Prayer

 

Me: Prodigal, that was a beautiful prayer.

Prodigal:  Praise God!

Me:  Let me add a prayer.

 

This is from the book  Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado

 

My blessed Savior and Lord, I praise you for freely giving me the Bread of Life.  You replaced my darkness with your light, my fear with your security, and my despair with your hope.  Remind me every day, Father, that the Bread of life I have in Jesus comes to me by your grace and through your love–and that it delights your generous heart when I tell others where they can find and partake.  Make me into an eager ambassador of Jesus Christ.  Turn my fear into boldness so that heaven’s streets may be filled with men and women who love the Savior, in part because they first heard of his grace and mercy from my lips.   In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

 

Trust ye in the Lord forever:  for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.

Isaiah 26:4

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Embassy Miracle

 

Prodigal:  It is so nice here.

Me: The perfect place with no one around.

Prodigal:  Let us just enjoy ourselves for the moment.

 

This is from the book Chicken Soup for the Soul:  Angels and Miracles by Amy Newmark

 

We were crazy to think we could pull it off again.  We had adopted our first child from Romania a few years before, but now the doors were closed.  The U.S. State Department warned us not to try, saying they would deny our child’s visa.  Without that we couldn’t bring a child home.

Even though our Romanian lawyer identified a child for us, we felt conflicted over what to do.  We desperately wanted this beautiful child, but we wondered if we could pull it off when government officials were telling us to stay home.  We were tormented by thoughts of her crying in the orphanage without anyone to hold her and love her.  We thought about her not having food, clothes, or toys.  We remembered what we had seen when we adopted our first child.  We already felt like this new little girl, Andrea, was ours, and we had to rescue her.

I began praying to God to send an angel to safeguard Andrea until we could get her out of the deplorable orphanage.  Our Romanian attorney sent us a photograph of her lying in a chipped white metal crib;  I kissed it every time I walked by the refrigerator where it was displayed.  Looking at this picture and constantly thinking about her made us determined to get her.  With heavy hearts we packed our bags and flew halfway around the world to try to bring Andrea home.

The first time I saw her I ached.  I could see the fear in her tiny emaciated face as she silently and helplessly in the attorney’s office.  At ten months, she only weighed ten pounds!  The effects of orphanage life were apparent and I couldn’t wait to get her home and introduce her to Juliana, her sister.

Miraculously, when we first saw her, she was clutching a little stuffed dog with spots, the exact one that Juliana had insisted we send to her little sister “Annie” months before we ever knew about this new little girl, Andrea.  Somehow, Juliana’s gift for her wished-for sister had made it to the exact baby we hoped to bring home.

The moment our attorney gave us the necessary documents, we hurried to the U.S. Embassy to apply for Andrea’s visa.  Behind the counter of the consular section was a pleasant looking man who smiled when we approached him.  I prayed again, asking God for a miracle at the Embassy.

The memories of Juliana’s adoption haunted me.  In 1991, dozens of prospective adoptive parents had their children’s visas denied for minor technicalities.  Everything hinged on this appointment.  If Andrea’s visa was denied, we couldn’t bring her home and that would break my heart.

I nervously shuffled through the documents.  I managed a weak smile.  “Everything’s in order, ” I began.  “We have met all of the requirements,”  I said, nodding more to convince myself than him.

He examined each form and glanced at Andrea held tightly in my arms.  “I don’t see the agency paperwork.  Where is that?”

I swallowed hard.  “We didn’t use an agency.”

“Oh,” he said, looking grim.  “No agency?”

“No,” we both said quietly.

“Now that’s interesting.” he murmured.

I reached across the counter and fanned the documents before him.  “The law requires each of these certificates, which we have provided.”

He shook his head, “Yes, you have.”  He fingered through them, methodically and nodded.  He marked each one with an official purple stamp, and sealed them in a large brown envelope.  “Here you go,” he said.  “Have a safe journey home.”

Pat nervously took the package from him.  “Thank you, Mr. Smith.”

He nodded politely, accepted our thanks and watched us leave.

Pat and I held hands as we exited through the security gate past the U.S. Marine who faithfully manned his post.  When we stepped outside, the bright sunshine warmed us.  “That was too easy,” I whispered.

Pat’s forehead wrinkled as he squinted in thought.  “I agree.”  Pat examined the envelope.  “I know I’m not dreaming because I’m holding it.”  He leaned into me and kissed me.  “Let’s go home.”

“Yes,”  I said holding Andrea a little tighter.  I missed Juliana terribly and couldn’t wait to introduce her to her new sister.  We headed for the Swiss Air office and got seats on the next available flight.

“Let’s go back and thank him again on our way home tomorrow,”  I urged.  “We’ll be near the Embassy.  It’s on our way.”

