“Even unto death”

Revelation 2:10

Holman Christian Standard Bible
“Don’t be afraid of what you are about to suffer. Look, the Devil is about to throw some of you into prison to test you, and you will have affliction for 10 days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

We go to church, read our bible, go to Sunday school, we pray, and go about our lives with our human knowledge and human sight; and seemingly unfortunate lack of ability to see into the future. Psychologists talk about children and teenagers not being able to “see around corners.” What they mean (I think) is that kids don’t know how to think ahead far enough to foresee the end result of their current actions. When we ask why they would jump off of  the couch onto their little brother, expecting them to know, we as the adults are actually doing so in folly. They really don’t know, and couldn’t predict harm. Their brains aren’t done growing, and they didn’t (previously) have the context to realize what could happen. But we adults have experience that allows us to see ahead, and logically predict results. That’s a benefit right?

Well that depends. Children who can’t see possible harm, also trust that it will work out. And really it usually does, even when flawed parents drop the ball. (And that I do.) They believe that things will be okay. Children believe it even unto to death. Christian parents know this well, however if for some reason we have to live through the ‘even unto death’ part . . . we find it almost impossible to see around the corner and believe it will be okay. Our adult minds, with our adult experiences have given us reason to think it might not be. And its much easier to accept ‘even unto death’ if it’s our own.

But when we’re faced with the death of a loved one, it’s so much harder. We can’t see them, nor can we logically predict our lives without them. The thing is we don’t have to be logical when it comes to trusting God. We don’t have to know everything, we don’t have to do anything. We can mess up everyday, be happy, be sad, maybe be on our game; just hold out hope in Christ. Let go and be faithful until death, and God will give us the crown of life.

The Art of Prayer Journals

If you google prayer journals you will find it overwhelming. There are so many ways to journal your prayers, from simple to complicated. Here is a pic of my prayer journal.

20160531_143146_resized I love making things myself! It is therapeutic and so fun to be creative. (God is creative and so He has made us to be creative in His image!) I just took a plain spiral notebook, divided it up in sections (prayers of thanks, pleases, family, friends and others, and bible verses), and made a pretty cover for it with scrapbook paper!

I don’t just write my prayers in there, I also doodle…


As you can see, I started out color coding my prayers (my OCD) but have not really been able to follow it so I just write with any color pen. In the back cover, I have an excel spreadsheet I made for organizing prayers so that once a month I cover the things I want to remember to pray for… here is the link if you would like to see it.

30 Days of Prayer Schedule

I pray for 5 categories; praises, myself, my husband, my children, and reaching beyond. I wanted to make my prayers more specific so that’s why I created this spreadsheet. That way I pray for one specific area of the 5 categories each day. By the month’s end, I have lifted intercessory prayers on behalf of all these areas of my life. Don’t feel like you have to be this organized with your prayer. (again my OCD) I am not perfect at it myself but I find if I try to organize my life I am less frazzled and don’t get frustrated as much when I feel overwhelmed or can’t remember something. Maybe this idea of journaling can help you too. Remember…there is no right or wrong way of keeping a prayer journal. Find what works for you and if you need to switch it up and try something else, don’t beat yourself up. I find if you keep it fun and creative it is less likely to feel like a chore and the more you will be inspired to keep doing it! Happy journaling 🙂

God Loves You & So Do I

Leslie Winston

Unspoken Prayers

Years ago I was at a Christian gathering which ended in a prayer circle.  People were lifting up prayers for a variety of people and reasons.  I had a special prayer request.  A friend, who was there, had recently been diagnosed with cancer.  I wanted to pray for her, but I am shy and don’t speak up easily in larger groups.  Plus, I wondered if she wanted everyone there to know about her illness.  I wanted to pray for her, but I was paralyzed.  I couldn’t seem to get it out.  I was afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing.

Then a man started praying:  he said he knew that many of us had unspoken prayers–things we wanted others to pray for but couldn’t express for one reason or another –too personal, too complicated to explain, too painful.  He lifted up all our unspoken prayers, trusting God to know what was in our hearts and minds but couldn’t or wouldn’t speak out loud.  Afterwards I went and told my friend, “that prayer was for you!”(probably for lots of others, too). Months later we were able to tell the man who prayed for unspoken prayers how meaningful that had been for both of us.  We were touched deeply by his prayer.

I’ve never forgotten that experience.  Now in church, or in other situations of  group intercession, I often add a prayer for all those that are going “unspoken.”  It may be because I have an unspoken prayer of my own;  it may be just because I know there are others out there who need that prayer as much as I once did.

