Christian humor self-development prayer

Life lessons learned from climbing up a mountain with a juice box, four sweets and wearing flip flops – Pt6 (How to Pray)

Christian humor self-development prayer

Prayer Works

Desperate times, desperate prayers – here are a few snippets….

For further context see Part One, Two, Three, Four, Five

 

My morning prayer before I left the house....

Dear Lord God,

You deserve all honour and glory, thank you for all the lives you have used me to touch and change on this trip, thus far. I pray that the work you have begun in each and every one of their lives, you will complete it.

I appreciate this opportunity given to me – allowing me to come on this trip and have the experiences I’ve had thus far. I pray for many more anointed and appointed divine encounters this very day, where I’m used to help, encourage, bless and sow into the lives of those I meet.

Please watch over me and protect me as I leave now, do the same for my host family and everyone on this trip today also. I ask that I return back safe and sound tonight.

In Jesus Name

Amen.

 

When things got real.....

Oh God,

I don’t know what is going on and I am scared. This day is not going as I thought it would and now I am facing a situation where I am literally having to climb a mountain! I don’t know these people, where we are really going or what we are really doing up here.  I am spinning right now, I don’t think these flip flops will last the climb and I can’t do it barefoot!

God, I am desperate now, please stop this torrential downpour, I can barely see, it is slippery and you know I have never ever experienced lightning and thunder like this before…and so close! I am afraid, please help us – me!

Amen

 

....Err honest discourse.....

Father,

I still cannot believe this is really happening to me today. Holy Spirit please give me strength to keep going. I am crying out to you for help Lord, I am crying out to you. Mighty God, I am asking for protection, there are things on this mountain I had no idea about – it feels like I am in the middle of a horror movie! Please don’t allow any of us to be harmed in any way, by anything up here.

There is so much I still haven’t done yet with my life…am I really going to die up here on a mountain like this? Without accomplishing the vision, dreams and goals you gave me? I pray that your will and only your’s prevails in this situation. My sprained ankle is so painful, please stop it so I can keep going – is there any thing that is too hard for You?

Please Jesus. Amen.

 

Check yo self, before you wreck yo self - cognisance and lucidity

Dear Lord God,

I repent now of anything I have done wrong, for every time I have been stubborn and disobedient in any area of my life. I submit to you and all I pray is that only your will be done. I know that you are a good God, that there is no situation that takes you by surprise or that you cannot bring me through. I love you Lord and praise your Holy name. You said you would never leave me or forsake me and so I am grateful, that even now you are with me, watching over me and protecting me.

Amen.

 

Truth be told I prayed this one 7 or 8 times, emotional & teary-eyed that day...

Abba Father, Amazing God,

I am so grateful for everything. I could never have made to the top of this mountain without you. Holy Spirit I am thankful, I truly serve a living God that hears from heaven.  Thank you for healing the pain in my leg, for your supernatural help and strength that kept me going. You really are my ever present help in times of trouble. You are the way, the truth and the light. I will never forget what you brought me through today.

Thank you, thank you, thank you Lord. Amen.

 

Prayer works.

 

Christian humor self-development prayer

Life lessons learned from climbing up a mountain with a juice box, four sweets and wearing flip flops – Pt5

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FSNP: Analysis

Teamwork makes the dream work…..John C Maxwell

Understanding group dynamics is useful knowledge for anyone who has or will in future work with other people. Even more so for a manager or a person in a position of leadership  in any area or aspect of their lives. Bruce Tuckman’s group development theoretical model (1965), provides great context and understanding through it’s universally applicable stages of forming, storming, norming and then performing. As no matter the purpose, goal, location, age or socio-economic background of the group, members will need to navigate the aforementioned necessary stages in order to meet targets, objectives and deliver results.

Forming

My experience of climbing a mountain under unusual circumstances, serves as a useful application case study of Tuckman’s initial four stage theory. Typically in the forming introductory stage, there is caution, anxiety and excitement amongst the group. Members look for acceptance, seek to understand project goals, how the task will be accomplished as well as each other.

Storming

Some groups never progress past the storming phase due to conflict, competition and misunderstandings. Arguments, tension and challenges to management authority are commonplace at this stage and some members quit or become withdrawn. Managers/leaders may need to step in to quell dissension and disintegration of the team.

Norming

At the ‘norming’ stage the team may regress back to the storming phase from time to time, though on the whole, there are respected ground rules, boundaries and cohesion. Leadership is shared, feedback is constructive and individual contributions are recognised by the team as beneficial for all.

Performing

If a team manages to make it as far as the performance phase, members are highly motivated, use their initiative with very little supervision or no management required.  The high performance team are even willing to go the extra mile to accomplish goals and are successful in completing objectives. The team can adapt to change and respond well to unforeseen challenges. This is a productive and efficient team whom now have an affinity for one another.

