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Red Lips

I didn’t know my son had red lips until he was 12 weeks old…He is now 13 weeks and I still am taken aback (in a good way) by his red lips, they look so out of the ordinary–so absolutely beautiful because red lips means oxygen and oxygen means healing, divine and supernatural healing.



When I posted my last blog I talked about how my son and I were hidden together in the Rock of Ages, but I had no idea how much I was going to learn about what that means over the next few months, nor how much I would learn about God’s providence or God being my son’s strength…Around the time that I posted that I had started to realize that my newborn baby boy was not sleeping enough. Out of desperation to sleep I had started to look up how much a newborn should on average be sleeping, my son was barely sleeping at just under a month. I thought it was the caffeine medication he was on and I started to try everything in my power to help him sleep from swaddling and rocking him on the yoga ball or in the dark with the water running so long that my arm would get stuck in a pain from holding him. I wasn’t even able to eat or go to the bathroom unless I let my baby cry or unless my husband was home and able to make me a sandwich to bring me while I nursed or rocked our son. We even moved my husband’s beer fridge out of the garage into the nursery in another desperate attempt to help me grab a snack (2 months later I threw out the food that was in there) because I hadn’t had time to eat it. Something was wrong, I just didn’t realize how wrong. In addition one of my breasts was badly cracked, 4 cracks, one of them right through the middle and a portion of the nipple had come off. I had even received special supplies from the wound care clinic to try to help it heal, but nothing was working. I didn’t understand why God wasn’t answering my prayers for my nipple to heal or for my son to sleep. I knew that scripture says that if we pray something according to God’s will it will be done, so how come it wasn’t God’s will for my baby to sleep or for my nipple to heal?

During this trying time of almost no sleep, no self care, and a crying baby that would scratch at my chest and scream and try to nurse even though he just had almost every time I tried to get him to sleep in a wrap God gave me a scripture to hang onto:

Do everything without murmuring or questioning [the providence of God], 15 so that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and guileless, innocent and uncontaminated, children of God without blemish in the midst of a [morally] crooked and [spiritually] perverted generation, among whom you are seen as bright lights [beacons shining out clearly] in the world [of darkness]. Philippians 2:14

This scripture became my lifeline, every time I was tempted to despair I would remind myself to trust in God’s providence even though this didn’t seem to have an end in site or any solution that worked. I hated sitting in the dark with him to get him to sleep, but any light would stimulate him and make him stare at it. One afternoon when I was rocking him in the dark with the block-out curtains down in our room I had left the door open because I didn’t want to be in total darkness – not again. It just so happened that the light from the sun moved onto the door and that little light softly and beautifully illuminated our room as my son slept and I bounced…I had been using the time on the ball to pray, and I felt like God was telling me that it may be dark on the ball on this side, but in the spirit realm we were a ball of light because the Holy Spirit was in us and all around us.

Finally when my baby was six weeks old I decided I had to pump and bottle feed in order for my nipple to heal. This led to 2 things, I researched how many ounces a day my baby should be getting and solutions for how to get my baby to stop pinching my nipples. That is when I read that a baby that pinches a nipple can constrict the flow of milk so that it is like they are drinking out of a coffee straw…then later that night I saw an article that listed signs of a starving baby – stick like limbs, green watery poop etc. I conducted some experiments with changing his nursing position and did conclude that he was constricting the flow, my heart felt so heavy, broken within me. Sure enough once I started bottle-feeding he started sleeping!!! I had brought him to the doctor several times in January but it was never caught that he was failing to thrive because God gave Caleb strength to stay awake way more than a newborn should to eat constantly and for long periods of time in order to survive and not start losing weight. I don’t know what would have happened if he hadn’t had that strength, I don’t want to know, God gave him what he needed. Praise God that HE knew and HE provided a shot of caffeine everyday for my baby to help him stay awake and keep on fighting. The LORD IS my son’s strength.

During this time of serious sleep deprivation I learned a lot about the cleft of the Rock. It is not a hard, cold place, like a cold but safe cave in rock. It is not just a safe place, or just a comfortable place, it is literally being held in the arms of God Himself. He did provide, even in the tough times and the smallest of ways throughout that time. We each have a choice whether or not to radically trust God even when it feels like our prayers aren’t being answered and when we are under intense physical and mental pressure. If we do decide to set our heart on trusting and obeying Him then He WILL provide. He IS Jehovah Jireh. It may not feel like he is providing, it certainly didn’t when I gave my non-sleeping baby caffeine everyday and when my breast continued to get worse than better – but God used that breast to make me pump and bottle-feed, and that was what my baby needed.

The bottle-feeding honeymoon didn’t last long, my baby had a constant stream of milk coming out of both corners of his mouth and he would scream and scream when he was eating from the amount of air he was swallowing. Apparently his high palate made bottle-feeding difficult, not just nursing. I felt desperate, how was I supposed to feed my baby! I resorted to using a syringe, but once again God stopped in and helped me find the haberman bottle online, the first time I tried to buy it I got the notification that it wouldn’t ship to Alaska. But then a few hours later apparently that company changed their minds cause I got free expedited shipping with Amazon Prime. Then a few weeks later I found a place where they were on clearance locally, still expensive, but cheaper than Amazon! Once again the providence of Jehovah Jireh saved my baby and made it easier on me than having to just wash and clean 3 bottles over and over, 5 was much easier to handle. 🙂

