Drawing closer to god through prayer

and The Word of God

Articles by Ann Fitzgerald regarding the power of prayer,

the daily reading of the Bible (The Word of God)

along with seasonal church related observances

Small steps into meditation

God calls to us in the midst of this world’s demand on our time, energies and thoughts. In the midst of this world’s demands God waits for us to come to him for rest. It is not an easy thing to set aside the pressing things of life but here are a few things that help me to slow down my tendency toward feverish activity both of mind and of body.

  • Be still. I slow down my breath allowing it to sync with the beat of my heart as I soften muscles in my neck and back.  I start out with a simple prayer asking God to help me be still in presence and to see his reflection in his creation. Take small steps. Practicing this step is a good beginning.
  • Play music. Music has great power in the human mind. I look for soft music that will open my mind and heart to the presence of God. Take small steps. Choosing some music is a good beginning.
  • Trust the Holy Spirit to understand the words you speak with your mouth or in your heart. St. Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us “with sighs too deep for words” (Romans 8:26)

The following scriptures offer a devotional reading to take small steps into meditation and a deeper walk with God. Reading the full chapter offers a deeper understanding of each verse. Take small steps. choose a verse at a time allowing God’s word to sink deeply into your mind and soul.


    You are precious in God’s sight; Set time alone with God daily to renew your heart and soul.


   John 3:16, Ephesians 1:4-5, Isaiah 49:16, Isaiah 43:1,2, 

Deuteronomy 26:16-19


   God knows your journey; Pray for courage to let God be your teacher and your guide.


   Matt 11:28-30, Proverbs 4:20-27, Ephesians 2:10, 1st 

Thessalonians 5:23-28


   God longs to transform your heart; Pray for grace to be diligent in devotion

Psalm 119:19-16, Ezekiel 36:26, Ezekiel 11:17-21, Jerimiah:33


God will give you rest; Ask God to show you a place for quietness in heart, soul and mind  Exodus 33:14, Mark 6:30, Psalm 4:8


Ann Fitzgerald January 19, 2020

We might take small steps toward daily prayer but it is not the prayer that is small....

January is a time for small steps into new beginnings. Any life coach will tell you that small steps toward any goal is a better predictor of success than giant leaps of good intentions. It is the seemingly insignificant exercises that build up the core strength that allows a weight lifter to lift heavy weights or a runner to have the agility to cover many miles in less time. Likewise, it is the small steps toward Spiritual growth through daily bible reading and prayer that will bring about the mature Christian useful for the good works set for us by Jesus Christ.


Philippians 3:13 I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it (referring to maturity, see vs 12). But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.


Small steps toward daily prayer. We might take small steps toward daily prayer but it is not the prayer that is small. The simplest words whispered to God in a devoted heart sets in motion powerful workings of the Holy spirit toward change in this world and transformation of the one who prays. The unassuming and simple words of a child’s prayer are more effective than all the worldly wisdom and fancy words of mankind. So, fear not and speak boldly knowing that God hears our every prayer.


Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from wise and intelligent people and have revealed them to infants.”


Suggested small steps for daily prayer: scripture prayers. Choose a verse from scripture that stands out from your daily readings. Read surrounding verses to know the context of what you read for a greater understanding of what the verse means and clear direction for your prayer.


Example of a prayer using Matthew 11:25 (above): Dearest Jesus, I love you and want to be closer to you. Give me the heart of a child so that I am able to depend on you and experience the peace that you offer. Amen


Ann Fitzgerald ....week 2, January 2020

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask  anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14


Your presence is requested …


I don’t know about you but these words get my attention, especially  if the return address is from somebody important. If this is an invitation for a wedding or a ball I would be honored to be chosen. If it were the IRS I might not be so excited. But God calls to us everyday  through out scripture inviting us into his presence through prayer and with thanksgiving. No fancy dress required and no special gift is expected other than your desire to know him better in fellowship through the Holy Spirit. 


Your presence is requested to come … and the return address is the  throne of our great King, almighty God. Come, just come. Let this time of the new year be a time to renew our commitment to daily time with God in scripture and prayer. 


Thank you, Heavenly Father, for making prayer possible so that I  am able to be in your presence. I know that I am often distracted by  the cares of this world and can only be faithful to you with your help. Please renew my dedication daily so that I will grow closer to you, to know you more and be able to live my life for you alone,  serving others as your kingdom draws near. 


Amen


Ann Fitzgerald, January 2020


More in formation on 'Three Days of Prayer' here

I'm Nobody, who are you?

Are you nobody, too?
Then there's a pair of us -- don't tell!
They'd banish us – you know!  Emily Dickenson
   


The first and deadliest of lies is: I’m a nobody. It was introduced in the garden of Eden when Satan beguiled Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit and become like God. Adam and Eve who were made in the image of God doubted their identity becoming slaves to sin and nomads in a world that had once been created for their joy.


There is another time that Satan posed the question, ‘Who are you?’ Jesus had just been baptised as God spoke from the heavens, “This is my beloved Son,” when Satan posed three challenges. Each one meant to seed doubt into Jesus’ mind about his own identity. As recorded in Matthew 4:1-11, “If you are the Son of God… turn these stones into bread. If you are the Son of God throw yourself from the pinnacle of this temple. If you are the Son of God, deny your identity and the kingdoms of this world be yours.” And Jesus responded, “Begone, Satan! For it is written, ‘you shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.’”


