31 Days of Prayer

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“All of these with one accord…devoting themselves to prayer.” Acts 1:14 (ESV)

I’m so grateful to partner with you in prayer during the 31 days of July. No sign-ups or micromanaging. Just an open invitation to band together in the name of Jesus to ask God to do the works of Jesus because this is the will of God in Christ Jesus and the way of Jesus who has told us to “pray always and not give up.” (Luke 18:1) The main idea of our 31 days of prayer is to join Jesus, to the best of our understanding, in his priorities with our petitions. This is key to profound effectiveness in prayer. First John 5:14-15 reads,

“This is the confidence we have before him: If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of him.” (CSB)

Here are 7 recommendations for building and maintaining our Christ-centered focus over these 31 days of prayer. You are welcome to implement all of them or the few of them that resonate. Keep in mind throughout the month that our goal is the obedience of prayer, not lengthiness of prayer. Don’t get overwhelmed. And don’t quit! THIS MATTERS. God has not called us to prayer for nothing. If you miss a few days, just jump back in.

(My practice will be several minutes of praise and personal confession and repentance then proceeding with the following.)

Each day for 31 days:

1 – Start (every day!) with these personal requests of God:

  • Jesus, increase my faith.
  • Fill me with your Spirit.
  • Lead me to pray according to your will, thinking and discerning with the mind of Christ.
  • Enlarge my heart to love.
  • Cause me to delight in you and to be a delight to you.

2- Read a segment of Scripture, ideally from one of the 4 Gospels.

The words of God teach us the will of God. For these 31 days, we particularly want the words of Jesus to direct how we pray and what we prioritize. (See John 15:7) Consider choosing one of the Gospels and reading a chapter each day and supplement the remaining days with chapters from Acts. For instance, I’m going to read a chapter of Matthew each day which will last me 28 days then I’m going to read the first 3 chapters of Acts for a total of 31 chapters in 31 days. (Luke is 24 chapters so you’d supplement 7 chapters of Acts, etc.) If you want your reading to be longer, choose 2 of the Gospels instead of one, reading 2 chapters a day, then supplement the remaining days in Acts.

3 – Make your requests.

  • Glean anything from that day’s Scripture reading that lends itself to intercession. In other words, was the will or way of God made evident in any way that could shape your prayers? If so, start there. For instance, let’s take Day 1. Matthew 1 might be a little harder to use as a guide for prayer but Mark 1, Luke 1 and John 1 each offer great prompters for various petitions. Don’t be quick to pass by that genealogy in Matthew, however, as leadership for prayer! Notice the different kinds of people listed in it and recall some of their histories and thank God that, even this very day, he is continuing the lineage of faith.
  • In addition to your gleanings from your reading, be led of His Spirit to ask him to do in this present era the kinds of things God alone can do. Here are some suggestions to choose from and to add to that echo the will of God as conveyed to us in various Scriptures. (If you’re new to this and need a little clearer leadership here, then choose four of these a day then, when you’ve prayed all of them, start again.)

*Do your will on earth as it is in heaven.

*Cause people to come to love you with all their heart, soul, mind and strength and to come to love their neighbor as themselves.

*Reveal yourself magnificently, powerfully and unmistakably. Enable people to know you and to discern your call.  

*Glorify your great name, the only name under heaven by which people can be saved.

*Save lives temporally and, above all else, eternally.

*Spread your gospel with increased velocity throughout the globe.

*Open hearts to the gospel.

*Soften hardened hearts.

*Open minds to understand the Scriptures.

*Compel your people afresh to go forth into local communities and into the world, carrying your gospel.

*Cause great awakenings of faith to break out all over the world.

*Make your people bold in faith and love and hope.

*Cause your people to speak your words fearlessly, boldly, lovingly and relentlessly. Cause hearts and minds to be responsive.

*Do works of repentance that are unparalleled in our day.

*Cause your people to love one another well and to come to love people they have deeply disliked.

*Cause your people to please and honor you through profoundly deeper unity amid the diversity you dearly love.

*Cause your joy to be in us and our joy to be complete.

*Open the eyes of the spiritually blind. Cause fog and confusion to clear.

*Cause ears to hear you. Turn down the volume on the confusing, distracting cacophony. Help us to know your voice when we hear it.

