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Monday, August 29, 2011

Pray for Marriages (Faith)

Greetings Prayer Warriors!

Faith is often a difficult concept to grasp. In this Internet age of having all types of information and answers at our fingertips, it is ironic how difficult having true faith is. That is because we want clarity and faith asks us to believe in what we can’t see.

John the Baptist was a beautiful example of true faith. Through grace, he accepted the will of God without question. As his faith journey became difficult, he remained steadfast.

I have always wanted to know John’s secret. He could have been quite angry with God and said, “I give my life to you and you reward me with a beheading!?" I think John reveals the secret to his much holier behavior in the following scripture passage.

He must increase; I must decrease. John 3:30

John spent his life emptying his self-will and completely surrendering to God’s will. He discovered that sometimes it is in the deepest darkness that we truly find the Lord. John’s love for Christ was so perfected, that he no longer feared bodily death.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear. 1 John 4:18

In marriage, how might one decrease so the Lord can increase? Surrender a difficult aspect of your marriage/your life to the Lord, so that He might increase in you and show you how to love. Then pray for the strengthening of all marriages, especially those in most need.

Peace, Love, and Joy,

Invite someone to decrease. Pass this on.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pray for Families (Hypoxic)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

While on vacation, my family was playing the game, Trivial Pursuit. One of the questions was, “What does everyone die from?” The answer was hypoxia (lack of oxygen) to the brain. While we had our own discussion as to whether one dies from lack of oxygen to the brain or heart, it made me think of what gives us spiritual life.

If hypoxia equals death and the Lord gives us life, isn’t hardness of heart and other forms of sin a spiritual hypoxia/death? If you think of God as the air we breathe, and that he breaths life into us, don’t we seem foolish to ever willingly cut ourselves off from Him? Yet in essence, that is exactly what we do. With each sin we become more hypoxic, commencing a slow spiritual death we are largely unaware of.

For the spirit of God made me, the breath of the Almighty keeps me alive. Job 33:4

If you were physically hypoxic, you would carry around an oxygen tank. When one is spiritually hypoxic, we need to turn to the Giver of Life. As Catholics, we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation, for others there is prayer and repentance.

Lord, as we pray for families today, open our eyes to our own spiritual hypoxia. Breathe new life into us and give us the courage to get down on our knees to seek forgiveness for our sin, for our family’s sin, and for any generational sin. We believe in the depth of your love and the ocean of your mercy. As we turn to you, please stretch out your hand and lift us up, that we glorify your name in praise. Amen.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Offer spiritual oxygen to a friend.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Pray for Marriages (Hope and Trust)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

A dear friend of mine recently shared with me that her husband has an addiction to pornography. When I asked if he was going to quit, she said he didn’t think it was possible. (Despair) However, upon her insistence, he agreed to take steps to try. (Hope)

While we may think addictions (such as porn, alcohol, drugs, gambling) belong only to a few, let us remember that we all are shackled by our sin. Our own bondage is just not so obvious.

Take a moment and ponder what shackles you. If you are having trouble thinking of anything, think of something that you do that is unnecessary or in excess that keeps you from bonding time with your spouse, children, or the Lord. Is there something that creates a wall versus a door or window? Work? Shopping? Idleness? Constant activity? Whatever you spend the most time focusing on or doing, reveals what is number one in your life.

Our sin shackles us and it is through repentance (sorrow and trust) and the Lord’s mercy (pure love) that we are set free. There is always hope in the Lord.

Hope in the LORD; For with the LORD there is loving kindness, And with Him is abundant redemption. Ps 130:7

Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Is 40:31

Let us pray for all marriages that are weakened or crumbling due to the bondage of sin. May spouses never fall into despair, but place their hope in the Lord, because through Him, all things are possible.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

It takes an army with prayer as it’s weapon. Enlist some new friends.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pray for Families (Protect our Children)

Greetings Prayer Warriors!

Once again, I feel compelled to pray for children. It seems that all my spiritual reading continues to remind me of the importance of being child-like before the Lord. So I remind myself that children don’t waste time thinking about yesterday or worrying about tomorrow, they live joyfully in the moment.

But I feel a wave of sadness as I think how our culture rushes to push children out of their childhood. In essence, as natural childhood gets cut short, so does their spiritual childhood. Take a look around. Have you noticed that many of the children's clothes sold by retailers are miniature versions of adult clothing? Watch 10 minutes of a children’s television program. It is filled with innuendos and often worse. Wait for the commercials. What is seen in television commercials today, wouldn’t be allowed in primetime programming 50 years ago. Venture to watch a show targeted to a teen audience. It will be highly sexualized. Listen to a Top 40 radio station. Music is no longer about walking on the beach. What about the World Wide Web? A child can intentionally or even unintentionally bring subject matter to the screen that you would never allow through your front door.

Heartbreaking though it is, our children have become so desensitized, that they may not see anything wrong with the above. They just want to fit in. Rather than valuing the virtues that so naturally come to them, they are enticed by what is exalted by the culture: greed, lust, envy, pride, sloth, anger, and gluttony. Just watch any reality TV show to get a glimpse.

I ask that all of you pray for a change in our culture. May the heavenly Father protect his dear children. Lord, filter what is seen by their eyes and heard by their ears. Strengthen all parents and grandparents with fortitude, so they become a living and loving witness of what it means to “be like children.”

