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We are the church. The church runs through our veins and is nonexistent without us. We are one. Of one body. When she rejoices, we rejoice. When she mourns, we mourn. We are the church. And the church needs healing.

Build Your Kingdom by Rend Collective is the perfect little anthem for this. have a listen.

To see the captive hearts released
The hurt, the sick, the poor at peace
We lay down our lives for Heaven's cause
We are Your church
We pray: revive this earth

For the church to heal, the body, each member, each branch that has been grafted in and marked in the Book of Life, must be healed. Physical healing, for some. For others, the mind. And still others the spiritual. In order to move forward, we must go back to the tears and anger and disappointments and cover them by the blood of Jesus, with his healing through the power of the Spirit of God.

A collision of the mind, body and soul has to occur and our clenched fists must find rest in the open hand position, as we receive the grace we profess with our mouths. We must be made aware of the festering wounds stirring inside our souls. The ones that bind us in anger and despair and full of self hate. The ones we allow to steal our joy and block out the sound of God singing over us. The ones that the enemy uses to close our eyes and ears to God. The ones that make us ineffective and keep us down in the pit.

The church needs faith that it can be healed. Faith in a God who sees and in a God who heals and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We need to trust and rely on God to heal, not being so reliant on doctors or time or the body to heal (yes, those are great things) but trusting in God as the ultimate healer - who uses doctors and time and the body to heal us. It is being the one who goes back to thank God after all has been said and done, reminiscent of the leper who returns to give thanks.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

We must be a church knitted together in humility, knowing it the humiliation will not last forever. We must be a church that gets low and dirty, crawling among crowds of people just to touch the tip of Jesus' clothes, believing it will heal. That fervent and desperate and full of faith. We must leave our worry at his feet, believing his ways are truly better than our own, because he cares for us.

We must have humility in knowing we are broken and cannot save ourselves and are in need of a Savior in every aspect of our lives, including the ones that have yet to surface and become known in our finite minds. We must learn to be transparent with those around us and be prayerful for ourselves and others.

Praying that as a tree in winter, whose glory and splendor and beauty has fallen to the ground, and now stands bare and open for all to see its branches and peeling bark and holes, the church would stand bare. That each member would be transparent and open in order to accept the healing that is offered through the blood of Jesus. Praying that as the tree is waiting its time in preparation for spring, for its renewal and blooms, that the church would go through its process in revival of faith and in the power of the Holy Spirit's miraculous works, as healing pulses its veins. 

Here's to the church and the healing of many. 

I came across healing prayer at a women's retreat several years ago. It was the first time I really encountered God. Me and God. Not something that was revealed through bible study or through another person but through prayer. A vision.

Prayer is the communication language with God, though the Spirit will intercede for us where words fail. Prayer is powerful and integral in relationship. It heals and restores and cultivates faith. It is an intimate practice of all who take part, in private or community, with the Creator. There are so many ways to commune with God. Prayers are memorized and recited. Scriptures are prayed. Our petitions and joy and grief come to life off our tongues. And each has its own time and place to orchestrate and play its melody.

This healing prayer is my "go to" prayer when something is bothering me or there is an issue that is reoccurring. It never ceases to amaze me the way God reveals himself through it and the beauty and restoration that emerges out of it. I tried to Google the prayer to find its origins but I was at a loss for who wrote it, so this is what I took away from the retreat and how God has revealed it to me.

I have heard of people being healed physical and emotionally from it. From molestation to marriage issues to not feeling worthy or accepted to undiagnosed bleeding. If there is a feeling or a deep rooted issue that you would healed, this is it. I have lead others through this without a feeling in mind or asking for healing for myself and God showed me something that was lingering and healed it, too. That is the kind of God we serve, who knows us better than we know our own infinite selves, who knew us before we were born.

Here are the steps to walk you through the prayer.
Make sure you have enough time to go through this and are free from distractions / interruptions, asking the Spirit to lead.

If you are facilitating, you can have the person or group raise a hand as they go through each question to signal they are finished or say done. A question can be talked through if you are going through it with someone to get clarity if something comes up before moving on to the next step, as long as they are okay with sharing. This is a very intimate time of prayer.

I like to start by praying verses to clear and focus my mind on God, decluttering thoughts, such as: 

Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ - 1 Corinthians 10:5

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14

Each question is being asked to God. You have to quiet yourself to hear the response. I promise he will answer (Jeremiah 33:3).

1. Is there anyone I need to forgive? Is there sin I need to repent of? 
           If a name comes to mind to forgive, write it down and pray how to reconcile, do so in your                  heart now. If you need to repent, do so now. This is crucial in the process to be reconciled to               God and others. 

2. What is the emotion am I feeling?         If you do not know what exactly is ailing you, ask God to reveal the words or issue at hand.

3. When was the first time I felt this?         A memory of the first time you felt whatever emotion / situation will be revealed to you. (i.e. the           first time you were angry, lied to, etc.)

