The Stirring Faith Blog

A Prayer Against Oppression

prayer against oppression

A Prayer Against Oppression

If I could go back and offer my twenty-something self, sound, biblical advice, praying against oppression would be at the top of my list. Doing so might have brought about the freedom I experience today much earlier. Decades so. Instead, I try to capitalize on conversations with twenty-somethings or thirty-somethings, or even forty to fifty-somethings struggling with the same issues.

The conversation generally goes something like this:

My friend begins to talk about her day or week. She confesses she does not feel like herself when she is in a particular environment. My friend doesn’t think one of the other women likes her. This person is much funnier and more outgoing making her everyone’s favorite, while my friend finds herself emotionally blending into the wallpaper.

I know how she feels. For years, I had layers of the same stuck to me. It’s one of the reasons I wrote Can You See Me, Now? Good news for the lonely, left out, and less than. The reality is that you and I engage in situations from work to church, and to family in which not everyone likes us. At least, they don’t seem to care what we say or do. There are others within the group who are preferred, leaving you and me in the shadows as outsiders. Often, we take these speculations and allow them free mental reign. We surmise, that if we were different then we would be enough. Heard. Seen. And known.

Advice on Man’s Oppression of my Twenty-Something Self

What I long to advise my twenty-something self is to stop blending into the wallpaper and seek divine help. On my own, I feel as if I am wearing an invisible lead jacket I cannot remove. The path forward lies in prayer, believing God can do what the Word of God declares he can do.

The Word of God shows us what we can pray to experience victory over the value and weight we give the opinions of those in our midst.

Redeem me from man’s oppression,
that I may keep your precepts. Psalm 119:134

A little further investigation helps us see the power we have before us. “Redeem” in this verse is used to denote the largest sense of deliverance. We cannot “redeem” ourselves. A source outside ourselves must come and do the work for us.

This is what the Psalmist asks for – divine intervention from “man’s oppression.” Scholars note that this particular request to be redeemed from man’s oppression is a call for freedom of opinion which is considered “the richest blessing which man can enjoy.” (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

That weight you feel? It’s real. As hard as you try, you will not be able to shake it off. But God has made a way for you and me to be the women he has created without concern for what others think or even if they don’t think about us at all.

Let’s start asking God to intervene by helping us stop the negative mindsets, the emotional heaviness, and the trips to the sidelines. Let Him teach us who we are in Christ and how to live in possession of the promises purchased for us.

A Prayer Against Man’s Oppression

Lord, God, prayer against oppression

Today my prayer is straightforward like Your Word on the issue. Intervene in the life of my friend today. I pray you will deliver her from her care and concern about how others ignore her, speak to her negatively, or treat her as if she doesn’t quite measure up. Redeem her from the heaviness of it all because she cannot free herself. Let man’s oppression have no hold. Replace the outside assessments and even her self-assessments, with truth. Teach her how you see her, what makes her special in your sight, and what a gift she is. Transform her inner understanding to such a degree she can walk out in the confidence of who you are making her become. Show her who she is in your sight. Let her know you see her, you think she’s exquisite. And your assessment, alone, matters.

In your glorious Name, Amen.

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Times of testing

Asking for Blessing

asking for blessing

Asking for Blessing

Have you ever prayed for a blessing? Is it narcissistic, or might it be exactly what God entices us to do? If you had asked me a few years ago, I would answer that it seems self-seeking and inappropriate. But today, the evidence in Scripture outways my feelings on the issue. The bottom line is that there exists a precedent for asking for a blessing and asking big.

Consider God’s appearance to Solomon:

At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, “Ask what I shall give you.” 1 Kings 3:5

Then Jesus makes the same offer to a blind man:

And Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said to him, “Rabbi, let me recover my sight.”Mark 10:51

Somehow I am able to argue my way to figure that was then and doesn’t mean now and me. But then I noticed Caleb, the one who, with Joshua, believed God would give the Promised Land over to the Israelites. It is said of Caleb that he had a different spirit and followed God wholeheartedly, so he was able to enter the land while all others save Joshua, perished.

Two Times Blessing

Two times in Scripture we learn that this same Caleb has a daughter who was given in marriage to a valiant warrior. For a wedding present, her father gave her some property — but it didn’t have any water. This beloved daughter goes to her father and does the very thing I wouldn’t think to do. She asks for a blessing. 