Then the snacking began. The new bottle prevented air intake and decreased the choking, sputtering and gagging, plus the flow of milk all over out of his mouth, neck and chest, but then it felt like we were going back to eating all the time and having a hard time sleeping. I started researching online and I found a blog about silent reflux. It sounded like what was going on and would explain the intermittent projectile vomiting, the on-going coughing – both without any indication of sickness…the gagging and choking. I made a same day appointment…but the doctor wasn’t so sure, but he scheduled a swallow test. In the meantime the snacking and everything continued. I felt like I should try to put him on a schedule, but he was a newborn still and feed on demand was what I was told over and over. It wasn’t until his therapist had me try to get him to eat faster and he started to projectile vomit again that we were given the green light to a feeding schedule vs the rooting. Apparently silent refluxers may eat to comfort themselves and tend to overeat! This made a huge difference, my son started to actually eat, play then sleep – at two months old we finally started to leave chaos behind and enter into a lifestyle that would allow us to leave the house and get more sleep (we were getting more than his first moth, but his naps were so short still and the nights were still frequent waking as well because he was never full from the snacking habit). Miraculously my baby even started sleeping 6 hours sometimes, and then by 3 months 8 hours at night! This was the same baby that pretty much did NOT sleep his first month of life without major intervention and then not well at all his second month…miraculous!

Around the time that I started bottle-feeding my baby’s oxygen started to desaturate again, the car seat, the changing table, while he napped. This in addition to coughing, gagging, choking. The doctors were not sure what was the direct cause of the desats and he stayed on the caffeine. Grunting in his sleep, cyanosis, and his heart heart had started to drop on top of everything. Things were going to start getting invasive if the doctors couldn’t find an answer soon. On March 1 sent out a prayer alert asking for prayer for quick answers, that night I started to cry as my son slept soundly with oxygen at just 92% for an hour and pale…but then I felt like I should praise God in faith and so I did. Then the next night that song, the one from his birth, came on and I felt like God wanted me to sing that song again, I was tempted to go brush my teeth and pump etc. but I started to sing “There is Power in the Name of Jesus” and to pray, and to declare healing for my baby – and I felt the Spirit move. I prayed hard over every part of him, for his heart, his lungs, his throat, his brain, his mouth, his tongue, his larynx, his esophagus, his trachea, his bronchial tubes – to be under the authority of the Holy Spirit – in subject to God and for there to be complete and utter healing – here is the email I sent out the next day:

Thank you everyone for praying, I’m putting my faith in God for complete and utter healing and deliverance as of last night in, as Laverne says the immaculate name of Jesus Christ. I wanted answers,  but now I just want the upcoming tests to be ones that show this healing and for his pulse oximeter to be redeemed from a device of alarm and fear to be one of joy, a testimony of the power of our Jesus Christ. Pray for me as I rely on God’s strength to keep my shield of faith raised over my household in praise of our God. Thank you Terri for the words of promise in Psalm 91 to pray over my son, God is good and He WILL be massively glorified through Caleb Gabriel. Praise the Lord for His providence, for His healing and for His authority over our every breathe.
For from Him and through Him and for Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen. —‭Romans‬ ‭11:36

God answers prayer. Caleb’s oxygen started doing well, really well, 96, 97% except one night when I struggled with fear and it was at 94%. The quick answers also began. The green watery poo had come back and I was suspecting the fat content in my milk was low because we had been busy with appointments so I had allowed myself to go long periods without pumping because I was getting enough volume for multiple bottles. I decided to do formula for a few days so i could get my pumping back on track and the fat content back up. I noticed Caleb’s fussiness increase a lot. Then my husband accidentally bought a pro-sensitive formula. I decided to give it a try. We immediately saw a decrease in fussiness and not only fussiness but his grunting while he was eating, plus the raised patch of dry skin between his eyes started to look better and more like just a patch of dry peeling skin versus raised like a wart or something….I decided to buy some liquid alementum and try that for two weeks instead of the pro-senstive…before my eyes I watched the skin between my sons eyebrows turn smooth  in just an afternoon, even though I’d been putting oil on it for weeks…AND his oxygen shot up to 98, 99, 100% at night during deep sleep!!!! PLUS his lips turned red, dark beautiful red! I’ve looked back at past photos and can find some with color in his lips, but most of the time they were pink, or even less than pink sometimes…I had just gotten used to seeing pale lips…my heart breaks when I realize this but then deeply and profoundly rejoices because again GOD KNEW what color lips he gave my son and GOD SAVES and if our GOD IS FOR US WHO CAN BE AGAINST US? Once again God used what looked like a problem with my milk to provide an answer, once again I was floored. There IS Power in the Name of Jesus, let me say it again — there is POWER IN THE NAME OF JESUS, to break EVERY chain!! I immediately started an elimination duet and decided to ask the doctor once again to let Caleb go off the caffeine and to not start a new medication that was already at the pharmacy – but get this had been delayed so that we had to wait to pick it up AFTER the weekend that my husband bought the wrong formula. That’s right. In light of the obvious change linked to diet we got to go off caffeine – cold turkey – no weaning, this is after a .10 ml a week weaning had been scheduled and then postponed. Praise the Lord!

THEN on Sunday the 12th I had determined to meet a friend at her church, it would be the first time Caleb and I went to church since he was born. Another friend Barb had told me she went to another church and I decided I would visit that one the next week with her. Well God had other plans, he had a divine appointment you see for Caleb and I to testify. It is by the blood of the lamb and our testimony that we triumph over the enemy! Caleb was crying and the other church was closer so I decided to go there instead of the one I had planned on, turns out it was a testimony service. Caleb and I had never attended that church before, but I felt like God wanted me to get up. Fear and doubt didn’t want me to so I made sure to get up and be the very first person to go – obey God fast and let the Holy Spirit to the talking (can I get an amen?!). Later during the testimony service the pastor actually stopped and said he had a song to sing for someone, a promise from God. I believe this was a promise for Caleb and I. I had never heard this song before, but now I’m declaring it, not just singing it!