*Send workers out into the harvest fields.

*Disciple your people and teach us how to more effectively disciple others.

*Make growth in Christlikeness the high priority of discipleship.

*Quench the works of the flesh and produce the fruit of the Spirit.

*Circumcise hearts to love you and love others.

*Cause your people to love, not only in word, but in deeds.

*Deliver from sins and strongholds and addictions.

*Expose darkness by your light and to your light.

*Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.

*Cause your people to have their/our eyes opened to the devil’s devices and schemes and to stand strong against him.

*Heal tormented minds and torn up bodies.

*Build your church. Refine. Purify. Unify.

*Make your people quick to conviction of the Spirit and true repentance.

*Cause people to love your words.

*Cause your word to spread rapidly and be honored.

*Equip your people in their spiritual gifts and lead them where to use them.

*Lead your people into healthy communities of faith.

*Restore individuals, marriages, families, friends, churches, communities.

*Break strongholds of pride, selfishness and narcissistic leadership.

*Break strongholds of bitterness and unforgiveness.

*Empower us to forgive one another, to ask forgiveness of one another and to accept and embrace our own forgiveness from you and from others.

*Cause your people to turn from hatefulness and unkindness, from slander, coldness and malice.

*Mature your people. Make your people humble but hearty. Strengthen and encourage and fortify.

*Forgive us of our hypocrisy and duplicity and grant that we’d be wholehearted and single-minded toward you and your will and ways.

*Profoundly increase the humility and generosity of your people.

*Renew your wonders in our day according to your will.

*Increase your works of healing in our day according to James 5.

*Teach us your ways. Teach us to pray.

*Meet needs miraculously and creatively in ways that prompt great praise.

*Cause your people to be enduring and persevering even in affliction, pain or persecution.

*Free people from idolatry.

*Free people from oppression.

*Anoint and empower your people all over the world to boldly take up your ministry as described in Luke 4, preaching good news to the poor and recovery of sight to the blind and freedom for the oppressed.

*Fill your people with compassion for a lost and hurting and angry world.

*Cause your grace to your people to not be in vain.

*Form within your people a heart for the poor and marginalized and turn it into action that makes a remarkable difference.

*Enable your people to love our enemies and bless those who curse us.

*Have mercy on this present generation of believers and help us to love well, live well, serve well, suffer well and die well.

*Cause your people to abundantly increase in expectancy and anticipation of your coming and of the new creation.

4 – Pray for a different nation each day. You can’t go wrong here. There is not a single nation or people-group God does not want to touch with the gospel of Jesus. I have prayed according to the Operation World manual many times but right now I’m praying alongside Voice of the Martyrs and their 2021 prayer calendar. I will supply a picture of their July page at the bottom of this post in case you’d like to join along but I hope you might also be prompted to pray for other nations unmentioned so we don’t only cover these.

5 – Keep a record. You don’t need something fancy. All you need is a pen and some paper. Each day jot down what portion of Scripture you read, what specifics God led you to pray and what nation you prayed for. If, as you’re praying, God leads you to intercede for specific people, places, organizations, churches or ministries, jot down what you prayed (just as you’ll do for nations). Keep it for reference in the future. I fully believe you will see some answers in due time and, together someday before God’s throne, he will make known to us why he called us to prayer and what he accomplished in response to those prayers.

6 – End each time of prayer with these confessions, whether in these words or your own:

  • Thank you, Lord, for the absolute certainty that my prayers today mattered.
  • Thank you, Lord, for my brothers and sisters with whom I gather in prayer over these 31 days. Bless them personally, Lord, encourage them and give them eyes to see you at work.
  • (This one is especially important.) Do abundantly more than all we could ask or think.
  • According to Colossians 4:2, help us to continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

7 – Ask God to do a fresh work of his Spirit in your own life through these 31 days.

No words big enough to thank you for joining in 31 days of fervent, focused prayer. By the grace of God, some things will be different because we, as different as we are, gathered around the one name of Jesus and prayed. And we, brothers and sisters, will be different.  

