Category Archives: Prayer

Some thoughts on prayer <3

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Anybody else marveling we are three months into 2020? 

In some ways it has flown by and in other ways, have mercy…it has been the longest three months of our lives. Bar none. 

I think back to January and how very few, if any, people had the entire world being unified by one battle on their radar. 

But God did. 

I can assure you of that one truth. 

None of this takes the God of the universe, who sees the end from the beginning and the beginning from the end, by surprise. 

He has no beginning and He has no end and He exists outside of time and space and origin. 

He always is and always will be.

He formed us and all that is out of absolutely nothing and He cares for us and loves us and has provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him though we blatantly have disregarded Him. 

We are invited during this time of a global pandemic that is shaking all the foundations of health, relationships, governments and the economy to engage in even more intimate and personal fellowship with the God of our hope and salvation. 

That is my view today and will be my view always, by His grace that holds me fast to His mercy and truth.

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So this morning as I have studied along with Kelly Minter’s fourteen day glimpse at portions of the Sermon on the Mount regarding prayer, I offer you my paraphrase of Jesus’ teachings on prayer from Matthew 6: 5-8 and then I plan to put it into practice:

Whenever you go to pray – 

Go in a private space

Shut the door to all distractions and just be very alone with God

Pray to your Abba Father who dwells in the deepest and most hidden places of your heart and soul.

Don’t babble and run on with what you think sounds like good prayers. 

Pray from your heart.

Talk to Him like you would a good friend about what is on your mind and heart. 

Speak honestly and sincerely and with raw, unedited words. 

Sort things out with Him that you do not understand because…

He does…

Because He knows. 

Because He listens.

Because He hears. 

Because He helps. 

Then quiet your own words and heart and lean in. 

Be held as you listen for any words He has for you. 

And if He is silent, then just be held <3

paraphrase of Matthew 6:5-8 Laura Reimer <3

For the birds <3

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I just came in from a walk. I am usually a fair weather walker, but these days it doesn’t seem to matter the temperature or moisture content of the air. I get out when I can and walk. Partly to reduce anxiety temptations, partly to clear my head and partly to walk off the effects of too much time spent too close to the pantry if you know what I mean <3

As I walk, I hear the birds singing.

I step over worms who are venturing out after yet another rainfall. Nature is going on about its business with no thought or concern. The soggy fields seem blissfully ignorant of the trouble all those pools of water will cause our farmers in a few weeks and do not frown as more grey clouds gather overhead. 

This week I listened to a teaching from Matthew 6 where Jesus reminds us to consider the birds and flowers and how they do not work or toil and yet the Father cares and provides for them. He encourages us with the words…how much more are you worth to the Father than these? 

We watch our bird feeder each morning and think how the Father has provided for their needs by prompting us to fill it each day. 

They give us so much joy in their feathered beauty. You all might notice a heart changed here, because birds are not my thing…but these little song birds have captured my attention these past winters and with all that is going on they are a delight to behold. 

The squirrel that tries to steal from the feeder, not so much…still some room for growth regarding those critters…

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So God uses the things of nature to remind us of His nature and then this morning I was reading in 1 Kings and just had to get my pen out and mark up some passages because God revealed something new about who He is in a story that is so familiar I could have been tempted to skim it. So thankful I didn’t. 

I have prepared many lessons around Elijah and his show down with the prophets of Baal. I have read through it numerous times. I would have thought I had wrung all out of it I could. 

But this morning; fresh off of filling the bird feeder and meditation on Matthew 6 for a good bit yesterday, I read with a new set of eyes these words of God to Elijah immediately after he was told to pronounce to the evil King Ahab the coming of an extensively long drought in judgment on him and his acts of disobedience:

“Then the word of the LORD came to him {Elijah}, saying, “Get away from here and turn eastward and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the LORD, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook.”

1 Kings 17: 2-6 NKJV

It caught me by surprise to see that God was using these birds…that neither sow nor reap…the ones for whom He tends and feeds…to feed His servant Elijah. 

Now I am a picture person and the idea of a bunch of ravens swooping in and dropping off my meals from their yellow beaks is not evoking all kinds of tea party images, but think about it. 

Elijah was kept fed and watered in the most unusual of ways by the very creation that neither toils nor spins nor works nor worries. 

God used the most simple and helpless of means to provide for this man’s needs. 