Be not dismayed whatever betide
God will take care of you
Beneath His wings of love abide
God will take care of you

God will take care of you
Through everyday o’er all the way
He will care for you
God will take care of you

Through days of toil when heart doth fail
God will take care of you
When dangers fierce your path assail
God will take care of you

God will take care of you
Through everyday o’er all the way
He will care for you
God will take care of you

God will take care of you
He will
God will take care of you
He will

“So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41:10

Praise God. Again I say praise Him and rejoice. Dance and sing for joy!

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Caleb Gabriel

THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH
At my baby shower I spoke about my son’s name, Caleb, and how his name will forever be a reminder to me, and to him, to remain wholly devoted to God whether we are entering a promised land or a wilderness. Either way it takes courage to follow God, to fear Him versus fearing our situation. These are things that God used infertility to teach me and the Biblical heritage attached to my son’s name is a reminder of these important lessons. That leaves Gabriel, which means The Lord is my Strength – how beautifully and how powerfully this name has become intertwined into my son’s legacy. During labor I talked about my son Caleb Gabriel and was able to focus on God to be my strength, speaking my son’s name and its meaning over me as the power of the contraction would take over my body. However no one had any idea what was to come at delivery – how this name that my husband chose for our son really in a sense was prophetic because it was the strength of God that saved my baby. It was God, who after my son did not breathe at birth, when the oxygen mask failed, a failed intubation attempt, it was God who finally used an ER doctor who was rushed into Labor and Delivery to successfully get my son to respond during a second attempt at intubation. During this entire process I did not stop calling on the name of God, crying out loud to Him to save my son, declaring that He is good and He is the authority over my son’s life, crying out that every chain was broken in the name of Jesus and crying out to my baby to hang on, mommy was there. It was shocking watching tube after tube being inserted into my baby and tons of people swarming in and around him as my own OBGYN continued to work on me to deliver the placenta and to stitch me up. Time stood still for me, I noticed nothing but my son on the “baby spa” and focused on God saving my baby until finally about 45 minutes later my baby was placed safely in my arms.

PROVIDENCE
Just a few hours before breaking my waters on my due date to send me into labor God placed some verses strongly on my heart. I wrote this to a friend who was praying with me in preparation for labor:

“I was just praying my list of verses and two of them in particular feel like they are extra important for me to be praying:

‘For I will contend with him who contends with you, and I will save your children.’
Isaiah 49:25, NKJV

‘ The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.’
2 Tim. 4:18
Out of the two Isaiah 49:25 was most heavily impressed upon my heart. I did not realize how literally this promise would be fulfilled within the next 24 hours…nor did I realize how God had providentially provided to save my baby from low oxygen levels once we got home from the hospital.
Just a few days before God brought my baby into the world I got an Owlet oxygen and heart monitor in the mail that I won on CyberMonday through an Instagram contest sponsored by TempTraq… After 3 consecutive red alarms and low oxygen lasting 15-20 minutes as my son soundly slept early Sunday morning, 8 days after my baby was born we found ourselves in the ER and then the Pediatric ICU with oxygen desaturation episodes. If it hadn’t been for that monitor at home that God provided me with through a contest who knows? Now, with a medical-grade pulse-oximeter it is so wonderful to see great oxygen levels as my baby sleeps in his bassinet.
The Lord is my baby’s strength. When the tubes from delivery put my baby and I behind with feedings due to his sore throat and a resulting poor suck reflex – the Lord was our strength. We overcame, we met a 24 hour deadline for weight gain and no more meconium. My son is brave, he is courageous, God is his strength – these are his foundations: grounded, founded in the Lord. Where does my baby’s help come from? His help comes from the Lord the maker of heaven and earth.

HOODWINKED

So where does that leave things, how am I handling all this? To be honest the question “why” has been on my lips before God. It is ok to ask God why, as long as we are willing to wait for His correction, correcting our perspective to align with his. Often we don’t get an explicit, “x,y,z” answer, but instead the strength to simply trust in Him as our Sovereign Lord and our Good Good Father. I don’t know why we were in the hospital more than home the first 2 weeks of my son’s life, or why he had to get an IV and a lumbar puncture, why he didn’t breathe right away when he was born or why he has to be on caffeine, but what I do know is that God saved my son’s life, God knew there was an oxygen problem and provided, God has blessed me with a reward, a gift, a heritage, a son precious beyond words. My son is actually a very healthy little boy. The hospital ran the gamut of tests on him, ultrasounds, x-rays, he is brave and strong. I have a lot to be thankful for.
Something his pediatrician told me this week has really struck me. He said he wanted to reassure me and give me some good news so he ordered a test that he really didn’t have to that I was worried about. He said this should be a really good time in my life, celebrating the birth of my baby boy. When he said that it struck me, all of these events and tests had really put me in a place of concern to the point that I was spending a lot of my time researching every possible thing about it all to the point that I was worrying about things I didn’t have to worry about. It is natural of course given the circumstances that I would find myself researching things and looking for symptoms – but the bad thing is I was letting it rob me of bliss – of simply enjoying these precious weeks where my baby is so tiny and brand new. I wasn’t resting in the Lord or in His joy, I was being robbed of this. I felt hoodwinked by it all – God has answered my prayers. He has given me a precious son, He has saved His life. God’s got this. I can trust Him with my baby just like I trusted Him with my barren womb. Now it is time for me to enjoy my blessing. Now it is time for me to enjoy my son. We are hidden together in Christ, in The Rock of Ages-The Rock Eternal.

