Category Archives: Prayer

Headlights

By Kristen Entwistle

I was driving home late last night, down one of those two lane country roads in Indiana.  Turns out, there’s a lot of those roads, and I’m pretty unfamiliar with them right now.  You see, I just moved here, and I’m still learning my way around.  I don’t know which roads twist and turn or which ones are likely to have horses and buggies on them.  I don’t know which ones have stop signs every half mile, and which ones go on forever.

Most of these roads have a ditch on either side of them and people who drive like maniacs.  Oh, and people who blind you with their high beams.

As I was driving down that two lane road last night, it was a little scary – not being able to see more than a hundred feet in front of you and not knowing what’s up ahead.

It’s kind of like life, isn’t it?  God gives us these glimpses of what He is calling us to do, these rare moments of certainty where we can see a hundred feet in front of us.  But we can’t see what’s coming.  We can’t see that there’s a sharp turn or a stop sign up ahead.  That cancer is going to hit us seemingly out of nowhere or that a close friend is going to die unexpectedly.  But we can’t see the good things too – the new baby, the extra money that just showed up in the budget – all we can see is what God illuminates before us.

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Occasionally we get a glimpse of what’s coming when there’s a house light on, or a gas station.  But not very often.  Most of the time we’re still in the dark, with only our headlights.

Walking in faith isn’t easy, and it’s certainly not without its difficulties.  But we’ve got a God who can see all the twists and turns and stop signs because He built the road.  He knows what lies ahead for us and He guides us through it.

We may end up in the ditch sometimes, or make a wrong turn, but still He shows us the way, one step at a time.

Immeasurably More

By Kristen Entwistle

I was cleaning out my desk the other day and found something pretty amazing: God’s provision.

I’m packing up my apartment to move a few hours away, and so, naturally, I was cleaning out my desk – you know, throwing away old papers that I really shouldn’t have kept in the first place, getting rid of the things that I just threw in the drawer over the last four years…and I came across some old cards.

I tend to keep things…probably longer than I should. But be that as it may, I’m glad that I kept these.  They’re cards from very dear friends that were written as I was graduating college and moving to Michigan.  I opened them up and started reading them…smiling at the memories and laughing at the inside jokes from long ago.

And as I opened each card, the same thing kept staring me in the face.  Each of these people who were so dear to me had written similar things, among the jokes and stories and laughs.  Each of them had said that they were praying I would find a good, Godly church in Michigan.  That God would bring me good friends at all of the right turns in my life.  That God would provide.

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And He has provided – all of those things.  More than I could ever have imagined.

He brought me to a church, where I have been able to serve and love and grow, where I have been blessed with a family of God that is so dear to me.  It’s been a place where I have seen the kids I watch grow up and change and learn.  Where a Sunday doesn’t go by that I don’t get a hug from at least one of my little ones, brightening even the darkest week.  Where I have been encouraged to lead and to write and to serve.  Where I have been loved.  Where I have walked life with some amazing people – the hard times and the good times.

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God has not only brought me good friends – He has brought me great ones.  Friends that I am going to miss terribly, but who will remain friends for the rest of my life.  Friends who challenge me, encourage me – friends who have changed me for the better.  Friends who let me love their kids – and who love me.  Friends who share life with me – and I with them.  Friends who pray with me and for me and let me pray for them.  Friends who have shown me the love of Christ.

When I read those cards four years ago for the first time, I trusted that God would provide through the prayers of my friends.  But I didn’t know until now, reading them again, just how much He has provided.  So if you’re wondering if God is good – let me remind you.  He is.  If you’re doubting that He can provide what it is you need – let me remind you.  He can, and He will.  If you’re in the middle of a trying season, and you’re hanging on for dear life – let me encourage you.  He’s got you.  He’s not gonna let go.  He will provide – and He will do immeasurably more than you could ever ask or imagine.

Fifteen Minutes

By Kristen Entwistle

I was a distance swimmer in college.  The 1000 yard and 1650 yard (the mile) races were my favorite.

I think what I loved about it was that for ten or fifteen minutes, no one expected me to do anything but swim. 

Out of the water, every fifteen minutes was full of chaos and expectations and multi-tasking.  I was expected to have an answer for everything – what assignment was due tomorrow for any class, what lab the general chemistry students were doing this week, how my doctors were handling my latest illness, what songs we were singing at church this week, when choir was performing at church, when our next swim meet was, how much time I needed to drop to make the cut for any event…

But for those precious minutes in the water, all I had to do was swim.

