Month: April 2015

Martin Luther and Prayer

Martin Luther and Prayer

Although it’s been quite a while since I wrote about my word of the year – Pray! – it isn’t because I haven’t been thinking and reading…and praying!

Actually, to be perfectly honest, there’s been some procrastinating going on and maybe a touch of perfectionism too. Earlier this year, I read Timothy Keller’s book on prayer and I have every intention of writing a review of it. However, the book had quite an impact on my thoughts about prayer and on my prayer life, so I want to make sure I do a sufficient job on the review. So, yes, that one is going to have to wait.

However, Keller quoted Martin Luther quite a bit. It seems that a parishioner asked Luther for some instruction on prayer which led to Luther’s small book, A Simple Way to Pray.

Martin Luther was definitely a proponent of using Scripture to inspire prayer. He recommended using the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments and also the Apostle’s Creed as springboards to prayer.

Luther wrote,

Christ talks about the unceasing prayer in Luke 11[:8], saying one should pray without ceasing just as one should ceaselessly guard himself against sin and wrongdoing. Yet this can not happen if one does not fear God and does not have His command before his eyes, as Psalm 1[:2] says: ‘Blessed the one who day and night meditates on God’s command,’ etc.

Luther’s thought was that reciting the Scripture or the Apostle’s Creed which is based on Scripture will move us to seek God in prayer on the basis of His own Word.

In the rest of his little book, Luther gives examples of how someone might pray through the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Apostle’s Creed. There are four strands to the prayer that Luther recommends.

1. Read looking for what God is teaching you.

2. Thank God because of what He has done as revealed in your reading.

3. Allow the Holy Spirit to show you your sin and then confess it.

4. “Use the text to say a prayer for strong faith.”

Now, lest you think Luther was advocating a rote sort of prayer that could be in danger of becoming vain repetition, let me quote him once more.

Instead, I am giving you these words as examples, so that your heart will be aroused to pray and instructed with the kind of thoughts that you should be thinking when you pray the Lord’s Prayer. When the heart is warmed and ready to pray, these are the kinds of thoughts that will fill it, sometimes with many more words, or with fewer words.

My personal experience has been that as I pray through the Lord’s Prayer, my prayer is different every time – sometimes according to the Scriptures I have been studying, sometimes because of whatever has been on my mind and heart, sometimes because of day-to-day circumstances, and quite often just as the Holy Spirit inspires. And I have more confidence that I am praying in God’s will.

Another benefit of Luther’s method is that it can be used with any Scripture. For the past month I have been studying Galatians and have prayed my way through the letter using my own variation of Luther’s steps.

I can highly recommend trying Luther’s little book, A Simple Way to Pray and trying Luther’s method of prayer with your own variations. It may well be the warming of your heart that your prayer life needs.

What’s a Jiggler?

jello

This has been some kind of crazy week and all my blog plans blew up in the midst of it. I looked at my brainstorming attempts and read back through my list of blogpost ideas and considered the Five Minute Friday prompt and came up with…NOTHING!

And then…on Friday morning as I stood in my kitchen making the eighth batch of gelatin Jigglers for my 3rd and 4th graders, I realized that I really wanted to write about Jigglers. See what kind of week it’s been?

Let me back up a little bit so you won’t think I’ve totally lost it.

As I’ve said before I teach 3rd and 4th graders at our church on Wednesday nights during the school year. Every week the kids earn pom-poms for bringing their Bibles and doing their homework. The goal is to fill up a large acrylic box which then earns the entire class a Mini Lock-In.

It’s a Mini Lock-In because I am not crazy enough to spend the whole night locked in the church with a bunch of wildly excited 3rd and 4th graders, much as I love them.

So, from six to nine at night we eat together, play together, craft together and watch “What’s in the Bible” together. The eating together is where the Jigglers come in.

Every year I wrack my brain to come up with a dessert that is gluten-free and dairy-free because we always have some kids that are allergic to both gluten and dairy. This year I decided to go with Jigglers. When I announced the menu, I had a whole bunch of kids who had no idea what a Jiggler was.

I had my first Jiggler thirty-odd years ago at a youth group meeting in my friend, Diane’s basement. The tradition of that group (a tradition started by my youth pastor fiancé) was to smack somebody in the cheek with your Jiggler before eating it. We never have Jigglers in my house without smacking each other with them.

Now wait a minute – I am assuming that you know what a Jiggler is. You do, don’t you? Or, are you like my kids at church?

