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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


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September 19, 2012 - Praying Without Bungee Cords

By William E. Richardson

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9, NKJV).

I find some prayers easy to pray. Others are more challenging, but needful.

Some prayers roll off the tongue, like prayers for the salvation of family and friends. I sincerely pray those prayers. They flow from a heart of concern.

Other prayers become more personal. Prayers that are about me: from requesting daily guidance to asking for a healing touch.

But there are times my own prayers make me squirm. Those prayers rise from recognizing my imperfections reflected in the mirror of God's Word or from a conviction from the Holy Spirit. So I respond.

I voice my need with phrases like, “Lord, please change me,” and “Lord, please improve me.” Sometimes, feeling like I'm inching out on the high wire without a safety net below, I even form the words, “Lord, please stretch me.” Each time I say those words I know the risk.

I've learned from experience that such petitions invite the unknown. It gives God permission to work beyond scenarios I might imagine, to color outside the lines I want to set as a boundary. Still, I sincerely pray the prayer.

There's a danger riskier than the “Lord, please stretch me” prayer itself. The risk is eventual resistance. Instead of remaining conformed to God's new reality for me, I may chafe from discomfort. I may, like a rubber band or a bungee cord, remain stretched to God's new limit for only a limited time. I may try to unstretch.

Still, there's one thing living as a Christian has taught me: that God working out His purposes in me is always for the better. Allowing Him to stretch me is never about comfort. It's about spiritual growth. Every time I pray a “Lord, please stretch me” prayer, I can mean it when I say, “Amen.” And I can sincerely end with “Amen,” if I meant it when I began the prayer with “Lord.”

Christianity is a huge adventure with God leading us along new paths, into the unforseen, always forward. Without the stretching, our faith remains stunted. So “Lord, please ...”

— William E. Richardson is senior pastor of Afton (Iowa) Assembly of God and blogs at



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