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Posts Tagged ‘pray’

 

The most important thing I learned to do as a single mom was to pray. Prayer has changed my life! There are other disciplines that are important to our lives as Christians, but prayer is the main component to an intimate relationship with God. In my 18 years as a single mom, prayer has been my lifeline. The one thing in my life that has allowed me to feel that presence of God. It has been in my crying out that I have felt His arms wrapped around me. In these often tough years, I have learned some things about prayer and I want to share these lessons with you:

  1. Prayer is a constant conversation with God. Yes, there will be times when we need to go and spend some time alone in prayer. Having a dedicated prayer time is very important, but we don’t have to wait until that dedicated time to pray. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray continually. As we go about our day, we can pray. We can praise when things are going right. We can ask for help when things are going wrong. We can pray when someone or a circumstance needs our immediate prayer. I have gotten to the point that I pray all day. There are times when God will point out a character flaw and I immediately need to repent (shocking I know!) It has brought me so much closer to my heavenly Father. God is with us wherever we go and hears us no matter where we are.
  2. Prayer is praying God’s Word back to Him. There are times when I will come across a Bible verse that really speaks to me and I will rewrite the verse as a prayer back to God. Praying God’s Word back to Him can be very powerful. Not that God ever needs to be reminded of what He has written, but He invites us to remind Him of His Word. He invites us to remind Him of His promises. Praying scripture can be a powerful tool in partnering with God in bringing His will on earth.
  3. Prayer is a partnership with God. The one thing that I have been humbled by is that God invites us to partner with Him in His will. We can change things in this world, when we pray for God’s will on earth. When we pray for God to intervene in situations where evil reigns or where healing is needed, we are partnering with God in bringing His will into our lives and in this world. We can pray for God’s intervention in another part of the world and God will move mountains. Things CAN change when we partner with God through prayer! That is so cool!
  4. God sometimes says NO! This is one of the hard things about prayer. When we are praying for what we feel is God’s will for someone or a situation and God says NO! it can be devastating. When we are praying for the best possible outcome and God says NO! It can be frustrating and it can be a blow to our faith, but here’s the thing: God does not always have to say YES! God is the only one who has the ability to see the whole picture and He answers our prayers based on what is best for us. He doesn’t owe us any explanation in answering the way He does. He only asks us to trust Him.
  5. The Holy Spirit will intervene for us. Romans 8:26-27 26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. There have been times when I don’t have any more words to pray and I have to ask the Holy Spirit to intervene and pray on my behalf. There are other times when I have been to exhausted or overwhelmed to pray and my prayer is a simple, “Jesus, don’t let me go.” I know at those times that the Holy Spirit is praying on my behalf and that my prayers will continue to be lifted up to Heaven. 
  6. There is power in numbers. Matthew 18:20 tells us that where 2 or 3 gather in His name that He is there in the midst of them. When we gather together to pray for a situation, strongholds WILL be torn down, chains WILL be broken, prison doors WILL come crashing down. When God’s people join together in unity to pray over a situation EVIL WILL FLEE! When God’s people can get passed the things that keep us apart and really join together in God’s will GOD WILL WORK MIRACLES!!!
  7. Prayer is listening to God. Just as in any other conversation, we have our chance to talk, but we also need to listen to what the other person is saying. This isn’t any different with prayer. We need to take the time to LISTEN to what God has to say to us. God will usually speak through a whispering to the spirit or in some other gentle, subtle way, so we really need to take the time to be still and listen with our hearts. God will give us direction, He will comfort us, He will give us wisdom…IF we quiet the noise around and in us and sit at His feet and listen.
  8. Prayer is NOT one size fits all. Prayer can take many different forms. We can pray with scripture, we can pray with prayer beads, we can pray form prayers, we can pray through song, you get the point. There are as many ways to pray as there are prayers. We can pray standing, kneeling, with hands raised or prostrate on the ground. We can pray in any way that God leads us. There is no right or wrong, as long, as we are putting God at the center of our prayers.
  9. God acts in answer to our prayers. I have learned in my 25 years as a mom that God will act according to my prayers. I am not saying that He is a puppet on a string. I am saying that He loves us as any parent loves their child and will honor our requests, as long as, they are in accordance to His will. I have prayed for the protection and provision of my kids their entire lives and God has kept them safe when they have faced uncertain circumstances. I have trusted that God would bring them out whole and He has.