4. What is the lie?        A lie is buried beneath the feelings that you have believed, whether known or unknown. 

5. What is the truth?
      The truth will be revealed. This is where the healing takes place, whatever God has in store for           you. It may be a truth through scripture or other means.

Here is a simple 5x7 printout if you would like to have it handy as you go through it. Click to print.

Praying you have eyes to see and ears to hear. Praying you can see through the eyes in to the Spirit and not focus on what the world sees, for the world has missed Him. Praying that both eyes would be focused on the Spirit to see the things of God, for one cannot focus each eye on different things at once, lest your eyes grow cross and seeing becomes unbearable.

Praying you would receive healing from the Lord as you seek him and that you would hear his heart for you, as you enter in to forgiveness and repentance. Praying you would be healed and show others the way.

Here's to healing and renewing. 

I have been wrestling lately. Wrestling with God. Seeking and praying and fasting and reading. Wrestling with the Church in context of America; not sure what wrestling looks like when I can hardly crawl and lacking in skill set and just learning how to stretch muscles in rhythms that are natural to the body.

Recently sitting on my counter was a copy of Relevant magazine, a young child whose arm was bandaged and stopped before the elbow looking back at me on the cover. Anything but light reading before bed but had me searching the pages for the corresponding article.

Children and women and men dying for their faith. Martyrdom in Nigeria. Sitting in my overflowing home and thinking about the 13 year old boy who was castrated and in bandages but asking for prayers for his faith to increase, and the husband, whose wife went to be with the Lord after being told they must convert to Muslim or be killed, as he lay in the hospital recovering from the wounds after being left for dead but comforted for Jesus said there would be trouble, and the lady who watched her sister get shot to death and forced to marry the man behind the gun but managed to escape, it is hard to comprehend it all. He could be my friend. He could be my relative. She could be my child. This could be meThese are God's children. Keep them tucked in your prayers as you slip both hands in your shirt as you dress and as you guide  your child's legs in his pants. 

As I sit well fed and comfortable, not a need unmet, having attended a church service this week, others are fighting the good fight of faith. Others are losing their loved ones, their moms and dads and babies to hate, their own arms and limbs cut off, while I feast. While I celebrate birthdays and hear of goals to be made and holidays to be planned, their faith is being refined in the most holy of ways.

There is a time for everything under heaven. A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to weep and a time to laugh. And this is a time to refine. The words of Paul, taken from Psalms, echoing in my head: for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

This is real faith. This is what it all boils down to. Do we really believe? 

Is this what America needs to witness to be reconciled to its first love? To see the suffering and perseverance of real faith? To follow in their example and know we are more than conquerors through Jesus? To truly know the Savior we claim on Sundays, yet fail to fully seek him the rest of the week?

Is this what we need to witness to truly repent and turn from our sinful ways?

With Everything by Hillsong is a beautiful song and prayer for the Church. Have a listen.

Open our eyes,
To see the things
That make Your heart cry,
To be the church
That You would desire.
Light to be seen.

Praying that your faith would continue to be formed and shaped and molded. Praying we would stop the enslavement of our cell phones and iPads and turn our hearts to him. That we would stop living for empty, self seeking pleasure and American dreams and turn to him. That we would stop seeking monetary gains and politics and turn to him.

Here's to wresting and faith. 

Happy November! We are getting our sewing needles and thread out this month for craft night. We are cutting and hand sewing these simple but so pretty heart ornaments. A similar tutorial can be found here for the general idea of construction.

Fabric: scraps are perfect
Needle + Thread / sewing machine
Cotton balls / stuffing
Embellishments: buttons, ribbon, bows, beads, etc.

Hearts are my favorite shape and can be found doodled on nearly any paper that comes in contact with my pen. Hearts are a symbol of love and a word used to say how much you like something. They can represent the center of an object or the soul and often tied to feelings depicting what we are all about.

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Luke 6:45) and this month our prayer is to speak hope in to the hearts of those who are hurting. Hearts of hope.

 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Romans 12:12

Hope that only comes from believing in Jesus. That can be held on to during the most crucial points in our lives and in the most blissful. Hope that turns the mourning in to dancing and puts a new song in our mouth. It is the hope that does not make everything okay but that never gives up. That restores and renews. The hope that changes everything.

When we hope in Jesus, our lives change in ways only God can imagine, as idols fall and the cross is continually picked up, with new eyes to see the landscapes of a gifted life worth living despite circumstances.  Hope that reveals patience during trials and develops a conversational life of prayer.

Praying that your heart would be full of hope as you trust in Jesus and that it would be interrupted with hope if it has yet to be and that you would in turn bless someone else. Praying that you would find peace in the midst of life and comfort in the quiet to rest and refreshment in the beauty of things hoped for.

We are using these tags (1.5" x 1.5") to attach to the ornaments as we give them away. Click to print. 
For more info on Pocket Blessings, click here. If you are hosting a Pocket Blessings in your community, feel free to email with any questions or any way we can be of service.