The prayer of a rural Idahoan (8)

Dear God,

I have been reading how the quarantine response is damaging the production of our Idaho farmers and others:

God, I have some of these hardworking, “salt and light of the earth”, godly farmers in my church family. I am so thankful for them as I lift them by name up to You.  Give them Your hope, Your peace, and Your provision in this pandemic.

Bless, my brothers and sisters, our humble farmers in Idaho.  They fear Your holy name, Mighty God. Bless them, their kids, and their grandkids, the multi-generations of workers on the farms.

I think of the blessing in Psalm 128 for them during this season of great trial:

“Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in His ways. When you eat the labor of your hands, you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine in the very heart of your house, your children like olive plants all around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD. The LORD bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Yes, may you see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel!”

For those who have seen potato contracts cut by 50%, I asking that in the days ahead, You open up the financial market in miraculous ways.  Give them favor with our Idaho Governor and our federal government.

Also, dear Lord, I want to slip in a prayer for all my rural, beautiful, farming family spread out all over central Oregon.  Watch over them today.  Encourage them.  Prosper them. Draw them all close to You.

Thank You, Lord, for hearing my prayer for my family and friends.  Out in the fields, they worship and love You.  May Your presence and power be poured out upon them.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

The prayer of a beggarly Idahoan (7)

Dear God,

Yesterday at noon, I stood in the food line at the Idaho Falls Soup Kitchen; and then in the evening, I mingled with those in the meal line at the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission.

I hate to see my friends in their struggles: the stolen belongings, the abused women, the lack of education, poverty, missing teeth, dirty clothes, and poor mental health.

Lord, it is overwhelming.  Sometimes, I am at a loss for words.

During the noon hour, I listened to their stories.  And by evening, some of the men were drunk in their anger, trying to escape their misery for one more evening.  Dear God, speak to them; break into their darkness.  You know every detail of what is going on in their lives.

I am crying out to You, Father, for the full work of the Messiah, Your Son, among my friends. It was foretold around 2,600 years ago by the prophet Isaiah:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound (Isaiah 61:1-3).

God, I am thinking of my dear friend who was just picked up by the police this week.  He is now sitting in the Bonneville County Jail.  Looking at the Bonneville County Jail roster/list of names online, I linger over his name. God, you know all the church services have been canceled at the jail.  Please!  Swiftly take my written letter to him.

Jesus, restore my brother fully as you restored Peter in the days following Your resurrection. Please do not let the anger, despair, shame, and sin swallow him up.

Thank You, Jesus, that You come to us in our camps of spiritual leprosy.  You touch us in our soul-sickness and heal us.  We have been given Your food and new life.

Shepherd of my heart, I thank You for all that You have done in my life.  Help me to be a loud beggar who keeps sharing the news with all the other beggars in our city.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

The prayer of a gospel-filled Idahoan (6)

Dear God,

I thank You that in Idaho Falls, back in the early 1970s, I first heard the beautiful news of Christ’s gospel. And today, as we are beginning the 2020s in the midst of a dark coronavirus, I am so thankful through 50 years that we still have the same good news! Father, Your Son died in my place, bearing my sin. Thank You for granting me:  forgiveness, redemption, restoration, and adoption. Thank You that when I was spiritually dead, Your Spirit blew new life into me.  In Your amazing grace, You have given me eternal life which triumphs right over the top of my enemies: Satan, sin, and death itself.

God of life, during this spring resurrection season, I think of what one of Your missionaries, St. Paul wrote to believers in Corinth,

“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:1-4).

Dear God, I am thankful for the gospel pioneers who came to Idaho in the 1800s. I am grateful for the Reverend William N. Knox, a Baptist minister,  back around 1900, who preached the gospel to a road construction gang in the middle of nowhere on a moonlit night in the Nezperce National Forest. To this day, we have Gospel Peak, Gospel Hill, and Gospel Lakes named for what this gospel preacher did 120 years ago.

Lord of the Harvest, we thank You for the faithful gospel witness in Idaho among Your servants, missionaries, pastors, and Christians in their weekly vocations, year after year, and decade after decade.  In 2020, I ask that You thrust forth laborers into our Idaho fields.

As Pastor Matt McGukin of Calvary Baptist Church prayed yesterday:  Jesus, cleanse the temple. Cleanse Your House of Prayer.  And as Pastor Ken Feliciano of Berean Baptist Church requested, Master, help Your Church in Idaho to wake up, to take up our crosses, and to shake up the world.

