A Prayer to Activate Our Soul

Heavenly Father,

We come before Your Throne of Grace to enter into Your presence. You said in Your Word, “If we seek You, we will find You if we do it with all of our heart and all of our soul.”  We come to ask that You will first create in us a new heart and a new mind. We come to ask that You will revive our hearts to seek You daily.

Restore to us the awe of being in a relationship with You. Restore in us a flame of fire and streams of water that will flow like living water from our bellies. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and baptize us with Your heavenly language. Give us Dunamis power to live holy, to witness, to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to cast out demons, and to preach the gospel of the Kingdom. In Jesus mighty name ~ Amen

Scriptures for Meditation: Jeremiah 29:13, Ezekiel 36:26, John 7:38, Acts 2:4, Acts 1:8, Matthew 10:1-2, Matthew 24:14

A Prayer of Faith

Welcome, Holy Spirit, as we rise this day to give You praise. We rise to give You thanks, glory, and honor. Thank You for being the partner and Comforter we need. Thank You Heavenly Father of the Universe for filling us with Your Holy Spirit. Give us the power we need to be carriers of love, peace, and joy today. Teach us how to search our hearts and cleanse our souls of anything that will lead us into lifestyles of impurity. Help us live the life that You ordained for us before the foundation of the world.

We have an assurance from Your Word that we can have whatever we say if it is according to Your will. Healing, Deliverance, Restoration, and Forgiveness belong to us. Thank You for providing us a rich heritage and many blessings in heavenly places. Strengthen the faith of Your people today and help us to realize that we have power within ourselves to change our situation; it is in our mouth. Give us Your Word for the circumstances we are facing. Some of us are faced with family problems, sickness and pain in our body, mind, and spirit, relationship challenges, financial lack, wayward children, unemployment, mental and emotional struggles, and conflicts of various kinds, but we exercise our faith and say what Your Word says about our situations. We decree and declare that You are moving to bring about change.

Stir up our hunger for Your Word today and give us a promise that we can stand on. Help us to stand even when we do not see immediate change in our circumstance. We trust that You are working by Your Holy Spirit. Let Your Holy Spirit work in us the will to do Your good pleasure. In Jesus’ name ~ Amen.

Scriptures for Meditation: Mark 11:24, James 5:14, Psalm 51, Romans 4:17, Philippians 2:13

A Prayer for the Restoration of Love

So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Luke 10:27 NKJV)

Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus, we want to thank You for giving us the opportunity to approach your throne of grace for our needs. We recognize that we need You to lead and guide us into all truth. We live in an age of apathy, indifference, and unforgiveness. In this age, the souls of humanity are tried so much so that the love of many grows cold. Provide for the Body of Christ a fresh revelation of what it means to love You and our neighbors. Help us to rekindle our faith, trust, and passion to express our love for You and others in tangible and meaningful ways so that someone’s life will be changed as a result. Help us to grow in the wisdom and understanding that we cannot claim to be walking in love and disconnecting ourselves from one another. Make it plain to our hearts that we are one as You and Christ are one.  Remind us that love is not just something we say; it is what we do in thought, word, and deed. Give us the knowledge that love is the real power we are to seek.  Thank You Father for hearing this prayer. We know that You always hear and will answer the prayers of the righteous. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

A Prayer Against Evil

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for this day. This is a day that You have made and we will rejoice and be glad in it. Thank You for the privilege to come before Your presence. We believe that in Your presence is fullness of joy and at Your right hand there are treasures forever more. Create in each of us a clean heart. Examine our thoughts, words, and deeds and help us to align our intentions and motives with Your Word.

We have faced many challenges at the hands of persons who have done us harm and have committed great injustices against us. Some of us are still hurting, while some of us are working to put our lives back together through the power of Your Word. Help us to remember not to take matters into our own hands when we are hurting. Help us to cast all of our cares upon You because You care for us.

Father, teach us to watch as well as pray with the full understanding and awareness that our adversary seeks to steal, kill, and destroy, and that we can overcome the enemy’s work by relying on Your Word. Your Word is the lamp for our feet and the light for our path. Keep us steadfast and unmovable. Teach us to keep our hearts with all diligence because out of them flow the issues of life. Give us the passion to mediate on Your Word daily.

Speak life to our hearts today so that we will go forward and share that life with others. Be with us today as we give encouragement and compassion to others, understanding that it will be returned to us pressed down, shaken together, and running over. Heal hearts and minds today and while doing so, teach us to love our enemies and to bless them.

