Tag Archives: Prayer

Earth Has No Sorrow That Heaven Can’t Heal

We have an enemy and he is very real.

I encountered this enemy last weekend and unfortunately I emerged with more wounds than victories, but still I emerged. It was last weekend while I was at a spiritual retreat that Satan decided to attack. We were filling the place with prayer 24/7 and I had signed up for my hour of time in our prayer chapel. I had my journal out and I was praying over the list of ladies who were there. My page filled with pictures and words for each one of God’s princesses as I hoped to get through each one.

I was blindsided. My pen stopped my mind wandered and my prayers became difficult. My mind was filled with reasons why I did not want to be there. I was overwhelmed with thoughts of why this weekend was useless, how I was useless, and how prayer is useless. I finished my hour in the chapel, left, and spent most of the day fighting back tears and depression. Later in chapel I was supposed to finish writing down how I had found healing through God. That morning we had contemplated struggles and problems in our lives and we were encouraged to see how God had healed us and helped us overcome. I had thought about my depression and anger. I had written these words down in the morning thinking that by afternoon I would have time to write down that I was now filled with God’s peace and joy. Now felt hypocritical as I stared at a blank page and all I could think about was that I was depressed and angry.

We will be attacked. Our squad, James, and I are going out into the world to bring God’s love and healing. We will be working with orphans, widows, prostitutes, and pimps. We will help the poor and the sick. We will join together with Christian brothers and sisters around the world to worship the one true God. And Satan will be there. We will be deceived, tricked, and wounded. We will be broken and we will be hurt.

As we go out on this journey we need your financial support, but more importantly we need prayer warriors. We cannot do this alone. Your prayers will carry us around the world and will protect us from the worst of the wounds. Satan can attack, but the victory has already been won and we are carrying the banner of the victor!! When he taunts us we get to yell “SCOREBOARD!!” as we are on the winning team.

(To learn more about the 11 months we will spend in 11 countries you can visit our blog for the World Race at JamesAndKristinFraser.theWorldRace.org)

After I realized I was being attacked last weekend I went outside, made some phone calls, received encouragement and prayers and then I went back to be supported by my spiritual sisters. I left that weekend feeling better, feeling stronger, and feeling the power of prayer.

I woke up this morning with “Come As You Are” stuck in my head. I think it is a great encouragement to know that even when we do fail, even when we still feel like a work in progress, God will take us as we are and heal us. It is a great encouragement to know that as we go out on this Kingdom journey that God is truly the one making the difference and healing the hurts. We can come as we are and find healing. We can go out as we are and bring healing. All in God’s name.


Parhelions and Prayer.

Parhelion
par·he·li·on
noun
  1. a bright spot in the sky appearing on either side of the sun, formed by refraction of sunlight through ice crystals high in the earth’s atmosphere.

Have you ever noticed that when you are having a bad day, a bad week, or a bad month (hence no recent blog posts) the things that make you the happiest, the activities that bring joy, the places that bring contentment, that they are the things that you tend to ignore and reject?

Sitting in a lump on the couch do you find yourself staring at your yoga mat or your running shoes and knowing that getting use out of either of those physical activities will boost your energy and help you shuck off the cloak of moodiness that you have bundled yourself in? Falling out of bed every morning do you pass up the Bible sitting on your nightstand to instead hurriedly get ready for the day, because you hit the snooze button five too many? Do you stare idly at IWasteSoMuchTime.com and hope to get some satisfaction out of the cleverness that others have created instead of going over to your blog and expressing your own wit and wisdom?

Okay, so maybe those are scenes pulled directly from my life, but maybe there are some scenarios of your own that you are thinking of now. I know that they days where I work out are better than the days that I don’t. I know that the days that start in my Bible and in prayer are more joyous and meaningful than the empty days when I go without. I know that the days where I write and blog and create and think are better than the days where I mindlessly par-ooze the internet.

I know all of these things, yet it is hard to convince myself to do them. The ‘blah’ in me has settled in and wants to make a home. The ‘brokenness’ in me is enjoying the lazy, sulking and it is doing all it can to convince me to accept this new blasé way of living.

