The Loudmouth Protestant

July 20, 2010

My Testimony: Part 1, I’ll Trust You

Filed under: life,love,prayer,relationships,Uncategorized — nickisym @ 8:00 am

This is a 2-3 part series on my testimony for the first half of 2010. Much has gone on with me this year and that’s why my writing has been sparse. I’ve had to let time pass, a healing take place before I could be in the position to share this with anyone. I hope that you will take this journey with me in reading these post through to the end for there is light at the end of this tunnel that I hope you will find just as exciting as I do. I thank you in advance for endeavoring to read and share this moment with me.

I’ll trust you. Lord it’s not easy. Sometimes the pain in my life, makes you seem far away. But I’ll trust you. I need to know you’re here. Through the tears and the rain, through the heartache and pain, I’ll trust you. “I’ll Trust You” James P. Fortune & Fiya

When I first heard James Fortune & Fiya’s “I’ll Trust You” I was driving a rental car in Atlanta a few years ago. I was eavesdropping on the song instead of listening to a conversation between friends and as I listened to the words, this song felt important to me, but I didn’t know why. It is a song about trust, the kind of trust you put in God when you have nothing left. At that moment I had everything. I had a job, I was in my right mind, I was surrounded by good friends and family, my life, overall, seemed to be on the right track.  But I heard this song everyday of my weekend in Atlanta and each day my ears perked up. As soon as I got home to New York, I downloaded it from iTunes and added it to my rotation. Little did I know how this song would impact my life years later…

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was talking with a close friend on New Year’s Eve about resolutions and about how I didn’t have any. The only thing I had resolved was to just do whatever God wanted me to do. I wrote in my journal:

“I don’t know what I hope for in 2010. Simply put, I don’t hope for anything but a change. A change in my life, my mind, my heart. A change in faith, to live a life full of faith. All I want to achieve is God having His way in my life. I admit that I have been living under the “ye of little faith” regime and admittedly I’m tired of professing a life full of God yet so void of Him. In 2010 I know I have to take some chances for God’s sake and just step out on faith. What is before me in 2010 requires that I take a step in the right direction. “You know where our feet go. You know where we are heading. You know our destiny.”

That was me the night before the first day of 2010. I didn’t have any other resolution I thought was as powerful as simply just resolving to put more faith and trust in God. Soon enough, just as I proclaimed those words to my friend, my journal and in my prayers, I was faced with living it out.

The beginning of 2010 found me in the position of spiritually giving myself to a man who came into my life on the first day of the year. He was an acquaintance from college who I had only had a few conversations with. I knew some of the things he was going through and he knew what I was preparing to go through and considering that, I became his intercessor and encourager as he prepared for a pivotal moment in his life. I dived in head first into helping him along on this process. In kind, he also prayed me through my process. Initially it was just praying, but with praying comes a heightened sense of intimacy which created between us a heightened emotional state that might have just been accelerated by the extremely intimate act of prayer we were engaging in daily for nearly two months. Before long, the question of feelings came into play and we were no longer on one accord. Though there was much mutual exchange of sweet sentiments and full disclosure between us, including the fact that I knew he wasn’t ready for a relationship because he wanted to straighten out  some things in his life, I held on. I held on because it seemed like I should, it seemed like he wanted me to. He even told me that he knew I deserved the best so he wanted to make sure he had things in order so that he could provide that. I wasn’t delusional about where things were going, but surely I was blindsided when, all of a sudden, he started to withdraw.

Not long after the flower petals and ink had dried on the hand-written letter he sent me extolling my virtues, not long after the morning texts and daily calls halted, I went from being an “integral part of his life”, “an amazing woman”, “a God send” to not being important enough to communicate with.  I became non-integral after his pivotal moment passed and I couldn’t have felt more devastated and used for it. I was back to where I started, alone. But, being alone, I had time to think and pray. Initially I took a fleshly approach and nearly begged him to re-consider me but then I realized that I could not change what GOD was doing–and that I don’t need to beg any man to be with me. I did need him to only be so thankful for the help that I gave him like the nine lepers who didn’t come back to thank Jesus after He healed them, because I needed to understand that a life in ministry to someone means that you will not always get the gratitude you deserve. I needed to see that while this man had some of the qualities I want in a mate, we were on two different levels of spiritual maturity. But most importantly, I needed this man to turn me down so that I could be turned over to a greater cause.

