Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.


Monday afternoon at 3:05 our dear friend Bud Yoho lost the battle against cancer, and was welcomed into the arms of his Lord and Savior, Jesus! I'm sure he was welcomed with "Come, Thou good and faithful Servant."

Bud spent his entire Teaching career with special needs children and teenagers. There are story after story of his influence on these in his care. A faithful husband, father and follower of Jesus.

Please join me in praying for his wife Patty, and all the family and friends that will miss his gentle spirit and sweet smile.

Thank you prayer warriors, how comforting it is to know we can share in each others lives through prayer.

Love and Hugs

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O Lord, seek us, O Lord, find us
In Thy patient care;
Be Thy Love before, behind us,
Round us, everywhere:
Lest the god of this world blind us,
Lest he speak us fair,
Lest he forge a chain to bind us,
Lest he bait a snare.
Turn not from us,
call to mind us,
Find, embrace us, bear;
Be thy love before, behind us,
Round us everywhere. Amen.

- Christina Rossetti

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Monday Morning - 9.27.2010

Dear Father in Heaven,

Sometimes we are so busy we forget to think of you. We forget to commit our works to you. We forget to trust in you with all of our hearts. We forget to cast all of our cares on you. We forget that we live and move and have our very being in you. We forget to seek your reign and righteousness first in our lives.

Please forgive us for taking you — your unfailing love, your matchless mercy and glorious grace — for granted in our lives. Please help us to be fully devoted followers of your blessed Son. Help us, also, to be a reflection of His glory as we walk in step with the Holy Spirit this week.

In the holy name of Jesus we pray.

Please visit The Prayer List and pray with us.

Prayer and Chronic Illness

I am sitting hear trying to think of a scripture that might apply to praying for a person that is experiencing the ill affects of a chronic disease or illness. Should I quote a verse that regales a miracle working God or share a verse that speaks to God's presence in our lives during trying times? The question goes to the heart of the issue doesn't it?

What I have done many times in the past when I have prayed for people with illnesses and diseases is to simply pray "Come Holy Spirit". Speaking of the coming of the Holy Spirit, Jesus told us that He would send us a Counselor and a Comforter. It seems that this is just want hurting people need - comfort and counsel. So let us pray for those hurting folks in our lives.

Come Holy Spirit and be present with those who have been hurting for so long.. minister hope in the midst of their hopelessness.

Come Holy Spirit and help those who experience the despair associated with diseases and illness like cancer, Parkinsons, diabetes, ALS, MS, NMO and all kinds of sickness.

Come Holy Spirit and manifest your wisdom concerning medical directions and treatments as well as the many other decisions that hurting people are making.. bring clarity of thought.

Come Holy Spirit in power.. please do what no person can do for themselves.. bring healing miracles and cures.. turn impossibilities into possibilities.

We ask all of this believing in the name of Jesus and in His authority over all manner of sickness and disease.


Please visit The Prayer List and pray with us.

Urgent prayer request

A family in our parish faces an unbelievable tragedy. I don't know them personally, but they are constantly on my mind and in my prayers. I ask yours as well.

Both mother and father are unemployed. Their house was foreclosed on in June and apparently they were to be forcibly evicted this week. According to the news coverage, the father had been taking care of the finances and the mother had been given the impression that everything had been resolved in their favor.

On Saturday night, the father smothered their 4-year-old son. His older children awoke to find him trying to smother them as well, and successfully fought him off. The father then attempted unsuccessfully to commit suicide. Upon his release from the hospital, he was arrested for the murder of his son and the attempted murder of his older two children.

Please pray for each of them: the little boy who died, the mother who now must figure out what to do without the support of her husband; the children who must come to grips with the loss of their father and brother as well as the knowledge that their father tried to kill them; and the father, previously known as a loving parent who did everything with his kids, and who now must be going through unbelievable torment knowing the horror that resulted from his actions. 

The mother and surviving children have been taken to a safe place supplied by the church for now (as the news media has been relentless). Funeral arrangements are being paid for. A fund has been set up for donations for them. If anyone is interested in giving, here is the information:

Wachovia Bank
Christine Mitchell DBA
Blake Mitchell Fund 1010293415679
2200 W Main St, #910b
Durham, NC 2770

But regardless, please keep them in your prayers.


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A Birthday Prayer

Dear Lord,

That sweet child You blessed me with twenty-nine years ago today is on my heart. He is far away from home on his birthday once again, Lord. I pray that You would be near to him this day, that You would bless him, and encourage him in a special way. I love him, Lord, and I thank You for sending him into our lives those years ago, and for using him to teach us so many things. Through him I learned about unconditional love and forgiveness. Through him we became parents and embarked on a journey from which we never returned. Through him I learned a little bit more about the heart of God. Thank You.

