The Power of Your Prayers

Have you ever thought about the power of your prayers?

Seriously…have you given any thought to the impact you can have in praying for others? 

Does it mean that you have labored long hours in prayer? Does it mean that you whispered their name in a specific request? Did you seek to understand their situation so that you could pray a specific prayer? Did you pray according to God’s will instead or just what you think should happen? Did you just attach their name to a long list of names as you rattled names off to God….you know, so you could do your duty because you said you would? Or, were they included in the “and all those who requested prayer from me” and “Lord, I don’t know who they are or what they need but you do” cover all statement? 

If you haven’t already, it’s time to understand the power you have and get serious about praying for others.

Here’s what I mean…

Very early a couple of days ago, as I always do, I reached over and began to pray for my husband. As I was praying, I asked God to cover him from all hurt, harm or danger. I asked that God would keep him alert and aware of all that would go on around him. I asked God to protect James and keep him in all his ways and to cover him with His blood and shelter him from seen and unseen dangers. I asked that God’s will and purpose for James’ life be done. I asked that He would draw James close and keep him in His care; that He would lead him and guide him in all of his ways…and so many other request. 

Then I spent some time thanking God for giving James to me and for him being such an awesome, wonderful man of God; one that loves God first and then me. One that takes exceptional care of his family. One who is a bold soldier in the Army of the Lord; a man of prayer and of the Word.

When James woke up and before exiting the bed, I shared with him that I had laid my hands on and prayed for him; lifting him up and holding him there…. calling out his name and his needs before the Lord. I reminded him that I do this every night/morning. Sometimes, several times if I know he is especially facing some trying things the next day. I reminded him that this is a daily practice for me. 

I further expressed to James that I do this because, not only is it commanded by God of me, but also because of my love for him. I want to make sure that as he travels here and yon on the dangerous highways and byways that he is covered by a prayer of protection. I want to make sure no harm comes to him and that he doesn’t experience any mishaps or accidents, sickness/disease or fall in any traps the enemy may set for him.

I went on to say that there is no telling how many of these possible scenarios were avoided because of my late night/early morning prayers. I said that because of my prayers, the detrimental things that could have happened, didn’t happen and what positive things that did happen, may have happened because I did pray.

You may be wondering why I had this conversation with James; why I felt the need to share this with him. Well it is because I want him to know that he is covered in prayer; I want him to be assured that I am believing with and for him that no weapon formed against him will prosper. I want him to be confident as he go forward in his day that I have his back; that I am standing in the gap I am making up the hedge with and for him; that he is not alone in anything he may face.

Listen, am I suggesting that my prayers are “controlling” James’ life? No I am not. I just know that prayer is really powerful and does change things. I have seen the power of prayer change things in my life and his to the point that I would dare not miss praying when I have the opportunity to do so. I have personally witnessed so much healing, deliverance, peace (that surpasses all understanding), joy and a renewal of hope that most of the time, I can’t wait to pray just to see what God will do next.

So now, you may be asking why do I feel the need to share this with all of you? Well, I am so happy to tell you…

I said all of that to say this, when you pray for someone, please remember that when praying the will of God, the prayers of the righteous avails much. Remember that, just on the strength of your prayers, someone else’s life can be affected in a major way. You have an awesome opportunity to cover someone to the point that negative situations and circumstances that could have been a part of their day was avoided…all because you took the time to pray. You hold a power within you to affect change; to change the very outcome of a persons day; to change the the very atmosphere around them!

This goes for your spouse, child (children), co-workers, friends, Pastor, etc. 

Yes, there is power in YOUR prayer. OWN IT and don’t neglect it!

Delete and Unsubscribe

emailMost of you that really  know me, know that I am a HOARDER…an email, text message, Facebook Inbox, voice-mail HOARDER! I can keep messages forever! And like most hoarders, I find it easier to just keep living with it than to take the time, effort and energy to clean it up!