And she got off her donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?” 

She said to him, “Give me a blessing. Since you have given me the land of the Negeb, give me also springs of water.” And he gave her the upper springs and the lower springs. Joshua 15:18-19

The fact that we have this exchange recorded two times in the Bible communicates, we should take notice. Here is a daughter, dearly loved, who just received a fabulous present. But in order for her to make the best use of it, she needs water. Does she sulk, complain, or cry? No. Although she hesitates by trying to send her new hubby on the bold errand, her father directly addresses her–the daughter he loves.

She asks for a blessing.

Specifically, a spring of water. Her father gives her two.

This my friend, is what struck me. The Bible offers us this simple story of a girl given a wedding present, who goes back and asks for more. Does she deserve it? No. But can she more fully live out God’s purpose for her if this need for water is met? Yes. Is this a father who loves giving good gifts to his children? As the only man designated as someone who loves God wholeheartedly, I believe we can say yes.

God sees you and me in the same light this father viewed his daughter. When she asks for such a bold and right blessing, he gives her twice as much as she requested.

That is the kind of heavenly father you and I have in Jesus.

A question for us is then, are we asking like a beloved daughter? In light of the examples given us in Scripture, you and I have the privilege of asking our father for a blessing. It is a good and right thing to pray. Today, I would like to do just that.

A Prayer for Blessing

Lord,

Today we bring to you our desires. Not simply our needs, Lord. On the basis of the precedent weasking for blessing have in Your Word, I am asking, on behalf of my sister, that you give her a blessing. In Your own way, I ask that you communicate how beloved she is to you. Show her her worth in Your sight. Grant my request on her behalf. We know more from You is undeserved. You have given enough. But what if she has a field and it needs a water source to do and be everything You have ordained? What if You wanting her to trust You enough, believing You are good enough to give a blessing for the asking? On the basis of Who You are and what You have done in the past, give her a blessing.

In the glorious and powerfully able Name of Jesus,

Amen

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The Journey Toward Waiting WellConquering Chaos

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You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

Times of testing

Prayer for a Path Forward

path forward

Prayer for a Path Forward

Are you a morning person?

Honestly, mornings have never been my jam. I would rather stay up until 2:00 AM than get up before seven. Although marrying a morning person did improve my bearish behavior, it wasn’t until I picked up a pattern in Scripture that I left my deviant ways behind.

Somewhere around two kids and a dog, I found myself spent. As a young mom trying to finish school while working part-time, I was exhausted. Long days followed late nights. That’s when I realized something was missing. It dawned on me the Bible never records Jesus staying up late working on a project, like me, too bleary-eyed to pray in the morning. I supposed Jesus was a morning person. Still, the blaring absence communicated there might be something to starting the day in prayer instead of downcast despondence. So, I set about mending my night-owlish ways to do just that.

Lessons Learned on the Path Forward

Spending focused time in prayer is where you and I grow by God’s grace. Those moments are more than giving voice to what concerns us. They are the building blocks of relationships. When Jesus relates his analogy of the vine to the branches, he makes clear there is no fruit found on branches that don’t stay connected to the vine. The point is to live in the vine. It is a picture of a close relationship between God, the vinedresser, and the followers of Christ developed by spending time together.

Chances are, the hours in your days and nights are consumed. There is nothing left by the time your head hits the pillow. I get it. I too have tried to squeeze twenty-seven hours into my allotted twenty-four. And it’s not making me more like Jesus. I need a better path forward. Likely, you do, too.

Let me experience your faithful love in the morning, for I trust in you. Reveal to me the way I should go because I appeal to you. Psalm 143:8

The Psalmist reminds us that when we begin praying in the morning to grow in relationship with God, we can know his faithful love by experience.

When you and I make meeting with God a top priority, before we are spent and exhausted, we reap benefits. Those first moments of the day allow us to pour out our hearts, leave our concerns, and request guidance in knowing which way to go. As we listen, we begin to experience more of God. I don’t understand how it works, but this approach is the one the Psalmist took, Jesus lived, and the way he paved four to live a fruitful life.

