Articles/talks by Ann Fitzgerald regarding the power of prayer,
the daily reading of the Bible (The Word of God)
along with seasonal church related observances
Empowered prayer June 13 , 2021 Prayer of Lament
Every Christian knows times of spiritual dryness when our prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling. It does
not matter the age, the number of years spent in study or the devotion to spiritual disciplines all
Christians experience times when God seems far away. It is in these times of silence that we learn to
Crying to God in lament is not the same as turning against God or wallowing in self pity but rather a
grievance rising from a sense of abandonment, as one forsaken by a loving parent. Of course, God will
never leave us or forsake us but will allow us to experience his perceived absence for the purpose of
purifying our heart and drawing us ever closer to himself. The prayer of lament is the honest words of a
humble heart dependent on God for mercy and comfort in this life.
Prayers of lament are recorded throughout history. The most familiar prayer of lament was spoken by
Jesus as he was crucified “My God, my God why hast though forsaken me?”
Write your own prayer of lament. Choose a prayer of lament from scripture or by a well-known follower
of Christ that resonates for you. Use it as a pattern to write a prayer, a poem, or letter to God from your
own heart in honesty and humility. Notice in these prayers that God never leaves us in the wilderness
but brings us into the light of day. Space prohibits writing out prayers I would like to share. I will write
out 1 verse from Psalm 42 and give you a list to explore.
Psalm 42 in its entirety is a psalm of lament including the psalmist’s confidence in God
Psalm 42:7 I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. But
each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to
God who gives me life.
Further prayers of lament from the Psalms, ps. 88:13-14, Ps 109:1, Ps. 13:1, and from the New Testament
see: 1 Cor 1:9, 2 Timothy 2:19, Romans 8:16
Empowered Prayer June 6, 2021 The prayer of blessing
“God bless you” is a familiar phrase to each of us but said with little recognition of its meaning. Pastor Pat has fond memories of his mother’s ‘God bless you’ as he left the house unaware that her words were a small prayer for God’s presence in his life. According to the Strong’s concordance the word bless comes from the Greek ‘makarios’ meaning to make something large or lengthy. When God blesses us he "extends" his benefits and enlarges his mercy to us. The prayer of blessing lets us be spiritually present to others in prayer asking God that his grace and favor be extended to another person.
The prayer of blessing is an exercise written by —Rev. Sidwell Mokgothu, Limpopo Synod Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and board member for Africa Upper Room Ministries.
Try it out. Begin by finding a comfortable and quiet place to pray this prayer of blessing. Take several slow, deep breaths while letting go any tension in your neck and shoulders. Let yourself rest there and savor the quiet. Pray this blessing replacing the pronoun, ‘you’, with the name of a friend, of an acquaintance, an enemy, and yourself.
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace. (numbers 6:24) 1. Pray for yourself as you let go of today’s tasks (Take a moment for several slow, deep breaths.)
- Pray for a good friend thanking God for the gift of a friend. “The LORD bless my friend________ and keep her; the LORD make his face to shine on her and be gracious to her; the LORD turn his face toward ______ and give ______ your peace.” (Take several deep breaths.)
- Pray for an acquaintance, someone you cross paths with on occasion but don’t know well. “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Take several deep breaths.)
- Pray for someone you dislike—an enemy. Imagine them in God’s loving hand. Hold them gently in your heart. Release to God any anger or tension that may arise in you. Let these feelings go by setting them free to God’s care as you pray, “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Take several deep breaths.)
- Finally, pray for all four people together—yourself, a friend, an acquaintance, and an enemy asking God’s blessing for everyone around you, to everyone in your neighborhood, to those in your town, and eventually to all people, everywhere knowing that we are all sustained by God’s love. The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Take several deep breaths.)