But enough is enough, and eventually we have to start digging ourselves out. The last few days has found me back in prayer and back to my bible. Today I learned a valuable lesson about prayer and actively seeking.

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Hide and Seek.

My hubby and I have been doing our fair share of seeking lately, and not just for the matching socks in the laundry. What shall we do? Where shall we go? What gifts do we have? How should they be used?

When we prepare to lead the praise team for church we ask what songs to do.

When we are leaving youth group we seek out how that worship session went, and we ask for direction for next week.

When you seek you will find.

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A Song. A Prayer.

I need Thee every hour.

Do you ever have it where you go to bed at night and it has been a rough day, or week, or month, or season, and you slip into your comfy bed and think, “Tomorrow will be better. I will try harder. I will be better.  I will hit the ground running and I will accomplish everything that needs accomplishing. I will do it all with a smile on my face and a spring in my step and the day will be wonderful. Yep, in 24 hours I will be crawling into bed with a sense of satisfaction and pride instead of this feeling of disappointment in myself and in the day. That is what I am going to do.”

Most Gracious Lord.

So you wake up . . . after hitting the snooze twice. You realize that you are out of coffee and after checking your bank account balance you realize that you cannot afford to buy one at Starbucks either. *Sigh*. Getting ready for work you realize that your pants are fitting a little snug. Your hair will not stay the way you want it to. You get to work, but you are running a little late.

No tender voice like Thine, can peace afford.

You sit down at your desk to have your supervisor point out an error that you made in one of your projects. It is something that must be done over and instead of starting on a new task you have to spend an hour on the project you thought was completed. A project that you had worried about and you were happy to have completed and accomplished.

What did you do wrong? What did I do wrong? Because if this was your day as well, I would like to tell you that me too. Luckily my supervisor is also a close friend and a strong spiritual leader. So as a few tears leaked through all the stress of my morning she laid her hands on my shoulders and she prayed. Oh, God. Where had I put him this morning? As her prayer washed over me I felt a little lighter and a little happier. I can still do this. . . I mean, He, He can still do this. I have already botched this day, but I know that he can salvage it.

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So Nice I’ll Say It Twice.

Might. Spears. Bloodshed. Massacres. Battles. Defenses. Attacks. Victory. Strongholds. Blood. Exploits. Valiant Fighters. Fame. Honor.

These are the lives and stories of David’s mighty men. Earlier this month we saw David’s mighty men show up in 2 Samuel 23. Now we see their stories again in 1 Chronicles 11. Some are the same, some are a little different. A different angle and some embellishments. These are such impressive men, that we’ll see their stories twice.

“10 These were the chiefs of David’s mighty warriors—they, together with all Israel, gave his kingship strong support to extend it over the whole land, as the Lord had promised— 11 this is the list of David’s mighty warriors:

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Famous Warriors and Failing.

The warm, stale air was annoying, but somewhat satisfying as it meant my body was working, and working hard. Part of that warmth was from my contribution. I watched intently as the instructor demonstrated the next combo we were to attempt. It looked like another fun one. Everything was flowing today. My punches were landing strong and my kicks were landing even stronger. With over a year of kickboxing classes under my belt I was feeling more and more confident as my technique and my power were improving.

Everyone must train. For anything. School is training our brains on how to think through situations and how to thrive and enjoy the wide world beyond our classroom doors. Athletes train in their respective sports, enjoying both cross training and cardio workouts as well. Our military elite train and drill and drill and train. All so that their minds and their bodies will be ready when they are called into action. Dedication, technique, and consistency are all key.

This is also true in our spiritual lives. Not only does a daily walk through the Bible and constant practice in prayer keep our souls and minds on track with God, but they will help us prepare for battle as well. Oh yes. Our minds will soak in the guidance and our spirits will be uplifted by the encouragement and when the time comes when we are being attacked, we will have the mental and spiritual fortitude to parry and defend against the attacks.

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Now I lay me, Down to Sleep.

Do you ever have dreams where you can’t run away? I have heard people discuss how they have had bad dreams where they try to run away, only to find themselves unable to run, or they can only run slowly and sluggishly.

