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Rise Up – It’s 2020!

Rise up, you women who are at ease, Hear my voice;   Isa 32:9

The last Christmas Hallmark movie has been watched and the decorations stored, except for one kind of big thing; the tree. It’s the final “good-bye” to Christmas, and I just couldn’t bear to take it down!  Alas, the rapidly falling needles begged to differ as they created a pattern of snow across the floor.  It is, I am reminded, a new decade after all.

With renewed vigor, I sat down this morning with my Bible and began to read and pray through Scripture. The words “rise up” filled my mind, and I knew that 2020 was going to be a decade of adventure with the mighty Yahweh! I took it further, daring to ask the Lord if He had spoken thus to women and immediately began to search my trusted concordance.   To my surprise, Isaiah 32::9 declared just that.

Rise up, women who are at ease, Hear my voice; You complacent daughters, Give ear to my speech.

Now I am not one to ever be defined as “at ease,” so I dug a little further.  What I read was a voice of urgency spoken from the Lord to the women He loved so much.  He was depending on His these daughters to make a difference in the land.   A culture shift had begun to absorb the people of God in Isaiah’s day, and the One True God said, “Women, rise up!” He urged the women to stop thinking of themselves in a complacent way of every-day lists and people pleasing and to wake up to the thought that the heart of a woman matters in a nation. So much so that He suggests a period of mourning over what was happening in the culture.  The vintage will fail, the gathering will not comeis most certainly speaking of the future of the nation and their children, the fruit of their loins and hearts.

It doesn’t take much to parallel the thoughts of this passage written in the 8thcentury B.C. with the realities of 2020 A.D.  Women cannot be complacent about the social media that invades the minds of our families; with the declarations of the culture that try to force our Judeo-Christian beliefs into a corner in the name of tolerance.  Nor can we be intimidated by those who call us “haters” because we refuse to change the Scripture to fit trends.  This we are not.  We love and we love strong, but if we adapt Truth to opinion then we are no longer genuine in our love.  When we rise up and rise abovethe noise, we are ready to stand and to share what we believe and why.  We heed the call to hear My voice and to give ear to My speech, for we know it to be the voice of One Who loves us so.

Daughters of God, I invite you to rise above with me and all the She Loves Out Loud sisterhood in leaving the complacency of “good enough” and “list checked” and accepting the challenge to fast with us  through February 15, 2020 as we prepare for women to join hearts across America to Love Out Loud!in Jesus name.  Fasting clarifies our priorities and leads us into praise, and that is what every woman of God longs for.

PRAY AND FOCUS ON:

  • The number one stronghold that’s hindering your walk with Christ.  (By the way, you already know what that is!  Let’s deal with it in 2020 once and for all.)
  • That women across America would unite hearts on February 15, 2020 through She Loves Out Loud to pray together in Jesus name and share hope, comfort, healing and joy.

WAYS YOU CAN FAST

  • Abstain from one meal a day or intermittent fasting
  • Abstain from TV or social media for a segment of time
  • Abstain from all food, observing a juice and water fast
  • Abstain from all meats and sweets, having only vegetables and other foods                    (The Daniel Fast)
  • Abstain from sugar and all sweets (this is mine for obvious reasons J)

Can we as women of faith open our arms wide without altering our beliefs?  Absolutely.  Go to www.shelovesoutloud.org join the sisterhood.

Everyone is talking About Prayer and Fasting in 2020!

by Diane Strack

Prayer is not optional for any of us; rather it is the necessary spiritual air we breathe for life and health.  Fasting, however, is less discussed because it seems strange in such a decadent world of plenty.  This simple act of surrender in spirit and body to the One Who knows our thoughts today and challenges tomorrow is mighty in its results.  For me personally, fasting is a bit selfish.  I say this because in every moment that I am hungry or tempted to indulge, I am reminded of the Savior, and why I began the fast in the first place.  Worry and anxiety, and even those priorities I thought were so important to the day, begin to diminish in their power over me.  My mind free floats to Who He is; His sovereignty, unconditional love, rivers of grace, and power to do exceedingly, abundantly above all I ask or think. (Eph 3:20)  In the place of a meal or a sweet or media time, I am intensely drawn to connect intimately with the Lord Jesus, and this brings a sweet peace that must be experienced in order to understand.

