Monday, January 13, 2014

My Mission of the Heart: The Prayer Book

Not too long ago, I realized that hardly a day goes by that I don't see or hear about something that I could pray about for others. I see requests on Facebook almost daily. Sometimes they are posted for all to see...sometimes they come to me in a private message. Sometimes the requests are for the person posting, but often they are for someone they know, love, or care about that is going through something difficult. And there are even times when someone shares a story of a complete stranger that is in need of prayer.

Of course Facebook isn't the only source for prayer concerns. I also get email, text messages, phone calls, and the occasional face to face request. However they come, I usually take a moment right then and pray. I don't want to tell someone I will pray and then forget.

As I was thinking about Fresh Starts, I decided I wanted to keep better track of these prayer requests. Some of them are just a one time prayer kind of request, but often they are matters that require ongoing prayer. And again...I don't want to forget these concerns.

So as part of my Fresh Starts focus for January, I started a little Prayer Book. It's not really a journal. I'm not writing out prayers in it. It's more of a list of prayer concerns that come to me each day.

When I decided to add this Prayer Book idea to my life, I knew I already had the perfect book to use. On August 14, 2011 my dear friend Praise Girl gave me this cute little blue book. It is a hard back book filled with empty lined pages.

I remember the night Praise Girl gave me this gift. It was late at night. I was the only one still up. I was packing. I was sad. We were moving. We were leaving our beautiful home in a beautiful town filled with beautiful people we loved.

Praise Girl came by to give me this little book and get one last hug. We sat on the steps and spoke in hushed tones...both of us in disbelief that tomorrow my family would be driving far away to our new home.

I took this lovely gift and put it in a bag that would rest beside my feet in our van during the long journey. Sometime the next day as we drove along dusty roads, I reached into the bag and pulled out the sweet gift and opened it up. The pages inside were crisp...bright...white...blank. 

But there on the inside cover I found these words handwritten by Praise Girl: "My sweet faithful friend... you are embarking on yet another journey.... yet another mission. Through many days and many miles - scenery, culture, and even relationships will change... But, the one true constant and ever firm hope is our God, our Lord, our Jesus Christ. Go with Him. Be filled with Him... He has a mission of the heart for you. Love you!"

Praise Girl's words to me were so comforting. They would sooth my soul many times over the next couple of years as I would pull this little book out and read them again and again. And yet... I left the pages blank. I didn't write in it. I wanted to save the little blue book for something special... but I didn't have any idea what that something special was...until I wanted to do a Prayer Book.

When I decided I wanted to keep a record of the prayer requests that come to me, I went to the shelf where I kept this special little Praise Girl gift. I pulled it down from it's place, opened it, and reread the beautiful words written on the inside. And I knew this was the something special for which this little book had been saved.

At the top of the first page, I wrote Prayer Concerns 2014 and under that I wrote January 1 and listed two prayer request I had received that day. I wrote these down in the book and prayed over each one as I did.

The next day, when I read on Facebook about a friend of mine in need, I wrote January 2 in my book, and listed her name and concern under it. It turns out that was a busy day as I went back to that book and wrote several more requests as they came to me on the second day of January.

We are just a couple of weeks into the new year and I am on the third page in my little Prayer Book. I can already look back and see God blessing the matters over which I have prayed. I'm also reminded to pray for some that have yet to be resolved or are ongoing concerns. 

From the moment that Praise Girl lovingly offered me this little gift... I was touched by her thoughtfulness, her words written inside, and her love for me. I am so glad I saved it until I had just the perfect use for it. I believe this little Prayer Book represents my journey here...it supports my mission to pray faithfully for others, which truly is... in Praise Girl's words...  "a mission of the heart" for me.

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