Category Archives for "prayer"

Commitment to Prayer


When we work, we work; but when we pray, God works.

What would happen if you made a decision to pray for somebody every single day for the next month?

This is a question that somebody in my Friday morning men’s group posed to the group last week as we were closing up our time together.

We talk a lot about doing things for people, and we talk about wanting to share our faith.  But do we put prayer behind it?  And what would it look like if we put corporate prayer behind these requests?

In other words, what would happen if a whole group of men (or a whole group of people) made the conscious decision to pray for the same person every sing day for the next month?

Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7

I think there is amazing power behind prayer.  That power may be to impact the person for whom we are praying, but I also think there is amazing power to impact our own lives and the lives of those in the group of people who are praying corporately for the same person.

On Friday, my group decided we were going to pray for three people for the next 30 days, and I am interested to see what happens to the people for whom we are praying and for the people in our group.

“If you are willing to invite God to involve himself in your daily challenges, you will experience his prevailing power – in your home, in your relationships, in the marketplace, in the schools, in the church, wherever it is most needed.”  Bill HybelsToo Busy Not To Pray

Have you ever made that kind of commitment – to pray for someone every day for a month?  What was the impact on your life?  What was the impact on those for whom you were praying?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

For other interesting articles on prayer, check out these links:

The Key Action To Take When You Are On A Mission


Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.
St. Augustine

We want to be people to be people of action.

We want to be part of things being accomplished.  When we go on a short-term missions trip or when we chose to serve in our community, this typically means we want to get our hands dirty.  We want to build houses.  We want to feed hungry children.  We want to help widows.  These actions are important, and I believe they are part of every Christ followers calling.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 1:26-27

But what if we are missing out on the key action we must take to truly move from just having a mission mindset to actually going on a mission?

The action we can easily overlook involves getting our knees dirty instead of our hands.  Yes.  Prayer is the action we must take if we want to be the most effective missionaries.

 “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  Matthew 9:38

  • Prayer keeps us connected to God.
  • Prayer humbles us.
  • Prayer gives us appropriate perspective.
  • Prayer reminds us who is in charge.
  • Prayer works.
  • Prayer is effective.
  • Prayer is an action.

Let’s not forget about prayer!

How is your prayer life?  What is so hard about praying?  How has prayer changed your life?  How do you think your life would be different if prayer became a larger part of your life?

A Tribute To Grandma

On Monday, we said goodbye to my Grandma.  During the funeral service on Monday afternoon, I had the opportunity to share some thoughts about her.  Here they are:

As grandchildren, I’m sure we all have known the special touch of our grandparents.  Each one of us (seven in all) was always made to feel special whenever we were around.  (I was special, because I was born on Grandpa’s birthday.)  What a blessing!

I’m fairly certain we all have very special memories of Grandma.  She was certainly an amazing lady, and I’ll remember many things about her, but one thing stands out the most when I think about her special qualities.

Grandma was a woman of prayer.

When I was a young kid, I remember special times of prayer at the meal table.  Grandpa might read from a devotional.  We would look at a missionary card to learn more about a missionary or an unreached people group.  And then, Grandma would pray.  Her prayers were always soft-spoken.  It was obvious to me that Grandma knew God, and she was simply having a conversation with Him.

When I was in college, Grandma and Grandpa were visiting our home in New Jersey.  I was out late with friends while they were there one night.  When I pulled in the driveway, the house was dark.  My bedroom was in the basement of my parent’s split-level house, and Grandma and Grandpa slept in the basement family room during their visits.  I unlocked the door and quietly walked down the steps.  As I approached the bottom step, I heard voices.  At first, I thought Grandma and Grandpa were talking to each other.  Then I realized they were talking to God.  I sat down on the bottom step and listened as they continued the conversation.  Together they prayed for Norm and Candy (my parents), Max and Elaine (my aunt and uncle), Lauren (my cousin), Jon, Jane (my cousin), David (my brother), Tom (my cousin), Helen (my cousin), and Erik (my brother).  They prayed specifically for each of us mentioning specific concerns and even praying for our future spouses.  They especially prayed that we would have a relationship with Jesus.  This wasn’t an unusual occurrence.  It was clear to me they prayed for us every night.