Patrick nodded. “Okay.  Mr. Smith made it incredibly easy for us.  We really should tell him how much we appreciated his kindness.”

I pointed to his signature on the packet reading his name, “Mr. John Smith.”

The following day we entered the Embassy with our plane tickets in hand.  A woman behind the counter greeted us.  “May I help you?”  she asked.

“Yes, we would like to see Mr. John Smith,”  I said smiling.

“Oh, I’m sorry,”  she began, “he’s been on vacation all month and isn’t scheduled to return until next week.”

My smile faded.  “He wasn’t here yesterday?”

“No,” she said.  “I’m afraid not.”

“You’re sure.  He wasn’t here yesterday?”

She cinched her lips tightly.  “I’m sorry.”  She checked a log, scanning the pages with her fingers.  “No,” she muttered.  “Everyone who enters the Embassy is required to sign in.  You can check for yourself if you’d like.”

I scanned it and couldn’t see anything that resembled the signature I had on Andrea’s visa.

“You can leave a message for him.  I’ll make sure he gets it when he returns.”

“No,”  I said.  I bit my lip as my mind raced.  “Thank you anyway.”

Patrick and I walked to the end of the street.  “What just happened in there?”

“I don’t know.”  He sighed deeply.  “If I didn’t know better I’d say I was dreaming, or just stepped into the twilight zone.”  Pat rubbed his temples.  “It took forever to get Juliana’s visa.”

“There really isn’t an explanation, unless….”

“Unless what?”

“I think we met an angel.”  I mumbled.

–Barbara S. Canale

 

 

But as it is written, To whom he has not spoken of, they shall see:  and they that have not heard shall understand.

Romans 15:21

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

I’m Telling You the Truth

Prodigal:  Are you going tonight?

Me:  We done plowed this furrow clean down to the bedrock, and it’s time to rest the mule.  I can’t make it tonight.

Prodigal:  Then tell me about something you just read.

Me:  I can do that!

This is from the book Drawing Near by John Bevere

Jesus says it is better for them that He goes away.  Now you can understand why He had to preface this statement with, “Guys, I’m telling you the truth.”  In the time He had been with them He had taught them the most profound things of the kingdom anyone had ever heard.  He healed their sick, raised their dead, cast out tormenting spirits, paid their bills and taxes, and this was only the beginning.  Yet now He is saying it is best for you that I leave!  Why?  His answer is if He left He would send us the Helper.

Think of it, if Jesus remained on earth and we wanted to fellowship or ask Him questions, we would have to catch a plane to Tel Aviv, rent a car, drive out to the countryside of Galilee, and then find Him.  This wouldn’t be too difficult because there would be thousands around Him.  However, you would have to wait for all the thousands who were there before you to leave, before you could make your way to the middle where He was.  

However, the beauty of the Holy Spirit residing inside of us is that He doesn’t have to sleep.  You can speak with Him any time of the day or night, and don’t have to wait for others to finish.  You have His complete and undivided attention at all times.

What a gift the Lord has given us!  We need help, so why don’t we pray?  The Lord will direct us when we are alone, and quiet with Him.  He may only give us the next step, but that is all we need right now.

All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full;  unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.

Ecclesiastes 1:7

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Me: Sometimes we miss our love ones around the holidays.

Prodigal: Yes, but God can still bring joy during those times.

Thank you for watching the video.

Click here to watch.

Proverbs 3:27

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

The Source Was God

Prodigal:  Let’s pray for our food before we eat.

Me:  Yes, we are thankful to have food today.

Prodigal:  Thank you Lord for all you give us everyday!

This is from the book   Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan

Another afternoon, I sat grimly sulking on our sofa in Eufaula. Gisela was busy in the kitchen, avoiding my eyes.  She said nothing, but both of us knew their wasn’t any food in the house.

“So,” said a coy voice from the enemy,”  this is how you and your God provide for the family, eh?”  UP until that moment, I don’t think I had ever felt such helplessness.  Here we were, in the middle of Oklahoma.  Even if I had wanted to ask someone for help, I didn’t know where to turn.  Things had gotten so low I had offered to get a job, but Gisela was the one who refused.  She was terrified that I would get into the world of business and not have time to work for the national brethren.  For her there was no choice.  It was to wait on the Lord.  He would provide.

As the demonic voice continued to taunt me, I just sat still under the abuse.  I had used my last bit of faith, declaring a positive confession and praising God.  Now I sat numb.

A knock came at the door.  Gisela went to answer it.  I was in no mood to meet anyone.  Someone brought two boxes of groceries to our doorstep.  These friends had no way of knowing our need–but we knew the source was God.

But the Lord shall endure forever:  he hath prepared his throne for judgment.

Psalm 9:7

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Gospel Truth

Me: That is an old head stone.