If you like this method of prayer try other blessing prayers from scripture that you might like: Deuteronomy 28:6, Ezekiel 34:26, Ephesians 1:3, Matthew 13:16, 2 Cor 9:8, Psalm 20:1-5, Numbers 6:24, Romans 15:33, 2 Thessalonians 3:16, Philippians 4:9
Empowered prayer May, 30, 2021
When Jesus saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like
sheep without a shepherd. Matthew 9:36
Jesus, gentle Savior, who makes us lie down in your green pastures. Thank you for feeding us with the
sweetness of your word and the coolness of peaceful water. Seek us when we wander and carry us back
into your fold.
Stir us from our complacency and empower us to fulfill your commandment to tell the good news to the
world. Give us compassion for people seeking peace who desperately cry for the lasting hope which is
found in you alone. amen
Empowered Prayer May 23 2021
When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, you will be filled with power, and you will be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and the Samaria ends of the earth” Acts 1:8 NET Glorious God, make me bold enough to speak, give me words to tell Samaria the world the world
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
*Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
Penned by Francis Havergall wrote these words in 1874
EMPOWERED PRAY 5-16-21
Magazines as prayer books?
Magazines tend to pile up in messy stacks on chairs and tables throughout my house. Eye appealing pictures printed on glossy paper show dedicated work of many people in hopes that we will respond to God’s call for action. PRAYER IS ACTION IN RESPONSE TO NEEDS AROUND THE WORLD. Here is one idea to pray using magazines.
Page through your chosen magazine, until an image catches your eye. Tear out the page and then the picture. This can be a bookmark for prayer reminder.
Next study the picture for anything that points to a prayer concern. Here is an example: using a picture of a little girl carrying water back home in a bucket on her head. Prayer ideas?
- Pray for the little girl as an individual, for girls in her home and in her community etc. pray for safety, physical health and opportunity etc.
- Even the bucket on her head can be a reminder to pray for necessities in daily living and the knowledge of how to use them
- Pray that this child will come to know the grace and love of Jesus Christ, and to embrace his truth.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to show you every prayer need represented and to empower your prayer with compassion from this picture.
Dear God, all praise to you glorious King. All praise and glory for your wisdom, your strength, your ability and willingness to provide care for people around the world. Thank you, Lord for giving us the ministry and opportunity to help supply those needs. Holy Spirit empower our prayers and in doing so fulfill your great commission to spread the good news around the world. Amen
First of all, then, I urge that requests, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made in behalf of all people. 1 Timothy 2:1-3 (NAS)
Prayer Corner May 9, 2021
The hand of a child is among the sweetest memories of motherhood. The weathered hands of my grandmother told a story about harder times as a widow raising three children in the years of Depression. Hands folded in prayer is the most powerful action of the Christians life.
‘The Word Hand’ is a prayer tool created by the Navigators Ministry, dedicated to sharing the gospel and encouraging spiritual growth. This is another great resource for prayer and spiritual discipline as we grow in our relationship to Christ. The following is taken from the Navigator website, providing a print-friendly PDF (and a great image of the word hand). https://www.navigators.org/resource/the-word-hand
The Word Hand illustration is an easy-to-remember tool highlighting five methods of learning from the Bible. We encourage you to use it to spur your own spiritual growth and to inspire others.
Pastors and teachers teach from the Word provides fresh insight into the Scriptures. The weakest finger (the pinkie) represents hearing, because we retain only five percent of what we hear. Romans 10:17
Reading gives us an overview of the Bible and is the foundation of a daily quiet time. This is represented by the ring finger. We generally retain 15 percent of what we read. Revelation 1:3
Studying the Scriptures deepens our convictions. It requires greater time and effort but results in increased knowledge of the Bible. Most people retain 35 percent of what they study. This is represented by the middle finger. Acts 17:11
God’s Word enables us to use Scripture, “the Sword of the Spirit” (Ephesians 6:17), to overcome temptations and to have verses readily available for ministering to others. The index finger, our strongest finger, represents memorization. We remember 100 percent of what we memorize if we consistently review it. Psalm 119:9-11
Meditation is the process that accompanies each of the other four methods of Scripture intake. This is why meditation is assigned to the thumb. Only the thumb can touch all the other four fingers. By meditating on God’s Word as we hear, read, study, and memorize, we discover its transforming power at work in us. Psalm 1:2-3
The Word Hand by The Navigators, ©1964. All rights reserved.
