Answering the question: Why pray?

Last week I reached the end of Why Pray? by John F. DeVries. The author is the founder of Mission India. If anyone knows the value of prayer, I imagine it's someone who has founded a missions organization.

Though the book offers a 40 day journey to answer the "Why pray?" question, I took a longer route. I still enjoyed the journey.

Most Christians say they believe in prayer but admit they should spend more time in prayer. Count me in that group. These thoughts from the book helped rekindle my passion for prayer.

"I believe that we limit ourselves to a boring and predictable life when we eliminate God's surprises in answer to our prayers and ask Him merely to bless our plans."

"When we should be walking and talking with God, we're racing off to something that seems very important at the moment."

"The Western church may be compared to a little boy trying to fly a kite on a windless day. He runs furiously up and down the sidewalk, pulling his little kite behind him, and as long as he runs, the kite flies. The moment the little fellow stops, the kite plunges to the ground. His problem? The wind isn't blowing… We are too often trying to carry the church and its programs by our own efforts. The wind of the Spirit is not blowing."

"Every Christian should be praying for three kinds of homes: Jerusalem homes, Samaria homes, and worldwide homes (see Acts 1:8). Jerusalem homes are the ones we live in. They consist of people we meet with regularly—next-door neighbors, friends, coworkers, and people at church. Samaria homes are the ones nearby, with which we seldom have contact. These may be suburbia or the inner city. Worldwide homes are all the other places and people."

"The work of a praying Christian is to turn the keys in the gates of heaven and hell by praying. Every time you think prayer is not significant, just think of being locked outside your house or car on a winter day without the keys."

You can find DeVries' book on

Monday – July 15, 2014

A few of her favorite things

My mother-in-law died yesterday morning. In Helen's honor, here are a few of her favorite things.

She liked family trees, family photos, and family gossip.
Family reunions, family heirlooms, and new shoes.
She liked sewing machines. fabric stores, and tissue-paper patterns.  
Clip-on earrings, fancy pins, and snappy two-piece suits.
She liked well-pressed shirts and well-sprayed hair.
Sears catalogs, UPS packages, and new clothes.
And new shoes.

She liked church services, old hymns, and Billy Graham sermons.  
Open Windows devotionals, missionary birthday lists, and Pillsbury cinnamon rolls from the can.
She liked calendars on the wall, obituaries in the paper, and books on a shelf.
Greeting cards, address books, and extra ballpoint pens.

She collected funeral programs and refrigerator magnets,
Owls and windmills and old rubber bands.
She shopped for gifts she planned to give. She shopped for things she forgot to give.
She liked Avon colognes, Avon after-shaves, and Avon Christmas ornaments.
Actually, she liked everything Avon made. And she liked new shoes.

She liked lace doilies and antique lamps, crocheted pillows and anything made by a child.
She liked plastic shoe boxes, free notepads, and small spiral notebooks by the phone.
Sturdy coffee cups, Precious Moments figurines, and almost every knick-knack manufactured in China.
She prized vacuumed floors, clean kitchen counters, and tidy pantry shelves.
Bulging purses, extra closets, and side-by-side recliners.

She liked making apple butter, apricot butter, and peanut brittle,
Lime jello salad, orange balls and date cake, and anything made with pecans.
She enjoyed fresh cantaloupe and watermelon in the summer,
beef stew and hot spiced tea in the winter.
She liked pot roast for Sunday lunch and leftovers for Sunday supper,
fried chicken at Chew Den and the salad bar at Golden Corral.
She liked homemade pickles, homemade ice cream, homemade banana bread, and
Betty Crocker frosting in white plastic tubs. And new shoes.

She liked flowers in her yard, flowers in her house, and flowers at the cemetery.
She liked picnics and birthday parties, Easter dresses and Thanksgiving dinners.
Christmas socials and Christmas gifts,
Christmas newsletters and her husband's Christmas lights.
She enjoyed long-distance phone calls and long, handwritten letters.
Chats with friends, chats with neighbors, and chats with strangers.
She enjoyed days filled with hard work followed by evenings sleeping in front of the TV.
She liked to sing the birthday song to her children over the phone,
and she liked to call her grandkids "Sugar."

She loved helping others, serving her Lord, and feeling like she made a difference in the world.
She loved her family and her friends, her church and her neighbors.
She also loved new shoes.

Saturday – May 31, 2014