How about you? Have you had an experience like mine? Do you, or your church routinely pray for all our “unspoken” prayers?


A Prayer Through the Storms

The Friend I Have In Jesus

How is it that you find me, everywhere I roam,

Standing right beside me, never leaving me alone?

It’s because you are the chosen one, whom God sent to us in every way,

The one who died on a cross, taking our sins on that precious day.

You melt our hearts with love, and dry our tears when they fall,

You wrap your arms around us and always listen when we call.

The glorious Son of God and Savior to the nations,

Giving us a chance to be forgiven, helping us man our battle stations.

Your take us on great journeys, as far as the East is from the West,

Giving us your divine instructions and leaving us to do the rest.

We, your faithful servants try to discern your will for our lives,

However unsure or nervous we are, sometimes even as painful as piercing knives.

Somehow through all the pain and anxiousness you reveal your peace at last,

Letting us experience the calm in the storm, helping us to stay strong and steadfast.

Everywhere I look and turn, you are never far away,

My Jesus, my friend, my Savior, who’s with me every day.


I wrote this poem one night after chapel on a Via de Cristo weekend. I read it when I am going through hard things and reminded that I am never alone, Jesus is always with me. It is my prayer through the storms of life. Do you have a comforting prayer or poem that you go to for strength and comfort?

In His Love,

Leslie Winston


Memorial Day Prayers

Memorial Day was started after the Civil War to commemorate the soldiers that died during that war.  Now it’s to remember all the service members that have died to make our land free since then.

I think it’s good that we remember these selfless individuals.  Many of them much younger than we are and they go out into harms way to serve our country.  And not because they have to.  At this time we have an all volunteer military.  I still remember “The Draft” back in the 1970’s and how much hatred there was for the soldiers coming home from Vietnam.  Today, these young people volunteer to serve.  What courage they have!

This weekend, while you may be sitting by the pool or firing up the grill, keep the family members of these brave young people in your prayers.  They put their lives on the line for us. I think it’s the least we can do.

My Favorite Icon

Speaking of Christian art, I have a number or icons.  This one is my favorite.  It seems particularly appropriate since we just celebrated Trinity Sunday. What do you think?  Does this icon speak to you? Does it help you understand the trinity?

Might this icon help you to pray?

The Holy Trinity
Andrei Rublev’s Icon of the Holy Trinity.
The Church has many different depictions of the Holy Trinity. But the icon which defines the very essence of Trinity Day is invariably the one which shows the Trinity in the form of three angels. The prototype for this icon was the mysterious appearance of the Holy Trinity in the form of three travelers to Abraham and Sarah under the oak of Mamre. The Church specifically chose this particular icon because it most fully expresses the dogma of the Holy Trinity: the three angels are depicted in equal dignity, symbolizing the triunity and equality of all three Persons.

The Trinity. Andrei Rublev (1370-1430). Moscow.
The Trinity.
Andrei Rublev (1370-1430).
We find the deepest understanding of this dogma in the icon of the Trinity painted by the venerable Andrei Rublev for the Trinity Cathedral of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra. This icon is a masterpiece of ancient Russian iconography, and it is not surprising that the Church established it as the model for depicting the Trinity.

In Andrei Rublev’s icon, the persons of the Holy Trinity are shown in the order in which they are confessed in the Credo. The first angel is the first person of the Trinity – God the Father; the second, middle angel is God the Son; the third angel is God the Holy Spirit. All three angels are blessing the chalice, in which lies a sacrificed calf, prepared for eating. The sacrifice of the calf signifies the Savior’s death on the cross, while its preparation as food symbolizes the sacrament of the Eucharist. All three angels have staffs in their hand as a symbol of their divine power.

The first angel, shown at left, is vested in a blue undergarment which depicts his divine celestial nature, and a light purple outer garment which attests to the unfathomable nature and the royal dignity of this angel. Behind him and above his head towers a house, the abode of Abraham, and a sacrificial altar in front of the house. This image of the abode has a symbolic meaning: the house signifies God’s master plan for creation, while the fact that the house towers above the first angel shows him to be the head (or Father) of this creation. The same fatherly authority is seen in his entire appearance. His head is not bowed and he is looking at the other two angels. His whole demeanor – the expression on his face, the placement of his hands, the way he is sitting – all speaks of his fatherly dignity. The other two angels have their heads inclined and eyes turned toward the first angel with great attention, as though conversing with him about the salvation of mankind.