After Grandpa passed away seven and a half years ago, I had a few opportunities to visit with Grandma.  These were always such special visits.  After talking together for a while about my family, the Cubs, the Bears, our extended family, and about other details, we would always pray together before we said goodbye.

Last summer during my last two visits with Grandma, It was clear that her memory was starting to fail her.  During my first visit in June, we talked for ten to fifteen minutes before she asked “What was your name again?”  In July, she knew my name, but she couldn’t remember Leanne’s name.  You could tell this was frustrating to Grandma who was always the smartest in the family.  After spending a couple of hours together, we gathered in Grandma’s room to pray and say goodbye.  I prayed, and as I said Amen, Grandma picked up the conversation with God.

In her final year, I understand it became more challenging for her to hold her thoughts together as she prayed.  I’m sure this was a sign she was ready to go home to heaven soon.  Nonetheless, Grandma would look up at the cork board hanging above her bed.  It was here she displayed her family tree which included her two children and their spouses, her seven grandchildren, and her fifteen great-grandchildren.  Even when she couldn’t hold her head up, she would pray for us as she looked up at her pictures.

Grandma will be missed by all of us.  We will miss the conversations, the Swedish pancakes, and the Swedish meatballs.  And I will miss hearing Grandma talking with her friend, Jesus.  I’m so thankful for the faith legacy left by Grandma.

It was sad to say goodbye to Grandma this week, but it was great to be with family.  And it was a privilege to celebrate the life of a saint – my Grandma.

How do you (or how will you) remember your grandparents?

Pondering Prayer

Leah Adams shares about some thoughts on prayer today.  This post should stretch you to consider your prayer life.  You can read more about Leah in the bio at the end of the post.  After you answer Leah’s question in the comments, I would appreciate it if you would pay her a visit over at her blog.


I want to thank Jon for the privilege of guest posting here at The Stretched Blog. Jon does a great job providing meaningful, engaging posts here, and I hope to do the same in my post today. Hope you are having a great vacation, Jon.

Pondering Prayer

Today I want us to ponder for a bit on prayer. How is your prayer life? Are your spiritual knees calloused from time spent on them before the throne, or has it been a while since you gazed at the Father from your knees? Do your prayers feel fervent and effective, or like they hit the ceiling and smack you on the head on the way back down? I know at different times in my life I could fit into all of these categories. Sometimes in the same day!!!!

I have spent a bit of time in recent weeks examining some of the prayers recorded for us in Scripture. It has been a blessed time of study that has opened my eyes to a few pearls with regard to prayer. I’d love to share them with you, and hopefully make application to my life and yours.

Thus far, I have studied three prayers prayed by three different individuals in the Scriptures….all from the Old Testament. Each prayer has a different purpose and style, but many of the same elements. Here they are:

  • 2 Samuel 7:18-29 – the prayer of King David after the pronouncement of the Davidic Covenant
  • 2 Chronicles 20:1-12 – the prayer of King Nebuchadnezzar when he learned of his enemies coming against Israel
  • Daniel 2:20-23 – the prayer of Daniel in thanksgiving for answered prayer from God

The first thing the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to from each of these prayers was the humility of the person uttering the prayer. They went to God first, and they saw Him as their leader, provider, and protector. They acknowledged Him as the source of their strength and wisdom. They didn’t call a committee meeting, or text a friend. They turned immediately to God, and acknowledged their need of Him. Each pray-er saw himself as he truly was, needy and sinful, against the back drop of God’s holiness and majesty. I’m not sure we get that today.

Absolutely, we are told to come boldly to the throne of God with our prayers, but ‘boldly’ in no way means we approach God flippantly, as if we were doing Him a favor by talking to Him. We must come humbly and reverently, acknowledging that HE IS GOD, and we are not.

Next, I was stunned to realize that the actual request they brought to God was only a small part of their prayers. The vast majority of their prayer was spent remembering God’s faithfulness, and acknowledging Him as God. In essence, they fixed their eyes on God rather than their circumstance or need.