You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.
Isaiah 16:3-4

NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES 
There are two songs that now are strongly linked in my memory to the birth and delivery of my son and interestingly enough they both have to do with names. Just as my son’s first and middle name have become very significant testimonies, there is another name that stands above it all – God’s name. I have an entire playlist that played on repeat during my labor – but there is one song that sticks out to me starkly – it brings me back to those moments of thanking God for the contraction, accepting the contraction, and relying on God’s strength to get me through. Interestingly I only had a vague knowledge of the song when I added it – really only it’s name and the images of Time Square – not the song itself, but the sound of it fit the mood I was going for. Now, however, it is part of my story, part of my son’s story. There is truly No Other Name. The second song I sang as a prayer out loud as I begged God for my son’s life at his birth, There is Power in the Name of JESUS to Break EVERY Chain! Amen.

Answered and Unanswered Prayers

There are a couple of really big things I’ve been praying for in my life. I mean like lifetime big. Last night while driving along I prayed for a really tiny thing, and then I found myself thinking and then half jokingly/half seriously saying to God, “but if you have to choose between answering this really tiny thing or my really big prayer request, please just completely ignore this one, even if it turns out to be the most opposite of being answered in every way….” But prayer doesn’t work that way, we can’t barter answered prayers with God.

God’s word promises us that if we pray for something in the name of Jesus, and that if it is in line with God’s will that it will be done. God’s will. Whether it is in the tiny things or the big things. Submitting to Him, even when His will is different than what we are praying for is what it means to be a Christian. It means trusting Him, that He IS good. That He IS loving, and letting Him be our Lord, the light leading us through life, no matter how our prayers are answered.

The great thing is also that His Holy Spirit inside of us will comfort us and sustain us when our prayers are unanswered and also transform us to be more in line with His will so that over time we pray more and more according to God’s will. That doesn’t mean that the sting of sorrow will not be felt when a prayer goes unanswered, but the Holy Spirit, as the seal of our covenant with God through Christ, does give us confident hope in Him, the orchestrator of the universe.

As the hymn goes “I have decided to follow Jesus/ No turning back / No turning back” and I’d like to say, No matter what / No matter what.

 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
John 15:4-7

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
John 15:16

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual act of worship.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Romans 12:1-2

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.
Galations 5:16-17

Your word is a lamp for my feet,
a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105

Public Prayer Observations

Wow, where did the past few weeks go?! Last night I finished doing the simple observations of who, what, when, where, why and how in regards to the examples of public prayer I found throughout God’s Word. View all of the verses on prayer that I gathered for reference and future study, including prayers such as intercession, fasting, confession, supplication, praise etc.

I say “simple” observation because in reality to truly dive in and study each of the passages below you’d have to observe keywords, repeated phrases, the who, what, when etc. for multiple subjects referenced and more. The observations below are a vital part of the Tim Tebow and praying in public study…I captured these observations over the past couple of weeks so I’ll take a bit to look over them again, pray and ask God’s Holy Spirit to teach me as I observe them all together. Observing them together will help us take them into context.

If you are interested in doing a similar investigation instead of just “taking my word for it” then please do! If you find any verses that I missed, please let me know. In regards to personal Bible study, I highly recommend the Precept Ministries book, “Lord, Teach Me How to Study the Bible in 28 Days” by Kay Arthur. It really helps you practice the carefull steps of observation and study which can lead to sound interpretation when studying God’s Word. When we approach God’s Word, it is good to be humble and to take it very seriously with a healthy recognition that apart from God we are in darkness, yet we shouldn’t be afraid of studying the Word of God, He made it available to us – praise the Lord! Let’s listen to Him instead of our hearts though!

Observations
1 Samuel 2:1-10
Who: Hannah
What: Worshiped the Lord in prayer in the presence of her husband and Eli the priest
When: When she brought her son Samuel to the temple to dedicate Him to the Lord
Where: at the Lord’s House in Shiloh
Why: God had answered her prayer of sorrowful and distressful supplication that she made a few years earlier during the family’s yearly sacrifice. He caused her to be able to conceive a son in spite of her barren womb so she jubilantly worshiped the Lord when she brought Samuel to Him as she had vowed to do.
How: With rejoicing and exultation.

2 Samuel 15:25-37 (31)
Who:
King David
What: David prayed for God to turn the counsel of Ahithophel to foolishness.
When: Upon hearing that his trusted counselor, Ahithophel, had sided with Absalom to give him counsel.
Where: While climbing the Mount of Olives barefoot and weeping in escape from Absalom.
Why: Because his son Absalom had turned the hearts of the people against David.
How: Right then and there, “on the spot”, immediately, however you want to say it David prayed right away and then when we got to the top of the mount, he worshiped God in spite of the events taking place and the new he’d just received.

Note: God answered David’s prayer through Hushai the Archite and the priests.
Significant Details:
1. David’s immediate response to betrayal by a close counselor was prayer. He publicly relied upon and turned towards God as the supreme counselor.
2. David publicly and genuinely worshiped God in spite of the betrayal of men and of is own son.
3. David publicly humbled himself before God’s sovereignty and authority and recognized and submitted to God’s will. He trusted God. All of this is evident when David says of the Lord…”If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, He will bring me back and let me see both it [ark] and His house. but if He says, I have no delight in you, then here I am; let Him do to me what seems good to Him.”

