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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #65: Missing the "OOMPH!"

Dear God, (April 29th, 2009)
Lord, temper my zeal. I get so passionate about the hungry, the hurting and the lost that I’m afraid I’m running over people. I just don’t want to hold this "soft, cushy, warm and fuzzy gospel" that believers around me cling so tightly to. But neither do I want to run over people in my zeal, for that would turn them away from You. Help me to proclaim Your truth in humility and love without compromising its message or watering it down.
Father, I want so much for those around me to see! To really realize that they are missing the "OOMPH!" that comes with the true, undiluted gospel. The Christians around me have so much theology and knowledge, yet they have climbed in bed with the materialistic, comfort-mindset of this American culture. Pure theology is good, yes, but it is meant to be lived out! The apostle’s belief in God translated into action in their lives! Ours is a passive Christianity. We claim to believe in God, yet we do not help deliver the orphan, the poor, the afflicted, the widow, the hungry, and those in bondage. How then can we claim to follow Christ, who did all of the above, and called us to walk just as he walked? We lie on our beds in our own virtual world with our iPods turned up full blast so that we cannot hear the cries of the afflicted and the screams of the lost as they plunge into hell.
O Lord, I want so much to wake us Christians from our slumber! But how? Father, do not let me get in Your way. Please use me. Make me more like You. I love You so much.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #64: Sign Your Name to the End of this Day

Dear God, (March 30th, 2009)
What a day this has been! I started it off at 5am by spending time with You. I spent 30 minutes in Your Word, and another 30 minutes on my knees, praying to You. Starting my day by meeting with You definetly got me off to a good start. It set the right tone for my whole day.
I spent a good portion of my day reading 2 Samuel and 2 Kings and the first half of 1 Chronicles. I also spent a half hour listening to Ezekiel on my MP3 player while I exercised. Through all of those Old Testament passages, I saw myself in the Israelites. I too often reject or ignore God and turn to idols instead.
O Lord, give me an undivided heart for You! I want to serve You and love You with everything that I am. I want to love You with my whole heart. I want to love You with all my mind. I want to love You with every bit of my soul. I want to love You with every ounce of my strength. Help my mind and its every thought to be wholly devoted to You. May every word that I speak not bring glory or applause to me, but may it bring glory and praise to You alone. May my every deed and action be out of service and devotion to You. This is the day that You have made—I want to give every moment of it back to You. I want to live for You alone. I want to be able to sign Your name at the end of this day, knowing that my heart was true.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #63: "In me nothing good dwells..."

Dear God, (March 24th, 2009)
Forgive me. I am so full of myself. I always think that I know what I am doing. I am so stuck on myself, even my relationship with You has been so self-centered. It’s all about me, what I feel or don’t feel like doing; it’s about my needs, my wants, what I can get out of it. Look at me—I’m such a wonderful, spiritual Christian because I get up at 5 in the morning to have my quiet time! But even then, it’s still all about me, how I’m so tired, exhausted, discouraged, etc. When it should be about You!
(continued 3/26/09) Lord, I am sick and tired of living life with my own agenda foremost in mind. I want to live this life with Your priorities at heart. I want You and Your kingdom to come first. O help me, Father! My spirit is indeed willing, but my flesh is weak.
I want to see my sin the way You see it. I want to hate it the way You hate it. I want to hunger and thirst for Your righteousness. I’m sick of this world’s junk food that I keep feeding myself. I want to desire You more than anything else. I want to be able to worship You in Spirit and in truth. I want to give myself to You, but I know that in me nothing good dwells. I am corrupt; I am so depraved and utterly sinful. I am an idolater; I have worshipped other things more than You, in fact, at times, I completely ignore You and do not give You the honor, glory, praise, adoration or worship that You deserve. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #62: Losing Focus

Dear God, (March 16th, 2009)
I feel like being mad at You, but I know that that wouldn’t solve anything. I can’t let how I feel dictate what I believe about You or how I live my life. I know that all You have allowed in my life is for my good and Your glory.
I’m so exhausted, Father, and I don’t know why. My mind feels so foggy and my thoughts are muddled and confused. Please give me peaceful rest, my Abba. Help me to still be able to rise early and spend time with You, even when I am so tired.
Rekindle the fire in my heart, O God. I am losing my focus. I am finding myself thinking that maybe I shouldn’t go into missions, that it doesn’t really matter how I spend my time or my life. I just feel like having fun and staying here in KC (where I know people) forever. I don’t feel like getting uncomfortable and moving somewhere new. Oh God, what is wrong with me?!? I say that I trust You, yet I doubt that You’ll provide a missions-minded husband for me. I doubt that You’ll provide the money for me to make it through NTBI without going into debt. I want to trust You, Lord; please help my unbelief.
I am not showing Your love to others; I am showing way too much selfish, proud, stubborn Rachel. Help me to show You and Your love to those around me. I must decrease; O Father, please increase!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #61: Smashing Idols