In my dreams I could never seem to fight. Running was never a problem, but there have been a few nightmare situations where I find myself trying to throw a punch, only to have my arm feel like rubber. My fist will land with soft thud as my arm refuses to cooperate. I would wake up sweating with the most awful feeling in my gut. I was helpless. I was weak. I was unable to defend myself.

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Color Me Green

I read this blog post while reading through the World Race website and pondering about what it would be like to go on such a journey. Kacie Lester blogs at Color Me Captivated and she shared this story about learning to live in community. It is a lesson I desperately need to learn. We should all strive to say, “color me captivated”, but most days as envy sneaks in, I just find myself thinking, color me green.

instant coffee & not-so-instant-friendship

– posted on 10/10/2012 by Kacie Lester

I learned a lot about comparison last year while I was on the World Race.

Mainly that I needed to wage war against it. And, that my short-ish, rounder-than-Victoria’s-Secret-model-shaped figure, turn-a-shade-of-fire-engine-red-when-I’m-embarrassed face, and alarmingly loud laugh aren’t just beautiful in theory. They’re actually stunning.

And I had to learn this all while living with a beautiful woman who is in every way my physical opposite.

I was particularly upset one day early in the Race as I watched my beautiful teammate go about her day flawlessly – even her messy crying fits and bouts of insecurity were beautiful – and I often wondered how it could be possible at all that I could also be beautiful with my pale skin and boring hair and short (and admittedly thicker) frame.

I’m so different – I speak and think and act and look so vastly differently than this girl who is, in every sense of the word, beautiful.

I would ask myself constantly, “How can I also be beautiful when I’m nothing like this girl who embodies the word?”

From updates.theworldrace.org

I actually sat Stephanie down the week we met and I told her to her face that I probably wasn’t going to like her. She was too perfect and I was sure she knew it, and I cannot get along with conceited girls (which I figured she was, without a doubt).

Then I learned that she wanted to write, I wanted to write – she wanted to sing, I do sing – she used to dance, I used to dance – I paint, she likes to paint – I play guitar, she wanted to learn. Initially, I just saw my obvious inferiority to her, so I saw everything we had in common as threatened. She obviously looked better doing it, so I had to prove that I actually did it better. Competition stacked on top of comparison, and everything got bitter.

That battle with comparison wasn’t just a battle over me. The spirit that was bringing up fear and judgment towards her wasn’t just attacking me. It was attacking unity – the body, the bride of Christ.

It didn’t want me to feel equal to her, and it certainly didn’t want me to love her.

Envy, absolutely. But not love.

And I did not love her.

In fact, there was a night in Romania that I and my blonde, beautiful teammate walked up to our leaders separately, without having discussed it, and calmly informed them that our team simply would not work because we could not live together, and they need to change it. Please and thank you.

From updates.theworldrace.orgWe left Romania on the very same team we’d been on when we had arrived. Our eloquent leader had a brilliant (miserable sounding) idea: “Seeing as how you certainly aren’t being separated, you need to decide to love each other. Really love each other. Like, put effort into loving each other.” 

I won’t pretend I didn’t begin that endeavor with a “love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you” justification, but motivation being right or wrong, every other morning for a month I gave her a Nescafe 3-in-1 instant coffee packet.

The mornings I didn’t give her one, she gave one to me. There wasn’t coffee where we were living, so these coveted gifts were delicacies. We could have each just kept our own coffee, but giving and receiving it every morning meant sacrificing our treasures and our pride. And, slowly but surely, we learned to love each other over these tiny gifts.

From updates.theworldrace.org

Gift giving turned into praying for each other. As a wise woman (Stephanie) once said to me: “It’s impossible to not be on the same team as someone else when you’re praying for them.”

Praying for each other turned into delivering one another’s notes after we’d prayed, including a word of encouragement. Then we were loving each other – and loving each other well – as sisters and as friends.

Two months later, we were granted our long-gone wish and were put on separate teams to travel and serve with, and we didn’t have a chance to live together again for the remaining eight of our 11 months abroad. We arrived back in America at the end of the Race, and two months later, we became roommates.