Please visit The Prayer List and pray with us.

emerging prayer

At our church's baptism this week, Tyrone spoke about growing up in a household without faith. But he did recall two words from his childhood, God and prayer. Years later, drinking, destitute, without hope, those two words came back to him and he cried out to the Lord. That day he was arrested, and as he sat in the back seat of the squad car, he smiled, and gave thanks and praise to God. He was finally on the road to redemption.

I would like to offer up one prayer today in honor of Tyrone: Lord, let us pass along the Word to the next generation, and arm them with the knowledge of you and the power of prayer -- so that they too can call out to you in their hour of need -- for when anyone calls, you hear, you answer.

My friend Dave was also baptized this week. He reminded me that he found it easy to keep God in view in times of trouble and in times of great joy. But it was more challenging during what he called 'the regular times'. And I think a lot of people spend most of their lives in 'regular times'... lukewarm times... just going through the day without dramatic highs and lows.

So I would also like to offer up a prayer today in honor of Dave: Jesus, your presence is constant, awe-inspiring and always around us. Help us open our eyes to you Lord, to see your wonder -- especially during the 'regular times' -- and give us the courage to point out these wonders to those around us.

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"Dear Father, I want you to establish your truth in my innermost being. I am sometimes so easily distracted and disturbed by outward circumstances that I neglect to cultivate a genuine devotion to you. Work through your Spirit to remove any false way and teach me to guard my heart through you indwelling presence. Control my thoughts and motivations and bring me into conformity with your will. Amen"
(Charles Stanley)

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Monday Morning Prayer

Dear Father in heaven,

As we begin another week of hurrying and scurrying about our busy lives, we pause for just a moment to express our sincere praise of your majesty. We are amazed that the Creator of the Cosmos is mindful of each one of us and thankful that you are attentive to our needs.

We confess to you that we are intensely aware of our frailties and failings as humans. We also acknowledge that we are utterly dependent upon you for all that we have and all that we are able to do in this every day. Help us deny ourselves, take up our crosses and simply follow Jesus so that we might live in such a way as to bring you honor and glory.

We humbly ask you to guide our steps throughout this week. We ask you to help us search for and find ways to serve as instruments of your peace in this tumultuous world. Help us to be a blessing to others. Please help our actions to be just and merciful. Fill us with your Holy Spirit that we might be empowered to walk humbly with you each step of the way.

Please bless those whose names flow from our hearts to your throne. Provide for each of these according to their needs.

Accept our thanksgiving for your sustaining grace in our lives. Thank you for being the Giver of every good and perfect gift we have received. Help us to bring you pleasure by enjoying these gifts. Help us, also, to honor you by being good stewards of all you have placed in our care. Above all, thank you for the indescribable gift of your Son to be our Lord and Savior. Please give us the faith, courage, grace and wisdom we need to follow in Him each and every day.

In the precious and powerful name of Jesus we pray.

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The Incense of Prayer

And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. (Revelation 5:8)

In this majestic picture of heaven we get a divine view of our prayers. In a sense prayer is an offering. We come before our loving Father offering our worship and our love to Him. In the Old Testament incense was used on the altar as a means of worship. As we pray a beautiful aroma of worship is released in heaven.. our prayers.. even the unanswered ones.. are beautiful to God.. and a lovely aroma in His nostrils.

I am amazed when I think of this aspect of my prayers Lord. Once again I come to you asking for your kingdom to come.. your will to be done.. and heavenly incense to be released.


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Take My Will...

Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Dear Lord God,

Why is it that I find complete surrender to be so difficult? Why, when I know Your will is best and that Your desire is only my good, do I fight it so? Will I never be free of this "old man?"

Please, Lord, pry my fingers from that which I hold so tightly. Take it away and replace it with a desire to surrender fully and the will to do it.

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Speak, Your servant is listening ~~~

I Samuel 3:8-9 "The Lord called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called me." Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say,' Speak, Lord for your servant is listening.'" So Samuel went and lay down in his place."

Dear Lord, When you speak to me, I often fail to hear. And when I hear, I often fail to understand. And when I understand, I often fail to obey. The clamorous world around me obscures Your voice. Yet even in silence, my noisy soul can drown out the gentle whisper of Your Spirit. Give me I pray, the wisdom of Eli, who knew when Your voice was calling. And then give me the obedient heart of Samuel, that I might say to You: Speak, for Your servant is listening!" Amen

I find in my own personal life, God's Word is where He often speaks to me. But if I neglect His Word, how can I hear?

(Prayer taken from Marnatha Worship Bible)

Please visit The Prayer List and pray with us.

