|January 4, 2022|
Greetings Pray-ers and Happy New Year!
Over the holidays, I had the opportunity of taking a road trip to SE Texas. I chose this option not wanting to deal with the stresses of flying. It was wonderful to reconnect with family and friends. But, it was also sobering. Those I saw love the Lord, worship and read God’s Word faithfully. Yet, many had gone through significant events this past year – physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. They seemed worn down by life. In my humanness and compassion, I wanted to wish away the weariness and fatigue they were feeling. Joy to the World was a constant song playing through my mind. Chris Tomlin has a great rendition where he adds the following refrain:
Joy, unspeakable joy
An overflowing well, no tongue can tell
Joy, unspeakable joy
Rises in my soul, never lets me go.
This became a prayer for my friends and loved ones. On my return drive I asked of the Lord, “How do I speak, encourage, pray for joy not only for others, but also for myself.” Do we ever find ourselves wondering where our own joy has gone? After all, this past year has been tough. The Lord brought me to Habakkuk 3:17-19. These verses are well known to many of us. Sometimes it is helpful to be reminded of them.
Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.(emphasis mine)
On Sunday, January 9th at 4pm (for 1 hour), there will be a prayer time at the steps of Tucson’s City Hall. The purpose is to pray for our local government and for the Arizona State Legislature which will begin its next session on Monday, January 10th. I hope you will be able to join me in person or in spirit if you are unable to attend.
Later this month will be Movement Day 2022. "This will be a two day event (1/20-21) where we will convene leaders and residents to create customized plans that will help Tucson thrive, one neighborhood at a time. We examine the challenges a community is facing, utilize research and expertise, and hear the voice of the community. Together, we identify action steps to implement."
I was given a list of prayer topics (from those who are diligently working on this) to pray on behalf of this event, the people working hard to put it on and those who will be attending. Please click on the link below to see the prayers requests being asked of us. For some, this list may look daunting. Don’t let that happen! Just take one or two each week. If we all do this, then every prayer request will be covered many times over. You may not be aware that this newsletter goes out to over 900 people. It would be nice if everyone opened it, but that’s not the case. However, almost 300 people do open the newsletter. Imagine, 300 people over the next 3 weeks praying for the people involved in this event. Imagine what might be accomplished for God’s Kingdom here in Tucson. Please click on the link below that says Movement Day Tucson Prayer Points.
I close by going back to joy – God’s unspeakable joy! I hope the following makes sense: Joy doesn’t change our circumstances; but it does affect how we look at those circumstances; which perhaps then affects said circumstances. Last month I wrote about awakening the “sleeping dragon” (with respects to Pearl Harbor) and how I believed this “sleeping dragon” could be applied today to the Body of Christ. We must claim what is rightfully ours – the joy of the Lord is our strength! As we claim this, let us be alert to what God is doing in our midst and through our prayers. Perhaps, in this next year, we will see some significant mountains begin to move (ref Matt. 17:10). May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13.
Blessings & Shalom,