The second angel is placed in the middle of the icon. This placement is determined by the position held by the second Person within the Trinity Itself. Above his head extend the branches of an oak tree. The vestments of the second angel correspond to those in which the Savior is usually depicted. The undergarment is a dark crimson color which symbolizes the incarnation, while the blue outer robe signifies the divinity and the celestial nature of this angel. The second angel is inclined towards the first angel, as though deep in conversation. The tree behind him serves as a reminder of the tree of life that was standing in Eden, and of the cross.

The angel on the right is the third Person of the Trinity – the Holy Spirit. His light blue undergarment and smoky-green outer garment represent heaven and earth, and signify the life-giving force of the Holy Spirit, which animates everything that exists. “By the Holy Spirit every soul lives and is elevated in purity” – sings the Church. This elevation in purity is represented in the icon by a mountain above the third angel.

Thus Andrei Rublev’s icon, while being an unsurpassed work of iconography, is first and foremost a “theology in color,” which instructs us in all that concerns the revelation of the triune God and the three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

From the book “Thoughts on Iconography” by monk Gregory Krug.


Honesty Required

This song came out a few years ago, and honestly I thought it was hysterical. Now, after trying to become a better Christian, I realize just how pathetic it is. My question to you is – How many times have you thought these things??? I have several times, not recently, but that is subject to change (because I am a work in progress, sometimes it is a good day, more often it is not).

“Pray For You”

I haven’t been to church since I don’t remember when
Things were goin’ great ’til they fell apart again
So I listened to the preacher as he told me what to do
He said you can’t go hatin’ others who have done wrong to you
Sometimes we get angry, but we must not condemn
Let the good Lord do His job and you just pray for them

I pray your brakes go out runnin’ down a hill
I pray a flowerpot falls from a window sill and knocks you in the head like I’d like to
I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls
I pray you’re flyin’ high when your engine stalls
I pray all your dreams never come true
Just know wherever you are honey, I pray for you

I’m really glad I found my way to church
‘Cause I’m already feelin’ better and I thank God for the words
Yeah I’m goin’ take the high road
And do what the preacher told me to do
You keep messin’ up and I’ll keep prayin’ for you

I pray your tire blows out at 110
I pray you pass out drunk with your best friend and wake up with his and her tattoos

I pray your brakes go out runnin’ down a hill
I pray a flowerpot falls from a window sill and knocks you in the head like I’d like to
I pray your birthday comes and nobody calls
I pray you’re flyin’ high when your engine stalls
I pray all your dreams never come true
Just know wherever you are, near or far, in your house or in your car,
wherever you are honey, I pray for you.
I pray for you

Let us see how honest we can be to ourselves. I have already admitted my shortcomings, will you??

Always remember
God Loves You And So Do I


Praying for the AFLC

JOIN US starting today, for 21 Days of prayer as we focus our petitions to the Lord towards the ministry of The ARC

and also towards the upcoming

2016 AFLC Annual Conference!

Together, let us pray!

 The ARC is the Association Retreat Center where our denomination (AFLC) is holding their annual conference in June.

Praying with Art

Are you an artist?  Or someone who is interested in art history?  Or maybe you just consider yourself a “visual” person?  If so, you may like to explore the idea of praying with art.  Henri Nouwen, a catholic priest who was well known for his books on the spiritual life wrote an entire book about his experience with a famous painting, The Return of the Prodigal Son, by Rembrandt.  Here is an excerpt describing his original encounter with the painting,

“When I first saw  the Prodigal Son I had just finished an exhausting six week lecturing trip …I was dead tired …anxious, lonely, restless and very needy.  …It was in this condition that I first encountered (a poster of the painting)…on the door of Simone’s office.  My heart leapt when I saw it.  After my long self-exposing journey, the tender embrace of the father and son expressed everything I desired at the moment.  I was, indeed, the son exhausted from long travels;  I wanted to be embraced;  I was looking for a home where I could feel safe.  The son-come-home was all I was and all that I wanted to be.”

Here is the picture Nowen described:

In the book Nouwen meditates on this picture, thinking of himself as the prodigal son, the older son and the father.  Christian art can be a way to put yourself into a Bible story, imagine the environment and the characters and experience it in a whole new way.

If you are interesting in exploring this type of prayer, you might also want to read Behold the Beauty of the Lord: Praying with Icons, by the same author.