Sunday, May 27, 2007


I mentioned in that last post about Steve's website, Steve has had a ministry for many years to thousands of those who "dwell in the shadows" -- especially youth: the street punks, the cutters, the goths, the addicts. This website is just one expression of that ministry. It is not created for "church folk;" it is created for the very ones Jesus would have walked the highways and byways and back streets to find.

Steve is always looking for ways to reach out, minister, create an opportunity or a connection. He's been a great catalyst in our group in this way. One of the latest vehicles he is using to do this is through what he calls "disposable art." He is inviting/challenging our group to do what he has done -- take simple rectangles of cardboard, maybe 6 x 10 inches or so, and paint them with . . . well, with whatever the Lord gives you. Maybe something uplifting like rainbows or butterflies is your style. Maybe you would feel led to create something more somber that might reflect the pain of the hurting person who may find this. Artistic talent is NOT a requirement; but what is helpful is tuning in to the Lord, and asking for His guidance and compassion as you work.

On the other side of the cardboard, Steve encouraged us to put a verse or some words of encouragement or comfort. These will be taken to downtown spots where the homeless and hurting are known to frequent, and either handed out or left, in the hopes that the Lord by His Spirit will speak through them, and that the prayers that have been prayed as we create them will be answered. A finishing touch is a piece of wire attached to the top so the "art" can be hung somewhere.

Steve and Amber and Rusi and Ali have already handed some out. The photos above are of the front and back of one of Amber's. Making these and handing them out -- it's a simple thing. But it's something. The Lord encouraged us in scripture with a simple thing -- a cup of cool water. These pieces of disposable art in their own way may be just the refreshment and hope that a thirsty, hurting soul might need.

Steve is also a writer. Here's what he had to say about today, The Global Day of Prayer:
"I think it's cool that as the American church has lost it's focus on the real issues (prayer, outreach, seeking Christ with passion) that there is a remnant, a vibrant strand across the country and globally that is not contained by church walls. The prayer movement has many diverse expressions. It bridges the body, seems to be rising up from ground level, not top/down. Prayer is much deeper than postmodern, emerging church, seeker sensitive techiques designed to 'grow'churches. I love the fact that people are seeking the most fundamental element of the pray, to sit in God's presence."

I guess the best line to sum up this post, and maybe Steve himself, is the old bumper sticker:

Think globally; act locally.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Over a year before our weeks of non-stop prayer, I visited the prayer room at Pure Heart several times during their week of 24/7. The Lord met me each time. One of the days I was in there alone, just worshipping, listening, allowing God to speak to me through the things they had around the room, as well as the prayers, words, and pictures others had brought during the week.

They had a large cross set up, and at one point I was just kneeling in front of it, thinking of the Lord. In that moment, He gave me something I hadn't expected: a heart for the city.

I have had a heart for those who don't know Him; for the hurting; for the least and the lowest, but I can't honestly say that I had ever before had "a heart for the city" - for this city, for Phoenix, where I was born, and where my church is located.

I can't really describe what He gave me or how He gave it, it just felt like all of a sudden something became much more tangible and clearer and specific.

You never know HOW God will touch you when you come into His Presence and consciously allow Him to speak to you and minister to you. The prayer room at Pure Heart didn't have a "city station," and yet that is what God most impacted me with, His heart for this city. He used the space they had set apart, and the things they had added, to draw my heart to Him, and then spoke to me beyond what was even in front of me.

He's good like that.

Fast forward to our preparations for the week of prayer at our church. I knew all along we "had" to have a station on God's heart for the city. I had several ideas, and as time got closer I kept expecting someone, or maybe several "someones'' to come alongside me and make this station happen, as I didn't feel I would have time to on my own. So many of the other pieces I had hoped and prayed to see as part of the prayer room were coming along; but time continued to go by and this one just wasn't coming together, no matter how much I felt that it was "supposed" to or prayed that it would. I think part of me, finally, that last week of preparation, began to resign myself to the fact that it just perhaps was not going to happen.

BUT . . . at the last minute, almost literally, it came together. I had asked KT, a young woman from our church, to take some photographs for this station, months ago. And she had. I still needed some type of a structure to put them on, and a unifying theme. The structure came together in my minds eye and my husband and 16 year old son constructed it the day before the week of prayer began. It was a tall, black, two-sided free-standing board that I had them paint with black magnetic paint, which could also be written on like a chalk board.

I realized the theme had been there inside me all along -- God's heart for the lost, the hurting, the marginalized, God's love and light reaching to dark places where it was needed most. I printed off verses, as well as poems and quotes from my friend Steve's website ( - more on this later). Nathaniel, my son who helped construct the station, felt that the words, "The city is sleeping - awaken it with prayer" should be on the board. I gathered all the papers and magnets to go on it, and arranged for KT to meet me the next day with her photos, and I would arrange them and assemble the station.

It turned out that I was busy overseeing and helping the other artists and contributors as they set up their stations in the sanctuary after Sunday service, so KT pitched right in, along with my niece and some others, and after hearing my vision, totally put it all together. KT's photos were amazing, and she added other touches, like hand-lettering the saying about the city in chalk, as well as the Phoenix skyline. We also had more chalk available, as well as slips of paper and magnets, so people could add their own thoughts and prayers alongside the verses, poems, and photos.

