Have you ever had one of those times when you look around and you’re sitting in the middle of something you know only God could do?
That’s where I found myself last weekend.
We’d only met in person 36 hours earlier although we’ve been online friends for almost a year and a half. Our ages span several decades and we live from eastern to western United States time zones.
When I look at those beautiful faces, I see a miracle of God’s grace.
It was January of 2016 and I was a lonely blogger.
Maybe you can relate…
You pour your heart out through words week after week, cherish every sweet comment (even if you can’t always get back to reply to everyone), and love the connections you’ve made but you can’t help but feel the loneliness of working independently behind a computer screen.
So, I started praying and asking God to give me a group of like-minded bloggers with whom I could connect on Facebook.
And He more than delivered!
One by one, He brought together the perfect combination of friends.
Alison Tiemeyer, Carmen Brown, Dawn Klinge, Lauren Gaskill, Lori Schumaker, Marva Smith, Melanie Redd, Nicki Schroeder, Sarah Koontz, Shannon Geurin, Valerie Murray, and me. If you don’t know some of these great women click on their name and take a moment to visit them and see how they shine the light of God’s love.
On Higher Ground Retreat
Last weekend, eight of us were blessed to gather at Lori Schumaker’s and share a little face to face love and encouragement.
We shared some blogging and social media tips but two parts of our time together really stuck out for me.
- Sitting around the table and sharing our testimonies of the things God has used in our lives to reveal His love and draw us close. Those “through” seasons that were hard but with God’s help strengthened us. Things we maybe even hated at the time but looking back we can see how He was able to use each one for our good and His glory.
- Praying together.
And praying together is what I really want to talk with you about today.
The Awesome Blessing of Praying with Friends
It was the morning after we’d poured ourselves into really getting to know one another. We’d already laughed until our stomachs hurt and cried some “ugly” cries.
We gathered in a close circle to cry out to God for the specific needs each of us had shared throughout the weekend.
You know, it takes God’s presence to create the perfect safe space where we can make ourselves vulnerable and share our deepest hurts and needs. And that’s exactly what God gave us.
We prayed for…
Thanking God for the gifts He has given each person . . . ways He is using them to bless and asking Him to use them for His glory.
I always thank my God for you and for the gracious gifts He has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Corinthians 1:4
Lifting up spouses and children. Asking God to bless them, to surround them with godly friends, and draw them close to Himself.
Because of this, since the day we heard about you, we have continued praying for you, asking God that you will know fully what he wants. We pray that you will also have great wisdom and understanding in spiritual things so that you will live the kind of life that honors and pleases the Lord in every way. You will produce fruit in every good work and grow in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:9–10
♥ Concerns and Needs
Asking God to work in and through hurts and struggles to bless each one with all they need to live in His victorious love.
Let everyone see that you are gentle and kind. The Lord is coming soon. Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:5–7
We thanked God for the specific God-given gifts being used by each precious friend.
I don’t believe anything makes a woman (or man) feel more loved than hearing someone else telling God how thankful they are for the ways He is using her to bless and encourage them.
First, I tell you to pray for all people, asking God for what they need and being thankful to Him. 1 Timothy 2:1
What a joy to be able to spend time with other women without comparisons, competition, or division enjoying friendships that make us stronger and happier.
A taste of heaven on Higher Ground.
I’m excited to tell you, we want to share our experience with other bloggers and writers. So, we’re dreaming of a Higher Ground Conference in 2018. Stay tuned for more information to come. And even if you’re not in online ministry, please pray for us as we make plans to share our safe space of friendship and encouragement next year.
If you’d like to read more about our weekend. Check out…
The Unexpected Journey to Healing, Hope, and Friendship by Marva Smith, and Why Being with Other Christians Strengthens Your Faith by Valerie Murray.
Thank you so much for joining me today.
And a thank you to BibleGateway.com for sources.
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