Category Archives: Prayer prompt

PRAYER NOTE: SMALL THINGS

We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note”—an internal communication here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.

SMALL THINGS

From tiny houses to minimalist design…small is big right now. There are websites, blogs and apps to help you reduce clutter and downsize anything from your wardrobe to your life.  Taken in the right spirit, this new appreciation for smallness can be a good and positive thing—a counterbalance to the excesses we so often fall into.

But what if the only thing small in your life is your bank account, your education, or your list of accomplishments? What if your trial looms large in comparison to your tiny store of strength, courage or faith?

A BIG TASK

The Old Testament book of Zechariah contains messages of hope for the future as it records the prophet’s words to the people of Judah who were returning to Jerusalem after their 70-year exile in Babylon. After his initial call to repentance (Zechariah 1:1-6), Zechariah turns to recording visions of encouragement and reassurance given by God to His people. Faced with the enormous task of rebuilding the temple, the returning exiles felt small indeed.

Hounded by a lack of resources which included crop failures and financial distress, God’s people needed the encouraging visions God shared through His prophet.  They needed a reminder that their smallness would not hinder the completion of the work they’d been called to do.

The book of Zechariah is not simply a long cheerleading session or a collection of motivational speeches. It is a proclamation of the omnipotent God’s plan for His people. “Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘I am returning to Jerusalem with mercy; My house shall be built in it,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘And a surveyor’s line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem’” (Zechariah 1:16, NKJV).

A GREAT GOD

Zechariah delivered the encouraging promise that the temple would indeed be built, despite the seemingly meager resources of the returned exiles: “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6, NKJV).

“Zerubbabel’s hands have laid the foundation of this house, and his hands will complete it. Then you will know that the Lord of Hosts has sent me to you. For who scorns the day of small things? These seven eyes of the Lord, which scan throughout the whole earth, will rejoice when they see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand” (Zechariah 4:9-10, HCSB).

Through these words, the great God who had called His people to be a reflection of His glory was giving them the assurance that the seemingly impossible task facing them would be completed. Zerubbabel, governor of Judah, had begun the work of building the Lord’s house, “and his hands will complete it,” the Lord declared. With such an assurance, who would indeed “scorn the day of small things?”

As believers today we may not be called to build a physical temple, but our great God calls even the smallest of us to participate in the great work of building His kingdom. Regardless of the part we’re called to play, the key is to work for His glory and not our own. When we seek to have God’s vision for the world, we begin to recognize our own smallness and learn to depend upon and magnify His greatness.

We come to God in a prayer of humility, recognizing our weakness and casting ourselves on the one who is all-powerful—Almighty.  We bow before Him in repentance, confessing our sinfulness and placing our trust in the Savior who is holy, just and sinless, yet merciful and forgiving. We come to Him in need, acknowledging our lack of resources and leaning on our loving Father who knows our need before we ask. (See Matthew 6:8.)

The “day of small things” may not be an easy or comfortable day, but praise God it can be a day of deep spiritual growth for each of us if makes us recognize our need and drives us even lower to our knees.

A TIMELESS PROMISE

And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly will I rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then am I strong
(2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NKJV).

—Donna Riesen


SeniorSalt Impact Hymn Sing — October 1
 (Emcee/Worship Leader: Ron Whittemore)

Jonathan Falwell — October 1-3
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Shannon Wexelberg; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
The Power and Promise of Heaven: Letting Our Tomorrow Guide Our Today

James Merritt — October 3-5
(Emcee: John Parrish; Worship Leader: Shannon Wexelberg; Pastor-in-Residence: David Taylor)
A Holy Who? God’s Spirit and Our Relationship to Him

An Evening at The Cove with Laura Story — October 7
(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)

Kay Arthur & David Arthur — October 8-10
(Emcee: Ron Whittemore; Worship Leader: Stephanie Seefeldt; Pastor-in-Residence: Jim Brackett)
Dying to Live: Exploring the Crucified Life

Prescription for Renewal — October 12-14  (and Missionary Medicine Seminar — October 11-12)
(Main Speakers: Jim Cymbala and Joni Eareckson Tada; Host: Franklin Graham)

Albert Mohler, Jr.— October 23-25
(Emcee: Ron Whittemore; Worship Leader: Marty Goetz; Pastor-in-Residence: Kevin Wimbish)

Pastor Renewal Retreat — The Bible’s Story as the Story of the World: How Biblical Theology Rescues Ministry from Triviality

Bob Russell — October 29-31
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Johnny Prettyman; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Living Confidently in Turbulent Times


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media.click map

PRAYER NOTE: RESOLVE TO REMEMBER

We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note”—an internal communication here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.