I have been blessed to have had the best prayer instructor ever: the Holy Spirit. Prayer does not have to be difficult. You learn by doing. I know that as much as I have learned about prayer, it doesn’t even scratch the surface to what I still need to learn. As in all things God, prayer is a journey. Some things will work for us and other things won’t. Take the time to experiment and find what fits you best. The most important thing I can say, is simply, START! You just need to start the conversation and be open to where God leads. Keep your heart open and ask the Holy Spirit to teach you. A life in prayer is one of the most humbling, satisfying, world changing things we can ever do. Take it from me, a single mom of 18 years. I never could have raised five kids without prayer and knowing that God protects, provides, and transforms because I pray.

 

 

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In the wake of the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl, I am reminded of the platform that many athletes and movie stars have to glorify God. The Eagles players and coach have been vocal about giving glory to God for the blessings in their lives. It is easy to use that platform to share your testimony when you have millions of people hanging on your every word, but what if you live an ordinary life? How do you look past the mundane to glorify God in your life? 

I have asked myself that question many times. I have lived my life wishing that I was a famous Christian women’s speaker like Lisa Whelchel or Candace Cameron Bure. I have dreamed of becoming a famous Christian author like Joyce Meyer or Beth Moore. I have written this blog with love and I have patiently waited for it to take off. 5 years later and that has not happened. I have not become the blogger with thousands of followers or the social media success story. I am still the ordinary single mom of 5, working in the food service department of a local convent and living paycheck to paycheck. I live in a lower income neighborhood in a city that Steve Martin once dubbed as, “Nowhere, USA” and a county that not to long ago had the highest poverty rate in Indiana. I live an ordinary life.

So, how do you live to glorify God when you are living an ordinary life?

You:

Pray: You pray for every aspect of your community, from your family to your co-workers, neighbors, strangers who cross your path, and Government/Spiritual leaders. You pray for issues that effect your community from poverty to crime, employment opportunities, homelessness etc. If you pray over every every aspect of your community you will be glorifying God in your every day life.

Love: We are told many times in the Old and New Testaments to love one another. In 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 we find out what love is:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

We are not only to love our family and friends, we are to love strangers, the homeless, and those who appear unlovable. There are many ways to show love: a smile of encouragement, a kind gesture, an act of compassion, standing for justice where injustice reigns, being a voice for the voiceless, etc. There are many ways to show our love, I challenge you to take a look around and see how you can love someone to Jesus.

Serve: Matthew 20:28 tells us that Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve. He gives us an example of serving as He washes the disciples feet at the last supper. Everything Jesus did was about serving others: healing the sick, teaching the multitudes, bringing the dead back to life, and casting out demons. We can’t forget the greatest act of service that He performed, giving His life, that we may live. Look around you. How can you step out as an example of Jesus to serve those around you?

Living an ordinary life may not give us the platform for sharing the Gospel that the rich and famous have, but that does not excuse us from doing what we are able to live out the example of Jesus in our own lives. I encourage you to look around and see what ways you can glorify God as you live out your ordinary life.

 

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We have seen pockets of spiritual renewal in the midst of the violence and chaos that has been created by the hate, intolerance and racism. Pockets here and there of goodness, compassion and love. But, is it enough? Are occasional pockets of spiritual oneness enough to be called a spiritual awakening? I don’t think so. It’s a start, but we have a long way to go to get to the place where we have a true spiritual awakening in America. It begins with each one of us examining our hearts and making the decision to live a life that glorifies God and letting go of the things that keep us tied to the world. The Church has become an entertainment industry. In our effort to bring people into the Church, we have become more secular and less like Jesus. We think it is okay to take middle school girls to see vampire movies as a youth event. We think it is okay to have viewing parties to watch the Walking Dead in our churches because we want to reach the unchurched. We forget that it is NOT our job to bring people into the church. It IS our job to live as Jesus lived in our daily lives. It IS our job to build relationships with our friends, family and neighbors; relationships built from love and compassion. It IS our job to allow the Holy Spirit to work through us. We need to allow the Holy Spirit to work in the hearts of ALL people. As we reach out in love, the Holy Spirit will bring them into the church. We need to get back to putting Jesus #1 in our lives and leave the rest to God. There are 5 things we can do to bring true spiritual awakening to the United States of America:

  1. Pray: We need to be on our knees on a daily basis praying that God will protect this country. We need to pray that God will place His angels to protect the borders of this country from evil. We need to pray that the plans and plots of the evil one will be revealed, so they can be stopped. We need to pray that God will pour out the Holy Spirit in such abundance that Satan will have no choice but to flee. We need to pray for our Mayors, Governors, Senators, Representatives and even our President. We need to pray for our Pastors, our faith-based leaders, each other and ourselves. We can change things. Satan WILL flee, but we need to pray. Every lasting spiritual awakening starts with the crying out of the Saints in prayer. We need to come together as one and storm the heavens with our prayers. It starts with prayer.
  2. Repent and Transform: As we find ourselves on our knees in prayer, we need to pray that God will reveal the darkness in us that causes the violence and pain and that He will transform our hearts. We need to be willing to repent of our sins and trust that God will bring good out of it. We need to be willing to be transparent with each other and trust that our brothers and sisters in Christ will accept us as we are: sinners redeemed by the blood of Jesus. We are all sinners. We have no right to judge each other. We ALL need to look into the deep recesses of our spirits and repent of the sin that lies there. After we repent, we need to leave the sin behind and transform our lives to glorify God. We need to continue to renew our minds daily through prayer and Bible study. We need to transform our lives so the world will see more of Jesus in how we live our lives then they see of us.
  3. Love: We need to love those around us, even when they seem unlovable. We need to pour out love into our communities instead of hate. We need to open our hearts and eyes to where there is pain and step out in love to be Jesus in a broken world. If we don’t, who will?
  4. Serve: When we start to love the people around us God will reveal areas where we can serve. When we start to serve those in need around us, we build relationships with those who need the healing touch of Jesus and the Holy Spirit will open the doors for us to share our Jesus story. Serving others in love and compassion allows others to see Jesus in us and allows the Holy Spirit to work in their lives. Through our obedience in serving, the Holy Spirit will fill our Churches and revival will come.
  5. Disciple: We need to start discipling new believers. One of the biggest things that is missing in the Church is discipleship. I grew up in the Church. I went to Sunday school. I learned my lessons, but I was never discipled in the Church. There was never anyone that came alongside me to disciple me. No one ever taught me how to be a follower of Jesus. No one taught me how to live this life through the ups and downs. Sunday school is great, but we need to be willing to sacrifice some time to come alongside a new believer for a significant amount of time to disciple them. We need to be willing to teach new believers how to stay connected to the Vine: Jesus. I was finally discipled. I was thirsty for more of Jesus and God sent the Holy Spirit to disciple me. Outside of the Church. I was not finding Jesus in the Church. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Church. I do. That’s why I am so passionate about bringing the Church back to where it needs to be. We need to be more proactive in building discipling relationships and not depend so much on our Sunday schools. We need to be more proactive in turning new believers into mature disciples of Christ.

We can bring spiritual awakening to America. There is hope! God still loves us and we can turn things around. One pocket of spiritual renewal here and another pocket there CAN turn into a National revival and Satan will have no choice but to leave. Never give up hope! With God ALL things ARE possible!

 

 

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Pray Always

 

 

I have recently read 2 passages of scripture that are very similar in context. I believe there may be more than these 2, but I decided to focus on these 2 passages for this post.

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

I was struck by the similarities in these 2 passages and realized that if God is repeating himself, then it must be important. These passages had 3 common instructions for every day living:

1. Rejoice– According to http://www.vocabulary.com, rejoicing is celebration or festivity. In Thessalonians 5:16 we are told to Rejoice always. I know that this is not easy in this day and age. On a daily basis, we are dealing with the demands of work and kids, all while trying to get everything done on a to- do list that’s a mile long. Believe me, I understand. As I was thinking about this concept, I realized that if “to rejoice” means “to celebrate” than rejoicing is simply a celebration of life. I don’t have to like some of the aspects of being a single mom. I don’t have to like when my kids act up or the car breaks down, but I will continue to rejoice and celebrate this life God has given me.

