Wednesday

Grandparents Unite in Prayer on Grandparents Day - A Guest Post

Today I'd like to welcome Lillian Penner, an avid grandparent and Co-Prayer Coordinator for Christian Grandparenting Network. She has a valuable message for those of us who have children or grandchildren. Would you give her a warm Hungry for God welcome by leaving a comment below?

Grandparents’ Day was designated by a Senate proclamation signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978 to be observed the second Sunday in September. 


The mission of Christian Grandparenting Network is to promote effective grandparenting, with the aim of helping our grandchildren  know and follow Christ wholeheartedly. 

This is why Christian Grandparenting Network is asking grandparents all over the world to join in prayer for their grandchildren and the parents of their grandchildren on, Sunday, September 8, making it a Grandparents’ Day of Prayer. 

It's a global reality that truth is under attack like never before in our schools, our political arenas, the marketplace, and even in our churches. Christianity is under assault, and parents and grandparents find themselves involved in a tug of war for the hearts and minds of their children. 


It's not easy for our grandchildren to navigate in a world hostile to truth in this post-Christian culture. Satan is relentless in his aggressive attack to desensitize our children to truth and righteousness. The enemy wants to disintegrate and divide our families, rendering them chaotic, restless, and unfruitful. 

Let’s not let the enemies distract us or dull our desires to pray for our grandchildren and their parents intentionally. We're in a spiritual battle requiring spiritual weapons. Prayer is our best weapon to defeat the enemy. 

I believe it’s our place as grandparents to get on our knees, humble ourselves, seek God’s face, repent of our sin, and intercede for our nations, our children, and grandchildren. Then having done all, we stand firm in our faith that God has heard and will answer our prayers according to His will. "Do not be afraid or discouraged . . . . For the battle is not yours but Gods." II Chronicles 20:15 

Our grandchildren and their parents not only need our support, they also need our earnest prayers. They need our united prayer, a good, unified prayer for our hope and dreams for the next generation to be realized. 

Jesus declared, “Again I say to you, that if two believers on earth agree [that is, are of one mind, in harmony] about anything that they ask [within the will of God], it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in My name [meeting as My followers], I am there among them” (Matt. 18:19-20). 

We believe praying grandparents can win the battle for the hearts and minds of our precious grandchildren and their parents. Many years ago, when the Israelites’ lives were threatened physically, Esther stood in the gap for her people. Today, grandparents can stand in the gap for their grandchildren and their parents as their spiritual lives are threatened. 

Over the last eight years, many grandparents throughout the world have been uniting in prayer on Grandparents’ Day of Prayer. Christian Grandparenting Network would like to invite all praying grandparents to join us again to come before God’s throne of grace, to obtain mercy and find grace in our time of need for our grandchildren and their parents. 

Our grandchildren are back in school so lets make September a month of intentional prayer for our grandchildren, their teachers, and other adult influences, as well as throughout the year. In the past, united prayer has always bridged the gap between a great need and a great awakening! 

We hope thousands of churches and groups around the world will participate in this intentional day of prayer on behalf of the next generation. You could hold an event in your church, in your home, in a retirement complex, or any meeting location of your choice.You may want to host a prayer breakfast or a luncheon following your morning worship. Or you may want to offer an afternoon tea or evening dessert in your home. 

Perhaps your minister is willing to address the importance of praying grandparents and set aside a particular prayer time during the worship service. The possibilities are endless. It is imperative; no matter the format, that grandparents gather to pray for their grandchildren. 

 CGN is happy to provide step-by-step guidelines, resources, and online tools to help you create a successful event that will engage grandparents in prayer. 

The Christian Grandparents Network recognizes the desperate moral and spiritual climate our grandchildren and their parents face today. Our grandchildren face an aggressive attack in media, education, and social influence that is meant to desensitize and destroy their faith in Christ. 

I'm a parent of five children and know the urgency of grandparents praying for my children. I highly recommend you participate in the Grandparents’ Day of Prayer. We're looking for grandparents who believe in the power of prayer to participate in this event. 

Will you help us call grandparents to join in prayer on September 8th? 

To learn more and indicate participation in the movement, or organize a time of prayer for grandparents go to our website HERE You'll see endorsements, testimonials, promotional materials, and free downloads. 