 

Conclusion

I had little or no relationship with the majority of the group prior to that eventful day, as we were from different backgrounds, ages and I even had a bit of a language barrier with one of the team.  However, in order to successfully achieve our shared goal of getting off the mountain alive and unhurt, we all had to work as a team. This meant unequivocally working through Tuckman’s ‘forming, storming, norming, performing’ group development stages. As I had no option of quitting, changing teams or the luxury of bringing in preferred people.  Therefore being able to get through that experience was a great learning and development, character-building opportunity for me in respect of being adaptable, working with different types of personalities, working through different issues, improving communication skills, persevering under pressure and of course trusting in God.

Christian humor self-development prayer

Life lessons learned from climbing up a mountain with a juice box, four sweets and wearing flip flops – Pt4

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FSNP: The Case Study

Forming , Storming, Norming, Performing

 

Forming

The forming of the group was very simple as there were no restrictions or barriers to entry (basically just turn up at 8 am at the entrance). The group was very polite too, as although I stuck out like a sore thumb due to my impractical outfit, everyone was very nice and even complimentary of my stylish taste. The group had grown from five to seven people and so there were lots of introductory conversations taking place and overall there was a real upbeat atmosphere of anticipation. That said, there was little actual agreement on anything and there were lots of questions aimed at our walking guide, which delayed our departure a little.

Storming

So bearing in mind that the original agreed arrangement, was to take a brisk early morning scenic walk and then the cable car to the top of the mountain, being part of a group whilst carrying out this activity was just an innocuous, secondary incidental. Things were initially fine in the group, but that changed about 10 -15 minutes after we set off.

You might think that the objective of moving from point A to B was simple enough and therefore so would be the circumstances, but the reality was that three of the seven in the group wanted to stop and appreciate the atmosphere and scenery. Four of the group wanted to keep moving at a fast pace and two of the seven wanted us, when we did move, to walk at a much slower pace. One of the group, who had hiked the mountain before wanted us to take a different pathway to the one we were on, as it wasn’t that well known. It is fair to say that there were a few disagreements and as a result sub groups/cliques quickly emerged.

Norming

After about an hour on the mountain, in torrential downpour, the group dynamics changed. I think it happened after we saw from a distance that the cable cars had been shut down. It was at that point there was a realisation that we would all be together for some time – whether we liked it or not. Attempting to sing ‘I will survive’ by Gloria Gaynor proved to be a humorous icebreaker and improved team spirit, in part because no one really knew the words except the all-important and relevant chorus, that we would survive!

We willingly pooled our food and drink together and in my case I had four sweets and an apple juice to offer the group. Luckily this was not all there was though and a total of five bottles of water, four oranges, three sandwiches, two bars of chocolate and a packet of biscuits was shared between us all. It certainly wasn’t a kings feast, but thankfully it was enough to keep everyone somewhat hydrated and energised. When we came across the snakes, a couple of people quickly obtained, fashioned and distributed strong sticks to everyone with such speed, it was actually quite amazing.

Performing

By the time the mousiest, beanpole of a guy, began impromptu to sing Ron Kenoly’s ‘I have known the father cares for me (he’s been good)’ (blowing us all away with his voice in the process), I knew we had transformed into a strong team, where members felt comfortable with one another. As a result, we had an amazing time of prayer, praise and worship. All the former cliques had disbanded and there was a resulting sense of cohesion, despite the obvious challenges we were trekking our way through on the mountain.

After about 4 and 1/2 hours later, when we eventually reached the top of the mountain and from there accessed the road, there was a real sense of team accomplishment and camaraderie. Each member had contributed in some way to our success (no one died and bar a sprained ankle, no one was seriously injured), whether it be guidance, direction, leadership, encouragement, prayer ministry and/or praise and worship (I think I unintentionally contributed through the provision of light relief).

Christian humor self-development prayer

Life lessons learned from climbing up a mountain with a juice box, four sweets and wearing flip flops – Pt3

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Am I in a horror movie? Are we all about to die? Is this for real? 

Horror story plotline 1 – background set up of movie character’s demise.

