21 Days of Prayer | Day 16

By Denira Williams 

Today’s prayer is about marriage. 

Marriage can be the greatest adventure of our lives. It can be fun, exciting, fulfilling and powerful. But if we are honest, we would also admit that it is tough. If it wasn’t tough we would not have struggling marriages or divorce. 

Praying for our marriages helps keep God at the center of it. When God is the center of our marriages we realize the importance of pushing through the hard times.

Colossians 3:12 says “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Imagine if we approached our marriages with an endless amount of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. This is where I want to focus our our attention and prayer for today. 

Perry Noble wrote a prayer for marriage that focuses on this verse. I invite you to join me in praying this prayer over your marriage today and every day.

Jesus, fill me with COMPASSION so I can see my spouse as you see my spouse. Fill me with your KINDNESS that the words I say to and about my spouse may build them up and not tear them down.Fill me with your HUMILITY so I may seek to serve them instead of evaluating the way they serve me.Fill me with the GENTLENESS that comes from my heart being connected with yours. And fill me with your PATIENCE so I may show them as much grace as You have shown me. 

Amen.

21 Days of Prayer | Day 15

By AJ Underwood

Today, I want us to pray together for patience. Patience is a word that very few of us like to hear, and it takes us back to a time of getting told “be patient” as a child. The fact of the matter is we live in a very impatient world. We live in a world of overnight shipping, video on demand, DVR (to fast forward commercials of course), cell phones that give us immediate access to just about anything, and drive thru restaurants that have had to add a second drive thru lane because just one wasn’t fast enough. However, we serve a God that knows all things and does them in not only his time, but in the perfect time.
We should all be prayerfully thankful for the patience that God has shown to each and every one of us. 1 Timothy 1:16 says “But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.” We are all sinners in need of God’s grace, but think for just a moment if God put a time clock on that grace. Would that change the way that some of us go about our business, or possibly the haste in which we confess our sins before the Lord.

The question then is if we are so blessed to receive God’s patience on a daily basis, why do we then find it so difficult to wait on God ourselves. Steven Furtick once said “The only thing harder than waiting on God, is realizing that you didn’t.” I know that each of you reading this is struggling with something whether it be a particular sin, your job, your marriage, forgiveness, financial situation, or just asking God to use you in some way. My prayer for you is that you keep praying, when you feel like God isn’t listening and you aren’t getting the answer…pray again and pray confidently. Matthew 21:22 says “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Please join me in a prayer of patience:

Heavenly Father thank you for the perfect patience that you show each of us every day. It is a patience that we don’t deserve and a patience that we often times don’t afford to you. My prayer is that everyone at Ridge church and reading these posts throughout the 21 Days of Prayer not only continue to prayerfully seek your guidance in their lives, but that they would also confidently wait on your response. I know that someone reading this right now is struggling with waiting on you God and I just ask that you whisper to them that you hear their prayer and the answer that they are seeking is coming in your perfect time.

Amen

21 Days of Prayer | Day 14

By Steve Pyle 

It is not uncommon for many of us to find ourselves in small groups of people, especially if we have children. Our kids want to interact with other kids. Our kids’ activities force us to be in proximity with others. We adults like to hang out with other adults anyways, but we tend to do so with adults that are in the same stage of life as we are. Young married couples prefer young married couples. Families with young children prefer the same. Singles hang with singles. Older couples are no different. We naturally find ourselves in small groups of people in many walks of life.

If the above is true, why is it so difficult to get people to attend a church small group? Churches give you the freedom to choose a group that you would naturally fit into. Churches give you the freedom to choose where your group meets. Churches pay for childcare. Churches have made small groups as easy and convenient for you as humanly possible, but you still do not attend a small group.

 I have a few ideas why a high percentage of faithful churchgoers do not attend a church small group.

1. People today have mastered the art of being a ninja – We can be right in the middle of a group of people and not be noticed by any of them.

 2. People today fake it – We put our happy face on every time we step foot in the church. It is much harder to do that in a smaller group of people

 3. People today have forgotten the value of face-to-face conversations – We do not even talk on the phone anymore, text or email is much more convenient for both parties.

 Now I would like to share why you should attend a Ridge LifeGroup

1. You will build relationships that are not easily broken – People in your small group will love you for who you are while encouraging you to grow.

2. You were not created to be alone – God created Eve because He noticed Adam would be lonely without a wife. Jesus created the church because He noticed we are stronger together.

3. You will go beyond the surface – You will be surprised how little you know about the people you see every week at church. You will be blessed knowing other people’s story.