 For additional information, contact Grandparents’ Day of Prayer Coordinator Lillian Penner, at lpenner@christiangrandparenting.net.


Lillian Penner is the author of Grandparenting with a Purpose: Effective Ways to Pray for Your Grandchildren and is Co-Prayer Coordinator for Christian Grandparenting Network. An avid blogger, Lillian will break into smiles if you ask about her twelve grandchildren and four great-granddaughters. She and her husband, John, live in Portland, Oregon, where they are active in church ministries.



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Sunday

Chasing Squirrels -- A Tribute to Friendship


Every time I look at this photograph*, I smile, because it reminds me of some very special people. 

This picture reminds me of my friend Jean. She and I are hunting the squirrel of publication together. We’ve can see it, far above our heads. It’s close enough to smell, and we’ve made a pact. If it makes a move in her direction, I’ll do everything I can to chase it her way. If it runs toward me, she’ll do the same. Either way, this critter's not getting away. 

This picture also reminds me of my friend Charlotte. She and I stood together at the foot of the tree of higher education and watched our baby girls begin to climb. We challenged each other to pray for them every day. From our commitment, a mom’s prayer group was born. We’re still meeting, eight years later, to pray for God to work in our adult children’s lives. 

This picture reminds me of my husband, David. Total opposites, but partners for life, we work, play, and pray together. Notice the wagging tails. He makes sure I don’t forget to play. Notice the focused gazes. I make sure he doesn’t forget to work. With him, life’s chase is so much work and so much fun, all at the same time. 

This picture reminds me of my friend Maryann. Together we’ve bumbled our way through homeschooling, child rearing, and now grandparenting. She has the great ideas. I figure out how to make them work. Together we’re a strike force. Apart, well, let’s just say we struggle. She’s also a lightning rod for bizarre events and dramatic answers to prayer. If this picture was a true representation of Maryann’s propensity to attract the unexpected, the next frame would show an armadillo, not a squirrel, dropping out of the tree. 

This picture reminds me of my friend Mandy. When she and I partner up, I know the plan will be strategic and well-executed. She’s committed to excellence and integrity. And I know that if we have to pray that varmint out of the tree, she’ll be ready, day or night. 

This picture reminds me of my friend Heather. If there were speech bubbles above the dog’s heads, hers would say, “We can do this. God will help us. We thought it was a squirrel, and it turned out to be a cheetah, but with God on our side, we’ve got this.” 

Proverbs 27:9 (MSG) says, “A sweet friendship refreshes the soul,” and it is true. 

If you have a friend who is a gift from God, why not call her or send her a message today? Let her know how much she means to you and how thankful you are that she’s your buddy. Then plan the next adventure. 

Together. 

I'd love to hear about your special friend. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you're reading by email, click HERE to visit Hungry for God online and leave a comment. 

*A special thanks to my friend, Joanne, who shared the lovely picture of her dogs, Gavin and Sasha, that inspired this post.  



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Wednesday

When You Don't Have Time to Pray


“I don’t have time to pray today.” 

Yep, I said this. Out loud. 

Once a month I meet with other women to pray for our adult children. We’ve been gathering for seven years. Today was the day. 

But this morning, I didn’t have time to pray. 

As I looked at the week ahead, I realized today was my only “free” day to get some work done in light of the commitments that filled my calendar. 

My editor was expecting me to complete the edits on my new book. 

I had blog posts to write. 

I had promised to babysit my three grandchildren so my 8-month pregnant daughter could go to the doctor. 

My mom needed a ride to a procedure. 

I had to finish preparing for a big speaking presentation. 

I had to work several days outside the home. 

And I had to study for this week’s Sunday School lesson. And these were just the headliners. Smooshed in among these biggies were a multitude of other responsibilities like house cleaning, answering emails, washing clothes, and fixing meals. 

So I really, really didn’t have time to pray today. 

As I prepared to send a text message explaining my predicament and gracefully bowing out, the Holy Spirit whispered into my heart. 

You don’t have time NOT to pray today. 

Your editor is expecting you to complete the edits on your new book. 

You have a blog post to write. 

You have three grandchildren who need your care. 

You have a daughter who’s eight-months pregnant. 

Your mom is having a medical procedure done. 

