Tag Archives: prayer

Lauren Prays for a Car

This post is one that published to the Pray! Shirt Fridays blog today as well.  The thing is that I really want more reader to hear this great story of God answering prayer, so I am sharing it on my personal blog as well.  Thanks to Lauren who wrote the post – be sure to read her bio at the bottom of the post and visit her blog which is excellent!

Sometimes, I struggle with believing that I have to pray more generally and let God do things how He wants. Why impose a bunch of stipulations to my requests, right?

“Yes, God, I need my hair to look nice for this job interview, so would you please ‘provide’” a can of Redken Volume hairspray on my front porch at five in the evening? I don’t get home ‘til then, and I’m afraid someone would steal it. It’s pretty nice stuff, you know.”

Do you ever think/pray like this? Probably not. You are probably all really good pray-ers.

I just got a job. It is a 45-minute commute on a good day, and with three cars in our five-driver family, something had to give. In this case, I needed to give. Give someone money in order to get to work.

Technically, there is a bus route that runs to my office, but I wasn’t holy enough to ask Him to provide “a means of transportation,” which would have been the opposite of my very specific hairspray prayer. This would have been a great opportunity to shoot up something like, “God, I need to get to my job. I totally believe that you are able to provide a means for me to get there—you do it however you want. I trust you.”

But I have trouble trusting God sometimes, so my prayer was a little less shiny and a lot more train-of-thought. It went something like this:

“God, I am really, really worried about how I am going to get to work. I have no money to buy a car. My family can’t go on like this forever. I have no money. I don’t know what I’m doing. How will this ever work out? And even if I do get a car, it will probably not be a 2012 Honda Civic with sharp styling and 47 miles to the gallon (which would be sweet). Don’t you understand? I need a car that gets good mileage! But nothing is cheap enough! Ok, just do what you want because obviously I’m hopeless at this. I am still really worried about this.”

Again, you all probably have a lot more faith than I do.

Anyway, I had all these specific prayers about a car, but I wrote off my precious Honda and started looking into other cars (and, incidentally, the bus route, which would have been three hours round-trip.)

So on the other hand, isn’t it neat to pray really specific prayers and watch God do them? God could have responded to my lackluster prayers by teaching me humility with a $2000 beater, but He didn’t. He could have given me a motorcycle or a flying ostrich to get to work, but He didn’t. He gave me exactly what I wanted, namely, a 2012 Honda Civic. And don’t get your undies all up in a bunch like, “But Lauren, didn’t you just work that out for yourself, just go out and buy one?”

And the answer is no.

I had totally written it off, thinking that a 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid was an impossibility. I know it was God because everything was so perfect. We just “happened” to stop in at a used car dealership that just “happened” to have a barely used 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid that was marked down lower than I had ever seen. It just “happens” to get amazing gas mileage. And I shocked the dealer with the interest rate “I” was able to secure.

All things go, and bonus! It is such a happy color, the dash is laid out perfectly and I can reach the cup holders. (Yes, we test drove a car in which I could not reach the cup holders. Dumb.).

Jesus tells us in Matthew 7, “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

Amen!

God took care of every part of this car, even down to the littlest details, no thanks to me. He knows the difference between what I need and what I want, and he delights in answering even my flawed prayers. He loves me!

What do you think? Do you tend to pray more generally or more specifically?

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Lauren has worked on and off again at VCBC since she was 15. Serving at camp played a major role in her spiritual development. She was recently hired as a PR intern at a large agency in Minneapolis. She looks forward to seeing what God is going to do with her next, because, heaven knows, God has done some pretty cool things so far.

Lauren blogs about life, food, and photos at pipingdreams.wordpress.com.

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Pray Like a Pirate?

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and it is the movement’s 10th anniversary.  Facebook is the reason I know this, of course, but specifically a friend who works at Village Creek Bible Camp shared the website and had a status in pirate talk.

Things like this intrigue me, so I popped over to the movement’s website to check it out. It is worth popping over to the website just to listen to the First Annual Talk Like a Pirate Sing Along.

But what really caught my eye was a phrase above the the video for the sing along.

All Hope Abandon, Ye Who Enter Here

Abandon hope?  I think not!  Instead of me telling you all why we should have hope, let’s hear from the Word of God.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18  So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead

Romans 8:24-25 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Psalm 27:4-5 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.  For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.

Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.

Our prayer today should be that, even if they make us walk the plank, our hope would be constant in the One who is constant.  In that, we can trust and go through whatever anyone – even pirates – brings our way. 

As we suffer, let us look to the One who suffered on our behalf for our hope.

By the way – does anyone know how to spell “prayer” in pirate talk?

May the winds blow favorably for you all, mateys!

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The Gift of God

Every morning, our church’s Facebook page posts a verse as a way to encourage, to challenge, and to support its followers.  More people than just those who attend our church have liked it, and often those who “like” the verse do not attend our church.

Today’s verse is foundational to my belief as a Christian.

Romans 3:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

I learned this verse “way back” in 1985 when I participated in a scripture memory program at Grace Baptist Church in Grand Forks, ND, called AWANA. 

What do I remember most about the program?

What I remember most is the women who committed to teach me the Scriptures each week. They cared about my future spiritually and about my present emotional self. They did “check ins” with each of us each week, and they deeply impacted our lives for the better.  Many of us who were in that program in 5th grade have continued to pursue the Lord, and some of that thanks must go back to them.

What has stayed with me since that program?

That year in AWANA laid the foundation for me to step into a lifetime of faith in Christ.  I acknowledged that I was sinful, and I recognized that the cost of my sin would be my eternal death – separation from a loving God.  I believe this, and I need to share it today.  Like a well-spring of words, my fingers must type it.

I hold to the promise of the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ – His death on the cross to pay for humanity’s sins and His conquering of death for us all by raising again on what we now celebrate Easter as remembrance.

The gift of God needs to be shared.

Jesus was quite clear with His disciples after His resurrection that the truth about who He was and what He had come to do should be shared with all they (we) come into contact.

Matthew 28: 19-20 – Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

The gift of God is eternal life, and we must share it.  Jesus said so.

Now go!

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Remember…

In the post that I published last year on September 11, I wrote about the importance of remembering (click here to read it) and that, in remembering, we need to be motivated to pray for our world as it remains fallen.  Until Jesus returns, the world will be fallen and bad things will happen.

On Labor Day morning at Village Creek Bible Camp, our friend gave the closing message for Family Camp weekend and talked about how remembering is important for us.  She walked us through Biblical passages in the book of Joshua (chapter 4 specifically) which tell the story of the Israelites setting up standing stones after they had crossed through the Jordan River.  The stones were to be reminders of what God had brought them from and to be there as a way for generations to come to be prompted to ask why they were there.

Then Joshua set up twelve stones in the middle of the Jordan at the place where the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the covenant were standing, and they are there to this day.

Remembering is important.

When we look back to see where we have been and what God has conquered in us and for us, we have the strength to move forward with faith and in the courage that comes from knowing that God is faithful.

Many of my posts are lengthy, but this one is not going to be.  Everyone’s standing stones are different.  For the Jewish people, they have endured many times of trial through Biblical history and in modern history.

For Americans, today serves as a standing stone for our entire nation.  May we see as a one that can lead us closer to God who has been faithful for generations and who will be faithful for generations to come.  May it lead us – as I wrote last year – to pray more.

Amen.

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Resting on Labor Day

Today is Labor Day.

According to the United States Department of Labor, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

What does Labor Day mean to you?

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For almost the last decade, Labor Day has meant two things for our family:

  1. The end of summer as our kids go back to school on the day after Labor Day.
  2. A weekend of Family Camp at Village Creek Bible Camp.

There is truly no better place to spend the last weekend of summer.

Whether up high on a hill overlooking the valley, in the woods walking the trails, or down in the valley looking up and all around, this place is beautiful and filled with variety.

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In addition to the beauty, there are activities for everyone – horseback rides, archery, the lake (with a blob!), the gym, and the craft room.

The group of us who go together like to do very little.  We sit in front of one of the cabins on our lawn chairs and eat the snacks that we brought along to share.  We connect with each other as the start of school and fall and all that comes with it nears.

And we connect again with God through the beauty of the place, the messages during chapel sessions, and the conversations over meals.  We pray with each other and for each other.  We leave our burdens or share them.

It is Labor Day, but it is filled with the rest that God provides through His word, His son, and His community.