Persistence in Prayer

So, I’m sitting here thinking about writing an article about being persistent in prayer. Of course, the first passage that comes to mind is Luke 18:1-11. It reads as follows:

1Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. 3And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ 4“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, 5yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ “
6And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

The parable speaks for itself. The answers are obvious. Yes. God will bring about justice for His chosen ones! Yes. He will bring about justice for His children who cry out to Him day and night! No. He will not keep putting them off! God will see that they will quickly receive the justice they seek!

The question that remains outstanding is: When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?

This seems to give a bit of punch to Luke’s introductory commentary. He tells us that Jesus told them this parable “to show them that they should always pray and not give up.”

Now for a moment of candor: Through the years I’ve had difficulty giving what I believed was an adequate answer to people who’ve talked with me about their struggle with persistence in prayer. I’m remembering the father who had prayed for his recalcitrant son’s repentance for years. Or, the sister who had prayed earnestly for many years for her husband to see her as something more than a household servant. I’m thinking also about countless believers who have cried out to God for health and healing for themselves and their loved ones. I’m thinking of the millions of unemployed people throughout our nation some of whom will probably begin this week wondering whether or not they should continue praying for God to help them find a job. If we are being honest with ourselves, most of us have probably had some doubts about whether we should always pray and not give up.

You see where I’m going with this, don’t you? Against the backdrop of similar real-world, real-life battles that have persisted year-after-year, many struggle with persistence in prayer. Frankly, I think the reason I have had difficulty giving adequate answers as to why we should continue to pray about these matters, has to do with the fact that my vision is limited to the horizon.

Upon reflection, I’ve concluded these are not nearly as compelling as the two truths brought to light in this passage. Because these transcend out troubles, they call us to prayer even though none of us can see beyond the horizon. Why should we be persistent in prayer? The two simple truths are:

1) We should be persistent in prayer, because this is what Jesus wants us to do.

2) We should be persistent in prayer, because doing so gives evidence that we are continuing to live by faith.

There it is in the most basic terms possible. Why should we be persistent in prayer? The answer is two-fold, but simple: 1) Because Jesus said so, and 2) Because we believe!

For believers who wrestle with this answer, there is another prayer to be uttered, “I belief. Help Thou my unbelief.” Lord willing, we will discuss this soon.

Blessings to all who pass this way.

Bill Williams
a spiritualoasis

(c) copyright, September 13, 2010


Teach me good judgment and knowledge, For I believe Your commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.
Psalm 119:66-67

Dear Lord God,

Thank you for moving in my life. I am far from where I need to be and find myself falling short every day. I pray You would continue to change my actions and attitudes. I already know it hurts sometimes, but I am learning that pain means growth and so it doesn't hurt quite so bad anymore.

Please visit The Prayer List and pray with us.

what's on your mind?

There’s a young girl I know who has updated her Facebook status over fifty times this past week. Many of her posts indicate confusion, loneliness and despair. While she has not mentioned God, when I read her updates I always see the same message: Lord, save me.

I don’t know this woman very well. She attended church youth group with my son for a while. And from her parents and sister I get the sense that she can easily put up walls and distance herself from those who love her most.
And when she shares her feelings of hopelessness at 4AM in the morning, I can only cry. Because she is so loved. Because peace is right there. The gift of joy is right in front of her.

There are things I can do. Things we all can do. When someone looks for attention, we can shower them with praise and encouragement. When someone cries for affection, we can overwhelm them with love. When someone needs to vent, we can just listen. And hug.

But we can also pray. Will you pray with me today?

Lord Jesus, you can turn the world on its head with a bat of your eyelash. Whether they are directed at you or not, Lord, we ask that you answer the prayers of Daniele. Put your arms around her and do not let her go. When she tries to squirm away, hold her even tighter. Let her feel your sweat, let her smell the perfume that was poured upon your head in the days before you died for her, let her feel the incredible strength of your arms around her, and let her be overwhelmed by the sense of the love you have for her. Lord, let her feel your peace. Comfort Daniele. Do not let go.

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How lovely is Thy dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts to me!
My thirsty soul desires and
Longs within Thy courts to be.
My very heart and flesh
Cry out O Living God for Thee.

Beside Thine alters, gracious Lord,
The swallows find a nest,
How happy they who dwell with Thee
and praise Thee without rest.

They who go through the desert vale
Will find it filled with springs,
And they shall climb from
height to height till
Zion's temple rings.

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Prayer for the Beginning of the Day

O Lord, grant that I may meet this day and all that it shall bring with spiritual peace.
Grant that I may submit myself completely to Your holy will. In every hour of the day, be my support and my guide.
Whatever news I may receive today, teach me to accept it with a peaceful soul and with the firm conviction that Your will governs all thing.
In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings.
In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You.
Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others.
O Lord, give me the strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring.
Direct my will. Teach me to pray, to believe, to hope, to endure all things, to forgive, and to love.

