Prayers vs. Pandemic

Here are some great and easy YouTube videos to follow to assist you in praying for loved ones during the pandemic. DailyEffectivePrayer has many short and easy-to-follow prayers that you can use. They are usually about 4 minutes long each. These are just a few of the collection. Consider your own loved ones. Does one of these categories fit that loved one? Then click on the link below and just listen and follow along with the words.

At this time, I also like these 3 prayers. The first is Psalm 91, a protection prayer against pestilence that is the exact opposite number of COVID-19. According to some videos regarding Psalm 91, the words in Hebrew have many symbols over the tops of the letters. This is supposed to mean this is a very strong spiritual warfare prayer for your family. The second video is a short hedge of protection prayer. In the biblical story of Job, a special hedge of protection surrounded Job and kept him from harm. The third video is a longer prayer but talks about pleading the blood of the lamb over your family during the pandemic. It draws from the Passover story of the Israelites.

Choose Faith or Choose Fear

It’s a cold, cold night. The winter storm is coming. Tomorrow is supposed to be -35 degrees. I am warm inside the house. I let my dogs out for 5 minutes and then bring them back inside. They whimper because the ice is frigid. It hurts their paws.

The storm is coming.

I could worry about everything. Will my car start? Will I make it through the snow and ice? What about the storms at work? What if someone else gets Covid? What will we do? What about this? What about that?

What if…What if…What if…

2022 is not starting out well. We are stuck in a bad, bad approaching storm. Think about the economy, think about Covid, think about the supply chain shortages, think about this, think about that…..think about all the bad stuff on the news…….get all filled up with anxiety and fear. Get all angry and frustrated and all worked up.

Or…..

choose to stay calm. Choose faith. Not the crazy blinding stupid faith that totally ignores the potential dangers. No the kind of faith that informs the serenity prayer.

Lord, help us to accept the things we cannot change and give us the courage to know the difference between what we can and what we cannot do.

I went to Galilee when I was 21. It was a study abroad for a summer. We took a rickety old metal bus up to the Golan Heights for the day and then on the way back, we stopped at an outside cafe. We got the wild notion to swim in the Sea with our clothes on. I still remember the joy of that moment swimming in the Sea with friends.

It really wasn’t that big, the Sea of Galilee. You could see the other side….much like a big Missouri lake. I wondered then what the disciples were so afraid of when the storms tossed their boat around and the waves threatened to come over the sides. Why did they panic? Jesus was asleep in the boat and they came to him and asked him to save them. Now, I realize that they probably didn’t know how to swim. That would be scary for sure.

Anyway, he got up and told them to have faith and then he calmed the waters to ease their minds.

We’re all kinda stuck in a Galilee boat and we don’t know what to do and we’re worried that this dang disease is gonna drown us. But remember what JFK said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Fear causes anxiety and procrastination and arguing and in-fighting and endless stupid drama which only serves to compound our problems. It causes the blame game and finger pointing. People stop fixing things and looking for solutions. Instead, they just throw shade and throw each other under the bus in an attempt to save their own hide. Every man for himself like we’re on the Titanic and there’s only one lifeboat left.

Admit it. You’ve done this. I’ve done it too. But this time…

Relax. Stay calm. Stay the course.

We’ll get out of this.

The man who wrote the song Amazing Grace was once in a storm too off the coast of England. He tied himself to the boat and he asked for mercy. He came through the storm and gave up his profession of slave trading. He went on to become a prolific preacher and hymn writer and we still sing his songs to this day.

It’s getting colder and colder outside. I could sit here and worry myself to death about the endless possibilities of what could go wrong. Or I could sit here and write something encouraging.

I choose to write.

An Unexpectedly Good Read

I’m not good at going to church. I’m pretty lazy. Once a week though, I go to the little chapel near the church. The chapel is open 24-7 and the members of the chapel each devote one hour to prayer. They are each assigned a one-hour time slot equivalent to time spent in the Garden of Gethsemane to spend with God.

My time slot is 3 am to 4 am. It’s supposed to be the devil’s hour, or the exact opposite of the 3 pm time of death of Jesus. So I figure that is as good a time as any to try praying, although my prayers are admittedly probably not that great. I spend about 10 minutes in actual prayer before I run out of things to say, I do general petitions for folks (the homeless, the sick, the elderly, immigrants, etc.) 15 minutes doing a rosary, and then I get off my knees, sit in the chair and look around the little chapel. Generally, I got nothing to do for the rest of the hour so I wander to the back of the chapel to the little religious books library.

The library is full of all sorts of religious books. Many of them are kinda dry or boring. Some are convoluted and some are definitely too flowery for my tastes. But occasionally, I find a real diamond in the rough, a high quality read. I always close my eyes and let my fingers wander over the book tops in a sort of eenie-meanie-minie-mo fashion until they stop on one particular book. I figure maybe if I do it this way, God will lead me to something I need to read.

