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prayThen men began to call on the name of the LordGenesis 4:26b (NKJV)

Every new year I begin reading my Bible all over again.  The excitement of Jesus reigning in Revelations during December is replaced with the beginning of the world in Genesis during my January readings.

I follow the history of creation and the birth of mankind.  I cringe as Adam and Eve give in to the serpent in the garden,  hiding from God in the bushes. I imagine how hard it must have been to be the first parents with boys fighting and one kills the other (Cain and Abel).  I rejoice when God gives Adam and Eve another son, Seth, to heal their hurting hearts.

And then I come across this amazing verse:  “Then men began to call on the name of the Lord.”  (Genesis 4:26b).  Adam and Eve already spoke to God when they were hiding in the garden.  Cain also talked back to God when he questioned, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  (Genesis 4:9). Yet at this point, people began lifting their pleas to Him. They were calling on the name of the Lord.

I wonder what those early prayers were like?  We’re they frantic yells, “Help me, God!”  We’re they more poetic like the Psalmists in the Old Testament, who poured out their hearts along with their cries?  Just this morning I was reading one of those Psalms, Psalm 17, and it gave me just the right words to cry out to Jesus:

Hear a just cause, O Lord,
Attend to my cry;
Give ear to my prayer which is not from deceitful lips.
Let my vindication come from Your presence;
Let Your eyes look on the things that are upright.  Psalm 17:1-2 (NKJV)

Another favorite cry of my heart is…

Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  Psalm 61:1-2 (NKJV)

Aren’t you glad that people began calling on the Name of the Lord so long ago, leaving us God’s Word as an example so we can call on Him, too?  We can share our hurting hearts and happy moments and anything we want with Jesus.  He is always there to listen.  Thank you, dear God, for your invention of PRAYER!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  When did prayer begin for you? Thank God for that moment when you first heard His voice and answered Him.  Give Jesus the glory for the prayers He has answered in your life.   prayer_kid

New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
 

my best friend JesusNo longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.  John 15:15 (NKJV)

My favorite time of the day is the first hour of the morning when I have TEA with my Best Friend.  We sit together on the sofa, I read His Word in the Bible, and then I use His Word for a conversation starter, as I talk with Jesus.  This is my quiet time. This is my prayer time. This is my tea time with my Best Friend. 

Jesus tells us in the book of John that we are His friends.  In John 15:15 He says, “I have called you friends.” Isn’t that great news! Doesn’t that touch your heart? The Creator of the universe and Savior of your soul is your Friend.  Jesus is always beside us, just waiting for us to chat with Him.

How might your conversation with Jesus go?  There are so many stories in the Gospels you can use, from Peter to the woman at the well.  Or, perhaps you would like this dialogue Jesus had with a blind man…

Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?”

He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.”  Luke 18:39-42 (NKJV)

One morning I shared the blind man’s request with Jesus.  I said, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”

And Jesus replied, “Jenny, what do you want me to do for you?”

I answered, “Lord, may I receive Your healing, and publish My Tea Cupp Prayers, and fulfill Your call.  And may all on my prayer list love You.”

And Jesus answered, “Receive your good health, Your faith has made you well.”

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Have TEA with your Best Friend today!  Call to Jesus, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Hear Jesus ask you, “What do you want Me to do for you?”  And pour out your heart to Him.

But to You I have cried out, O Lord,
And in the morning my prayer comes before You. Psalm 88:13 (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

 

Kennedy new bornBefore I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you… Jeremiah 1:5 (NKJV)

Here I sit at the library, working on My TEA CUPP Prayers, as I try to do every week.  My dear husband is home with our two youngest boys, working on projects in the garage.  They are refurbishing the old crib that was used by all four of our children.  As I write this, our daughter, our oldest child, is at a hospital in Wisconsin, preparing to deliver our first grandchild, a sweet little girl, named Kennedy Grace.

Oh, how we love her already, our precious grandchild! We love her before we even know her.  Isn’t that how it is with Jesus.  He loved us before we even knew Him, dying for our sins and giving us new life.  And so I pray for precious Kennedy to love and know Jesus, too.  He already knows her.  He knew her before He even formed her in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5).  And God knit her together inside our daughter, making her wonderful (Psalm 139:13).

If only all babies could be loved as much as this little girl will be! Her paternal grandparents are on a plane right now to see her. We will see her soon, too. How we long to hold her!  A charming nursery is decorated and filled with gifts from so many who love her.  What a beautiful welcome for a beautiful little girl!

