Read His Words Before Ours!
1 Timothy 2:1-8
Our miniature matatu (think African style of a city bus…kind of) bumped up and down and our bodies bounced with it without the constraint of seat belts. Red dust flew up behind us while some billowed through the windows, filling our nostrils with the ever-present African-dust smell. The chatter of my seven teammates filled the matatu, but I wasn’t hearing them. My senses were in the slums of Kenya, seeing, hearing, smelling, breathing my surroundings, but my heart and my head were somewhere else.
I saw children playing in the streets made of dust, I saw women walking to and fro, and I heard men shouting to one another, but in my mind, the red dust of this town was replaced by red dirt of Southern Utah. Children’s laughter was replaced with the memory of the foster children’s laughter from the camp I’d worked at earlier that year.
Never in my life had I experienced the pull and the weightiness of the world… and I broke.
As we drove through Kenyan slums, I could literally feel my heart being torn in two, slowly ripping right down the middle. When we arrived at the preschool ministry site for the day, everything came pouring out with deep sorrow. I turned to my leader, Allison, and said, “I don’t know what’s wrong. I’m here, I know I’m here and I’m supposed to be, but I’m so broken for the people in Utah who need Jesus, and I’m aching for the foster children in Kansas City who need redemption. What is wrong with me?”
“Kendra,” she told me gently, “have you ever prayed that God would break your heart for what breaks His?” I slowly nodded my head and squinted my eyes.
“He’s doing that right now.”
If I was weeping before (which I was), I was weeping harder now.
I didn’t know God’s heart hurt so much for us, and I only had a glimpse.
If we know anything, it’s that our world is shattered and broken.
Spreading the healing hope of the gospel and praying for nations to know the Lord is our urgent mission until Jesus returns. Paul presses the Church to pray for God’s creation in each of his epistles by asking them to pray for other churches, for people in leadership, and for those who are still lost without hope… but, why?
Why do we pour out our hearts in prayer for the hurting, hungry, desperate, lost, broken people who make up God’s creation?
Because, God… “wants everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4). The Father’s heart is for His Creation.
He longs for us to know His love and be rescued from our sin.
Let us learn from Ezekiel 22:30, where God says He is looking for someone to stand in the gap for their nation, but found no one. We are called to stand in the gap for the nations with the hope of the gospel! Let us, who have the authority to approach the Father’s throne because of Jesus in us, pray for the nations!
Can I be real for a minute? (Ok, ok, I’m always real.)
Sometimes, I feel so overwhelmed with how many people I need to pray for, and how many things I need to pray for, and all the brokenness and lostness and heaviness
that I just don’t pray at all.
I know I need to pray for the nations, for my daughters, for my friends and family, for the people in leadership positions in the Church and in my country, but I don’t always know where to start or what to pray.
I’ve found the best place to begin is rooted in Scripture, following the leading of the Holy Spirit. Read His Word, and be ready to pray whenever and however the Spirit is pressing in.
Pray for the nations’ leaders to be filled with wisdom and be surrounded by wise and godly advisors. Pray for their hearts and ears to listen to wise counsel. (Proverbs 11:14)
Pray for leaders who don’t know Christ to have divine encounters with believers who would point them to salvation. Pray for leaders who are Christians to have steady discipleship pouring into them and that they would have strength to fight the arrows shot at them from the enemy. (Proverbs 2:1-8 and Ephesians 6:12-18)
Pray for unity in the Church in each nation. As each nation writes their own laws and citizens live in ways they feel just, the Church has different struggles in each country. How the Church is being pulled in the United States is entirely different than the struggles for the Church in New Zealand or India. Pray for unity within the Church in each country, and that followers of Christ would base their standards on biblical truth and not what society dictates. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
Sisters, sometimes I feel small.
Sometimes I feel like my prayers and voice won’t matter.
Will the Lord really hear my pleading for the underground church in North Korea?
My prayers are pleasing in the sight of the Lord, as are yours.
Ask the Lord to break your heart for what breaks His.
Ask Him to burden your heart for the lost.
You might be surprised who you feel burdened for, but don’t be surprised when He answers your prayer. When He does, take action and pray for the lost, the hurting, the persecuted, the Christians and the non-Christians, then take steps to bring hope to them!
This Bible study is property of Gracefully Truthful, where it first appeared. For more studies like this one, visit GracefullyTruthful.com!
Read His Words Before Ours!
Oh God, please, please, please just give me a baby sister. Please.
This was the pleading of a five-year-old little girl, who continued praying this for 2 years.
This was my prayer.
As much as my five-year-old brain could understand, I knew my mom couldn’t physically have more children, but I also knew God was a God of miracles, which meant I could still have a little sister. So I prayed with everything in me.