You have to prepare for a big speaking presentation. 

You have to work outside the home. 

And you have to study for this week’s Sunday School lesson. 

Not to mention, the Holy Spirit pointed out, you have a house to clean, emails to answer, clothes to wash, and meals to fix. How can you do all this without my help? 

You’re absolutely right, I said. I don’t have time NOT to pray today. 

Nineteenth-century preacher C.H. Spurgeon, in his sermon, “Degrees of Power Attending the Gospel,” referred to Protestant reformer Martin Luther’s habit of rising early and praying for three hours a day on his busiest days. 

“I Like that saying of Martin Luther, when he says, ‘I have so much business to do to-day, that I shall not be able to get through it with less than three hours' prayer.’ Now, most people would say, "I have so much business to do to-day, that I have only three minutes for prayer; I cannot afford the time. 

“But Luther thought that the more he had to do, the more he must pray, or else he could not get through it. That is a blessed kind of logic: may we understand it! ‘Praying and provender hinder no man's journey.’ If we have to stop and pray, it is no more hindrance than when the rider has to stop at the farrier's to have his horse's shoe fastened; for if he went on without attending to that it may be that ere long he would come to a stop of a far more serious kind.”* 

Father, I prayed, forgive me for thinking my work is more important than your work. For exalting my efforts over your efforts, and my ways over your ways. Thank you for reminding me, as Dr. Jerry Falwell Sr. used to say, that nothing of eternal significance ever happens apart from prayer. Hear my prayers today, work according to your will, and multiply the time left over so I can accomplish everything you have ordained for me to do. In the mighty name of Jesus I pray, Amen. 

With my mind set right and my heart corrected, I drove across town to pray with my sisters in Christ. As we shared how God had been at work in our adult children’s lives in the past month, my faith grew. We bowed our heads and invited God to work exceedingly, abundantly, above all we could ever ask or imagine. Then we promised to give Him all the glory, honor, and praise. 

Two hours later I received a phone call from one of the mothers in our group sharing how God had answered the exact prayer we had just prayed on behalf of her daughter. 

Today, I didn’t get everything done on my To Do list, but that’s okay. I did the most important thing. 

Scripture testifies that Jesus was one of the busiest people on earth, yet he began every day with prayer (Mark 1:35). Early in the morning. While it was still dark. Despite the demands of life and ministry. He never fell into the trap of thinking he didn’t have time to pray.

The result? He was able to say, “I always do those things that please Him.” 

Isn’t this our desire too? 

Perhaps we should begin by realizing, 

We don’t have time NOT to pray today.

Now it's your turn. What is your greatest challenge to spending consistent time in prayer? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you're reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online and leave a comment.

* http://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2009/07/luther-i-have-so-much-to-do-that-i.html



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Sunday

Sad or Satiated? Hope When This World Gets You Down

Think about the last time you were hungry. Not just hungry around the edges. Not, Is that my stomach gurgling? Maybe I should eat something hungry, but really hungry.

Really, really hungry. Like, my hands are shaky, my head hurts, I think I might faint, and my stomach feels like I’ve swallowed a piranha and it’s gnawing its way out hungry.

In God’s mercy, hunger like this has never been a regular part of my life. But there have been times when I’ve been so distracted by the ache of my empty stomach that I could think of nothing else. Genuine hunger is all consuming.

 As Christians, we experience a different type of hunger. This hunger manifests itself in different ways.

It’s the ache in our souls when we see those we love running from Jesus straight into the arms of Satan.

It’s the knife blade to our hearts when we see our beloved country signing legislation dooming tiny babies to death in their mother’s wombs.

It’s the howling hole in our being that weeps over those following the siren song of materialism, success, and power instead of sacrifice, service, and humility.

It’s the red-hot pulse of anger as we watch loved ones battle cancer and children die of disease.

It’s the feeble whimper that longs for mercy, grace, and kindness in a world of anger, vengeance, and cruelty.

C.S. Lewis, in Mere Christianity explained it this way:

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Jeremiah 31:25 describes a dream the prophet had of days to come. God said, “For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul."

Satiated the weary soul.

The word satiate (SAY-she-ate) means to fill to the top, to satisfy with abundance. Referring to liquid, it means to drink to the full. 


