Praying for Abiding Hearts Home Care

I’m going to call the summer of 2016 The Summer of Rainbows. I have seen more rainbows this summer than I have in the previous 2-3 years. Not only beautiful, rainbows are also a powerful reminder of God’s covenantal love toward His children and a picture of His mercy  and grace. The bow is a war-bow, as in a bow-and-arrow. It is pointing into the heart of Heaven, reminding us that God has provided for our deepest need by sacrificing His own Son, and as Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” As this summer has been full of conflict and violence here and around the world, and as we head into the home stretch of the 2016 Election Season more fractured as a nation than ever before it seems, I do not believe the abundance of rainbows is an accident of nature. I believe the Lord is reminding us of His Sovereignty, His love, His faithfulness, His provision. That reminder is also a call to “walk in a manner worthy…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Eph. 4:1-3)

Today we are visiting and praying for Abiding Hearts Home Care, which was started by Randy and Courtney Johnson. From their website:
“We are a Christ-centered non-profit in home care ministry that provides living assistance, nursing and home maintenance care to the sick, elderly and widowed in our community for the purpose of sharing the love of Jesus. The care that we provide meets practical life needs and offers fellowship, respite, connection to resources, advocacy and peace for individuals and their families in the comfort of their homes.

The mission of Abiding Hearts Home Care is to come alongside supporting churches, individuals, organizations and other community advocates to serve people in our community in practical ways that will meet their physical, spiritual and everyday needs, enhance their joy and quality of life, and most importantly display God’s love for them.”

I highly recommend checking out their website directly. Everything I read was so encouraging and inspiring.

Matthew 25:31-36, 40 –31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 

40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”

James 1:27 – “Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

Lord God, one day You will come in all Your glory and “make everything sad come untrue” (from The Jesus Storybook Bible. It’s awesome! Get it for your kids.) We so look forward to that day, and we are filled with awe and wonder that until that day comes, You have called us to advance Your kingdom here on Earth as it already is in Heaven. We rejoice in the hope that we have in You, even in the face of hard things. There is coming a day. You will make everything right. The old things shall pass away and all things shall become new. And we will see You ruling in Your power, Your justice, Your strength, Your majesty, Your holiness, Your glory. Hallelujah to the Lamb, who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!!!!

We pray for Abiding Hearts Home Care ministry today as they answer the call You placed on all of us to care for those who are unable to care for themselves and to share the love of Christ with everyone around us. Keep their eyes fixed on You, the Author and Perfecter of their faith, and keep them connected to You as their Vine, so that they have the fruit of the Spirit to share with all those that they serve. We pray that You would protect them from the fiery arrows of Satan and from the distractions all around us. Please raise up Your provision to meet every need they have as they meet the needs of their community.

We pray for the Church to also respond to this call to be Your hands and feet to those who need You most. Do not let us be lukewarm and complacent in our safe pews and safe routines. Reorient our perspective so that our eyes are fixed on You, and we choose to step out on the water. Let us not be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe. (Rom. 1:16) Wash us with the water of the Word so that we can be blameless and undefiled by the world in order to be Your ready Bride and to bring You glory as we serve You. Use us to advance Your kingdom for Your name’s sake, Lord Jesus. You are worthy of our lives, our strength, our time, our resources, our everything. Amen.



Praying for the Lovelady Center

This ministry has a special place in my heart. Not only do I love the fact that they help women build their lives in Christ, but I also love their heart for prayer and worship. We also had the privilege of praying for them last summer. After our prayer time, their morning devotional time was just getting underway, which was started with worship music and singing. Seeing around 200 women, who have come out of difficult circumstances, singing “I am Redeemed”, moved me to tears. It was also my testimony. God not only redeemed my life from sin through His Son, but He is also redeeming my story from past sexual abuse.  You can see some videos on their Facebook page of their worship time. In one of those videos, they’re singing to “I am Redeemed”! Here is where we prayed for them on the blog last year.

The Lovelady Center‘s purpose is to help women build a strong positive foundation in Christ. Their mission statement is empowering women through faith-based initiatives so they can return to society as well-equipped women of God. We do this by providing a safe, structured, and loving environment.

Galatians 5:13-25 – 13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

Heavenly Father, thank You for sending us Your Holy Spirit to not only seal us in Christ as Your possession (Eph. 1:13), but to also encourage us, equip us, and empower us to live the life You have called us to live. I think how often of how I would love to have been on earth when Jesus was physically here, but He said it was better for us to have Him leave so that He could send Your Holy Spirit. I think I often lose sight of how rich a treasure and blessing that He is. So thank You, Father, for sending us the Holy Spirit.

We lift up all the lovely ladies of the Lovelady Center to You, Father. You have called them to freedom. Hallelujah! We pray that You would bind up the wounds of their past and bring them to the place where they can lay down their heavy chains, knowing You have wiped away every stain by the blood of Jesus Christ. (Yes, I am totally borrowing some of the words from the song I mentioned above.) You have already won the battle for them. We pray that they would learn how to walk in that victory by the power of the Holy Spirit. Give these ladies the courage and strength to daily and moment-by-moment die to their flesh and their old way of living. Empower them to choose to walk by Your Spirit into the life You have for them. We pray that these ladies would become like Your garden, watered by the Word of God, and bearing all the fruit of the Spirit.

We also pray for the leadership, staff, and volunteers at The Lovelady Center. Fill them with Your Spirit, and let their lives be full of the fruit of the Spirit. We pray that they would especially bear the fruit of love abundantly in their lives as they serve the ladies and children in their ministry. Give them the capacity to carry Your light into the dark places these ladies come from so that they can be used by You to help rescue, redeem, and restore. We are so grateful for the lives that have already been transformed through this ministry, and we give You, Lord God, all the praise and glory for Your redeeming work. We pray that You would continue to supply The Lovelady Center with all they need according to Your riches in glory. (Phil. 4:19).  Amen.

