate, inviting, and peaceful. In the Bible, gardens are often places where people meet with God. Therefore, the promise of Isaiah 58:11 assures us that God will make us into people He can use to draw others to Himself whether He does this in social situations, through writing projects, in random encounters, or in our homes. When we devote our lives to God, He uses them to invite others to meet with and get to know Him, too.

5. He will make us like springs whose waters never fail. This is closely related to the promise of the well-watered garden. Jesus is the Living Water. God promises He’ll flow through us. If I really think about that picture, that means we’re simply the ruts in the ground that carry the real Water. But that Water is essential for life—for eternal life, for abundant life, for really-real, genuine life. (The redundancy there is intentional: life defined does not exist without Christ!) Therefore, let’s be happy to let God form us into springs that carry the Water of Life.

As always, I invite you join me in meditating on or memorizing Isaiah 58:11 to firmly get it placed on your mind. The more Scripture we put in our heads, the more God’s Spirit can use to help us on our journey through each day.

Father, thank You for the promises of Isaiah 58:11. Help us to absorb their Truth as we reflect on them this week. As You keep these promises, we know You’re making us into people who honor and glorify You. Thank You, Lord! Amen.

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Psalm 73:26 on My Mind

NewOMM“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” –Psalm 73:26

I’m suffering with a sinus infection today, so this verse seems especially appropriate. I tried to run it off because I read, a few years ago, that it’s possible to run off a cold. That really does work, but I didn’t get very far today. I know: sinus infections aren’t colds. But it was worth a try. Perhaps I’ll feel the results a little later on. For now, I’m drinking hot tea—and lots of it! I will overcome this thing.

In the meantime, it’s comforting to know that though my body may let me down, God never will. He provides all the strength and resources I need to accomplish whatever He calls me to do. (And maybe a sinus infection is telling me He’s calling me to rest.)

As always, I invite you to meditate on and memorize this verse with me this week. When we put God’s Word on our minds, we know it will be there when we need it. God’s strength never fails; neither does His Word.

Father, thank You for being the strength of my heart and my portion forever. I’ll rely on You at all times, whether I’m feeling weak or strong. In Jesus’ name, amen.