And so, as much as I suffered a broken heart and spirit, and as much as I thought that this was a man that I could see myself with, I had to TRUST that God knew what is best for me. I had to learn to take the power out of that man’s hands to break me and put it back in God’s hands to make me stronger. I had to make a step in what I thought was the right direction which meant stepping away from something I wanted in order to get what I really needed. God used that entire experience to not only strengthen me, but to propel me into my pivotal moment, the moment that would change my life forever…

To be continued tomorrow…

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May 6, 2010

Songs for the National Day of Prayer

Yeah, we all know what today is, the National Day of Prayer. I hope in some manner at some point during this day, everyone will find some time to pray for this nation. WE need it. We as a nation and we as a people. In the meantime, since I can’t seem to not connect life with music, I figure I’d keep the party going and share some prayer-related tunes to get your prayer juices flowing.

“We got to pray just to make it today.”

“I heard ’em say, the prayers of the righteous availeth much. And now today, I can testify that I believe it…There is an answer on the way, my God has done so many great things.”

Pray, God will change things.

“I pray you’ll be our eyes and watch us where we go. And help us to be wise, in times when we don’t know.”

October 3, 2009

Pray for A.J. Jewell’s Family and Kandi Burress

Last night, A.J. Jewell, fiance of songwriter, singer and Atlanta Housewife, Kandi Buress was killed following an altercation in the parking lot of Body Tap, an Atlanta strip club. A.J. Jewell sustained a blow to his head that would later on take his life, leaving his five children with no father. This is the second time this week that an altercation left a black man dead and his family to pick up the pieces. The first of which was Derrieon Albert who was senselessly beat to death and had the whole beating recorded. Please join me in prayer, or in your own quiet time, pray for A.J. Jewell’s family, children and former fiance. Also, please pray for Derrieon Albert’s family and friends and the state of our society at large.

Heavenly Father,

I submit my prayer to you on behalf of those with hurting hearts. Yesterday evening, family and friends of A.J. Jewell found out that their precious son, father, brother, friend and lover were taken away from them too soon. I pray that you would be the comforter who rushes to the side of the broken-hearted. Right now people want answers to questions that may not be answered anytime soon, so I pray dear Lord that you would grant them patience while they wait. But not only patience, but your peace that passes all understanding. A.J. has left behind 5 children. 5 children without a father. But I pray that they will not become another case study for statistics but that by your hand, their every need will be provided. Call upon those family and friends who are trustworthy and have real love for those children. Shower those children with your precious love so that they may never lack for a moment in feeling loved. I also pray for Kandi, that you would make her strong in the days to come. Do not let her bow to this adversity, but let her be strengthened. Let her weeping endure for the night but not last beyond the appropriate period. May she rise up and spring to deeds of love on behalf of those children, his family and her own. Lastly Lord, I pray for our society at large. You know very well what we are in the midst of. You know how lives are being senselessly taken by violence, but it has also been said in your word that the kingdom suffers violence and the violent take it back by force. So may the righteous rise up and drown out all of the evil, adversarial spirits in existence in the world. As cliche as it may be to say, I am praying for a claiming peace on earth. Freeze up the plot of the enemy. Grab back your children on their way to commit violent and senseless acts. Reclaim them all for your glory. I claim your greatness above all of this hate. In Jesus’ Name, AMEN

October 1, 2009

Quote of the Day: William Cleary

Filed under: books,God,prayer,spirituality — nickisym @ 4:35 pm
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I happened to be reading an introduction in William Cleary’s book, “We Side with the Morning” when I came across this beautiful passage about prayer, the difficulties some have with it and what prayer can be compared to.

“Some people tell me they have given up on prayer. Why? It doesn’t work, and it doesn’t work for them. And it’s all too impossible to figure out: it doesn’t make sense. Perhaps, in a way, such folks are the wisest. On the other hand, I think it makes sense to pray as long as we realize that talking to God is like talking to your dog. We speak in English to our dog, but he mostly pays attention to our smell. Similarly, we may soar around in the cloud of unknowing trying to talk to God, but God of course is mostly paying attention for the aroma of compassion for those who are lonely and in need, those who are thirsty and hungry, and whom we help with water, food, and housing.”