“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Matthew 11:25

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Invite anyone who is part of a family to pray with us.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Pray for Marriages (In word and deed)

Greetings Prayer Angels,

You have diligently prayed for marriages for a long time now. Thank you! Perhaps for some of you, your form of prayer has expanded to fasting, good deeds, or words of kindness. Or perhaps you have found new ways to show love and glorify God through that love.

Please continue to journey with me. Pray, fast, be kind, and show love. When you look at the calendar and see "Monday", please think of the following:

M any
O ffer
N oble
D eeds
A scending to
Y ahweh

May everything you do on Mondays be a form of prayer drifting up to the heavens like incense. Knowing His love and mercy, trust that grace will be showered down upon all marriages, especially those in most need.

I give thanks to my God at every remembrance of you, praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you, because of your partnership for the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil 1:3-6

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Add to the "Many" on Mondays. Invite someone to prayer.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pray for Families (Photosynthesis of the Soul)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

Have you ever been struck by the beauty of a magnificent tree, one with a wide trunk and beautiful long branches that reach out and up to the sky? You notice that the numerous leaves provide a sheltering shade that offers respite to all living creatures.

Now look at a tree and think of your family. Think of parents as the trunk and children as the branches. Throughout life much pruning, feeding, and nurturing occurs. Think of our heavenly Father as the roots. These roots provide stability and stretch out to provide you life-giving water, the same water that brought you to life in Christ during Baptism, which connected you to the Roots. Think of Christ as Light, the sun. Without the sun there is no growth and ultimately no shade. The Holy Spirit is the air, the wind that stirs us into movement. As shoots of growth occur, we turn and reach up toward the sun/Son, so that a photosynthesis of the soul can occur. Ahh! As a result one will begin to bear fruit, wholly unique to their branch. Each fruit complements the whole tree.

Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of its street. On either side of the river grew the tree of life that produces fruit twelve times a year, once each month; the leaves of the trees serve as medicine for the nations. Rev 22:1-2

Each family member has a unique purpose. Enjoy the fruit salad of your family. Pray that through growth, the fruit they bear will bring healing to the nations.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Share your unique fruit. Invite a friend to combine with you in prayer.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pray for Marriages (On Mondays)

Good Morning Prayer Warriors,

Nurture your marriage.

Let mutual love continue.

Be kind and generous to your summer guests.

Do not neglect hospitality, for through it some have unknowingly entertained angels.

We are all prisoners of sin. Be forgiving, as we are all part of the Body of Christ.

Be mindful of prisoners as if sharing their imprisonment, and of the ill-treated as of yourselves, for you also are in the body.

Cherish and respect the sacrament of marriage.

Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulterers.

Don’t stress about the stock market.

Let your life be free from love of money but be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never forsake you or abandon you."

We are children of a most loving Father.

Thus we may say with confidence: "The Lord is my helper, (and) I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?"

Find joy and strength in Scripture.

Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.

Find peace in the constancy of the Lord.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Hebrews 13:1-8

May daily prayer be your guide, your joy, your peace, and your shelter. May it lift you high and strengthen you in faith. And may Mondays always be the day you pray for marriages.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Invite a friend to spiritually meet you in prayer on Mondays.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pray for Families (Becoming Child-like)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

Anyone with small children has witnessed their sweet child dissolve suddenly into a state of wild tantrums. Anyone with older children has seen the even less pleasant teen version of this.

Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3-4

Unfortunately, I don’t think the Lord meant the above behavior, because in our lifetime, we as adults have probably had many tantrums and shouting matches with the Lord. (That’s hard to admit, isn’t it? Perhaps you should pause and reflect here. Imagine the Lord watching us have tantrums!)

So what do you think becoming like children means? I think it is having complete trust and faith in the one we are entrusted to. It’s unconditional love, even to those who can sometimes hurt us. It’s purity and goodness of heart. It’s seeing everyone as equally deserving. It’s sharing and sacrificing as an expression of our love for all. It’s having a special eye for all that is good and beautiful in the world, from a tiny butterfly, to the heart of a loving grandparent.

May the smile of a child fill you with joy today, giving you the courage and strength to live like one.

Pray for our children that their innocence may be protected and preserved.

Peace, Love, and Joy,

Invite an adult to become child-like. Pass this on!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Pray for Marriages (Call to Sainthood)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

I grew up reading “Lives of the Saints”. Those were some super-heroes. I remember their deaths never being all that appealing. I am one who would prefer to just drift off into sleep and never wake up. Somehow it wasn’t until adulthood that I learned that we are all called to be saints. Really??!! (I’m sure there must have been a few that drifted off into slumber besides Mary!)

I’ve learned that when married, aspirations of sainthood are much more challenging. Would any of you agree? There seem to be so many trials! The good news is that I found hope in one of the writings of St. Alphonsus Liguori*. Through tribulations, our souls are flooded with grace. Such trials are given because the Lord desires our welfare. They are a remedy, not a punishment. We must submit to His divine will and accept our trials joyfully, as did the Father’s beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Such trials are designed to keep us in prayer and help us grow in the virtues of humility, patience and submission to his will.

It is through trials and tribulations that the saints earned their glorious crowns. So the next time you are despairing of your trials, look to the Lord for consolation, persevere in prayer, and praise Him for the opportunity to become a saint.

In all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us. Romans 8:37

And since we are all just a bunch of wimps, let’s continue to pray for all marriages, that they be strengthened, not crushed by tribulations, that spouses grow in virtue not vice, that anger is replaced by gentleness and compassion, and that by focusing on Christ, His love will give us the courage to live out His divine will for us.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Call someone to sainthood. Forward to a friend.

*Magnificat: Vol 13 No. 16 p. 31