Dear God, (March 11th, 2009)
I am failing to meet my personal goals. I am battling apathy in my heart. God, I want to care about You. I want to be truly passionate about You.
We listened to a tape last night in which the speaker said that if there is a distinct lack of passion for God in our lives, then something is seriously wrong. It means that we have idols in our hearts that are getting the attention and devotion that You deserve. I think that is very true. In fact, I think that that’s what the problem is in my life. I have idols that I need to identify, repent of and then SMASH and replace with You. I think my biggest idol is probably the fear of man. I care too much what others think of me. I do a lot of things just so that other people will notice me. I get upset when people ignore me or talk to/spend time with others instead. How can I put You as #1 and still spend time with people? I want to be satisfied with You, and not go to others for my comfort and security.
Oh, God, I am not loving You with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. I am giving my time, focus, and attention to things and not to You. I am loving others and their attention more than I am loving You. I am giving things and projects more focus and time than I am giving You. I am proud, vain and self-centered. I am trying to get, get, get in relationships instead of giving. I am such a hypocrite! I profess to know You and love You, yet I serve my idols more than I serve You! I do not love You with an undivided heart! Oh ABBA, FORGIVE ME!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #60: Idolatry

Dear God, (March 10th, 2009)
I have been reading the book of Jeremiah, where it talks about God’s judgement on Israel for their idolatry. Oh Lord, I am just as guilty of idolatry as they were. I look for comfort and security in things other than You. I devote my time and affection to others and let other things take #1 priority in my life. O God, forgive me! Give me an undivided heart. Help me to love You with ALL of my heart, with ALL of my soul, with ALL of my mind and with ALL of my strength. Only You deserve my undivided devotion, for You have made me and You have saved me. Help me to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness.
This is the day that You have made; help me to not only rejoice in it, but also to live it for You and You alone. You have given me this day to live; help the way I live it to give it back to You.
I want to follow You; I want to obey You, but sometimes it is so hard to know what You would have me do. There are so many other voices in my life trying to tell me what to do. So many Christians are full of advice and how-to’s about how to know Your will, what You want me to do with my life, etc. I want to tune them out if they are not telling me the truth. I want to know what You have to say about life, not what pop culture Christianity says. Help me to stay tuned in to Your voice, Abba. Help me to focus on You. You are amazing. I love You!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #59: Just Don't Care

Dear God, (March 5th, 2009)
I need You so much. There is so much going on in my life, and I don’t know how to deal with it all. I don’t know which way to turn. I am overwhelmed by all the tension and struggles I am facing in my life. Help me to trust that You are indeed here, with me, ready and waiting to help me and mold me.
Abba, I’m frustrated with our family’s financial situation. It seems so unfair that someone would hack into our family’s bank account and drain it when we barely scrape by every month, trying to pay our bills. Help me to trust You to provide for us.
Lord, help me to be passionate about You. Sometimes I feel so on fire for You; I just want to spread the Gospel, make You known everywhere, and spend time with You, getting to know You better. But other times, my flesh just plain doesn’t want to. My body rebels against rising at 5am to spend time with You, and against sleeping on the floor to prepare for the mission field. My mind tells me, "what does it really matter if you get up and spend time in the Word...?" I just plain out DON’T CARE! And it scares me. It scares me that I feel this apathy towards You, Your Word, praying, etc. Oh God, help me! I want to care about You in my heart, regardless of what my mind and body feel or don’t feel like doing. I want to truly love You! I want to truly know You! Help me, Abba! I need You!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #58: My Prayer

Dear God, (March 2nd, 2009)
You are so good to me. How often I forget to thank You for being so good to me. I want to take the time right now to tell You that You mean so much to me, more than life itself. I love You so much, Jesus! May Your name be praised forever and ever! I want You to get all the glory for all that happens in my life.
Lord, help me to always be thinking of what is honorable, true, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and praiseworthy. Help me to meditate on Your Word and to constantly keep my mind filled with Your Word. Help me to pray without ceasing. Help me to rejoice at all times, even in the annoying little things that happen in life. Help me to give thanks to You for the things that happen in life. Help me to give thanks to You for the things You bring into my life that make me more like You, Abba. I want to please You! Help me!
Help me to not quench the work of the Spirit in my life. Help me to fully yield myself to the Holy Spirit. O fill me, I pray! Have Your way in me! Guard my mouth, that only that which will honor You and bring grace to the hearer may come out. Help me to love others with Your kind of love, a love that gives no matter if the other person does or not. Help me to be patient, kind, forgiving and compassionate. Give me the grace to be humble and put others first. I want You to shine through in everything I do, Jesus. I want to show You to the world. Work Your way in my heart and life.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #57: Just Plain Dull

Dear God, (February 26th, 2009)
I’m so confused and messed-up. I feel like I don’t have any talents. More than that, I have so many faults and weaknessess. I am so slow! I am too slow in the kitchen, too slow in the dishroom, and too slow as a janitor. I am not gifted, like my siblings, nor am I someone whom others want to be around, like people at Calvary. I’m just plain dull.
God, how can You use me? I don’t know if my body can handle being a missionary in the jungle, and I’m too dull to do anything else in the world. What do I do? Help me, Abba.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #56: Compassion