From updates.theworldrace.orgNow that I know her heart, I see how often the enemy tries to tell her she’s ugly and awkward looking. The fact that she can look in the mirror as often as she does and see imperfection and ugliness in herself proves to me more than anything that the enemy exists. I ended up teaching her to play guitar and now we worship together in our adorable little Georgia apartment when the enemy tries to get in our business.

Comparison almost robbed me of one of my very dearest friends, simply because I didn’t know she was my very dear friend, yet. All I saw was all the ways we were starkly different, the ways I wanted to be like her, and wasn’t. And the very few ways she wanted to be like me and didn’t yet know how to be.

But the Lord calls us sisters. He calls us united by one body, one spirit, one hope. (Eph. 4:4)

He sees her as flawless – and he sees me as flawless.

My flawlessness doesn’t give her flaws, nor does her flawlessness negate mine. They don’t look the same – but that isn’t a truth that limits the definition of “flawless.” Rather, it infinitely expands the capacity and depth of the perfection of God.

Redemption is perfect in Christ. I am perfect in Christ. She is perfect in Christ.

Who are you competing with? Who do you feel is beneath you? Who are you trying to out-rank?

He or she could be your best friend, your next roommate, the loudest voice of truth in your life, or your very biggest fan. You just might not know it yet because an enemy who hates you is actively trying to change that reality.

Love intentionally. Pray. Encourage one another. And if you aren’t sure where to start, it might be time to start buying some instant coffee packets!


Kicking Spiritual Butt

“Have fun kicking boxes!” That is the usual dismissal I hear as I leave my apartment dressed to sweat. My wraps and gloves bounce gently in the bag on my back as I hurry down the steps. I hop into my jeep and crank some adrenaline pumping music as I head down to the Fargo Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & MMA Academy.

As I step inside a quick memory of ball pits and plastic slides with the slight smell of shoe-less adolescents meets me at the doorway. I slip off my flip-flops and add them to the pile, grabbing my membership card. As I wait off to the side for the kids bully-proof jiu jitsu class to end I start wrapping up my wrists. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday you will find me here, practicing kickboxing.

And I think as I warm up with a jump rope, have I been working out my soul and preparing it to fight as much as I am working out my body?

Ephesians 6:10 – 18. (NIV)

The Armor of God.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Hmm. Now how to make this idea a bit more palpable, a little bit more relevant. We obviously do not don the type of armor or weapons described above to do battle anymore. Let us see what some paraphrasing will clear up for us.

Ephesians 6:10 -18 (The Message)

A Fight To The Finish

“And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the Master has set out for you, well-made weapons of the best materials. And put them to use so you will be able to stand up to everything the Devil throws your way. This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels.

Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.”

The old school in me still loves the NIV version, the imagery of putting on the battle gear is awesome, but even though I am not the biggest fan of The Message the images it stirs up are ones I can relate too.

Last month I ran a 4.something mile muddy obstacle course. It was called the Hard Charge and it was hard, and awesome! Out of the three of us girls I had done the most running, Ann was probably the most athletic, and Monica had the most drive. We waded through thigh high muddy ditches, army crawled through mud on multiple occasions, dunked ourselves in icy water, climbed a cargo net, belly crawled through sand, carried a tire, climbed over many, many walls, and slide down a fireman pole to finish, well not to finish, to earn. Our shirts and the banner across that finish line held the one word motto of the Hard Charged, Earned.

That is me attempting the muddy monkey bars.

That is me attempting the muddy monkey bars.

Now to earn this we ate mud, we felt like our legs were going to fall off, I tried to cross the monkey bars only to drop 20 feet into muddy water. I boosted Ann and Monica over walls and got over one big one by myself. On the second big one Monica came back around and helped boost me over. It was the best team building thing I had ever done.

It took determination, strength, and drive. Our spiritual warfare takes the same. We have a race to run, and I hate to break it to you, it will not be one of those fun colorful ones. We will have walls that we will have to help others over. There are some we can tackle ourselves and there are some were we will have to admit we need help. We will face some fears and we will want to quit, but there is no turning back.