William Cleary, “We Side with the Morning” Introduction

What I found most amazing about this quote was the comparison that Cleary about prayer to God being like talking to your dog. Dogs are focusing on our smell while we speak to them. God is focusing on our hearts when we speak to Him. I thought about how we all waste such precious emotional and mental energy trying to come up with the right words to say in prayer to God. We get frustrated when we feel our prayers aren’t verbose enough or maybe when we have plenty to say we feel like broken records. But really, there are no right amount of words that make the perfect prayer. No, it is in the heart of the prayer that God hears. So if we focus our hearts, not our words on God, maybe the message would be delivered more clearly. He wants to feel our hearts. He wants us to say, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” 

In the next few weeks, I’ll be working on a gallery of Cleary’s prayer which will be posted on Beliefnet.com. Stay tuned for the link…

May 27, 2009

Prayers for Mike Tyson and Family

Filed under: prayer,recent news — nickisym @ 10:31 am
Tags: , ,

Mike Tyson’s 4-year-old daughter Exodus was taken off of life support and has been pronounced dead following an accident in the family home over the weekend. Please remember him in your prayers. Remember nothing else but this man grieving the death of his daughter. Let not your memories of his past infractions prohibit you from interceding on his behalf in this his time of need. My heart goes out to him and his family for their loss. May God grant him peace that it may be well with his soul to know that Exodus, has made her exodus to be with her heavenly father.

May 22, 2009

Prayers Toward Pentecost

Filed under: prayer,spirituality — nickisym @ 2:52 pm
Tags: , ,

I happened to be poking around on Via Media, one of Beliefnet’s Catholic blogs, when I found a link to a Pentecost novena. I didn’t know what a novena was prior to that moment, but I know what Pentecost is and that was enough for me. For those who don’t know, Pentecost occurs 50 days after the resurrection and commemorates the Holy Spirit’s descent upon the church. It is considered the birthday of the church. 

My church and its various ministries is preparing for Pentecost and for me, as a member of the dance ministry, it means consecrating myself to become a vessel to be used on Pentecost in ministry. This consecration takes many forms of which prayer and fasting are a vital part. So it was perfect that I happened upon this novena.

A novena, in the Catholic church, is a body of prayers or devotions that lasts for 9 sucessive days for the purpose of obtaining special graces. When I read that, my mind was blown because one of my biggest concerns is that I truly use the next nine days to empty myself of every erroneous thing so that I can truly be a vessel set aside for God’s purposes. I need the special graces. So I continued reading through the Pentecost novenas and I felt very much drawn to the beauty of the prayers.

The novena starts with two prayers which are to be recited daily–one for the act of consecration to the Holy Spirit and one for the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit–which are then followed by specific prayers for each day which are closed with an Our Father, a Hail Mary and 7 Glory Be’s. Now I’m not sure if I’ll do the latter part of the novenas, but I am really loving these prayers and plan to fold them into my devotion time for the next 9 days. So as part of my Catholic learning for the day, I wanted to share today’s Pentecost Novena.

Holy Spirit! Lord of Light! From Your clear celestial height, Your pure beaming radiance give!

The Holy Spirit

Only one thing is important — eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared–sin· Sin is the result of ignorance, weakness, and indifference The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Light, of Strength, and of Love. With His sevenfold gifts He enlightens the mind, strengthens the will, and inflames the heart with love of God. To ensure our salvation we ought to invoke the Divine Spirit daily, for “The Spirit helpeth our infirmity. We know not what we should pray for as we ought. But the Spirit Himself asketh for us.”

Prayer

Almighty and eternal God, Who hast vouchsafed to regenerate us by water and the Holy Spirit, and hast given us forgiveness all sins, vouchsafe to send forth from heaven upon us your sevenfold Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, the Spirit of Counsel and fortitude, the Spirit of Knowledge and Piety, and fill us with the Spirit of Holy Fear. Amen.

I pray that all who are looking to these 9 days before Pentecost with expectancy would gird themselves up with prayer, whether it be of the novenas or on your own accord. Seek His face.

Be Blessed

May 18, 2009

A Simple Prayer

Filed under: christianity,God,prayer,spirituality — nickisym @ 1:11 pm

Yesterday afternoon, as my family was gathered together to celebrate a cousin’s graduation from college, I heard a simple prayer. It came from my uncle, my cousin’s father, who is a learned man but not necessarily a spiritual one. This isn’t for any particular reason,  it’s just his natural disposition. But as he stood in the room among family and friends, he knew the only appropriate thing to do was pray to God and give Him thanks for getting us to the wonderful day.

