Prayer and Pumpkin Bread


Hi all– Our four oldest grand-daughters spent a few days last summer for Grammy Camp.  Before dinner I leaned over to our five year old grand-girl and said, “Let’s hold hands so we can pray.”
She asked, “What’s pray??”
“Well,” I answered, “It’s when we talk to God.”
She turned to me surprised, “You can talk to God??!!”
“Sure, I talk to him in the mornings and pray for you, that you grow well and stay strong and smart…”   The other grand-girls chimed in, “Do you pray for us too?!”
It was a sweet moment– the chance to share that part of my faith with that little one I love so much.  I hope it stays with her.

Here’s the girls at Grammy Camp –taking off on an evening flashlight hike!

 

I truly want to be a fervent pray-er.  Coming to God with an open heart every day.  I’m not always as prayerful as I wish I were.  It’s been on my mind.

Martin Luther wrote, “To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

And a pastor, talking about prayer, compared it to his daily walks & talks with his wife.  Sometimes she is fascinating.  At times their walks are boring and she can even be annoying!  (I’m sure that goes both ways!)  But the cumulative affect of walking and talking day after day strengthens their bond, makes them closer.

And in the same way, prayer can be a struggle at times.  Some days I just say, “It’s me again praying, God, for the people on my heart and mind.”  But some days there is a worship and sweet communion with him that lifts my soul.  The bottom line is to keep showing up.  Drawing hope and strength from those times.

Just read Prayer, Our Deepest Longing by Ronald Rolheiser, a Catholic priest.  Great worthwhile book.
He writes:
“If we pray faithfully every day, year in and year out, we can expect a little excitement, lots of boredom, and regular temptations to look at the clock.  But the bond and an intimacy will be going under the surface: a deep growing bond with our God.”

 

So I wanted to pass on a couple things that have helped me.

I hesitate to write about my little notebook.  I’m not the best model of faithful prayer.  But it’s helped me– and might encourage you in your prayers…

In the morning I sit down with my Bible and my little pink notebook and a mug of tea.  And then I:
#1. Write the date
#2. Read a bit of the Bible and write what it makes me think (the Psalms are a good place to start)
#3. List 3 or 4 things I am thankful for right now
#4. Write down all the friends & family I want to pray for
#5. List the things I want to get done in the day ahead

Then I sit and pray over all of what I’ve written in the book, praising God and asking for help.  Then I start my day.

The other help to me in prayer is praying with other people.  Jackie and Debbie come one morning a week to sit and talk and pray together.  And when my Monday night friends come in each week, we share things we are praying for and talk to God together.  They keep me praying…

That’s it.  Hopeful you find great comfort and strength and joy in prayer too.

 

One more thing!!  –Made this Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread for my Monday night ladies this week.  Some people kick off fall with a Pumpkin Spice Latte, but for me it’s this pumpkin bread–spicy and sweet and delicious warm from the oven.

CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN BREAD
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1  1/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the pumpkin, sugar, oil and eggs.  Then mix in the flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice.  Finally stir in the chocolate chips and nuts.

Spoon the batter into a standard loaf pan that has been sprayer with cooking spray.  Bake it up at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.  So good!

 

And here’s a few other favorite quick bread recipes:


Peach Pecan Bread


Orange Strawberry Bread


Cherry Chocolate Banana Bread

 

And one more thought:
Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night.”  — George Herbert

So thankful we can talk to God, day and night.

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Gratitude and Prayer

img_8715“Let Gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.”
—Maya Angelou  (1928-2014,  American poet, memoirist and civil rights activist)

Don’t you love this idea?– it’s true.  If I can come to God full of thankfulness for his blessings big and small at the end of my day, it puts all else into perspective.  The day’s irritations, disappointments fade. I can thank God, love God for who he is, for all he has given in his great love and mercy.

photo: San Francisco hike, 2013

Silence of the Heart

mother-teresa.
“In the silence of the heart God speaks.  If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you.  Then you will know that you are nothing.  It is only when you realize your nothingness, your emptiness, that God can fill you with Himself.  Souls of prayer are souls of great silence.”        — Mother Teresa (from In the Heart of the World, Thoughts, Stories and Prayers)

Hello friends– Read this and it really stopped me in my tracks.  I have so very little silence in my life– Why do I fill it up with all those projects and errands??  How can God ever speak, if I’m not silent to listen.  It reminded me of a very favorite Psalm of mine–

“Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long.  Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.”  —Psalm 86:4

I’m needing  to find more silence in my days, to sit and listen to God– to lift up my soul.  Lord help me…

Back to School

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Hi friends– School’s started again.  I marched a new class of third & fourth graders into room #2 yesterday.  The year looks promising–bright faces, newly sharpened pencils, class library all tidy and ready for readers.  They’ve been beavering away these first couple days.  I really like these kids already —  It’s been a fine beginning.

But it all can bring a teacher to prayer.  Yesterday morning I asked God to keep me be patient and always kind, to show me just what these kids need to learn well, to see each one as a little person growing this year in so many ways.  My friend Fran told me she would sit some days in the desk of each child in the mornings before school started and pray for their day ahead.

God help me.  It’s a big job.

.

photo: This is our grand-girl Charlotte heading off to first grade in Shanghai China– alongside her little sis, Josie.  You go, school girl!

Psalm 89

Psalms-Chapter-88-89Hello friends–Praying.  After all these years, you’d think it would be easy.  But the truth is that I’m often  distracted, my mind flying off from here to there to the day ahead.  But I ran across this little verse:

“…call out to me, You are my Father, my God, the Rock, my Savior.”
–Psalm 89:26

It helps me set my mind to pray, to praise and thank God for being my father,  then my God, my rock and my salvation.  By the time I pray through that list, my heart is intent on talking to this magnificent God.  It’s been a help.

(photo: page from the 1611 King James Bible)

From St. Thomas Aquinas

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Hello all-  I found this a couple weeks ago and have held it as my Lenten prayer.  I’m hoping it would encourage you as well in your faith…

“Grant me, Oh Lord my God, a mind to know you, a heart to seek you, wisdom to find you, conduct pleasing to you, faithful perseverance in waiting for you, and a hope of finally embracing you. Amen.”     –St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274, Dominican priest)

image from nndb.com

Just One Resolution

pencil_colorHi friends–  I’ve made a whole lot of resolutions over the last couple years.  Not just New Year’s resolutions, but “back to school resolutions” and “what will I accomplish this summer resolutions.”  Some went well and with others I completely failed.  So this time, for 2013, I’m just making ONE resolution.  One that will change me more than, a new diet or some well intentioned plan.

I resolve to be more truly prayerful.  I ran across this encouragement from Martin Luther this week.

“Grant that I may not pray with my mouth alone; help me that I may pray from the depths of my heart.”    –Martin Luther   (1483-1546)

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”   — Colossians 4:2

Lord help me.