My Middle of the Day Prayer Time With My Grandsons.

I have been reading and hearing a lot about the power of prayer. Pero que este bien claro, that I’m speaking about praying to Jesus Christ, God Almighty. Y pues I’ve been asking, you know, praying, that He would enlarge me so that I might pray with confidence to the God who wants to bless me as He does His will here on earth. 

Pray often, pray sincerely, pray with faith, pray without ceasing, pray with child-like faith and pray for others. Hijole! Luego, I wonder, if we did do prayer like this, what would that look like? 

Often- as in frequently. Hmmm, in the morning, in the middle of the day, en la tarde and at bedtime. Is that often Lord?

Sincerely-like with an engaged mind, not just repetition. With feeling, like what I’m bringing to the prayer room is heavy Lord, I need help…desperately.

Without ceasing-like that request is always, on my mind, with persistence until something happens.

With Childlike faith- like with brutal honesty, with complete expectancy that I will get an answer, with confidence that my Abba Father is paying attention to me. With assurance that my request isn’t outrageous, impossible, bothersome or absolutely out of the question, for Him.

Praying for others-applying all of the above, allowing your heart to be burdened by someone else’s need for a miracle, need for relief, need for break through. 

That’s what I’ve been practicing. El otro dia,  my grandsons were around and I was going to stop my busyness and pray. I decided to pray in front of them. I don’t have to describe what little boys’ energy level is like, verdad? Off the charts! They were busy playing, arguing and strategies all at once, while jumping around. I was getting dizzy. Y de repente, Ama says, “I’m gonna pray boys, do you have something you want me to pray about for you? They looked at me like I was speaking in Spanish (a foreign language to them.)  Daniella says they’re learning though, que Dios los bendiga!  When I repeated my question they thought about it and gave their requests to me. Braye, the 7 year old, said he must have more play time with his dad. Judah the 6 year old said “I want to pray for more food” (he said that while clearing the crumbs from his shirt after his snack) and Marcus the 9 year old, was over thinking how to put in his request, definitely not thinking with child-like simplicity at that moment.  

I started praying. I have to close my eyes when I pray, helps me not to be distracted. As I was trying to gather all my thoughts, trying to be sincere and fervent, I noticed the absolute silence. No fidgeting. Que?! Those rambunctious little boys were intently listening. Hijole! The pressure. I forced my thoughts to focus and pray sincerely. I prayed for others and then more others and they were still, 15 minutes of calm, I was amazed. Pero, as soon as they heard their petition voiced their attention was gone. Y por supuesto I wondered if I would be able to engage them into my prayer time again.

En Conclusíon

Praying in the middle of the day is usually a very intentional act. I have my alarm set, because if I don’t, in all my busyness I’ll pass it right up. Sometimes it’s incredible, other times it’s ok, not much emotion, because I’m focusing and struggling to stay engaged. De repente, in my frustration, as I’m reaching out gathering all the loose random thoughts that interrupt my prayer,  Jesus lets me know, he hears me. He sups with me and I cry. Y mira, other times I’m moving right along, somedays the long list worries me, que tonta! My God is not intimidated by a long list. Por supuesto que sabes, God is always with us, verdad? But, sometimes his presence is so very present, He fills the room, my little living room is electrified suddenly.That afternoon with my little grandsons, something good happened! As they listened, they also believed and I was extra glad for my mid day prayer partners that day.  God hugged us all that day, I could tell they liked it and so did I. 

How I Processed The Sermon on the Mount: 

This past week I’ve been rereading Jesus’ famous sermon on the mount. Each time I read it, I have to stop in my tracks. As I processed this, the Holy Spirit faithfully put a flashlight to my heart and my ways. More spring cleaning was done, of the heart kind. 

 As far as the Beatitudes go, I wrote in my journal, Goals! I do want to be blessed living in His way. And I slowly processed the first three, “Blessed are…” 

The poor in spirit- depleting myself of me, hijole! How is it that “me” always crowds up my heart space?