Jesus spoke to the disciples of prayer and fasting when they sought answers to personal and public failure.  In Mark 9, the disciples were in the midst of a spiritual high, a time of great excitement.  Huge crowds followed Jesus, and all stood in awe as He performed miracles.  Perhaps there was also a bolstered sense of power in the disciples, one they surely needed after leaving behind family and career to follow Him.

As Jesus made His way down from the Mount of Transfiguration into the crowd, an impassioned plea came from a father whose son was besieged by demons.  The disciples could not heal the boy, but Jesus gave him hope with the simple words,“If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mk 9:23)

Later in private, the disciples wanted to know, “Why could we not cast it (the demon) out?”   I can hear the rambling complaints – “We believe! We have given up everything!  Why weren’t we granted the power?”  Whether they were embarrassed or sincerely wanted to do more, we don’t know.  Jesus answered with another of his one-sentence, powerful explanations: “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:29)

This kind speaks to us of personal challenges, perhaps even opportunities; this kind of trial that is beyond our comfort zone and our own abilities.  Few of us are readyfor this kind; and Jesus tells us that the key is prayer and fasting.

 The great theologian Charles Spurgeon said, “It is very often our failures that bring us to a complete dependence upon God.”  Perhaps that is what Jesus allowed His disciples to experience on that day.  In the midst of such excitement and the supernatural, He brought them back to simple faith.

As we move into the New Year, be honest in your quiet space about thenumber one stronghold that’s hindering your walk with Christ.  (By the way, you already know what that is!  Let’s deal with it in 2020 once and for all.)  Resolve through prayer and fasting that this burden will no longer own you.  Only then can you move forward into the freedom of the spirit that is available through intimacy with so great a Savior.

 

She Loves Out Loud Prayer Movement for Women Gears Up


By NANCY FLORY Published on May 1, 2019

“I watched the ‘angry women’ parade and cried with the #MeToo movement, but saw no peace, no healing of hearts,” said Diane Strack. “I thought, ‘As Christian women, we’ve got to stand up and answer this.’ We are not angry. We are heartbroken over a culture that speaks of evil as normal; that threatens the future of our children.”

Diane will head up a new prayer movement for women, called She Loves Out Loud. She is also the national coordinator for She Loves Out Loud. The prayer movement will have its first gathering on February 15, 2020. It will take place at churches around the nation.

She Loves Out Loud

She Loves Out Loud began as a “personal heart call,” and grew into something much bigger. Diane’s personal heroine, Vonette Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (now CRU), urged Diane for years to bring women together in prayer. The last time Diane read Vonette’s book Passion for Prayer, she felt a burden to invite women across the country to pray together on the same day. She invited a handful of women to join her to seek the Lord’s heart. On a ranch in East Texas, the women put their faces to the ground and prayed.

It started with a few sisters-in-heart who believe that prayer heals, restores, and transforms. We asked ourselves, ‘What if we gathered hundreds of thousands of women across America to come together to pray in one voice for the future of our children and a healing of our nation?’ We bowed upon the earth to pray for three days, asking the Lord to bring others to join us. Each of us reached out to friends, ministries and churches, and the movement began! From coast to coast, women are calling out to us, ‘I’m in!’

Women Want to Pray

So far, the Lord has brought women from all over the United States to join the movement with Diane. She believes many more — thousands — will join as well. “I don’t think there’s anyone we’ve spoken to who hasn’t said, ‘I want to join the movement.’ … Women want to pray. They want to see the future of our children become positive. They want to see some change in the hearts of the families in our churches and our communities and our nation.”

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Diane and the other women hope the movement will become an annual event. “When we all shared our stories of hope and healing, there was always a person praying, caring. The person who loved us out loud. My husband and I can both point to a person praying specifically for us to come to salvation in Christ. The Lord brings you along to love out loud, to show your love through prayer and serving and listening. And that is the agenda for February 15, 2020.”

