Pretty peach-colored flower at the Dallas Arboretum, Dallas, TX

Praying for flash drives and Benadryl cream

What can we pray about? It’s a legitimate question. Do you ever wonder if the requests you bring to God are too paltry for his attention? Do you ever not ask Him for something because you’re afraid He’ll think you’re being silly?

Pretty peach-colored flower at the Dallas Arboretum, Dallas, TX

Pretty peach-colored flower at the Dallas Arboretum, Dallas, TX

Today’s verse is Ephesians 6:18.

Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m at a writing workshop at Glen Eyrie in Colorado Springs right now. So far, it’s been tremendously encouraging, and I’ve learned a lot about some writing process issues that I’ve always wanted to ask established writers about. My parents came with me, and they’re getting to chill on the grounds and around the area while I’m in the workshop.

I love traveling, especially road trips, but the downside to travel is luggage. I hate having to lug a bunch of junk around with me, so I have learned to pack light (and to live with wrinkled clothes because I refuse to iron anything). I live my life by landmarks, even when it comes to hotel rooms, so when I walk into a room and deposit my stuff, I expect it to stay there. I get into a routine throughout a day and try to leave things exactly where I expect them to be. Now that place may not make logical sense to anyone else but me, but if I can find it again, that’s what matters, right?

Well, this morning we had a bit of a panic attack because I couldn’t find two items that I really needed–some Benadryl cream for a mysterious bite/rash that has appeared on my lower back (and is driving me nutty) and my flash drive.

Last night, I ended up searching all over the bathroom area for my pills and found them in my mom’s bags. She likes to straighten things up, and she thought my things were hers because they look exactly alike. So I asked her if she’d moved my Benadryl cream. She didn’t remember doing that, so we started looking. And that’s when I realized I couldn’t find my flash drive either.

Maybe this is silly, but my flash drive is the one thing I own that I have to have. Everything else could be blown away, but my flash drive has the last 20 years of my creative life on it. I back it up regularly, but remember I’ve been at a creative retreat for the last few days and I’ve filled it full of new material I didn’t have before. Losing it would be a terrible blow.

The Benadryl cream was an issue of comfort. The flash drive was an issue of sanity.

We looked high and low. We turned the room upside down. I looked everywhere it should have been and everywhere it shouldn’t have been, and I couldn’t find it anywhere.

That’s when mom announced that she was praying that we’d find it. And I felt like a moron. Why hadn’t I thought to pray about finding it? Refer to previous blog posts. I scramble around like a madwoman trying to do everything myself first before I ask God to help.

And here’s the really big irony. The keynote session on Sunday night AND on Monday morning had been about whether or not God is enough for you if you lose everything you thought you were supposed to be about.

Yeah. Ouch.

So I sat down on the bed and told God that if He wanted me to find it, that would be great. But if He didn’t, I would still be great because He was great. And lo and behold! I glanced in my back pack (I had already looked there) and it was in a pocket.

Talk about a relief.

And then we prayed that we’d find the Benadryl cream too because my back was itching so bad I could hardly think straight. I hesitated at first because after God had already answered the BIG prayer about the flash drive, was it really okay to ask about the itch cream? That seemed kind of silly in comparison. But I remembered this verse. We’re supposed to pray about everything. Every occasion. All types of requests.

So I prayed.

And Mom found it in her cup with her toothbrush.

Go figure.

But the whole crazy scenario this morning just served to remind me that God honestly does care about what we care about. Whether it’s something big like a flash drive that stores 20 years of creativity or a tube of Benadryl cream that only halfway relieves itching, if it matters to me, it matters to Him.

But I thought it was funny I had to be willing to give it up before He’d give it back to me.

Meerkat at the Sedgwick County Zoo - Wichita, KS


What does it mean to be bold? Earlier this year, I posted about today’s same verse in a devo about one of my trips to Guatemala and how the Mayans treated throne rooms. And in that post, as well as in today’s verse, we learn that we are able (and expected) to appraoch God with boldness. But what exactly is boldness?

Meerkat at the Sedgwick County Zoo - Wichita, KS

Meerkat at the Sedgwick County Zoo – Wichita, KS

Todays verse is Hebrews 4:16.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

One thing I have learned through studying Scripture is that you can easily take a verse out of context if you aren’t careful. And before you know it, you can be reinterpreting doctrine.

The best keyword you can look for at the beginning of a verse to indicate that something important to its understand came before it … because or since or so.

Yup. So. It usually indicates because or since.

So what comes before verse 16? Well, verses 14 and 15 of course! Here’s the whole thing:

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Yes. This starts with another so … but that’s a so then, which is a little different.

Basically the entire passage’s context is saying that because Jesus understands our weaknesses, because He faced all the same temptations we did, because He is our High Priest — our intercessor between ourselves and God the Father, we can come to God with boldness.

But what is boldness?

Bold is one of those words that you usually only hear about in Italian restaurants and on Crayola marker boxes. It usually only deals with taste or sight. So how can you be a bold person? And aren’t bold people usually kind of obnoxious?

Just being honest.

According to the Amplified Version, the word bold is accompanied by other words like confidently and fearlessly. And the Message puts it very bluntly: “So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give.”

Well … what does it mean to have confidence in someone? It means that you trust them, right? It means that if they have made you a promise and you believe them that you don’t have to be afraid that they will keep their word.

What about fearlessness? It means that if you trust someone and know someone so deeply that you don’t have to be afraid that they’ll let you down or abandon you.

It means that you don’t have to beg and plead for them to give you something. They’re just standing the

Those three things can be construed as boldness, or at least that’s what I’m understanding. But boldness itself isn’t an attitude; it’s the result of series of convictions.

I believe that God will keep His word. I believe that I don’t have to be afraid because He’s got everything under control. And I believe He has good things waiting for me and all I have to do is pick them up and run with them. And because I believe all those things, I can be bold.

And the reverse is true. If I don’t believe those things, I can’t be bold. I’ll be timorous, like a little mouse. … Or like the little meerkat I snapped a photo of at the zoo some time ago. But even Meerkats can be bold. I’ve got another picture of one that came right up to my feet and wanted to be friends.

So since we are invited to approach God with boldness, I think that’s something I want to look into. That’s something I want more of in my life. Real boldness. But that kind of boldness isn’t going to come by itself; I’ve got to believe a few things first.

Trying to be bold without believing first just makes you come off as arrogant. And that doesn’t impress anyone, least of all God. So get the order right. Learn how to trust God and be confident in His Word. Learn how to listen to what He’s telling you. And don’t hesitate when God tries to give you something. Jump in with both feet first and run.

And you’ll be bold without even trying.