4. You will experience God’s word in a new light – Have a question? Someone in your group has an answer or will find it. People’s love for God’s word is contagious.

5. You will have fun – LifeGroups have cookouts, go bowling, and have game nights to name a few. People in your group will genuinely enjoy your company.

 Dear heavenly Father,

​I pray more people of Ridge church stop just being in proximity with each other. Encourage Ridge church to experience You in a much deeper way. Show them that Your love exists in other people that want to share it with them. Father God let them know that they do not have to do life alone. Father tear down the walls that are blocking some people of Ridge church from true freedom. Thank you for sending Your Son. I cannot put in words what Your love means to me. Help me do in the darkness what I learned in the light. Let us not ignore those that are in need. Let us see others as You see them. Show us how to better be a disciple making church. Keep our hearts focused on You. Thank you for all the great things You are doing through so many people at Ridge church.

​​​​​​​in Jesus name amen

21 Days of Prayer | Day 13

by wesley hicks

As part of the 21 days of prayer I have read such amazing blogs that share the heart of people I love very dearly.  I have seen fantastic stories, deep wisdom, and scripture referenced beautifully.  I am truly honored to even get to share on Giving, in this opportunity to write with such an amazing set of people, and for such an amazing audience that we have in our church family.  

As I have thought about the topic, the thing that has weighed heaviest on me has been my experience in life and I honestly don’t know how much scripture I will quote or reference in this blog.  More than anything I want to share from my heart.  I guess, what I am saying is—well, giving matters.

We were poor.  I don’t mean like can’t get the new LeBron’s type of poor.  I mean like government cheese, paycheck to paycheck, praying that God would bless us with bill money kind of poor.  Some of my earliest memories include times my sister and I would share/fight for covers that we were using to cover the floor vent so that the heat would keep us warm in the winter.

I remember our trailer had a hole in the outside, about the size of a softball, and honestly have no idea when it happened to appear.  I remember seeing a mother working multiple jobs so that she could try to give us the things that we as kids wanted.

My mom is a giver.  I remember my unemployed dad, drunk when around, which was so infrequent that I can’t recall one birthday or Christmas in which we were together.  I remember a dad that took from his family- finances, time, structure, and the joy in my mother’s eyes.  I remember as a kid, early on, becoming aware of something about our nature as humans.  Rarely are we ever neutral here, but rather we are bent towards being givers or takers.

You see, there are some of us that are gifted towards being natural givers and it flows well from our hearts.  There are some that, well, we are takers and we seek to see what we can get out of X, Y, and Z.

If I am honest, I share traits of both my mom and my dad.  Early on in adulthood, I was so much like my dad, the taker within me robbed me of so much joy that God had intended for me to delight in.  John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  God gave so I could have life, you could have life, but not just life.  Eternal, overflowing, joy-filled delight kind of life fully satisfied in Him.  As a taker I was completely missing out on His gift, but once I received His Gift it transformed my heart’s desire as a taker and has continually moved my heart towards that of a giver.  I want to give.  I want to give financially even when it is tough.  

I want to give my time, even when I could be doing “cooler” things or it may mean I miss the big game.  You see, giving is what we do, it’s what our Daddy does, and it’s what He wants us to do.  WHY?  Because He is trying to get a G6 and fly spot to spot?  NO. Because HE IS A GIVER.   

Follow me here.  What if it is in our generous, and sacrificial giving we actually receive more?  What if God’s desire is to not only see others blessed by you and me, but also because He wants to see you and me blessed by Him? You see when we give out of a desire to be like our Daddy, a reflection of the Gospel type of giving, not only does it impact those around us but it also hits us deeply.

Here is what I know:  There has never been a moment that I gave like this and went on to regret it.  There has never been a time that I helped someone less fortunate and knew I had chosen differently.  I remember as a child, someone leaving money in our mailbox so that we could pay that months bills and how much I saw it impact my family.  I remember when I was in full taker mode, and having two men give me the best reflection of the Gospel I had ever seen in that they loved a moron like me generously even when I was a foolish taker.

I reflect on those moments, and those truths and I know that I no longer want to be a taker but I want to be like my Friend, my Father, my King.  I want more to be like Him and I want more of Him and I know that the more I give of myself, the more He looks at me and smiles.  I feel it, I experience, I enjoy Him more because I give.  What about you?  What’s your story if you were to write it down?  Are you a giver?  A taker?  Are you being overwhelmed with the delight in your Maker?

“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.”