As I thought about my own prayer life, I recognized that there might be just a teeny bit of work that I need to do. I want to come to Him more reverently and humbly, (read that, face-to-the-floor figuratively, and maybe literally) with my mouth full of praise for Him. ‘He must increase, I must decrease’ (John 3:30) would be a good motto to structure our prayers around, perhaps.

So, what about your prayer life? I would love to hear how you pray, when you pray, is there a structure to your prayer, and whether you feel you are doing pretty well with your prayer life or if it could use a bit of work.

“Prayer does not fit us for the greater works; prayer is the greater work.”

Oswald Chambers


Leah describes herself as the “prodigal son’s sister” after spending several years walking far from the Lord in her twenties. Helping others understand the grace that is offered by Jesus to anyone who will accept it is the passion of Leah’s heart. In a works-based and failure-prone society, grace is a concept that many people have difficulty grasping and Leah’s speaking and writing ministry, called The Point Ministries, seeks to point others straight to Jesus and his amazing grace.

A speaker and communicator, Leah lives in northern Georgia with her husband, Greg, who is also her dentist. She holds a Doctor of Pharmacy Degree from Mercer University School of Pharmacy. Leah is a CLASS certified speaker and is the author of a Bible study for ladies entitled, From the Trash Pile to the Treasure Chest: Creating a Godly Legacy. She recently released another book entitled, HeBrews A Better Blend.  She writes for Internet Café Devotions, and Visit Leah at her ministry website at Find Leah on Facebook at Leah Colwell Adams and on Twitter (@PointMinistries).

Ice Breaker – We Are The World

Each week on The Stretched Blog, I ask an ice breaker question. The questions are designed to help us get to know each other here in The Stretched Community. I’ll provide my answer to the question here in the post, and then you can leave your response in the comments. While you’re in the comments section, see how others answered the ice breaker question.

On this day (March 7th) 29 years ago, a large group of popular singers released “We Are The World” and launched an initiative (“USA for Africa”) which raised money for Africa by selling over 20 million copies of this hit single.  If you lived through the 80s, you have to check out the video and remember the great hairstyles and attire of the singers.

Today’s Stretched Ice Breaker is inspired by We Are The World.

(I’m always looking for Ice Breaker question ideas.  If you have an idea, send me an email at  If I use your question, I’ll give you credit and share your links.)

Question:  What is your cause?  What is one cause you’d like others to know about?  What is one thing people can do to learn more about this cause?  And what is one thing they can do to further this cause?

My Answer:  If you’ve been reading here for any length of time, you know the people of Guatemala have captured my heart.  This year, I’ll be taking my family back to Xenacoj, Guatemala to work with GO! Ministries.  We will be specifically ministering to the widows and orphans of this area (James 1:27).  To learn more about GO! Ministries click the link above.  Here are a few things you can do to further the cause of GO! Ministries:

  1. Pray.  Pray for guidance and effective ministry.  Pray for the widows and orphans.
  2. Give.  On the website for GO! Ministries, there are a few different ways you can give.  Every bit helps.  I’ve seen the power of a few bucks.
  3. Go.  Go on a short-term missions trip with me to Guatemala.  You can make a huge difference by going to Guatemala for a week.
  4. Share.  Share with others about GO! Ministries.  And share about our trip.

Here’s our highlight video from last year’s trip:

Answer this week’s ice breaker question by leaving a comment. I look forward to reading your response! (As always, feel free to share links.) And keep STRETCHING!

Also don’t forget to sign up for the Stretched newsletter.  Check out this post to find out how to sign up.


Burglars broke into my parents house this weekend in Dallas, Texas.  They pried open the locked front door in broad daylight while nobody was home.  The robbers grabbed my brother’s Apple Macbook Pro and one of his bass guitars.  They left without leaving a thank you note, without saying goodbye, and without locking the front door which they destroyed upon entry.

Thankfully, nobody was hurt (including the two dogs who were closed in the bathrooms in the house).  Nothing else was taken.

But I’m sure my parents and my brother felt violated.

The natural reaction to this kind of incident is anger, disappointment, and fear.  What would drive people to break into someone’s house and take what is not their property?  How do we prevent people from violating us like this?  Will they ever come back?  Will they be caught?  The list of questions and thoughts could go on for quite a while.