This same day, friends are finally welcoming home their adopted twins from the Congo.  They prayed and waited over two years for these boys.  How happy their hearts are now!  Just yesterday, other friends welcomed their tenth child!  What a joy!  And all of these are on my Thursday prayer list for Marriage/Babies.  Yay, Jesus!  He sent so many blessings in one day!

Yet, not all babies get such a homecoming. I hurt for all the babies that won’t be born.  I cry for all the babies that come into the world unwanted.  And I wonder what God is calling me to do?  What is He calling us to do?

God is calling for us to be a voice for the babies, to cry out that abortion is wrong, that there are many families with open arms who will welcome these children.  He is asking us to be the ones with open arms. Rachel is still weeping for her children and won’t be comforted until we help these little ones (Jeremiah 31:15, Matthew 2:18).

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Will you join me in praying for babies?  Will you join me in speaking out for the little ones?  Will you join me in opening your arms to welcome them? Jesus invites you to be part of His healing.

Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.  Matthew 10:14 (NKJV)

p.s.  We thank Jesus for precious Kennedy Grace who was born healthy and strong, at 9 lb. 20 3/4 inches!  Mommy, Daddy and baby are all well.  So blessed!

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

 

New TEA CUPP Book Mark

Merry Christmas!

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. John 15:7 (NKJV)

Merry Christmas, dear friends! I have a gift for you!  Just message me and I will send one of My TEA CUPP Prayers book marks to you.

Would you like some help getting your new year off to a good start with an organized prayer time?  My TEA CUPP Prayers book mark has space for you to list your daily prayers, and other special prayer needs for each day of the week.  It also reminds you of the parts of prayer with the TEA CUPP acronym.

T = Thanksgiving
E = Exalting His Name
A = Admitting my sins
C = Calling for my life
U = Understanding my story
P = Promises (claiming God’s)
P = Petitions (pouring out my heart)

Keep your prayer book mark in your Bible, or by your phone or email.  Then as you learn of more prayer needs, just add them to your list.  Each morning during your TEA time with Jesus, start by reading your Bible to give Him the first Word.  Then pull out your book mark and pour out your heart to Jesus for all the dear people on your list.  I make a new book mark for myself every few months as the prayer needs change. May this be a blessing to you.

Love and prayers,

Jennifer Grace Book Mark Prayer List

New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

Natalie's nieceBehold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.  Psalm 127:3 (NKJV)

My phone beeped with a reply from my friend, “Yes…What a divine appointment for prayer…Adelynn Scout was born yesterday (September 9…a month earlier than expected)…5 lb. 10 oz., 18″, and mom and baby are doing well. PTL!”

The morning of September 9th, 2015 during my TEA CUPP time with Jesus, I prayed for the names on my Samaritan Ministries prayer guide.  That day the names were Nicholas and Kimberly and baby due in October. They had the same last name as our cook and friend Natalie who worked at our church camp from 2006 to 2008. It was a long shot, with us living in Montana, Natalie living in Florida, and her family living in Illinois, but I thought I would ask Natalie anyway.

“Do you happen to have a brother named Nicholas?” I typed into Facebook messenger, wondering if she would think I was crazy.  “I just prayed for him and his wife and baby this morning.”

Now, you must know a little bit more about Samaritan Ministries to appreciate this miracle.  Samaritan Ministries is a Christian health sharing ministry.  Each month we receive the name of a person to send a check to for doctor bills and to pray for that month.  In addition, we receive  a prayer guide with the names of people to pray for each day.  These guides are typed up over a month in advance.  Our guide that month contained last names that began with the letter “C,” but this month we have the letter “B.”  So, the names you get will be different each month.

September 9th, was the last day of our August prayer guide which we had received a month earlier.  On that very day people all over the country (and even world) who received the same copy of the prayer guide were praying for Nicholas and Kimberly and baby.  And on that day, God chose to have this little baby be born one month early, a sweet and healthy girl.  I can’t think of anything more miraculous than that!

Over the past few years, as people were forced to buy health insurance, I’ve noticed an increase in young families on my Samaritan prayer list.  What used to be mostly health concerns, is now more than two thirds babies!  Isn’t that a joy?!

For each couple and baby I pray….please help the man to be a godly husband and daddy, please help the lady to be a godly wife and mom, and help her have a healthy pregnancy and safe delivery.  And please help this baby to grow up loving and knowing you, Jesus. Raise up an army for you, dear Lord.  And I often pray a verse such as from Psalm 23…surely goodness and mercy shall follow this baby all the days of his/her life and he/she shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen.

