Cheri's Blog

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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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

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The Journey Toward Waiting WellConquering Chaos

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Times of testing

Praying for Boldness

Praying for Boldness

Praying for Boldness

Did you know that the most popular foods in America are hamburgers? Hot dogs, French fries, and Oreo cookies fall in line right behind burgers. I’m sort of disappointed tacos did not make the top ten, but I find these statistical matters interesting. A researcher and question-asker, I am at the core, so it shouldn’t surprise you that today’s prayer focus resulted from hovering over some revealing data points. Today, more than ever, there is a need to pray for boldness.

In the past year, Pew released alarming findings on the number of people in the American population who have no religious affiliation. That segment has grown to 29%. This upswing results from an increasing secularization of society, which affects church attendance as well as beliefs and practices. In the past ten years, attendance has decreased by half. (I think those numbers might be askew considering Covid driving most to virtual participation, but I cannot ignore a significant decrease.)

With a rising percentage of those with no religious affiliation, there has never been more of a need to share our faith and be involved in discipleship. George Barna and his colleagues would agree. They found Christians avoid making disciples. A large percentage said they have never been asked, and another chunk confessed they had never given it much thought. Barna writes:

“Interestingly, a lack of external motivation becomes the chief obstacle for Christians who are being discipled themselves but aren’t helping someone else grow in the same way.”

In other words, they found Christians often just need a push to engage in relationships ripe for disciple-making. Among hesitations like feeling ill-equipped, they lack boldness. That’s where you and I come in.

How do we attain such boldness?

Boldness is not a magical quality in Christians just because you follow Jesus, but it is required. Paul and others recognized that to be a part of God’s work in making disciples, boldness was required and that they could not possess it on their own.

Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. 1 Thessalonians 2:2

So how did they possess it? Paul gives us a clue in his letter to the church as Ephesus.

Paul’s Request

and also (pray) for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, Ephesians 6:19

I get the rub. This is easier to write on a blog in the safety of my office than to walk next door to get flat rejected. But here is what you and I must determine: If we truly believe that Jesus is Who He says He is, and He can do in others what He has done in us, then we cannot remain timid but ask God to do something in us that is supernatural.

Today, let us follow Paul’s example to pray for a boldness we do not possess to proclaim the gospel wherever and to whomever God chooses (even the difficult neighbor next door). Pray for me and I will pray for you.

Praying for Boldness

boldnessFather,

As we near the celebration of our national independence, please hear this prayer of our dependence. There are so many in our midst that do not know Who you are or what you can do. In fact, there may be more than ever before. So, today, we take your Word and lift up this request for you to make us bold. Specifically, I am requesting a supernatural boldness for my sweet friend to possess and know how to utilize. Give her a confidence to engage in spiritual conversations, have a willingness to ask and answer the difficult questions that arise, and point people to Jesus. Let her be a strategic part of turning the numbers back on themselves—bringing those in her sphere of influence to the saving power you, alone, offer. Help her trust that You can do this. Give her opportunities. Remove her timidity and reassure her with your presence that You are worth any risk.

In the glorious and unmatched name of Jesus.

Amen,

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Times of testing

A Prayer Against Distraction

cover against distraction

A Prayer Against Distraction

She Prays on Fridays

What’s your plan for the day? I’ll bet you are multitasking and fighting to get everything done on your “To Do” list. How’s that going? If you and I are anything alike, half the battle is me and my personal wanderings. I spend too much time fighting against distraction, landing in a wilderness—miles, and miles from where I intended to go.

The “what if’s,” “maybe I should,” “ooh, look at that,” “oh, I forgot about X,” cat videos and social media scrolling, creep in, seeping into my thoughts and my thumbs, turning my actions away from my original agenda, and often in an opposing direction.

I know you get it because current data supports my predicament. Researchers have found that 47% of our days are spent in this wilderness wandering. Apparently, this wandering is so common and natural that we don’t even realize it is happening.

This finding shouldn’t be surprising in light of John 10:10.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

How better for the enemy to steal our focus and attention, far from experiencing the life Jesus came to give, than to lead us into distraction before we realize it’s even happening?

If you and I desire, not only to become the most productive versions of ourselves but women who live in abundance through Christ, we need to do what is unnatural, spending our efforts working against distraction.

The Good News in our Battle Against Distraction

The good news is that we are not alone. This recent discovery by researchers is nothing new. We don’t have a discourse on the thinking behind David’s writing of Psalm 119, but we can deduce where his problem areas surfaced. He aggressively attacks the battle with thought and action.

  1. He recognizes the problem.
  2. Then he sees the solution in seeking hard after God.
  3. In that process, he prays –affirming his battle plan.

I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. Psalm 119:15 ESV

But fixing his eyes and mind on God’s truth is not his only defense. Not only does David go on the offensive, he makes some defensive moves.

Turn my eyes from looking at what is worthless; give me life in your ways. Psalm 119:36

This one Psalm has found its way into my prayers regularly – for the sole reasons I expressed above. I can’t make good decisions without divine intervention. My deep need and depravity and longing for what seems natural – overpowers me and I lose.

Unless I do exactly what David models here.

How to Win Against Distraction

Recognize the problem

Attack the problem by doing what is not natural

Praying for God to enable me to be victorious in seeking Him over that which seeks to weaken me, shrink my reach, make me ineffective, and live a life absent of abundance.