Before he parted his lips, he attempted to preface his prayer by stating that he isn’t the most spiritual or religious person. Sensing the words that were about to come out of his mouth my aunt told him to go forward. What followed was a beautiful outpouring of one man’s spirit to His God. It was pure, not wrapped up in the grandiloquence that people believe is necessary for prayer, and simple. 

He was at a loss for words at times and at others you could sense he wanted to say something high and lofty, but he was always steered back into simple prayer. Not complicated, verbose, and loud. Just honest, heartfelt and perfectly timed.

It was nothing more than a simple prayer.

April 27, 2009

The Swine Flu Prayer

Most merciful and gracious heavenly father I pray that your people, who are called by your name, would humble themselves so that you will heal the land. We have an epidemic before us, and many are fearful but we know that if we pray and believe, we can cast mountains into the sea, so I pray for the mountain of fear to be cast into the sea.  You have not given us a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. So we cannot fear the spread of the Swine Flu when we invest all of our energy into you, the strength of our life. You said that you want us to prosper and be in good health and I claim this for myself and all of your children. But I also pray that all would exercise knowledge, wisdom, and understanding as they navigate through this. For those living in areas where there is a high concentration of affected people–Mexico, Fresh Meadow, Queens, close up orifice that can be a gateway for the virus, strengthen immune systems, breathe health and purity into their bodies. Into all of our bodies. Give us knowledge and wisdom to take the practical measures to protect themselves. For those who have been infected with the virus be Jehovah Rophe, the God who heals. Speak into their lives. Breathe into their lives. Provide the affected with the best medical care available. Bless the doctors and nurses, who are having to deal with this onslaught of patients, with patience. Comfort the families who have experienced loss at the hands of this disease. And most of all, I pray that people would put their trust in you and you alone. You are the only one who can get us through this. 

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

April 22, 2009

Thomas of Aquinas on Prayer

Since the beginning of this week I have been thinking about prayer and how we are to confront it knowing that our prayers don’t change God’s mind. As is always the case when something like this arises, I have searched His word and spoken to trusted friends on the matter. But as is always the case in my quest for knowledge of God, sometimes the best gems of wisdom come when you aren’t looking for them. Hence my experience this morning.

In my quiet time, I switched my order around and decided to read “Longing for God” by Gayle Beebe and Richard Foster. The book’s aim is to introduce Christians to people from the past who had intimate relationships with God and as a result of that relationship, produced works that have built the foundation for spiritual formation–in the literary sense–in the lives of Christians–well some of them considering most people don’t read Martin Luther, John Calvin, Thomas Aquinas, Blaise Pascal and others for fun (I do!).

Nevetheless, the chapter I was finishing up was about Thomas Aquinas’ great work Summa Theologica and the section of the book on prayer and devotion. He offered the mistakes that he believed defeat the work of prayer–believing the world operates independently of God, believing everything is fixed and believing that God changes His mind. Eureka!

Beebe and Foster would then go on to offer their commentary on Aquinas view of prayer by stating the following:

“Through prayer we work to sort out what role we will play as secondary agents in God’s primary purposes. Prayer is not telling God what we think, or simply thanking him for food and drink. Rather it is our active, intentional effort to understand what God is doing and how we can join him. Thus through prayer we become co-participators with God. God’s will sets everything in motion.”

That was great, but yet and still I wanted more. So I decided to scour the Internet in search of a free online version of Summa Theologica so I could read exactly what Aquinas wrote. Alas, the version I did find was much too clunky. It seemed my search was going to be in vain until I returned to the origin of this entire thought process, the post that started it all. There in the post, the first comment was a Thomas Aquinas quote addressing man’s stance in prayer:

“We do not pray to change divine decree, but only to obtain what God has decided will be obtained through prayer.”

– St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae

To come full circle knowing that God is the one that closed the gap and gave Aquinas–and me–the knowledge of Him to acknowledge that we are to look to Him for all of our understanding.

April 6, 2009

Praying for L’Aquila, Italy Quake Victims

 If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicle 7:14

Earlier today a magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit L’Aquila, Italy killing dozens of people, burying countless others under rubble, leaving thousands homeless and rendering damage to the historic city.

Pray for the people of L’Aquila, Italy. (A prayer written by me for Beliefnet.com)

 

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