Posts Tagged ‘prayer’

“Deadly Poison (Ivy) Will Not Hurt Them At All”

June 30, 2018

(Bill Campbell, whose story this is, is 79. He has been my pastor for the past 21 years. The Holy Spirit has prompted him to write a book titled THE GOD OF PROMISES, which he is in the process of submitting for publication. This testimony of his healing from poison ivy is excerpted from the latest revision with his permission. If you’re interested in reading the entire book, let me know below.)

When we pray, the Spirit will illuminate any Scripture he desires in answer to our prayer. And, we believe that he will help us when we believe his words. For example: recently I was spraying weed killer on some poison ivy growing down the hillside behind our home. I saw some growing behind a large maple tree, and I had to stoop down and spray under the tree to reach it. A branch of the tree was in my way and I pushed it out of the way with my shoulder to spray back under the tree. While I was spraying the branch popped loose and was rubbing against the side of my face. When I looked at it I realized that the poison ivy had grown up the tree and out onto that branch and it was the poison ivy I was pushing out of my way with my arm, shoulder and the side of my face.

I have been very sensitive to poison ivy in the past and get seriously bad rashes and blisters. Not long after getting back to the house and washing up, the left side of my face and my left shoulder were already starting to get red and puffy.

I was praying, and I reminded the Lord: “You said that ‘by your wounds I am healed.’ This isn’t right – as your child I should be healed.” Then I heard in my mind, … when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all. I thought, “Lord, that is out of context.” I immediately heard again, … when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all. I was thinking this over silently, and I heard in my mind for the third time, … when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all.

I knew that the Holy Spirit has the right to take Scripture out of context and apply it to our circumstances even though we do not have that right without his specific guidance. So I said, “Lord, that is out of context, but if that is your word for me I receive it gladly, and I thank you.” That evening the rash got no worse, and the next morning the poison ivy rash was gone, healed. The Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is powerful and active.


June 16, 2018

On Saturday evening May 26, 2018, our son, Matthew,

and I were praying prior to him saying goodnight. When we concluded, he put his arms around me and said, “My wallet slipped out somewhere. I hope that you can forgive me.” When I asked him when he had last remembered having it, he told me, “at the library book sale”–that was on May 6th! So I assured him that he didn’t need to apologize, that I was sorry that had happened to him, and we would buy him a new wallet. However, as he restlessly paced in his room, I realized that he was agitated and unhappy. I said goodnight to him and told him I would see him in the morning.

After I left his room, I began to pray, “Lord, where is Matthew’s wallet?” I believe that Jesus put the thought in my mind, “Check with the movie theater.” Well, he and his dad had been to a couple of movies in May, but this seemed unlikely. The following afternoon I detoured from our list of errands and stopped at the theatre. Matthew asked why we were there. I told him I wanted to ask if the cleaning people had found his wallet or if someone had turned one in.

I spoke with one of the managers, explained the situation, and was surprised when she admitted that a man’s wallet had been found. I also shared that Matthew had been at the theatre recently, but that he is autistic and doesn’t have a sense of timing. Thus, he may have lost it on May 24th or Friday two weeks prior. The manager began to ask questions to determine if I could identify the wallet, such as the colour, brand name, and contents. I knew there would be no ID card in the wallet, which complicated things. Eventually, after a number of questions, I was able to relay that there should be at least 2-$20 dollar bills in it, and pointed out that if Matthew could see the wallet, he would know whether or not it was his and would not say it was his if it wasn’t.  To reinforce that truth, I recounted that our son had recently found a wallet that was not his and had promptly returned the wallet to its owner.

As I called Matthew over to the office, the manager immediately recognized him and said, “He’s one of our regular customers.” She was holding the wallet in a way that we couldn’t see it and asked the names and times of the movies that Matthew had recently seen. I provided the requested information and she seemed satisfied. When she passed the wallet to Matthew, his whole countenance changed. He had been so upset and out-of-sorts. Instantly, he was smiling broadly as he shook the manager’s hand and thanked her for taking good care of his wallet and keeping it safe for him! The manager apologized that she had to ask so many questions, but she needed to make sure the wallet was going to its rightful owner. I thanked her profusely, pointing out that she had just made Matthew’s day!

Later, at the car, I said to Matthew that I had prayed to God about his lost wallet. I also told him that God put the idea in my mind to check at the movie theater. I said, “Isn’t it great that God helped them find your wallet and keep it safe for you, and did you say thank you to Him?” He agreed, and then he prayed, “God, thank you for keeping my wallet safe and getting it back to me. Amen.”

What a faith builder for both of us! Thank You, Jesus: This is the year of the favour of the Lord…” (Isaiah 61: 1-3)!  Hallelujah!

Elizabeth Hogan Hayduk

Former Salvation Army Officer (pastor)

Hearing God and Reflection

April 9, 2012

Hearing God and Reflection.

Incredibly good blog on hearing God through reflection!