Prayer Across the Nation

The prayer movement will begin that day at Harvest Church in Los Angeles, then move to Dallas, Memphis, Miami, New York and end at the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C. She Loves Out Loud invites churches big and small to host the prayer services at their locations. They also want rescue missions, ministries and home groups to join by internet. “Each [location] will share a story of hope and healing, followed by a proclamation of Scripture and small group prayer on those verses,” said Diane. “We just want all of America to see what happens when a woman loves another person unconditionally without judgment. When she listens intently, and when she promises to pray earnestly.”

Diane and her group will fast during the week leading up to February 15, 2020. Women may join the fast through She Loves Out Loud’s YouVersion site. They may also get more information by checking out the group’s Pray With Us tab on the website. Women will break the fast by taking someone who thinks differently than they do for breakfast, lunch or coffee. “Sit down across the table and say, ‘I just wanted you to know I care about you; I am praying for you; and I’m here to listen.’ That’s going to be a big part of what we’re doing and we’re just so excited about it.”

An Awakening

While She Loves Out Loud has needs — like churches willing to host the prayer movement — many people have already volunteered to help out. “They’re excited about being on something this amazing.”

The movement is for all women. It’s spread by sister to sister. “It’s not an event, it’s not a conference, it’s not a tour. It’s a prayer movement,” explains Diane. “We are praying for this to be an historic day, an awakening throughout our nation. We welcome all women to join us and go away saying, ‘I was there as a part of it. I helped make it happen.’”

Nancy Flory is an Associate Editor at The Stream. You can follow her @NancyFlory3. And follow The Stream@StreamDotOrg

12 Day Prayer Journal: Day 6

Day 6

When my energetic little girl turned five, she came to sit with me in “big” church. I was optimistic, having explained thoroughly, I thought, how important it is to be still during the sermon. It began well – coloring, looking at books, and smiling in that adorable way that makes a mom’s heart melt. 
 
Not long into the sermon, she gave up on the idea and began giggling, squirming, and dropping every crayon, one at a time. No matter how many warnings or diversions I tried, she would not sit still. After several exasperating corrections, she laughed, stood up, pulled her dress over her head, and started to dance in the pew! Oh, and did I mention that we were sitting way down at the front of the church?  
 
I was humiliated, especially looking across the aisle at “Mrs. Perfect” with her Little Perfect sitting still. She stared and gave me a frown, and I know that I turned red. I turned to my daughter and whispered in anger, “That’s it, we are going home!” When I picked her up to carry her out of the church, she began to scream, “No, Mommy! Don’t beat me!” I thought I would die of humiliation right then and there. Of course I had never “beat” her, but she announced to the whole congregation that this was a possibility. Embarrassment became anger, and I told her so the whole drive home. 
 
Later, she sat in the bath singing silly songs and being the adorable five year old that she was, and I knelt beside her. I remember clearly even to this day that the Lord spoke to me, “How many times have you disobeyed? How many times have you embarrassed my name? And yet I forgive with rivers of mercy and restore you.” My heart melted instantly. I was ashamed that I had let what others might be thinking become more important than patience and training of my little one. I scooped her up and hugged her tight, telling her we would try again next week.
 
There is a real temptation for parents to judge the behavior of their children by what the teacher writes, how other children act, or whatever ideal you have read in a parenting book. Good background information, but not necessarily an accurate judgement of what to expect of your child. Every child is as unique as a snowflake and just as wonderfully created. 
 
The Apostle Paul prays for his loved ones to walk worthy. (Col. 1:10) Because kids are a work in progress – changing, learning, growing every day – our emphasis is on the walk. The Greek word used here is defined as to “make one’s way, progress; to make due use of opportunities.” Worthy we don’t really get, but walk in this context we do. It’s about prayer through the child’s journey of life. 
 
Be patient in your prayers. Every child is the sinner described in Romans 3:23 “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”Don’t be discouraged when they fail or disobey, but be emboldened in your prayers, believing that the Lord will use every challenge to make your child stronger as you lead them to understand forgiveness, repentance, and trying again and again.
 