A twist in the story that would not be expected. 

And humbling for the prophet to be provided for by a flock of birds and a stream kept filled in a drought by a God who was watching over him. 

I have been hearing of resources for hospitals being raised up from the most usual places. Donations of masks from the Morman church in one city. They had them stockpiled for some reason and decided to donate them to the local hospitals. 8,000 masks mind you, delivered to hospitals. 

 In another place, a private business in a small community donated masks to a hospital in a city far away that is in deep need. 

God raising up resources from unlikely places. 

As we are tempted to be worried, let’s look at the birds and follow their example.

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Perhaps if we do this, God will use us – through our prayers or through our activity – to care for and tend others who are in need at this time. Our prayers of faith avail much and move the hearts of leaders in industry, government and the Church to be open to the nudges of God. 

Let’s keep our ears tuned to hear how God is working behind the scenes in incredibly unusual ways and let’s share those stories to urge one another on in faith!

May God bless and watch over each of you during these times of great uncertainty.

May you be filled with the certain knowledge of His love and mercy, grace and salvation extended to all people. 

You are loved and prayed for and I hope you don’t have to wait for a raven to feed you, but if you do…wash your hands

Be blessed   <3

In honor of my mom <3

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one of my fav pics of my mom and dad <3

Today is the anniversary of my mom’s birth. She left us in December of 2008 and if you have or had a complicated relationship with your mom, let me tell you it is with great joy and deep gratitude to God’s healing and restoration of relationships that I can say, I miss her. 

I am so thankful for her and have grown to appreciate all of her as time has passed, and I know that throughout her whole life she loved and cared for my sister and me to the very best of her ability. 

We humans are fragile and we fight our demons and sometimes it interferes with relationships and I continue to grow in the understanding of this as the years pass. 

When we brought my parents to our area so we could help advocate the care of my father’s further descent into Alzheimers disease, my mom had to live on her own for the very first time in her entire life. 

In solitude she grew in her faith in incredible ways and she overcame some issues that had plagued her. She met Jesus in a personal and profound way and was in many ways transformed and yet in many ways remained her unique self. 

God gifted me and my family a relationship with her that we all treasure. Five years of return on the years the locusts had nibbled on and we are so grateful.

One of my most precious moments from this time with her was a day when I had been called to meet up with my aunt, her sister, who had severe dementia and had taken yet another spill in the nursing home. 

When the hospital called, I had asked if they would hold off on all tests until I could get there and help assess her mental state. She fell regularly and the care facility had to follow through with their end, but often there was a barrage of unnecessary scans and tests because she seemed “confused”. 

The tests and scans were invasive for her and as her advocate, I wanted to be able to speak up. Also if the tests were deemed necessary this time, she would need someone with her to help explain what was happening. Over and over and over… 

Well, the nurse I spoke with as I was scrambling to get out the door assumed I was Dr. Kevorkian’s friend because she lined me out on the phone like I was the cruelest person the planet. 

I called my mom to update and told her I was concerned about what would happen once I got there given the impression I had left with the staff and then I headed out to face the music. 

Of all our ER visit’s this one was the smoothest ever. 

The nurse greeted me warmly and said that after speaking with my aunt she certainly understood my call. They had checked her over and determined she just needed a little bandage. 

After a very short wait, she was attended to and dressed and carefully placed in my car to be returned to her facility. 

I considered having them check me out because I was entering into all the signs of shock. 

After I got her settled in her room, I called my mom. 

She was so relieved and shared that since she had hung up from me she had just sat in her chair holding her Bible in her lap and had prayed for me. The kicker is she didn’t even make her bed. 

This is important. 

I thank God for answering machines and house phones in that time because she had left a message reporting all of these details while I had been taking care of my aunt. Over the ensuing years, when I was tempted to forget how faithfully God works to transform us, I would replay that saved message. 

Because my mom could drive herself to medication with worry and anxiety. 

My mom never didn’t make her bed. 

My mom created worse case scenario’s that would make mine pale in comparison. 

But that day, she let that bed go unmade.

That day when her daughter needed someone to intercede for her, she took her bible and sat in her chair and read and prayed. 

That day she did not the only thing but the best thing she could do for me.

We have a world in great need of help right now and our words to each other about it and our worry over it and our keeping busy with our stuff won’t provide the help it needs. 

