Tag Archives: Prayer

You Can Call Me Peter

Among Bible characters, I have often identified with Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. I can easily spend time in contemplation about God or spiritual matters, essentially sitting at the feet of Jesus, while the chores of the day go unnoticed.

I have also identified with the apostle John, who referred to himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” I know that Jesus loves me in the same way. Plus I love John’s gospel, epistles, and account of his vision in Revelation. I love the way he writes and his focus on the deity of Christ, and I identify with him because of my desire to do the same in my writing.

But this week I found myself identifying with a Bible character I never really identified with before. And that is the apostle Peter.

In Bible Study Fellowship we are studying the book of Matthew, and there is much about the character and behavior of Peter in that book. Last week we were studying Matthew 26. In that chapter, at the Last Supper, Jesus warns all the disciples that they will fall away that very night, and Peter fervently denies this, saying he will die with Jesus if he has to, even if all the others do fall away. Jesus then tells Peter he will deny Him three times before the rooster crows the next morning.

In the next scene, the little band of disciples is off to Gethsemane following their Master after a long day. In the garden, Jesus goes off to pray but brings Peter, John, and James with Him. He tells them to stand watch and pray, but all three fall asleep instead of praying. Jesus awakens them and again tells them to pray because “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Then He goes a little further to pray again His heartbreaking prayer that the cup of the Father’s wrath be taken from Him if it is possible. Jesus returns to the three to find them again sleeping and not praying.

In the next scene, Jesus has submitted to the Father’s will and awakens the disciples yet again to go and face His betrayer and the crowd that is coming to arrest Him. In spite of Jesus repeatedly telling the disciples that His arrest, crucifixion, and ultimate resurrection are the Father’s plan, Peter takes matters into his own hands and pulls out his sword, lopping off the ear of one of the crowd. Jesus rebukes him and tells him to put the sword away. Then as Jesus (and Old Testament prophecy) predicted, the disciples, including Peter, all scatter.

Two scenes later we see Peter again, slinking around the fire outside the courtyard where Jesus is being unjustly tried by the high priest. Three times Peter is asked if he was with Jesus, and three times Peter denies that he even knows Him, just as Jesus predicted.

Many times this year in BSF, something has happened in my life that fits right into whatever the lesson is for that week. Maybe God knows I learn better when the lesson is directly relatable to my life.

This week is no different as I find myself identifying with Peter. This bold and sometimes hot-headed disciple faced a great difficulty. And though he was warned by Jesus about what was to happen and admonished to pray so that he would not fall into temptation, Peter did not heed that warning.

I faced a difficult situation this week. I felt the Spirit’s nudge to pray about it, and to do so earnestly. Yet I did not pray. Although I didn’t literally sleep instead, I might as well have because I filled the time I should have been praying with useless activities. Then I found myself unprepared to face the situation. Instead of meeting it calmly, with love and grace, I exhibited my Peter-like hot-headedness. I met the situation with anger and fear instead of forgiveness and faith.

The good news is that if I repent of my sin and turn to Jesus, He will forgive me and restore me, just as He did Peter. And His plan will prevail in spite of my failings, just as the plan of redemption through His crucifixion and resurrection prevailed in spite of Peter’s failings.

2 Comments

Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life

The Disciples’ Prayer – A Poem

My dear blogging friend Bryan Lowe posted some great quotes on discipleship the other day. My favorite was this one from Gilbert K. Chesterton: “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” I have to admit that it hit home a bit because I have not yet attained the Christian ideal, and in part it is because it is difficult. Discipleship has a price; it is a price that is truly a bargain but a price nonetheless. But I refuse to quit trying, because I am “confident of this, that he who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (NIV).

The Disciples’ Prayer

Help me, dear Jesus,
to keep trying
to never stop following
no matter how difficult the road

Awaken me, O Lord,
as one to be taught
each morning, each day
that I may learn to follow You

Teach me, Holy Spirit,
the gravity of my need
the truth of Your grace
the magnitude of Your love

Blind me, O Lord,
to the obstacles in my way
that I may see only You and
confidently pursue Your ideal for me

5 Comments

Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, Poetry

Fire Season – An Elfje

The western United States experiences wildfires every year, but this year it seems to be particularly bad. Several firefighters have lost their lives fighting these blazes, some started by natural causes such as lightning strikes, others started by careless people. On our way to eastern Washington this weekend the sky was redder than I’ve ever seen it going through the Gorge, and I wondered if it was in part due to smoke from these wildfires. It inspired this short poem that I hope is a reminder to keep the brave men and women fighting these fires in our prayers.

Decided to share this for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night. Head over and check out some of the other great poetry linked there.

Fire Season

Crimson
Twilight sky
Burning hot flames
Smoke fills firemen’s eyes
Wildfire

23 Comments

Filed under Faith, Life, Poetry

My Dear Child – A Letter-Poem

The Poetics prompt at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a letter-poem. Mary suggested a number of options, but I decided to write a letter from God to one of His weary children.

