Tag Archives: prayer

Fresh Milling [Poem by Mom]

Do you look like Jesus today? Listen to Paul’s testimony and promise:

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. (2 Cor. 3:18)

In these busy summer days, stop to gaze. Glance up. Turn from work to worship. Schedule an August audience in his august presence. Renew your acquaintance, and renew your resemblance.

Here are two writings from my mother—prose and poetry—to help you turn your eyes upon Jesus.


BEING GRANDMA

Ken and I have just returned from a few days at a lakeside cottage with our oldest son and his wife and their five young daughters. I spent time with the girls splashing in the shallow beach and watching the older girls learn to swim. We played games and sang around the campfire. We studied God’s creation, the little fish in the clear water, the different bugs and birds. We fed the ducks, listened to the loons and explored the lake. The girls cast lines for elusive fish.

NorthernLakePhoto Credit: Paul R Lamb via Compfight cc

Now that I am home, five unique voices calling “Grandma, look” echo in my memory. I carry fresh imprints of each granddaughter on my heart. New memories are impressed on my mind and I feel a deeper bond with their individual personalities. I watched them conquering fear, shyness and impatience. I saw what makes them excited, bored, curious, restless. I learned what they are reading, writing, singing and laughing about. They taught me a new song about a worm in a box that, every time we sang the song, (gasps of wonder) turned into a butterfly! I watched their eyes sparkle as Daddy played guitar and they sang along. I listened to a toddler delight in singing “How Great Thou Art.”

When we left them at the cottage their hugs and ongoing chorus of good-byes sent me home feeling so loved as a grandma. Though we are in the same community and church, in the busyness of daily life we can get out of touch. Some of our grandchildren live far away making it even harder to stay connected. I spend a lot of time with the elderly in hymn sing ministries and with my mother who lives with us. Sometimes the responsibilities of life can almost make me forget that I am a grandmother.

Because interacting with all five girls at once can be overwhelming I recently invited the older ones to visit me two at a time. It was so rewarding. I learned their faces, voices and smiles in a new way. I discovered a common interest with one granddaughter that immediately drew us closer together in a delightful personal connection. I gained a new vision and longing to bless our grandchildren.

Though I am always a grandmother, I need time with my grandchildren to make it real, to refresh the essence of being a grandparent into my soul.

In a similar way, although I am God’s child, in this world of distractions and distortions, of pressures that would mold me into ungodliness, I too need time alone with Him if I want to truly know Him and to have His image real and reflected in me. This poem prayer reflects that longing.

 —Elaine Gingrich, August 2015


FRESH MILLING

OldCoinPhoto Credit: Lawrence Chard via Compfight cc

Lord, let us not like coins rubbed smooth and faceless
By constant mixing in the purse or hand,
Become, like all the world of coins around us,
Innocuously indistinct and bland.

Lord, spare us from the polishing of theory,
The shrewd abrasion of materialism,
From fads that fool the crowd and cause us, weary,
To lose our message of evangelism.

Lord, call us each when we are worn and dented,
For time alone with You in some still place
To stamp upon our coin, like freshly minted,
The express image of Your glorious face.

—Elaine Gingrich, November 1994


For the rest of the poems in this monthly series, see here.

And if you enjoyed this poem, leave a comment here for Mom, or send her an email at MomsEmailAddressImage.php.  Thanks!


Save page

The Lord’s Prayer and the Center of the Universe

I enjoy praying the Lord’s Prayer. Whenever I am not sure what or how to pray, it can help me approach God’s throne boldly. For example, I often pray the Lord’s Prayer during the wee hours on Saturday mornings, while I am driving the two dusty miles through the dark to my brother-in-law’s house before we head off to market. I add my own words, but the Lord’s Prayer helps my sleepy brain waken and center on God. I know I am always praying the Lord’s will when I pray the Lord’s prayer.

You may have noticed that the Lord’s Prayer has two main halves, with the turning point being the words “give us.” In the first half we pray big-picture prayers about God’s will. In the second half we pray in-the-trenches prayers about our survival. This structure helps us to remember that God is bigger and more important than we are.

Here is the prayer, ever old and ever new, as Matthew records it1:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil. (Matt. 6:9-13)

The first word, “Our,” reinforces our smallness; we come before God as one of many of his children. This is both humbling and deeply reassuring. I am neither the center of God’s universe nor a faint, solitary voice trying to catch his attention. Rather, I come to God with you, and you come to God with me. He chooses to place us, together, at the center of his love.

While praying the Lord’s Prayer this morning I noticed that I often pray the first half of this prayer with my own needs and desires in mind. I look at the evil and trouble in the world around me—things that are burdening my heart whether or not they are directly mine—and I ache and plead for God to bring in the fullness of his kingdom on earth. I pray for him to end all sin and suffering. I think this is a good and right way to pray these lines. God’s kingdom is the answer to our deepest needs and longings, and God is honored when we recognize this and pray accordingly.

On the other hand, what impressed me this morning is that my world—no, our world—will only be set straight when God is set in first place. And so the Lord’s Prayer is a reminder to me that God’s name must be hallowed, not mine. His kingdom must come, not mine. His will must be done, not mine.