Voice of the Martyrs Prayer Calendar

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Holy Week: Jesus Cleansing the Temple

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The scene I’ll focus a lens on today is found in all four Gospels. The account is relatively light on words but so heavy with meaning that to overlook it could well leave an insufficient impression of what Jesus was like. Without it, He’d be significantly easier to typecast. We’d think we knew how holiness always acts and how love always reacts.

Check Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19 and John 2 and you’ll invariably find the scene captioned with the three-word phrase, “Cleansing the Temple.” The caption is provocative if not ironic since Jesus’s method of cleaning the Temple was to make a mess of it. Don’t think for a moment Jesus can’t make a mess of things.

Sometimes the only way to sufficiently clean house is to turn it upside down.

Today we’ll look at Matthew’s Gospel, the 21st chapter and verses 10-13, but I’ll fill out the account with additional bits and pieces supplied by the other Gospels, particularly Mark’s. The scene follows on the heels of a donkey. The Temple cleansing is a quickly-appearing stand-alone in John but you’ll find it in Matthew, Mark and Luke following the triumphal entry of Christ when He entered Jerusalem in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy:

Tell Daughter Zion,

“See, your King is coming to you,

Gentle and mounted on a donkey and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

His way was paved in garments and branches. The crowds welcomed Jesus with royal acclamations. “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” The insinuation of kingship was so insulting to some of the religious leaders, they demanded Jesus rebuke his disciples. “I tell you, if they were to keep silent,” Jesus plainly stated, “the stones would cry out.”

Our present scene is particularly compelling with the echoes of the triumphant crowds still ringing in our ears.

Read the words of Matthew 21:10-13:

When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in an uproar, saying, “Who is this?” The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Jesus went into the temple and threw out all those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves!”

A lot of wheeling and dealing goes on in the name of Scripture. A lot of scheming and scamming. They’re hard to miss in this scene. According to Mark’s Gospel, this event happened on Monday, the day following the triumphal entry and three days prior to Christ’s arrest.  

Mark 11:11-12 tells us that, after he rode into Jerusalem on the back of the colt, “He went into Jerusalem and into the temple. After looking around at everything, since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.” Bethany was only about two miles from Jerusalem. He’d turn around and come back the next day.

It doesn’t take much imagination to guess what Jesus thought about all night. He’d replayed what he’d seen that day over and over, is what I’m thinking. And holy zeal would fill his lungs. The Holy Spirit put the words in the psalmist’s mouth in advance: “Zeal for your house has consumed me and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.” And it burned like fire on his tongue. There might have been something else he was doing. John’s account in his Gospel, the second chapter and 15th verse, says, “After making a whip out of cords, he drove everyone out of the temple.” He might have been braiding a little leather. There again, he could easily have just grabbed a strap from a tethered animal on his way in.

That Monday when He headed back to the Holy City, He would’ve entered the Temple Mount through the Huldah Gate at the south end of an enormous complex. Think of it in terms of the Temple Precinct and the Temple Proper. The Temple precinct included all the buildings and courtyards complete with an enormous stall for animals that could be purchased for sacrifices as well as crowded housing for their keepers. This was the Monday before Passover when the city would have been bursting at the seams with travelers from all over Israel and beyond to keep Israel’s most important feast.

People gathered in allocated areas according to qualifications strictly guarded by Temple police. Worshippers were as defined by where they could not go as where they could. There was the Court of the Gentiles open to anyone and the only place open to those who believed in Israel’s God but weren’t of Israel’s blood. Inscriptions were etched in stone that no Gentile, man or woman, could go beyond it without threat of death. There was the Court of the Women for those of Jewish blood and no woman could inch a single step further. Then there was the Court of Israel which was Jewish men only and no man could step beyond it into the sanctuary of the Temple proper except the priests and no priest could step beyond the Holy Place into the Holy of Holies except the high priest on the Day of Atonement. Every step toward the Presence of God bore a warning of prohibition.

“Stop right there. Are you qualified?”

There was no such thing as all-access. Don’t lose sight of that this Holy Week or the tearing of the veil will be lost on you.

As Jesus entered the Temple precinct, he would have ascended up a flight of steps and entered a long hall with four rows of forty large columns. This is where the market was set up for exchanging the money of all the Jewish pilgrims from other regions into temple currency. With shekels they’d pay a required temple tax then purchase animals or birds for sacrifices. It was a necessary transaction for out-of-towners but foolishly misplaced in an area set apart for worship.  