I loved how the Lord brought it all together at the last minute, and it ended up being, as all the stations were, something that deeply impacted people, and drew their hearts to pray for others.

By the end of the two weeks the station was covered in chalk writing, and other prayers and heart-cries written on slips of paper and stuck on with magnets. One man shared how touched he was to see the words of compassion that his own young son had written in chalk on the city scape. Another young girl added her own chalk drawings of Jesus in the midst of the poems and photos reflecting pain and isolation. A woman shared the story in Sunday service of how she had spent time in the prayer room, praying for our city in front of that station. Later, as she was driving, she saw the very part of our skyline that KT had depicted in chalk on the board. The woman was so moved, she turned her car around and drove back to the church sanctuary to pray some more.

The addicted. The abused. The abusers. The lonely. The children. The elderly. The mentally ill. The bitter. The poor. The isolated. The frantic. The hopeless. The lost.

The city is sleeping. Awaken it with prayer.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Wrapped in Prayer

Angie (see previous posts) writes about a unique way we prayed for someone dear to her at a recent prayer night:

"I recently read a book entitled FABRIC OF FAITH about a prayer ministry of quilting. The concept is fascinating to me. I love the idea of someone hurting receiving a special lap quilt made just for them that was made with prayers “stitched” in as well as prayers “tied” in with the ties of the quilt. I decided to take this concept and make a small quilt for my 6 year old cousin, Kayla, who has a rare form of brain cancer and does not have a good prognosis. She just went through her first week of radiation, which is a total experiment since the doctors have little faith it will do anything but it’s ‘something’ to try. So, I made this quilt and prayed for Kayla and her family as I sewed it together. I then took it to our Thursday night prayer meeting and had everyone ‘tie’ their own prayers in as they helped tie the quilt with me. I will send it to this coming week so she will know that she is literally being covered in prayer just as the quilt will cover her tiny, sick body while she goes through cancer treatment. It is something tangible that she can keep with her. I pray it brings her incredible comfort and peace as well as encouragement. My greatest prayer is that she and her family feel God’s love and presence wrapped around them every minute of every day as they walk a journey of suffering they never would have chosen. May they know that God’s peace and strength in their weakness.
The photos above show the quilt, and then a close-up of one of the ties which was tied on with prayer by one of the members in our group. It was a special experience to touch this fabric work of art that Angie had lovingly pieced, as we prayed aloud and each tied several ties, knowing it was going to dear little Kayla. What a sweet hands-on expression of the compassionate heart of Jesus. May she feel wrapped in His love.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Highest Adoration

Years ago, Kit Danley spoke at a women's retreat and highly recommended "Disciplines for the Inner Life" by Bob Benson Sr. and Michael Benson. I searched high and low (the edition I have is out of print), and finally found a copy of it, but it was years until I really began to use and enjoy it. It is both a daily, as well as topical devotional, full of many wonderful and thought-provoking quotes and passages from a wealth of Christian writers and thinkers; it is also, in another sense, a prayer book.

As I mentioned earlier, I shared with our Thursday night group not long ago some thoughts on worship, and here is the quote from page 81 that I shared with them:

". . . the highest adoration is not occupied with the recollection of favors received and mercies extended, though they do help one be aware of the true nature of God. There is still, in all such recollection, a remnant of that self-centeredness which it should be the purpose of prayer to escape. In it, we are still thinking of God in terms of something done to "me" and for "me." We never really adore Him, until we arrive at the moment when we worship Him for what He is in Himself, apart from any consideration of the impact of His Divine Selfhood upon our desires and our welfare. Then we love Him for Himself alone." -- From An Autobiography of Prayer by Albert E. Day, quoted in Disciplines for the Inner Life

How do we ever arrive at such pure adoration? I notice so often in our prayer meetings, our times set aside for worship turn quickly into thanksgiving for blessings, or even supplication or petition or intercession. Our private prayer times are not immune from this either. It is easy to say what we want, or even to thank for what we have received; why is it sometimes hard to just focus, and worship HIM, apart from my interests?
On our own, we can't even muster the faith or sight to truly engage in worship this pure. It takes His grace, a vision of the One we love, and the cultivation of a heart that leans towards and longs for Him.

Lord, give us eyes to see YOU - Your beauty, Your power, Your glory, apart from the me-centered context we so often put You in, and therefore see You in. Help me see You for Who You are -- and not just for what You do, or for what You have done, for me.

Day's quote goes on: ". . . it is not what He has done for us or what we expect Him to do for us, but what He has been from eternity before we existed, and what He will be forever whether that "forever" includes us or not -- it is that which captivates us and evokes from us the selfless offering of self in worship. That is pure adoration."

A Prayer Quilt for our Nation

We had a great National Day of Prayer service. One of the ways we "prayed" together was to write our prayers for our nation on pieces of patriotic colored and themed scrapbook paper, which were then assembled into a prayer "quilt" and hung on the wall. Thanks, Robin, for the creative idea, and all the work cutting and assembling. Dona, who helped put our evening together, said it was so wonderful watching people, including children, come and write such heartfelt expressions for this creative corporate prayer.