Whitewater Prayers

Icicle Creek

Bouncing water like bouncing prayers

Sometimes my prayers feel like this whitewater––my mind bouncing from one thing to another. Very small prayers that don’t go very high. Fortunately, prayer is not about my ability, but upon God’s.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

The Steep Edge of Life

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On the edge with Mountain Penstemon

These Mountain Penstemon cling to a steep edge along the Icicle Creek, living life in a precarious place. Sometimes my life feels like these wildflowers––I am just barely hanging on. Psalm 33 is given to us for such times.

A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,  Psalm 33:17-18

Great wealth cannot save.
Great intelligence cannot save.
Great beauty cannot save.
Great power cannot save.
Instead put your hope in Jesus, the unfailing love of God, whose sacrifice brings us unassailable deliverance from our worst fears.

Ever feel like you’re all washed up?

Icicle Creek

The water is tumbling down

A prayer for when I fall. Note that none of it is me all of it is God.

Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees:
Then I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding…
Direct me in your path…
Turn my heart toward you…
Direct my eyes away from worthless things…
Fulfill your promises to me…
Take away my disgrace…
Preserve my life in your righteousness.

Thank you Lord for all you do for me.
Taken from Psalm 119:33-40

What Does It Say?

Icicle Creek

A cold day on Icicle Creek

What does this scene say to you?

For some it doesn’t say anything but burr.

My hope is that it speaks to your heart of God’s glory. That you hear echoes of His love for us. That it reminds you of God’s perfection that He wants to share with us.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world….
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19

Light in the Background

Early morning light

Early morning sunshine through the woods

This scene attracted my attention because of the light behind the trees. The foreground is cold with snow covering the tree limbs, but in the background the sun light holds the promise of a beautiful day. The sunlight truly makes all the difference in this picture.

Recently I had been praying for a dear Aunt in hospice going through the last stages of life. On the day before she died I used the 23 Psalm as a prayer for her and the family. When I came to verse 4 it literally jumped off the page.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for You are with me. Psalm 23:4

God’s presence is what makes all the difference in life. There is no circumstance, no illness, no terror that will overwhelm having Jesus with us. On the flip side, there is nothing (fame, wealth, power, or person) that can match having Him in our life.

Jesus is with my aunt, her family and with me. As I allowed this truth to sink in, my heart and mind calmed in His presence. He is the light behind the trees of grief and sorrow. The wonderful knowledge that He is with us will never lose its power to brighten the day of fear, grief, or shame, into a day of hope, comfort, and ultimately joy.

Grace and Peace

Winter Along Icicle Creek

New snow, new day, peaceful and serene along the Icicle Creek

The scene is the Icicle Creek near Leavenworth WA. The photo was taken the morning after a snow fall in early winter. All is at peace with only the rushing of water for background music. I like to think of this moment as God’s salutation to me:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Every letter in the New Testament begins with this greeting. The reason is grace and peace go together, with the gift of grace comes the gift of peace (see Romans 5:1). But I have to admit, often in accepting God’s forgiveness, I fail to also receive His peace that comes with it. Instead my mind falls into old ruts that rob me of the fullness of grace.

These are my ruts. I am sure you can add others to this list:

Grace and “Don’t let it happen again!”
Grace and “What a mess you’ve made.”
Grace and “You’re no good.”
Grace and the temptation to give up on myself.
Grace and fear.

Truth is I need help to receive all that God wants to give me. I need His help to put down the cacophony of lying voices in my head. I need His grace applied not only to forgive my sins, but also to let His peace rule in my life. Quite simply, I need grace upon grace.

For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. (John 1:16)

Therefore, as you live by God’s grace don’t let your thoughts lie about the conditions of His grace. Instead ask for grace upon grace, so that you can walk in the peace that God has for you in Jesus Christ.

Grace, like new fallen snow, covering everything with His peace.

A Rising Vapor

Mist Rising to the Heavens

Morning steam rising off Icicle Creek

Vapor rising to the heavens warms this scene on a cold morning.

My prayer rising to the heavens warms my life.

“Our Father, who art in heaven,…”

This beginning to The LORD’s Prayer is what makes my life worthwhile. It’s that God allows me to call Him “Father.” When I think about this astounding truth in my life… I am lifted to the heavens

He loves me.
He provides me with access to Him at all times.
He takes time for me, and He is never too busy for me.
He gives me grace upon grace.
He gives me hope for eternity.
He is concerned about me, from the direction of my life, to the hairs on my head.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— John 1:12

What a wonderful thought for a new year.

Tangled

cedar tree roots entangled in rocks

Tree roots in a tangled knot


Every man’s way is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts. Proverbs 21:2

Trying to sort things out (choices, direction, motives, etc.), can be very difficult, because as the verse says all my ways seem Godly to me. So how do I know when I am pleasing to God, or just pleasing myself?

I can’t. All I can do is ask for help.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24

When I think I know the way, that is when I start to wander.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Proverbs 3:5-7

Background Music

The sun is the background music for the pines

The sun is the background music for the pines

My granddaughter is constantly singing while she plays. It is wonderful and brings me great joy just listening to her voice. This eavesdropping on my granddaughter reminds me that we all have songs playing in the background. Oh to have a good song rolling through us, just like my granddaughter, for it gives joy to all who hear it. Unfortunately, some of us have distressing clamor playing in the background instead of wonderful music, fitful cries of hurt, pain, or anxiety. This dissonance subtracts from life, instead joy we spread clamor. This is not the way life is supposed to be, but we are trapped unable to change what plays in our life. This is where Psalm 118 is so wonderful. A prayer given to us over two thousand years ago and is still filled with power and meaning. Listen to the Psalmist…

“I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the Lord helped me.
The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.” (Psalm 118:13-14)

The psalmist teetered about to fall, when the salvation of the LORD came in, becoming his strength and song. But what does the “salvation of the LORD” mean? Further into the psalm it gives the answer.

“The LORD’s’s right hand has done mighty things!
The LORD’s right hand is lifted high;
the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!” (Psalm 118:15-16)

The reference here is to the Messiah, Jesus. He is the LORD’s right hand.

“Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and give thanks to the Lord.
This is the gate of the LORD
through which the righteous may enter.
I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.
The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.” (Psalm 118:19-23)

God tells us through the Messiah we can enter the gates of righteousness, and He becomes our strength and song. Then, when thoughts of hurt, pain or anxiety try to take over I can say: “In the name of the LORD I cut you off” (verses 10-12). Replacing the noise with the song of my God, “Oh, Immanuel.”

Ours for the Asking

Such beautiful water

Such beautiful water

Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne;
love and faithfulness go before you. (Psalm 89:14)

We all want a land with the environment as it should be, unpolluted by the trash, clear crisp horizons, green healthy forest. If this is how we feel for the physical world how much more for spiritual. Oh, for a land where rightness and justice stretch from horizon to horizon. Where love and faithfulness flow unending from God to sustain life in all its abundance. The problem is me, I have pride, lust, selfishness, and other faults that hold me captive, and if I were permitted to enter would spoil the land of my dreams.

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:57)

In Jesus Christ I have a way to regain my innocence and purity, a new creation never to be a blemish again. I can enter into God’s presence and be part of the joy.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! … God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:17,21)

This is ours, just for the asking.