RESOLVE TO REMEMBER

The first day of school has come and gone for millions of children throughout the country. Supplies have been purchased and parental wallets emptied. New teachers have been met and homework assignments commenced. And tears have dampened the concrete sidewalks of many an elementary school as parents dropped off wide-eyed children for the first day of first grade. (More often than not, the tears were from the red-rimmed eyes of parents rather than from the students.)

MEMORY KEEPERS

Prior to making that first trip to school, many eager little ones have stood smiling on the doorstep of their home, holding a “First Day of First Grade” sign so Mom could capture the momentous occasion in a Facebook or Instagram post. Each adorable image of a smiling child armed with a new backpack and clean white sneakers reminds us that there are certain times in our lives when we consciously desire to preserve a memory—occasions when we are acutely aware of the fact that time moves swiftly and treasured moments pass. The six-year-old might be clueless as to the twelve-year journey he or she is embarking upon; but Mom and Dad understand the significance, and they seek to preserve the memory with more than just a mental snapshot.  Someday they want this child to look back and marvel at how far they have come and how much they have learned.

God understands it too. Memory is a priceless gift He’s blessed us with; and it’s far more than just a helpful resource for compiling grocery lists, getting high test scores or remembering people’s names. Our God-given capacity for memory can strengthen our faith and enhance our prayer life. Throughout His Word, God instructs us to recall the past and remember His faithfulness.

I WILL REMEMBER

There are examples of this throughout the Scriptures, especially in the book of Psalms.  I have considered the days of old, the years of long ago. I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, and my spirit ponders:  Will the Lord reject forever? And will He never be favorable again? Has His lovingkindness ceased forever? Has His promise come to an end forever? Has God forgotten to be gracious, or has He in anger withdrawn His compassion? Selah. Then I said, ‘It is my grief, that the right hand of the Most High has changed.  I shall remember the deeds of the Lord; surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will meditate on all Your work and muse on Your deeds. Your way, O God, is holy; what god is great like our God?  You are the God who works wonders; You have made known Your strength among the peoples.  You have by Your power redeemed Your people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah” (Psalm 77:5-12, NASB).

 Psalms 105 and 106 are summaries of the Lord’s patient dealing with Israel, despite their pattern of willfulness and propensity to wander. We can recognize the repetitive pattern in our own lives: “Then they believed His words and sang His praise. They soon forgot His works; they did not wait for Hhis counsel” (Psalm 106:12-13, NKJV).  Yet praise God for the words “He remembered” that occur multiple times in these two chapters. “He remembers His covenant forever” (Psalm 105:8, NKJV). “For He remembered His holy promise” (Psalm 105:42, NKJV).  “And for their sake He remembered His covenant” (Psalm 106:45, NKJV). Even when we are forgetful, He remembers.

In the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah, “The Weeping Prophet,” recalls God’s loving kindness and faithfulness even in the midst of His judgement of Israel:  “Surely my soul remembers and is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘Therefore I have hope in Him’” (Lamentations 3:20-24, NASB).

LESSONS FROM A FORGOTTEN LUNCH

Jesus Himself reminded His own disciples of the importance of recalling God’s faithfulness. In Matthew 16:6, He spoke of their being “on guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and Saducees.” The disciples took this simply as a subtle reference to the fact that they had forgotten to bring bread to eat. “But Jesus, aware of this, said, ‘You men of little faith, why do you discuss among yourselves that you have no bread?  Do you not yet understand or remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets full you picked up?  Or the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many large baskets full you picked up?’” (Matthew 16: 8-10, NASB).  With these words their Master was encouraging them to recall two very recent instances of God’s provision and faithfulness. Because Jesus knew the missing bread incident involved more than just missing lunch, He turned it into a learning opportunity. His disciples had yet to understand their need to look beyond their earthly circumstances and look up to their Heavenly Father and provider. He knew their needs were greater than the simple lack of physical nourishment; they had need of spiritual depth and discernment.

As we look ahead to the busy fall season, let’s determine to look with the eyes of faith. And when faith grows dim and doubt creeps in or our meager resources seem inadequate, let’s search our memories for reminders of the times when God has shown Himself faithful.  Let’s ask Him to give us long memories, grateful hearts and strong faith. Let’s resolve to remember.

Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2, HCSB)

—Donna Riesen


We appreciate your prayers for these upcoming September events:

Richard Blackaby — September 4-5
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Marty Goetz)
Pastor Renewal Retreat— Leading Out of the Overflow

 Erwin Lutzer — September 5-7
(Emcee: Glynn Bachelor; Worship Leader: Marty Goetz; Pastor-in-Residence: Jim Brackett)
The Inheritance of the Redeemed

Guided Personal Spiritual Retreat — September 7-9
(Facilitator: John Parrish)

Jerry Vines — September 10-12
(Emcee/Worship Leader: Tom Bledsoe; Artists: Overflow, John Innes; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
SeniorCelebration — Songs for the Journey: Four Psalms to Live By

