As Anton Ego put it in the movie Ratatouille, "... you know what I'm craving? A little perspective. That's it. I'd like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that?"
Monday, July 21, 2014
eVotionals exhorts those who pray. It's the glass of water held out
around each month's turn for the runners who can use a quick and easy
quench in order to finish strong.
Approx. reading time: 10 minutes
Stories in my Head
A stop sign means
stop, it's at many street corners. An exit sign tells of a way to get
off or out, you can find it at freeway off ramps and in parking lots.
There are many common signs that give us direction and we are
conditioned to follow them without effort.
Sometimes we come
across less frequent signs, like Falling Rock. What does this one
mean? Where does it pop up and what does it alert a driver to do?
I know the
answers! My father told me all about it when I was young. Falling Rock
is a wise old Indian that is very swift. To this day he lives in the
thick of the forest and lives off the land. Whenever you see one of
those signs, it is a spot where Falling Rock has been spotted. If you
look around you might see him too. The best places to spot him would be
on mountain sides.
Don't believe me?
Of course you don't. But every time I see a Falling Rock sign I'm not
thinking about rocks near the road that may be sitting on unstable
foundations and I'm not driving with an awareness that may help quicken
my reaction if a boulder does happen to fall. To this day I am
conditioned to let my imagination about an Indian take over.
certainly made what could have been a boring ride up a mountain a lot
more interesting. I remember focusing on the road to spot every Falling
Rock sign. Each time I spotted one I tried to catch a glimpse of the
tricky fellow and then I'd draw conclusions of how he might have first
been seen there.
At one spot
Falling Rock must have been climbing steep rocks looking for snakes and
bugs to eat when a hiker saw him. At another spot he must have climbed
out of a hidden cave when a small plane flew by. Further down the road
there was a lake, he could have been spotted by a hunter while coming
back from fly fishing.
Think on Your Toes
are many signs God gives us that should prompt us to be prayerful. The
obvious signs get us praying right away. Someone is in the hospital,
we pray. Another person is fighting depression, we pray. There are
also less obvious signs that we are wrongly conditioned for. That is
when we tend to let the tall tales from society determine how we react.
example, when I was really young I remember a particular adult in my
life responding to a weakness in another. He managed to not only
humiliate the other but to make himself appear to be the better one.
This was not the right way to respond to a sign that read, "Falling
Apart." His tactic was a tall tale on how to edify and sadly I became
conditioned to it. It took many years of scriptures, prayers and God's
spirit to turn this sort of thinking around in my life.
other day, I again struggled with how I should react to the sign,
"Falling Apart." I sat at a restaurant with a waitress that was
obviously having a very hard day as it was reflective in her service as
well as her attitude.
was falling apart. A sign designed to initiate a heart of mercy and
prayers for God to be the glue she needs. I knew to pray, not only for
her good but for my own spiritual safety as well. I was starting to see
the foundations of a judgment boulder of how a waitress should treat a
customer loosen up in my heart.
part of me wanted to point a certain mistake out to her, so that she
would not do the same thing to the next customer. I thought about
praying for her but didn't and chose to point out her flaw.
of being a part of what puts people back together, I just loosened up
the gravel a little more! Then the boulder fell, I appeared so much
better than she did since a falling rock never falls pretty.
could see right through my words and straight to my heart. Like the
Falling Rock sign and the pretend Indian story, a sign of weakness
caused me to imagine a false scenario of superior knowledge in how
others should or should not handle the stresses in their life. My
waitress was falling apart and I chose to point it out instead of being a
blessing to her.
knew nothing about my waitress but as I drove away I knew that I needed
to stop talking about her weaknesses to justify my actions and start
covering her in prayer. My flesh wanted to pray like this, "Lord, help
her use common sense with her customers." That was not right. Praying
our own motives over another is never right. I needed to pray God's
will. "I'm sorry for not praying sooner. Help her with her troubles.
May she see You, Lord, as the solution to her troubles." It still felt
sort of weak. I didn't know her so that was as far as I got.
returning home a little pamphlet on my shelf caught my eye. It was a
tool I received years ago that can be used to cover a person in prayer.
To pray over the very foundations of a person's life! I've used it
several times to pray over family members. In 1989 Deborah Doggett's
then 14 year old daughter was away from home. Her daughter was a
student at the Black Forest Academy in Germany while Deborah was in the
United States. Deborah's heart cry was to intercede on her daughter's
behalf. While she couldn't be right there with her for her day to day
needs, God responded by showing her how to cover her daughter in prayer
from head-to-toe. In this pamphlet she shares how she literally prayed
for her daughter from head-to-toe, starting with her head and ending
with her feet.
How can I reverse my initial reactions to the sign? Pray for the foundations that need to be constantly stabilized, pray from head-to-toe!
her book Praying for your Husband From Head to Toe, Sharon Haynes talks
about this idea when she writes, "For most couples, life is just
daily. However, the accumulation of small struggles can nibble like
termites to undermine the foundation of what appears to be a healthy
structure just as surely as an earthshaking rumble of sudden disaster."