As I type this, I have a folder in my Yahoo mail named, “Stuff To Review “. The oldest email is dated February 16, 2010. The most recent one in the folder is dated January 12, 2012….I really think I can delete them…if I haven’t reviewed them by now, chances are…

On my phone, I have in my text messaging, between me and one person, 430 messages and about 1000 altogether. Now this is after I deleted 1500+ messages between me and another person…which were deleted only because I kept running out of  memory on my phone!

Now, before you think I am a few bricks shy of a load, let me explain my reasoning. I keep most messages so that I can review them later for information such as date, time and place of an event or and invitation. Sometimes these messages are from my client base for design projects I am working on and I have to refer back to them for instructions and clarification. Others I hold on to because they are inspirational, motivational and encouraging. And last but not least, some I hold on to because they have hurt me, disturbed me or made me angry. (These I go back and review often in disbelief!).

Anyway, every morning when I get up and check my email, I delete anywhere from 25 to 35 emails without even opening them. Many others I don’t open but I don’t delete them either with the thought that I might want to read them later. But then later never comes…

It has been this way for as long as I can remember.

However, on yesterday when I opened my email, I decided to simply DELETE some and UNSUBSCRIBE from others. I decided to stop the inbox clutter once and for all! It took some time but I started from the top and began clicking DELETE and went to the bottom of other messages and clicked UNSUBSCRIBE. Each time I did, I felt freer…like I was finally getting my email under control, like the weight was slipping away…like a heavy burden was being lifted!

Now, here’s the thing…we all have things in our lives that are weighing us down; things that start out as simple; things that were never meant to clutter up our lives. Things that at one time may have been of great benefit to us but are now unwanted or unneeded. However,we sometimes find ourselves in a cycle and we don’t know how or are unwilling to break it. We never meant for it to be this way but because we didn’t manage it at the onset, we find ourselves burdened down with it later. What started off as a convenience has now turned into a major inconvenience.

Well, the only thing you can do is simply what I did, DELETE AND UNSUBSCRIBE! No matter what you may be hoarding, you can choose today to clean it up and move on. You can keep what’s relevant and of benefit to you and delete from your life all else that is weighing you down. After you delete it, get down to the bottom of it and unsubscribe from it;  CHOOSE not to have that thing enter into and clutter up your life again.

So now, join me on my journey to “clean up where I messed up and start my life all over again”! Let’s take our lives back today!

 

 

Thirsty?

 I am one of those people…you know the ones…that do not like to drink water…and I never have. Unless it is extremely cold, I can’t seem to get it down without it making me feel “sick.” However, every once in a while, I will experience extreme thirst. And although I have water nearby, I will drink anything else first (tea, soda, juice, milk) to try to quench my thirst. I have even waited for hours to go to the store to purchase something…anything…other than water to drink. And yet, when I finally get something, I am still left thirsty. It did very little, if anything, to alleviate my thirst.  I have learned in those moments that the only thing that can satiate this thirst is a big glass of water (with a little lemon for me); and sometimes it takes more than one glass to completely quench my thirst..

 This reminds me of the Samaritan woman who met Jesus at the well (John 4:7-30). She was only inches from the water but miles from the well. What do I mean by this? Once Jesus approached her, she was with the only one who could satisfy her every need. The only one who could give her life, yet through her debate, you see that her heart was far from the life-giver. She was so close, yet so far away. Because of what was revealed about her life in the scriptures, it is evident that she was trying to use everything else to quench a thirst that only Jesus could satisfy. So, until she took a drink of the living water, she didn’t know what she had been truly thirsting for.

 Now, here’s the thing. Before you judge me or her, please check yourself. Do you sometimes know what it is that you need but are using substitutes to try and satisfy it because you don’t like the thing that could really help you? How about when you know you need to go on a complete fast but you just “modify” your diet instead (i.e. fast certain foods or for a certain period of time, maybe you fast from TV or Facebook for awhile…)? Or how about when you know you need to read your Bible but you read other “spiritual” books instead. Or when you know YOU need to pray but you op in a prayer CD and listen to someone else pray instead.

