Death

We need to feel helpless to appreciate and recognize our need for God.
The problem with that is: I don’t want to! I want God to empower me to be fruitful for Him! I want to have such amazing faith that I don’t stumble over my own inconsistencies! I want to pray and see Him work, instead of to do all that and watch as nothing changes. Sometimes I feel like I’m sitting alone in a big empty bubble, just watching others in their bubbles struggle. There’s no escape, nothing I can do. I cry out to the Lord but my voice doesn’t project. Where does our help come from? When will it come and who will it reach?

This week, an amazing woman of God died. Her name was Jessica Marie Hehn, and she was the first person I ever prayed for who was healed…and now she’s dead.
Jessica was extremely young and healthy. She was actually a very successful vegan health guru, who was newly married and excited to have babies. Out of nowhere she was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. Can you imagine a more insulting diagnosis than lung cancer for someone so healthy? Right after I was healed she called me and I boldly told her about Jesus. I boasted about The Lord Who Heals and when I paused to take a breath I was surprised that she responded,”Oh, I know He will heal me.” She had the faith I was sure no one else had. The faith that took me months of sleepless nights, hundreds of desperate prayers, thousands of mental debates, to grow to the size of a mustard seed. Since then I’ve talked to many more ailing people and she is still the only one so certain of her earthly healing. And she was right! That is, until she wasn’t.

It was pretty quick that Jessica was healed and she praised the Lord for it. That was a few years ago now. I don’t know when it came back or any other details, but a few weeks ago she got sick and couldn’t recover. I’m very sad about that, but I’m more devastated by the last post I saw by her husband, right before she died. He faithfully declared that he knew the Lord would heal her. I know, I know that she was healed in heaven–that’s what we say to him when we hug him in the receiving line. That’s what we say to each other so we don’t have to evaluate our theology or dare to question our own faith. In truth, Jessica and her husband did it all right. They prayed and believed He would heal her. They gave the glory to God. They boldly fought off all desire to water down their beliefs to match up with the world’s expectations. And, then…she was rewarded by going to heaven, and he had to stay on earth. Without his wife. Without proof to support his faith. Without a reason to keep believing.

Oh, the agony of defeat! The heartbreaking ache of emptiness that comes with this helplessness! The anger from recognizing there is no one left to blame. This is the state of mind we often must embrace to recognize the Lord. The graver the despair, the more clearly we see our surroundings. The more we appreciate when He moves. I’m ready to appreciate Him! Ready for what He will show the whole world when He finally deals with all this cancer and pain. Ready.

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: First to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” Romans 1:16

Big Prayer Request!

A few weeks ago the Lord put it on my heart to set up a 24-hour prayer time for a few of the very sick ladies I know with cancer. I would have liked to do it with more notice but there’s a sudden, more urgent need for it so we went ahead and scheduled it to start this Wednesday (7/9). We are trying to get people to sign up to pray in 1-hour increments for 24 hours, so please consider taking a slot (or, 22 of them… :).
When you look at a day it doesn’t seem hard to pray for an hour, but I think when you sit down to do it it’s overwhelming. People who’ve done tons of this can pray for several hours, but those people are much holier than me. So, I’m going to share my “Praying for Dummies” tips. I’m not name-calling here, just thought I’d break it down so it doesn’t seem so daunting.