I was mad when I initially heard the news.

And then something hit me.  This verse came to my mind from the book of Romans:

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.  Romans 12:14

I changed one word in the verse as I thought about the burglars – Bless those who violate you; bless and do not curse.

Really?  Bless those who broke into my parents house?  Bless those who stole my brothers stuff?  That’s easier said than done.  But it has to start somewhere.  And so, I prayed.  Here’s my prayer.

A Prayer For Those Who Violate Others

I pray the burglars would be caught.

I pray they would be rehabilitated.

I pray the robbers would recognize the error of their ways.

I pray they would feel remorse.

I pray for a transformation in their lives.

I pray for a bright future for them that differs greatly from the past which led them to robbing people’s homes.

I ultimately pray they would find God – that they would know the love of Christ and the power of His forgiveness, mercy, and grace.

This is my prayer for those who violated.

How have you responded when you’ve been violated?  What suggestions do you have for those who have been violated?


Ice Breaker – Prayer

Ice Breaker

Image by VerseVend (via Flickr – Creative Commons)

Each week on The Stretched Blog, I ask an ice breaker question. The questions are designed to help us get to know each other here in The Stretched Community. I’ll provide my answer to the question here in the post, and then you can leave your response in the comments. While you’re in the comments section, see how others answered the ice breaker question.

While we were on vacation, we had an opportunity to visit with my Grandpa who lives in Minneapolis.  He flew down to Milwaukee to spend a couple of days with my brother and I and our families.  My Grandpa has a huge heart for evangelism.  When he meets someone new, he almost always asks them two questions.  His first question is the inspiration for this week’s Stretched Ice Breaker.

Question:  How can The Stretched Community pray for you?

My Answer:  I mentioned it in a post a couple of weeks ago.  Our family could use your prayers as we prepare for our trip to Guatemala.  Two weeks from tomorrow, we leave for Newark, NJ where we will depart for Guatemala.  There are several details that we need to finalize.  I need to finalize the financial end of things with GO! Ministries which I should take care of this weekend.  Isaac is finishing up his Typhoid medication this week.  We need to pack for the trip which includes packing up material for care packages that we will be giving to the ~200 widows who live in the village of Xenacoj.  On top of that, we would appreciate your prayers for safety and effectiveness as we travel and minister in Xenacoj.

Answer this week’s ice breaker question by leaving a comment. I look forward to reading your response! (As always, feel free to share links.) And keep STRETCHING!

With this week’s question and answers, I would encourage you to pick at least one of the requests mentioned in the post or the comments and pray.

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

Creative Expressions – Creatively Tapping Into Our Creator

The trip to Guatemala has so many different aspects to reflect on and to remember.  We were hosted and led by a team of young adults from Adventures in Missions.  This team of four worked together to pick us up at the airport, arrange our serving opportunities in the town of Xenacoj, keep us on time and in the right place, and feed us.  They did an incredible job at these important activities.  They were also responsible for leading us in worship and in teaching us throughout our time together.

One of my favorite parts of my time in Xenacoj was our nightly times of worship and sharing on the roof of our compound.  Each night, Chris Cannon (you should check out his music) led our team in singing and then a time of “creative expression”.  The time of “creative expressions” was an opportunity to pray or listen to God in a way that was different from our normal routine of praying and reading the Bible.

For example, one night we used the Korean prayer style to pray.  As instructed, we all prayed out loud at the same time.  This was definitely different especially for some of our students who had never prayed out loud.

Another night, we prayed blind prayers.  This was a moving experience for me.  Initially, I was given the opportunity to be prayed over by two people who didn’t know who I was – they were “blind”.  It was amazing to have one of these people pray for me about taking a leap of faith.  This was a theme for my blog and my thoughts as I headed into this trip, and this person would have had no idea that this was the case.  There was really a sense that God was speaking through this individual.  Then, I had the opportunity to close my eyes and pray for two individuals who I didn’t know.  For one of them, I prayed specifically for their family and the impact of this trip on their loved ones.  When I opened my eyes at the end of the prayer time, I received a giant, tearful hug from a student who had earlier shared with me about her challenging family and home situation.  I had a clear sense that God could speak through me.