Prodigal: Yes, from 1784

Me: People died then, and people will continue to die, but I hope they know the Lord.

I was listening to a sermon on you tube this weekend. This sermon was amazing! There was a focus on Jesus. There was passion from the Holy Spirit, and there was truth of scripture. I was enjoying the deep slow voice ,and the different points that were being made. The sermon was like a good recipe. It had a mixture of several points, and maybe a couple of them that surprised you in the mix.

The time flew by as I was listening, and I heard an amen escape from my mouth several times during that hour. I was laughing, I was convicted and I was worshiping all in one sermon. There was joy in my heart, and praise on my lips. This man knew the Lord, and knew how to tell me about the Lord.

He said one comment though that hit me in my spirit. He told people how he appreciated them praying from Him, but at the end of the day He depended only on himself to pray, and not others.

I think growing up in church the one of the classic statements that you hear is I will pray for you. I am praying for you. How can I pray for you. These are great statements, and great ways to help others. Let’s look at it from a different angle.

We can have people clean our house, cook food for us, drive us to the store. We can even have people pay our bills, make phone calls for us, and visit with us. One thing though is if you don’t pray yourself, how do you know the Lord our savior? If only other people are praying for you, where is the connection?

Praying yourself helps develop a routine of communicating with the Lord. Think about it. There are times, and days you may call friends or family. Even if it is not a set time, you may get an idea that it has been a long time since you heard from someone so you may reach out. This constant communication is what helps develop that friendship. This reaching out lets them know you care.

If someone reaches out for you to contact your family, and friends, then they may receive the message or maybe they don’t. Even if they get all the words right that you wanted to communicate, is the emotion behind the message correct? I have noticed also that when someone is using a third party to try to communicate with me, the intimacy is loss. That person did not come to me. There is not one on one with them. These aspects can also happen from our end with God. If there is never one on one prayer, do you feel intimacy with God even though your grandmother prays hours for you everyday?

God never attended for their to be a lack of intimacy in relationship, he wants more of it. God really would like to hear from us personally. He does not want an update from your parents are friends about your day. God wants to personally hear your emotions, your voice, and how you approach Him with your life. He doesn’t want a third party as a go between that may ,or may not deliver the message that was intended. Going to God daily is a way that a relationship is grown, and developed over time. It is a way to understand each other.

How about consistency? How often are you going to pray for yourself. How often will others. I am on my mind daily, and daily I want guidance. So daily I go to the Lord about myself. Honestly sometimes I am only praying weekly for others, or if they are in front of me. I am way more selfish , and needy then that. Sometimes I need prayer for months over the same issue every day. My days involve me struggling, and times of being tempted.

At times I am in a period of growth and understanding more about the bible and prayer. Sometimes my trial is lasting for months, and years, and I need prayer of encouragement to help me through. Often others understand you need prayer, but to them the time available is only once a week, and you need prayer every hour. We can pray for ourselves every minute if needed.

Then there is a person’s heart. I have had some people tell me they were praying for me, and I am pretty sure they were praying for me to go away. There was unforgiveness ,and anger in their heart toward me. Even if someone’s heart is not full of anger toward me, some people will pray their agenda’s over you. My life is surrendered to the Lord. I want God’s will to be done, and not my will.

People have good intentions, but often they look at your life through their eyes. They don’t see your past, and future. They may have only seen you for the past five years. Sometimes people know you for a year, and think that you should following everything they say. At times we are all confused and may pray a certain outcome, or certain specific goal.

Sometimes God will say to you My way if not your way, my thoughts are not your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9) The Lord may do things differently , and ones who pray for us may not understand this. With prayers that are agenda focused away from God’s will, this can confuse us, and distract us. This is not encouraging a brother or sister, but instead just encouraging a distraction from truly seeking God’s will in everything.

One concerned that is not often brought up is the fact that if you are in sin that has continued, and you have not repented then your prayers may not be heard. Isaiah 59:2 states that “your iniquities have made a separation between you, and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.

At times people think their prayers are not answered because they are not a pastor, or God does not love them that much. The real answer is repentance of sins has not been asked from God. So the sin is blocking the prayers. As believers we can all develop times, and areas in our lives that are blind spots. We operate as usually, and are not realizing that unrepentant sin is carving a rut in our lives. It is done so slowly that it can take years to understand how this sin has slowly been decreasing our relationship with the Lord. If we are asking this person to pray for us then, our prayers were never heard. There unrepentance has blocked the relationships, and prayers there were uttered with their voice.

They may appear in obedience because they never miss a Sunday at church, but there heart is far from God. Jesus taught about this in Matthew 15:8,9 when states “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. In verse 9 Jesus continues to add “They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.”