The Psalmist is like us in that he wants this reality in his own life – to experience more of God and for direction, so he asks for it.

Prayer for a Path Forward

path forward

Dear Lord,

Today I pray for my fellow night-owl. I pray for the one burning her candle down to the nub, still breathless, never finding time to be alone with You. Or if she does, it’s at random times when she thinks of it. Show her a path forward. Give her a solution for making meeting with you her priority. Draw near so that she will know by experience just how faithful is your love for her. Lead her and direct her ways. Reveal yourself to her in a way she can recognize and understand it comes from a God who is crazy about her.

For all of this I ask in the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Have you received my FREE gift to you? Get 3 resources to help you experience more of God in your everyday life. It’s filled with practical helps for living out what really matters.

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The Journey Toward Waiting WellConquering Chaos

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You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

Times of testing

 

When Your Happy Goes Missing

when your happy goes missing

Do you pursue happy? If you are anything like other Americans, you ponder and crave merriment more than success or true love. Happiness has been deemed our life passion as a culture. Tragically, studies show we are the most unhappy we have been in over 50 years.

The past few years have taken more than an emotional toll on most–the effects of which have been astounding. It’s left more than the melancholy lacking in the joy department. Lately, a handful of precious souls confided they had no joy. And they didn’t know what to do to get it.

What about you? Do you find joy elusive?

How important is being happy or finding joy to the Christian, anyway?

The longtime pastor and prolific writer, John Pipe, has written volumes on it, concluding that joy in God for the believer is an optional add-on for the Super Devoted, but an essential aspect of the Christian’s faith.

“The pursuit of joy in God is not optional. It is not an “extra” that a person might grow into after he comes to faith. It is not simply a way to “enhance” your walk with the Lord. Until your heart has hit upon this pursuit, your “faith” cannot please God. It is not saving faith. Saving faith is the confidence that if you sell all you have and forsake all sinful pleasures, the hidden treasure of holy joy will satisfy your deepest desires. Saving faith is the heartfelt conviction not only that Christ is reliable, but also that He is desirable. It is the confidence that He will come through with His promises and that what He promises is more to be desired than all the world.”― John Piper, Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist

I can almost hear you cry, “YEEESSSS! THAT’S WHAT I WANT!”

Getting there is the more challenging phenomenon, isn’t it?

When you find your happy has gone missing, don’t feel all is lost. There is a proven way forward, but it will be a fight. There is nothing the enemy would like better than for you to question God’s promises, His reliability, His ableness, and His desirability – living dissatisfied and unhappy.

The First Step Back to Happiness

A first step in the right direction is to follow the lead of those who have gone before us. The Psalmist writes,

Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2Preserve my life, for I am godly;
save your servant, who trusts in you—you are my God.
3Be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all the day.
4Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
5For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you. Psalm 86:1-5

Notice the fourth verse:

4Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.

I especially like it from the Amplified Version:

Make me, your servant, to rejoice, O Lord; for to you do I lift myself up.

When you find yourself unhappy or joyless, do what the Psalmist does. Pray. Ask God for what you don’t have. As you do, turn your eyes upward toward who He is. It may not seem possible today, but if you make this your own regular prayer – you will grow in finding Him desirable. It’s the very thing He wants for you.

For more on desiring God and joy – find a book by John Piper. He has dedicated his life to helping us in this glorious pursuit.

Today, allow me to pray this Scripture over you.

when your happy goes missingA Prayer Back to Joy and Happiness

Heavenly Father,

You know the heart represented here. Only You know what she has experienced. But I petition You on her behalf that she will find You the most desirable thing in all of life. I ask You to gladden her soul and make her rejoice because she belongs to You. Transform her heart. Lighten the load. Help her find happiness in You so much so that it cannot be contained.

For all of this I ask in the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Have you received my FREE gift to you? Get 3 resources to help you experience more of God in your everyday life. It’s filled with practical helps for living out what really matters.

DOWNLOAD NOW

If you would like to become a part of the private FB group, She Prays, we would love to have you. Click the image to join.