I find Proverbs 4:25 to be helpful as I think and move and pray.

Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Proverbs 4:25

We could go on looking to other places in the Bible that illustrate this same fight – and hear from different people from various centuries who knew the battle well. From Job to the writers of Psalms, Solomon, Luke, Matthew, Peter, Paul, and the author of Hebrews, to name a few, the battle against distraction is as old as time and common to all peoples.

Today, let’s advance toward abundant life in Jesus through prayer – to help us do what we cannot and experience what we might miss otherwise.

A Prayer Against Distractions

Against Distraction pinLord,

I am so thankful for your timeless Word that meets us in our culture, our circumstances, and our need. Today I pray over my friend what I, myself need. Help her to recognize her need to move away from distraction and toward You. And as she does, make her away of what is stealing her attention and affection from you. If it’s too much on her agenda, give her the wisdom to know what NOT to do.

When her mind wanders into the wilderness of wastefulness, help her see how and when it’s happening. Instead, draw her focus to your word. Make it clear, easy to understand, and enable her to embrace what you give over every natural inclination that beds down in her heart. Show her how to meditate on you and what it means to fix her eyes on you. And at the same time, turn her attention away from all that will not last. Supernaturally enable her to look directly forward, and gaze on you and the eternal purposes you have planned. Give her life in your ways, and nothing less.

Thank you for transforming her thought life to experience the abundance that lies in you.

In the glorious and unmatched 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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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?

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 Through Times of Testing

Times of testing

Praying Through Times of Testing

Sometimes you can read a chapter or a passage of verses in the Bible that feels like the person writing is sitting near you, telling you a story. That’s how Psalm 66 lands on me. It’s conversational as if the writer is talking to an actual person, and he’s telling the account passionately in just a few words. In these moments we have together, I want to pick up on that passion by sharing his words with you, and then use them as a framework for a prayer you and I can pray through times of testing.

Psalm 66:5-12

Come and see what God has done:
he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
6He turned the sea into dry land;
they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
7who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah

8Bless our God, O peoples;
let the sound of his praise be heard,
 Psalm 66:5-8

The Invitation

The first section calls the friend or audience to come in close. He wants you to see with your mind and heart what God has accomplished. No. They were not there to experience the wonders described, but they have been the benefactors. They didn’t watch the people cross the Red Sea, but they are a part of the community that came from that legacy.

Because of what God has done (that which we did not see but can experience the effects) the writer drawer on the listener to raise her eyes upward. Stop and praise the Lord in a manner He can hear it from you.  Then he gives us some reasons that are not locked away in a history book or grandpa’s storytime.

9who has kept our soul among the living
and has not let our feet slip.

God has kept you alive.

Think of all your near misses. Do any come to mind? Personally, I have experienced more than enough to legitimize this point. I’ve walked away from a plane crash in was in, car accidents, and tornadoes. From what I understand, as an infant, I wasn’t expected to make it out of the hospital alive. I’m sure you can think of similar accounts. The bottom line is this: If you are breathing, it’s on purpose for a purpose. Girl, Praise God!

Then our writer does something you and I don’t always like to reflect upon or raise our hands in the air to celebrate.

10For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried.
11You brought us into the net;
you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
12you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;

God uses tests, nets, and enemies

According to Scripture, there are times in our lives when God tests us. He brings us “into the net.” Not that He leads us into situations so that we will fail or will be destroyed, but He will allow circumstances, difficulties, bad guys, and impossible situations access to us without intervening. In other words, God allows adversity that has been at times, unbearable, varied, and seemingly constant–just one thing after another, on purpose.

I wouldn’t do it His way. You and I might even say, we don’t like His way. It’s been awful at times. Crushing. Painful. And difficult. Yet, the Psalmist is not finished:

yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

Times of TestingYes, we go through the times of testing, but He does not leave us there in the net, or in the storm, fire, or dying under the weight of it all. I don’t believe the Psalmist is saying there is a particular location on this planet this side of heaven that is absent of drama, problem-free, with no more nets. But there is abundance in reliance on Jesus through the mess, looking upward at Him through the difficulties rather than focusing on what doesn’t last and cannot save. And it’s right here for us to use as we pray.

This one is a prayer that helps turn our eyes upward, speaking these things back to God in gratitude. If we are in the middle of the difficulties, buried under the weight, we can pray for Him to be true to this word. Also, we can pray for this victory and the presence of God over someone else, which is what I am about to do for you.

A Prayer for Times of Testing

Lord Jesus,she prays

In this moment, I bless your Name. Thank you for the mighty works you have done to get us here today, praying, and able to know your Word freely. More specifically, I thank you for the life of my friend reading. For Your perfect purposes You have preserved her. Help her live in complete assurance and freedom. There is no accident, coincidence, or mistake that You have provided for her presence, her abilities, her availabilities, and her positioning.

We know that to ready her, equip her, and to show her to Whom she belongs, You have tested and will test her. In fact, You may be testing her now, allowing her to experience untold difficulties, strains and struggles we cannot alleviate. So Lord, I ask that you give her the strength to rely on You. Help her to see through to the end, keeping her eyes looking upward, and not be given to discouragement. Give her eyes to see beyong the testing toward Your abundance–whatever that looks like from Your perspective.

In the glorious and unmatched 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 with practical helps for living out what really matters.

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

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:

 when to quit