Now for Mark’s Gospel, chapter 11:15-17:

 They came to Jerusalem, and he went into the temple and began to throw out those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple. He was teaching them: “Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves!”

There are times in Scripture when Jesus slips in and out of scenes publicly unnoticed. This isn’t one of those times. He marched straight to the check out desks with a whip in his hand where people were buying and selling. He flipped the over the tables and turned over the chairs. Coins would have jingled and rolled all over the floor. Dove cages would have toppled. Feathers would have flown.

Jesus can rattle cages when he wants to.

Everything he’s doing in the scene is purposeful. A couple of things are in play that aren’t immediately obvious. I’d like to make mention of two of them. First, did you hear the Evangelists make a point of noting that those selling doves were among the ones whose tables and chairs Jesus overturned? Doves could be used for a couple of different purposes but they were primarily the offerings purchased by the poor. Those with any kind of money would make their selections from farm animals to offer as sacrifices. It could a status thing, you know, whether your offering had fur or cheap feathers.

Sellers could set the price at what they wanted, knowing full well the devout would pay whatever was necessary for an offering rather than appear before the Lord empty handed. If the sellers were cheating, only the privileged had the clout to accuse them. The voices of the poor, then as now, were mostly ignored. Perhaps nothing testifies to the depravity of the human heart like the consistent propensity throughout history to exploit, cheat and oppress the poor. What is far more astonishing is with what regularity it happens in religious environments. There’s nothing quite like price-gouging in the name of God.

That brings us to the second element in the scene that begs for a little background. Did you catch the phrase “den of thieves”? Let me place it back in context. “Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves!” Nothing was accidental in his wording. He’s talking straight out of the Old Testament.

Look at Jeremiah 7:1-10:

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand in the gate of the house of the Lord and there call out this word: ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who enter through these gates to worship the Lord.

“‘This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Correct your ways and your actions, and I will allow you to live in this place. Do not trust deceitful words, chanting, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.” Instead, if you really correct your ways and your actions, if you act justly toward one another, if you no longer oppress the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow and no longer shed innocent blood in this place or follow other gods, bringing harm on yourselves, I will allow you to live in this place, the land I gave to your ancestors long ago and forever. But look, you keep trusting in deceitful words that cannot help.

“‘Do you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and follow other gods that you have not known? Then do you come and stand before me in this house that bears my name and say, “We are rescued, so we can continue doing all these detestable acts”?

The people in Jeremiah’s day adhered to what scholar M. Eugene Boring calls “a false Zion theology that regarded the Temple as a guarantee of divine protection, and charged them with regarding the Temple as a robber’s hideout to which they could retreat in safety after their acts of injustice.” (NIB, Volume 8, p.406)

This becomes even more provocative six centuries later when Jesus uses the phrase “den of thieves” or “den of robbers” in the Gospels. According to scholar Michael Wilkins “The term ‘robber’ (lestes) is not the word for a common thief but for one who is an insurrectionist, such as Barabbas and the two revolutionaries between whom Jesus will be crucified. This may be a subtle use of the term to indicate that the temple authorities are making it a nationalistic stronghold, or more subtly, a place where they are insurrectionists against God’s intended plan for the temple.”[1]

It is of no small significance that Jesus said according to Mark’s Gospel, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.” All this big enterprise, all this wheeling and dealing was conveniently happening right in the court of the Gentiles. What did they really matter anyway? The blood of Abraham didn’t run through their veins. They were expendable.  Second class. Lucky to even be there. How much value would God put on the worship of Gentiles anyway? But, you see, they’d forgotten the explicit calling God placed on Abraham. “In you shall all nations be blessed.” This was the very gospel preached beforehand.

Does God see? Yes. Does He care when His name is exploited and His words are twisted to manipulate people and rob them of power? Yes. Does He care when the worship of him has been thoroughly coopted and commercialized? Yes. Will He act? Oh, yes. He warns. He gives the remedy: in a word, repentance. He waits. Then, when He’s had enough, He acts.