Even now, when my life feels overwhelming, and the change is impending, and my to-do list is a mile and a half long, I wish for those fifteen minutes again. 

And I realize that I don’t only want those fifteen minutes – I need them.

I need that time to rest in God and in His promises.  I need that time to recharge, reset, and renew.

It’s not much, but it is enough for today.  Tomorrow, I’ll need it again.  Fifteen minutes.

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I believe. But help my unbelief.

By Kristen Entwistle

It’s never quite the way you plan it, is it?  Life?

One day, you wake up, thinking it’s all going to be all right, and then – bam.  You get thrown a curve ball that you never expected.

A few weeks ago, my family faced one of those curve balls: the unexpected and largely unexplained disappearance and death of my uncle.

What do you say when something like that happens?  How do you make sense of the seemingly unexplainable?  How do you cope with the gaping hole that is left in his place – of a father, a husband, an uncle, a friend, a surgeon, a brother?  Where do you find peace in the midst of such turmoil?

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27

Hold on a second, God.  In the midst of all of this, I’m supposed to just not let my heart be troubled?  You’re telling me this is easy?  And just don’t be afraid.  Sure.  That’s just easy peasy.  But your peace, your shalom, can I feel that today?  Can you give me some more of that today?

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Great, thanks for that reminder, God.  This life isn’t going to be a piece of cake, and we will have trouble.  Right old ray of sunshine you are.  But, you have overcome the world, even overcome death.  At a time like this, that’s easy to lose sight of.  But thank you for the reminder, and for overcoming the world.  It made all the difference.

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“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 2:1,4

Yes, a time for everything.  Even Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus.  But remember what He said just before He went to the tomb, to Martha? 

“I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?”  John 11: 25-26

Yes, Lord.  I believe.  But help my unbelief. 

I don’t have all the answers.  I can’t explain why my uncle’s life was ended on this earth.  I don’t know how best to fill the hole that is left in his absence.  But I do know where to start finding peace:  At the foot of the cross, in the arms of Jesus.

Thank You

By Kristen Entwistle

As my family gathered around the table last week to celebrate Thanksgiving, I found myself caught up in the to-do list.  Is the table set?  Is the right tablecloth on the table?  Is the pumpkin pie made?  Is the turkey carved?  Why isn’t the gravy thickening?  Are the candles lit?  Why isn’t everyone at the table?  Oh no, we forgot the butter!  Are the sweet potatoes done?

After the dishes were put away, the pie and turkey had been consumed, and the Lions won (what!!), I finally turned my attention to giving thanks.  It wasn’t about the turkey, or the pie, or the game of Dutch Blitz I won, or even football.  It’s about saying, “Thank you” even when you don’t think you have anything to be thankful for. 

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Thank you in the midst of the unknown, in the middle of cancer.  Thank you in the midst of funerals and hospice care.  Thank you even when the world and its violence doesn’t make sense.  Thank you in the middle of the falling apart, the impossible, and the unexplained.

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It’s thank you when all you see around you is the darkness, the violence, the unknown.  It’s thank you for what I have, even if it seems so little – it’s more than I deserve already.  It’s thank you for every day, not just this day, the day that reminds me to be thankful.  It’s thank you for the food on my table, and the people around it, both near and far.  It’s thank you for life, and love, and learning, and growing.  It’s thank you for the cross.

Thank you for Your grace – because it is something freely given that I do not deserve, or have to earn.

Thank you for Your love – because it is perfect, holy, and true.  It is so much more than I ever can imagine.

Thank you for Your mercy – on me, a sinner.

Thank you for Your Son – the Savior of the world, whose advent we await with confident expectation this season.

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Loaves And Fishes

By Kristen Entwistle

On the first Sunday of every month, you’ll find me at a local physical rehabilitation center in the early afternoon.  Along with other talented musicians and speakers, we lead a short worship service for the residents.  Last month, our normal speaker was out of town, and our back-up speaker was ill.  It looked like our entire worship team was going to be our lead guitarist and myself, and that the speaker…well, it was going to be me.

I should probably tell you at this point that I had lost my voice due to the cold I had, and so I couldn’t sing, let alone be heard by the residents.

Yeah, I thought.  This is going to work out well. 

We had many, many people praying for us during this service.  We had faith that God would provide, and that He would be glorified, no matter what.  But God provided more than I could have ever imagined.

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Not only did He provide a pianist, and two other vocalists, He also gave me enough of a voice to be heard for just 15 minutes. 

God bulldozed barriers last month.  He steamrolled my expectations.  He made a way when I thought there wasn’t one, parting the Red Sea right in front of me.