Prayer corner May 2, 2021
There are many different resources to help us in prayer around the world. World mission prayer league is one my favorite sources to learn how to pray, prayer needs and thanksgiving for prayer answered.
Standing in the gap in prayer for those with limited or no access to the gospel
Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come before him. Worship the LORD in holy splendor… Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The LORD is king!” 1 Chronicles 16:28-31 NRS
Heavenly Father, may the families of the Peoples yet-to-be reached by the Gospel be among those who ascribe to You, the LORD, all glory and strength. Lord of the harvest, enable those You call to bring Your Good News to the Unreached People Groups around the globe to bear much fruit for Your Kingdom. May whole families, neighborhoods and communities grow in their knowledge of Christ and ascribe to You the glory due Your Name. Father, as the heavens are to be glad and the earth to rejoice, so lead all the tribes, peoples and nations to say among themselves, “The Lord is our God, the LORD reigns.” Amen!
Prayer Corner, 4-25-21 Praying through scripture
Psalm 23:1 Because the Lord is my shepherd, I have everything I need. Living Bible
- There are times that we are not sure what to pray and cannot find words to express our thoughts to God. Scripture prayers can help us in times like these when our small human words just aren’t enough to express the immensity of our hearts. Here is a simple way to help us as we learn to use scripture for prayer using 4 basic questions. I am using 1 verse (Psalm 23:1) as an example, but, of course, every chapter is filled with prayer.
- Read the scripture carefully asking for help from the Holy Spirit who teaches us and then use the following questions as a guide for prayer.
- What is God’s action? (praise God for who he is). God is my shepherd and because of this He cares for, protects and provides all my needs.
- What are my actions? (confession). I depend on God for everything I need in this life.
- What does this realization mean to me? What would you ask God for to help you grow into His likeness? (intercession)
- What and how can I pray for others using these words? (outreach)
Let’s try this out. “because the Lord is my shepherd, I have everything
I need.” Psalm 23:1
- I give praise to you, glorious Lord, for your unending grace and mercy to us, your erring children. Gracious Father, thank you for loving me when I didn’t even know you and providing my needs through Jesus Christ, my shepherd who cares for me.
- I often think I can take care of myself and need to be reminded that I am totally dependent on you for all my needs during this time on earth.
- It is a sobering thought when I realize that you, great Lord, have sought me out and rescued me and cared for me even in the midst of my rebellion. Help me, Holy Spirit, to be more aware of your presence in my life and restore to me the joy you give through salvation.
- God, in your mercy, I pray for those seeking you as they come to this church for food, or for rest or peace, or to have care for their children. Help them find more than their physical needs but that they would encounter your great love and mercy in their lives.
This is just the beginning. Step 4 is an
open door for reaching out to the lost around the world through prayer. This is
just 1 small verse, a few words that can grow into a movement of God around the
world through the Holy Spirit. Amen
Prayer Corner, Palm Sunday March 26.2021
Dear Jesus, our King and gracious Savior, we rejoice as you ride into our presence on a donkey but confess that our hosannas can easily be swallowed up in doubt. Have mercy on us, give us grace to walk
through this week of your sacred passion with awareness that every tear, every beating, every drop of your blood that hit the ground was given so that we could have peace and freedom from the guilt of our own sin and have life in abundance. Thank you, precious Jesus. Amen
This week is the most intense, sorrowful and horrifying week in the Christian calendar as we hear the story of Jesus in his last days as he journeys toward Golgotha and crucifixion. It is a time of meditation and prayer as we recognize the amazing grace of God anticipating the joy of Easter.
There will be/were six Bible texts read in today’s service which can be used for daily prayer, a different text each day. Read each day, pray through God’s word and spend time writing out the heart’s meditations.
The Text as as follows:
Ann Fitzgerald says "Jerusalem is behind me overlooking the gate that Jesus would have entered riding on the donkey."
Posted: Palm/Passion Sunday 4-5-20