So, here’s a question to throw on that overturned table: is it fair to say that Jesus, the sinless Son of God, acted in anger in this scene? Somehow I can’t picture him braiding up a whip and flipping over furniture because he was mildly annoyed. What sets divine anger—and even ultimately divine wrath—apart from human anger is that it cannot be extracted from his love. God cannot set it aside His love because it is not only what he does. It is who He is. It is his very essence. We’re simply too quick to forget that love has a spine.  

He who strode into that temple with a whip that day and turned the place upside down for making a commercial expo out of sacrificial worship would offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice just four days later. The coins now scattered and rolling all over the courtyard floor were woefully insufficient funds for their remission of sins. The payment for their substitutionary offering was pumping that moment in the veins and arteries of the one overturning those tables. Peter would write, “For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life…not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb.” And, as for that Temple, it could never have been clean enough. The only Temple clean enough was the one wearing flesh and blood and still standing after the courtyard was cleared.

Let’s lastly read from Matthew’s Gospel that brings the scene to an end, Matthew 21:12-17:

Jesus went into the temple and threw out all those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves.He said to them, “It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves!”

The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.When the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonders that he did and the children shouting in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to him, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”

Jesus replied, “Yes, have you never read:

You have prepared praise
from the mouths of infants and nursing babies?” 

Then he left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.

The scene is in the same place. Right there in that big mess. Tables and chairs turned upside down. Cages toppled. Bird droppings splattered. Feathers still floating. The scent of animal dung wafting through the air. Right there in the mess, Jesus healed the lame and blind. The very ones the Law of Moses prohibited from drawing near for worship. Make no mistake, Jesus is deeply committed to clearing out the obstacles to worship in Spirit and in Truth.

I’m of the notion that the church in America is in a bit of a mess and I believe it’s quite possibly for some of the very reasons his house was in a mess in the days of Jeremiah and in the days of the Word made flesh. I think He’s come to clean house and I think sometimes the way He cleans house is to turn it upside down. But, if we’re willing to not run away, we may hear an inaudible voice say, “Come all who know your infirmities, your weaknesses and blemishes. Come all who know you are broken and blind. Come and be healed.”

[1] Wilkins, M. J. (2004). Matthew (p. 691). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

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Scripture-Prayers for Taking Courage and Forsaking Fear

(click graphic to view document)

Hey, everyone! We have all battled fear individually but I don’t know of a time in our generation that fear has any more audaciously come for the whole globe. I originally worded and compiled these Scripture-prayers for my own use. Then I shared them with my husband. Then my girls. And then I thought maybe some of my coworkers could use them. Then I decided maybe the prayers would be of use to a larger group of people so, back in 2012, I made it available as a print out after our Living Proof Live simulcast. I think this might be a really good time to offer them again. I don’t always pray Scripture-prayers. I pray in all sorts of ways just like many of you do. But, in times of greatest need, ESPECIALLY if it’s liable to be a long haul and the obstacle is so large it’s going to take a big whopping miracle, this is undoubtedly the approach to prayer I’ve found most effective. I’ll tell you why:

Praying Scripture rolls the burden onto the Word of God and not on the words of the pray-er. It is our way of saying back to our faithful God what He has said in Scripture. It also draws from paradigms of prayers that were inspired by the Holy Spirit and engraved on the eternal scroll. By no means do we see praying Scripture as a way to demand that God give us what we’re asking. He is sovereign and we come to Him in humility. He is all-wise and faithful. We are called to trust Him even when our yes is delayed or we feel like we’ve gotten a no and we have no idea why. Praying Scripture is our way of taking Him up on the access the blood of Jesus Christ has given us to go boldly to the Throne to find mercy and grace to help us in our time of need. Humility and boldness are not antonyms for the follower of Christ. They coexist in the souls of those who know that our confidence is not in our own weak flesh but in our omnipotent, ever present, ever loving God.

Keep in mind, these prayers were compiled long before our COVID-19 crisis so you’ll not see specific wording in regard to it and some of them may not reflect our current climate as well as others. But, because the prayers are based on the Word of God, I hope you’ll overwhelmingly find them to be timeless and timely.