Father, You have great things in store for us and Your wonders You will perform on our behalf. We give You thanks and praise for what You are going to accomplish in our lives. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and guide us in Your holy way. In Jesus name ~ Amen!

Desperate for Healing

Recently I read a story in the Bible about a woman whose daughter was seriously ill. As I reflected on this story, it offered no real details about the nature of the illness that this little girl was suffering. So, I did not know if it was physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional.  All I could glean from this story is that this mother was desperate for a healing for her daughter.

You see, the interesting thing about this story is that she was a Gentile woman seeking out Jesus, a Jew, for healing.  It is revealed in the story that she heard about the healing power of Jesus. A Gentile woman in the first century could risk great suffering by approaching any man in public, particularly a Jewish man, but her little daughter was deathly ill and she just wanted her to be well.

Her faith for her daughter to be healed was powerful! She continued to believe for her daughter’s healing and for an opportunity to get to Jesus to present her request. Upon arriving at the place where Jesus was, she sought him in great humility only to hear from Jesus himself that he had to get healing to his Jewish community first before he could offer it to the Gentiles. Wow, how discouraging that could have been; but this woman was so desperate for a healing that she was not affected personally by Jesus’ words, not sulking,  feeling dejected, or leaving the scene with her head hung low.

This message from Jesus did not deter this woman, but made her even more relentless in her pursuit; she was desperate for a healing for her little daughter. Her persistent faith in Jesus’ ability so impressed him that he celebrated and honored this woman’s faith. He declared her little daughter healed and sent the woman back home in peace. When this mother arrived at home, her daughter was resting peacefully. You can read the entire story in the Bible in the book of Mark, chapter seven, verses twenty-four through thirty.

I can so identify with this woman whose pain and struggle I understand. In 2013, my own daughter, at the age of twenty- three was abruptly challenged by a mental illness. As a professional having worked with many families over the years, encouraging them and compassionately walking them through their dilemmas, I found myself confronted with a faith crisis. It became a lonely and difficult journey to see my child in torment daily, trying desperately to understand the change in her life and struggling to get back to the normalcy she remembered without doctors, counselors, and medication.

Mental illness is real and it happens across cultures, regardless of economic status, to real human beings who want to be loved and treated with understanding, dignity, and respect. Even my family has had to struggle for understanding, services, support, and committed advocacy for my daughter. As a mother and a Mental Health Professional, I had to step up and be all of these things for my daughter. At times, my road has been met with challenges and we are still facing challenges.

It has been my unrelenting faith in God and my commitment not to give up on my daughter as she makes her way back to wholeness that has gotten us through.  I, too, am a mother who is desperate for a healing for my daughter, and I believe God has heard and will answer my prayers and the prayers of so many other mothers and fathers who are on this journey. My faith in God has grown even stronger, and I have not wavered in my commitment to be a voice for the mentally ill. I am even more committed to help them share their stories of pain and struggle.

I still believe Jesus is the answer. My daughter and I, along with many other daughters in the world who are suffering, wait like this woman who took her daughter’s needs to Jesus and heard him say, “Go home, your daughter is well.” I don’t mind waiting to hear those words!

To mothers everywhere who have a daughter or a son affected by mental illness, I am desperately seeking in faith for Jesus to grant their healing. Be encouraged; reach out in the community for support. There are still good people who are advocating for the mentally ill.

I am on the journey with you! ~ Peace

God Heal America

So often we hear the words, “God bless America.” Many use these words to impart blessings on this nation when it is faced with challenges, threats of violence, acts of terrorism, or natural disasters that hit our homeland. I have grown up in America and it has been a great place to live. I love the freedoms we enjoy in this country and the opportunities that are afforded to anyone with a dream of becoming whatever they desire to become without limits. America is a wonderful place to live. It is one of the most prosperous nations in the world. Abundant monetary wealth and resources flow through it, unlike many impoverished countries that are still trying to rise up from the dark ages. America is a great place to be.

As an African American female who grew up in poverty, I remember the season my mother had to access the welfare system just to keep me, my sisters, and my brother together after our father left the home. She understood that she had to find a way to survive and keep her children comfortable and fed. I knew we did not have a lot of money, but what I also knew in my heart was that I lived in a house of love. We had a strong extended family that my siblings and I shared with weekly. There was not a week that went by when someone was not visiting or living in our home. I felt that it was a caring place where people loved to be.

Many family members knew of our financially disadvantaged situation. However, they found ways to encourage us and build our self-esteem by reminding us that we could grow up to become whatever we desired to be. They never made us feel bad about not having money or being on welfare. There was so much love. We lived in a time when families looked out for each other.