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And true to His sense of humor, you know what the message I gave was on?  Faith. 

Having faith in a God who is able to move mountains, and to use the ordinary for His extraordinary purposes.  Faith in a God who took the sins of the world upon His shoulders, and paid the ultimate price for our sins.  Faith in a God who has conquered death and is now seated at the right hand of the Father.

God reminded me through this short service that even faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains.  I took what I had – a barely-audible voice, an imperfect message, all my doubts that I wasn’t the one who should be speaking, but a willing heart – and He made it so much more.

The mere loaves and fishes that our team brought were multiplied a hundred fold, all for His glory. 

So I’m going to keep laying down my loaves and fishes at His feet, asking Him in faith to take what I have and use it for His glory.  No matter how useless I may think my loaves and fishes are, He has a purpose for them, and I can’t wait to see what He does with my humble offering.

When I Don’t Know The Answer

By Kristen Entwistle

I was sitting on a bench outside today, waiting for a friend.  While I was waiting, a man came over to me and asked if I could take a few photos for him.  I was happy to oblige, and after taking the pictures for him, I went to sit back down, and he sat down too.  He looked at me and asked, “I have to ask, are you married?”

Slightly taken aback, I answered, “No, I’m not.”

“Beautiful girl like you, how is it that you’re not married?”

I have a million answers to that question, but I simply answered, “I’m just not.”

If it hasn’t become clear to you yet, this guy was looking for something other than just a polite conversation.  After a few more questions, when he asked me for my phone number, I politely declined and he decided I wasn’t worth his time anymore, walking away.

This guy’s not the first one to ask me why I’m not married.  Nor will he be the last.  Truth is, many of my friends are married, having children, and moving forward with their lives.  Truth is, I haven’t ever had a date for a plus-one at a wedding, and that makes weddings…well, lonely.  Truth is, I haven’t been on a vacation this summer because I don’t want to go somewhere by myself.  Truth is, I’m feeling a little like a seventh wheel in my family right now, and a lot like a failure.

Truth is, I don’t really know the answer to that question.

I can come up with plenty of reasons why I think I’m still single.  Most of them I’ve heard from ex-boyfriends before.  No one wants to deal with your disease.  You’re not pretty enough for someone.  You’re too fat, too needy, too independent, too headstrong.  No one actually thinks you’re worth their time.  You’ve got too much baggage – no one wants that.  You’re not smart enough.  You’re not enough for any guy to care about you.  

But the truth is, although I may have it in my head that what I want is best, God’s will is better.  And right now, His will is not what I expected, but it is where I am.  And as hard as it may be sometimes, I have to find a way to be okay with where God has me right now.

So I pour into those around me, and do my best to be a blessing to them.  And in turn, they have been a blessing to me.

I may not have a good answer to that question, but I do know that God’s not finished with me yet.  His plan is infinitely better than anything I could ever dream.  And whatever that means for the future, I know that He is good, and His love endures forever.

Praying In The Waiting Room

By Kristen Entwistle

When I sit in doctor’s offices, waiting (which is fairly often if you’re me), I tend to people-watch. Most of the time, there’s the mom with two kids who she has to take back with her, even though it’s her appointment. She looks frazzled and a little overwhelmed as they lead her back to the room. There’s the teenager who’s here with her mom, and her mom is trying to micromanage everything she writes on the sheet the receptionist hands her. The daughter gets frustrated (I can do it myself!), and quits talking to her mom, finishing the paperwork with a scowl on her face. There’s the older couple in the corner, with the man nodding off while his wife reads a magazine. The receptionists continue clacking away on their keyboards. Then a man walks in, sits down, a look of fear in his eyes. He’s expecting bad news, it seems. A pregnant woman walks in alone, no ring on her finger. I wonder what has brought her here today – herself or her baby.

I’ve spent a significant portion of my life in doctor’s offices, waiting. Perhaps not so patiently, but waiting nonetheless. And I’ve spent much time watching.

And yet I cannot physically help any of these people.

I cannot take away their diabetes or asthma or pain. But I want to, so badly, to tell them that it doesn’t have to be terrible. That good can come from these ‘bad’ things. I’ve seen it.

But the only way that happens is with God.

And so, as I sit here waiting, I pray for these people – sitting here, waiting with me. I pray that if they don’t know Christ, that someone will come into their path to tell them about the love that He has for them. I pray that if they do know Christ, that they would lean on Him in the tough times and the good times, and that they would be a light to those they come in contact with, even in this office today.

And I pray the same for you, even though you aren’t in this office right now.

I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

Amen.