Sam Williamson’s blog “Beliefs of the Heart”

Grandparents and Their Influence

April 4, 2012

Grandparents can powerfully influence their grandchildren—and even beyond.
I realized this in force as I came across an interesting connection this morning in looking up some scripture references. In Exodus 17, we read of one of the first major battles the Israelites fought after coming out of slavery in Eqypt, Moses holds up the rod of God’s authority on a hilltop to determine the outcome of the battle Joshua is fighting in the valley below. I picture him holding it with both hands over his head. When he holds it up, they are winning the battle; when he gets tired and lets it down, they start losing. So Moses sits down on a rock and his brother Aaron and another man—this is our first introduction to him—Hur. (I can’t help but wonder if this name didn’t influence Lew Wallace’s selection of title character in the famous novel Ben Hur, written in 1880 and, until the publication of Gone With the Wind in 1936, the most published book besides the Bible.)
Hur (the name, according to the Wikipedia article on Wallace’s novel, means “white linen” in Hebrew) is, according to the Jewish historian, the brother-in-law of Moses, married to his sister Miriam. (A different Jewish tradition makes him Miriam’s son, in which case he would have been Moses’ nephew.) He was also the grandfather of another well-known post-Exodus figure, Bezaleel. Bezaleel becomes the master craftsman who fashions the Tabernacle Moses had made and many of the items it contained, including the Ark of the Covenant, the furniture, and the original Menorah (lampstand). And Bezaleel is the first person mentioned in the Bible who was filled with God’s Spirit.
This is just a thumbnail sketch, background to get to my point: What influence might Hur have had on Bezaleel as he grew up? Did Hur help his grandson figure out who he was, what his calling (“vocation”) was in life? Did he take him fishing and hunting and adventuring? We aren’t told, obviously, but it’s fun to speculate. I wonder sometimes how the influences of my own grandparents and even great grandparents impacted me, even in ways I don’t know about.
I’ve heard that Dr. James Dobson, Christian psychologist and founder of the well-known “Focus on the Family” ministry, had a great-grandfather who was a farmer. Every day that man would stop wherever he was working and take lunch at noon for an hour, and spend that hour praying for his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren (probably based on the scriptural idea of spirituality and sin being passed down “to the third and fourth generations”). Of all his descendants in that fourth generation, all except Dobson (and perhaps one other) are ministers or are married to ministers—and obviously Dobson’s ministry could be seen as more powerful than had he actually become a minister.
The older we get (I am 59), the more we realize we won’t last forever, and the more important it becomes to pass a legacy on. I have 3 granddaughters by my first wife, and 2 grandsons by my step-son. I know I don’t pray for them at all like Dobson’s great-grandfather. But I’m learning. The youngest grandson has stayed with us for the past 2 days while his dad works out of town, and we are praying over him, singing to him, trying to pour into him. And, hopefully one day, he too will find himself filled with God’s spirit, finding his true calling, and becoming the man he was meant to be.
We don’t get to choose our grandchildren, and really, when it all gets down to it, had little say in who our children turned out to be and become. I can say that with far more clarity with my firstborn being now 37 years old than I would have thought when he was born.
Still, we do what we can and pray for God to make up the difference. He is faithful. Ultimately, it’s his rod, and his battle. I’m just glad we get to help hold up one end of the rod sometimes.

Pray WITH Rather than FOR

March 28, 2012

We usually pray FOR (things, people, results, etc.), but how often do we pray WITH?

Jesus was saddened in the Gethsemane experience by his disciples’ inability to “watch” with him for one single hour during his time of greatest struggle up to that point (Matthew 26:40; Mark 14:37) Admittedly the verb here does not mean pray, but rather to keep watch in earnestness. Still, it seems the Lord would have been glad for some company in praying.

Before I go any further, lest anyone get the idea that this is condemnatory, let me a confession: I am 59, and in the 55 or so of those years when I have been capable of consciously praying, I have not even touched the surface of prayer. Many times I have not prayed at all. I have never prayed systematically, regularly, or diligently. At 59, I would have to say I am a newbie at prayer.

Still, I see something worth pursuing here. Mostly we pray with an eye toward getting, accomplishing, doing. How often do we see prayer as relationship, as a “being with”?

I was reading the first chapter (of 12) in a book called The Kneeling Christian by “An Unknown Christian,” and making some notes on it, and all of a sudden it struck me: We pray FOR, but do we pray WITH?

Prayer FOR is adversarial and distant. It is sitting on one side of the table with God on the other, or standing on one side of the cash register with God at the till, or writing a letter to a Santa Claus who lives further than the North Pole and, yes, is checking his list twice—per minute. In situations of desperation, prayer is pleading with a Judge or a Policeman or the Principal, for mercy, for leniency, for release. And (maybe unfortunately) sometimes it even works—at least to get what we want.

Prayer WITH is relational and in-your-face. Prayer WITH is family. Prayer WITH is marriage. It is living and working and simply being TOGETHER.

How would it change our attitude toward prayer if we saw ourselves in living relationship with God?

What if we saw ourselves as seated next to God traveling somewhere together? What if we saw God as our guide blazing the trail for us? What if we saw him as our best friend, our ally, our business associate, our marriage partner?

What if we saw God on our side when we pray?