Dear God, (February 24th, 2009)
I am so tired. I think day after day of going to bed late and getting up at 5 have worn me out. Please give me the strength to keep going until I get a chance to take a nap.
Lord, give me compassion. Though I have been through so much pain, I still get impatient with people who are sick. I tell them to suck it up and tough it out. I open my mouth and try to fix things, but end up hurting people and making things worse. Help me to look at others the way You see them; help me to treat others the way You would treat them. Give me a heart of compassion for the hurting people in this messed-up world.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #55: I Don't Want to Get Ahead of You

Dear God, (February 23rd, 2009)
Here I sit at the beginning of a new day. I don’t know what today holds, but You do, and You can handle it. I simply ask that no matter what happens in my life, that You would keep me on the straight and narrow way. Help me to keep trusting You and following, no matter what happens.
Father, I need You wisdom for the future. I’m not sure what I should do this summer. I want to serve You and prepare for life down the road, but how? Should I go to Jungle Jump Off? Should I go on some sort of missions trip? Should I get a job? Should I work at a camp? Should I go to CYIA? I want to go where You want me to go...I want to do what You want me to do. I trust that You will lead me where You want me to go. I’m not asking for the big picture; I just trust that You will guide me, one step at a time.
Lord, I don’t want to get ahead of You. Help me to not get caught up in what I think You want me to do, but to simply trust You to lead me where You want me to go. I just want to do Your will, Abba. I want to serve You with each moment of each day of my life. I thank You for each breath You give me. I thank You for making my heart beat. I thank You for the body You have given me. May I always use it for Your praise, honor and glory. May Your name be praised forever!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #54: HEALED!!

Dear God, (February 19th, 2009)
What else is there to say, but "WOW!" You are amazing. You have healed my body from whatever ailments I had. I praise You for what You have done. But even if I had discovered that there was something terribly wrong with me and that I could never be cured, I still would praise You, for You are God; You are on the throne. You direct my life however You please, and Your way is perfect. So who am I to question it?
Thank You for making me go through this time. Through it, I have learned about relying on You for strength, giving You the glory no matter what, and to not take my breath and heartbeat for granted. You have also used this time away from work to teach me not to find my sense of self-worth in the work that I do. While off work, I started believing the lie that since I wasn’t working or being productive, I was worthless. However, You told me, "You are a child of mine. I value you because I have made you and I have adopted you into my family. There is nothing you have done to earn your value, and there is nothing you can do to lose your value. I have called you, I have chosen you, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t work for the rest of your life—I still love you and I still have a plan for you." Your Voice of Truth has drowned out the lies. I believe You. Thank You for loving me. I give my life back to You as an offering. I love You!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #53: "I can't force them..."

Dear God, (February 16th, 2009)
The Youth Group Girls’ Bible Study didn’t go so well yesterday. They wouldn’t stop goofing off long enough to pay attention or read Scripture or answer questions seriously. Do they not care about having a relationship with You? Or are they just uncomfortable talking about spiritual things?
I’m praying my heart out over this group. I love the girls, and I really care about the way they live their lives. I don’t want them to waste them! I want so much for them to know what it’s like to have a relationship with You, to truly know You and love You. But I can’t make them passionate about You! I can’t force them to want to know You in a personal relationship. I know that You will have to work in their hearts. Give me the words to teach them. Help me not get in the way of the work of Your Spirit.
Father, I ask that You would grant these girls to be strengthened with power through Your Spirit in their inner beings, that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith; that they may be rooted and grounded in love. O Abba, give them the strength to comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth, that they may know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge; and that they may be filled with all the fullness of God. Thank You for hearing me.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #53: "Mold My Broken Heart"

Dear God, (February 14th, 2009)
This past week I have fainted, gotten suspended from work because of my health condition, spent 8 hours in the ER, and now here I am. Physically, I am beyond worn-out. Emotionally, I am a basket case. But I know and believe this to be true: YOU ARE GOOD!!
You are in complete control of my life and nothing that has happened to me has caught You by surprise. You have planned each day of my life. You have ordered my steps. Blessed be Your name! Though You take my very life, I will continue to praise You with every breath You give. Though I struggle and doubt through this time of going thru deep waters, I know You are faithful. Even in my pain, I want You to know: I love You! I hold fast to Your promises; Your joy gives me strength. In this time of uncertainty and rest from my job, I want to sit at Your feet and learn from You. I have been like Martha—busy serving You. But now, teach me to be Mary—quietly sitting at Your feet. Teach me, Abba. Mold my broken heart. Hold me close and wipe my tears. I need You. Calm my anxious heart. Help me to be still and know that You are God. "From the ends of the earth I cry out to You, when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I." Psalm 61:2
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #52: Deep Waters

Dear God, (February 11th, 2009)
Many times since the onset of these chest pains, numbness and difficulty breathing I have thought of how this pertains to going through deep waters. I feel like every day is a struggle to keep my head above water. I feel like I’m drowning because I am fighting so hard to stay concious and alive. And then my chest has that ‘being squeezed’ feeling and I get dizzy and my arm goes numb, it feels like I’m going under water, and I have to struggle to come back up. I am so exhausted. My body is worn out.
I have found a passage in Your Word that talks about going through deep waters that really encouraged me today. It says, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you." (Is 43:1-2) Not only am I not alone in this struggle through deep waters, but he says, "when you pass..." —I am not in these deep waters to stay. I am just passing through them. There will be an end to my struggles with this. Maybe it will end because God heals me, or maybe because God calls me home. Whichever way he chooses is fine with me. Abba, however long You keep me in these deep waters is fine with me. I know You are in control of this, it is part of Your plan. You are using this to help me grow, and for that I praise You. May You get all the glory. I know that You are with me in this struggle.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Monday, June 15, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #51: "I'm scared."

