When you want your prayers answered now

When you want your prayers answered now

Do you ever feel like Veruca Salt? Sure patience is a virtue, but I imagine we can all relate to the spoiled brat who shouted at Willy Wonka,

I want it and I want it now!

As I look down the road of my present circumstance, it stretches long before me and no matter how things turn out it’s all uphill without an exit in sight. If I could change it I would, but

I can’t.

If it were up to me, I would slam on the brakes, get out of the vehicle, change directions and leave this crash course I’m living. But,

it’s not up to me.

Some days I sing Veruca’s song

I want a party with roomfuls of laughter, Ten thousand tons of ice cream, And if I don’t get the things I am after,

I’m going to screeeeeeeeeEEEEEEEEAM.

I may or may not have given in the urge to scream a few times, but

it never did any good.

Some days I even pray like Veruca

I want a flying glass elevator; I want a golden goose; give me that pen; I want to be first; get me one of those squirrels; I want one!

Only it’s not a glass elevator, golden goose, squirrel or a pen. But,

my desires to please myself are the same.

I want what I want and I want it now. Honestly, I still want to scream. Instead God says WAIT.

Psalm 37:7, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” NLT

He says TRUST

Psalm 118, “It is better to trust in the Lord than put confidence in man.” NKJV

He says SUBMIT

Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” NIV

Straight paths aren’t really what I’m worried about; it’s the rough terrain that’s killing me. Peace always comes when I settle into the ride, put my feet on the dashboard and let God navigate. I may even lean my head back and close my eyes while He steers. After all, He knows where we are going and how to get there and I trust He really does know best.

SETTLING FOR LESS THAN GOD’S BEST

Veruca’s parents indulged her every whim because they valued her happiness above her well-being. Ultimately, she was destroyed because she got what she wanted. I don’t want to be Veruca.

Maybe unanswered prayers are God's way of withholding harm rather than good #Godknowsbest… Click To Tweet

Besides, as Willy Wonka said,

I thought a veruca was a type of wart you got on the bottom of your foot

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be a wart, so I choose to be satisfied with what I have, surrender to God’s best plan for my life and follow hard after Him. I want what He wants and I want to go where He goes. He knows the way and He is the way..

Psalm 37:4, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” ESV

 

Have you seen me?

Have you seen me?

You may have already heard the news, but I am starring in a movie!

It’s not a done deal yet, but…

The director and producer are trying to decide which role is the best fit for me.

If they cast me in Walking Dead I won’t need any time with the make-up artist because I’m already ripped to shreds and bleeding. Good thing, I would never be able to sit still that long.

They are also weighing Road Runner against the Tasmanian devil because of the way I’ve been writing and traveling and broadcasting and meeting and speaking and juggling six plates while I hop on a ball.

The theme song to my movie is Running on Empty.

Maybe you’ve seen me coming, maybe you’ve seen me going. I’m not sure – Continue reading

Is there a wrong way to pray?

pray about

I looked out at the semi-circle of metal folding chairs and noticed the woman on the end pulling a rumpled tissue from her purse. She dabbed the tears spilling from the corners of her eyes. “Is it Okay?” she wanted to know. Her cat had wandered off and her heart was breaking. She hesitated to request prayer for the feline, but could not contain her emotion. I prayed for the cat and at the time I didn’t even like cats. Don’t hate me, I am a convert now. Her treasured pet came home that afternoon.

God cares about lilies and sparrows, so I suppose He cares about cats too. He loves us so much, He cares about what we care about, even if they are furry.

Matthew 10:29-31, “Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. But even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So don’t be afraid therefore; you are worth more than many sparrows.” HCSB

SERIOUS STUFF

Ask for prayer requests and you will get the requisite roll call of who died, who is sick and who is traveling. Jesus wept when Martha grieved over her brother. He healed the sick when they came to him. He promises to send angels to protect us. I truly believe we should pray about anything and everything. Prayer is simply talking to God. He wants to know our cares.

Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything, instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” NLT

BUT…

When Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He began with, “Hallowed be thy name.” Am I the only one who tends to rush in with my list of concerns? Remember, the privilege of prayer is expensive; the cost was paid by the blood of Jesus.

Matthew 27:51, “And behold, the  curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.” ESV

WHAT HE REALLY WANTS

At that price, He wouldn’t want us to neglect prayer, but I suspect what He really wants is our whole-hearted devotion. The haunting voice of Lauren Daigle challenges me:

Before I bring my need,  I will bring my heart

 Before I lift my cares,  I will lift my arms

WHAT ABOUT THE CAT?