When we’re satiated, we have no room for anything else. Not an ounce, a drop, or a smidgen. Think Thanksgiving-dinner-until-you-almost-burst kind of full. 

This is how God promises to satisfy our weary souls—filled to the top with His goodness and joy and no room for anything else. No sorrow. No tears. No longing. No fears. No hurt. No anger. No regrets. 

We’ll no longer grieve for prodigal children or weep over aborted babies. Anger will no longer consume us because of disease and death. We will cease to mourn our country’s moral failures and its departure from all that is good. 

God will satiate our weary souls and make everything right again. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus. 

If your soul is weary, and your heart hurting, take comfort in this today.



Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
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Wednesday

How to Pray Over Your Kids without Losing Sleep

Today I'm delighted to welcome my friend Sue Schlesman to Hungry for God. Sue and I roomed together one year at the Asheville Christian Writers conference. As is always the case when I share living quarters with someone I've never met before, I felt a little anxious. 

But I shouldn't have feared. The friend who connected us knew us well. Sue and I quickly discovered many points of commonality -- we're both pastor's wives and mothers of young adults. We passionately love God and the Word. We've shared a parallel journey exploring the mysteries and magnificence of prayer. I know you'll enjoy Sue's tips on how to pray for your children. If her words bless you, leave her a sweet comment to encourage her.

How to Pray Over Your Children without Losing Sleep

Ha! Tricked you. 

When you're freaking about kids' heartaches, you will lose sleep. When you're worried about their choices or their self-esteem, you will lose sleep. If you struggle over what to say, how much to say, when to say nothing (that's the hardest)--you will lose sleep. 

But you can still pray. In fact, sometimes it's the only thing you can do. It's one of the few good reasons to be tired.

I've been waiting for the age when I won't lie awake in the middle of the night thinking through all my kids' relationships, schooling, career struggles, spiritual growth, and developing habits without having anxiety. I think the answer is never. 

Yeah, I know all about Ambien and Lunesta and Sleepy-Time tea. (Although I love Melatonin.) They may work for you. Not so much for me. 

I'm talking about more than knocking myself out for a nice 7 hours every night. I'm talking about seeing my kids' lives from 30,000 feet and wishing they could have the same vantage point. 

And I'll be honest--I'd like to sleep, too. But I've found that my best prayers are often at night. I made it a practice years ago that if I couldn't sleep, I would start praying. I'd get in some good convo with God, and then I'd get sleepy and conk out. 

That's a win/win for me, since I need to do both. 

In fact, I lost so much sleep worrying and praying that I wrote a book about how to pray from a place of worship. It’s called Soul Speak, Praying Change into Unexpected Places, and is available on pre-order right now, for release on August 30. You can order it here


If you're having trouble knowing how to pray for your kids, here are a couple of quick suggestions for Scriptural prayers: 

1. Pray something out of the Bible. When praying for your kids, try turning these passages into prayers: Deuteronomy 6:1-9, Joshua 1:5-9, Psalm 1, Psalm 119, Psalm 139, Proverbs 31, Colossians 1:3-14, Matthew 5:3-16, or Romans 12. (Really, all the Psalms are great prayers!) 

2. Write your prayers in a journal. 

3. Write letters or texts to your kids and pray in the letter. 

4. Pray with them, over them, and next to them while they're sleeping. 

5. Let them know you're praying for them, especially whenever they pop into your mind. That's the Holy Spirit telling you to pray for them! 

I have another blog, 7prayersthatwork.com, which has a lot of prayers for parents. 

Happy praying and happy sleeping! 

Mark Batterson, in Praying Circles Around Your Children said: “You'll never be a perfect parent, but you can be a praying parent.” 

And, “One of the greatest responsibilities of parenthood is praying for your kids, but an even greater responsibility is teaching your kids to pray. Don't just pray for them; pray with them.” 

I'd love to hear how and when you pray for your children. 

Sue Schlesman is a Christian author, blogger, teacher, and speaker from Richmond, VA. She writes about life, education, family, and Jesus at www.susanwalleyschlesman.com. Her new book, Soul Speak, Praying Change into Unexpected Places, is on sale for HALF PRICE through August 30 and available for preorder now.
 




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.
Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.

Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.