She goes on to describe an effective way to pray for a husband,
starting with his head and moving all through his body, right down to
his feet, making sure that the prayers are in line with God's word.
head-to-toe prayer guides comes from Doug and Jennifer Flanders. They
published three different visuals on praying from head-to-toe.
from head-to-toe is not an exclusive tool to use for those we live
with, it can be used for anyone! It's for those we don't really know,
like the waitress I recently had. It's for when distance keeps us from
knowing the daily things our loved ones are encountering, like Deborah
Doggett's daughter in 1989. It's for the hard-to-pray-for people, who
don't even want it. It's for when strong emotions and opinions get in
the way of praying the way God wants us to.
will never know how you have covered them, but these prayers play a
part in God's working in their lives as well as our own. When we don't
know how to pray outside of the obvious boulders, this head-to-toe
format comes in quite handy in praying right at the foundation of their
lives and praying over every pebble as little as it may seem.
When you see the sign, think on your toes! Save your pretend Indian stories for your next essay and abandon your faulty accusations of knowing better. Instead pray, from head to toe.
Your Turn, Head-to-toe
By now someone has popped into your mind that needs prayer. No? Wait for it...yes that one. Let's cover him/her with prayer.
(Adapted from previous mentioned resources)
Dear Lord, I pray
that you will be ___________'s focus. Set his/her mind "on things
above" remaining centered on the truth of Your Word. May he/she desire
to know You more and understand Your power, strength and comfort. Help
him/her to seek Your favor in his/her thoughts and motives always
rejoicing in Your truth. Give him/her Your discernment to protect
him/her from being deceived by empty philosophies. Give him/her a love
for learning, a wonderment of your creation, and a clear and healthy
mind free from headaches and head colds. Most of all may his/her faith
be ever-growing and his/her trust be in You alone - not dependent on
his/her own knowledge.
Dear Lord, help
____________ to see beauty in Your creation. Teach him/her to guard
his/her eyes in what he/she watches understanding the powerful impact of
visual things. May he/she focus attention on doing what is right and
see You in the details of his/her life. With eyes of compassion may
he/she see others as You see them and how he/she can be helpful.
Scripture References: Psalm 101:3, Psalm 119:18, Hebrews 11:1, Romans 16:19, Proverbs 4:25, Matthew 9:36, I Samuel 16:7
Dear Lord, may
____________ listen to You over wrong influences. May he/she be quick
to hear and incline his/her ears to listen to instruction. Lead him/her
to good counsel. May he/she listen for Your still, small voice and
remain ever attentive to Your promptings.
References: Psalm 32:8, Proverbs 18:15, Jeremiah 33:3, Romans 10:17,
James 1:19, Isaiah 55:3, Proverbs 8:32-34, Matthew 11:15, I
Dear Lord, guard
____________'s tongue, may his/her speech be seasoned with grace. Keep
his/her tongue from evil and lips from speaking lies. I pray that all
his/her words would be pleasing to You Lord and edifying to others. May
praise be on his/her lips. I pray that he/she will have a ready
defense, an apt answer and a timely word. Heal his/her sore throats.
Give him/her health for how his/her voice needs to be used. May he/she
always feed upon Your Word. Fill his/her mouth with skillful and godly
wisdom, that the law of kindness would remain on his/her tongue, and
that he/she would only and always speak the truth in love.
Dear Lord, give
____________ a heart for You and Your Word. Save him/her for Your
choice of mate or to be satisfied with singleness. May he/she have
unconditional love for the one You have given to him/her. May he/she be
100% faithful, loving, respectful and have tender patience. Please
give him/her a happy, cheerful heart. Keep his/her physical heart
healthy, with proper food, exercise and function.
____________ well. Teach him/her healthful habits. May he/she balance
rest and exercise. May he/she hunger and thirst for Your
righteousness. Bless the fruit of her womb by giving her children who
walk in truth.
Scripture References: Proverbs 31:27, Matthew 5:6, John 6:35, Psalm 127:3, III John 1:4
Dear Lord, I ask
that ____________ would not walk in step with the wicked nor stand in
the way of sinners, but that he/she would find wise and godly companions
along life's journey. Strengthen and sustain him/her so that he/she
can walk and not faint and not tire of doing good.
Scripture References: Psalm 1:1, Isaiah 40:31, II Thessalonians 3:13
Dear Lord, May
____________ be kneeling before Your throne in worship. May he/she
intercede for others. I ask that he/she will place her life in your
control, to be still before You. May he/she cease striving and know You
are God, may not his/her will be done, by Yours.
Dear Lord, Please
direct ____________'s steps, help him/her to stand fast, and to protect
him/her from stumbling. May he/she flee from evil, run and not get
tired, walk and not become weary. May he/she run to Your protection, to
Your fortress. May he/she serve you, walk in Your ways and have
beautiful feet that bring glad tidings of good things. May he/she walk
in the Black Forest and see Your majesty. I ask that his/her feet would
be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace so that he/she
might faithfully pursue righteousness and love. Lead him/her in the
path of wisdom and truth and keep his/her foot from stumbling.