So people of faith, sons and daughters of the Most High God, open your Bible and pray.

And so we begin <3

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February is winding down and we have begun the forty days of Lent that will lead us to Easter.

I am filled with spinning ideas and thoughts for how to mark this season well. 

I attended the Ash Wednesday service at a nearby Lutheran church yesterday at noon and listened to a very good teaching on fasting. 

We often associate some kind of fast with Lent and I know there are a multitude of ideas and suggestions and helps out there, but I found the reinforcement of information about fasting to be helpful so I wanted to pass this along to you today. 

The pastor who spoke is Eric Trickey of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and these are from my notes but completely giving all credit to his sermon, unless otherwise noted. 

He started off with our addiction to comfort by referencing the origins of “Fat Tuesday” and he said this, which I absolutely loved the way it captures our culture and me as a true comfort junkie:

“We are Fat Tuesday people living in a Fat Tuesday world.”

Isn’t it the truth? 

We have all the comforts and conveniences and choices at our fingertips 24/7.

We have to force ourselves to exercise so we don’t gain weight from all the excess of life.

We want what we want when we want it and we grow impatient quickly with any delay. 

And yet, as he pointed out, we are surrounded by emptiness and craving and an insatiable desire for more. 

So Lent is a time when we are invited to intentionally find ways to deny ourselves of things that we have the rights and access to that are good things, so that we can draw deeper from God the better things that will feed our spirits and cleanse our souls to live more purposefully the life He redeemed for us. 

He defined Fasting as, “the voluntary denial of an otherwise normal function for the sake of intense spiritual activity.”

So Fasting is a giving up of something, beneficially used to meet a physical need, that is a normal part of your daily life for the purpose of increasing the addition of pursuing more of what feeds your spirit. 

He used the obvious choice of a food fast of some kind and recommended starting small with skipping a meal or two and using that meal time for prayer and meditation on Scripture. 

My own thoughts here regarding alternatives to fasting from food:

While I do understand that there are many other kinds of fasts you can choose, including from a favorite food or beverage item or from things like social media and television, I highly recommend an actual meal fast of some kind during each week for the purpose of replacing the time spent on food preparation and consumption with prayer and scripture meditation.

We can overcomplicate something that Jesus modeled clearly in the wilderness as He faced temptation and defeated it.

Pastor Trickey reminded us that fasting is not used to manipulate God in any way, as in “I am fasting so You will move in this setting or situation,” but rather to seek balance in the ways we have been conditioned to have our needs meet ASAP and to help reveal the things that have become idols in our hearts and minds. 

I loved it when he pointed out what we can expect. Because the reality of doing without food is you WILL experience levels of discomfort and the minute you do, you will want to bail on the fast for the common good of yourself and all those you love. 

Among the things that will happen when you are hungry physically are:

Anger – doing without food makes us grouchy and as we struggle with that, we begin to see how comfort has become our buffer and filter instead of inner strength of the Spirit at work in us

Pride – we can proud of our fasting and “holiness” or our concern about what others think of us because we are fasting can reveal the ugly side of our man-pleasing nature

Self-Pity – as we fast and pray and yet face struggles that do not lessen in spite of our desire to draw closer to God, we can feel sorry for ourselves and become resentful towards God

The revelation of “your part” of the problems around you – as we read Scripture or face conflict with family, the fasting and drawing near to God opens our eyes to our own contributions to the sins and troubles around us.

As we fast and turn to God in prayer and bible reading, we make ourselves available, in a weakened state, to hear more clearly from God. We also begin to recognize the things we have been turning to and defaulting towards INSTEAD of God…and these are our functional idols.

As we read Scriptures from this place of humbling; while our tummies are rumbling and our minds are trying to forget that we will have to wait several hours for dinner, God begins to speak to us through His Spirt, and we are more able to receive conviction as we open our heart and mind to His Word. 

We may read a passage about judgment and immediately think of someone who needs to hear this, but as we mediate and pray for God to speak to THEM…or lead us in how we can speak to THEM…He speaks to US. 

When 3:00 rolls around and we become that Betty White in the Snickers commercial, we must draw on His strength to keep our tempers in control and our words kind and gentle. 

When we are feeling light headed and yet the demands around us are increasing in weight, it is by prayer and calling on His power at work within us that we press on, realizing suddenly how much we really always depend on Him…we just thought we were self-sufficient in our own abilities. 