This is all quite astounding taking in that David was king over a nation during a historical time period when kings could pretty much do as they pleased and some even considered themselves to be deities, it is also astounding taking in that God has anointed David as King and promised Him the throne with descendants. If David’s heart had been untrue towards God or if there had been lingering seeds of pride, arrogance or idolatry in David’s heart this trial could have easily made David turn His back on God and choose to distrust the Lord. Instead David humbles himself before the people and worships God. Now I am starting to understand why God called David a man after His own heart…how I long to have that same heart in me because I think of how far off from this I am! I am convicted and rightfully so.

1 Kings 8:22-54, 2 Chronicles 6:12-42
Who:
King Solomon
What: Worshiped God and prayed for him to hearken to the prayers of God’s people and of strangers when they pray towards Gods house, recognizing that God cannot be contained but as a symbol of faith. Prayed for God to hear and to forgive, save, deliver and/or heal in accordance with their hearts since God alone knows the hearts of men.
When: At the dedication of God’s house built in Jerusalem and the bringing of the Ark of the Covenant (symbol of God’s presence) into the Holy of Holies.
Where: In front of God’s house in Jerusalem
Why: Recognition, worship and dedication.
How: Solomon stood and then knelt before the Lord’s burnt offering altar in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and prayed with his hands spread forth toward heaven. Solomon was on a bronze scaffold that measured 5 cubits wide and 3 cubits high in the midst of the court.

1 Kings 18:30-39
Who:
Elijah
What: Gathered all Israel and the 450 Baal prophets and 400 Asherah prophets of Queen Jezebel. Had the 850 prophets pray to Baal and Asherah for them to send fire from heaven for the sacrifice and then Elijah prayed to God to send fire from heaven. God did send fire and it not only caught the sacrifice on fire but consumed it, the altar, the water and dust around it.
When: At the end of a 3 1/2 year famine that God sent due to the idolatry and evil of Ahab, Jezebel and the people and after Jezebel had killed all of God’s prophets except for Elijah.
Where: Mt. Carmel
Why: To prove to the people who the true God was. Elijah did all of this because God told him to
How: At evening, after the 850 prophets prayed from morning to evening, cutting themselves it was Elijah’s turn. He repaired the altar of the Lord, building it with stones and had a trench dug around it. Then he had it drenched with water. After this Elijah prayed for it to be known that God was God, publicly recognizing that God had told him to do all of this and for God to hear his supplication.

1 Chronicles 29:10-20
Who:
King David
What: Praise and recognition, thanksgiving, supplication for guidance and for the purity ad commitment of his son Solomon and of the people toward God.
When: At the offering which was to provide for the building of God’s house
Where: In Jerusalem (28:1)
Why: During his rejoicing with the assembly because of the generous offering of the people and since they gave willingly with a whole and blameless heart, offering freely to the Lord (v 6-10)
How: Prayed to and blessed the Lord before all the assembly which consisted of the leaders of Israel, officers of divisions, stewards of property/livestock, people who held places of office and mighty men/warriors.

1 Chronicles 29:10-20
Who:
all of the assembly (vs 20)
What: blessed the Lord, (corporate prayer, since studying public prayers made by David in same chapter included these observations too, see more examples of corporate prayer).
When: At the offering which was to provide for the building of God’s house
Where: In Jerusalem (28:1)
Why: Because of the generous offering of the people and since they gave willingly with a whole and blameless heart, offering freely to the Lord (v 6-10)
How: bowed down and did obeisance

2 Chronicles 7:1-4
Who:
All the people of the assembly of Israel, a great assembly
What: Praised and worshiped God (corporate prayer and worship, their prayers are linked to the public prayer made by Solomon in 6:12-42, see more examples of corporate prayer).
When: At the dedication of the temple, after Solomon finished his prayer of dedication God sent fire from heaven and consumed the burnt offerings and sacrifices and God’s glory filled the house of the Lord.
Where: In front of God’s house in Jerusalem
Why: Because of who God is and what He did
How: They bowed down with their faces upon the pavement

2 Chronicles 20:1-29
Who:
King Jehoshaphat
What: Recognition, quoted in part King Salomon’s prayer of dedication, presented situation to God and asked for guidance. Verse 12: ” We do not know what to do but our eyes are upon You.” He publicly humbled himself before God and sought Him as their hope for deliverance.
When: Threatened by a great multitude from Edom
Where: The House of the Lord
Why: Because Moabites, Ammonites, Meunites coming against Judah
How: Stood in the seemly of Judah and Jerusalem and prayed

2 Chronicles 20:1-29
Who:
People of the cities of Judah
What: Seek the Lord
When: they were threatened by great multitude from Edom
Where: in the House of the Lord
Why: Because Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites coming against Judah
How: Stood before the Lord

Significant Details: God’s Spirit came upon Jehaziel in the midst of the assembly and spoke in response to Jehoshaphat and the people’s prayers. Got told them to:
-Be not afraid
-The battle is not theirs but the Lord’s
-Gave the directions on where to go and what to do.
When God spoke in response to them King Jehoshaphat and all the people fell down with the faces to the ground and worshiped God.
Sure enough the multitude was encamped in the wilderness of Tekoa where God told His people they’d be. King Jehoshaphat appointed singers to go before the army praising the Lord and when they began to worship God then God took the battle into his own hands the multitude from Edom self slaughtered based on fears of betrayal so when God’s people reached the watch tower they saw their dead bodies all over.