If you think they would be a help to you, by all means, print them out. My staff did a lovely job taking my simple word document and turning it into something lovely. If you have a friend who is dealing with fear and anxiety and you think he or she could perhaps find some help and relief, share the link. You’ll see ideas for ways to use them in the introduction but, truly, they are for you to use any way you like. Pray perhaps a page a day. Or tape a page to the refrigerator or to your bathroom mirror. They’re yours. And, if Christ is Lord to you, you are His. So loved, cared for, planned for, seen and heard. If He is not yet Lord to you, He’s right there for the taking. He loves you so. Gave His life to save you and He saves by grace alone through faith and not according to our merit. None of us can earn salvation.

Keep the faith, loved one. And forsake some fear.

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Staff Features: Chasing Vines Review

This week, we’re excited to hear from our staff member, Susan. She shares her thoughts and takeaways on Beth’s upcoming book, “Chasing Vines.”

I love wine. I love Beth Moore. I love information and learning. I especially love insight and revelation on how to walk in a deeper and more meaningful way with Jesus. If you like any of the above, you will love this book.

This book takes you into the nuts and bolts of planning, choosing a field, planting and tending vines that produce grapes.  It tells you surprising facts of the conditions needed to produce the choicest fruit. Beth is a tireless researcher, and research she did. She also consulted with many experts. A world-renown sommelier and a soil expert, owners of several vineyards, some of who also know and love Jesus. She read books and commentaries by the armload. The most important thing she did though, was to seek the Holy Spirit in each application of what she learned according to the scriptures. Her vast learning and life experiences brought many of the facts to life.

Reading the book greatly encouraged me. I now know why that big boulder of a rock of unanswered prayer is in front of me. I know why the “pebbles” also known as “life’s irritations” follow me around. When the heat of life circumstances seem more than I can handle, I tell myself grapes will not grow unless they have extreme heat.  They must think they are going to die to reproduce themselves. These are not random circumstances. Jesus is very aware of them and they are for my good and not just to irritate or discourage me. As a matter of fact, even though we are commanded to bear much fruit to the father’s glory, the real purpose of it all is relationship with Jesus.

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Staff Features: A Glimpse of Grace

In 2018, Beth returned from Chinle, AZ, where she had the privilege to serve our Native American sisters during a Living Proof Live conference.  

I recall hanging on to every word as Beth shared, with deep joy, an update of her time in Arizona. Beth conveyed her desire to stay connected with these women. I still cannot explain the instant connection I felt to our sisters even though I had never met any of them. They stayed on my mind for days, so I started praying. 

I recall waking up in the wee morning hours with a thought of partnering with them for our monthly Invited gathering, a local Houston, Texas gathering where Beth teaches a Bible Study to several hundred women. I immediately shared the idea with Beth, and she was on board. We didn’t have an actual plan in place, but the idea was shared with our team during lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant. And let me tell you, the one thing that gets our creativity flowing around here is chips and salsa. 

We bounced around a few ideas, but our dear co-worker Jenn presented the idea of live streaming the event for our sisters, and it resonated with us, so we started planning. 
Listen, I am technically challenged. Still, I said yes, because the overwhelming tug at my heart made me believe the Lord wanted us to lock arms with our Native American Sisters as they plow the ground for ministry with other women in their community. After lots of consulting with some of our experienced, tech-savvy friends, we launched our first live streamed service. Since then, we continue to virtually join with them during our Invited gatherings.

Recently my co-worker Cathy and I were blessed to travel to Arizona to visit our Native American Women for Christ leadership team. We spent the first day at the White Mountain River Apache, and we were welcomed with a Mexican taco salad that I am still rejoicing over. While we were there, we were able to connect via live stream with our sisters in Houston during the November Invited gathering. We were thrilled to be on the other side of the screen with our feet planted in a place that our faithful Father and sisters invited us into. We ate, we worshipped, and we sat in His word together. My eyes are tearing up as I remember that sacred moment.

The second day we traveled to the Navajo Nation Reservation in Kayenta. The team brought us to Monument Valley, and my words cannot describe the beauty of what my eyes were able to behold that day. The history carved by nature: red cliffs and rugged canyons. There was a raw and barren beauty to it. That evening, Kayenta Baptist Church organized a Thanksgiving feast for us, and it was grand! The youth from the National Honor society served us, as they wore garments representing their tribe. It was an atmosphere of unrestrained joy.

