Prayer Matters

I returned home from the Global Prayer Gathering (GPG) in Washington DC this past week.  Spending time withInternational Justice Mission (IJM) reminds me how God is moving all over the world in every hidden and small space.  This year, the focus was on how our prayers matter. Indulge me for a moment to share some quotes that I heard during the GPG:

  • “Faith is fear that has said its’ prayers.”  Brenda Salter McNeil
  • “God can do ALL on His own. But God chooses NOT to do on his own. He unleashes His power into the world through our asking.” Gary Haugen
  • “To pray is to trust him as you may and He will reward you that you would trust him more.”  Amy Carmichael
  • “Jesus, if you change people as they say, change me.” First prayer of a former slave who is now working for IJM
  • “I want to be beautiful again. I want to regain all I’ve lost.” Prayer of a rescued trafficking survivor
  • “I tell you these things so that you would always pray and NEVER GIVE UP.” Jesus

I spent time in prayer for many different countries and different forms of injustice and I was struck at how often I forget how powerful prayer is. I think that the discipline of praying and building our relationship with God is one of the hardest things to learn because it’s something that can be faked and simply cannot be taught. We have to just do it.  We have to practice it. And for each one of us, it looks completely different.   The only way to figure it out is by doing it.

My time spent at the GPG encourages me to pray more passionately, more frequently and with expectation.  I begin to see that God answers prayers in the most incredible and huge ways.  Like this:

  • In Uganda, there are now 11 police stations in IJM’s project area that have been trained and resourced by IJM so that they no longer see property grabbing as a “family matter” and are recognizing it’s devastating impact.
  • In Guatemala, IJM is partnering with government official in a historic initiative that allows IJM to train national police on protecting children from sexual assault.
  • In South Asia, in 2014, IJM helped rescue 512 slaves in their largest operation to date.  Govenrment officials are frequently investigating and prosecuting cases of slavery on their own.
  • In Cambodia, after 10 years of IJM working there, IJM has trained thousands of local authorities in the fight against sex trafficking and, after a decade of work, it’s very difficult to find children in the commercial sex establishments – less than 1 percent in most places.

There is still so much work to be done in the world.  And our personal relationship with God can always use some more time and attention.   If you are interested in praying with and for IJM, I have 2 links below that you can explore:

 A guided prayer time

View the GPG online with On Demand Videos

And, if there is any way that I can help you in any part of your journey, please let me know!
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Lisa Adams,
Director of Missions

Who are you? A reminder.

My sister and I were just talking this week about this realization that somehow when we got married and then gave birth to our kids, we gave up our identities.  It wasn’t something that we planned on doing.  In fact, we didn’t even know it was gone for years.   It was a slow fade.   I had slowly become something to everyone but me.  I stopped doing the things that I loved and began doing the things that needed to get done to keep everyone else okay. Which works out fine if your life never has crisis.  Anyone here never experience crisis?? Crisis and identity go hand in hand for me. I learned that crisis and has a funny way of spotlighting you.  Like this big bright light shining down on you when you are feeling weak and vulnerable and afraid.  Like how white pants show every dimple and ripple.  Am I right? So, when crisis came for me, I had forgot about the Lisa who was strong and brave and who was passionate about music and justice, and helping other people, and who Jesus LOVED and who loved Jesus.  What I remembered in that spotlight was the Lisa who had hurt other people, who made some bad choices and deserved to be punished, the Lisa who didn’t feel like she was good enough for anyone to fall in love with her.  These were the loudest voices.   When my marriage was in crisis and the pain of a potential divorce and raising a child by myself was my reality. I was standing there in tight white pants.  And that spotlight is harsh.

The reason I’m telling you this is because I wanted to be able to tell you what someone once told me (while I was weeping and snotting, and breaking down and standing in that spotlight) –  was that Jesus desperately loved me.   He is mad about me. She reminded me that the harsh voice I was hearing was wrong…and not anything that God would say.   He had forgiven me.   He finds me beautiful.  He thinks I’m smart and funny.   He knows the kindness I have shown others.  And he chose me.   His light is a soft candlelight, with beautiful black pants.

And to make sure that I continue to hear that voice (instead of that spotlight) and be more “LISA”I started to do a few things:

  1.   I cant even begin to tell you how important this was for me.  I’m a therapy pusher!
  2.  My table. I invited a few cherished dear friends into my inner circle and I’m completely transparent with them.  And they with me.   They remind me when I need to turn down the spotlight and light candles instead.
  3. I started to go to concerts again. In my pre-husband and sons days, I went to multiple concerts and musicals each month.   Music is my love language for sure.  So, I’ve started to make room in our budget and calendar to do just do concerts.  I just figured out my summer schedule and I am SO excited. It makes me giddy and feel like me.

So for some of you, this will be an affirmation.   For others, you may not have heard these words in a long time.   But I wanted you to know that God loves you.  His is mad about you.   He calls you His.  You are smart.  You are beautiful.  You are kind.