Those that mourn-realizing again how weighed down I get with stubbornness and pride. How this sin destroys me and those around me. 

The meek-they quietly submit to God. When she understands his will and when she doesn’t, she submits quietly. I’m not that person yet, but I do want to be. I question when I don’t understand, I want to pout when I don’t want to accept something outside of my will. A meek person is not easily provoked or quick to defend themselves. Meek people exercise self control, even when they show their displeasure at sin, they are not rude about it. A meek person will forgive personal offenses, more than once. 

Lots of processing, lots of spring cleaning and decluttering happened that morning. I kept reading. Again I was floored, how was it that I did not truly pay attention to this scripture? 

Matthew 5: 42 Give to the one who asks you and don’t turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you. 

“Give to the one who asks you” Give what? Jesus wasn’t necessarily talking about money. Give money, time, love, respect, the gospel, water, food, friendship…Hijole! The list is long. Luego, who am I supposed to give to? “To him that asks of thee” I considered all the things that I was asked for the day before:

  • My DIL asked if she could throw a party for Emery, she was ready for a date
  • My grandson Jeremiah asked me for water.
  • The panhandler asked for money
  • One of the young ladies at church asked if we could pray together
  • My Flaco asked for lunch.
  • Thomas asked for an envelope.
  • My sis asked for help with putting together her recipe
  • A new believer asked for advice on how to share Gods love
  • Several friends asked for prayer
  • My son and niece asked for prayer
  • Another grandson, Judah asked for some of my pretzels.
  • My husband needed my help in moving something.

Luego, I remembered all the things I asked for that same day,

  • I asked God for a long list of personal needs 
  • I asked my young friend for use of her creative ability.
  • I asked my husband for grocery money.
  • I asked my husband again for help with cleaning my backroom.
  • I asked my husband yet again for help with posting on Offerup to sell some items.
  • I asked my daughter for help on my blogs
  • I asked to be served at Vallartas Mexican Food restaurant.
  • I asked the ladies in our prayer group to help me pray.

To anyone who asks young, old, stranger, neighbor, family and those that I don’t want to give to!  If Jesus is telling us to give, then he expects us to be prepared to do so. Deuteronomy 15:8 says you shall open your hand wide and willingly lend him sufficient for his need. 

En Conclusíon

I have never really thought of how much I ask for and how much is as asked of me in just one day. Giving makes the world go round. God gave his only begotten son for us. Jesus gave his will and life for us to live abundant lives, y mil gracias a Dios. He assures us “Give and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38 ESV) I am glad for the Word God gives us, it really does keep you on his narrow path. I encourage you to ready that famous sermon again y que Dios los bendiga, with all his giving to you.

How I Prayed with My Apa

One of my favorite kinds of gifts is pretty journaling books, pero I especially enjoy the little pocket size ones that fit in my purse, they always come in handy. Pues, gracias a Dios que mi hermana Marina has given me a few of those little books.

Recently as I’ve been getting reorganized and refocused on my “apa stories” I came across some pages from one of those notebooks. They were entries of prayer lists that I prayed together with my apa. Imaginate, Reading that list took me back to those mornings when I was “trying to find a place” for my apa in my morning prayer time. Asi es, I found myself embarrassed to pray during those early days. It’s not that I was ashamed, it was more because of the way I pray.  I’m Pentecostal, y pues, sometimes I can get loud when I pray. God has never been offended by my loud voice or my emotion, but my apa might be. So I came up with a plan to “ease” him into my prayer closet.

I started having conversations with my apa about prayer. Asking him if he wanted to pray, and he wasn’t sure what I was asking him to do.

Apa: Quieres rezar?

Me: Que si quiere orar?

My apa didn’t understand the difference, so I explained the difference between the two forms of praying.Orar means to pray, as in bringing devout petitions to God or object of worship. A spiritual communion with God as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration or confession. Rezar means to recite a prayer. I didn’t have a memorized prayer, I told my apa that we could bring our needs to God and he would hear us.