Dear God, (February 10th, 2009)
Lord, Your Word promises that You will supply all of my needs. Abba, right now I need Your strength. I don’t have any at all. I need Your strength so much. I don’t want to be famous, rich or popular. I just want to know You and make You known. Help me to give You glory with each breath You give me. I just want to finish well. I feel like I am nearing the end of my time here, and I just want to finish the race well. God, I know I’m supposed to run this race with endurance, but I just don’t have anything left to give. Help me to endure, help me to persevere and keep looking to You, the Author and Finisher of my faith.
I’m scared. I feel so vulnerable. If this were just my knee or something like that, I would be okay. But Father, this is my heart!! If it doesn’t work right, I can’t life!
I know many people are praying that You would heal me. But I don’t know if that’s Your will. Whatever Your will is, I want it. If it is Your will to heal me, I praise You. If it is not Your will to heal me, I praise You. If You choose to take me home to be with You, I praise You. If You choose to let this go on for a long time, I praise You. You are GOOD, You know BEST, You DO ALL THINGS WELL. I love You! I trust You!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #50: I'll live for You as long as You give me breath

Dear God, (February 9th, 2009)
"Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in Your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of Your wings!" Psalm 61:1-4
I am so weary...so exhausted. I have run out of strength. I feel like I am swimming in deep waters; struggling just to keep my head above water. Each day I awaken with less strength than the day before. I don’t have the strength to keep taking 4 hours of Greek 2, to keep working 20-25 hours a week, to keep ministering in my church, to keep training myself for missionary work. So this has to be You...’cuz I totally can’t do this. My strength ran out about 4 weeks ago.
God, however long You keep giving me strength, I’ll keep living for You. I am here to know You and to make You known, and as long as You give me breath, I want to give You glory. May Your strength be made perfect through my weakness. I have given You my life, so however You wish to use me is fine with me. I offer myself to You, I surrender every part, to be a living sacrifice for You, O Abba take my heart. I am Yours...I pour all I have at Your feet. Use me Lord...may You get all the glory.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #49: "This may be my last day on earth."

Dear God, (February 5th, 2009)
I finally got an appointment with the cardiologist—but not until March 2nd (25 days away). I’m grateful that I actually got an appointment, but I honestly don’t know if I can last that long. The symptoms are getting worse. I just don’t want to wait too long and have something serious happen.
Lord, help me to trust You no matter how bad this gets or how uncertain the future seems. I know that You are in control—help me to live like it. God, I thank You for the many godly friends you have brought into my life who encourage me, share Scripture with me, pray for me and more. Though they don’t understand why I live the way I do, they are at least trying to encourage me through this rough time. Lord, help me to be a good example to them.
Father, here I go, out into another day. This may be my last day on earth. I want to know You, Abba, I want to make You known far and wide. I want to serve You with every breath that You give me. I want my thoughts to be pleasing to You. May the words of my mouth give grace to the hearer. Lord, I want to please You, I want to bring You glory. I lay my life at Your feet. I offer myself to You as a living sacrifice, to be poured out as a drink offering in service to You.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #48: Alone and Out of Strength

Dear God, (February 3rd, 2009)
I’m exhausted and I feel like giving up. My body is in so much pain and it feels like I can’t get my energy back. My body is wearing out and I just keep getting more and more exhausted. Give me Your strength. Help me to keep going. I don’t want to give up, but I don’t have the strength to keep going. I want to live for You; I want to know You and make You known. Help me to press on in the strength that You supply.
Though I feel so alone in this striving to make You known here on earth, help me to keep going. I’m getting discouraged because I feel like I’m the only one who is really trying to follow You and get ready for life on the mission field. People here think I’m crazy because I don’t waste my time "being a teenager;" instead, I spend it preparing for life down the road. Help me to keep going, even though I feel so alone.
Give me wisdom and guidance, O my Abba; I do not know how to live as I ought. Help me to not make a big deal of me here on earth, but help me to proclaim You to the world. May You get the glory for all that happens in my life. Guard my lips, that only that which will bring grace to the hearers will pass through them. Lord, Your Word says, "when I am weak, then I am strong." (Your strength is made perfect in weakness). I am so weak. Be strong in me, Jehovah.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #47: Girls' Bible Study

Dear God, (February 2nd, 2009)
Yesterday we officially started our Youth Group girls’ Bible Study. I had written out some tough questions about having a relationship with God and I asked them...they seemed somewhat uncomfortable, but we ended up talking about the need to be transparent with each other, and the need to stay on track with You in order to grow spiritually. Father, how do I instill in them a passion for You? How can I help them grow spiritually? I can see so much of myself (a few years ago) in them. They aren’t "bad" kids; in fact, they’re "good" Christians. They just kinda ride along, not really passionate about You, but knowing that they’re supposed to read/study their Bibles and pray. I just think they don’t know how. I don’t even know how to study Your Word...but I’m trying to learn. Lord, help me. These girls have so much potential—imagine what it would be like if they truly knew You; if they had a growing, vibrant relationship with You and they were passionate about You.
God, bring a revival in our Bible Study group, in our Youth Group, in our church. Begin in me. Draw me close to You. Help me to rely on Your strength to get through these deep waters (Ps 69). May You get all the glory for all the pain and struggles in my life. Use this trial to draw me and others to You. Relight our fires, O GOD! Help me to live for YOU!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #46: "My time is running out."