I pick up the book, take it to my chair, and once again I just close my eyes and let it fall open in my lap. Again, I superstitiously think well maybe, God will let it fall to the exact words I gotta hear. I know. It’s kinda silly. But who knows, maybe it works…

Today I picked up a book by David Jeremiah in the Billy Graham Library Selection Series. It was called Slaying the Giants in Your Life. Apparently, in the book, the giants the author speaks of are not physical giants like Goliath but the giants of anger, loneliness, discouragement, etc.

The giant that my hands opened to was the giant of failure. It was Chapter 11 called Facing Your Failure. It’s kinda something I needed to hear since some of my projects and work and stuff aren’t doing as well as I had hoped.

This book was so easy to read and cited a lot of great and fascinating people in their experiences with failure from Abraham Lincoln to Saint Peter to Charlie Brown to Michael Jordan. I really recommend the book from the chapter I read. Here is a small excerpt:

“The lanky, quiet boy never had much of a chance. He had to work from the age of seven, when his family joined the homeless. His mother died two years after that. As he grew to adulthood, the young man held a series of small jobs until his twenties, when he was fired as a store clerk. But the idea of operating a store appealed to him. At age 23, he took out a loan that would enable him to buy a small business. But the run of bad luck continued; his partner died 3 years later. Now the young man’s debt was more than doubled and it looked like he would spend years just repaying it. He fared no better in relationships. Approaching his 30s, he was a bachelor. He proposed to one young lady after 4 years of dating, but she turned him down. It was just another failure; he was used to that. Twice he ran for Congress and twice, he unsurprisingly lost. To put it kindly, his credentials were unimpressive. But at the age of 37, with more than half his life over, he was finally elected to an office – only to be subsequently voted out! He failed in 2 separate runs for the Senate. He failed in a Vice Presidential try. No one was more conscious of his legacy of failures. “I am now the most miserable man living,” he said. “Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell.” Some would say he didn’t know when to quit – and most of us are glad he didn’t. For at the age of 51, Abraham Lincoln became probably the greatest of all American Presidents.”

Another passage in the chapter, cites Michael Jordan, the famous basketball player:

“I’ve missed over 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I have been trusted to take the game-winning shot, and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life…………and that is how I succeed.”

In another paragraph, the author speaks of the best coaches in the history of sports:

“Anyone in the world of sports will tell you where the best coaches are found. They’re found on the benches. They are found among the players that were beaten out by the better athletes. A 3rd stringer can sit on the bench and dwell on his/her failure, or keep trying, keep hustling, and keep learning everything there is to know about the sport. That’s why the best coaches have often been the more obscure athletes in their youth. They fell down and they got back up.”

There’s a lot more material to that chapter and also to the entire book itself. It was a good read that I wanted to share with you. I really liked the chapter so much that I came home and took the time to write this brief review. Here is the book:

Amazing Grace

Do you know the story of the man behind the gospel song, Amazing Grace? He was a slave trader. His name was John Newton and he lived from 1725 to 1807. John Newton was a slaver, a captain of slave ships. But in 1748, he was on a ship off the coast of Donegal, Ireland. The ship was hit by a massive and terrifying storm. It was said that night, that John Newton experienced a Christian conversion when he prayed amidst the winds and rain and tossing of the ocean waves. He prayed for deliverance.

He later gave up the slave trade and became a vocal advocate for abolition in England. He became a very charismatic Anglican clergyman and produced many speeches and a book of hymns. Amazing Grace is one of his hymns.

Here is a really beautiful version of Amazing Grace by BYU Noteworthy:

At this time, when our world is facing the Coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to bring you some encouraging and hopeful songs as well as prayers you can use for your loved ones. Here are some great songs. I will include the prayers in my next post. Please enjoy these songs and I pray you and your loved ones are safe and well.

A Twist of Fate

I was having a really bad day.

I felt about as bad as Alexander….

It got pretty bad.

So I did something I don’t do enough. I talked to God and asked why he wasn’t helping me. I said, “This is too much, God. I just can’t carry this burden by myself. Could you please help me?”

It wasn’t much of a prayer but it was heartfelt, exhausted, and true. I’ll admit, I’m not much for religion anymore. I’ve seen my fair share of judgement from others and unkindness. It has left me quite bitter at times. But still, when push comes to shove and when my chips are down, I ask God for help.

I went back to work and it continued to be a terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad day. Plus it was raining.

But then something happened. I got to clock out and go home to my family. My husband informed me that some commissions from his sales would be coming in soon. Not much, but enough for us to cover Christmas presents for family in December. I also learned that my publishing company was almost done with my royalties report for the book Searching for Fire and they had direct deposited the amount owed from their website already. It made me feel better.

Next, I went to dinner with my husband and children and fortunately, through some good luck, we were put to the front of the line of folks waiting at the steakhouse. We had a nice meal and did a little Christmas shopping at Books A Million and Game Stop with the children and life seemed better.

Thank you, God for listening. Sorry I get frustrated and try to manage and control it all myself and then get overwhelmed and make a mess of things and end up begging for help again. Like a loyal friend, you come through time and time again. I so easily forget that I need to trust in you, God.

Anyways, I suppose I won’t move to Australia after all.