On our last day, we visited Indian Bible College in Flagstaff, AZ. What a way to end our trip. We gathered with Native American women in pursuit of becoming all God wants them to be as a disciple of Christ.

I also had an opportunity to speak to young women. I prayed Isaiah 61:1-4 over them, and I delivered a spoken word piece to encourage them, which I want to share with each of you. I hope it is a blessing to you.
The Native American Women’s leadership team is committed to their native land.  Through prayer, they have been sowing His word deep into their soil, but also into the souls of the women in their community. It is an honor to run this race alongside our sisters as we accept His grace and share in his beautiful mercies.  

Will you join us and pray for these mighty women of valor and our partnership with them as they make Christ known where He has planted them? 

Many of you helped make that initial connection with them possible by sponsoring some of the Native American women to gather at Living Proof Live, so, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you! 

Living Proof is honored to serve alongside our sisters, and we rejoice in all that He is doing and will continue to do.
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Staff Features: Choosing Gratitude

Meet one of our staff members, Jenn! Today she’s sharing some practical ways she and her family practice gratitude during the often-chaotic holiday season. 

We’ve turned the corner to November and the holidays are upon us. Ready or not, here we go! Like many of you, I’ve started marking the calendar with all the family gatherings, digging out our favorite recipes, and even grabbing a Christmas gift or two from the Costco aisles. This is all on top of my normal responsibilities with work, school, church, and home. I don’t know about you, but joyLESSness can begin to creep in. Tasks and check lists take precedence. Joy can become no more than a cute word stitched on a pretty Christmas pillow and set neatly in Grandma’s heirloom chair…you know, the one that the kids aren’t allowed to sit in!

When I feel the holiday stress creeping up my neck, gratitude is not often my first response. And yet, the living Word of God tells us to, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Really? In ALL circumstances? Even when my kids are whining, I’m lacking sleep, and the bank account is running low?

So, how exactly do we “give thanks in all circumstances”? We’ve got to choose it. If you’re anything like me, my flesh will naturally gravitate toward complaining, so I must choose each day to cultivate thankfulness. Here are a couple of ideas to help us give thanks this season:

  • Prioritize daily time with Jesus from now until Christmas. We’ve got to have it! Let’s commit to do this together. It can be as simple as waking up 15 minutes earlier. Consider reading a Psalm each day in a different Bible translation. Then, grab a journal and record a few things that spur gratitude from the passage you read. Lifting our eyes to God’s unchanging character will bring thankfulness.
  • When you feel stressed, stop and ask the Holy Spirit to help you. I’m so thankful He is the Helper (John 14:26). He wants to help us but we need to ASK Him for it. I often start by repenting of my complaining heart. It’s difficult for thankfulness to overflow if I’m grumbling about my circumstances.
  • Begin to cultivate gratitude in your heart through worship (Psalm 28:7). Find a new worship album and sing it from the top of your lungs, even when you don’t feel like it. That’s actually the best time to worship because we declare with our lips the truth of who God is, and before you know it, our hearts begin to join in worship. If you have kids, sing with them in the midst of the crazy. I love to put on worship in the morning when we are getting ready for school/work. This helps set the tone of thanksgiving to our God.
  • Find a place to serve this season. If you don’t know where to serve, pray and ask God to open a door and then LOOK around…maybe you could adopt a family in need through your church or invite a widow over to dinner. There are so many opportunities to take our eyes off of our hard situations and serve someone else. For me, this simple step can grow thankfulness in my heart unlike anything else.  Recently, our family has been helping serve some teen refugees who are living in shelters. It’s been a great way to cultivate thankfulness in my own heart as we head into a season that emphasizes getting instead of giving.

Let’s commit to finish 2019 by choosing to be grateful in all circumstances. And know that I’m thankful for you, a community of friends who seek to do the same. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

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LPL Oklahoma City, OK Scholarships Tickets!

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Hey Oklahoma City! You are our last LPL stop for this year, and Beth and the Living Proof Live team are ecstatic to see you in just a few days! No two LPL events are exactly the same, so we can’t wait to see what God will do this weekend in your city.

