Prayer Needs for the Month of August
Thank you to all who present our needs to the Lord Jesus. May you also be blest!
• For the continued healing of Jeannie Hannemann, founder of Elizabeth Ministry, following her stroke in May; for the effectiveness of the therapy she’s undergoing, and for the strength and support of Bruce, her husband, Lord Jesus, please help them!
• For the needs of RECLAiM Sexual Health, especially students who are learning to break free of pornography and other unhealthy sexual practices, Lord Jesus, please help them!
• For single men and women who struggle with loneliness and chastity, that they may find the support they need to live happy, healthy and holy lives, Lord Jesus, please help them!
• For husbands and wives who struggle in difficult marital relationships, that they may find help and healing, Lord Jesus, please help them!
• For parents, that they may have greater wisdom in caring for their children, especially those caught up in unhealthy habits, Lord Jesus, please help them!
• In thanksgiving for healthy births: Baby Girl B, whose mother had problems with leaking amniotic fluid, and for Theodore, Lincoln and Madison, triplets born July 14th (3 weeks early); all babies are healthy and home from the hospital. Please especially pray for the family of these triplets, who also have a younger-than-one-year-old son. Lord Jesus, please inspire many friends to provide continued support and help!
• For the health of preemie twins Henry and John, and for their parents, Lord Jesus, please help them!
• For the healing and support of mothers and fathers whose babies have died before birth, for single mothers with no support system, and for those who grieve their infertility, Lord Jesus, please help them!
• For the upcoming World Meeting of Families, for those attending, and for a greater appreciation, support and healing of families in today’s world, Lord Jesus, please help us!
• Mother Mary, please come before your Son, our Lord Jesus, for the needs that only He knows. Inspire us to reach out to one another, to bring healing, help and holiness to our troubled brothers and sisters around the world as well as in our neighborhoods and families.
In all these prayers, we praise and bless the name of Jesus,
our Lord and Redeemer,
Thoughts on Luke 1
Have you ever tried to gather your thoughts? Visualize going into a lovely garden and choosing flowers for a bouquet. Now, instead: Gather your thoughts! Thoughts are so much more difficult to gather and to hold than flowers; they actually flit into our minds and out again like bees at work! Some thoughts are fragrant; some thoughts stink! Some thoughts are more like weeds that are best yanked out at the roots, never given the opportunity to spread! Some thoughts are lovely, intricate, many-faceted gifts, worthy only of God’s creation.
Let us consider one of God’s best thoughts: the one which from the dawn of life has produced humanity’s masculinity and femininity, which together produces an exquisite bouquet. Such a lovely and fragrant bouquet we are, truly a gift beyond price, given by a Loving Father! The gift of our masculinity and our femininity must be recognized as a most highly treasured gift, a gift to be honored, protected, and used wisely.
As you have likely noticed, Elizabeth Ministry has been evolving over the past 20 years. It began with Mary and Elizabeth and their/our feminine nature, and has recently been adding the characters of Joseph and Zachary and their/our masculine nature, especially with the development of RECLAiM Sexual Health for the healing of pornography addiction.
Where would we be as persons if we didn’t have some degree of masculine or feminine identity? The Book of Genesis tells us that we were made in the image and likeness of God — male and female — to be the person that God has made us to be! How grateful we should be for the blessing of masculinity and femininity! Without it, frankly, how would human life have survived? A serious question comes up: As gender confusion grows, will human life survive? Thankfully, it’s not a question for us to answer. A statement answers the question: God knows!
In this article, let us compare the characters of Zachary and of Mary; the faith response of each is significant and worthy of consideration. When the Angel Gabriel came to Zachary, the husband of Elizabeth and father of John the Baptist, and told him of God’s plan for their lives, Zachary was skeptical at best. He was unbelieving! Speechless, in fact! (It could be noted, however, that Luke tells us that Elizabeth did conceive, in spite of them both being beyond childbearing years. So Zachary, although he was speechless, did have some degree of acceptance. After all, John’s birth was not a virgin birth!)
It was “in the sixth month” of Elizabeth’s pregnancy that Gabriel came also to Mary. Compared with Zachary’s response, Mary questioned appropriately, and, although the demands on her would be considerably greater than those placed on Zachary, she accepted with no arguments. (It may be noted that these differing responses may have something to do with the characteristic differences in men and women: Rational Adam and Intuitive Eve again!)
Luke tells us that Mary went in haste — responded with great and immediate enthusiasm — to visit her cousin Elizabeth. When Mary greeted Elizabeth, both were filled with joy, and that joy within Elizabeth — the baby John within her — caused her to recognize the presence of the Lord Jesus, actually already named (Luke 1:31), in the womb of Mary. Consider, in fact, the joy of Elizabeth! Finally someone to talk with and someone who could respond to her joy, especially since she had been “in seclusion,” and her spouse, Zachary, was still speechless. Sometimes a woman needs another woman to share her joy, her fears and her questions; a man just wouldn’t do!
Zachary, by comparison, had nine long months of quiet time to fully grasp what God was doing in his life. He may have been initially incredulous, but he was given (and needed!) the time to recognize, to reflect, to absorb and to appreciate that God had chosen to do something totally unexpected — and BIG — in his life and in the life of his beloved wife, Elizabeth. Zachary was able to see that it was not only their life that was to be changed, but that God was doing something amazing, and yet prophesied, in the life of all Israel, something that had been foretold for centuries, but was happening right before his eyes and within his lifetime! Perhaps it’s no wonder that he was actually speechless! Wouldn’t we be as well?
What an amazing thing! It is no wonder then, that Zachary’s response, his eventual prayer of praise, faith and thanksgiving — the Canticle of Zachary — is and has been prayed by the Church each day for hundreds of years in our Morning Prayer, the Prayer of Christians, the “Divine Office.” As the light of morning rises, the Church honors Zachary, who chose faith over reason, and John, the the precursor of Jesus, the Everlasting Light of Day.
It’s easy for us women to identify men as slower to catch on! But, when they do, what power men have within them! May all of our spouses, and all men, respond with the strength, the power, and the faith of Zachary! How greatly we need to honor and support them in their gift of masculinity.
Over the next few months, we will be delving further into the character of Zachary and of Joseph, the Spouse of Mary, as well as those of Elizabeth and Mary herself. It’s these four Powerhouses of Faith and Virtue who are being recognized as the figureheads of Elizabeth Ministry in the years to come.