He Raises A Banner
Father’s Day weekend I drove to visit Dad. Before arriving, the thought came to mind to go to Walmart to see what flowers were available. So, I Google mapped the nearest Walmart and pressed ‘go’.
I parked the car and about halfway to the entrance remembered the face mask which I had to return to the car to get. Back at the entrance, I noticed the roped maze that had to be walked to gain access to the store, the security guard saying, “Welcome,” while noting my face mask, the employees counting those entering and exiting. I had to fight with a cart that wanted to stay attached to the previous one, wipe down the cart handle with an antibacterial wipe and move to the next phase of entering the store. I felt as if I had run an obstacle course.
Once inside, I looked for the overhead sign pointing the way to the lawn and garden department. Found it! Off I went forgetting to notice the arrows painted on the floor showing me the direction to walk – until I got the look from someone following the directions. Now, what do I do? Do I turn around and go back to where I came from and locate the aisle that gives me the correct arrow pointing to the lawn and garden? A sneeze is coming on. Now what? I find myself curling my body to hold the sneeze in. Can’t do it and now I feel the need to explain to all the faces, turned in my direction, that I have allergies.
You know what? I’m done! Forget the flowers! I’m out of here!
Then I saw it! The charcoal grill I’d been wanting – on sale! I forged on.
As I stood contemplating purchasing the charcoal grill, a Walmart Associate approached me and following the mandated social distancing, began me on the journey of purchasing the grill plus a charcoal starter chimney. She was good!
During the next hour we moved from her sitting on the floor disassembling the grill floor model, to sharing family experiences, our jobs, and weaving in and out of our conversation were her religious experiences and my faith stories.
Eventually, I asked her, “How’s your relationship with Jesus?”
“I don’t want to talk about that,” was her reply. This statement invited us into deeper conversation.
As my time to leave drew near, I asked if I could pray over her. She chuckled and said, “Leave that for your mother.” (My new friend is straightforward and honest.)
It was hard to bring the conversation to a close. She walked with me through the store towards the main entrance. As we passed through the doorway arms suddenly wrapped around me from behind, “I’m giving you a coronavirus hug,” she said. What a joy! Thank you, Jesus, for leading me to that spot.
Why tell you of this experience?
Because I wonder if you, like me, get discouraged and distracted by what life throws at you and lose sight of Jesus and pointing others to Him.
Isaiah 5:26 says, “He lifts up a banner for the distant nations…,” a couple of things stick out to me:
- We need a banner to focus our attention on. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life…” He is our Banner.
- This banner is to be lifted for all. In Mark 16:15, He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all creation.”
Thank you, Jesus, for setting Yourself as my Banner. I don’t want to miss pointing others to You!
- What can we do to remind ourselves to keep our eyes up, looking for who God would like us to meet?
- Have you ever had a time like Kimberly when you almost missed a divine appointment?
- How can you hold His banner high for all to see in your daily life?
During this season of social distancing due to the coronavirus, seek out others who you can connect with in prayer from a distance. Consider using a conference call line like www.FreeConferenceCall.com or video conference like Zoom. If you need help, please contact [email protected]
Take a couple moments for silent reflection as we head into collective prayer together.
Our focus for this month is: He Lifts His Banner
Read: “He lifts up a banner for the distant nations, He whistles for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come, swiftly and speedily!” Isaiah 5:26 (NIV)
Pray: Almighty God, You lift Your banner to signal to those from faraway, that they might quickly come together.
- That He is in control over all the nations of the earth.
- Just as a general officer of the highest rank might lift a sign for the raising of armies to come together for his service, our sovereign God does the same with people from every tribe and nation in the Last Days.
- His Kingdom banner lifted will signal that His reign and purposes will prevail.
Pray for New Outreach Opportunities
Read: Mark 14:61b -62
“Then the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ Jesus said, ‘I AM. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.’”
Pray: Heavenly Father, You are the wondrous Creator of the universe and Your love for all peoples is splendid and magnificent; therefore, we honor You with hearts of adoration and with our loyal obedience.
- Praise God for His mercy and forgiveness granted to all who receive Him as Lord.
- For evangelistic hearts of unconditional love to reach out to diverse groups of women.
- As we think about the second coming of Jesus, we pray that we will see many come to faith in Christ and acknowledge Jesus as the great I AM.
Sharing Your Faith
Read: Matthew 5: 14-16
“You are the light of the world – like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
Pray: Dear Lord, You light they way and shine brightly through Your Son, Jesus Christ. May we also shine brightly for all to see.
- Our lives to be different as we follow His lead in listening and loving others that they might seek and find Jesus Christ.
- Our witness to be visible in both word and deed.
- Boldness to shine brightly in the darkness of this world as we remember those women who are “lost” without You in their lives.
Pray for our Nation and Leaders
Read: 1 Timothy 2:1-4
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and understand the truth.”
Pray: Give thanks for our nation and its leaders. Pray for those in authority over us and ask God to move in their hearts and draw them to Himself.
- Our lives to demonstrate to a watching world our love of God and peaceful lives marked by our identity in Christ. Rejoice because we are God’s children.
- For local leaders and government to be truthful in all their ways and for God to guide them as they make decisions regarding the health, economic, and racial injustices that we face as a nation.
- Our nation as it draws closer to the electi, to look not just to the media news broadcasts, but most importantly, towards God, and the truth in His Word.
Pray for the Stonecroft Family
Read: Isaiah 40:1, 10-11
“Comfort, comfort my people, ‘says your God. Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm. See, he brings his reward with him as he comes. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young.”
- All Stonecroft volunteer leaders and planning team members to have comfort in God’s presence, power, and reward as He comes to meet us at our places of need.
- The Lord to give us courage to do His will in every situation.
- With thanksgiving, we are grateful to God that He lifts His banner and carries us close to His heart and leads us to safety as we follow His leadership.
Pray for Stonecroft’s Military Ministry:
- Deployed members and their families during this confusing time with COVID and community
- For decrease in suicides and domestic violence with being quarantined in troubled homes
- Military Chaplains as their workloads have increased; pray for emotional and spiritual strength, as well as grace to handle death notifications while unable to be on their installations due to coronavirus closures
- Financial strains for the Reservists as they are unable to be paid if not present
- Many Guard members being deployed to assist in the unrest of our country; being placed in harm’s way physically, as well as their health exposure for COVID
- Health and safety of the members families who are in security forces
- Some children struggle and are unable to communicate their emotional needs during moves, school year changes and such during COVID
- Resiliency of our service members and families: emotional, physical, spiritual and mental
- Many of our Stonecroft volunteers are mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers of our current military members; we also hear their heart cries, as well! WAR COMES HOME!
3) Pray for Stonecroft leaders such as Stonecroft Regional Administrators, District Consulting Coordinators, Regional Speaker Trainers, Regional Reps, Area Reps, Chairs, Prayer Consultants, and all outreach leaders that they will be encouraged by God’s Word that tells us “He lifts His banner.”
4) Pray for our international partners that they would be witnesses to people from every tribe and nation as “He lifts His banner” under sometimes very challenging circumstances.
Share Personal Requests
Pray for one another’s needs and concerns and remember that “He lifts His banner.”
Father, we thank You for this Prayer Connection time. We are grateful that You are the Sovereign Ruler over all the earth and that You see us and love us so that we might also love others towards Jesus. Amen.