Dear God, in the days ahead, we ask that Your word would run and be glorified through the streets of our Idaho cities.  We ask that through the internet, many men and women like Nicodemus in the night, would search and find answers from You regarding the eternal questions about their souls.

Lord, give us eyes to see and ears to hear.  In the midst of our physical sickness and financial recession, we humbly ask You to bring spiritual awakening to us in Idaho.  Save us, Lord.  Save us from the sin in our hearts. 

I pray this all in the mighty name of Jesus, for in the very meaning of His name, He will save His people from their sins,

Todd

 

The prayer of a political Idahoan (5)

Dear God,

I am lifting up to Your throne room this morning, our Republican Idaho Governor, Brad Little. He is under a lot of stress because of (1) the community spread of the coronavirus, (2) the sick and dying in the hospitals, and (3) the skyrocketing of unemployment as our state moves into financial recession.

Dear God, You already know that he will be addressing our state this morning in a state-wide news briefing conference.  He needs Your strength and Your wisdom.

Draw Him to You, the great “I AM”. You are everything that our governor needs.

May the governor clearly know that he has the ongoing, supporting prayers of the Church in Idaho.  May the governor know this–that the small Shepherd of the Falls Lutheran Church family in American Falls, Idaho, practically prays in the public arena for him by name every Sunday morning.  And we know, God Almighty, that You, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

Also, sovereign God, I humbly heed Your words of instruction this morning through Saint Paul to Timothy.

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercession, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (I Timothy 2:1-6).

I raise up my hand to You, the God who sees us in Idaho. I lift my hand without wrath or doubting, asking You to be the strong Guide on this day for our governor.  I trust in You.  I rest in Your Providence. And I thank you for our Idaho governor.

Also, loving God, I ask that You move mightily among all my neighbors to the west of me in the Democratic seat of Blaine County.  Whether Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, may we all fear Your name. We need Your Presence. We repent of our sin and our political fighting. We ask You to forgive us of terrible transgressions against Your holy heart. Have mercy on us. Please heal all of our neighbors who are very sick.

We cry out to You!

You are the Sun of Righteousness!  Arise in Idaho with healing in Your wings!

Bless our state governor today.

in Jesus’ name,

Todd

The prayer of a fearful Idahoan (4)

Dear God,

Please take care of my wife, an Idaho nurse among the courageous, thin, white line in the battle against the coronavirus.

I love her life more than my own life.  I don’t fear the loss of my own life.  But I confess my anxiety to You regarding her life.

Loving Father, if she were to come into contact with a sick patient who tested positive with the coronavirus, I could not and would not allow for her to be two weeks, isolated in a local hotel room by herself.  She would be isolated in our master bedroom with a bathroom.

Majestic Creator, my wife and I are one flesh, created by Your sovereign, good hand, and who were joined together in holy matrimony by two Idaho gospel preachers on a beautiful day long ago, May 30th, 1992, in Your Presence and the household of faith at Gethsemane Baptist Church. 

Dear God, if my precious wife were to ever test positive for COVID-19 (God forbid!!), I would rally every brother and sister in the country to intercede on bended knee before You on the throne of heaven. You are the God of life.  You are the God who heals. You are God who is with us.

Dear God, my wife is not like the nurse, Jessica Schneider from Boise, who marched right to the front lines in New York City.  God bless and protect her, today.

My wife is simply headed off to work early tomorrow morning at the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC).

My wife is a gift from You, the Giver of all good gifts.  I hold her in my heart and in my hand.  My hand trembles, but it is open before You.

I love and worship You, my Lord and my God.

In Jesus’ name,

Todd

The prayer of a disappointed Idahoan (3)

Dear God,

Yes, I am an introvert. But, God, on Resurrection Sunday, I was very disappointed in not being able to sit close, hug, lay my hand upon someone’s shoulder for prayer, and celebrate face-to-face with the brothers and sisters of Shepherd of the Falls Lutheran Church in American Falls and Providence Downtown Church in Idaho Falls.