Ezra 9:1-15, 10:1
Who:
Ezra, a scribe who set his heart to seek the Law of the Lord and to do it and to teach it in Israel.
What: He prayed a prayer of confession, confessing on behalf of the nation since they had again forsaken God’s commands in spite of God’s recent mercy.
When: Ezra reacted immediately, as soon as he was told from the officials that the people, priests and Levites had taken heathen wives for themselves directly violating God’s commands.
Where: Before the House of the Lord.
Why: Because the Israelites intermarried, again, even after their forefathers were punished and in spite of God’s mercy.
How: With a large group gathered around him, Ezra publicly rent his outer and inner garments, pulled hair from his beard and sat appalled all day till the evening sacrifice before praying. He knelt on his knees, spread out his hands to God, addressing God personally and confessing on behalf of the nation with weeping.

Significant History: A few years early God stirred the hearts of some of the Israelites in Babylon to return to Jerusalem when, upon being charged by God, Cyrus the king of Persia declared for God’s house in Jerusalem to be rebuilt. Ezra went to Jerusalem after the house had been rebuilt in the 7th year of Artaxerxes.

Significant Notes:
Ezra does not ask God to forgive them in his prayer because he recognized that true reconciliation with the Lord required true repentance which is marked by actual change in actions as well as verbal confession. Ezra genuinely and passionately confesses the sins and then he works with the other officials to begin the real life repenting action throughout the people. Ezra was in tune in how serious sin is – I pray for God to help me to be appalled at my own sin and to not only confess the sin but to also take on “active repentance”, turning away from that sin and clinging to God (Joshua 23:8).

Nehemiah 8:1-6
Who: 
Ezra and the Israelites
What:
Worshiped and blessed the Lord
When: 
Ezra the scribe stood above them at a wooden pulpit and opened the Book of the Law, reading it to them from early morning to noon.
Where: 
In Jerusalem, in the broad place before the Water Gate
Why: 
At the opening of God’s Word and when Ezra blessed the Lord
How: 
Stood at the reading of God’s word and when Ezra blessed the Lord they answered “Amen, Amen” and worshiped God with uplifted hands and bowed heads with faces to the ground.

Nehemiah 9-10
Who:
Israelites
What: Fasting and Confessing (corporate prayer and fasting, since studying public prayers made by the Levites and Ezra in same chapters included these observations too, see more examples of corporate prayer).
When: Last (8th) day of the Feast of Tabernacles, during solemn assembly
Where: Jerusalem
Why: The people of Israel initially mourned and wept when they first heard the words read and taught to them and then in order to keep that day holy they rejoiced and praised the Lord since He had given the law to them (ch 8). After this when the priests and Levites gathered with Ezra to study and understand the Book of the Law they found out about the Feast of Tabernacles so they held it as commanded. On the 8th day, a Sabbath, after 7 days of rejoicing they held this solemn assembly to seek God and make a covenant with Him.
How: Fasting in sackcloth and with dirt on their heads. During the fast they spent 1/4 of the day reading the Book of the Law and another 1/4 of the day they confessed and worshiped the Lord their God.

Nehemiah 9-10
Who: Levites
What: Blessed and extolled God
When: Last (8th) day of the Feast of Tabernacles
Where: On the stairs of the Levites during the solemn assembly in Jerusalem
Why: The people of Israel initially mourned and wept when they first heard the words read and taught to them and then in order to keep that day holy they rejoiced and praised the Lord since He had given the law to them (ch 8). After this when the priests and Levites gathered with Ezra to study and understand the Book of the Law they found out about the Feast of Tabernacles so they held it as commanded. On the 8th day, a Sabbath, after 7 days of rejoicing they held this solemn assembly to seek God and make a covenant with Him.
How: Cried out with a loud voice.

Nehemiah 9-10
Who:
Ezra
What: Prayer of recognition, praise, worship, remembrance of Who God is and what God had done, God’s faithfulness, justice, righteousness and mercy. Also confession, humbleness and made a covenant with God. Prayed publicly on behalf of everyone there.
When: During the solemn assembly, on the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles.
Where: Jerusalem
Why: Ezra had been reading and teaching God’s law to the people each day of the Feast of Tabernacles, then on this last day, they solemnly confessed theirs sins, worshiped God and made a covenant with Him.
How: While fasting in confession and worship with the people and Levites.

Daniel 6:1-13
Who:
Daniel, an exile*.
What: Gave thanks to God and made prayers of supplication to Him.
When: Three times a day, everyday, even after a law was passed that made it punishable by death to worship anyone or anything else besides the king for thirty days.
Where: At his open chamber windows, which faced in the direction toward Jerusalem. (Remember, King Solomon had prayed that when God’s people were in exile for God to hear them and deliver them when they prayed to Him, and as a token of their faith faced towards the temple in Jerusalem).
Why: Daniel was not afraid or ashamed to worship God even if it meant death by lions. He put is faith in God and continued to worship Him publicly as had been his habit before the law was passed.
How: On his knees

*Significant Note: God doesn’t always protect His followers from suffering or being taken into captivity or on the flip side, no matter if you are carried off into literal captivity that is no excuse to stop seeking, worshiping and obeying God. Daniel was an exile, in the land of Babylon, yet the book of Daniel shows how much glory God received from the exiles who believed and followed God wholeheartedly even if it meant risking a painful death. God was glorified when he protected Daniel from being eaten by the hungry lions, after this King Darius wrote a declaration to all people, nations and languages (in his realm which was very big) for…”in all my royal dominion men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for He is the living God, enduring and steadfast forever, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed and His dominion shall be even to the end. He is Savior and Deliverer, and He works signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth-He Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions”.