John Wesley

Father,

Thank you for being my friend.  Thank you for giving me so much more than I could ever dream to have deserved.  Please investigate our hearts, search us deeply and break our hearts in the places we hold onto as takers.  Give us your heart.  The heart of a giver.  May we not be captives to our finances, to our stuff, and to ourselves any longer.  May we become givers so that we can be more like You.

In Your Son’s name,

Your friend and son Wesley.

 

21 Days of Prayer | Day 12

By Jari Lapp

Definition of Healing 

a.)To restore to health or soundness “cure”. 

 b.)To ease or relieve emotional stress. 

Often in life, we are thrown some curveballs that majorly upsets our “perceived” harmonious balance of our daily lives. We can get so wrapped up in our “daily grind”, that as long as things are going our way without any “Glitches”…We FOOL ourselves into believing we are Invincible.
Truth of the matter is…We are NOT Invincible. Our lives are NOT our own, nor are we the Authors of our lives. God is Our Creator & he is the Only one with “Blue Print” to Exactly how our lives will “Play Out”. > (Psalm139) (Romans8:9-11) 

A deep rooted Faith & Trust in God is Essential in promoting a “Spiritual Healing! 
                                  (2Corinthians7:10)

In our lives, none of us are exempt from sin & sorrow; nor are we exempt from experiencing one of Life’s inevitable events…Death. Death of a “Loved One” leaves such a gaping wound in our hearts often breaking our “Spirit”. This wound is internal & invisible to the outside world; often resonating some extreme “Raw Emotion” (Grief, Anger, Blame, etc…) stemming from the internal PAIN.
I most definitely do NOT want to make this about me…I would just like to Share what led me to begin a ‘Spiritual Healing” & how Ridge Church has played a Crucial role in the “Healing” process.
I have experienced many untimely deaths of Loved Ones. Never have I felt such a deep disconnect from life…as I did on the 18th of Sept.2014; when the Lord called Home, the one Earthly person who Loved me Truly 100% Unconditionally (which hasn’t always been easy!) >> my Best Friend, & Biggest Supporter, my Beloved Mother.
Never underestimate the Power of Prayer. >> (Matthew21:22) (John14:13-14)
Approximately a year ago, at the unrelentless request & Prayer of my daughter Alyssa Bowlin I entered through the doors of Ridge Church with a shattered “Spirit” & hardened Heart. Truth be told, I really wasn’t expecting to gain Anything other than getting Alyssa off my back.!!  
WOW…What I felt after experiencing a service @ the Ridge Church, was Truly nothing short of “Life-Changing”. (Ephesians5:14-20) 
From the Awesome, AmaZing Band & their Incredible Talent in Leading us All into Worship, > to Pastor Bobby having a Gift of “Unpacking” Scripture, & making it relevant to today’s world, > to the Excitement of my Grandkids eager to Share what they learned about Jesus in “Ridge-Kids”, > to the Warm & Welcoming handshakes, & Hugs of several people in the congregation…I felt the Holy Spirit “Moving & Shaking”. (John14:26-27) (Romans5:5)
In Life, we will all experience Trials & Tribulations…there is Comfort in knowing that @ Ridge Church they will Love You through it. You do Not have to do Life alone…& as they say >> It’s OK to NOT be OK…Keep coming back…It’s Not OK to stay that way. Come as YOU are Truly applies here. I Love that this congregation is Less Flash & More JESUS.
Thank You ALL for Welcoming & Loving Me. I feel as if I have found my way Home. I know that I am a work in Progress…But to quote Mark Twain >> “Continuous Improvement is Better than delayed Perfection.” I am HEALING!!!
(Psalm30:2) (Philippians4:19) (Proverbs4:20-22) (Matthew11:28)

“Prayer”
Dear Heavenly Father, I come before You with a Humbled & Grateful Heart. HEAR my Prayer Oh Lord. >> I ask that You Illuminate the Paths of Each & Everyone of us that Call upon Your Name. 

Father, Only You see the gaping wounds of our Spirit, & Only You know Best the Needs of each of us to begin our own “Spiritual Healing”.

Father, Lead us & Guide us to Seek Your Word & Your Will. > Resonate within us, an Awakening that begins & continues to HEAL our wounded hearts. Allow us to Move Forward with Hope & Jubilation in the knowledge that YOU Father are Our Master & Redeemer. You Will take care of All of our Inequities.
Lord Jesus, Thank You for NEVER Giving up on us. Thank You for richly Blessing us with your Mercy & Grace, & the Promise of Redemption. 
                                    In Jesus’s name I PRAY, AMEN