I remember the community I grew up in where people shared out of their meager resources. If my mother or grandmother knew of a family that probably had no food or clothes, they would cook for them or invite them over to eat. They bought clothes for the children even if they had to go to thrift stores. They would wash the clothes and take them over as if they were brand new. I saw appreciation on the faces of those parents and children. As a child, it always warmed my heart to see this kind of sharing in one community in an American city. There was a sort of healing that was experienced in those families. It was love in action. They always knew there was a house they could go to in the community where someone was sharing out of their limited resources.

In America today, there are many families in need. Many are trying to make ends meet as they are living well below the national poverty line. There are poor people in this country who do want more for their families. Many of them are working class people who go to their 9 to 5’s daily, still cannot make ends meet, and have to access the welfare system just to survive.

The national poverty line according to Health care.gov is as follows:
• $12,060 for individuals
• $16,240 for a family of 2
• $20,420 for a family of 3
• $24,600 for a family of 4
• $28,780 for a family of 5
• $32,960 for a family of 6
• $37,140 for a family of 7
• $41,320 for a family of 8

Without creating a daily budget to represent these families, observing these numbers based on household composition alone shows that in America’s current economy, many of these families are homeless or near homelessness – and they work every day. Something is wrong in a country that brags about its prosperity, military power, big government, technology, great institutions of higher learning, and great minds – yet it still has not figured out how to ensure that all of its citizens have a place to live, food to eat, safety, security, and are extended a hand-up so they can pursue their purpose and destiny.

Sociology was one of my college majors. One area I studied was Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy Needs: physiological needs, safety needs, belonging and love needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs. I believe if we still look at this hierarchy, we will see that many of the people living in poverty are not able to move beyond the first level. It is a struggle for people to find purpose and destiny when they are hungry, they don’t feel safe, and no one is encouraging them to do or be more. Who can actualize when they are hungry and cannot even see clearly how to get out of poverty? People are not really looking for a hand out; they want a hand up. The gifted and well-known artist, James Brown, has a song that says, ‘I Don’t Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing.’  The lyrics spoke his sentiments to America; ‘Just open the doors and I will make my own way.’ People really want to do for themselves, but they are deprived of the opportunities to do so.

America must realize that people in poverty just want an open door – an opportunity to actualize the dreams in their hearts and souls. It is time for America to develop a productive plan to move people forward and into better lives.  The greed, the pride, the arrogance, the violence, and the economic disparity in our country must be healed. There needs to be a positive plan that works for the poor in this country. God did bless America. But what has been done with those blessings?

America was founded upon a mandate from God to follow Christ and be an example of the believer for the whole world to see.  God blessed America with prosperity, but what has been done with that prosperity? I’ll tell you what was done with it. Resources, influence, and wealth were used to enslave human beings who were created in the image of God, for which America has yet to repent of.  The indigenous people of this land were tricked and cast aside on reservations to keep them under control. Wars were created for the cause of greed and not for national safely. The blood of the innocent was shed. Young men and women of color were wrongfully imprisoned in the prime and strength of their youth. Rivers, lakes, and streams were poisoned to wipe out neighborhoods and people groups. Policing systems were corrupted to cut down our youth in the streets. Nation groups were discriminated against because of their ethnicity when America was charged to love all. Our nation’s government is corrupt and her policies are created in the special interest of the rich.

The cry of the poor and the innocent has come to the ears of heaven and God will answer their cry. It is time for America to heal and live out her pledge; “One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All.” Are you true to your pledge, America? No, you are not. You practice national prejudice. You create division rather than unity. You tolerate injustice and corruption in the legal system. America needs to be healed because her whole heart is sick.

America, I implore you, let your soul be healed and let that healing run like water into the streets. The cry of the poor and the needy has now come up before the True and Living God and the Lord will answer their cry!

From this day forward, I issue a new cry: “God Heal America.” ~ Peace

Break The Darkness Over Washington DC

Heavenly Father,

I come to you in the name of Jesus asking that You will break the power of darkness over Washington DC. Break the spirit of pride, arrogance, greed, selfishness, control, narcissism, and immorality in the mighty name of Jesus.

Pour out from the flood gates of Your Holy Spirit and put to rout the strong man over this city. Penetrate the hearts and minds of the citizens and the leadership in every sphere. Bring the love of Jesus in this city that will ignite every heart.