If your heart is breaking, God sees you and He cares, no matter what caused your pain. By all means pray about everything. But our posture before Him should begin and end with worship. Worship is focus. Before I pray my flight home will go smooth, I want to see God for who He is. I want to understand His heart, instead of focusing on my own needs, whether it’s a cat or an incurable disease.

Mark 12:29, “Jesus said, The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.'”

So if you have a prayer request, let me know. I’ll even pray for your pet, unless it’s a snake-not ever.

Is there a right way to pray?

Is there a right way to pray?

I want to pray neat prayers.

Dear God, please bless my family. Keep us safe as we travel to exciting places and heal our allergies so we can have a fabulous time and post envious pictures on Facebook. Bless us with perfect weather and a long drive off the tee box. Oh yeah, and may everything I do bring You honor and glory.

Yeah right…

NASTY PRAYERS

My prayers aren’t neat, in fact they are kind of nasty. When life is messy, I pray messy prayers. Nowadays I pray out loud, sometimes really loud. I identify with David’s gut-level honest prayers. I don’t know if it’s biblical but when I read “My foot is slipping,” from Psalms, I yell it. You might question my reverence, but never my sincerity. I am brutally honest when I talk to God and lately I’ve not been talking very nice. I know He hears me when I whisper, but I want Him to know how much I mean it.

He hears me when I yell

He hears me when I whisper

He knows my silent thoughts

Since He already knows anyway, I suspect He can handle it. You may want to unfollow me now.

Psalm 139:4, “I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence.” MSG

TALKING TO GOD

I probably don’t pray like you think I do. Don’t get me wrong, I talk to God; throughout the day. If He’s not real, I probably need to be hauled off in a straight-jacket. Okay, you can keep your comments to yourself.

I don’t pray like I used to either. Need drives my prayers to new heights.

Need drives you to a new height of prayer #pray #rtp Click To Tweet

Or maybe this is a new depth. Either way, I’m off the deep end.

Psalm 72:12, “He will rescue the poor when they cry out to him, he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them.” NLT

WANT NEAT PRAYERS?

I have some advice. Pray for your Aunt Betty’s neighbor’s hip surgery and a good parking place at the grocery store when it’s raining. Prayers for a comfy life are easier than pouring out your heart. You may get smooth sailing, but without much investment, don’t expect much return.

Luke 6:24-26, “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” ESV

 

URGENT PRAYER REQUEST!

I want a comfortable life. I want the trials to be over. I want wealth, health and happiness. Or do I? During my year of Sabbath rest imposed by myasthenia gravis, I found the greatest blessing is the very presence of God. He is near to the broken-hearted. So I will embrace the messiness of life.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” NIV

I think I’m praying more now but:

They are ugly prayers
And they are beautiful prayers
And they are desperate prayers
Most of all they are honest prayers

Psalm 119:25, 28 , 37″My life is down in the dust; give me life through your word… I am weary from grief; strengthen me through your word. Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in Your ways.” HCSB

I challenge you to get real with God. I assure you, He can handle it. If I haven’t offended you too much and you want next week’s post in your inbox, enter your email address and join me on the porch. I am praying for you today. Pray for me too.

 

 

 

 

While you were praying, I was putting

While you were praying

 

It’s not funny.

Oh I attempted a little humor, but really, it’s not funny.

All the way around it was an epic fail.

 

On Christmas Eve, I had a tingly itch on my back. When I scratched, my fingernails felt like a hot razor on my skin. Then I felt a linear ridge where two weeks of pain were attributed to an injured rib from an eye-bulging, incessant cough with no identifiable cause which had plagued me for eight weeks. I lifted my shirt and looked in the mirror to see reindeer tracks on my side. See that’s a joke, but since I am obviously terrible at jokes let me explain. As a consequence of taking powerful immunosuppressants to control my disease, I developed shingles.

I thought of a clever play on words (in case you didn’t know I like words) so I posted on my  Facebook wall,

My new favorite Christmas song is Shingle bells Shingle bells.

I was trying to be funny and the pain wasn’t too bad

It was a rare December day with phenomenal weather; abundant sunshine, little wind and record-breaking, seventy degree temperatures. I must have gotten the super juice with my last IVIG infusion because myasthenia gravis was behaving quiet nicely too. As an added bonus, my son was home from college. Life was good. So after I posted, I headed to the golf course and managed to play four holes.

Meanwhile replies to my Facebook post blew up. As I read them I envisioned a community wide prayer vigil cranking up.

