Tag Archives: children

Amy Carmichael and Social Justice

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, May 30, 2017

social justice, photo

Amy Carmichael and Social Justice

I’ve come to the end of this excellent anthology of a wealth of different faith traditions. Amy Carmichael is the last of these moving snapshots we glimpse in this book Spiritual Classics. Miss Carmichael was born in Northern Ireland in 1867, came to Christ early in life, and developed a passion for social concerns—what today is known as social justice, in some circles.

At 17, she brought together a group of 500 poor mill girls in a church hall in Belfast. Several years after, she felt a call to the mission field, to Japan. She stayed there for some months, but had to return because of ill health. After several more years, she left for the mission field again: this time, for India.

Over the years she remained in India, Miss Carmichael helped to found a large healing and training center. After a disabling fall in 1931, she lived as an invalid, writing extensively for the rest of her life. She particularly spoke out against the Indian practice of dedicating children to temple gods, and worked to get that practice abolished, with the help of a number of people from India. [1]

As Miss Carmichael herself writes, “The subject was new to us. We knew nothing of the magnitude of what may be called ‘the secret traffic of India’—a traffic in little children, mere infants oftentimes, for wrong purposes, and we did not appreciate, as we do now, the delicacy and difficulty of the position from a Government point of view.” [2] She was dumbstruck at the prospect of many, many children all across India enslaved to service in various temples.

Miss Carmichael has a clear and generous view of the rich, multilayered cultural background of the Indian people. She writes “The true India is sensitive and very gentle. There is a wisdom in its ways, none the less wise because it is not the wisdom of the West.”[3]  At the same time, she is so struck with prayer for those children: if the children exist, she prayed that they might be saved. God heard. God answered. She truly believed in prayer, and acted on her belief.

Dear God, I wish I could have just a portion of Amy Carmichael’s faith. Please help me to have just a little faith. Hear me, I pray.

[1] Spiritual Classics, edited by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin. (San Francisco, California: HarperSanFrancisco, 2000, 360.

[2] Ibid, 361.

[3] Ibid, 362.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Christmas Music for Everyone (#BestOf)

Christmas Music for Everyone

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, December 14, 2013

I hear Christmas music on the cd player as I write this. Choral, a capella. Complex chords and harmonies. These aspects of the music make my heart sing. The winning combination of beautiful music and meaningful words helps my heart to worship, too.

Since I am a classically trained musician and have a bachelor’s degree in church music, music has been and still is an important feature of my life. My avocation and my deep joy, as well as an aid to worship. Sometimes music can bring me to tears, and the next minute can lead me to worship and praise. Especially at this time of year.

A great deal of Christmas music was written with the church in mind, or at least, based on the Gospel accounts in Luke and Matthew. (I know there are some fun songs, secular songs, but I’d like to focus instead on the sacred music.) Composers and songwriters in many diverse cultures have tried their hands at writing Christmas music—and Advent music, too. Diverse songs like “Lo, How A Rose E’re Blooming” (German, Michael Praetorius, 1609) to “The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy” (Traditional West Indian Carol, popularized by Harry Belafonte in 1958).

Different cultures portray the Holy Family in contexts that are familiar to them, too. Many people are familiar with the olive wood nativity scenes, carved by Palestinian Christians and imported all over the world today. But I’ve also seen a Kenyan nativity set with animals native to the Kenya bush. And a Peruvian nativity with everyone dressed in traditional Peruvian garb. And—to me—the familiar Advent calendars with the northern European features.

One more recent Christmas carol comes from the mid 20th century. The words by Wihla Hutson evoke the differences in how children all over the world see the baby Jesus. “Lily white,” “bronzed and brown,” “almond-eyed,” “dark as they.” The Baby Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. He was born into this world to identify with us. And we can identify with Him, just as much.

This Advent period is a period of waiting for the coming of the Baby in Bethlehem. However we may see Him, however the Holy Family is presented in our culture or setting or church tradition, we are to wait with eagerness. With quiet and prayer. With expectation in our hearts. And in one of my favorite ways, with music to assist us in this waiting time.

Let’s pray. Dear God, Gracious Lord, this Advent waiting time is a time of expectation, but it’s also a time of preparation. Help me to prepare my heart to receive You. Forgive me for closing the door on others who don’t see You in the same way as I see You. Forgive me for being so narrow-minded and thoughtless. Thank You that You came into this world for everyone. For each child, for each adult, for each senior. Help me to look on those who are different from me with Your eyes. Emmanuel, God with us, all of us. Thank You, Jesus.



Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

Praying for Children

matterofprayer blog post for Thursday, January 30, 2014

dog and boy

Praying for Children

I hesitate to put this down on the screen (years before, I would have said “put down on paper”), but I do not pray for my children every day. I know, I know. I am not a stellar example of an intercessor, a person of prayer. I especially do not consider myself a prayer warrior. However, I do have a desire to bring people together in prayer. I facilitate an intercessory prayer chain at my church, and I enjoy doing that! It gives me great satisfaction to keep track of various prayer requests, note the answers to prayer, and see the gratitude that comes from people we are praying for. (or from their family members and friends, too)

However, I was nudged today to pray for my children. My children are getting older. Only one is still in high school—the other three are all in college or beyond. Still, I pray for my children’s well-being, for their personal relationships, for their work, and especially for their spiritual growth and relationships with God. Some days ago, I mentioned a wonderful book by Stormie Omartian called The Power of a Praying Parent. I still use this book, often, when I pray for my children. I did so this morning, in my (fairly regular) prayer time, and the prayer time was okay. Not exceptional, but I did feel a connection with God.

Later this afternoon, I read a blog post about a child in Africa. This child was sponsored by a couple here in the United States. The blog post was well-written, a vivid word-picture of the situation the child and her family lived in. But this blog post brought something else to my mind: something Stormie mentioned in her book.

In the first chapter of Stormie’s book, she says, “We can be a friend, a teacher, a grandparent, an aunt, a cousin, a neighbor, a guardian, or even a stranger with a heart of compassion of concern for a child. . . . If you’re aware of a child who doesn’t have a praying parent, you can step into the gap right now and answer that need.”

I’ve tried to be that answer. I do pray for children and teens. It doesn’t matter whether they are your (or my) children, or not. You might be the only person praying for that child. I’ve tried to school myself in that way. If God brings some child or teen to my mind, I really try to stop and pray for them. It doesn’t matter whether I am related to them, or not. Often, I feel compassion and tenderness in my heart. So, I pray. Sometimes.

Let’s pray. Dear God, I feel compassion and care for children—sometimes. Thank You for this care that You’ve placed in my heart—in all of our hearts. Please, help me—help us to think of a child or teen to pray for, sometimes. It might mean the world for them. Thanks for all of those I don’t even know who prayed for me. You know them, God. May I be there for some other child or teen, when they need prayer. In Your mercy, God, hear our prayer.


Freedom From Fear

matterofprayer blog post for Saturday, January 11, 2014

crocuses in Portland

crocuses in Portland

Freedom from Fear

Among other things, I’m a mom. Although I am also a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend, I have begotten four children. I go through cycles where I feel the urge to pray for other things and other people. However, sometimes God instructs me to pray specifically for my children. During the past few weeks, I felt that instruction. So, I did—on a fairly regular basis.

I know there are many ways to pray for loved ones. However, I have been using a wonderful book by Stormie Omartian called The Power of a Praying Parent for years when I pray for my children. On and off, I mean. I do not hold myself up as any paragon of prayer, by any means. (Not like Stormie! And not like my former prayer partner, Zhou Hui, either! Both are awesome women of prayer.)

Today, I was reminded of a chapter in this book where Stormie gives some pointers on how to pray against fear in our children’s lives. Some days ago, I prayed through this chapter. I petitioned God on my children’s behalf, asking among other things that God give them wisdom from above, protect them from evil influences, and bless them in all they do. I prayed for this wonderful prayer of Stormie’s to be applicable in my husband’s life and in mine, too.

Today, I remembered the acronym for FEAR, False Evidence Appearing Real, and how fear could blindside me when I least expected it. I remembered that I had prayed to be free from fear. Today, this freedom from fear touched me, too, in a very deep way. Honestly, I have not had the easiest last few months. Some significant challenges have come my way. But, I have met them with the help of God, the love of my family, the help and fellowship from my friends, prayer, and the readings in some very helpful books.

I quote again one of my all-time favorite hymns—thanks for God’s promise from the Hebrew Scriptures, Isaiah 41:10. “Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed/For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.”  These words give me comfort, and give me a place to run to. My God has promised not to leave me, nor forsake me. Whether from the Hebrew Scriptures or from the New Testament, God’s promises will not fail. I don’t need to fear. And neither do my children.

Let’s pray. Dear God, thank You for Your Word. Thanks for Your promise to hear us and deliver us from all of our fears. God, forgive me for doubting You. Forgive me for running away from all Your blessings. Show me the way to You, God, so that I may take my fears and anxieties to You and receive freedom from fear. Remembering Your goodness and faithfulness to me and my family, new every morning, Amen.