Abba, move on the secular and the saved, and tear down the walls that have separated and divided Your creation. Heal it of its historical blood shed of the innocent that it has never repented of. Take care of the poor, the disabled, the disadvantaged, the orphans, the elderly, and the needy.

Abba Father, shake the ecclesia, the called out assembly of believers in this city, and awaken us from our sleep. Sweep over our souls with the cleansing power of Your Holy Word. Bring us to repentance for sleeping through a reformation and the movement of Your Holy Spirit. Cleanse us of our idolatry and carnal appetites that lead us under the tree of every new lover that turns our hearts from chasing after You. Lead us toward the eternal fountain that never runs dry and continually springs up into eternity. In Jesus’ mighty name ~ Amen.

Toxic Religious Communities: Where Is The Balm?

Recently I had the opportunity to attend a wonderful evangelism training event that helps to prepare and equip believers to be more effective witnesses for Christ. We discussed ways that we could be more natural and conversational in our approach to sharing the love that Jesus modeled for us while he lived in the earth some two thousand years ago.

During this training, I was up earlier than usual every morning seeking God in prayer because I am constantly searching for ways to be a better human being in the presence of people across all cultures. This was a four-day training. I assembled for morning prayer with others who wanted to experience God’s blessings daily for the entire training session. But something happened in me during prayer on the last day as I was preparing to leave. I got in my car to drive to the airport but I could not because the tears would not stop flowing. A full hour passed before I was able to drive. While in prayer, it seemed as if the heavens opened and the Spirit of God spoke and said, “Now be released from your pain; the pain you have carried being a part of a particular religious community.” In one brief moment, God flicked through those experiences like a quick movie flashing in my mind’s eye. I have chosen in this writing not to name that community as I do not desire to hurt anyone by the things shared. However, I do want to enlighten people through awareness of the many ways we inflict pain on others who are a part of our religious communities and those who come seeking healing. We understand that there are no perfect religious communities, but there should be evidence of the fruit of our love and forgiveness in the way we treat others.

It is only because of the grace of God and good friends that I have been able to stand, as many others have, through unkindness, unjust suffering, rejection, labeling, persecution, sabotage, lies, disregard, being hindered from advancement, and ill treatment toward our children. I have had many opportunities for advancement beyond the religious community I serve, but I believe God uses our experiences to help others. He taught me how to be continually engaged in the practice of Radical Hospitality in spite of ill treatment. I am fully aware that Jesus had to do the same thing. Let me say also, that there are beautiful people who I personally share with in the same community that have known firsthand the things I and others have suffered and they found ways to encourage us and also let us know that they were praying for our families and our fellowship communities. For them I am grateful.

Through my personal experiences with humanity and having been a practicing Mental Health Professional for more than twenty-five years, I have had the pleasure of being seated in sacred spaces with people who have been so wounded by religious communities that they no longer wanted to be a part of them. Many of them sought out alternative environments because they still had a hunger in their hearts for spirituality. At times my heart was broken just hearing about their pain and suffering. They had been controlled, manipulated, abused emotionally and physically, blocked from advancement, exploited financially, and raped of their gifts and talents. Some of their experiences reminded me of my own, but I listened with compassion and the desire to help them work their way through the pain.

Religious communities should make every effort to be havens of consolation where people can come and find a real healing balm. In the natural, a balm is often an oily, fragrant substance that is used as a comforting, soothing, restorative ointment for wounds, cuts, and bruises. It is known for its medicinal value. Ideally, this is what religious communities are supposed to represent – an anchorage where people of all nations can have soothing experiences and find comfort and restoration for their hurting souls.

I have never understood why there is such tolerance for inappropriate behaviors from leaders and other participants in religious communities. I believe we all have a duty to address the wrongs we can clearly see. However, if we become mere beneficiaries of perks, then there is silence while people are being injured – some who may never recover.

The weight of my pain is lifted. I forgave the persons who hurt me at the moment of the injury. What I did not realize was that I still carried the pain. I have released it. I have learned that God will never waste my pain or yours. God will use everything that you and I have gone through for destiny and for His glory. I have to continue helping others to overcome their pain and to share with yet others how they can survive maltreatment and hurt, and still move forward with God’s purpose and plan for their lives – even when their hearts have been broken in a religious community.

If you are reading this and you are connected to a religious community that has hurt you in any way, know that God’s love is greater than what you have experienced. If you will remain open in your heart to the awesome power of God, your pain can be healed.