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Don’t forget to check out the latest FREE reading plan available from YouVersion?Hey there Girlfriend Days 1

She has over TWENTY different reading plans for you to choose from. Just click on the images below to check it out:

The Journey Toward Waiting WellConquering Chaos

If you like She Prays for battling fear you will like finding light

You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

Times of testing

 

 

Praying for Work

Praying for Work Banner

Praying for Work

In case you are just finding us here, my name is Cheri Strange. Stick around and check out the rest of the site (Be sure to grab hold of the FREE Book Bundle before you leave). I’m so glad you are with me today. The purpose of the blog on Fridays is to take Scripture and pray it over you. Each week I select a short passage or verse from the Bible that is naturally as written, or that can be turned into a prayer. After a short discourse on the page of how the particular passage might relate to you and me today, I offer a prayer over whoever is reading. Today we are praying for work.

The reality is that you may not have people in your life praying for you. As a believer in Christ, I want you to experience the power of God’s Word spoken over your life at least one time per week. I am praying this is five minutes of encouragement just for you.

She Prays

That’s all there is to it. Every Friday you will now find us right here.

Today, I want to look at two verses I have been praying in my own devotional time for a long time.

Scripture for Praying for Work

Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us;
yes, establish the work of our hands! Psalm 90:16-17

Moses is the author of these words, and he is praying over the people. The first thing we can take from his prayer is that it is well and good to ask God to show us what work He wants us to be about. I’m not talking about employment with pay, but rather any work, vocational or otherwise.

I recognize my own deficiency in this area. Frankly, I’m not smart enough to know what work is the most beneficial for the limited days He has granted me on this planet. I am not serious-minded enough to select the eternal over the superficial ON MY OWN. This prayer beckons me to bring my blank agenda before Him as I am praying for the day, and beyond, allowing Him to make my plan. Right here the Bible offers a precedent to ask, letting His work be shown to us, His people. But this unveiling is not simply for you and me. It’s also for our children.

When God does something incredible in my life, the event doesn’t happen in a vacuum. For sure, it can be a private matter. But I can ask that God be demonstrative with it, like Moses. I can ask that it be so flamboyant, in your face, apparent that God is working through me and my surroundings that my children can’t help but see His glorious power through it all.

When God moves in your life and those in the next generation witness the change, the experience builds their belief and trust in a God who is worthy of it. And if these two elements were not enough, Moses offers more we can utilize in our own lives.

Oh, Yes! There’s More

We can ask that He show us favor in these endeavors and that we not fail. Moses calls on God to establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands! In other words, grow it down deep. Keep us from giving up. Give us what we need to do what He calls us to do.

Who doesn’t need a powerful and effective prayer that asks for God to establish your work, to make His power and presence in it to be recognizable, to grant favor in the working, and the strength to keep going until it is finished? What a gift we have in this Psalm.

Write these verses down. Get them into a place you can use them in your prayer time regularly. See what God will do when you begin to pray His Word back to Him. And do let us hear about it!

Praying for Work

Praying for WorkLord,

Today we bring to you our efforts, our agenda, and our life endeavors. I specifically life up my friend reading. Illuminate the work you have specifically hewed out for her using her skill set, background, deficiencies, along with her faith to rely on you for what she cannot do. Let it be known to her. Make your presence be so apparent that her spiritual and physical children cannot miss or deny your power through it all.

I ask for favor on behalf of this one. Whatever is standing in the way, clear it. If there are problems work them out. If she has fears, calm them. Doubts, reassure her. Give her the favor of the Lord our God and establish this work you are entrusting her to do. Establish it long and deep. Help her know it is from You, bringing with it a confident hope and a longing for Your eternal purposes for her life.

In the glorious and powerfully able Name of Jesus,

Amen

Have you received my FREE gift to you? Get 3 resources to help you experience more of God in your everyday life. It’s filled with practical helps for living out what really matters.

DOWNLOAD NOW

If you would like to become a part of the private FB group, She Prays, we would love to have you. Click the image to join.

glimpses of she prays

Don’t forget to check out the latest FREE reading plan available from YouVersion?

hey there girlfriend

Did you know Cheri has over TWENTY different reading plans for you to choose from? Just click on the images below to check them out:

The Journey Toward Waiting WellConquering Chaos

If you like She Prays for battling fear you will like finding light

You can meet Cheri on the She Yearns blog for more truth-saturated, Gospel-centered encouragement like this:

Times of testing