Listen, all of these things are close, but not close enough. You will still be inches from the water but miles from the well! Just like with all of the substitutes I use instead of water, you will still be left “thirsty.” And just like the woman at the well, unless you take a big drink of Jesus’ living water, you will be constantly carrying around your water pots, trying to keep them filled with things that can’t satisfy. So now, go ahead, take a big gulp of Jesus’ water and leave your water pots behind! You will never thirst again!

 Keeping it simple, Keeping it real!        

Rejoice and Be Glad!

I have a question for you. Regardless of what is going on today, what will you do with this day that you have been given?

Well let me tell you what the Word of God says about it. It says, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! (Psalms 118:24) Did you get that?  Rejoice and be glad. No matter how bad it may seem right now, it is good! Why? Because God made this day and we know that everything God makes is good! It is His gift to us.

Now we know that the original context of this scripture is regarding the Sabbath Day. However, I believe that we should rejoice and be glad everyday, in spite of what is going on, as an act of worship and gratefulness! After all, yesterday is already history and tomorrow is not promised. Why waste this day making it less than what it was created to be?

This verse also suggests that we are in control of our emotional lives.  It says we are to rejoice and be glad. The Word doesn’t say if this happens or if that doesn’t happen…it just simply says to rejoice and be glad! It is not conditional. Because sometimes, when the least little thing happens, we allow it to knock us off-kilter and ruin our day.  Well, I hate to tell you this, but, when that happens, don’t bother blaming the something or the someone… you made the choice of how it would affect you.  You just gave your power over to something or someone else. You gave that thing or person permission to dictate the rest of your day (maybe even your week or your year…depending on how long you hold on to it). So what am I saying here? Simply this, don’t stress over what went wrong or what might not work out. Stop living in the past or rushing into the future. Embrace TODAY for all it is and strive to make it the best it can be!

And another thing…today doesn’t have to be “just another day!” Try following your whims, do something different, do the unexpected and make it unique!  Let go of regrets! Take risk! Again, Purpose to have a good day today and every day. In the words of Mother Teresa my advice to you is:

“People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered: Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives: Be kind anyway. If you are successful you will win some false friends and true enemies: Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank people will try to cheat you: Be honest anyway. What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight: Build anyway. If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous of you: Be happy anyway. The good you do today, will often be forgotten by tomorrow: Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough: Give your best anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”

And finally, even when less than desirable things happen in our day, let’s purpose to stop complaining and just be thankful we had another day! I have a feeling that when we learn to take the good with the bad and be thankful in ALL situations and circumstances, we will really start to live!  After all, situations are just situations and circumstances are just circumstances but God is God. No matter what your day was like, remember this, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose”. (Romans 8:28)

Keeping it Simple, keeping it real!  © 2013 Erica M. Goldsmith

If you don’t think everyday is a good day, just try missing one! (Cavett Robert)

Just Believe

So one morning as my daughter CiiCii and I were carpooling in to work together, I suddenly yelled, “Oh, No!” Since I was driving, CiiCii immediately looked from side to side and in front and back of us to see what was going on. Not seeing anything, she asked me what was wrong. I told her I didn’t see my purse and that meant I didn’t have any money, phones – (yes, I carry more than one) driver’s license, etc. with me. After a brief look around, CiiCii said, “Yes you do, it’s here.” The first question I asked was, “Where?” and proceeded to look around in the car…while all the time still driving in traffic. CiiCii said, “Mom, just keep your eyes on the road, I told you your purse is here.” I responded, “But I still don’t see it.” CiiCii’s next response just blew me away. She said, “Mom, I just told you the purse is here. You might not be able to see it but I see it. She further stated, “That’s exactly how we are with God sometime. He tells us things and because we can’t see it, we don’t believe.” She further stated, “Because you know I wouldn’t tell you it was here if it wasn’t, you should have just taken my word for it.”