To Religious Communities everywhere; leaders and laity, I ask you,
“Where is the balm in your community that can heal any soul?”    Peace

Bring Healing

Heavenly Father,

Today and everyday we commit to living healthy lives, mind, body and spirit. We ask that you would give us the wisdom necessary to help ourselves and others to practice healthy living.

Help us to live with more awareness as to how we treat ourselves and others, understanding that we release into the atmosphere sickness and disease even in our thoughts.

Heal every unhealthy thing in our lives right now. Heal the people, places and things that have wounded us. Heal our families, communities, religious organizations, businesses, schools, and gatherings. Bring healing in Jesus name, Amen!

“He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.” Psalms 107:20 NKJV

Don’t Ever Be Ashamed of Your Story: It’s About Destiny

 

What I have discovered on this journey of life is that reaching my destiny will require something of me that will necessitate my having to be transparent and vulnerable in order to become transformative. (I learned this from a great teacher.) I also learned that I can impact my family, friends, and even strangers by the testimony of my story. As I have reflected on the world from my point of view, I can see that people really do want to maximize their lives to the fullest. Many just do not have the knowledge, the wisdom, or the opportunity to move their lives toward their destiny and purpose.

I grew up in a clean, loving, and orderly home. However, there was not much money flowing through it. I was being raised by a mother who was 14 years old when I was born and a 16-year-old father. They were young y’all! I knew they both loved me and wanted to do the right thing for my well-being, but there were challenges. It took years for me to understand that they did their best to try and work out their new marriage and life together with a young child. Because of their choice to have premarital sex, their youth and their lives would never be the same. There was sadness and many frustrations that at times affected my state of being. I found myself feeling isolated and sad inside, but I did not know how to explain the sadness that was forming and developing in me, and I had no confidant to share those negative feelings with.

There were some things I tried to fix in my mind, but I did not quite understand what needed to be fixed. Those feelings kept overwhelming me. There were many people who appeared to be interfering with the way my mother and father were managing things and that seemed to create more frustrations for them.  So three more babies later, my father felt that he had enough and he left home. I was five years old. What I had experienced with him was his gentleness and his brilliance; he was one of those Cornell West types, but he just could not seem to figure out how to use his brilliance and make his life move toward the destiny for which he was born. He aborted his brilliance through a life of drug addiction that led to a diagnosis of drug induced Paranoid Schizophrenia. He lived in a constant state of fear, mistrust, and double mindedness.

When I had to deal with him after he left our home, I often felt that I was parenting him. I would help him to redirect his thoughts to keep them connected to reality. I had this unusual patience and calmness with him that required me to help him understand that his fears and suspicions had no basis in reality. However, I became angry, resentful, and ashamed of his life and the impact that his selfish addiction had on his family, so I distanced myself from him and only reached out to him periodically. In an effort to handle these feelings of anger, shame, and resentment, I began engaging in unhealthy imaginings to try and put him and my life in a light that made sense. The doorway of those unhealthy imaginations opened other doors to unhealthy thinking patterns in my own life that led to great emotional and mental challenges for me. How could I, as a young child or young adult, tell people that my father was mentally ill and that I was facing some challenges myself? The feeling of shame gripped me, but I found hope and deliverance through a spiritual encounter and relationship with Jesus the Christ. Jesus brought meaning to my meaninglessness and healing to my broken heart and soul. For this spiritual transformation, I am eternally grateful. My father passed away in 2007, and I took the responsibility of managing the last moments of his medical care and to see to it that he was buried with dignity, respect, and love. I held no more anger in my heart toward him. I was able to see him with new eyes and with the understanding that he really wanted more for his life and his family. I will always remember his gentle way and his struggle and desire to have a meaningful and successful life.

Still in our society today, mental illness affects so many families. It introduces an array of emotions into the family that produce feelings of confusion, anger, fear, resentment, frustration, hurt, devastation, and shame. As painful as it has been to go through the process of overcoming the perils of my family and my negative emotions, it has led to the fulfillment of my destiny to become a Mental Health Professional in support of others who struggle with the devastating pain and shame associated with mental illness. My aim in life is to use my story to help others overcome their pain and live the full life that God has predestined for them. In spite of feeling trapped in the unhealthy world of their minds, people with mental illness want to be loved, accepted, and treated with respect. I believe I am on a journey to help them know that they can find communities of people that will love and accept them, and walk them through their challenges into wholeness. It has taken some years for me to rise above the shame of my story of family and personal mental illness. Today, I am free internally and not ashamed of where I started or what I have walked through in my own family and life. My destiny now is to help others to get free and live their lives with purpose. My life is all about destiny!

 

 

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