I’ve had the joy of being on the receiving end of baby prayers, as well.  We joined Samaritan Ministries way back in 2001.  The group was smaller then, so baby names were listed in the monthly newsletter.  I would read over all the names, lifting them up to Jesus, noticing how many were from the Bible, picking out my favorite names for our next baby I hoped for someday.  I remember the most beautiful name one month was Gloria Jubilee.  And each month I prayed that we would have a baby in the Samaritan newsletter someday.

In 2009 we finally had the amazing news that we were expecting! God heard our years of prayers!  But God had other plans. When I had the first doctor appointment at 3 months pregnancy, there was no heart beat.  A few weeks later I went through a painful miscarriage at our mountain church camp, going down the long bumpy road in an ambulance. We named our baby Gloria Anne, praying her short life would bring God glory.  The flood of cards from Samaritan Ministry members after that was a real blessing and comfort.  We suffered two more miscarriages in the coming year, naming those babies Angelica May and Gabriella Hope.  With each loss came more loving cards from Samaritan friends.

Our long time prayers were finally answered in 2011 when I was 45 years old, God gave us a sweet baby boy named Joel Kent.  Joel came out healthy and strong, but I had some complications.  Our medical bills for his delivery and my recovery totaled $30,000.  We are so thankful that Samaritan Ministries covered almost all of it!  We thank Jesus for all the people who prayed for us along the way, too, recognizing the divine appointment for prayer that comes with each name and baby. Today our little miracle is almost 4 years old.Joel at almost 4

It was praying for babies that started me on my prayer journey over two decades ago and keeps me praying today. Will you please join me in this divine appointment?

Today’s TEA CUPP: Are there some young families in your life? Please pray for them and their babies. Pray for those yet to be born. Keep praying for miracles.

This will be written for the generation to come,
That a people yet to be created may praise the Lord.  Psalm 102:18 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.

 

Empty plate

“But the days will come when the Bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days.” Luke 5:35 (NKJV)

An empty plate.  An empty tea cupp.  What is happening here? It must be time for fasting, giving up food and beverages while praying.

Sometimes God calls us to fast.  I’m reminded of this every year when I read the book of Esther.  In this great history, we see how God allowed Esther to become queen to save her people, the Jews, from annihilation.  When Esther realized this was her duty, she asked her maids and others to pray and fast with her (Esther 4:16). For three days and nights they had no food or water.  The end result was God saved the Jews.

One might wonder what to do during a three day fast.  Should we pour out our hearts to Jesus on day one?  What about days two and three?  While there is no right way to pray and fast, we can find a good plan in 2 Chronicles 20. In this this history, King Jehoshaphat learns of an impending battle with his enemies.  He declares a fast for all Judah.  During the fast, there are three parts to his prayers:

1) Exalt:  “O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?   2 Chronicles 20:6 (NKJV)

2) Claim God’s Promises:You will hear and save….the battle is not yours, but God’s. 2 Chronicles 20:9,15 (NKJV)

3) Petition: O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You. 2 Chronicles 20:12 (NKJV)

What if we use this formula for a three-day fast?  The first day we exalt Jesus, praising Him for being our Savior.  The second day, we claim God’s promises, underlining and repeating them from our Bibles.  And the third day, we pour out our hearts to Jesus, asking for help with whatever trouble we are facing. Even Queen Esther went to see the king on the third day of fasting.  She found favor in his sight as he asked, “What is your petition?”  (Esther 5:1-7)

On the evening of the third day, we must open our ears and listen, for God will give us our call: ... Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord 2 Chronicles 20:17 (NKJV)

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Is God calling you to fast for a time?  Is there something big in your life that needs more than a little prayer?  I encourage you to try this three day fast and let God do His amazing miracles. Then you can go forth singing.

 So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayers. Ezra 8:23 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

heart in my handsSometimes I do not pray in words-
I take my heart in my two hands
And hold it up before the Lord-
I am so glad He understands.
– by Nicholson, Our Daily Bread, September 23, 2014

Do you ever find yourself too busy or overwhelmed for prayer?  The prayer list is too long, the time is too short, your heart is sorrowful, you don’t have the words?  My friend, this is the time when you will truly find Jesus, when He will meet you right where you are.

My dear friend Jill in Ohio shared with me so long ago how she handles a busy morning. Some days she just holds up her prayer list to the Lord and says, “Take this Jesus, You know what’s on it.”  I thought, “Really, can we do that?  Is that okay?”

Then came the days that I ran out of time for my prayers…sick kids, sick me, new baby…so I tried Jill’s advice.  I lifted up my prayer list to Jesus, asking Him to take it, and He did!  Now occasionally in my prayer journal, instead of writing out sentences of prayers, I’ll draw a picture of me lifting all these people up to God.  It is so good to put them all in His hands and leave them there!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My friend, won’t you lift your heart to Jesus today?  You may call out names and concerns one by one, or just give it all to the Lord at once.  God promises to hear all our prayers.