My favorite slice of advice came at the end when he said, “Abandon the outcomes of your fast to God. Let God reveal to you what the fast is about.”

We will falter and fail in being “perfect” in our fasting and this is where God will meet us and we will be ready to listen to His Word to us.

So for anyone who might be considering some kind of fast during this season of Lent, here is my prayer for us:

Lord God, as we enter the season of the calendar of our faith called “Lent,” I ask that You would guide us into quiet places of humility and self-denial so that we could draw nearer to You and learn from You. 

Lord, we know and understand that fasting is not done to earn Your favor. We believe Your word that says we do not deserve Your favor but that it is a gift of grace that You have bestowed on us.

Our desire is not to impress You or any human around us, but rather to place ourselves more openly in Your Presence by denying the feeding of our flesh and desiring the feeding of our souls and spirits on Your Word. 

Father God, I ask that You would give us hearts to seek after You and I pray that as we, each one, ask You for the best way to do this during the season of Lent, You would grant us clear direction and wisdom to hear the fast You are calling us to. 

Our desire is to not only hear from You, but to obey You and we know that this is also a grace gift of the Holy Spirit. 

Thank You for leading us through Lent and for the promise that You draw near to us when we draw near to You (James 4:8)

We look forward to this journey with You and we dedicate this season to Your honor and glory. 

In Jesus’ Name 

Amen <3

So thankful for my prayer warriors <3

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Good morning and let me say it is wonderful to be back in the land of the living again. 

In the wee hours of the morning Thursday, I staggered to what I thought was going to be the show down of too many days breathing in the precious but highly contagious flu germs that are being passed around by those sweet little people up north. 

Three of them have succumbed and I was up close and personal with all of them during the incubation phases so I have pretty much lived with a target on my back as I munched on Vitamin C tablets and wondered at each meal if this was going to be something I regretted. 

I will keep this in less than colorful details as I am sure we all know what it feels like when stomach flu rears its ugly head so suffice to say, I was the baby we would all assume me to be and cried out to Russ so he could come and pat me on the head and tell me he was sorry and go back to bed.

Somehow when I am sick, I just need someone to know…lucky Russ. 

I was praying fervently for the Lord to take it away and while my spirit knew He could, my brain was reminding me that a virus was most definitely implanted and most likely would have to be endured.

And then I remembered a text I got on Wednesday morning. A dear friend; who is one of those prayer warriors you want to be on the list of because she is tuned into the Spirit when she prays, let me know that I had been on her mind in her prayers since Sunday. 

When I say dear friend, I need you to know we rarely talk via text, phone or in person because life has gotten ridiculous and we just don’t connect as much as I would like to. So there is no way she knew anything about what was going on with me. 

I responded that her prayers were always appreciated and except for being exposed to a lot of flu recently, I didn’t know why God had prompted her prayers, but keep it up, please and thank you. 

So as I sat there about to pass out and having little faith in the possibility this could be passed over…in remembering this conversation…hope rose within me and lo and behold…it passed over. 

I went back to bed and while I did have rumblings of ill health through the night and was flat wiped out with fever, chills and headache throughout Thursday…I never got sick. 

Today I woke fever free and feeling 100% recovered. 

I texted her and let her know all that had happened and she texted back how she had been unsure if she should let me know but felt really pressed to tell me she was led to pray for me. 

She was encouraged that she had heard from God. I was encouraged that she had too.

Do you see the interweaving of faith through prayers of uncertain and imperfect people? 

The great praise and rejoicing is not so much that I was spared the more disgusting parts of flu, although I will say that I personally have been rejoicing mightily for that particular deliverance!!

The great praise is how God encouraged my friend, me and hopefully now YOU about the power of prayer and the way God has woven our lives together when we are obedient to Him. Encouragement is contagious.

Scripture reminds us in our weakness (our humanity, our lack of full information, our selfishness at times, our ignorance) we do not know how to pray…but if we will yield our minds and hearts and spirits to Him and ask Him to pray through us, He will assist us in praying – even if we do not fully know why. (Romans 8:26) 

And please, oh please, if He presses on your heart to let someone know you have been burdened to pray for them – do it. 

We must urge one another on and this is one of the beautiful ways in which we do this. 

Bless you today. 

Laura <3