Dear God, (January 29th, 2009)
I found out yesterday that there’s something wrong with my heart. It’s not beating right. We don’t know for sure what’s wrong (have to wait ‘til we get the EKG results back); all the doctor told me was that it was beating irregularly. I have chest pain every so often and I get out of breath really easily, but I thought maybe that was just me—I didn’t realize there was actually something wrong. All of a sudden, I feel like I have a short wick. Like my time is running out. Abba, I want to LIVE! Yes, I am ready to go to heaven to be with You, but I also want to know You and make You known down here.
Help me to keep going and to not give up even though I am in a lot of pain and I get so discouraged because I feel so alone.
"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him...for the LORD will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love..." Lamentations 3:21-25, 31-32
Lord, my hope is in You...I know You are GOOD and YOU DO ALL THINGS WELL. I rest in You.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #45: Increase my faith...

Dear God, (January 27th, 2009)
Though I often feel like I am alone in wanting to truly live for You and caring about Your kingdom, last night I went to Missions Encounter and found that there are like-minded people at Calvary. It was so encouraging to sit there and talk about God and to pray for each other and for Your work around the world. Just seeing others’ love for You and concern for Kingdom things encouraged me to keep going and to keep seeking to more like You. Thank You for that encouragement.
Lord, increase my faith. Help me to truly believe that You can do great things around the world, right here in my home and church, and in and through me. Help me to not rely on my own strength, but to completely rest on You for the strength to keep going and to keep serving You. Like Mary, I want to be at Your feet, taking in Your every word.
Continue to give me boldness to live for You unapologetically. Help me to not be afraid of what others will think of me, but to only care about Your opinion of me, for that’s what truly matters. Help me to not get discouraged by my pain. Help me to keep going. Whatever lies ahead (with this doctor’s appointment and all) I know that YOU ARE GOOD and You do all things well. I rest in You. I love You.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #44: "Let the chips fall where they may..."

Dear God, (January 27th, 2009)
Yesterday I say just how quickly I can get a bad attitude and how hard it is for me to get rid of it. O Father, I don’t want to keep living in my flesh; I want to live by Your Spirit! I want You to live through me, but I keep getting in the way. Create in me a clean heart, O God, so that the thoughts, attitudes, words and actions coming out are pleasing to You.
I’m afraid I offended someone yesterday by telling them that it bothered me that they don’t show respect to our boss and some of our coworkers. Oh well. Let the chips fall where they may. A few months ago (if this had happened) I would fall all over myself to make sure that they didn’t get offended or anything. But I’ve come to realize that I have to stand for what I believe is right, whether that bothers someone else or not. I answer to God, not to them. Lord, help me to truly and boldly live out what I really believe. Help me to not make excuses for hypocrisy and double standards, whether in my life or someone else’s. Help my words to give grace to the hearer. Help my heart attitude to be pleasing to You—no matter what the circumstances. Give me Your pure, peaceable, gentle, merciful, impartial wisdom. Renew a right spirit in me! I need You! I love You!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #43: "I don't want to settle for mediocre Christianity..."

Dear God, (January 26th, 2009)
I’m going to the doctor today to start my intensive scoliosis treatment. I’m also going to a doctor this week to have them check out my heart and do lab tests. This is going to be a tough week. I need Your strength to make it through. I trust You and I know that You’re in complete control of the situation, so I have no reason to fear. But I sure need Your help. May Your strength be revealed in my weakness. I want my frailty and pain to bring glory to You and You alone, for You are the One who sustains me.
Help me to keep going. Help me to keep serving You, to keep boldly living for You, no matter what the cost to my popularity. Right now, kids at Calvary like me because of my music and because I make them laugh. But I am not living boldly for You, and that has to change. But I get so lonely without people to talk to! Oh help me, Abba! I want Your will above all else. I don’t want to settle for mediocre Christianity like everyone else. I want to truly follow You and spend my life for You, not the pleasures of this world. I don’t want to stick You in a compartment in my life—I want You to show Your life through me. I don’t want to serve the idols of self and pleasure. I want my life to be a constant worship of You. I want to be poured out as a drink offering for You. Help me!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #42: Being Different