Me: Apa what do you need from God?

Apa: (a chuckle) I need a lot of things.

Me: Like what?

Apa: “I can’t figure out in my head all the necesidades, porque son muchas.”

He said honestly that he didn’t really know how to form a prayer but that if I would help him, con mucho gusto he would do it. From that day on as much as I was able to I wrote down his petitions. Nunca me imagine that those simple prayer notes would be such a treasure to me today. 

My apas prayer requests were to the point and honest. We would talk about his needs and the needs of his family and I would jot them down. We would talk about his desires and the hopes he still had, often included in the list was a prayer that he would have strength to walk again. He also often hoped for a call from his boys, so I wrote that down. I chuckled when I read that petition again, “recuerdales que tienen a su padre que esta bien” He sarcastically wanted God to remind his sons that they had their father who was alive and well”  He was good about remembering each of his sons by name, that was important to me. I worried that he would forget us. He talked about his frustrations and difficulties to understand this very difficult stage of life, he just couldn’t believe that he was so old and weary, onto the list went his need for patience. He often remembered at prayer time to ask God to help him with his memory because he said his mente wasn’t working very well anymore. We talked about my needs, I wanted him to pray for me, I wanted him to feel my need for his prayer for me. Throughout our “prayer” conversation I filled him in on family news and he would react and add certain needs to the list. He wondered about his siblings, if they were still alive and we asked God for their protection. He prayed for my youngest brother “Give strength to Chicha so he could lift himself up” as he was battling cancer. Siempre,  he was grateful to God for the blessings in his life. 

Then we would pray. To be honest, since I was “the experienced” praying person, la que sabia orar, I prayed and he listened with his eyes closed and he said amen in agreement. Eventually we both got comfortable with praying together. Luego I would dive into my prayers and he listened to my emotional petitions and supplications, somehow my booming voice lulled him to sleep.

En Conclusíon 

Prayer is a wonderful time with God, If you don’t practice it, te animo, do it, you’ll be glad. Gracias a Dios for my prayer time with my apa, have you ever prayed with your father? Have you ever asked him for his blessing? If you are able to, hijole! Don’t hesitate to ask him to pray with you or for you. You’ll be so glad you did. 

Holding on to My Dad’s Prayer

These past few weeks have been trying times. Sickness hovers over our lives trying to scare us into a corner of not living but existing. Hard times and bad news, make us desperate por tener un momento de tranquilidad. As we hold our breath not knowing what to expect, tears wash out and my heart aches for those loved ones I will not see again until eternity. Not knowing the appointed time, the wait feels endless. 

 I will not lie and say I’ve sat and “waited” for the day I see my ama again, she’s been gone for over 30 years, but I have longed through the years for that mother/daughter relationship & connection. I have a sister in Christ, my  friend who has five beautiful daughters, and oh, I can tell those girls have connected with their momma. Me acuerdo, when I was a new homemaker, “building” my own home. I was barely a few weeks on the journey, I was given a chance to call my ama. I was having a cooking crisis and she rescued me, the stroke she had (a post for another time) didn’t hinder her from coming to my aid.

In her cooking stilo, como todas las mexicanas she set me straight: 

Me: “Ama, ¿cuáles son los chiles que se usan para la carne con chile?”

Ama: “Pues ¿cuales son los que tienes? “

I had forgotten those cooking lessons with my ama! The main lesson was work with what you have, but make it work! I wonder if I’ll be able to share with her my mothering experience with my one daughter? Aguanten me por favor, Un poco culeca. Mi ama would see my daughter and fall in love with her immediately.