Have you ever had the chance to see Beth live? If the answer is no, here’s what you might expect at a Living Proof Live event…

  • Hear a unique message specifically prepared for your city.
  • Worship with Dove Award-winning worship leader Travis Cottrell.
  • Laugh, pray, and study scripture with thousands of women from all walks of life.
  • Leave with a renewed sense of calling, purpose, and love for Christ.

Sound good? We have a handful of special scholarship tickets to share.  If you’re a first-time attender and you’d like to join us but can’t swing the cost, one of them has your name on it.  All you need to do is give Kimberly Meyer a call at our office and she will set you up: toll free 888-700-1999 (Not an 800 prefix.)

We love Jesus and His Word, and we want you to fall more in love with Him, too! For more information about this weekend in Cincinnati, visit LifeWay.com here. We’ll be so excited to worship with you. Come join us!

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LPL Woodstock Simulcast Scholarship Tickets

Simulcast is quickly approaching! It is this Saturday from 8:30a-3:15p CST in Woodstock, GA.

For those of you ladies in or near Woodstock, we have some scholarship tickets to share with some of you! We will be broadcasting live from First Baptist Church Woodstock, so this is an opportunity to join us in person.

These tickets have been set aside for those of you that would love to attend, but currently either don’t have the finances to do so, or you’ve never had the chance to hear Beth teach in person. We’d love nothing more than to give you a way to be with us at no cost to you. If either of these situations fit you, please call our office toll free at 1.888.700.1999 during regular business hours (8:30 – 4:30 CST) and ask for Kimberly Meyer. If you happen to reach us while we’re at lunch, leave a message and Kimberly will get back to you.

We would be so honored if you would join us in praying for this weekend as well. A call to pray for every single life impacted and for a one hundred-fold harvest! Y’all are simply the best. See you Saturday on the other side of that screen!

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LPL Austin, TX Scholarship Tickets

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Ecstatic to serve in my own home state this weekend! Yippie-yi-yay, Austin, Texas LPL! We would love to have you join us! Website for tickets on the second graphic. I would so appreciate your prayers for this weekend! I deeply want Jesus to be extravagantly present, powerful and transforming. I’m asking for this to be a significant weekend for every person who attends. No exceptions. Also pray for me not to feel extra pressure and stress over the privilege of having so many loved ones there this weekend. That I would be free from the need for approval and that I’d be filled to capacity and overflowing with His Spirit and they would be as well. That the Scriptures would mesmerize us, inform us, embolden us and direct us to our next steps on this journey of faith. Thank you!!!!

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Friends, we have a handful of special scholarship tickets to share for this Living Proof Live! If you’re a first-time attender and you’d like to join us but can’t swing the cost, one of them has your name on it.  All you need to do is give Kimberly Meyer a call at our office and she will set you up: toll free 888-700-1999 (Not an 800 prefix.)

Here’s what you might expect at a Living Proof Live event…

  • Hear a unique message specifically prepared for your city.
  • Worship with Dove Award-winning worship leader Travis Cottrell.
  • Laugh, pray, and study scripture with thousands of women from all walks of life.
  • Leave with a renewed sense of calling, purpose, and love for Christ.

Austin, we can’t wait to bring LPL to you! For more information about this weekend, visit LifeWay.com here. We’ll be so excited to worship with you. Come join us!

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The Luke Challenge Takeaways

As promised, here’s your space to share any brief takeaways or reflections if you took the Luke Challenge! Share even if you were not able to get it all done in 30 days and it’s months from the time you started! This is about increasingly knowing “This Jesus,” not about following rules. Someone suggested, and I think it’s a great idea, that you not look ahead and see what other people wrote as their takeaways before you write your comment. Just write your own. Don’t feel under pressure to match what someone else has said. Some people are wordier here than others and some more flowery. That doesn’t mean they got more out of it. Some of you are suffering so deeply that simply reading it and writing down three or four words is a huge act of faith. This is about you and your own journey with Jesus through Luke’s Gospel. No competition or comparisons allowed.

Let me know if you are going on to Acts! No pressure there either! Many of you are starting other Bible studies soon and will be devoting your time to those. We love serving you here at Living Proof so much. You are tremendously loved by Christ who calls you.

Love, Beth

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