Luke 2:21-35
Who:
Simeon, righteous man, looking for the Consolation of Israel, Holy Spirit upon Him. God had divinely revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One.
What: Praised and thanked God saying, “And now, Lord, You are releasing Your Servant to depart in peace, according to Your word. For with my eyes I have seen Your Salvation,which You have ordained and prepared before all people, A Light for revelation to the Gentiles and praise and honor and glory to Your people Israel”.
When: When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple for Mary’s purification and for Jesus to be dedicated to the Lord in accordance with the Mosaic law.
Where: In the temple enclosure in Jerusalem.
Why: God revealed to Him Jesus was the Messiah and the Holy Spirit upon Him prayed prophetically through Him.
How: He took Jesus up in his arms

Luke 2:36-38
Who:
Prophet Anna, daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She had been married only 7 years before becoming a widow for 84 years. She stayed in the temple enclosure worshiping day and night with fasting and prayer.
What: Returned thanks to God.
When: When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple for Mary’s purification and for Jesus to be dedicated to the Lord in accordance with the Mosaic law. She came up at the same hour as Simeon.
Where: In the temple enclosure in Jerusalem.
Why:
How: Before everyone who was looking she thanked God and spoke of Jesus for the redemption of Jerusalem.

Matthew 6:1-18
Who:
God’s people
What: Do not do your acts of righteousness, such as giving, praying and/or fasting to be seen by men (recognized, honored and praised by men) as the hypocrites do.
When: Giving, praying or fasting or other things God calls us to do in obedience to Him as Christians
Where: Both in the synagogue (church) and on the streets (outside of church).
Why: If your motivation to do your acts of righteousness is to be seen by men then you have already received your reward and will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
How: Do your acts of righteousness for God’s glory alone, making an effort to keep it an act of obedience between you and Him, even giving, praying and fasting in secret. Don’t make a big deal out of or make fanfare out of your acts of righteousness.

Significant Notes:
Verse one of chapter 6 sets the stage, the lens, the perspective however you want to say it for verses 1-18. It is important to note that Jesus did not say, do not do your acts of righteousness in public period, but he did say, do not do them in public or before men to be seen by them. Check your heart and search whether or not you are doing any act of righteousness with even the slightest hint of desire to be found out by, seen by, looked up to or admired by other people. That is a sin because God alone deserves glory and honor. In Isaiah it says that our righteousness deeds are like filthy rags compared to God’s holiness. In Romans it cautions us not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to. The reality is that we are all hopelessly lost and condemned without Christ’s blood protecting us – and God does no save us based on ANY merit of our own but because He loves us and is merciful. No amount of righteous acts earns us “more or less points” – we are all on the same level before a holy, impartial God.

Also, note that these acts are considered righteous not because we are righteous, God alone is righteous. Giving, praying and fasting are all forms of worship and obedient acts based on faith. We give to honor God with our first fruits, worshiping him with our giving and trusting Him to provide for us. The whole point of prayer and fasting isn’t about us and what we can “get out of God” but it is to get in God’s presence and draw closer to Him, it is filled with worship as we can see through all the prayers throughout God’s Word. We pray and fast because we have faith that God hears us and that He is faithful to His promises that if we seek Him we will find Him.

In all “acts of righteousness” God calls us to the reason He calls us to do them is to worship Him and because when we obey Him with a pure heart we grow closer to Him. He is the true treasure. In the sermon of the mount Jesus says to let your light shine so that people may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. The whole point is to bring glory to God – are your good deeds leading people to personally praise our Father in heaven or are they just shining the spotlight on you?

Matthew 14:18-21, Mark 6:41-44, Luke 9:14-17
Who:
Jesus
What: Prayed publicly, thanking God for His provision and asking God to bless the five loaves and 2 fish to feed 5000+ people.
When: Late in the day.
Where: Near Behsaida, in a desolate, isolated place.
Why: He had compassion on the people and to bring God glory.
How: After having the people recline on the grass he took the food into his hands and looked up to heaven, gave thanks, blessed the food and broke the food into pieces for the disciples to pass out to the people. There were 12 hand baskets of food leftover.

Matthew 19:13-15
Who:
Jesus
What: Prayed for the little children.
When: After rebuking the disciples and telling them not to forbid, restrain or hinder the little ones from coming to Christ.
Where: Part of Judea beyond the Jordan.
Why: He rebuked those that would hinder the children from coming to Him because He said that “of such is the kingdom of heaven composed”.
How: Laid his hand on them and prayed for them.

Matthew 26:26-27, Mark 14:22-23
Who:
Jesus
What:
Praising God, gave thanks and asked God to bless the food to their use.
When:
Passover Dinner
Where:
Upper room
Why:
Visually, to demonstrate his body being broken and his blood poured out to ratify the new covenant on behalf of many, for the forgiveness of sins.
How: 
Took the bread, prayed, broke it and gave it to the disciples to eat. Took the cup, prayed, gave it to them to all drink.

Luke 23:32-43
Who:
Jesus
What: Prayed “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
When: When the people and soldiers crucified him on Golgotha
Where: On Hebrew: Golgotha, Latin: Calvary – placed called “The Skull”
Why: Jesus forgave his debtors and prayed for those who persecuted Him as He commands us to do
How: While hanging on the cross between two criminals.