How is the Lord leading you to pray today? Have you had an opportunity to visit The Lovelady Center? I would love to hear about your experience with them!

Non-Profit Summer Prayer Journey 2016 Kickoff!

I am so THRILLED that Mission Birmingham and the East Lake community are facilitating this year’s summer prayer journey. We did this last year for the first time, visiting non-profits all over the metro-Birmingham area. It was such a powerful and humbling experience for me as it opened my eyes to the vast needs all over our city, and I met the people who are pouring out their lives for the sake of the Gospel to meet those needs. I am confident this summer will be no different.

For several months now, community leaders in the Eastlake area have been meeting together to pray and learn how to work together for the good of the community and (most) for the sake of the Gospel. God has already been doing some cool things in and through those meetings. Because of that, it seems fitting that we concentrate our prayer journey around that area as well. This week, we start with Community Care Development Network.

CCDN is comprised of leaders in the community to help develop and maintain local programs. It is a faith-based non-profit that specializes in healing and helping the whole family through their community programs and therefore promote community development, growth, and enhancement throughout the Woodlawn, Eastlake, Roebuck, and Huffman communities. It was founded in November 2015 by Duane L. and Tamika Holmes, T. Marie King, Rev. Emily Penefield Freeman, and Belinda Hopson Dupree. They are currently trusting God as they work toward raising the needed funds to help obtain 501c3 status and to obtain much needed resources and supplies, including vans, a building, food, and an emergency fund to help serve their clients in desperate need. Tamika Holmes is the director for CCDN.

The passage they are praying out of this morning is Isaiah 65:17-25:
17 “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.
18 “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create;
For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing
And her people for gladness.
19 “I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people;
And there will no longer be heard in her
The voice of weeping and the sound of crying.
20 “No longer will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days,
Or an old man who does not live out his days;
For the youth will die at the age of one hundred
And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred
Will be thought accursed.
21 “They will build houses and inhabit them;
They will also plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 “They will not build and another inhabit,
They will not plant and another eat;
For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people,
And My chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.
23 “They will not labor in vain,
Or bear children for calamity;
For they are the offspring of those blessed by the LORD,
And their descendants with them.
24 It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear. 25 The wolf and the lamb will graze together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox; and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain,” says the LORD.

Lord God, You are righteous and just. You are Sovereign and every word You speak shall come to pass at Your appointed time. You are good and all that You have made brings You glory. You are gracious and loving toward Your Creation, willing to redeem it at the cost of Your Son, and then giving us Your Spirit to dwell in us and to to allow us to be Your ambassadors on the earth. What an inheritance! What glory! Hallelujah! Thank You, Father!

One day, we will live on the new earth and new heavens where everything will be perfect and we will enjoy unbroken fellowship with You and with one another. But for today, we live in a broken world, and some of our communities seem to feel that brokenness more evidently than others. Lord God, we pray for the Eastlake and Woodlawn communities to experience more of the things You have promised will come with Your future earthly kingdom. You tell us to pray, “Let Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”, so that’s what we’re praying right now. Father, I pray for peace to come and replace the violence this community experiences. Lord peace doesn’t come from the absence or the presence of guns. It comes with the presence of Your Spirit in the hearts of the people. We pray that those who believe they have to live by killing or harming would experience the power of the Gospel in their lives, laying down their weapons so that they can pick up the sword of the Spirit.

We pray for families to be restored and experience healing. Let homes become the safe haven in which to raise children and for marriage to be a picture of Christ and His Church. Even Christian homes and marriages struggle a lot. We pray that grace and forgiveness would flow through these homes, family members would treat each other with dignity, and that children would be seen as great and precious gifts, not as problems, inconveniences, or anything less than the gifts and image-bearers of God that they are. We pray for jobs and income that would provide adequately for these families. Father we pray that abuse would be exposed and children would be safe.

We pray that no one would be sick or hungry because they lack resources or access to healthcare and good nutrition. We pray that You would set addicts free from the prisons of their addictions and shame, and that You would restore them to a life of productivity. We pray that employment and work would be regarded as the blessings that they are. In Jesus’ name, we break off fear, deception, slothfulness, and every lie that the people of these communities have been fed for generations to keep them broken. We pray that Your truth would be welcomed and received in their hearts. Let the power of the Gospel be poured out and let Your revival come.

Thank You for raising up Community Care Development Network to help alleviate the pain and the suffering that brokenness has brought to the Woodlawn/Eastlake communities. We pray that You would use them and their partners to bring healing to hurting families, mentoring and education to children, health care to the indigent and sick, recovery to addicts, and restoration to the community. We pray specifically that You would raise up the resources and provision they need to see the felt needs of vans, a building, and finances met as quickly as You ordain. We lift up Tamika Holmes and the people who serve with her. Grant them a clear vision of Your kingdom, and what it could look like to have their community look more and more like Your kingdom. Leading a non-profit is hard and sometimes discouraging. Please give them great wisdom, strength, humility, unity, and encouragement. Do not let them labor in vain, and do not let the enemy deceive them into thinking that way. We pray that You would answer their prayers so quickly, that they don’t even have time to finish asking them. We ask that for all the prayers that have been prayed for this ministry today. And we ask all of these things for their good, for the good of the Eastlake community, and for Your glory. Amen.

If you were able to attend this morning, please let us know how it went in the comments below. If, like me, you were unable to attend in person, did the Lord prompt you with a verse or a specific prayer as you read? I would love to hear from you!