Recent Stories

  • A Valley Girl: Yolanda Stith's Story

        I was born and raised in Southern California in the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of greater Los Angeles.  It was there that the term “Valley Girl” became popular.  It held special significance to me, not only because I came [more]

  • Roller Coasters – Emily's Story

    Brent and I had been married for 16 years. We had been through quite a bit. In the midst of many physical illnesses, we had two wonderful children who really have been a blessing. We were ministry minded and when we were turned down to move overseas to work with some [more]

  • Where is God in My Suffering? – Kit's Story

    My name is Kit Danley and I am the president here at Neighborhood Ministries. I come from affluent America. I come from a background off the lake, say in Milwaukee, both parents and grandparents were prominent Milwaukeeans. And as my parents tried to do adult [more]

Examples of Prayers for Hope after Loss

I have been thinking recently about how to help a friend who has been mourning the loss of his wife. At times he seems so hopeless. I have decided to write out some prayers for hope after loss in order to pray more effectively for him. I have written my prayers in three different ways, praying specific scripture, praying principles based on bible verses and praying what God has laid on my heart for Dan. I would like to share a few with you.

Romans 15:13 in the NIV says:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”

Lord, please open Dan’s eyes to see how you are at work in his life. Cause him to seek you wholly and be able to receive your joy, peace and life so that he will overflow with hope once again.

Prayers for hope after loss don’t need to be based on any particular scripture. In fact, one prayer I often offer up to God on Dan’s behalf is:

Lord, would you please bring a godly woman into Dan’s life? Someone who understands what he has gone through. Someone who will love him and encourage him to walk more deeply with you. Please use the loss he has experienced to draw him closer to you. Allow him to see your goodness and blessings in the midst of his pain, and to reach out to others who may be hurting.

Even though these prayers aren’t specific verses from the bible, they are scriptural. The concepts and principles are based in scripture. God wants all of us to grow through our pain, to see his goodness, and he has said that it isn’t good for man to be alone.

Sometimes I ask God what he would like for me to pray for Dan. Today it was:

Restore the hope that can only come from you! Give him new dreams to replace those that were lost when Cheryl died. Keep him close to your heart and encourage him through your word. Take the hopelessness away and replace it with renewed hope as he looks to you.

Your prayers for hope for your friends after a loss are necessary. So, find scripture to pray through or pray whatever the Lord puts on your heart for your friend. And, then tell him what you are asking God to do in his life; he will be encouraged.

In the Midst: Pain and Faith

When the darkness closes in Lord, still I will say: “Blessed be the Name of the Lord”

In pain, songs take on new meaning.  Whether the words now hurt in their truths or find me forcing myself to speak words that I don’t want to be true.  Words that make me angry.  Words that I used to find so easy to say and joyful to delight in.  Words that used to just be part of a beautiful harmony or melody.

It just hurts.  Why is it so painful?  Where is this God of comfort?  It feels like I’ve been pulled apart with the pieces left bleeding on the floor.  I have an expectation on myself to pull it all together.  Somehow get that hand over there to grab that heart over there and put it back in the chest over there.  But the brain in the corner can’t tell the arm along the wall to get in action.

It is not pretty.  It’s bloody and messy and seems hopeless.  The eyes see and just want to give up.  But this is with the assumption that I’m the one who has to put it all together.  It’s hard to get past that feeling.

My years of following Christ tell me that He is there with a perfect plan of reassembly.  A plan that will put me together wiser, stronger, and better than I was.   Ready to continue on toward the next formative crisis.  I know this is true.

But it is hard to believe.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

Meet Ren

Hi. My name is Ren and I spend a good amount of time here at the Don’t Waste the Pain Café.  If you were in your local coffee shop, I’d be the one behind the counter pulling the shots of espresso for your latte.  I love Chinese food, traveling, and watching movies with my friends & family.  Which is all fine and dandy, but probably not why you’re here.  You’re instead probably here because you’re hurting.  Well friend, pull up a seat and join the crowd.  One of Satan’s greatest lies is that you are all alone in what you’re experiencing.  And I’m here to tell you it’s not true.  There are others who are also hurting around you.  You may not even realize how closely!

Now, maybe my story is similar to yours and maybe it isn’t, but my guess is that some of the paths that I’ve walked down...you’ve been there too.  And maybe there are some that you or I haven’t walked down yet, but will in the future.  One of our greatest hopes here at DWTP is that the people who know the path will be there to help the ones just embarking on their journeys.