Matthew 27:45-50, Mark 15:33-37, Luke 23: 44-29
Who:
Jesus
What: Prayed “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” which means “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”. Also prayed, “Father, into your hands I commit My spirit”
When: Right before  He expired
Where: On the cross, at about the 9th hour (3 pm).
Why: Christ gave up His spirit willingly, it was not forced out of Him. He willingly obeyed God and took on our sins, although He himself was blameless and holy. Sin separates us from God, Christ had not sinned, our sin which He willingly bore separated Him from God and for the first time He felt what it was like to be apart from God – to be forsaken.
How: Cried out with a loud voice

Significant Notes: At once, as soon as Jesus gave up His spirit to God, the curtain to the Holy of Holies was torn in two from top to bottom and earth shook, the rocks split, tombs were opened and many bodies of the saints were raised from the dead and they came out of the tombs after His resurrection, appearing to many in Jerusalem (Matt. 27:51-54, Mark 15:38-39, Luke 23:45-47). The centurion and those who were with him at the foot of the cross observed the earthquake and all that was happening and they were terribly frightened, filled with awe and said that truly, Jesus was Gods Son.

It is significant that the veil was torn from top to bottom by God’s divine power because the veil physically separated the priests from where God’s presence symbolically abode in the temple. Yet, under the new covenant God’s people have become the temple and He sent His Holy Spirit to abide in each of us. Covered by the sacrifice of Christ’s blood we are made clean and able to enter into God’s Holy presence. The tearing of the veil is therefore very significant!

From Matthew Henry’s commentary: The manner how he breathed his last; between the third and the sixth hour, that is, between nine and twelve o’clock, as we reckon, he was nailed to the cross, and soon after the ninth hour, that is, between three and four o’clock in the afternoon, he died. That was the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, and the time when the paschal lamb was killed; and Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us and offered himself in the evening of the world a sacrifice to God of a sweet–smelling savour.

John 11:41-42
Who:
Jesus
What: Thanked God for always hearing and listing to Him and that he was praying for the benefit of those who were watching that they may recognize that Christ was from the Lord.
When: After Lazurus had been dead for 4 days.
Where: In front of Lazurus’ tomb.
Why: To glorify God.
How: Lifted up His eyes and prayed out loud to God.

Acts 7:54-60
Who:
Stephen, a man full of faith, full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, full of grace and power worked many great wonders and sings among the people. He was selected, along with 6 other men, to look after/superintend the serving of tables and distribution of food to widows (ch. 6).
What: “Lord Jesus, receive and welcome my spirit!” and “Lord, fix not this sin upon them”
When: While being stoned to death by the Sanhedrin, Scribes, elders and the people
Where: Outside of the city
Why: He surrendered himself to the Lord in death as opposed to changing his tune and he forgave those who killed him unjustly.
How: Falling on his knees, cried out loudly

* I had initially included Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:33-37, Luke 22:39-47 and John 17:1-26 but after careful consideration would consider these to be corporate prayer so I removed these observations.

Tim Tebow and Praying in Public

The Debate
I don’t watch sports, nothing against them I’m just not really into watching, although on a rare occasion you will find me going to a hockey game cheering for whoever the home team is cause hockey games are so much fun to watch live! In spite of my lack of attention to sports, the Tebow sensation has reached my eyes and ears through the news and through Facebook friends’ posts. Most recently I saw a heated discussion between a Facebook friend and one of their friends who I don’t know. They were debating whether or not it was OK for Tebow to be praying in public. What really bothered me about it was that one of them was basing their whole argument off of a scripture reference they were taking out of context. This really made me uncomfortable/raised my heart rate a little bit and made me get that nervous feeling in my stomach that maybe I should point that “out of context” issue to them. Since I love, love – LOVE God’s most holy infallible word, I wanted to say something so bad! I didn’t though – I had a feeling that wouldn’t be the wise thing to do.

Anyway, as I contemplated their debate it didn’t take long to recognize that if one person is asking this question then there are more. It is good to ask questions about the Bible – God wants us to ask questions and to study His word. The latter is the part that gets left out most of the time which unfortunately leads to heated arguments based on human worldviews as opposed to God’s perfect truth. To find out what God says about public prayer let’s dive into His Word.

The Method of Study
Well first, set your own initial opinion/gut feeling to the side (sure I have on too!) and open the Bible along with a concordance, I use Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. It is available in book form or online. Then start looking up the word “pray”, “prayer”, “prayed” etc. As you look the verses up make sure to read the context by reading the paragraphs before and after or even the whole chapter. That really helps a lot. As you read each passage start categorizing them by types of prayer such as public prayer, corporate prayer, private prayer etc.

After compiling lists we will then look at what God says about public prayer by reading the verses and studying them in context by:

  1. Studying the text before and after.
  2. Comparing the scripture with the other scriptures we find about prayer.

God’s word, although consisting of 66 books written over thousands of years does not contradict itself so it is important to shine the light of meaning on scripture by using other scriptures referred to as “cross references”.

As you compile your own list you will realize that it takes some time. I’m going to look up a section of verses/passages each day and will keep my lists here:  Verses on Prayer. I’m sure this will come in handy later on for other studies too!

After studying the scriptures we’ll be able to draw a conclusion to the question based on what God has to say about prayer in public throughout His word. Remember to check back for progress on the study and the results!

View the observations of public prayers recorded in scripture

View the conclusion!