Gary Thomas— September 14-16
(Emcee: Ron Whittemore; Worship Leader: Marty Goetz; Pastor-in-Residence: Kevin Wimbish)
Military Marriage Retreat — Cherish: God’s Way to Change Everything for Your Marriage

An Evening at The Cove with CeCe Winans — September 18(Emcee: Michelle Bachelor)


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

Follow us on social media. click map

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Playing with Boxes: Prayer Devotional

We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note”—an internal communication here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)

 

PLAYING WITH BOXES

I recently saw a video of a toddler who received a mini-trampoline for Christmas.  After unwrapping the gift (with some assistance) and seeing the bright, colorful picture of a trampoline, he carefully climbed up onto the lid of the box, stood up, and began jumping up and down on the image of the trampoline!

Are we ever guilty of doing the same thing with God? He has given us the privilege of communicating with Him by means of prayer; and in a miraculous gift of His grace, He’s given us His promise to hear and answer (see Psalm 34:15, Matthew 7:11, John 15:16 and 1 John 5:14). Yet often our time is dedicated to everything but prayer. We read books and blog posts and articles on prayer, we download podcasts on prayer, we have prayer journals on our nightstands and prayer reminders on our iPhones. But do we pray? The books and blogs and podcasts are all good and helpful things, but if all we do is read about prayer, we’re like the toddler jumping on the cardboard box. God has given us His Word and the Holy Spirit to speak into our hearts, and He desires to share His own heart with us as we pray. Still, there are times when we’re guilty of simply looking at the pictures or jumping on the box rather than investing the time and effort for serious prayer.

Until we “open the box” to receive and use this powerful means of communicating and communing with our allpowerful God, we will only be wasting our energy—like the child jumping on the picture of the trampoline. He might experience a few brief moments of fun pretending he’s jumping on a trampoline, but until he experiences
the real thing, he won’t know what he’s missing. Our prayer life can be so much richer than simply giving thanks before meals and drowsily praying a few sleepy lines before we drift off to sleep.

Like the loving parent who gently removed the child from the box lid and then took out all the parts and assembled the trampoline, God desires to give us what we need for our prayers to become airborne. How do we get our prayer life off the ground? God Himself gives us the desire to pray (Philippians 2:13) and the faith to believe (Ephesians 2:8, Romans 12:3), and He has given us His Holy Spirit to guide us in our praying (Romans 8:26). Despite our apathy, weak faith and long list of excuses, we need only look up to our “Abba” Father and voice a simple plea for help.

“Help me, please, Lord! I’m all out of excuses and I’m tired of jumping on cardboard boxes. I want to know more of You and hear You speak. I want to be a faithful intercessor, praying on behalf of my family and friends, my church, and my country. I want to have Your heart—one that is broken over my sin and broken over the needs of a lost world that needs You. Lord, teach me to pray!”

If we ask Him, the Lord will put the pieces together for us and draw us into deeper communion with Him. God will give us the desire to pray and the time to pray, and the faith to believe; and His Holy Spirit will guide us and prompt us with regard to who we should intercede for and how we should pray on their behalf.

Our loving Father has told us to come to Him with our needs and requests. So jump in with both feet and pray!

Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2, HCSB)

By: Donna Riesen

We appreciate your prayers for these upcoming August events:

Steve Brown — August 3-5 
(Emcee: Michael Everhart; Worship Leader: John Chisum; Pastor-in-Residence: Jim Brackett)
How to Be Right Without Being Insufferable

 Will Graham — August 10-12
(Emcee: Traynor Reitmeier; Worship Leader: Mark Christian; Pastor-in-Residence: Kevin Wimbish)
Satan’s Snares and God’s Goodness

 Stuart and Jill Briscoe — August 13-15
(Emcee/Worship Leader: Tom Bledsoe; Artist: John Innes; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
SeniorCelebration — A Celebration in the Psalms

 R.T. Kendall — August 20-24
(Emcee: Michael Everhart; Worship Leader: Marty Goetz; Pastor-in-Residence: Jim Brackett)
Intensive Bible Training — Popular in Heaven, Famous in Hell

 Chip Ingram — August 24-26
(Emcee: Bill Wolfe; Worship Leader: Stephanie Seefeldt; Pastor-in-Residence: John Parrish)
Why I Believe

 Herb Reavis, Jr. — August 27-29
(Emcee: Ron Whittemore; Worship Leader: Stephanie Seeffeldt; Pastor-in-Residence: Kevin Wimbish)
The Second Coming: Hope for the Here and Now

 


Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts, and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.

Are you a Christian church or non-profit ministry looking for a place to hold your conference, retreat or ministry event?  Click here for more information on holding your event at The Cove.

Visit the Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Visitors Center, and Ruth’s Prayer GardenClick here for directions and operating hours. Tours are free.

 

Follow us on social media. click map

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