Dear God, (January 22nd, 2009)
You know how I really don’t have much to speak of, as far as friends go. There’s not really a human here that I can talk to and say, "I’m really struggling with knowing God’s will for my summer, could you pray?" Or, "I’m scared about going to the doctor..." There is no one who understands this "being different" business. There’s no one else on this "let’s be a God follower instead of a do-good Christian" path. No one who understands why I sleep on the floor, get up early and study Your Word, spend $90 a month mailing Bibles into China, walk 2 miles a day, memorize chapters of the Bible, and try to be faithful in all my tasks and chores. I am very alone, as far as human companionship goes.
But I have You. If I didn’t have You, I would die. I can talk to You anytime, about anything, even if my prayers seem child-like, "God help me! Help me breathe deeply! Help my heart to beat correctly! Help me to get the feeling back in my arms and legs!" I know that You’re there and that You care. Though none go with me, I will still follow You. You will never let me down. You will be with me, no matter what. I trust You and I know that You’re in control of whatever happens in my life. I love You!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #41: Sarcasm

Dear God, (January 21st, 2009)
Help me to trust You. I feel like I’m dying because my body is wearing out and I’m scared of what lies ahead. Help me to cling to Your promise that You will never leave me or forsake me. I know in my head that You only do what is best for me—help me believe it in my heart and live it out in my life.
Speaking of living things out, I’m struggling with knowing how to act. Around the cafeteria, we’re all very sarcastic with each other. I’m not sure if we should be, though. Even though we’re joking, they aren’t very nice things to say that will give grace to the hearers.
How would You live, Jesus? I’m supposed to show You to the world around me, but I’m not sure how. I don’t want to come across as judgemental or super-spiritual, but neither do I want to be a coward and not live blamelessly for You.
It seems everywhere I go (Youth Group, work, etc), sarcastic humor is considered funny and practiced by Christians. But I’m not so sure it’s right. What kind of humor is right? How can we have fun without putting others down? How can I say things that will give grace to the hearers? Should I talk about spiritual things all the time? Or should I just not talk about bad things? I need Your wisdom, Abba.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #40: Preparation

Dear God, (January 20th, 2009)
I think that I care too much what other people think of me. I let what others will think, or say, or do dictate the way I think, or speak, or act. Help me to care only about pleasing You. Help me to get rid of this sarcastic tongue. It may be considered funny, but it hurts others, and everything that comes out of my mouth is supposed to be that which will bring grace to the hearer. O Father, I have so much to learn about being like You!
I’m scared at this apathy I see in my heart. There are times when I just honestly don’t care about living for You—I just don’t feel like reading Your Word, or spending time in prayer. Save me from a cold heart! Help me not to lose sight of my goal—knowing You and making You known. I have a nice big chart full of so many things to do—things I need to do to prepare to be a missionary. But I can’t do this on my own. Father, give me Your strength to change! Help me tackle my flesh and bring it into submission to Your perfect will. Help me to discipline my body so that it does not get in the way of serving You with all that I have. Abba, work Your will in me! Make me like You! I need Your help so much!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #39: A New Year!

Dear God, (January 1st, 2009)
Here I am again, at the threshold of a new year. I know that last year at this time I said that I wanted 2008 to be a year where I grew closer to You. I think that I did grow; but I still have so much room for more growth. I want 2009 to be a year where I get to know Your heart, O God. I want my heart to be like Yours, Abba. Give me a gradual transplant. I want Your heart for those around me—for the world. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, O Lord; take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and renew a right spirit within me. May the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
You are teaching me to give You my money...please teach me to give up my life, my reputation, my time, and everything that I have—for You. I want to pour myself out as an offering at Your feet. May I be as Mary, who chose to sit at Your feet, while others are rushing around, busy for You.
Cautivame, SeƱor, y libre en ti sere; anhelo ser un vencedor, rindiendome a tus pies. No puedo ya confiar tan solo en mi poder; en ti yo quiero descansar, y fuerte abre de ser.
This is my prayer, this is my plea: guide me, mold me, consecrate me. Make me like You, that others may see You in me.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #38: How Do I Invest...?

Dear God, (December 1st, 2008)
I am overwhelmed. I just can’t seem to figure out how to live. I know that what I do with my life now impacts my future. I don’t want to waste any bit of this short life! How do I know if You want me to go to NTBI next fall? How am I going to be able to handle moving 9 hours from home to a world where I don’t know anyone? How am I going to find a job with my arthritis and my back problems? (not to mention my knack for overheating) Should I keep taking Greek here at Calvary, or is this a waste of Your time and money? How do I find a job (while I’m still here in KC) to earn money for NTBI? Should I stay on at Calvary? Am I going to mess up Your plan if I make the wrong decision?
God, how do I become passionate about You? How can I show You, the real You (not our sugar-coated version of You) to the people around me—to the world? What is the best way for me to spend Your money? Should I just save it up for college; how do I invest it in eternity? How do I invest my talents in eternity? How do I invest my spiritual gifts in eternity? How do I invest everything that I have—all that I am—in eternity? You said, "Any of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple." (Lk 14:33) How do I do that? Show me! Help me! I need You!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #37: What My Life Would Be Like