If this day were Thanksgiving, I would say, “I am thankful for Village Creek Bible Camp.”  It is not Thanksgiving, but I am still thankful for Village Creek Bible Camp – the place, those who serve, and what it provides.

Happy Labor Day to all!  I hope that you find peace and rest on this day.

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Pray! Shirt Fridays: Thoughts from Katie

I honestly can’t pinpoint that exact moment when we decided to do the whole Pray! shirt thing.  I remember noticing Lu’s Sing! and Read. shirts and wanting one.  It was a joint idea to do one for fun with the word Pray!  She said we only needed 6 people to get cheaper shirts.  It was Young Teen 2, and the girls from my youth group were at camp.  They all wanted one, plus me, Lu, Alison, and then I began asking the other staff.  By the end of ordering, we ended up getting close to 60 shirts.

Never did I expect it to get that big.

Then I had to wait to get mine.  Naturally, Lu got all the shirts a few hours after I left camp for the summer.  Yep, that’s right, the ringleader to this whole adventure had to wait months and months before finally getting her own Pray! shirt.  What’s worse is when Lu came to visit me for my birthday, she managed to forget the 8 shirts that I needed.  Finally, I received a package with my shirt along with the girls’ shirts and the one I got Whit for Christmas.  I’m pretty sure I was doing the jumping-up-and-down-extremely-excitedly dance!  🙂

I wore my shirt off and on throughout the months and made sure that I had it packed whenever I was headed back to camp.  Last year, I tried to start Orange Tuesdays, but that didn’t stick that well.  This summer, I began to see very early on the staff who brought back their Pray! shirts.  I made the executive decision to have Pray! shirt Fridays and began to spread the word.

It was great to get comments and people wanting their own.

Honestly, Alison and I had every intention of doing another shirt this year.  We debated for a while whether we should do another order of Pray! shirts or choose another word.  We had this timeline mapped out of when we wanted to have the order done  and everything.  We were just stuck on the word.  Eventually, time got away from us as it seems to very easily when you’re at camp.  Time slipped away and we never got an order.  I thought that the whole Pray! shirt thing would just be a special memory from Summer ’11.

Little did I know there was a surprise coming.

All of a sudden, it was my last Friday at camp, and naturally, I was wearing my “Friday outfit” that consisted of my Pray! shirt, pink shorts,  and my Zebra headband.  We had taken another group picture with all of us in our shirts earlier that day.  Stacy Bender comes up to Lu and I as we’re chatting on the Lodge lawn.  She expressed great interest in the shirts, and we filled her in.  She asked where she could get them, and I sheepishly explained about the whole adventure this summer.  She jumped into this whole idea of getting more shirts ordered and starting a business and selling them all over.  My mind was blown!  She said she would take care of it all since she was a little more free than 2 upperclassmen in college.  We joyfully said that sounded like a fantastic idea and looked to hear more from her soon.

Honestly, I was thinking, “Oh, it’ll be a little while before we really see anything with this idea.”  My thought was Stacy having to go through mounds of paperwork to get a business plan written, business created, and all other aspects that come with running a business.

Again, little did I know there was a surprise coming.

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About the author of today’s post: My name is Katie Strupp, and I just finished my second summer of working at Village Creek Bible Camp.  I’ve done everything from counseling to being the Craft Room Facilitator, to working in the kitchen.  I could share countless stories of my adventures there.  I am from Sigourney, Iowa, which is located in the SE portion of the state.  My family farms, and I’m a country girl through and through.  Currently, I am in my last semester of coursework at the University of Northern Iowa.  In January, I will begin student teaching.  In May, I will have a degree in Elementary Education with a minor in Special Education as a Strategist Level 2.

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Going Postal for Pray! Shirts

As I shared in last Monday’s post, I opened a business two weeks ago called Encouragement Ink.  The purpose of the business is to provide shirts that say Pray! on them to anyone and everyone who wants them and to support a grass roots movement started at Village Creek Bible Camp to wear these Pray! shirts on Fridays.

prayshirtfridaylogoLast week, I went to the post office with my daughter (one of the employees) to put a box of Pray! shirts into the mail for a friend who works at a church.  When I handed my business credit card to the postal worker, he pointed to the logo (see the graphic to the right of this paragraph) and said, “That’s right. That’s what it is all about.”  I agreed with him, and our conversation ensued about the business and the fact that we were mailing Pray! shirts.