I am definitely not a fan of the horror movie genre, but even I have watched a few and wondered what some of those characters before they reach their demise, were thinking in the first place. Such as those typical scenarios where there is a crazy murderer on the loose, but there’s a character who decides to investigate by shouting “heay, is there anybody there?”- dumb! In my scenario, if this was a movie they would be wondering why I decided to climb a mountain with a juice box, four sweets and wearing flip flops  – dumb! What could possibly go wrong? As explained in Lesson 2, we were having to climb to the top in order to freely access the roads and get off the mountain. So when there is a near earth shattering clap of thunder and the darkened sky suddenly illuminates – five words suddenly pop into my head.

table-mountain1 (2)

 

Horror story plotline 2 –   ‘that annoying female character’

In the movies she’s normally a tearful blonde female, that screams at the slightest thing, gets left behind and falls and trips on something. Well in my circumstance, I’m not blonde, but I tick most of the rest of the boxes for the role of that annoying female character! I’m up a mountain and in torrential downpour, when there is a loud clap of thunder and the lightning strikes so close to us I keep letting out an involuntary scream over and over again! One hour into our supposed 1/2 hour stroll, we are trekking up steep terrain at pace. What’s more, it’s difficult to see as the conditions are like walking with an overhead power shower turned on. it’s so slippery walking in my flip flops, I lose my footing, trip and painfully twist my ankle. I don’t think anyone can tell because of the rain, but there are serious tears falling now. Boxes ticked.

 

Horror story plotline 3 – ‘mind your step’

In the movies, groups sometimes find themselves navigating booby-trapped floors. In my scenario, the words of advice being shouted to the back of the group are ‘Look carefully where you step, only step on where you can clearly see the path – nothing else’. I’m handed one of the big branches fashioned into strong sticks being distributed and I think great – now I can take some of the pressure off my twisted ankle and use the stick to walk as well as keep a firm balance in the slippery conditions. However, I notice that the rest of the group are using their sticks differently – tapping the ground & swishing it from side to side. I quickly ask what was going on and learn that aside from snakes being on planes (haha) they can actually be found on mountains!!! Apparently heavy rain drive snakes into clear open pathways where they’re camouflaged in the muddy path and someone ahead has seen one. The five words – ‘we are going to die’ keep going through my mind over and over and the tears continue to fall.

 

Horror story plotline 4 – ‘shhh…what was that noise?’

In horror movie clichés, there is often a monster out on the loose and the cast have got no cellphone signal or seemingly way out. There is also always someone who hears something before the monster appears. In my case, since the venomous snake sighting, the group is more audible and nervous, yelping at anything – sadly fear is contagious. Someone ahead jokingly starts singing the chorus to Gloria Gaynors ‘I will survive’ and we all join in which lessons the agitation in the group….until someone says “shhh, what was that noise?” At this point I’ve had enough, my legs almost buckle beneath me (I won’t confirm if my bowels loosened) – I can’t take any more. We are told to move silently as it sounds like it’s a group of adult baboons, our singing and noise is drawing them closer to us. No one has to tell me twice. After about 10 minutes, I finally stop sobbing and in accordance with 2 Cor 10:5, bring my fearful thoughts of death under control and I silently open my hotline to heaven and begin to cry out to God!

Chacma Baboon 1

Horror story plotline 5 – Do the opposite of what you’ve been advised

For example, when they’ve been told in the horror movie don’t go down there, don’t open that, let’s stay together – but someone wanders off etc. ignoring advice. Yes we’ve been told to be quiet- but I can’t! I started of with silent prayer, then quietly whispering and then one of the guys ahead of me joins in, then another joins in and we are after a while all praying and praising God loudly. Doing the opposite of what we were advised earlier, but the funny thing is – there are no longer any approaching baboon sounds and now instead of ‘I will survive’ we are singing a range of worship songs. The torrential rain stops as we near the peak too and though soaked through in near subzero temperature, we eventually stumble like long distance runners at the end of a race, onto the road to escape.

 

Horror story plotline 6 – Good triumphs over evil, higher power intervention, the mother of all clichés

Yes I am sure lovers of the horror film genre would of wanted a storyline where in the seriously adverse extreme weather and resulting muddy conditions, one of us slipped and fell to our death over the side of the mountain. Maybe one of the many varieties of poisonous adders and cobras could of bit us and then one of  the group died because we couldn’t get any medical treatment – possibly the one who kept screaming and had exposed feet climbing a mountain in flip flops. Or perhaps ‘Planet of the Apes style’ the unafraid of humans adult baboons could of savagely attacked us as we encroached on their territory. Or there could of been a ‘Lord of the Flies type’ group insurrection, where we turned on each other in a very short space of time, as after all our nerves were frayed. People were tired, hungry, thirsty and in a very serious extreme situation where masks are dropped and personalities revealed.

Thankfully, all the above shoulda/woulda/coulda DIDN’T happen by the grace of God! Even though they were plausible scenarios and very real alternative endings to my situation! All I can testify and say is that there was paranormal activity that took place on the mountain and this was Psalm 18:5-6:-   

 

The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.

Call it a cliché or what ever you want, all I know is that I am truly thankful that God is good, answers prayer and is an ever present help in times of trouble. Amen.

 

 

In lesson 4( yes, really there is more to learn), I discuss team dynamics…..