And I was on the golf course

1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” KJV

Apparently my post evoked visions of me writhing in pain, valiantly trying to keep my chin up and encourage others with my, albeit limited, wit. Realizing I mislead people, I attempted to paint a clearer picture, so I posted a silly update,

Well after further testing it appears I was actually run over by a reindeer in my sleep.

I expected all manner of comments about drinking eggnog or vermin in my yard. Nope, people were still praying for me. Honestly, the pain was not intense. Tendonitis in my elbow, migraines and a ruptured disc in my neck caused far greater suffering. Only a few people recognized my flailing effort at hilarity and one suggested Rashing through the Snow, as an alternative to Shingle Bells.

Then it got ugly

It was an ambush. Either someone whacked me in the back with a sledgehammer or the virus viciously invaded my spine. My valor quickly turned to whimpering and suddenly I would have traded shingles for ten migraines. Maybe I deserved it; probably so. Prayers, uh yeah, I desperately needed them now. The curtains closed on my satirical routine. Since I am a lousy comedienne anyway, I suppose I will stick to more serious matters. I should have known years ago when I offered to draw my kids a map to the dishwasher and they told me, “Sarcasm does not become you.”

That’s too bad. Occasionally I like it

Forgive the hint of snarkiness, admittedly my sense of humor is a little warped and my posts aren’t always taken the way I intended. Sometimes I am teasing and taken too seriously. So to set the record straight, I do not have cancer, I do have shingles. The prognosis is good, however my funny bone is terminally ill. Sorry, I’ve got to stop. If it’s any consolation, my golf game was terrible. A foreboding discomfort in my back affected my swing. I guess I probably deserved that too.

Please pray for me

In all seriousness, I truly covet your prayers. I had no idea how much I needed them. Your prayers and encouragement mean the world to me. Please keep praying for me. Pray for my strength. Pray the words of my mouth would be pleasing to the Lord. Pray for world peace  and pray for your lost neighbor. But don’t worry about a few red bumps, I’m trying to laugh it off.

Colossians 4:4, “Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.” NIV

Humor me and laugh. Don’t take life, or me, too seriously.

And next time, you play and I’ll pray for you

Deal?

Philippians 1:4, “Always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer.” HCSB

If you have a specific prayer request, email me privately: vickie@vickiepetzhenderson.com. I am dedicating January to pray for you.

Praying for you with joy #Phil1:4 #prayhard Click To Tweet

How to make a habit stick

Foolproof: make a habit stick
How to make a habit stick

We all have habits. We have good habits, bad habits and neutral habits. Bad habits are hard to break and good habits are hard to stick with. Often we commit to a new habit and find ourselves abandoning the effort after a short time. I have found a technique to stick with a new habit that really works. I call it piggybacking habits. Simply put, I associate the new habit I want to establish with an old habit already ingrained in my routine. It works without much effort and it lasts.

Proverbs 18:9, “Slack habits and sloppy work are as bad as vandalism.” MSG

EXERCISE

Unfortunately, I am not able to exercise at all because of myasthenia gravis. I miss it dearly. Before I was diagnosed I was in exceptionally good shape. However, until about four years ago I rarely exercised. I could not seem to find the motivation, energy or time. Can anybody relate? In the evening I was tired and wanted to just sit and read a book. So I made a deal with myself; I chose a page-turning suspense novel, by Ted Dekker I think, and did not allow myself to read a single page unless I was on my stationary bicycle. I read for twenty minutes a day, pedaling without even noticing the effort. I did not want to exercise, but I was excited to see what happened in the next chapter of the thriller. Within a short period of time, I had a new habit and a new passion for cycling. Eventually, I bought a road bicycle and rode about five thousand miles before my muscles suddenly quit talking to my nerves. If you don’t like to read, maybe you have a favorite TV show. Try forbidding yourself from ever watching it unless you are doing leg lifts or using a resistance band or walking on a treadmill.

1 Timothy 4:8, “For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” ESV

PRAYER

I used to sit in church every Sunday and commit to be more disciplined in my prayer life. Then I would not think about it again until the following Sunday. I was sincere, but the busyness of my life distracted me. Fortunately, I used my serious addiction to coffee to help. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is head for the coffee pot. In fact my first coherent thought is, “Coffee!” Nevermind, it is not a coherent thought. Anyway, I made a decision to meet God there, to talk with Him while the aromatic. dark liquid I love was brewing. Soon I was in the habit of starting my day with prayer, asking God to direct my steps.

