Prayer of a Righteous Woman

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.  The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”  James 5:16

Sadly, when I look back at the women in my life – the matriarchs of the family – I have few, if any, memories of them praying over their family.  Both of my grandparents were pretty silent women, unless of course they were ready to leave during their visit or chastising their husbands for not doing something the way it “ought” to be done.  But prayer was reserved for the “heads of household.”  The men in the family wore that badge and even so, it didn’t look much different than it did with them.  I’m not suggesting they never prayed, it’s just we never really saw it happen.  Prayer was often assumed, but rarely demonstrated.  It was always formally given tribute before large “all-family” meals, and I do recall my grandfather lowering his head before taking even a taste of his food from his lap-board stretched across his reclining chair.

Growing up in a home where God was respected and taught, learning to pray even as a young adult was rarely modeled.  Following in the footsteps of their own parents, my parents rarely prayed with us boys and never as a family.  Well, with one exception, I think Dad made it a point to pray at mealtime because of what was on the menu.

Now I’m an adult and surrounded by my mom and other women of great faith in Christ.  Prayer is looking a little different these days.  Is it that we are becoming ever more aware of our own inability to “fix” life around us and greater is our understanding of the One who conquered death for life?

Unlike in the days of my youth, my mom is a praying machine.  It’s possible she’s been that way all her life, but I presume life looks different in your senior years and she has made no bones about her call to worship in prayer for her sons, their wives and the grandchildren.  It’s what she does now!  Thank you mom for taking up the sword and speaking the Truth into the lives of those you love so dearly — through faith you have demonstrated the power of God through prayer!

The most important woman in my life, however, has been the one perhaps gone most unnoticed by me for her faithfulness, her sacrifice, her boldness, her bravery, her courage, her discipline and devotion to Christ.  She has become a woman of God like none I have ever witnessed.  She wears the scars of battle everyday, but stands to face the giants of life with the belief of David.  The prayers for her husband have not been ignored by our Creator and the work He began in me He has yet to finish!  Because of her faithfulness to her Lord, I have been restored to my relationship with my Father, who lives within me.  Through her prayerful obedience, God has shown His light into the crevasses of my soul and by His Spirit He has challenged me to learn the meaning of leaning and the lost discipline of prayer.

The battle still wages — it wages for our souls and the souls of every member of our family.  The lion prowls, but will we feed it?  Prayer, as I’ve learned, is the battle cry!

The prayers of a righteous woman, too, is powerful and effective!

by:  Mark Cruver

A Prayer for Wisdom and Strength When Facing Temptation

With the fact that I’m currently reading on the power of prayer, Scotty Smith summarizes the hearts and minds of men and women everywhere in the face of temptation. Call on the power of God, in the name of Jesus for strength. The reward in the power of trusting Him far outweighs the regret of believing the lies in temptation.

by:  Mark Cruver

The Meaning of Leaning

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

I recently went to one of my son’s cross country meets to watch him run.  To my amazement at the starting line, besides him were what I could only estimate close to 200 other guys in his category lined up.  There must have been a million dollars alone on the feet of all those runners!  The chatter among parents and coaches before the race revolved around the mere numbers and the difficulty the runners may find in spreading out early enough in the race before the path narrows.  Some 17 minutes later the first runner crossed the finish line — challenged, but not phased by the course.  He owned it.  What caught my attention were the runners crossing the finish line near the 33 minute marker.   The last 100 yards was clearly nothing they wanted any part of.  It brought new meaning to … “press on!”  I watched as these athletes crossed the line — the end — the final moment of the race for them and staggered to keep themselves upright.  Many of them would fall to the left, get up only to fall to the right.  Their bodies were refusing to listen to their mind and exhaustion had sapped every ounce of ability to stand on their own.  Without hesitation, helpers would get on both sides of them and lend their own bodies to work on their behalf.  The athlete had no choice but to lean on their person of rescue.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could do that with God?  Wouldn’t it be the best if we could actually “have no choice but to” lean.  Instead, we look at ourselves and say, “My legs are working — I’m gonna take it from here.”  And this is how we tend to go about our lives — training ourselves to lean unto our own reality, lean on our own perceptions, lean on our own knowledge and then we wonder why our “legs” don’t work, or our “minds” won’t stop and our behavior won’t change.  When our eyes are fixed only on ourselves, our hope in life becomes unstable.  It becomes a brick used in the construction of our life.  It appears pretty strong, feels pretty durable, but even the strongest brick placed on a foundation set on sand will crumble.

We train our soul to lean one of two directions.  Unlike natural reality where there is a North, South, East and West to determine direction, in our spiritual reality there is only two directions . . . He and Me!  The magnet of our soul turns the compass of our hearts to trust in one or the other.  Unfortunately, many of us choose throughout our every day to follow the arrow on our compass to follow Me!  When we move in this direction and place our trust in the ways of this world, absent Christ in our daily walk, our lives are filled with hopelessness.  But when we follow the compass of our hearts to follow Him — to trust completely upon Him in EVERYTHING, our soul begins to learn to habitually lean on Him.  He came so that we might have Hope! (Romans 15:4)

I don’t know about you, but this is where I want to be every minute of everyday.  Like the athlete who on his own barely crosses the finish line, I want Christ to become my “legs,” my “arms,” my ALL!  I want the magnet of my soul to, without question, habitually lean toward He every time!  When this happens, God says, “thank you!”  Because until we surrender ourselves to Him completely our needle will still be pointing to Me and not He.  I’ve got to let Him every minute!

Let He, not Me . . . that’s the meaning of leaning!

“Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.”  Psalm 125:1

Hope In Crisis

In the midst of my crisis (or anyone’s crisis) hope is something we cling to tightly.  It, at best, appears to be the last string of relief to our grief.  Hope is the emotional state which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life. We all want a positive outcome — more than life itself!  But often, our limited minds, deceitful hearts and what the Scripture calls “flesh” somehow turns the tide on hope and ushers our minds, our hearts and eventually belief to despair; the opposite of hope.

My friend just texted me on how I was doing in the midst of my personal crisis.  Yesterday I found myself hopeless, full of despair — sinning!  I completely neglected the fact that Christ’s blood covered that for me already and brought us hope in Him!

My hope is flawed, it has holes and withers as the wind blows.  But the hope found in the life of Christ is never changing!  It’s firm as a rock — in fact, it IS the rock!

So, my answer to my friend was this.  As long as I continue to hope in the outcome of my future through me and my own abilities, I will continue to doubt because I can do nothing without Christ who strengthens me.  That being said, my hope is not my hope at all, it is the Hope of the One Eternal, the Hope of God Almighty, the Hope of Glory . . . that’s the Hope I can trust!  That’s my Hope in crisis!

by: Mark Cruver