Now, it might sound like my life is just full of crisis.   It’s really not, but those moments have truly allowed me to grow in my faith and in who I want to be so I tend to tell those stories.

Schoolhouse Rock

I’m writing to you from Washington DC! (I know, very House of Cards). I have the privilege of being here this week at theGlobal Prayer Gathering!

International Justice Mission (IJM) will gather over 1400 people over the next couple of days to lean into God’s heart for justice. We will will worship, pray, sing, and hear stories about how God is on the move all over the world.

This year, I was asked to be a part of the group that would lobby with the House and Senate! There is this new legisaltion called the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act (S. 553) that IJM sees as very critical to ending modern day slavery.

Basically, it would create a non-profit that would raise money to fund anti-slavery efforts around the world. This particular piece of legislation is so encouraging because it is both bi-partisan and it requires funding from other governments and the private sector. I see it like a little miracle act that is bringing the whole world together to end slavery.

My task was simply to let our Congress people know that I cared deeply about this. I went into this this morning thinking that it would be super intimidating and difficult to navigate. I mean when people talk about going to “the hill” and “lobbying” I don’t really think I’m part of that scene (unless the hill is the pulpit and lobbying is what I do in the lobby). I didn’t see myself as an advocate. But after this morning, I realized that I am.  And so are each of you.  The influence that you wield simply by living in your city and state is LARGE. Sending an email matters. Phone calls do not go unnoticed. This does not require some special skill set or Poli Sci degree to get your voice heard. You can be an advocate anywhere.

I tell you this because I walked away from today stunned that what I learned from Schoolhouse Rock is actually true!  And I also came to believe there may be day that WE will see an end to slavery in this world.  Our generation could be the one that says no more.  That freedom is something that everyone should have. God is on the move and He wants us to join Him.  He wants us to advocate for the orphan and the widow and the slave. He wants us to be a light in the darkness of human trafficking and violence and slavery.  Will you join Him?  Are you willing to be an advocate for people who can not advocate for themselves?

I would love to see you join this movement to end slavery!

If you are interested in learning more about advocating for justice around the world or would like to sign the act, you can go to freedomcommons.ijm.org

And if you have more questions or just want to get together to talk about justice, I’d love to help you with that. You can reach me by phone or email.

P.S.  The Global Prayer Gathering is being recorded, so I’m hoping that by next week, I’ll be able to share that link with you all.

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Lisa Adams,
Director of Missions

Here Comes the Sun

I have to be honest, I don’t love the Beatles (I know, I’m a rebel), but as I watch Winter turn to Spring, I hear the lyrics of Here Comes the Sun…”Little Darling, it’s been long cold lonely winter” in my head. This winter has kind of felt like that, right? The cold, and gloomy, and of the lack of life have been everywhere. It seems no matter where I turn, I hear stories of struggle. From the shooting in Kenya, to Isis, to illnesses, and people who have so much life to live leaving this earth too soon. Winter, has been upon us for so long and it at times has felt so lonely. With all the tragedy we can start to wonder where God is.

And then Easter happens. We are reminded that with Jesus’ death we are give new life, and we understand that Spring was always in God’s plan. From the death of winter comes the new life of Spring. Hope. New beginnings. A chance to start fresh.

As Spring slowly begins to wake the earth up, and grass gets greener and plants start to bloom, we see God’s fingerprints everywhere. If He keeps the small delicate flowers blooming, and he cares about the tiniest sparrow, certainly he is at work in our lives. Even when, or maybe especially when, we feel like we are in a season of unending Winter.

The blooming of Spring makes me feel strangely brave. Like the possibilities are endless and that we can change this world into something beautiful. Something that looks more like the Kingdom of God and less like the heartbreak we currently see across our papers and TV screens. I want to urge to look for the opportunities that might be right in front of you this season. Maybe you are looking to get involved at Crossroads, maybe you’re looking to serve somewhere in your community, or maybe you’re just looking for community and people do life with or maybe you’re looking for freedom from the past.

Whatever you feel you’re needing in your life be brave and pursue it, God will be faithful through it. The ice is slowing melting, and the sun is coming! While I don’t lose my mind over the Fab 4, i appreciate the hopefulness of this song, it’s a beautiful reminder of how Spring always comes, and God is always faithful.

If you’re interested in finding a place to serve, you can find some great opportunities in our GO catalog, here.

I also want to remind you ladies that on April 20th at 6:30 pm, we’ll be doing The Table for a second time at the Cottage Grove Campus. It’s a great opportunity to connect and get to know other women! You can register, here.

We’re also kicking off a 2 week series called “the After Party” this weekend!

Also, if you have never heard the song “Here Comes the Sun,” you can listen to it here, sung by Paul Simon, who I love a million times more than the Beatles.  Have a great weekend!

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Lisa Adams,