Oh the joy when my prayers were answered one evening two years later! My parents gathered my grandparents, brother, and I into our tiny living room, telling us we would be adopting a baby in a few months. They didn’t know whether that baby was a boy or a girl… but I knew. This baby was my answered prayer. This baby was my sister.
As hot tears streamed down my tanned cheeks, I knew, at just eight-years-old, that the Lord hears. He does the impossible, far beyond what we can imagine or dream.
I knew God loved me.
This began my deep passion for adoption, and a softened heart towards women surprised with pregnancy.
Unexpected pregnancies have been a rhythm in my family, including my precious Gamma and her beloved Harald. My Papa passed away right after they celebrated 59 years of marriage, but their marriage began unconventionally. When Gamma was 15 and smitten with a handsome, blonde, German boy, they found out they would become parents much sooner than planned. At 16, they made vows they took seriously and carried out all 59 years of their marriage. However, being pregnant in the 50s at only 15, forever marked my Gamma. So, when other family members found themselves in similar circumstances, her heart ached for the pain they endured from scoffers and judgers; which marked me.
I learned at a very young age the Bible is clear: sex outside of marriage is wrong. Pregnancy is not.
It is not a sin to be pregnant.
Life is never a sin.
Life, because of God’s great redemption, can be the result of sin, but it is not sin.
So, sisters, how do we go about loving the fellow mamas around us who are expecting a life they weren’t planning to receive? How do we approach the mamas who were planning their pregnancy, but became pregnant outside of marriage?
Well… we love them,
just like the Father loves them.
Jesus was the result of an unplanned pregnancy occurring outside of marriage. Mary was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit as a young teenage girl. (Matthew 1:18) Motivated by redemption, the Father brought forth LIFE. The Spirit impressed on the hearts of wise-men to search for the King and shower Him with gifts.
We love our fellow sisters, women, image-bearers, by welcoming their miracles with gifts and showering those mamas with love.
The Woman at the Well was a woman living in repeated sexual sin. She’d been married five times, and while we don’t know the reason for each of those marriages, we do know she was with a man who wasn’t her husband at the time she met Jesus. While she didn’t physically bear the evidence of her sin, Jesus saw her and He knew it all. Even still, He loved, accepted, and conversed with her as He offered redemption.
Through her powerful story, many came to know Him.
We love our fellow hurting women by accepting them, conversing with them, and showing them grace and Jesus through our actions. God has not abandoned her or her child. If He will not cast her off, neither can we. He offers redemption and hope to her just as He has for us.
Sisters, Jesus is for life.
He is for all life, which includes the life of the mama with the unplanned pregnancy.
He isn’t just longing for her physical life, but her spiritual life. Despite painful circumstances, shame, and brokenness, He will use all of it to draw her to Him.
How incredible to be a part of that redemption!
I am so thankful my sister’s birth mama chose life.
The Lord used her unplanned pregnancy to answer to my prayers and show me His Love.
God is the creator of life, and all life has a purpose.
Let us, the Church, join together to celebrate life, celebrate redemption, and celebrate motherhood.
Let’s join together to love the mamas who desperately need to experience Jesus’ loving redemption.
Ready for some practical tools to love these mamas?
Below is a list of ministries both international and local to Kansas City (GT headquarters) that do exactly that!
All of these ministries focus on loving women with Jesus’ love while helping prepare them for their future as a birth mama, for a baby being adopted, or a single mama raising her child.
If you are an expecting single mama or already a single mama, these are some awesome resources for you.
Know you are Loved.
You are Valued.
You are Treasured.
You are not the sum of your mistakes,
and we would love to pray for you and love on you – so please reach out to us!
Embrace Grace – A support group for women with an unplanned pregnancy where mamas are showered with love by throwing baby showers for expecting moms. There are groups all around the country and you can find a group near you! There are also support groups for those same mamas after their babes are born.
Rachel’s House – This amazing organization has four locations across the Kansas City metro and is focused on educating parents on all options for their unexpected pregnancies as well as supporting families through pregnancy and adoption or parenting.
The Single Mom KC – A group for soon-to-be single moms and current single moms of all ages, stages, and circumstances. They have a free boutique for moms to “shop” at as well as hosting monthly workshops to help equip mamas and give them a night out (Free childcare! Woohoo!)
Bahamas Godparent Center – This community ministry offers biblical guidance, pregnancy testing, counseling, ultrasound imagery, and, most importantly, HOPE!
The Life of a Single Mom – This ministry works to educate church and community leaders as well as the general public with the challenges faced by single moms. They believe no single mom should walk alone.
Heartbeat International – An international ministry that helps 1,500,000 clients every year by offering resources, helping with adoptions, and overall, aiming to help women recognize life and choose life.
From Bible studies to blogs, articles to musings of the heart, Kendra's writings are unbarred and raw - exactly how she speaks.