Category: Prayer

A Christian Voice In A Changing Culture

All Saints Day

Last week, November 1st, the day the Church honors her members on earth and heaven, we buried my son Nick’s second child Elizabeth in a small plot next to her brother Luke. She outlived him by two weeks. Surrounded by the great cloud of witnesses? (Heb. 12:1) Light penetrated our dismal gathering only by faith.

We had lived with her death for three weeks: numb, uncomprehending. Lamenting for Luke two years earlier was easier; this was more of a dull ache. It remains unfathomable. Two parents should not be admitted to the hospital twice to experience life’s greatest miracle only to return home empty-handed. The dance became a dirge. Twice!

Yes Jesus smashed the head of sin and death. But evil still slithers and strikes. Such cruelty is senseless.

Annette and I longed to bear our kids’ burden. That makes sense: we have more cross-bearing experience. Yet their suffering is uniquely theirs. That is our pain: to walk with them, helpless to change anything. We can only come alongside and pray and hope that the snakebite does not destroy something precious in them.

I cannot describe how proud we are of Nick and Meg. They were awesome parents to both Luke and Elizabeth. The decision after Luke’s death to try again took guts. They gave it their all and endured with dignity the indignity of losing Elizabeth. Together. They share a quiet, profound reliance upon each other.

The All Saints Mass reminded me that the communion of saints is as earthy as the soil in which we interred Elizabeth. We may not have answers but we have each other. And we have help from heaven. Later that day I remembered my favorite saints fighting now for our endurance: Bruno, Francis, Faustina, John Paul II, Therese. I am grateful for their battles, their snakebites, the fires they endured for the joy set before them. They help us. I feel little but know that we are surrounded.

‘The help we receive from heaven is like an invisible yet mighty river of life.’
Cardinal Schonborn

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Why Feast?

Fasting is about solidarity with those who suffer; in our self-emptying, we cry out for Jesus to restore them. He suffered; He now lives to heal the grieving. Thank you for praying alongside of us at DSM/LW as we get low to raise up an army of wounded healers—like Jesus, risen, ours wounds yet visible (JN 20:27; Rev. 5:6).

In the fight, glorious occasions arise that invite us out of the fast and into feasting. I announce to you the birth of my third grandchild, Jacob Andrew Comiskey, born on the Feast of St. Luke, October 18th to my youngest son Sam and wife Chelsea.

The day was as clear and bright as both parents. Annette and I took turns visiting them in the early hours of labor then waited at home. Sam texted that Chelsea was dilating fast: we raced to the hospital and breathlessly entered the delivery room (whether we should have or not) just in time to hear Jacob’s first cry, and to witness his first embrace on Chelsea’s breast. Glorious.

The nurses chased us out of the room where we and Chelsea’s fine parents waited for a few hours until we could spend time with Jacob. I considered how fitting this Feast Day was. St. Luke’s is the Gospel most inclined to expressions of extravagant mercy, from the Prodigal son turning slightly toward the Father who raced to embrace (and so cover) his son’s nakedness (LK 15), the sinful woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and hair under the scowl of the Pharisee (LK 7), the gardener who implored the landowner to give him time to make the barren tree fruitful (LK 13). Luke’s stories guide Sam’s story—the God who gave all to bring his wandering kid home. Sam’s Father fought for his fruitfulness.

Sam is a man of mercy because He lives in that merciful flow (JN 19: 34). He releases others through his generous self-giving, and most notably Chelsea. As we watched them marvel over their Jacob, I thought of how the Father blessed Jacob in Scripture with the dream—a stairway to heaven on which angels rose and fell—after which Jacob made his stone pillow an anointed pillar that signaled an open heaven, a portal to the divine on earth (Genesis 28).

As I witnessed Jacob surrounded by love on all sides, heaven opened. I experienced pure joy, as true as pure grief, only better, able to surpass suffering and turn the sorrowful into worshippers once more (IS 61:3). Fasting, we feast.

Join us for the ‘Becoming Good News for the Gender Challenged’ fast from Oct. 11th-Nov. 19th.

Download the Prayer Guide Below:

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Why Fast?

We begin our 40-days of prayer and fasting this Wednesday the 11th; we seek together to become good news for persons vulnerable to the false LGBT+ ‘map’ as they make sense of who they are. Only Jesus through His members can clarify true identity. We pray and fast to become better clarifiers.

Why fast? Simply put, we fast in order to pray more effectively. St. Peter urges us ‘to be clear minded and self-controlled so you can pray’ (1P 4:7). Fasting involves letting go of things that distract us from uniting with Jesus in faith and praying according to the Spirit of the Father and Son.

Any act of self-denial—those particular ‘feeding’ habits that delight and dull us—is meaningful to the degree that we pray in its stead. In other words, we put off in order to take up.

Fasting is usually associated with food: what we need to live and sadly, what we use to feel good amid boredom and hardship. We can attach to many such things: food, yes, but also alcohol, television, sports, surfing the Internet, various expressions of social media, gaming, shopping—nothing wrong with any of the above but all wrong when they encroach on the One thing. Intimacy with Jesus is the antidote to the anxiety we experience from a chaotic world and the guilt we incur for our addictive, prayer-less response to it.

(Pick up the classic on this subject, Addiction and Grace, by Dr. Gerald May.)

So fasting can apply to any habit we choose to forego for a set period in order to seek Jesus and His purposes. Instead of grasping for the beer, donut, game, iPhone, etc. we open our hearts in quiet to Jesus. We unite our ache with the One who aches for us.

