This “first of the month” blog entry includes prayer needs, and generally the prayer needs are the “Gimme, God!” type. This one is different: more of a “So sorry, God!”
Once upon a time my husband and I had a loveable little dog named Louie. Actually, he was “Louie LaFeet daFoist,” a Bichon Frise we had purchased from a couple who bred Bichons, Jeannie and Bruce Hannemann, the founders of Elizabeth Ministry. (Which, as it happened, is also the way we first learned about Elizabeth Ministry!)
Bichons are happy little people dogs, and our family loved him and totally enjoyed him. As he matured, we learned that Louie was diabetic, which was surprising, as we didn’t know that dogs could be diabetic. (A 20 lb dog drinking 10 cups of water in twenty-four hours seemed a bit much, especially the out-in-out-in-out-in routine of his and my day!) So we went on the twice daily insulin injection routine. (“It’s OK, Louie; all the puppies do this.” And no matter how big or old a dog is, for me, a dog is forever a “puppy.”)
Eventually we learned that Louie was also going blind. One day I walked into our living room and found him on our couch which was a puppy “No-no.” Without thinking, I howled, “Get Off That Couch!!”, which he promptly did, straight up and straight down, hitting the coffee table on the way down. Immediately I regretted my command, as he slunk into his crate. I often wonder if any injury he might have suffered brought on Cushing’s Disease, which he later developed and which led to his early demise.
Have you ever spoken too quickly and injured a relationship? Most of us have. Many times I have wished for a strong rubber band that smacked the words back into my mouth before they could hit the other’s ears! The Letter of James, chapter three, reminds us about the power of the tongue. There are several other scriptures about speaking and being silent, building up and tearing down, especially Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, Jeremiah 1:10 and the Book of Proverbs. How wonderful it is to see the building power of the tongue, and how sad to see or experience the opposite. Lord, preserve us!
It is so easy to speak too quickly and regret it, but equally too easy NOT to speak at an appropriate opportunity. A few weeks ago we attended a wedding in Brooklyn and experienced the subway. We sat for several stops across from a woman whom I promptly labeled “Marian the Librarian.” (And what a wrong thing to do, labeling a person!!! Really disrespectful, isn’t it!) Somehow I couldn’t find a single courteous or positive word to say to a woman who looked so weary.
The tongue, says Saint James, is such a powerful force for good or for evil. Our life–especially since we are involved with Elizabeth Ministry–is to be one of building up, not tearing down. We must nurture relationships. As Christians, our command is to love, and although that includes every person on the planet, it’s so easy to ignore or be rude or belittling to those who are closest to us. It’s even harder to actually listen when you ask someone “How’s it going?” and they truthfully tell you!
As I suggested last month, you could even offer to pray with your neighbor. “And who is my neighbor…?” The person in need! (And aren’t we all needy?) Jesus tells us in Luke 10, be the one who treats others with mercy! Go and do likewise!
So this month,
please join us in praying
for all who in need,
+those who are alone and appear to be unloved, that they might experience God’s love and the kindness of those around them.
+ for premature babies, Lilly and Brook, and all very young children and their developmental needs.
+for all parents, from conception onward, especially those experiencing difficulties with their children.
+for parents who grieve the deaths of their children.
+for married couples who long to be parents, but rather experience the sorrow of infertility.
+for those who long to be married or struggle with their sexual identity.
+ for those who struggle to maintain healthy relationships or healthy marriages.
+for those who struggle with habits that are destructive, especially pornography.
+for the financial needs of Elizabeth Ministry and RECLAiM Sexual Health.
+for the safety, physical and spiritual well-being of those who work with Elizabeth Ministry and RECLAiM Sexual Health.
+for refugees and those affected by natural disasters.
+for the conversion of those who seek to harm others, both the proponents of abortion and terrorism.
+for all of us when we cause harm to others by what we say or fail to say.
+for Gerrie, an EMI volunteer who has suffered a slipped disc in her back.
+ for governmental and national leaders, that they might be guided by God’s Spirit.
+for the needs of those who pray with us.