TODAY: When failure repeats, go to your journal and write out what you are feeling and pour out your heart before the Lord, thanking Him for the work He is doing in your child and that the Word of God is alive and powerful. He will meet you there with encouragement, and you will look back later with joy!
 
LASTLY: One of the most important prayers during adolescent years is that they will not waste opportunity, but will take every chance to learn more, give more, serve more, and work harder. Again, this is not an instant prayer, but it is a true one that will be answered. You just watch and see!

Pray for the overcoming of temptation by inserting your child’s name into 
1 Corinthians 10:13:

The temptations in ________’_ life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than ________ can stand. When he/she is tempted He will provide a way out so that _______ will endure.

12 Day Prayer Journal: Day 5

Day 5

My youngest daughter is as strong-willed as they come. Independent, smart, and confident. But when she came home from college for a holiday, I noticed something different about her. She had a little bit of a stutter step, an uneven walk that lacked the gung-ho attitude she left with. A few days into her visit, we sat down and talked about life at Harvard and how it was going. She handed us a paper with a big red “C” on the front and turned to a page marked up with the words, “So what?” Her voice shook with a mixture of anger and frustration as she asked, “How do I fight this? I worked so hard on that paper!” My husband and I quickly noted the professor’s opinion was directly related to the Scripture she used to support her writing. “So what?” he asked. We were shocked at the complete dismissal of God’s Word as irrelevant, but my husband told her: “I can’t help you on this one. You have to explain why it is important to you. You have to answer the question in a way that makes him understand the ‘what.’ It cannot be ‘because that’s the way I was raised.’ ” The challenge forced her to really think about why she chose to use Scripture to defend her writing. 
 
I wish I could tell you that it was all roses after that, but it wasn’t. The criticism and intimidation continued, but she fought the secular agenda all the way through to graduation as a confident young adult ready to face the challenges of the world and went on to become a Christian counselor.
 
That is the kind of bullying by intimidation that your child will face as he or she grows into adolescence, and sadly, perhaps even before. After speaking to 10 million students in high schools and colleges across the country, my husband felt led to conduct a survey about what happens to teens raised in Christian homes once they leave for college. Sadly, the stats came back that 85% stopped going to church and 80% were influenced by their new environment to the point where they turned their back on the biblical worldview they were raised with. The challenge to what we believe permeates this culture, and many in this generation are being absorbed into it without even realizing it.
 
But what about the young adults who don’t turn back? How does that 15% remain strong? In all of our research, we found one constant. Teens who remained strong in their faith into young adulthood were those who independently owned their biblical worldview. They understood it; believed it; and intentionally planned life around it. They “owned” it. The Apostle Paul, knowing the evil of his day, prayed for spiritual understanding. (Col. 1:9)

TODAY: 

  • Pray for your children to begin the journey to spiritual independence so that they will make the transfer from Mom and Dad’s faith to their own personal faith. This is a work of the Holy Spirit through the living Scripture. 
  • Pray for your child to bring glory to God through his/her life. 
  • Teen gone astray? Believe God will bring him/her back stronger. It worked for Peter!  And I have seen it work a hundred times in others. Pray through Luke 22:31-32, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.”
  • Teach your children to praise the Lord at all times, the good and not so good days. I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. Spend time in praise today, and let this empower you to be the parent He has called you to be. 

LASTLY: My daughter does something every morning with her kids called “B & B” – Breakfast and Bible – to build the habit of having daily devotions once they are on their own. During this prayer journey you may find this is something you would like to try with your own kids.  

12 Day Prayer Journal: Day 4

Day 4

Wise minds and kind hearts – would you define your children that way? Next in our Scripture passage, the writer prays for – all wisdom (Col. 1:9). For children (and even some adults!), this definitely sounds like a contradiction in terms.

This wisdom Paul prays for is the knowledge of first principles and the foundation of good habits. Children bring laughter, hope, and delight to the world. Their curiosity and creativity certainly make life interesting; their continual wonder at new ideas and understanding is a joy to experience. But, in the midst of all this is a developing brain that is very closely connected to a tender, fragile heart.  