On the last night, the students were given the opportunity to pray (Korean style) over the leaders.  I have no idea what they prayed about, but it was a moving experience to hear ~35 people praying for me and the other leaders simultaneously.

In each of these cases, it was a little uncomfortable.  But it was also good.  I don’t like change.  I don’t like to get out of my comfort zone.  This trip reminded me that it’s okay and important to get out of my comfort zone.  God can speak to me and use me in new ways when I take that step out of my comfort zone.  And it doesn’t take a trip to Guatemala to get out of my comfort zone.  It can happen right here where I live.  The trip was just a great reminder of this fact.

When was the last time you got out of your comfort zone?  How did it feel?  Have you ever done prayer in a different way?  How did that look?

Guatemala In One Month!

In a month (from tomorrow), I’ll be leaving for Guatemala!  I’m sure this month will go by quickly.  I have my passport and my vaccinations, but there’s some other preparations that I still need to handle.  With that in mind, I have a favor to ask – actually three favors:

1)  Continue to pray for our team as we prepare for this trip.  I would specifically ask for continued prayers for my headaches.  I saw a doctor last week who seems to be on the right track, but your prayers for a headache free trip would be appreciated.

2)  I’d like to keep the blog going while I’m away, but I definitely need some help.  I know I’ve mentioned it before and even exchanged a couple of messages prior to this post, but I am looking for guest bloggers to help fill in the gaps during my absence.  In order to make this happen, I need to figure out the posting scheduled in the next week or two.  If you are interested and willing in sharing your stretched story here, please reach out to me so we can coordinate.  Guest posts could also include Ice Breakers, 3 Thumbs Up!, and I’d entertain the idea of putting together some type of interview as a post idea.  At any rate, let me know if you’re interested by leaving a comment, so I can reach out to you.  Thanks!

3)  Casas Por Cristo.  You may remember that I stepped out in faith with an idea to build one of our teams houses through the Stretched blog.  Well, we’re about 70% there.  We still need $2,675 in order to finish one house.  It’s not too late to get on board with this.  See the link here for more details.  This will need to be wrapped up in a week or two also to coordinate with our team.  (Thanks!)

I guess that’s it for now.  Thanks for being part of this trip!

What are you preparing for these days?

W2R Take Home 2: Make Prayer A Priority In Our Marriage

Happy Leap Day!

To my friend Stretch Mark, Happy 12th Birthday!

Yesterday, I shared one of my big take homes from my Weekend To Remember (W2R) marriage conference experience.  I shared that I want to be an agent of encouragement in my marriage and in my family.

Today, I’ll share my second big take home for the W2R conference.  I want to make prayer a bigger priority in my marriage.  Leanne and I pray to together most nights at bedtime.  Although, this sometimes is missed when one or both of us is “too” tired.  If I’m honest, I often wait for Leanne to initiate our prayer time.  I could probably come up with all kinds of excuses for this, but I’ll save you (and me) the agony.

The W2R conference was a great reminder that I need to step up and lead in this way in our marriage.  One of the speakers, Bob Maddox, shared that he and his wife pray together twice a day.  If he’s on the road, he calls her at least twice a day to make sure this prayer time happens.  Bob takes responsibility for this.  When he shared this, I was definitely challenged.  And so we are praying together twice a day.  I pray with Leanne before I leave for the office in the morning, and we pray together at bedtime.  So far, it’s been three days in a row!

How could praying together twice a day make a difference in our family?

First, making prayer a priority puts our perspective and focus in the right place.  God has to come first in our lives.  Second, praying together gives us an opportunity to connect and to lift each other up.  There’s no question that we are in a busy stage of our parenting lives as we run our kids from activity to activity.  We need this time to slow down and to be together.  Third, praying together sets the tone for our family.  I’ve heard it said, the couple that prays together stays together.  We want our family to be cemented together.  And we want our family to put God first.  When we pray, our kids will know it.  They’ll see us putting God first.  This will have an impact on their lives.  Finally, prayer changes lives.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:16

What’s your prayer life look like?  If you’re married, do you pray together?  What reasons could you add for praying together with your spouse?