My Dear Child

My Dear child,

I see that you are trying to be
just as good as you can be
but what you clearly do not see
is you can’t do this without Me

I know that you are wondering why
I do not stop what makes you cry
but if on Me you will rely
every tear that falls I’ll dry

I love you more than you’ll ever know
in you holiness I want to grow
and though your progress may seem slow
the path you walk is the way you must go

I will comfort you when times are tough
I will watch over you when life is rough
I will rescue you when you’ve had enough
What’s too big for you, to Me is small stuff

Grace and peace,
Your Heavenly Father

5 Comments

Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, Poetry

Life Is Fragile – A Poem of Hope

This mortal life is fragile
housed in these jars of clay

Here we are living the good life
then at the end of the day
we may be struck down, bewildered
by the impermanence of our stay

Yet we know we are not abandoned
by the Truth, the Life, and the Way
The life He promised is eternal
as for grace and mercy we pray

This mortal life is fragile
yet He lives in these jars of clay

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. 2 Corinthians 4:7-11 (NIV).

A dear friend is in the hospital in critical condition due to complications from a routine surgery. He was supposed to be in and out in a day, but he is likely to be in the hospital for 2 to 3 weeks. It got me thinking about the fragility of life, and this passage from Corinthians came to mind. As I read it, I was reminded of my friend’s strong faith in Jesus and the comfort that comes from knowing he is in the hands of the Great Physician.

9/24/13 Update: My friend is now home after 10 weeks in the hospital and rehab. He still has a long way to go, but has made great progress. I’ve decided to share this poem for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night today in celebration of the power of prayer in my friend’s recovery.

18 Comments

Filed under Faith, Family, Jesus, Life, Poetry

Break’s Over – The Silence Speaks

The last time I posted was on March 30, the day before Easter, at the end of my 40 poems for Lent challenge. I never intended to go three months without posting, but I guess I needed the break. A lot has happened this year to keep me otherwise occupied, and I’ve spent a lot of time just listening to God. But I’ve really missed blogging so now the break’s over.

It’s funny how the longer I went without blogging, the harder it has been to get back to it. I think I just put so much pressure on myself to make this post so profound that I couldn’t come up with something I thought was worth writing about. So I finally decided to just start with a simple poem about how sometimes it’s more important to listen than to speak. In the coming weeks perhaps I’ll share what I’ve been hearing.

The Silence Speaks

Sometimes I feel compelled to speak
Often, truth be told,
I talk too much,
afraid of the silence

But when I stop, perfectly still
Listening thoughtfully,
Waiting patiently,
the silence speaks
His love and grace

7/2/13 update: I decided to share this poem at dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night, which I’ve also missed over the past 3 months.

7 Comments

Filed under Blogging, Faith, Jesus, Life, Poetry

Betrayed and Denied – A Poem

Betrayed with a kiss
by one whose feet
He washed
but whose heart
remained unclean

Denied three times
by one whose feet
He washed
but who felt remorse
and was restored

May we all be like Peter
and not Judas

1 Comment

Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, Poetry

Wait for the Harvest – A Poem

When your basket is empty
and the harvest is far away
despair is all your heart recalls
and you can’t bear another day
call on the Lord of the harvest
He will hear you when you pray

In times of great tribulation
your faith the Lord is growing
His perfect and pleasing will
is what He desires your knowing
He will deliver harvest aplenty
fill your basket to overflowing

* * * * *

In the book of Ruth, Naomi finds herself with an empty basket, an empty life. After traveling to a foreign land, her husband dies and then her two sons die. She is left with only her two foreign daughters-in-law. Her life is bitter and barren. But then she returns, with her daughter-in-law Ruth, to her homeland in Bethlehem just at the beginning of the barley harvest. By the end of the story the Lord has refilled her basket with many blessings. During our group discussion of chapter 1 last Monday evening the idea for this poem was born.

4/2/13 update: I’ve shared this for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night today. Head over and check out some other poetry.

10 Comments

Filed under Faith, Family, Jesus, Life, Poetry

Last Breath – A Cinquain

Breathing
in, out again
no other sound so dear
except if you spoke, one more time,
I’d hear.

I wrote this cinquain for dVerse Poets Pubs FormForAll. It is my attempt to capture my experience of Thursday last week as I sat in my sister’s hospital room, praying she had it in her to keep fighting cancer, but knowing she did not.

10 Comments

Filed under Faith, Family, Life, Poetry

Refuge – A Found Poem

Where you go I will go,
and where you stay I will stay.
Your people will be my people
and your God my God.

The Lord is my refuge.

May the Lord repay you
for what you have done.

The Lord is my refuge.

May you be richly rewarded
by the Lord, the God of Israel,
under whose wings you have come
to take refuge.

The Lord is my refuge.

He has not stopped showing
his kindness to the living and the dead.

The Lord is my refuge.

Praise be to the Lord,
who this day has not left you
without a guardian-redeemer.

The Lord is my refuge.

May he become famous throughout Israel!
He will renew your life
and sustain you in your old age.

The Lord is my refuge and my redeemer.

This found poem is from various verses throughout the book of Ruth, which we just started studying this week in my Bible study class.

21 Comments

Filed under Faith, Life, Poetry