Out of intimacy comes authority. We pray hard for beloved persons under the delusion that they can create ‘selves’ apart from Jesus. We do battle for brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers who are being lulled into false freedoms. Jesus said to friends who questioned Him as to why they couldn’t make a demonized boy whole: ‘This kind can only come out by prayer and fasting’ (MK 9:29).

I am not implying that moral vulnerabilities are demons. But I am declaring that the LGBT+ ‘map’ for finding a ‘self’ is utterly demonic, a stronghold of thought that has deluded the minds of bright, powerful people who are now teaching others so in Jesus’ name (Father James Martin, etc.). Through prayer and fasting, we as Christ’s members need to wake up and declare the truth prayerfully over lost loved ones, and over the whole Church.

We must become messengers of Jesus’ clarity in this hour. Shatter demonic intimidation. Exude glorious light for persons who will perish without it.

I urge you to identify and set aside one questionable habit for 40-days and pray in its place using this devotional guide. We look forward to praying with you.

‘Those who oppose the Lord’s servant (s)he must gently instruct in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, so that they may come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap who has taken them captive to do his will’ (2T 2: 25, 26).

Join us for the ‘Becoming Good News for the Gender Challenged’ fast from Oct. 11th-Nov. 19th.

Download the Prayer Guide Below:

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Why Pray?

As we commence our 40-days of prayer and fasting next Wednesday on October 11th, I pose the question: why pray more? Let me count the ways.

First, we are continually knifed by the jagged world and jagged worldly people who we love so much we hate them. Instead of dulling ourselves by any number of drugs, prayer invites us into the presence of God who always asks: ‘Where is your heart?’ Frankly, I often don’t want to know. I want drugs! But more than drugs, I want peace, real peace that runs like a stream underneath my touchy self and wells up as I quiet my heart, feel the pain, and begin to allow living water to help me unload any number of conflicts I processed poorly in the hurried hours.

Second, prayer heals us. We pray more because the world isn’t getting any better for us and we are not getting any better in facing its demands. The cure? More prayer, which is the way we unite with the One who loves us more than we love Him and who through Jesus surrounds and confirms us as beloved sons and daughters who need help. I pray because I need help. Always. I cannot say ‘yes’ to His will today without Him. I am His and I want His will to be mine. In prayer I re-up by fixing the eyes of my heart straight on Him who gave all to gain me.

Third, prayer softens our hearts. Only Jesus makes me cry. It’s a good cry, born of gratitude for His self-giving, which frees me to release the everyday grief over the truth that I have little or no control over things in my life. My certainty is Him. I am being weaned off the world and secured in Him.

Fourth, prayer primes us to intercede for the hard-hearted. ‘I weep because you don’t’, said St. Jean Vianney but we can do our part. We cry out to the Father on behalf of loved ones, certain that as the good Shepherd left good sheep behind to rescue us He will do the same for them (LK 15:3-7). Remembering His generosity toward us inspires gratitude which fuels our eloquent petitions: ‘Get him (or her) God!’ We must persist like one who pounded on the judge’s door til the old crank got up and acted rightly (LK 18: 2-8). The logic is sure—if a divided man arose for her, how much more will Almighty God?

Fifth, prayer prepares us to answer our prayers or someone else’s. As we welcome His generous love afresh and pray for that generosity to lance our beloved’s heart, we are primed to make Jesus known however and to whomever He wills. I love being an answer to another’s prayer! How can we not spill onto another if we have been before His altar where living waters are ever-rising (Ez. 47)? Declare Him or burst (Jer. 20:9)!

Why pray more? Prayer changes everything. Starting next Wednesday the 11th, follow the DSM staff with this prayer guide. When possible, ask a prayer partner to join you. Let’s pray together and become good news for the broken.

Join us for the ‘Becoming Good News for the Gender Challenged’ fast from Oct. 11th-Nov. 19th.

Download the Prayer Guide Below:

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Becoming Good News for the Gender Challenged

How do we embody the Gospel for persons enslaved to the false liberties of our day? We pray, and ask God to give us mercy, vision and boldness to make known His transforming love to them.

The other day, I encountered a person staffing a drive-through window who could not be discerned as either male or female. Tempted by shock, I composed myself and recalled instantly a dream a few months back in which Jesus encountered an exceedingly fragile woman and said to her ‘I only want your best.’

Right away, I knew this was Jesus’ heart for His daughter, and for the entire creation, beginning with His church. He wants her best, which means wholeness, chastity, integration. I blessed the exceedingly fragile woman at the window; as I drove off, I wished I would have said more.

We need to find our voices. Now. In order to become good news for fragile persons being bludgeoned by today’s gender myths, we at Desert Stream Ministries are calling a 40-day fast/prayer vigil starting October 11th-Nov. 19th. Included in this blast is the entire 40-day devotional schedule. The DSM staff will be praying through this together at 3pm cst each day. Please join us!

Jesus employs almighty mercy to reconcile us to His best. And He is calling us to be His effectual messengers for persons who need to know what the ‘best’ is and how He helps us to discover it. Our prayer time together will include reflections on how Jesus is the answer to the gender mess we are in, and how we can become vessels of His transforming love to the people we face daily.

Let’s become answers to the prayers of persons who cry out for loved ones subject to dead-end ‘gay’ liberties and the gender-bending chaos that ensues. Let’s find our voices today, endowed with the Spirit and motivated by love. Check out this prayer guide and join us for ‘Becoming Good News for the Gender Challenged’ from Oct. 11th-Nov. 19th.

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