1. Try to get somewhere alone. Even from the dog, who seems so sweet and cuddly until you try to focus on prayer and he starts bringing you the ball. Move anything distracting away–there is no such thing as multitasking appropriately while praying. I have prayed in the car (parked in the garage), in a variety of different closets, the yard, Abi’s bed, the bathroom…I do best praying late at night or early in the morning because then I can sit at a table but still not be interrupted.
2. Prepare your prayer list, a Bible, paper, a pen, any notes/scriptures you’ve been meditating, and any good lists of scriptures you have (I have a Biblical promises one that’s good, and I try to look those up in the Bible to get a better idea of the context while praying).
3. Set your clock for a start and stop time (if it’s for something like this day of prayer–otherwise you don’t need an end time). You might be having such a great time with God that you don’t want to end it, but usually if you don’t have the end time set it’s like working out–you start watching the clock to see how much longer. Once your clock is set you can turn that part of your brain off and just wait for it to tell you you’re done.
4. Pray out loud. Doesn’t matter if you’re alone or not (although obviously alone is better). This helps you stay awake (What’s that? I’m the only one who falls asleep while praying? Riiiight…). It also helps you stay focused. Your ears hear the way you drift off to planning your day or making a shopping list, and get you back on track.
5. Write down the random, off-topic things that come to mind so you don’t deceive yourself and think you’re supposed to cut your prayer time short and do those things. Once they’re written down, forget about them until later.
6. Also write down the cool things God shows you, because sometimes when you’re done you can’t remember it all.
7. When you’re out of things to pray about, go through the little tips you know, like praying the way Jesus did, ACTS, ABCs (look these up), or just ask God to help you pray. If you’re praying for another person, ask for empathy and brokenness for her, and He will increase your passion and interest in interceding for her. Make sure to think back to all the amazing things He has done for you or others and thank Him for those.
8. Remember that prayer is communicating with God, so just talking at Him isn’t enough. Talk to Him and leave time for Him to answer. Ask Him to prepare your heart to hear from Him, ask Him to show you anything you need, and then just be still. Jot down anything that comes to mind but wait, wait, wait for more. It’s not always the first thing that comes to mind that you need to know. Sometimes it’s waiting in faith for more answers. More of His heart. More wisdom. When you find your mind wandering off, do your best to control it or just move back to talking out loud to God.
9. Don’t be ashamed to be honest with God. He knows it all anyway, and the brokenness that comes from admitting your sin and struggles helps you grow closer to Him and to be more holy.
10. Seemed like a good idea to have an even 10 points here, but I can’t think of another.

Anyway, here is some information about the 24-hour prayer-a-thon. Please consider signing up. You can pray from anywhere for an hour and it’ll bless you so much to see how He answers! Sometimes it isn’t in the way we expect or desire.

If you’re local, we’ll be ending the 24-hours with group prayer at 9am on Thursday at Four Oaks Community Church.
To sign up to pray:
 1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot: http://vols.pt/s6X85n
   2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot) 
   3. Sign up! Choose your spots – VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders.
Note: VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please email epetscher@gmail.com and I can sign you up manually.
Barbara H.
Barbara has been praying with faith for her physical healing from cancer for 18 months. Back in January of 2013, she was advised to contact hospice but chose to trust in the Lord instead of that fear, and He has blessed her for it. However, she and her husband, Dan, are struggling with some discouragement and despair as her body is exhausted from chemotherapy and the cancer metastasized to her liver and lungs. From Exodus 17:11-12, we remember that Moses was tasked with holding his arms up so his men could win a battle. His friends came along and helped to hold his arms up. Barbara has been praying for others for many years, and in that way she has taken a turn holding up the arms of others. We are ready to hold hers up now and to see the Lord’s glory as He completely heals her and restores her health.
Exodus 17:11-12
So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set.
Gulan
Gulan was born in Cuba, the daughter of a Cuban woman and a Chinese immigrant. She is the loving mom of two daughters and grand mom to eight grandchildren. She and her husband emigrated to the United States in 1970 from Cuba in hopes of making a better life for their children. She and her husband later divorced. She made many sacrifices including working in a non-air conditioned factory for years to provide for her girls, many times going without for herself so that her girls would have what they needed. With God’s help she put both girls through college. She was a smoker. She gave up smoking ten years ago.  She was diagnosed with adeno carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer five years ago. She also has emphysema and heart disease. She is a strong woman, dealing with a lot of fear….but courageous, nonetheless because she has faced her fears over and over again. God has been good to her in many ways. She came to know Him and realize that He was the one that watched over her on a Mother’s Day many years ago. She can point out His faithfulness in her life over the years. Thank you for your prayers for her.
James 5:16
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
Karen W.
Karen has been battling breast cancer for many years and the more it spreads into her body, the more desperate she is for the miracle it will take for her to survive and be healthy to continue to raise her children. She has two daughters and a son—her son is the youngest at 11 years old. Karen has an amazing husband and is saddened that her whole family has had to sacrifice and form so many memories of her being sick. Karen is going through chemotherapy and is unable to eat, so is extremely thin and frail. Her mother is moving in to help physically support Karen and the rest of the family. Please join us in praying for her total physical healing, and that she will spend many years completely pain and cancer free, enjoying the gifts the Lord shares and serving as a living testimony for the power and mercy of the Lord God Almighty!
Job 9:15

Though I were innocent, I could not answer Him; I could only plead with my judge for mercy.