Finding God on a Prayer Walk with a Spouse

By Karen O’Connor:

A prayer walk every morning with my husband sweetened our faith in God and our marriage relationship.

 

prayer walk

At one time, mornings at our house were a blur of busyness. My husband and I would jump out of bed, shower, dress, eat, scan the newspaper, then rush off to work–Charles to his job and me to my home office down the hall from the kitchen. This went on for months–until we both realized we were missing an important part of our life–starting our day by praying together. It was then we decided to get up an hour earlier than usual and get out of the house where there would be no distractions. We began taking early morning walks and then stopping at a park bench and praying. The practice of combining physical and spiritual exercise invigorated our relationship immediately as we began finding God on a prayer walk.

MORE INTIMACY

An additional bonus awaited us, however. Our prayer walks gradually led to a deeper, more intimate understanding of one another.

MORE LOVE

Over time, I realized that the fruit of our prayer walks was not only evident to us but to our family and friends, as well.  Other people commented when they came into our home that they could feel the love.

MORE SPONTANEITY

The more we prayed the more we were able to embrace those around us–to see their needs beyond our own, and to include them in our prayers.

MORE PURPOSE

Simple, committed prayer has now become an essential part of our daily routine. On days when we can’t go outside due to rain, for example, or illness, we still pray together–in bed before we get up, or at the breakfast table before we go off to work, or if one of us is out of town–we connect by phone when we can.

MORE SIMPLICITY

Perhaps best of all is the simplicity of our communication with God and with ourselves. We’ve been stripped of our pretenses. No more fancy ‘word feasts,’ no self-conscious mumblings, no rattling on for the sake of hearing ourselves speak. Like Clement of Alexandria we’ve discovered through experience that “prayer is conversation with God.”

You too can find God on a prayer walk. Try it and see.

Enjoy this informative and entertaining YouTube video on prayer walking.

 

©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com, on Facebook or follow on Twitter: @karenoconnor

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Finding God in Prayers for Parents in Newtown

By Laurie Winslow Sargent:

Many of us feel helpless, wondering if all we can do is lift up prayers for those hurting parents in Newtown. Yet prayer is powerful.

 

Image Courtesy of FrameAngel at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Focusing on the issue of the tragedy in Connecticut for a post here at Finding God Daily has been one of the most difficult things I’ve tried to do.

To be honest, I have simply been beyond words,  as I think of the terrible pain all those families are in over the loss of their children.

My eldest daughter just graduated as a teacher and has been working with very young children, so felt quite torn up about the Sandy Hook school news.

She and I talked about how difficult it can be to keep balanced when we feel extreme compassion. Our own hearts hurt in grieving for those families we never met, yet can identify with.

To  be truly human and care as Christ does, we should feel that pain. Something would be terribly wrong with us if we weren’t grieved by the loss of those children and teacher’s lives.

At the same time, we could so easily grieve permanently at the many terrible things that go on in this fallen world, and feel permanently sorrowful. Finding a balance between caring and praying while not becoming depressed long-term ourselves can be tricky, especially the closer we walk with Christ and as we feel a share of His compassion.

We are thankful, however that we know to lift up our pain–and the pain of others–to our loving Lord, who I am certain weeps for those families.

Many ask why bad things happen to good people. Yet I know from personal experience that it is only by also experiencing pain that good people (though none of us are truly good) are able to feel true empathy, not just sympathy for others. I have far more compassion for someone who has lost a loved one since I too have lost loved ones.  If no Christians ever lost loved ones, how could we ever feel that true empathy?

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 New International Version (NIV) states this well:

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

The excruciating pain of the loss of a child is very real, so those families DO need prayer. One author friend Lucinda Secrest McDowell, who lives in Connecticut with her pastor husband, suggests this prayer. It’s by Roman Missal, in the book Prayers for People Under Pressure by Jonathan Aitken. and helpful for those who can’t find their own words:

“O Lord God, out of the depths we cry to You. Lord, be attentive to our cry for mercy. At this time of our heartbreaking loss, let us find in Your Son comfort in our sadness, certainty in our doubt, and courage to live through this hour. Make our faith strong, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Lucinda quotes Aitken:

“Sometimes prayers for those who mourn help a great deal. At other times they barely register as a way of softening grief. [the prayer above] opens with a line from Psalm 130:  ‘Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord.’

St. Augustine wrote of this: ‘When we cry to our Lord from the depths He heareth our cry and the very cry itself suffereth us to move from the bottom.’

What this means, in the context of bereavement, is that praying for those who mourn can start the process of God’s healing and lift them from the bottom of their depths of grief.”

Lucinda asks us to “Please keep praying for those hurting families, our shattered world, lost souls, the hopeless and confused and angry.”

Confidence in prayer comes most naturally when you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Do you need prayer for yourself? Feeling bitter, burdened or grieving?

Hear Linda pray for you aloud, at our sister site GodTest.com, in Prayers.

As painful as it may be to watch, here’s a video on ABC news describing some of the victims and one father’s perspective. I believe that it may help bring to mind those parents who we can all be praying for:

Laurie Winslow Sargent is a firm believer in prayer and that your prayers are heard by a real, loving, and very personal God.  To read about some ways God has answered some of her own prayers in times of trouble, click these links:

Comfort from God in a Long Distance  Miracle

Finding God in a Peppermint Tea Miracle 

A Miracle from God in an Overseas Call

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Find God While Making Your Bed

By Karen O’Connor:

It’s great to start your day with prayer, but easy to forget to do in the morning.  Why not seek and find God while making your bed?

One thing we do over and over—or we never do—is make up our bed. Some people can’t start their day without making their bed first. Others figure why bother? Before long it will be time to dive back in. I’m the kind who has to make my bed the moment I get up.

Prayer is also an excellent way to begin one’s day so I’ve decided to combine the two. I find God while making my bed because I pray at the same time.

“Dear Lord, please bless my husband and my family and friends and me. May everything we think, say, and do today honor you.”

About the time it takes to say this much, all I have left to do is put the decorative pillows in place and I’m all set.

Whether or not you make your bed is up to you. I doubt God cares about that one way or the other. But I do know that God cares about you and me—intensely and whole-heartedly. He always wants the best for us, and he’s there to guide and encourage us during every moment of our day:

. . . everything should be done in a way that is right and orderly” (1 Corinthians 14:40, NCV Bible).

If you’d like to start your day with prayer and leave your bedroom looking tidy and presentable for the next time you enter, then how about doing both at the same time? Find God while making your bed.

Enjoy this informative and helpful YouTube video on how to make a bed properly.

 ©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com, on Facebook or follow on Twitter: @karenoconnor  

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