Psalm 63:1, “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.” NKJV

BIBLE READING

I wanted to read the Message Bible from beginning to end. It may not sound ambitious, but I committed to read one or two pages at a time, while I used a hairdryer. My hair dries pretty quickly, so after nearly ten years I am only in the book of Ezekiel. Over the years, the Lord has given me just the right verse at just the right time through this exercise. I have been immensely blessed through His word. I never allow myself to dry my hair without reading it. By the way, Ezekiel is way more than half way through the Bible, so I am thinking I should be done in about six more years. I’ll let you know.

Deuteronomy 32:47, “They are not just idle words for you-they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.” NIV

SCRIPTURE MEMORIZATION

This is my favorite. We need to know God’s word deep in our marrow to equip us for life’s ups and downs. I like to memorize and I believe anyone can do it. You know I love index cards. I write the verse I want to memorize on a card, then put it in my car. Whenever I am driving, I rehearse the verse until I have it memorized. So don’t laugh if you pull up beside me and think I am talking to myself. I am arming myself with the sword of the Spirit.

Ephesians 6:17, “And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” WEB

PIGGYBACKING HABITS

If you need to take medication once a day, try putting it with your toothbrush. If you don’t brush your teeth every day, well then I cannot help you. These techniques apply to habits and require discipline. We all need discipline in our lives, but our actual walk with the Lord cannot be successful through tricks and tools.  The power to live for Him comes from Him.  He requires our dependence, which is something I am only beginning to learn.

Even in Christian circles we are prone to depend upon techniques and methods in the work that Christ has given us to do. Without a complete dependence on the Holy Spirit we can only fail. If we have been misled to believe we can do Christ’s work ourselves, it will never be done. The man God will use must be undone.” A. W. Tozer

Have you tried to establish a new habit in the past and can’t stick with it? Try piggybacking, it works.Share in the comments a new habit you want to begin, or what has worked for you.

I need a fix

I need a fix

I KNOW WHEN I NEED A FIX

The weight in my shoulders, legs and eyelids increases. Usually I can make it about three and a half hours before taking Pyridostigmine.  It is the same drug soldiers carry in the event they are exposed to the nerve gas-Sarin.  People with myasthenia gravis take it because their immune system makes antibodies which block the signal from the nerve to the muscle.  Since Pyridostigmine helps my weakness; my weakness reminds me to take it.

2 Corinthians 11:30, “If boasting is necessary, I will boast about my weaknesses.” HCSB

IT AIN’T CHEAP

I take two different forms of the medication.  The short-acting formulation lasts three to four hours and is reasonably priced.  The sustained release, long-acting form is expensive.  But it helps me and I know I need it, so I pay for it. I suppose it is worth the cost.

Luke 14:28, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” NIV

GETTING STRONGER

Every three weeks I spend the day at the hospital for an infusion of IVIG.  It is helping me, I am much stronger.   When I am feeling particularly strong, I occasionally forget to take  my medication on time.  Maybe I should set an alarm.

Hosea 10:13, “You thought you could do it all on your own, flush with weapons and manpower.”  MSG

WHAT IF…

I recognized my spirit getting weaker and let it remind me to pray.  It seems when life is good and everything is smooth sailing, I forget to pray.  I feel stronger, so I depend on myself and my own resources.  What if I had a prayer dependency?

Mark 14:38 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” NIV

THERE IS A PRICE

Prayer is not cheap.  It always costs.  It may cost time, effort or sleep, but there is always a price.  The long-acting kind of prayer costs more, but it sustains longer.  The quick, short-acting ones are less expensive and needed more frequently. But I may forget them when life is good. When I fail to pray, and I often do, I am not depending on the only One who is truly dependable. I am depending on my own limited strength.

Psalm 105:4, “Search for the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.” HCSB

HABIT

For the most part, I am in the habit of taking my medications on a scheduled basis.  It is routine and my weakness reminds me of my dependency.  Instead of waiting until my circumstances are overwhelming before I come running back to the One who always accepts me even when He has not heard from me in a while, I will let my weakness remind me of my need for His strength and power.

I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” KJV

 

MAYBE I SHOULD SET AN ALARM

No one needs a reminder to pray when life is difficult, but those prayers are only rescue prayers. What God desires most from me is relationship. Real relationship means spending time together, being honest and appreciative.

Psalm 5:2, “Hear the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to You do I pray.”  AMP

Have you plugged in to the power of prayer?  Everybody wants to pray when life gets tough, but power comes from talking to someone already you know.