Jigglers are simply gelatin that has been made with less water, making it slightly more solid, able to be picked up with the fingers, and great for smacking people on their cheeks. And it tastes good.

So, I bet you want to know how to make them. You’ve seen the commercial where the mom pretends that she’s worked so hard to make Rice Crispy Treats? It’s a little like that, only easier.

How to Make Jigglers

And that’s all there is to it. The natural way to end this post would be with a great picture of the mounds and mounds of Jigglers we served the kids last night, but I forgot to take that picture until everyone of those 192 Jigglers were devoured by 53 kids.

I guess they liked them, right?

 

Linking up with Tuesdays with a Twist and Turn It Up Tuesday

Epic Mommy Adventures

A Procrastinating Perfectionist’s Primo Pinterest Project

Very Pinteresting

I know…crazy title for a blogpost, right? But I’ve been thinking and writing about such serious topics lately, and I just need a break.

So, it’s time for a Very Pinteresting project – actually a perfect project for a born procrastinator and perfectionist like me.

A LONG time ago I bought one of those big papier mache letters from Hobby Lobby – a big B for Barbara. I intended to decoupage paper scraps all over it and to hang it in my craft/writing room. I’m not really sure how long I had that letter. I actually printed out a bunch of pictures to use on it, but I got stuck.

Stuck in perfectionism first – those pictures I printed out were not going to work – absolutely not. They were too big. The images would be so chopped up that they would be unrecognizable. I knew I needed to reprint them in smaller sizes.

And then I got stuck in procrastinating. (And really, laziness, too.) Reprinting the pictures meant first finding them again and then resizing them and then printing them out again. A fate worse than death, of course.

More time passed – the B staring at me and the pile of pictures making me feel guilty (until I threw them away – ha!) And then one day I was surfing through Pinterest and found one of those pins that gives you a million projects you can do with washi tape – you know, the kind with a 20-picture collage with pictures so small that you almost can’t make out what the pictures are.

In the midst of those teeny tiny pictures was a letter like mine and it was covered with, of all things, washi tape! I love washi tape – just ask my buddy, Christine. I have a washi tape stash at home and a washi tape stash at work and I just bought a bunch of washi tape for a summer camp craft project. Yes, I love washi tape.

So, I grabbed that letter down from its perch…oh wait, to be perfectly honest, I didn’t do it right away. I had to think about it a couple of days – just to make sure that this was the absolute best way to decorate my B. (Nothing to do with perfectionism or procrastinating, I assure you.)

Anyway, when I did grab my letter and my washi tape stash, I worked away at that letter until it was completely finished (30 minutes, tops.) I do think you will want to know that I didn’t even put the project away when finishing the sides stumped me. I actually tried something that I didn’t think would work.

(Doesn’t that sound like a recovering perfectionist? A full-blown perfectionist would not try something she didn’t think would work, don’t you agree?)

Here it is in all its not-perfect glory.

B Collage

I like it. And it’s finished.

(Oh, yeah, I did consider attaching some sort of hanging device to the back of it, but I couldn’t make up my mind what would be the best way to do it. And besides, it looks great sitting on top of my old window. Who needs a hanger?)

 

This week I’m linking up at Turn It Up Tuesday and Tuesdays with a Twist.

Epic Mommy Adventures

Relief Valves

Relief
photography by Ksenia Kudelkina from Unsplash

 

The door slammed open and in strode my friend singing, “I hate men!” at the top of her lungs as only she could do. Her song finished, she held her head high, shouted, “I hate men,” sauntered into her room and slammed that door behind her.

Singing loudly (and beautifully) and slamming doors was a relief valve for my theater major friend.

Relief valves – a way to let off steam safely and quickly. We all need them.

  • Moms getting an hour alone to walk through Target, buying nothing, just being alone.
  • Kids screaming and running with abandon on the playground.
  • Men at the shooting range shooting something (yes, direct from the mouth of a stressed-out man – “I just want to shoot something!”)
  • Writers using words quickly typed and filed away – maybe to be read and maybe not.
  • Prayers thrown to God, prayers that are really begging rather than simply petition.

We all have and need relief valves. A way to relieve anxiety or distress or just the daily pressures of life.

What are your relief valves? Have you found yours?

If you haven’t found yours yet, are you looking?

You know what happens when the pressure builds up too far, right?

So, what is your relief valve?

I’m Relinking up with Five Minute Friday – a weekly writing prompt community. Take a look at what other bloggers are writing about this week’s word – Relief.Five-Minute-Friday-4

 

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