With something as life giving, important, encouraging, relationship building as prayer, who do we rely on for this? Do I put all this in my own hands? Do you put this in hands of a person who may, or may not be able to handle in the way God would like it to be handled?

For me, I would like to say thank you for praying for me. Today though I need to make sure I build that relationship myself. Just me, and God. No third parties. No messages that may be what I said, or not. Just me, and God.

But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.

PSALM 69 : 13

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Swine

 

Me:  How are your pig friends?

Prodigal:  They are good.

Me:  I hope they are the good kind and not the bad kind.

Prodigal:  You should tell me more.

 

This is from the book  In the Middle of the Mess by Sheila Walsh

 

There is freedom in confessing out loud to a trusted sister who will love you and pray for you and hold you accountable to the life you want to live.  But I urge you to be wise.  Be careful whom you choose to share your story with and confess your sins to.  Jesus said, “Don’t throw your pearls to pigs!  They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you”  (Matthew 7:6).  In other words, don’t take what’s holy and sacred to you and give it those who may use it against you.  That’s why I urge you to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to the right women.  When you find those safe sisters, you’ve found the place to continue to be saved,  to be the authentic you.  It won’t always be easy, but it will always be worth it.

 

 

And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind.

Numbers 16:28

 

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

 

 

Women Lovin’ Jesus

Me: What a beautiful tree!

Prodigal: Yes, we need to stop and admire the beauty.

It is time for another video.

click here to watch

Thank you for watching!

Proverbs 3:25

Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that over takes the wicked.

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

What Beauty

Prodigal: It is so beautiful!

Me: The sky, flowers, water, and sand.

Yes, God has been working on me. We think we should get a break. We think that it is about time. We think isn’t this our vacation day. God ignores all those thoughts, and continues to focus on our growth.

I must be an endless chore that seems never to be complete. It is how the floors always need mopping, dishes in need of scrubbing, and clothes that need washing. One day it seems finished, but it doesn’t take long until your attention is back to the same chore you did yesterday, or two days ago.

Unlike chores at times, the Lord looks on me with love. He looks on me with compassion, and patience. I am not so much a chore but an act of love. I am precious, and cherished. So as the Lord my God sees me today, He is loving me, no matter where I am in my relationship with Him, or my growth.

Since God is with me, God is teaching me. He wants me to praise Him more. Sounds simple doesn’t it? But this test is not about praising Him because I got a paid vacation to Hawaii for a month. (I am still waiting on that test). No, He had me start by praising Him when I was complaining.

I had a list that night. I decided me, and God were going to have a heart to heart. I was going to be open, and communicate. I started going down my list. Then I waited for a response. What was God going to do with all of my list? He whispered, praise to my soul.

I sighed. I did not want to praise. I wanted everything to change. I started small. Thank you Lord for my life. Words flowed after that. Before several minutes, I had several praises. Then I noticed my mood had changed. I really was grateful for everything. I also remembered all the blessings that I have in my life.

Test number 2. Someone close to me hurt my feelings. This person has hurt my feelings several times. I was angry, I was weary, and I just cried. I sat on my bed crying out to the Lord. This person was just being so insensitive toward me. After crying my heart out, I prayed, and asked God what to do. I began reading and there in what I was reading talked about praising. There was that whisper to may soul again, praise.

I praised God for this person and then sent them a text praising them so that they could hear. Within 24 hours, the Lord had made sure that the hurt that was created would not continue, but was stopped. I praised God, and started remember all the blessings that God worked in my life.

Test 3

I was walking outside. I just stopped, and looked around. The first thing I noticed is that the temperature was perfect for me. I was not hot, and I was not cold. I could walk, and enjoy how the air felt around me. I did not have to shiver from a cold breeze, or did I have to run from the sun that caused me to sweat from the heat. I then looked up, and the sky was a solid blue. Not a dark blue and not a light blue. A solid blue with no white clouds at all. I was walking in a perfect day. I just praised God for allowing such pleasure from His conditions. A started to remember how blessed I was.

See after praising God in the first two tests. It naturally happened when life appeared good. When all was well. I think that is God’s point. If we don’t learn to praise God in the difficult times, we tend to forget Him in the good times. We forget to praise Him, because it is not on our mind. We forget we are blessed, because it is not on our mind. Trials and difficulties allow us to learn a spirit of praise that will continue with us rather it is a perfect day or a day of trials.

That is how God is trying to mature us. When we learn that spirit of praise, we have that joy. We are able to appreciate the love of God, we are able to see the good in every situation. Lord, I had been a poor student at times. I have been a slow student at times. Thank you Lord for not dropping me as a student, and for those test you gave me!

For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings.

Psalm 61:3-4

Jennifer Van Allen

www.theprodigalpig.com

www.faithincounseling.org

Isaiah 41:6

They helped every one of his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.