What if we saw ourselves on God’s side? Would we ever want to get back on ours?

Prayer, A Cat Named Esther, and Spreadsheets

March 28, 2012

I started out my time this morning by getting a nice cup of hot tea and reclining on my sofa to enjoy some prayer time and, hopefully, writing time. The latter came unexpectedly. Here’s how.

I’ve started trying to get more disciplined in prayer and Bible reading by doing spreadsheets, just to keep track of what I have done and where I need to go. Spreadsheets, like day-timers, iPad apps, and various other schedulers, are great tools. But they are just tools—something to help you get the job done.

Now, we have two cats, Esther (a darker gray tabby cat, with some underbelly tan-and-white, and white paws) and Maggie Moo. In the mornings they want to be fed, but I don’t feed them—at least not now, because we’re started trying to change them back to softer foods for their health’s sake. Not really my thing, all in all—I was never a cat-person before marrying Diane almost 13 years ago. But she loves them, and I’ve come to love them too.

So, I’m up, but Diane isn’t, and the cats want feeding. They’re getting used to my not feeding them first thing, but Esther, unlike Maggie, likes to be rubbed, and since there’s no food, rubbing is the next best thing. I’m trying to do my spreadsheet thingee and get going, but Esther wants to lay beside me on the sofa and press against my side and have me rub her. I’m thinking, “I really need to get going here,” and then I hear the Lord speak (internally, of course—I’m not on Mt. Horeb, after all)…

“Let it go for now.” And I realize what he wants me to do is focus on the moment, forget scheduling, just pet the cat. Doesn’t seem that spiritual—and I guess it’s not really, but as I start to stroke her and watch her purr and close her eyes and just soak it in, I realize that that’s how he wants to relate to me—just to have me soak him in, close my eyes, and enjoy. And so I lean back, stroke Esther, and just enjoy that, and thinking about him, and thanking him.

It really is about relationship. Spreadsheets and timer tools can help get you on your way and keep other things from distracting, but ultimately, it’s about the end-goal—not the means of getting there. Once you’re there, put the tools down.

Jesus even sort of viewed… [oops, just had to spend another 25 minutes stroking Esther—she came back, laid by my side with her paws against me and my forearm along her back, and I stroked behind her ears and drifted off myself for a while! Then my wife got up: FOOD TIME!] … Jesus viewed himself as a tool for relationship with the Father: statements like “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father,” “The time will come when you will no longer ask me—you’ll ask the Father directly,” and “I am the way/gate/door/etc.” point to him as the pathway to real intimacy with the Father—the kind he had.

Tools are great—but when you’ve built the house, put the tools away and just live in the house.

Why don’t you “ante up your kitty” today? Find something that helps you pray, and just soak it up!

Prayer As Messy As My Life

March 24, 2012

For prayer to become as real to me as I want it to be, it has to become as messy as my life. If prayer at its best is 24/7 interaction with God (“pray without ceasing”), then it has to wrap itself around my life like a wetsuit, a skin-tight bodysuit. It has to cover all the nooks and crannies of who I am, who I was, and who I’m becoming. It has to be totally me, all the time, in every possible way.

Life is messy. Being born is messy. Babies are messy. Growing up is messy. Lovemaking is messy. Dying is messy. Surviving is messy. Why shouldn’t prayer be messy? If prayer can’t handle all the mess of life, then can we really call it prayer?

I’m not there by any means, but it feels like it’s happening. Recently, I’ve felt an intense drawing to learn about prayer, to study it out, to experience it, to have it become part of the fabric of my life, and it’s happening. But it’s messy getting there.

Prayer that is messy encompasses the times I don’t want to pray. I woke about an hour and a half ago, too tired to get up, even I felt the Spirit tugging at me to come be with him and learn. “Let me sleep another hour, please,” I tried bargaining. And I felt it was OK, but then found myself wondering, “Can you pray in your dreams?” So the next hour was a mix of awakeness and dreaming that was filled with so many thoughts about prayer that I might as well have been up. I did wake up ready to get up, though, with more enthusiasm than an hour earlier. And I think I was a little more rested. Still, I find my thoughts more on the messier side than I’d like.

And prayer that takes in my messed-up relationships with family and friends—the only way it can cover everything is for prayer to be as messy as my life.

Prayer has always been messy. You don’t get much messier than making a covenant the way Abraham did with God—cutting some animals in half and then walking between them lying on the ground. The sacrifices Moses was told to make were messy. David said, “I won’t offer to God something that has cost me nothing.” Jesus’ life-actions caused a huge ruckus, and ultimately led to his demise. Even so, the mess of the crucifixion was not really his enemies’ doing—it was the result of Jesus’ 24/7 praying—doing what the Father wanted, no matter how messy. And the disciples followed in his steps, and church life as well as death proved to be a messy matter. And it’s still that way in the church today. Prayer just won’t let us NOT be messy—but it doesn’t leave us without hope in the mess, help through the mess.

So I’m letting prayer mess with my mind. And it’s becoming a real journey, one I’m glad I’m on. I’d be interested in how prayer has messed with your life too. What’s your messy story?