Now before some obstacles we had some time to wait, things would get a little backed up and we could rest a little. There are times between our spiritual obstacles as well, and this should give us time to pray and rejuvenate, because it probably means a big one is coming up.

In the end when we cross the line we can look at God and know that we have earned this, only not by our own strength but by his grace. He has to help us over that big wall, we cannot do it on our own.

So, the term may be spiritual warfare, but I like to think of it as spiritual kickboxing. It is said that we are running a race, but I know this race is in the form of a muddy, obstacle course.

Time to prepare to kick some spiritual butt and fight to the finish.


I Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down In My Heart.

Where?

I looked up from the couch as the lock clicked and I watched my husband come in, just home from work. One hand was still holding our apartment keys and in the other he had carefully balanced two bottles of Mt. Dew and a chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich. My favorites. Now those who really know me would read that paragraph and shudder, because they know me and what this picture means. So let me shift the picture for you.

Down in my heart.

I am sitting on the couch in my  sweat pants and a t-shirt with cut off sleeves. I have an Xbox controller in one hand and the other is eating semi-sweet chocolate chips straight out of the bag. I had been doing this for the past hour and a half and today was supposed to be my uber productive day. The room that I was hoping to clean today, wasn’t. The dishes that were supposed to be washed, still dirty. The blog posts that should have been written, blankness.

Where?

James sat down and I put my head in his lap so I could start crying. In doing this we found that I had dropped some of my chocolaty morsels and I now had two melted chocolate chips on my butt and one melted to my calf. I was a disgraceful picture.

Down in my heart.

Depression had worked its way into what otherwise would have been a perfect day. But that is what it is. When I tell some people that I suffer from depression they just think that when things go wrong I get really, really sad. No, that is sadness. When things go wrong I do get sad, that is normal. Depression is when every thing is going right, and all I want to do is lay down and cry.

I got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy down in my heart.

You can take all your top 10 lists that tell me how to be productive, how to be happy, how to have a better self-image, how to have a cleaner house. You can take all of your advice and all of your kind words. You can take all of that and keep it for another day. I will not be able to use it today. I can read the happiest quote while looking at a picture of the cutest puppy and my heart will not stir. If anything I will probably start crying because the world looks so bleak.

Where?

I do not cut anymore, but the idea behind lingers with me. Toward the end of the day I am lying in bed, upset again. I had tried to write a post but it seemed all wrong, totally forced. I failed again today. James comes in as he hears me tossing around on the bed. I am restless. He holds me as I rant. My feelings get all mixed up inside. I do not want to do anything. It is 10:00 pm and I have not even had supper yet, I should be starving. But I do not want to do anything. I do not want to get up and have supper. Yet lying in this bed is actually still doing something, and I do not want to stay here either. But getting up is definitely doing something. I tell James all of this in a mumble of sentences. I tell him, “All I know is that I have a headache and all I want to do is hit my head against the wall repeatedly.” He stares at me strangely, “How is that supposed to help your headache.” And I watch his eyes sadden as I say, “Because at least then I will hurt on the outside, and that is much better than hurting on the inside.”

Down in my heart to stay.

We pray then. I do not want to, which is a good sign that we should. We pray for healing and for joy and for peace. We pray for Depression, Doubt, and Worry to leave me. We pray, and I feel slightly better. James says there is a look of hope in my eyes. I get up, eat some supper, start filling out important dates in my new daily planner, and I look up a couple of the 5k races my friend and I have been talking about. Depression still lingers over me, but I can manage for now at least.

Now for my favorite verse.

I have the Wonderful-Love-Of-My-Blessed-Redeemer-Way-Down-In-The-Depths-Of-My-Heart. (quick breath) Where? Way-down-in-the-depths-of-my-heart. (breathe!) Where? Way-down-in-the-depths-of-my-heart. . .

To stay.

"I have the Peace-that-passes-all-understanding down in the depths of my heart.

“I have the Peace-that-passes-all-understanding down in the depths of my heart.