I dare say that Jesus was able to stand in the midst of such temptations not because of who he was but because of his relationship with God, his heavenly Father. Jesus was solid in his knowledge that he was the Son of God. The good news is that we also are the children of God as it says in 1 John 3:1-3. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! and that is what we are!... now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”


Next time doubt shadows your joy remember you are a son or a daughter of our most High King. See also: John 1:12, Romans 5:1, Jeremiah 31:3, Genesis 12:1-20, Psalm 139:13-16, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 1 Peter 2:9, Isaiah 42:1, Deuteronomy 7:6 and more…



a mother's legacy

I found a snapshot in a book my Mother made years ago. The photo was a small black and white snapshot with a white border and deckle edge, set carefully on a black page and secured with black sticky corners. The words ‘Ann’s birthday’ was carefully printed with a white pencil. I studied the picture looking for clues to favorite memories when I noticed that each paper cup had 2 straws. This seemingly small detail might have gone un-noticed if I had not recognized the extravagance it suggested. The extravagance did not have a dollar sign but it did have the mark of my mother who knew how to make a simple birthday party into a backyard celebration.


It could be said that my mother left me a legacy of ‘seeing’. Seeing extravagance in the simple details of life is a legacy passed from my grandmother through my mother given to me. The art of turning a simple meal into an event was my mother’s expression of a heritage of caring. It is as if each generation whispers to the next generation, “you are special”.

God prepared a rich inheritance for us, purchased by the death and resurrection of Jesus, sealed by the Holy Spirit.


        2nd Corinthians 1:22 (NLT)…God has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts             that guarantees everything he has promised us

       Ephesian 1:18 (NLT) I pray that your hearts be flooded with light so you can understand the                             confident hope he has given to those he called his holy people who are his rich and glorious                         inheritance.


With such an inheritance we, as children of God, live with the legacy of love as a witness to the world around us. Daily we grow into the likeness of God spending time in prayer and scripture, living out of the grace of God lavishly poured out upon us. This is our legacy. It is as if God whispers to each generation, “you are special”


Every mother leaves a legacy for her child, like an imprint of her presence on a child’s heart. What legacy did your mother leave you? What legacy will you leave your child?


Ann Fitzgerald ...May 12, 2019

There is great power in the prayer of a faithful mother   

This is a simple statement and yet I am lost for words to express the truth of the message. I can only offer stories of great leaders of the church throughout history.


The first story is of Augustine, one of the 1st priestly authors to change the course of the Christian church. He spoke about his mother’s life-long sacrificial dedication to prayer for her family. She did not waver in her faithful prayers for her son to turn from his wicked ways and to know and submit his life to Christ. Augustine wrote these words as a prayer regarding his Mother. “You sent down your help from above and rescued my soul from the depths of this darkness because my mother, your faithful servant, wept to you for me, shedding more tears for my spiritual death than other mothers shed for the bodily death of a son.” (Confessions, 3:11)


A 2nd story is about Hudson Taylor, English missionary responsible for the China Inland Mission reaching over 125,000 Chinese people with the gospel. Hudson Taylor wandered from his Christian upbringing to seek his fortune in an environment that outwardly mocked the Christian faith. He soon embraced a life-style of earthly pleasure focused only on gain. He lost interest in his faith and walked away from God. His mother Amelia was on her knees in fervent prayer that God would have mercy on her son toward repentance and commitment to God’s work. Hudson Taylor was reformed, gave his life to God’s work. He leaned on his mother’s prayers until her death in 1881.


This final story is about D.L. Moody, evangelist and priestly writer, known for his work among college students. Moody’s early attempts to work with students left him discouraged and questioning his adequacy for the task as he watched a group of 1700 students dwindled to 100. He reached out for help but he did not choose more powerful preachers, or greater theologians but turned to those he knew would turn to God for mercy. He gathered mothers in the area imploring them to pray. Three hundred mothers responded, fell on their knees, cried out to God with streaming tears in fervent prayer for God to come in power upon these young men. That very night the tide turned as young men committed themselves to God’s ministry.


There is great power in the prayer of a faithful mother. There is hope for our wayward sons and daughters when we dedicate ourselves to fervent and heartfelt prayers.

I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.2 Timothy 1:5


Ann Fitzgerald, April 28, 2019

Why are you crying? Who do you seek?

Mary stood weeping at the empty tomb. Two nights ago, every hope of Israel’s redemption hung on the cross for all the world to see the shame of a nation in this man, Jesus. His words of compassion, hope and promises of resurrection were still fresh in her mind as they laid his body in a tomb.


Before dawn of the 3rd day Mary made her way to the tomb burdened with spices to prepare Jesus’ body for burial. The stone used to block the entrance had been rolled away and she stooped down to look into the tomb. It was empty. Nothing made sense anymore and thinking that someone had taken his body away, she began to weep.


A man approached her whom she suspected was the gardener, and asked her, “Woman, why do you cry? Who are you looking for?” Mary replied, “Sir tell me where you have taken the body and I will go get it.” This man, thought to be the gardener, was Jesus, but she did not recognize him until he spoke her name, “Mary”, and she turned to him and cried, Rabboni” (which is teacher).


Today we are surrounded by Easter lilies, butterflies, colored eggs and children dressed in fancy clothes. Spring time follows winter just as day follows night promising joy in the morning. Easter morning follows good Friday and today Christians around the world celebrate an empty tomb and a risen Christ.


And yet in the midst of springtime celebration, still the tears, still the broken dreams and unknown longings burden human hearts. There are times in my life when I can see only an empty tomb but in these times, I hear the gardner ask, “Why do you weep? Who are you looking for?” and then I hear the Savior say my name reminding me once again, He has risen, He has risen indeed!”

(there are four accounts of the women who go to the tomb on Easter morning. This writing refers to the account in the gospel of John.)


Ann Fitzgerald, April 21