It’s Just You and Me Lord

by Marion Stroud

“ Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door I will come in and we will share a meal together as friends.”
Rev. 3:20 NIV

One of my favourite ways of spending an evening is to share a meal with old friends. What we eat and drink is not particularly important – it’s the conversation that matters. We look back and laugh about our youthful escapades. We talk about the issues that confront us now and wrestle with questions of faith and family. Nothing is off-limits. We challenge each other’s pre-suppositions and get fresh glimpses of truth through the eyes of a trusted companion.

Prayer, at its best is like sharing a meal with a loved and trusted friend, but I’d never thought of writing a book of prayers. My Christian tradition uses extempore prayer, and so I don’t usually turn to a book when I want to talk to God. All the other books I’d written had been intended to fill a gap in the market – women who are ‘lone worshippers’, relatives of people with cancer, gift books for those on the fringe of faith. So when a publisher asked me to write a book of prayers for women I hesitated.

Then I remembered the so-called ‘apron pocket prayers’ that Marjorie Holmes wrote in the 1970’s, and the way in which a woman’s grounded and realistic conversations with God had helped me. Those were the kind of prayers I wanted to write: prayers that were totally honest and touched on topics and problems that might seem too ‘every day, or even too ‘unspiritual’’ to bother God with. I had found my approach to the subject ‘

Stroud It's Just You and Me, Lord Cover

Some of the topics I have written about in Dear God It’s Me and It’s Urgent and It’s Just you and Me Lord spring from my own experience, but many are rooted in the pain and challenges faced by others. But all these conversations with God spring from life as we experience it in the 21st C. My goal is that as we honestly and openly share our joys our pain and our perplexity with Him, we come away from the encounter changed and strengthened.

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MARION STROUD lives in England, in the town where John Bunyan wrote his world-wide best seller, ‘Pilgrim’s Progress,’ He did this during his 12 years in prison for preaching, at a time when non-conformity was outlawed. She is the author of 3 children’s fiction titles and 22 adult non-fiction titles, including the Lion ‘Gift of’s …’ which were printed in 14 different languages and remained in print for 30 years.

Her most recent book of prayers for women It’s Just You and me Lord was published in the USA by Discovery House in October 2012 and is a special Spring promotion in Sam’s Club [part of Walmart] for Mother’s Day. To win a prize in her ‘Sam’s Club contest’ go to her Author page.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marion-Stroud-Author-Page/192719884193581

http://www.marionstroud.com

For a limited time, It’s Just You and Me Lord and Dear God It’s Me and It’s Urgent – Prayers for Every Season of a Woman’s Life are available from Discovery House Publishers at a 25% discount. Please use promotion code AUTH029 at the checkout.

http://www.dhp.org/Products/Its-Just-You-and-Me–Lord__UN187.aspx

http://www.dhp.org/Products/Dear-God–Its-Me-and-Its-Urgent-%e2%80%94-Prayers-for-Every-Season-of-a-Womans-Life__PA316.aspx

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Goodness and Mercy

by Shirley Corder

When our daughter, son-in-law and two little grandchildren left for a missionary destination half way across the world, our prayer life went up by 200%.

One day our daughter wrote to ask us to pray for a little boy. He had fractured his leg, and it had been wrongly set. Doctors were battling to save his leg. How we prayed. Not just for the little boy. We prayed our little ones would never break a limb. That none of them would ever get ill. Or have an accident.

Within a matter of weeks, my daughter was teaching a group of small children their alphabet. “Let’s look for things that begin with ‘B’,” she suggested. Then she noticed a huge snake coiled near her two-year-old.

Her husband somehow managed to capture the snake in a bucket, using a broom. The snake turned out to be a Boa Constrictor. A boa constrictor in a bucket with a broom! After reading this, I looked at the dictionary with much trepidation to see what began with ‘C’! We praised the Lord. God’s goodness and mercy had saved the day.

It didn’t always work like that. Over the next years we prayed them through an iguana bite, Dengue fever, a lung infection, a split chin (repaired with super glue!), an almost-broken nose, and yes . . . a fractured leg.

What happened? Did God get tired of our prayers?

Today, my daughter will tell you it was worth the trauma. As they look back, they see the blessings God worked during that period.

At the same time, I struggled through a dreadful year of treatment for aggressive cancer. We prayed regularly for good health—so why didn’t God stop the tumour from growing?

One scripture that became very real to me was Isaiah 40:31. They who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. As I waited on God, He gave me so many blessings. As a direct result of cancer, today I am a published author and a public speaker. I also have a website especially to encourage and inspire those in the cancer valley.

Last week, my husband and I set off for a town some hours away. I was scheduled to speak the next day on the topic, “Change of Life – From nursing sister to published author.” Fifteen minutes from town, we became vehicle #4 in a nine-car pile-up. Why? We only finished praying for protection about 30 seconds before it happened! (Makes you wonder what would have happened if we hadn’t prayed!)

My son drove through to fetch us, and I delivered my talk as scheduled (albeit with a new illustration.) I believe God spoke to many people. Already, as we look back, we see God’s goodness and mercy upon us.

Over the next few days, panel beaters and an assessor decided our car’s fate. Would they salvage it, or would it head for the scrap yard? It was a scary time. We needed that car. And yet, as we waited upon the Lord, He did renew our strength. He didn’t renew our car—sadly, it was written off. But He renewed our strength.

Yes, we need to pray for protection. But we also have to allow God to be God. He will allow things to happen that we don’t like. Yet as we look back, we will see His goodness and mercy at work in our lives. Most of all, as we learn to wait upon Him, He will renew our strength. (You can read the story of the accident with photos, here.)

Shirley Corder

SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer contains 90 meditations based on the often unexpected things God used to help her through the rough times in the cancer valley. It is available globally in print or online, in print and e-versions.

Please visit Shirley through ShirleyCorder.com, where she encourages writers, RiseAndSoar.com, where she encourages those in the cancer valley, on Twitter or on FaceBook. Sign up for her writers’ newsletter.

Prayer: Following Jesus’ example in Mark 1

by Narelle Atkins

A question that was recently raised in my Bible Study group was how should we pray? Is there a right way to pray? Morning or evening? Group prayer or solitary prayer?

In Mark 1 we are given an insight into Jesus’ relationship with his heavenly Father.

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mark 1:35

I’m not naturally a morning person who will wake when the sun rises. For a number of week in the dead of winter, I was getting up in the dark and driving in below zero temperatures to my local gym. It was a struggle to drag myself out of bed and get there in time for my class. My alarm would sound and I’d think about how I’d really like to ignore the alarm and go back to sleep in my warm and cosy bed.

Jesus prioritised spending time in prayer with His Father. He sacrificed the comfort of sleeping in to have uninterrupted and solitary prayer time. Are we prepared to make sacrifices to ensure we are spending time with the Lord in prayer? Do you have a regular time each day that you dedicate to prayer? How can we follow Jesus’ example in the way we prioritise prayer in our daily lives?