This becomes even more startling when we contrast the requests in the two halves of the prayer. God gets his name exalted to the highest place in the universe; I get bread for my dusty body. God gets the kingdom; I get forgiveness for my many sins. God gets the complete fulfillment of his will; I get rescued from the temptations and evil that would otherwise overwhelm me.

(No, we, not me. There I go again.)

And yet, because this God is our Father, we share in his exaltation! Today I am thankful that Jesus gave us a prayer to set the world in order.

How has the Lord’s Prayer helped you? Share your reflections below. This is our prayer.

  1. Some manuscripts and versions include the familiar lines “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.” While these words may have been added by a later scribe, I often pray them alongside the saints of the past centuries.

Save page

Prayers for Conservative Anabaptist Churches

Several discussions lately have reminded me of deep, ongoing needs within our conservative Anabaptist churches. (I’m sure some of these needs are also present in many other churches, but I’m speaking from within my own experience.) I don’t have time to expand on any of these needs at present, so I’ll simply list them here as a series of short prayer requests.

Please join me in prayer as you are able, and also in doing all you can to be living answers to the needs of our churches.


Dear Lord of the Church, we implore you to remember the Church which you purchased with your own blood (Acts 20:28) and which you promised to build (Matt. 16:18)! We ask you to…

  • Encourage our leaders who are growing weary with the weight of leading your flock, who have little strength left to feed the sheep.
  • Raise up generous financial supporters to free our over-worked leaders to spend more time in sermon preparation, personal Bible study and growth, and counseling the needy saints.
  • Show us that it is not laziness to prioritize Bible study and training over planting corn, and that sweat expended or money earned are not the ultimate measure of how much real work has been accomplished.
  • Give us a fresh vision for intentionally training the next generation of church leaders to handle Scripture faithfully and shepherd the flock with skill and tenderness.
  • Awaken a vision for intentionally discipling all the saints to do the work of the ministry according to their varied giftings.
  • Give our leaders courage and wisdom to help our churches have honest and open conversations, breaking the silence about the many unanswered questions that are frustrating the saints.
  • Teach us how to talk peaceably to one another about our differences of vision and understanding, rather than carefully avoiding a long list of taboo topics or stooping to personal attacks.
  • Give us a fresh vision for Christ-centered unity without uniformity of culture, personality, or gifting.
  • Provide patience for sincere young visionaries who feel muzzled.
  • Provide new spaces for these young visionaries to live out the insights and passions you are giving to the church through them.
  • Give courage to our elders to release the young leaders whom you are calling–to entrust them with freedom to take up the mantle and lead the next generation, making the kinds of weighty decisions that some of these same elders made in their own youth.
  • Awaken a new vision for evangelism at home—but also, what is more, for becoming churches that are truly ready to incorporate new believers from the non-Anabaptist communities around us.
  • Use new converts and new attendees to shake up our apathy about how we’ve “always done things,” forcing us to shape church policies for the purpose of serving others and not merely for our own personal comfort.
  • Stir us to worship and mission, so that all that we are and do is defined by you and by the mission you have given to us–so that worship and mission defines our identity, our purpose for gathering, our sense of unity, our use of time and money, and all our conversations.
  • Call us to repentance for our indifference to those within our ranks who are hurting from abuse or indifference.
  • Expose hidden sins that are crippling our congregations, so that public repentance and/or church discipline becomes unavoidable.
  • Call us to repentance for all our extra-biblical additions that are hindering us from welcoming those whom you have welcomed, from incorporating new believers, and from being one with other believers as you are one.
  • Call us to repentance for ignoring in preaching or practice those parts of Scripture that make us uncomfortable.
  • Call us to a fresh vision for trusting the Word and Spirit of Christ to guide, equip, and empower us as congregations.
  • Raise up more laborers who are willing to bear the doubly-difficult and doubly-rewarding work of serving as leaders among your flock.
  • Shake up all bench-warmers from our deadly apathy.
  • Shake up all the little earthly kingdoms that are consuming our energies and excitement, until these kingdoms crumble and we are convinced to invest all our “eggs” in your kingdom.
  • Deliver us from fleshly lusts, carnal pride, nationalistic nearsightedness, Facebook folly, fickle fears, and immobilizing ingratitude.
  • Open our eyes to see everything from eternity’s perspective.

Oh Lord of the Church, we are weak and we are foolish! Enlighten us! Shake us up! Show us how sick we really are! Heal us from our many diseases! Keep our hope from dying! Help our unbelief! Give us new faith and hope in our resurrected, living, present, and coming Lord! Stop us from playing church! Call us to pick up our swords and join you in battle! Fill us with love as never before–love for you, love for each other, and love for the world for whom you died!

Sanctify the church, cleanse her by washing her with your word, and present the church to yourself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish! (Eph. 5:26-27)

In the name of Christ we pray.
And all God’s people said “Amen.”


Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:

“Hallelujah!
    For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
    and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
    and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
    was given her to wear.”

(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)  (Rev. 19:6-8)


Thank you for serving Christ’s Church in prayer and in deed. Feel free to add your own prayers or comments below.

For Christ and his Church,
Dwight


Save page