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Joy and Protection

While I was praying this morning, a couple of things jumped out at me.

My prayer room, which I have been using for a number of years, has many symbols I use as reminders of what I want to pray and I've created a meaningful ritual as I move from object to object, touch it with my hand and give thanks to God or make a request of him.  Of these symbols, the crown of thorns and the water fountain were what stirred up some realizations.

With the crown of thorns I pray, "God, give me joy and gladness in the midst of suffering and pain."  That prayer is based on Jesus' admonition, "Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."  As I prayed this today, it hit me!  Perhaps one of the reasons I have responded the way I have to my son's death is because God has been answering my prayer.  Not that Mikael's death is persecution in any way but Paul and Peter talk about how we share in the sufferings of Christ.

With the water fountain I pray, "You are the Fountain of Life.  You are the Living Water.  Thank you for providing stepping stones of safety and protection during impossible times.  This references a picture God gave me over a year ago during a time of prayer--how during some very difficult and painful times of my life, God provided oases, places of refuge in time of trouble, havens of safety.  As I was praying this morning, I remembered what a friend had written me earlier in the day: "Your sleeping helps to protect you right now Deb."  Yes!  Another stepping stone in rough waters, an oasis in an arid land.  God is protecting me.

I might have missed these gifts from God if I hadn't been praying.  I wonder what sorts of things we do miss out on because we haven't prayed.

God, thank you for caring about our needs and listening to our prayers.  Thank you for answering mine.

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In My Prayer Room

Oh God
You surround me with your love,
with memories
of who you are
of what you've done
of promises you've made
of who I want to be
of who I am because of you.

You give me hope and joy,
peace and gratitude.
You convict me
and teach me
encourage me
and remind me
of what it means to follow you.












You listen to my prayers
and grant my requests
in your time.
You give me insight
and knowledge
and words to write
to share your presence
your goodness
your love
your admonition
with others.























You expand my love
to pray for friend and foe
near and far
family and stranger
people as pins on maps
clustered and scattered
who know you and reject you
for those in need
and those too full to need.


















You draw me close
and then release me
to bring you close to others
to serve
and love
and give
all I have received.

You fill my heart with joy
that warms
and glows
and bursts
into laughter,
song
and even dance.

You wrap me in your arms
and tell me
"You are mine"
with intensity that burns
and smoul…