He wanted to buy two shirts!

The funny part of this story for me is that my son had given me a hard time when the credit card arrived.  He did not think that I had put the right logo on the credit card.  But I knew that the logo would be a conversation starter.  And I was right.  This man had proven it.  My daughter and I drove home, grabbed him two shirts, and returned before his shift was over.

On Saturday morning, I received an order via PayPal for a shirt that needed to be shipped to Wisconsin.  I wanted to get the shirt off right away that day because I know how I feel about things that I purchase online – I want them right away!  I quickly packaged the shirt and drove over to the post office. As I drove, I wondered if I would see the same worker.

I did.

I asked how his shirt fit, but he was not concerned with the fit.  He pulled out the business card and told me that he needed another shirt as he pointed to a color on the logo that I did not have stocked.  We went back and forth until we agreed upon a color that he wanted that I actually had stocked.  I drove home and brought him back another shirt before his shift ended.

When I fell into this Pray! shirt thing, I never imagined that it would reach a postal worker at my neighborhood post office.  I never imagined that we would do daily encouragement posts about prayer.  I never imagined that we would have people challenging each other via the Facebook page to pray – not as a chore – as a relational time with God.

In the United States, we talk about someone “going postal” over something meaning that they have lost their minds and do something crazy.  I feel as though I have gone postal, in a sense, about these Pray! shirts because this is crazy and because this seems to have a bit of a mind of its own.  It is more than I imagined it could be, and it seems to be something that is so needed in our country (our world) right now.

It is so simple. 

Pray!

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Going Postal for Pray! Shirts

As I shared in last Monday’s post, I opened a business two weeks ago called Encouragement Ink.  The purpose of the business is to provide shirts that say Pray! on them to anyone and everyone who wants them and to support a grass roots movement started at Village Creek Bible Camp to wear these Pray! shirts on Fridays.

prayshirtfridaylogoLast week, I went to the post office with my daughter (one of the employees) to put a box of Pray! shirts into the mail for a friend who works at a church.  When I handed my business credit card to the postal worker, he pointed to the logo (see the graphic to the right of this paragraph) and said, “That’s right. That’s what it is all about.”  I agreed with him, and our conversation ensued about the business and the fact that we were mailing Pray! shirts.

He wanted to buy two shirts!

The funny part of this story for me is that my son had given me a hard time when the credit card arrived.  He did not think that I had put the right logo on the credit card.  But I knew that the logo would be a conversation starter.  And I was right.  This man had proven it.  My daughter and I drove home, grabbed him two shirts, and returned before his shift was over.

On Saturday morning, I received an order via PayPal for a shirt that needed to be shipped to Wisconsin.  I wanted to get the shirt off right away that day because I know how I feel about things that I purchase online – I want them right away!  I quickly packaged the shirt and drove over to the post office. As I drove, I wondered if I would see the same worker.

I did.

I asked how his shirt fit, but he was not concerned with the fit.  He pulled out the business card and told me that he needed another shirt as he pointed to a color on the logo that I did not have stocked.  We went back and forth until we agreed upon a color that he wanted that I actually had stocked.  I drove home and brought him back another shirt before his shift ended.

When I fell into this Pray! shirt thing, I never imagined that it would reach a postal worker at my neighborhood post office.  I never imagined that we would do daily encouragement posts about prayer.  I never imagined that we would have people challenging each other via the Facebook page to pray – not as a chore – as a relational time with God.

In the United States, we talk about someone “going postal” over something meaning that they have lost their minds and do something crazy.  I feel as though I have gone postal, in a sense, about these Pray! shirts because this is crazy and because this seems to have a bit of a mind of its own.  It is more than I imagined it could be, and it seems to be something that is so needed in our country (our world) right now.

It is so simple. 

Pray!

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I Opened a Business

It has been a week since my last post.  I’ve heard from some readers with the question, “Why aren’t you blogging?”  And I have just one answer for you: a cool idea combined with an inspiration and a bit of mania had taken over for a full week. By Thursday, I was the proud owner of an e-commerce t-shirt business to support a cool ministry “movement.”

That clears it up, doesn’t it?