Lord, I know I sound like I am whining and complaining to You. I am very thankful this past Sunday that You gave me the opportunity at early sunrise to stand up on the Pancheri Bridge to rejoice over Christ’s resurrection with Pastor Beau Floyd of Emmaus Road Church. I praise You, God, for the opportunity to stand up on top of the flatbed of a semi-truck and pray for our city’s pastors and churches during the Drive-In service with Pastor Jose Favela of Iglesia Centro Evangelistico in the parking lot of Shopko.  Thank You so much! Also, I loved the opportunity to swing over to the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission Women & Children’s Shelter (the Ruth House) in the early afternoon to share Your words of hope and to pray with the small handful of homeless women–my friends.  But, Jesus, it was awkward on Resurrection Sunday 2020 in Idaho Falls to wear gloves and a mask and practice very unnatural social distancing as we declared Your power and glory!

Dear God, I know that there are Lone-ranger-in-the-woods-on-Sunday worshipers and sit-at-home-with-a-television-on-Sunday worshipers, but we know that these expressions of Christianity are woefully inadequate.  Dear Father, when I became a Christian long ago in Idaho Falls, your Spirit placed me in a Body.  How can eyes, ears, hands, and feet of the same living, breathing Body stay separated from one another? How long, Lord?

Father, I think of the words of the ancient psalmist who worshiped You (Psalm 126),

When the LORD brought back the captivity of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing. Then they said among the nations, the LORD has done great things for us, and we are glad. Bring back our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the South. Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

We grieve now, O Lord GOD; but we trust You for abundant fruit and great joy on the horizon of tomorrow.

And, God, if I could once more, add my lament over not being able to attend the Nursing Pinning Ceremony and Class of 2020 Graduation for my daughter, Hannah Wood, at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina on May 7-8, 2020.  All the sweat, blood, tears, and sacrifice over the years in scrimping along and paying college tuition–now this capstone celebration is in the ash heap because of an unseen vile virus. I don’t understand it, God.  Is it, that on Thursday, May 7, where I wanted to be at a Nursing Pinning Ceremony clear across the country, you simply desire for me to pour out my heart to you all day–the National Day of Prayer? What are You asking of me, God?

And my youngest boy, Micaiah Wood, who is scheduled to graduate from Skyline High School on Wednesday, May 27 . . . what a mess.  No spring sport. No opportunity to compete in state competition. No awards ceremonies. No senior Lagoon trip. No Senior parties. A graduation commencement that lingers in the future, out of our grasp and uncertain. This kid of mine was born in the shadow of the terrorist attack of 9/11 on America.  Now, he graduates in the cloud of the coronavirus pandemic.

O God, I ache today.

In your mercy, hear my prayer. Work Your glory in my gloom.

In Jesus’ name,

Todd

The prayer of a selfish Idahoan (2)

Dear God,

I am pretty selfish. You know that.

God, don’t get me wrong. I love all my family. I love them dearly.  But at the same time, my family can drive me nuts.  My youngest son is a senior in high school, and my older three are housebound after their three colleges all respectively closed down to go online. Family quarantine constantly disrupts my schedule (and their daily routines). Lord, you know I am not a huge fan of millennials living with their parents. I need Your help.

Father, your Son teaches us to pray to You,

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

But honestly, the temptations abound every day for my family to point out generational faults between Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z.  And God, we won’t even get into talking about the Boomers.

God, you know, that last night, my oldest daughter wanted to pull me away from the very important whatever-in-the-world-that-I-was-doing to go buy some “essential items” for goodies. She had her heart set on baking.  She wanted to give some treats to others today.  God, you know, that in my grumbling, bad mood, I drove to Albertsons and could not find what was needed.  Only two grocery clerks ran the whole store.  They both suggested the same aisle for what I needed, but I could not find it.  Immediately, I phone texted complaints to my daughter.  Then I drove to Walmart, and it was closed.  I couldn’t believe it!  In all my years of living in this city, I have never seen Walmart closed off to my direct, immediate access. Lord, you know, that I drove home, fuming.  My daughter managed to graciously cook some delicious goodies, but I was in a foul mood.  God, why do you have to put me in these family circumstances all over again that want to bring out my selfishness? Depending on the right mix of circumstances, I can get bent out of shape by the smallest of issues, straining at the gnat and swallowing a camel.

God, I need to repent of my focus on self.  As an introvert, I thrive on social isolation.  Unlike my bubbly, extrovert wife, I am energized by hanging out by myself.

So, God, why did you have to pack my little cracker-box home with my whole family?

Lord, have mercy on this selfish Idahoan,

Todd