We’ll be starting a new series of blogs called “In the Midst”.  Some of these are not pretty.  But, shockingly, life isn’t always pretty.  These blogs are markers of stops along the way.  I’m in the midst of my pain journey and I haven’t arrived anywhere yet.  But I’ve been places.  And you have too.  So, please take a peek into my journey.  Join me as I travel along this beautiful chaos that God has for me

Dealing With the Anger of Betrayal

I remember sitting with a friend as she was sharing about her recent break-up. Can I say that the guy was a real jerk?? Did I just write that? It’s okay. He really was a jerk. He said all the right things to make Hilary think he was being honest, but she had an inkling that he was hiding something. That ‘woman’s intuition’ kicked in and although Steve denied he was still in another relationship, something just didn’t seem right to Hilary.

She had caught him in a lie. It was purely innocent on her part, just something he had said that was inconsistent with something that a family member said earlier. You know how it goes. First, the denial…‘no, he didn’t really mean that’, ‘I must have misunderstood’. Then the anger kicks in…’I can’t believe he lied to me!’, ‘he is going to pay for that!’

So, how was Hilary supposed to be dealing with the anger of this betrayal? She let him have it, told Steve exactly what she thought and how she felt and broke off the relationship. He seemed remorseful, and apologized. He kept calling her, wanting to reconcile, and a few times Hilary softened and was willing to try again. She had forgiven him. But, after learning of more betrayals, she called it off for good.

I believe we all have a deep seeded need to be able to trust. When that trust is broken, the pain goes deep. A part of us that is to be taken seriously is badly hurt. Trust is a gift we give others and when they betray us it’s like totally depleting our bank account. Building back trust is like making deposits into our savings account, little by little, it grows back. I have been told that the one who betrayed should be doing everything in his/her power to prove they can be trusted again.

Dealing with the anger of betrayal takes time. After we forgive, we need to decide if we are willing to trust not only the person who betrayed us, but anyone else. Trusting again is going to take time and only you can decide when and if you are ready.


Overcoming Doubt

This evening I had an interesting conversation with my son Wes. He was on his way to a house church meeting in Florida, and expecting to discuss prayer… especially what it means to pray without doubting in circumstances like those we are facing with Ian.

These last 3 weeks I’ve prayed with a series of godly people praying for Ian’s healing. I’ve had an up close and personal look at how they look at prayer and healing and doubt. I’ve been observing them carefully, because Ian’s illness is taking us down paths I’ve never walked before, asking familiar questions with fresh urgency.

So as Wes and I talked, it occurred to me that if we struggle with doubts, we need to think carefully about what we doubt. There are things we must never doubt.

We must never doubt God or God’s goodness. That is at the root of the original sin… doubting that God really has our best interests in mind… wondering if He is holding out on us. It would be easy to doubt God’s goodness now. But I’ve seen far too much of God’s goodness to doubt it. That would be like doubting that water is wet while I’m swimming in the ocean. No, I don’t doubt God’s goodness, even now.

We must never doubt whether God does miracles today. Many “believers” subtly doubt this, and I’m sure that God is not pleased. I think this may be the most common kind of doubt among God’s people today. They’d never say it. They’d never even allow that thought to fully form in their minds. But in fact the idea that God would instantly and dramatically heal Ian overnight is inconsistent with their gut level experience and thinking about God and how He works today. This is similar to the heart attitude that restrained Jesus from doing many miracles in Nazareth.

We must never doubt what God has clearly said. This also is at the root of the original sin. The serpent said, “Has God said….?” This kind of doubt is why God struck Zacharias dumb. If God says it, we must not doubt it.

Yet this is where it can get confusing for us mere men. This tests our exegesis of the words of God. (I.e. What does that passage really mean?) This tries our acuity in recognizing the voice of God. (I.e. What is God really saying to me now?)

Has God specifically said that He will heal Ian Christopher Lyons before his CAT scan early next week? I have a rising subjective sense that perhaps that is what God may have in mind. Notice the disclaimers: rising… subjective… sense… perhaps… may have in mind.

I believe that those who walk with God and develop the consistent habit of obeying every thing that God says to them do develop a well-tuned subjective sensitivity to God’s voice. And I believe that God is much more inclined to speak in special ways to those who consistently trust and obey Him. I also believe that some become cavalier in carelessly asserting specific things that they think God has said, or want God to have said. They used to stone prophets for such things.

So where does that leave me in my praying? I’m still a learner, so forgive me if this seems simplistic. But I feel like a child boldly asking my good heavenly Father for what I want… while trusting Him to sort out what is best. My kids do this with me. “Can I have more dessert?” “Can I have the keys to your car?” They’re not shy about asking. They don’t always like my answers. But I hope that in the long run they are deeply convinced that I have their best interests in mind.

So, I’m asking God for a miraculous healing. And regardless of His answer I’m trusting Him. If some think that I have more to learn in this, so be it. I’m eager to learn. I just hope they’ll be gentle with me. I’m not really up for a debate right now.

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