Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Christian Bloggers Challenge: (Blank) Minutes of Praise

Then they believed his promises
   and sang his praise. 
But they soon forgot what he had done
and did not wait for his plan to unfold. 
Psalm 106:12-13 (NIV)
I have been blessed by so many answered prayers. There have been so many blessings in our lives, recently with our new home purchase, but I don't want to forget the ones of the past either. Blessings, miracles, answered prayers, whatever you want to call them, that the Lord has given to me. To show me of His love, His mercy, and His faithfulness. However, I also believe He gives us these answered prayers, big and small alike, to remind us later, when we are amidst a trial or walking through a "pivotal circumstance" or suffering a pain larger than any we can imagine, that He is faithful. Just. Pure. Above all else, His plans are perfect.

At Bible Study last night a movie we watched talked about "pivotal circumstances" and called them those times in our life where the Lord uses something to get our attention, to grow our faith, to mature us, to call us closer to Him. It could be something good, like a mission trip that changes your heart and opens it to the poor or the meek, or it could be something painful. Very painful, but in the end, looking back you can often see how the Lord was working, how your faith has grown, and how you were blessed amidst the pain.

Here is an example given by a young woman, probably about my age, this isn't verbatim but pretty close:  
It was 2001 and I was living in New York City, my roommate had set me up with an interview with a company at the very top of the twin towers. I'd gone in and had my interview, was called back for a second interview and was basically hired. They showed me where I was going to sit, what I was going to be doing, who my coworkers were, everything. But a few days later I received a call that said they'd "decided to go with someone else" I was soooooo mad at God. I couldn't believe that He would do that to me. I had already been hired and then He ripped it out from beneath me. I couldn't see past how big of an opportunity this would have been, it was a great job. A couple of months later, it was September 11th, I remember watching the news and sure enough, almost nobody who worked in that office made it out. Almost nobody. I turned to God and said "Ok God, you knew, I know you knew. I trust you."

These things, these "pivotal circumstances" change us, they grow our faith and love for the Lord and they stretch us in ways we can never expect to be stretched. Bless us in ways we don't expect when we are amidst our pain. Unfortunately though, we forget. As time moves forward, our busy lives sweep in, or prayer time fades, our blessings out number our trials and we forget how much we have to be thankful for. We forget our answered prayers, our increased faith, to praise the Lord. Then a new trial slams in around us and threatens to derail us, we struggle amidst new pain and frustration and falter with questions like "Why God? Why?"

I have a friend amidst one of these kinds of events. Struggling to find that fine line between preparing for the worst news possible and yet hanging onto hope in our Lord, hope that as Christians we have a right to have. Hope in the power of miracles and prayer, all the while understanding that while the Lord has the power to answer her prayers, even though it would defy all medical and scientific logic, He also has the power to say no, that this request is not in His master plan. That the pain and suffering is. I love this friend ever so dearly, it is a friendship that has grown slowly over the last 6 years and just within the last year or so really blossomed and bloomed into one of the best friendships I have right now. My heart has not stopped beating a miracle prayer for her and her family and as each day passes my prayer increases. I'm trying to remain confident in my prayer, knowing that He can say yes or no, but believing that He could say yes. Does that make sense?

Then this morning I read the verses that I opened this post with, and I felt the Lord calling me to praise Him and praise Him big today.  To sit down and list my answered prayers, new and old, to shout these blessings and miracles, big and small, from the rooftops or better yet from the blog-tops!

Will you join me today? 
I know I didn't give advance notice on what to write or advertise this, but I truly believe it will serve to build me up, my friend up, and each other up, to take a few minutes today and share these miracles with each other. 

Can you list your answered prayers, miracles, blessings for 5, 10, 15 or 20 minutes today, write them in a blog post titled "# Minutes of Praise" for the Glory of the Lord?

I want to urge each of you to take this challenge and spread it, please. Not for me or for man, but to praise our King. 

I cannot wait to read your praises, blessings, and miracles and join you in praising our Lord together today. 

Lord, please use this post to lift others up, to encourage friends everywhere who are amidst a trial or begging the you for a miracle, to increase the confidence of other believers and to show non believers how amazing Your love is, how unchanging You are. I love you and PRAISE your name today. Help me Lord to remember the things you have done over the years so I can praise your name for all to see Your goodness and Your mercy.  

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