Dear God, (November 28th, 2008)
Where to start...so much has happened, and yet it just feels like I have slept for a long time and I now awaken to find myself in limbo, living life at a fast pace and yet somehow not going anywhere. I do not sense that I am far from You, but yet I am not as close to You as I need to be. Draw me back, Father. I have been questioning why You allowed tough things in my life...but now I realize that those things show just how much You love me...that You would love me enough to allow certain things in my life (even though they would hurt me so much) because they were what was best for me—that is an amazing love.
God, I am fairly convinced that You want me to serve as a Bible translator for at least a portion of my life. But how can I serve You, how can I make You known here? Now? I don’t want to be the only one who has caught a glimpse of what the Christian life is supposed to be like...I want others to realize that living for You is much more than having a Study Bible, a Christian bumper sticker, a once-a-week observance, and a do-good cult. Being a Christian is SO much more than that—even I am not completely sure what all it entails. Can You show me, so that I can help them see it, too? What would my life be like if I really believed that what I really believe is really true? How would my town change if I, just I, were truly passionate about You? Help me, Father. Change me, mold me, use me for Your glory. Point me in the right direction and give me Your holy fire!
Yours and only Yours forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #36: Awaken my Taste Buds...

Dear God, (June 6th, 2008)
I just read something interesting and quite comforting in the book Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. He said, "Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists...If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." He goes on to say that our earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy this un-earthly desire, but merely to arouse or suggest it. It is so true! I am glad to be able to think of it like that, because I was beginning to think that I was a terrible, ungrateful wretch for feeling that no matter what I pursue in this life, it will never satisfy me. But now I realize that since You have set eternity in my heart, I cannot find satisfaction in the temporal. So I will press on in this life, seeking to do what gives pleasure and brings glory to You; at the same time, I will continue to look forward (with great anticipation) to the time when I shall join You in Heaven, and find satisfaction and joy that knows no bounds. When Your Word says, "In Your presence there is fullness of joy," I have always interpreted it to mean that if I spend time in Your Word and time with You in prayer, I will be happy. True, but also, when I finally get to see You face-to-face, to experience Your presence in its completeness, its awesomeness, its immensity (as it will be in Heaven), that will be fulness of joy. Because You created me as an eternal creature (in Your image), I cannot be satisfied with these earthly pleasures that are here simply to awaken my taste buds and cause me to salivate for the joy and glory of Heaven.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Friday, June 5, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #35: Broken and Contrite

My dearest Abba, (June 7th, 2008)
I’m sorry. I have neglected You, You who are my only Hope, You who are my shelter and refuge...I have left You for foolish, empty pursuits. I have lied, exaggerated, stolen, spoken unkind words, been disrespectful, cheated, and placed other things in my life as more important than You, so that means I have committed idolatry. What I have done is dispicable in Your sight. I am unclean, O Holy Father! I wallow in my filth, unwilling to give up the empty bubbles that I have made my gods. O Abba, forgive me! I know I don’t deserve Your forgiveness, but I beg You for mercy. I am not worthy to receive this gift, but in the power of Your grace, I accept Your free offer of forgiveness.
I am clean! :) It’s all gone! As far as the east is from the west, so far You have removed my terrible, filthy deeds from me. I don’t have to live in bondage anymore! I am free indeed! Help me to walk in the newness of life, Abba. Help me to find all that I need in You, for You are Enough.
Grant me the grace to change now, into the likeness of Jesus Christ, the One who paid the ultimate price to pay for my rebellion against God. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Help me to draw ever nearer to You. Help me to seek You with all my heart. Help me to abide in You. I want to love You, Abba. Fill my heart up with Your agapeo love so that I may pour it all out at Your feet as an offering. Help me to walk with You in the here and now, not just dream about serving You someday in the future. Help me know You and love You more and more each day.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #34: Living Until You Die

Dear God, (May 30th, 2008)
I watched a video last night about a young woman (Rachel Scott) who was killed when she was just 17 years old. It got me thinking about how much life I have left to live. I don’t know if this is from You or not, but I have a sense that I may not live past the age of 20. Like I said, I could be totally wrong about this...but I sense somehow that I don’t have long to live. I feel an urgency in me somehow, to make a difference...to spread the Gospel and I feel like I don’t have much time to do so.
So, if I start living like I’m dying, [with my priorities being: glorifying You in all that I think, say and do; spreading the Gospel; helping those in need; and motivating Christians to take up their cross and follow You] but then I end up living a long time, what do I do? Does living like you’re dying prepare you for living until you die?
Or, if I just keep on living like I have lots of time left to live, but then I die soon, what do I do? I think it would be a waste!
(next day...)
Father, I sense that You are asking me to surrender this comfortable life of ease that I am living to go and serve You overseas. You have burdened me with a longing to reach prostitutes and other hurting women in another country...maybe in Europe. Is this from You, or is this from me? If I were to get ready and just go over there to minister, would I find that I am not equipped to do the work? Would I be a failure, like Mom and Dad? I don’t want to fail. Not that I resist the idea of failing; no, I don’t mind it at all. I just would hate to waste others’ time and money on my ministry if it’s not what I’m supposed to be doing. Lord, if this is really of You, please let Mom and Dad not be opposed to it. God, I want to listen to, and follow, You. Guide me...strengthen my faith.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #33: Weary