 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Romans 8:26 (NKJV)

Cast your burden on the Lord,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Mother's Day 2014For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’  Isaiah 41:13 (NKJV)

Our little Joel often comes to me with his blankets and says, “Mommy hold Joel.”  In the last few weeks as his vocabulary has increased, he says, “Please hold me, Mommy.”  Usually there is a sense of desperation in his voice, as if something just frightened him. But he knows he can come right to Mommy, and there he will be safe.

We should have the same assurance with our heavenly Father.  When we are scared or overwhelmed by daily trials, we can pray, “Jesus hold me” or “Please hold me, Father.”  God promises in His word that He will hold our hand and help us.  He has inscribed our names in the palms of His hands (Isaiah 49:16).  Doesn’t that bring you such comfort?

You can expand your cry to include everyone on your prayer list.  I pray, Jesus hold Kent, Jesus hold Kallie, Jesus hold Jacob, Jesus hold Kevin, Jesus hold Joel… And the Lord hears my prayers and holds them, too.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  Trace your hand on a piece of paper or in your prayer journal.  Write the names of everyone on your prayer list inside the hand outline.  Claim God’s promise to hold each one.

See, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands;
Your walls are continually before Me.  Isaiah 49:16 (NKJV)

And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  John 10:28 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

sandwichHear the voice of my supplications
When I cry to You,
When I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary.  Psalm 28:2 (NKJV)

Blessed be the Lord,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplications!  Psalm 28:6 (NKJV)

Lately I’ve been having sandwiches with my TEA.  I was inspired a few years ago by Sybil MacBeth’s book, Praying in Color.  I’ve always liked to journal my prayers to keep me focused while praying.  Sybil taught me that I could draw pictures, too.  I was really excited when God gave me these sandwich verses!

One Saturday when I was pouring out my petitions, I wrote Psalm 28:2 at the top of my prayer journal, asking God to hear my prayers. I drew a piece of bread around the verse.  Then again at the bottom of the page, I wrote Psalm 28:6 inside another slice of bread, rejoicing that He hears my prayers.  Between these two verses I listed all the people and circumstances on my heart that day.  And just like squirting on some mustard, I added Psalm 28:9 for flavoring along the side.  It was really fun to have TEA and a sandwich with JESUS!

Save Your people,
And bless Your inheritance;
Shepherd them also,
And bear them up forever. Psalm 28:9 (NKJV)

A few days later, God showed me some THANKSGIVING verses to use for another sandwich.  The top slice of bread held Psalm 107:1 and the bottom slice was Psalm 107:8.  Inside the sandwich were all the people and blessings for which I am thankful.  I served that sandwich to Jesus during my TEA time that day.  I hope He enjoyed it!

Today’s TEA CUPP:  I’d like to show you pictures of my sandwiches, but the names are all so personal and dear to my heart.  You will just have to draw your own sandwiches in your prayer journal!  Use these verses to get you started…

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! 
For His mercy endures forever. Psalm 107:1 (NKJV)

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!  Psalm 107:8 (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

 

 

Filling the BowlsNow when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.  Revelations 5:8  (NKJV)

Filling the bowls, that’s what I’ve been doing lately.  During the holidays there are always bowls to fill…treat bowls on the counter, soup bowls on the table, baskets of bows for gift wrapping… I thank the Lord for helping me fill these bowls!

Before Christmas, I am almost to the end of my Bible, since I read through the Bible each year.  This puts me in Revelations.  One morning in December, I was reading Revelations 5…and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints...and God showed me how I am filling bowls with my prayers!

Every prayer I say…in the morning when I rise, at meal times with our family, when I read my emails and pray for friends and family, in the evening when I tuck our kids into bed, at night when I lie awake…every prayer is filling one of the golden bowls.  These bowls are brought before the Lamb as a pleasing offering to Him.  Wow!

One day as our family said grace, I contemplated this.  The warmth from my soup bowl (or was it my oatmeal?) reached up and touched my cheeks.  I asked the Lord to let our prayers rise up to Him from golden bowls, touching Him, also.

Today’s TEA CUPP:  My dear prayer friend, your prayers are filling bowls, too!  This day, this very day, sit down with Jesus for TEA and pour out your heart to Him.  May our TEA CUPPS be incense before the Lord!

Let my prayer be set before You as incense,
The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.  Psalm 141:1  (NKJV)

New King James Version (NKJV)The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.