Y mis hermanas, Patty and Lupe, se adelantaron! They rushed ahead of me and Marina almost 13 years ago and beat us to heavens gates. I won’t pretend that I wasn’t angry. I had quite a few things to teach my “older” sisters and they me. In the middle of my busy life, while we 4 sisters were enjoying and sharing the episodes of life,  they finished  their race within 3 months of each other. In shock I had to say goodbye for now. Pero sabes, death always feels like that, when you expect it, and while you wait for your loved one to pass, you’re still shocked by it, when you don’t expect it, it knocks you down and takes your breath away.

My apa, no tenia prisa, gracias a Dios , almost took him a century to walk this road on earth. Geographically he was in very small places, almost insignificant, but he broke up much fallow ground and planted many seeds of experience and left quite a legacy of children and grandchildren to carry his name on. Eso! Don Manuel!

 He has only just gone home 8 months ago and the void of his departure esta muy tierno aun. In our home our backroom is still “Tatas room”

I will say that I’ve occupied myself with a goal, a hope or God’s plan to see them again.

My Dad’s Prayer of Gratitude

This long season of pestilence has caused me to examine life.  What are the things that I’m grateful for? The big things and the minute details of my life that I tend to take for granted sometimes, like my daily bread and the very air I breathe that God gives. It was a solidifying reminder to finds my dads prayer.

For as long as  I could remember my apa prayed this prayer at meal times. I can picture him now at our table, ready and waiting to see if he would be called upon to pray. 

“Gracias te damos Senor por estos alimentos que no nos hacen falta.  También  Señor te pedimos por todos aquellos que no tienen alimentos. Ayúdalos y dales la mano, no los desampares. Perdónanos nuestros pecados , pero  siempre que se haga tu santa voluntad. Amén”

Sometimes a line or two was switched up, but it had the same meaning:  

“Gracias te damos Senor por estos alimentos que no nos pones en la mesa.  También  Señor te pedimos por todos aquellos que no tienen alimentos. Ayúdalos y dales la mano, no los desampares. Perdóna nuestros ofensas, pero  siempre que se haga tu santa voluntad. Amén”

 As if someone switched on the lights,  I have truly paid close attention to my apas prayer and realized how profound it truly was. Too many times we throw our prayers out to God without any real conviction, especially at mealtimes, were hungry and we’ve been waiting for that good food so were in a hurry. Hijole! Imaginate, as God sits down to eat with us and hears our “Thank you Jesus, bless this food” my fork halfway to my mouth already, I say “amen”. Maybe it’s because I’ve had a good morning in my prayer already  that I am careless when I thank God for his provision. Whatever the reason, prayer at mealtimes in my life has been lackadaisical. Once in a while, I whisper in my mind, I really am grateful Lord, y si estoy agradecida! despite my mouthful.  My apas prayer has reminded me to be grateful for my life, for the blessings and most importantly grateful for the Blesser.  

Aguanta otro ratito while I unpack his prayer. 

“Estos alimentos que no nos hacen falta”

Thankful for his provision. These days as many fight for their lives, the very air we breathe is a gift from God. ALL our basic needs are remembered in this simple line.

También  Señor te pedimos por todos aquellos que no tienen alimentos. Ayúdalos y dales la mano, no los desampares”

Thankful that we can approach the very throne of God for our needs and our loved ones. They’re too weak, too tired, too much in pain to ask for themselves, but we can stand in the gap for them. A thoughtful prayer that remembers those that are struggling and asks God to also help them in their time of need. Orita mismo, I can think of several friends, loved ones, and friends of friends that are in desperate need.

Perdóna nuestros ofensas”

Thankful that God, the creator of heaven and earth graciously forgives our trespasses. I find it interesting that this line for forgiveness is after asking for the basic needs for ourselves and others. Asking forgiveness of our daily trespasses, my apa knew that even while our needs are endless so is God’s  comfort and grace. A prayer that humbly acknowledges our sinful state that without God in our lives we would be wretched and lost. 

I’m so glad that finally my heart has grabbed ahold of this prayer and I agree with Dad in it and say yes and amen!

 Today let these words  provoke you into true thanksgiving.