Dear God, (May 18th, 2008)
I am so weary, so tired of rushing around "accomplishing" things. Play guitar for church. Finish schoolwork. Get good grades so that you can get scholarships, etc. It’s a never-ending rat race and I’m tired of running it. I want to minister, I want to make You known. But I can’t, because I’m so burnt-out from simply trying to stay alive. I want to know You and Your rest, Abba.
I don’t want to be bound anymore by other people’s expectations of me...I want to be free to pursue what You’ve called me to do. Give me the grace to step out of the cell of my doubt and my comfort zone. Give me Your rest. I am quiet before You, confident that as I abide in You, You will make it clear to me what it is that I was made to do. And Father, help me to not get so busy doing the work of the Lord that I forget the Lord of the work. I want to make You known, but in order to do that, I must know You.
I rest in the knowledge that You will lead me wherever I need to go, whether it be life in the fast lane or quiet repose by the still waters. You know what is best for me...I trust You to lead me. Give me the grace...help me to surrender and not fight Your will. I love You, my Abba.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #32: Struggling...

Dear God, (March 26th, 2008)
Help me change. I’m just as stagnant as any believer, so who am I to try to tell them how to live the Christian life? I still struggle so much...with depression. Can you help me fight this? I want to reach out...I want to shine Your light...but how can I, when I still have darkness in me? Give me a hunger for Your Word, help me turn to You in times of trouble, instead of trying to deal with things my own way. Help me to know which step to take next in life. Some are pressuring me to go to college, but is that the wisest use of Your money? I only have so many possessions, so much "talent" (if any), so much health and strength, so much life. I only have 1 lifetime to give it all away so that others will give You all the glory, Father.
I ask that You show Yourself strong in my life, God. You have made me weak so that You will get more glory. Thank you for this. I ask that I would not receive any glory for what You do in, through, and in spite of, me. Use me however You wish, but please, take all the glory. Don’t let me get in the way.
I know that You specialize in doing what seems impossible, God, and I have some situations in my life right now that seem impossible. For instance, if You do want me to go to college, I don’t know where I’ll get the money to pay for it. And, as it is, I don’t know where I’ll be able to get a job to support myself for life. How can I find a job (especially if I don’t go to college) to support myself and still have enough time to reach those in need? I’m not old enough to leave home, God, so how can I reach those in need? Show me what You want me to do...help me to be brave enough to take leaps of faith. But God, what do I do when my parents say "no"? Is it a sign from You? Or do they just not have enough faith? I don’t know what to do, Abba. Please guide me. I want to follow You, serve You and give You all the glory.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #31: Riding the Fence

Dear God, (March 22nd, 2008)
I’m still searching for answers about what the Christian life is all about. All the Christians around me say (or live) that all we have to do is glorify You with our lives. I agree...but is it glorifying to You if we don’t reach out to the lost around us? We give You lip service on Sunday...but why won’t we give our lives for You the rest of the week? We may sacrifice some of our money for You, but what about giving our lives to You? What happened to losing our lives for Your sake?
We can’t keep riding the fence on this issue—it’s a matter of life-and-death...the death of millions of souls. If the Christian life is indeed about living a good life, using our talents and being happy, then let’s do it. But if it’s about taking up our cross, dying daily, renouncing all that we have...then let’s do it. But we’d better hurry up and decide...we can either cast our lot with materialistic Christians or with Jesus, but remember, no looking back. We must choose now and follow wholeheartedly.
What does following Jesus mean? Does it require throwing out some of our traditions? I know that it requires sacrifice, but how much? Does it mean spending the rest of our lives feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, comforting the hurting and sharing Jesus with the lost, or is it using our talents to support ourselves (or as a career) and then just reaching out to needy and lost people as we happen to run into them?
Whatever following Jesus means, I stake my lot, my life, my all with him. Whatever the cost, from this day on, until forever...I’m a follower of Jesus. No looking back...no turning back. Whatever will matter most when I see him face-to-face is what will matter most in my life.
I’m Yours, Abba. Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #30: Why won't WE???

Dear God, (February 26th, 2008)
What do You want me to do with my life? People around me think that they have figured out what You want me to do with this life You have me, but I’m not sure that they’re right. You made me for a purpose, but what? Why is this heart beating? I want to show the world You, but how? How can I make Christians realize that the Christian life is all about sacrifice? How can I get them to see that they shouldn’t waste the short life they’ve been given on themselves, but they should give it all to You? How can I reach the unreached; how can I love the unloved? As Christians, we will occasionally reach some lost people, but we won’t go out of our way (or make sacrifices) so that we can spread the gospel. And we completely avoid reaching out to those who need You so much, simply because we don’t want to get our hands dirty or tarnish our reputations. We don’t (or won’t) minister to prostitutes, homosexuals, drug addicts, convicts, homeless people. Occasionally, we will send a check to some organization or missionary for them to help the poor and afflicted. Why won’t WE go? Why won’t WE get our hands dirty, reaching out to the lost? Whatever happened to Matthew 25:31-46? Why won’t we reach out to the least of these? Whatever happened to taking up our cross and following You without looking back? Luke 14:27 says, "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE." And Luke 14:33 says, "So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE." (emphasis added)
I want to leave it all behind; my money, my time, my reputation, my family and friends, my life. I want to follow You, Jesus, no matter the cost.
Yours Forever,
Rachel