Now, some of us go around quoting the cliché’ “God said it, I believe it and that settles it.” However, what I have notice is that a lot of people, including myself, find this quote easy to say but much harder to live out. Why? Because we can’t see the whole picture. WE can’t see the end from the beginning. WE have to see it to believe it when God is asking us to believe it until we see it!

In 2 Corinthians 5:7, the Bible tells us that we are to walk by faith, not by sight.” Now, even though it is so unnatural for us to walk without looking where we are going, that is precisely what this scripture tell us, as God’s people, we must do. When we “walk by sight” we depend on what we see, what we hear, or the emotional surges we feel. All of these can be misleading. How many times have you thought you saw something that really wasn’t there? Or how many times have you heard someone say something and thought it was meant one way only to find it wasn’t meant that way at all? Just having the ability to hear or see doesn’t guarantee an accurate reception of a message. Sometime it has more to do with our perception and not the reality of the thing. One thing that really makes walking by faith so difficult is that what we already believe, see and feel about a thing, affects our ability to believe something without seeing it first.

If I may use the words of Minnie Louise Haskins, walking by faith to me is summed up in this quote, “And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.” And he replied: ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand in the Hand of God.’ That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.'” So what am I saying here? Simply this, when we are asked by God to believe without seeing, we do not have to be afraid. Our Faith in God enables us to face the unknown with complete confidence. We can place our hand into the hand of God and allow him to lead us in the unknown. It is faith in God that will take us beyond the limitations of sense and feeling. Faith will pick us up where sense and feeling will let us down. When we can’t have faith in the situation, faith in God should propel us forward to trust and believe what we cannot see. So go ahead, even when you don’t see it, if God said it, JUST BELIEVE!

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Keeping it Simple, keeping it real! © 2013 Erica M. Goldsmith

Not like Eve

One morning my daughter overheard a conversation that I was having with her Dad. Right in the middle of it, she says, “Mom, I am going to start calling you Eve!” I asked her why and she stated it was because she heard what I was saying and that I was being very cunning and sly in convincing James to do what I was asking him to do.

Well of course I defended myself and we all had a good laugh over it. But as the day went on, I thought about what she said and realized that I really was using words and an inflection in my voice to influence James’ decision in the matter.

As much as we may not like to admit this, we women probably do this much more than we think or would care to admit! We use our feminine wiles so strongly sometimes that the men in our lives probably never knew what hit them; they find themselves doing things and wonder how did “this” happen.

Most women would argue that, “Well, I just got it like that!” Well maybe you do, BUT, is it really the right thing to do? It’s been said that women have been gifted with an ability to “make a man carry the world on his back” but just because we can do something, does that mean we should do it?
I believe, as women, we have been given innate gifts to make a positive difference in our own lives and in the world around us. God, in His infinite wisdom, has endowed women with the ability to impact the lives of our husbands and our children. However, this gift is not given to us to use like a weapon, or to get our own way or to the rule over them. But it is given as a gentle tool of wisdom; displayed through the positive persuasion of a wife and mother who longs to encourage her husband and children to fulfill the divine destiny God has placed in their lives. In fact, your greatest impact is carried out by laying down all claims of influence in and of yourself, and relying on God’s power to transform you, your husband and your children.
Women, our attitude and influence set the emotional fragrance in our homes. With a positive attitude and influence, we can permeate our homes with a sweet aroma or with a negative attitude and influence we can pollute our homes with a stinky odor.

So, let’s be women of conviction and passion. Let’s intentionally influence our husband and children in a positive way; after all, it is our high calling and a part of our pre-designed purpose. Before we can influence others toward godliness though, we ourselves must be under God’s influence so that he can use us. Let’s be women who, with God’s guidance, strength and empowerment, radiate the light of Godly influence from our lives. And as we shine with the Lord’s love, our families and others will be drawn to him.”

She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. Proverbs 31:26

©2013 Erica Skelton Goldsmith