Let me take you on a timeline trip…

The huz and I spent a week of rest at Village Creek Bible Camp during the first week of August.  On the last day of camp, I noticed that quite a few of the staff members were wearing shirts that said Pray! on them.  One thing led to another, and I found myself  – along with two of the staff members – planning a grand movement called Pray! Shirt Fridays.  You can read the background information by clicking here.

Friday night, Aug 10

I could hardly sleep as I thought and prayed about what needed to be done.  A Facebook page (click here to see it) and a blog can start something, but where would we get the shirts?  It came to me…I need to start a business and sell the shirts.  We will give some of the money to Village Creek, and it will be a fun venture for me and the kids.  I prayed and asked God that He would make it clear if this is how I should proceed.

Saturday, Aug 11

I drove home with a van filled with boys and prayed that the huz – who had left two days before me – would either support this crazy idea or put a stop to it.  When he and I spoke about it, he said we could move forward.  We told the kids about it.  The family brainstormed about our business name (Encouragement-Ink.com).

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The boy created the logos.

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Monday, Aug 13

  • I applied for federal and state ID numbers.
  • I opened a business checking account.
  • I acquired our shirt vendor (Youth Enterprise).
  • I started researching websites.
  • I checked into our shipping options

Tuesday, Aug 14

  • I made several mistakes with the website.
  • I thought it would be fun to have a daily “prayer” quote on the Facebook page.
  • I researched the merchant services (credit card stuff) side of things.
  • I started thinking about our business cards.
  • Another post went up on the P!SF blog.

Wednesday, Aug 15

  • I chose PayPal as our credit card vendor.
  • Our shirt vendor supplied us with mock-ups of the t-shirts in our 5 colors.
  • I worked on the website and gave a few people access to check it out.
  • We nearly doubled our “likes” on the Facebook page.

Thursday, Aug 16

  • We launched the website!
  • I signed us up for Twitter (@prayshirtfriday).
  • We received our first order!

Friday, Aug 17

  • We received our second order!

Saturday, Aug 18

  • My entire family worked to create space for 500 t-shirts that start to arrive in our home this week (2 colors=200 today; 3 more colors=300 more on Friday).

We are super excited about this concept, the role that we can play in encouraging others to pray, and how God will use this to encourage us as well as others.  I am thankful that God gave me the manic energy to get this done last week.  I still worked my normal work week and then did this in the evenings and in the wee hours of the morning and the night. The week was also a week where I was not feeling well, so I am thankful for all of the strength God provided to get this all finished and ready to go.

How can you get involved?

  1. Buy a Pray! shirt

  2. Wear the shirt on Fridays

  3. Encourage others to do the same

  4. Spread the word!

I have this crazy vision of people wearing these shirts on Fridays during the Minnesota State Fair.  Wouldn’t that be cool?

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Lord, Be With Them

Graduation season in Minnesota seems to be nearing its end.  While the graduation open houses will continue through to the end of this month, most ceremonies have occurred.  As the graduates go on to their next steps, hope and dreams of all who have raised them are high.  However high our dreams are for them, their futures are out of our hands.  Although we can do our best to create networking moments, the truly best thing we can do for them is to pray earnestly.

Lord, be with them…

Last night I attended a gathering for a bride-to-be.  She and her groom-to-be are lovely and will likely have a lovely life together.  However, we all know that life has its own path, and sometimes that path is bumpy.  We cannot protect each other from the bumps, but we can be with each other on those bumps – providing encouragement along the way.  At one point during the evening, those gathered surrounded the bride-to-be and lifted her up in prayer.  The common thread of the prayers earnestly asked for the same thing.

Lord, be with them…

My daughter left this morning for day one of an occupational therapy internship with a program that provides services to those with special needs.  She has to drive a new route, will meet new people, and will have new experiences.  As her mom, I have created her experiences up to this point.  Though I had a hand in finding this one, she has done the grunt work and has made this a reality.  Today is a new day in my life as mom – one of the many to come – where I let the kids go off to jobs of their choices doing tasks that they choose.  And I am left at home doing the the only thing I can – praying.

Lord, be with them….

Though the situations are each different and point to situations out of our control, the principal remains the same.  And as I write this, I am being reminded that prayer is not only for others but can also be for me – by others as well as by me.

As I look ahead to the rest of Friday, filled with fun as well as unknowns, I whisper a silent request to the One who hears and responds.

Lord, be with me…

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