Kids might get the immediate consequences of a bad choice; i.e., “My parents are going to be really mad at me,” but they are worse at anticipating long-term consequences.

For example: 

If I climb the tree I will get in trouble with Dad;
not, if I climb the tree I can seriously get hurt. 

If I make fun of a girl in class, it will be funny to others;
not, I will cause her to feel bad about herself.

If I don’t do my homework, I will get a bad grade today;
not, it will affect my learning overall and put me behind in class.

What kids learn at home can compete with what they experience outside the home, and they count on parents to help process these competing influences. Paul’s first principles are the building blocks of character and the guidelines that will develop the character they need to function well in life. 
 
TODAY:

  • Pray for your children to grow in understanding of how to choose good relationships. They watch behavior, listen to the reactions of others, and then choose. 
  • Pray your child will choose goodness, kindness, and right choices over popularity.
  • Pray for “declarative memory;” that is, choices made based on what they have learned as right behavior. 
  • Pray for your children to begin to understand how to relate to people who are difficult or unfriendly; that they will see bullying as wrong and offer friendships to the lonely. 
  • Pray for understanding that acceptance can happen without compromise. 
  • Pray for the ability to learn, and to have good study skills and habits, good memory, and excellent relationships with teachers. Psychologists tell us that children who are read to frequently associate a warm, positive feeling with books that carries over to learning in general.”

If your child has special learning needs, pray for the Lord to send the right people into his/her life so that the child can learn in the way he/she needs to learn. Every child deserves the opportunity for moments of achievement.

12 Day Prayer Journal: Day 3

Day 3

Before we watch a family movie, I go online to check language, scenes, and themes. Most of the time, I find great advice, but I have learned not to rely solely on the opinion of others to make right choices for my family. A phrase, an attitude, even some slight disrespect might be missed or dismissed by someone else.
 
One of the biggest detriment to our kids is a media that dubs behavior as “normal” that the Scriptures declare as sin. Your job as a parent is to keep the gate locked and the fence high. 
 
My daughter reads every book before her children are allowed to read it. Yes, it takes hours. We laugh sometimes when she tells me “I was up all night reading about talking horses and watching super-heroes.” She and her husband take turns “pre-watching” family movies, and I am super vigilant to have the remote ready to fast forward when the grands sleepover. They learned the word “inappropriate” early on and fully understand that it is about biblical principle rather than just their age.  
 
It’s a lot of work and often hard to stand against what “everybody else” is doing. Some language and images bounce into our children’s minds through the internet, friends, music, and even commercials or movie previews without asking our permission. It’s worth the time you put in. 

Because mom or dad “said so” will eventually lose its power when peers challenge your kids. We pray as the Apostle Paul did for our loved ones to be filled with the knowledge of His will. (Col 1:9) There are many verses that tell us in black and white exactly what that is. Below are just a few:

Be very careful, then, how you live– not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 
Ephesians 5:15-17 

Pray for an interest in learning, joy in serving, courage to make a stand for right things; not following the crowd, but living by God’s Word and instruction.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Pray for a good attitude, especially in times of adversity, challenge, or disappointment.

God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. 1 Thessalonians 4:3

Pray for strength against sexual temptation and for a strong passion to stay morally pure in His name.

It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 1 Peter 2:15 

Pray against bullying or intimidation by peers; for your child to be a courageous Christ follower.

And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Pray for a servant’s heart; honesty; integrity; character; ability to love the unlovely.

TODAY: As you read these verses and others, you will be drawn to pray and claim specific verses for each child. Write them in your journal with the child’s name either in the verse or next to it. If you expect God’s Word to do a work in their lives and in your own, they will catch that excitement and believe it also.

12 Day Prayer Journal

Introduction

You are beginning your 12-Day Prayer Journey.

Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, shared his heartfelt prayer for those he loved:
 
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:9-10)

Higher than even a parent’s highest ideal is God’s goal for our children. Join the adventure as we pray the living Word of God above for our sons and daughters.