Please visit The Prayer List and pray with us.

Ten Principles for Praying

Most who read these lines are likely to be people of prayer. My guess is that many readers are like me and have also longed for a more effective prayer life. I'd like to offer some suggestions towards that end, but want to state up front that these principles are not my invention. They come directly from Jesus' response to His disciples, when they asked Him to teach them how to pray. I definitely see myself as one of the learners in the crowd, earnestly beseeching the Lord for help when it comes to praying.

From Jesus’ teaching in Luke 11:1-13 we glean principles for increasing our power in prayer. Before we look at each of these, let me point out a couple of things:
  • There is always plenty of room for humility, when it comes to the topic of prayer. This is demonstrated in the request made by Jesus’ disciples in Luke 11:1. Was their desire to learn about prayer an admission to an awareness of deficiency in this area? It seems obvious that Jesus’ prayed with such power they wanted Him to teach them how to pray.
  • Learning to pray is not an intellectual exercise. Jesus response was not a long discourse on various prayer related topics and concerns. Instead, His response was to say, “Pray like this…”
Just like these disciples, listening to Jesus pray is a lesson within itself with respect to how we should pray. We observe the following principles inherent in the prayer model Jesus presented this day.
1) "Our Father" = Approach God with tenderness.

2) "In heaven" = Approach God with awareness.

3) "Hallowed be Your name" = Approach God with reverence.

4) "Your kingdom come" = Approach God purposefully.

5) "Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" = Approach God submissively.

Note that everything up to this point focuses primarily on the ATTITUDE of prayer. That which follows seems to place greater emphasis on the RELATIONSHIPS of the pray-er.

6) "Give us today our daily bread" = Approach God with a sense of humility.

7) "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors = Approach God with a sense of personal awareness.

8) "Lead us not into temptation" = Approach God with an awareness of our need for guidance.

Note: James 1:13, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’ for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. God will never lead us into anything that He does not plan to lead you out of.”

If we are subjected directly to the source of temptation, usually the allurements are of Satan. We must, then, cling to the truths of God’s word found in I Corinthians 10:13. Here we read: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

9) "Deliver us from the evil one" = Approach God with an awareness of our need for protection.

10) "Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever" = Approach God with genuine sense of His majesty and eternal sovereignty.

When it's all said and done, perhaps the most important prayer we will ever pray is this: Lord, teach us to pray!

May God continue to richly bless each and every one who passes this way.

Bill Williams
Spiritual Oasis

all spiritual wisdom and understanding

Today's prayer comes from the Book of Colossians and goes out to everyone who comes to this site to pray, including Bill, Martha, Sue, Wanda, Wil, crownring, Bob and you.

May God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Please visit The Prayer List and pray with us.

Please pray for Jill and her Family

9/1 Update: Jill passed away last night. Here are a few words from her husband Cliff:
Jill died this evening. It was an incredibly difficult, surreal evening. Jill had myself, Jeri, Megan and Joel here with her. It was hard to watch her struggle at the end but it has been hard to watch her struggle since May 2004. We now need to deal with our sadness but rejoice with her lack of pain and suffering. We four kept telling her it was OK to leave so she could be free!
Please visit Jill's blog to read the rest of Cliff's note. And please continue to pray for Cliff, Megan and Joel as they grieve the loss of a wonderful wife and mom. I am missing Jill already.

This is such a difficult post to write. Here are few updates from the weekend on my friend Jill Hollis who has ALS:
Saturday: Jill is not doing very well. she is struggling more and more to breathe. she is fatigued constantly. she is having more difficulty speaking. she is losing strength quickly. she is battling infection and sores. her body is tired.

Sunday: more than likely, this is the beginning of the end for jill. she probably has an upper respiratory infection. she is on antibiotics, and her fever finally broke. however, our main concern at this point is keeping her comfortable. cliff read all of your comments and emails aloud to her today. she cried & cried bittersweet tears. thank you for your kind words, and your prayers, and your thoughts.

Monday: there's not really anything new to add. this is beyond difficult for us. all of your comments and emails have reached our ears, and some have made it to hers. we're sure all of your words & thoughts & prayers are reaching her spirit. it's hard to know how much longer she has, but her time seems to be growing shorter. we will continue to keep you posted.

cliff, megan, & joel
All I can do is cry Father. This is way too hard for me. I cannot imagine what it is like for Cliff or Jill's children. Please minister peace to Jill and her family. Help Jill in these final days. Thank you for the way that she represents you every day. Thank you for the impact that she has made on my life with her courage.


Please visit The Prayer List and pray with us.