2. Pray– Philippians 4:6 tells us that in EVERY situation, by prayer and petition, we should present our requests to God. We are also told in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 that we are to pray continually. How often do you pray when you are at work or running errands? Do you remember to pray for that annoying co-worker, the guy that cuts you off in traffic, or that cross cashier? Do you remember to pray when you are in a traffic jam or when things aren’t turning out the way you expected? Honestly, I forget to pray for the people that irritate me. I forget to pray for patience while standing in a check out line. I forget to pray for God to use frustrating situations to mold my character, so that I can be the woman He wants me to be. I have found that I have to be intentional about praying in every situation. The question I ask myself is, “Why is it so easy for me to run to my kids to complain about so and so or this and that, but not communicate with a God who wants to hear about every aspect of my day?” It is something I need to pray about and change so that I am in obedience to God.

3. Give Thanks– Philippians 4:6 tells us that by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, we should present our requests to God. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks in ALL circumstances. I have to admit that sometimes I find God’s commands downright hard to obey! Give thanks when my kids are screaming at each other? Give thanks when my car has a flat and I am flat broke? Give thanks when the roadways are iced over and I have to go to work? Are you kidding me, God? You expect me to give thanks? Yes, He does. Honestly, I would much rather complain about my circumstances, but where does that get me? Feeling miserable, negative and toxic. I don’t like feeling like that. I give thanks that I have 5 kids with healthy lungs. I give thanks that I have a car in the first place. I give thanks that I serve a God of unlimited resources. I give thanks that I serve a God that has a legion of angels that protect me on the roadways when the roads are one slick sheet of ice. I am so thankful that I serve a God that is in control of all things!

1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us that these 3 commands are God’s will for us in Christ Jesus. We live our lives seeking God’s will for us, but never bother to look in the one place where He actually tells us what His will is: the Bible. I’m guilty of this myself, so I’m not pointing fingers. If you want to know God’s will, read the Bible!

In Philippians 4:4-7 Paul, also gives us 2 other principles to apply to our daily christian walk:

1. Be Gentle– Philippians 4:5 tells us to let our gentleness be evident to all. I have always tried to teach my kids to be gentle with their belongings, with animals, and with their younger siblings. As a mom, have I been that model of gentleness that I want them to see? I hope so. I know there are times when I have failed miserably, but I try. Knowing that God gives us a direct command to be gentle, I will try harder to be that role model of gentleness that not only my kids and grand kids need to see, but the world as well. We live in a world of harsh words, hate crimes, and evil intentions; we need some gentleness in our lives.

2. Do Not Be Anxious– Paul tells us not to be anxious about anything in Philippians 4:6. Living in a world of terrorism, war and evil, it is hard not to be anxious. My kids are growing up and going out into the world and I worry about them. At the end of the day, I know that there isn’t anything going on in the world that God doesn’t know about. My worrying isn’t going to help anything. I have to let God be God and live my life knowing that He is in control. I can hear Him telling me, “Go on about your day, I’ve got this.”

When we obey God’s commands, He has promised certain things:

1. He Is Near– Philippians 4:5 tells us that the Lord is near. In every situation and circumstance that we find ourselves in, the Lord is near. He knows intimately our heartaches and our joys. He is near when our children leave home for the first time. He is near when we find ourselves broke and homeless. He is near when our loved ones pass away and we are drowning in our grief. He is near. He knows what we go through on a daily basis and He wants to walk through this life with us.

2. We Will Have Peace- Philippians 4:7 tells us that when we obey the commands that God has given that the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. When we rejoice; when we pray; when we give thanks; when we practice gentleness; when we give our worries to God: God promises that we will have a such a peace that we will never understand it and this peace will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. I know there are days when I could use some peace, how about you?

I hope I have given you some food for thought, as you discern who God is to you. We each have our own unique relationship with Him and He relates to each of us differently, as I relate to each of my 5 kids differently. In this relationship, our heavenly Father does have certain commands that He wants each of us to follow for our own benefit. He loves us and doesn’t want us to suffer needlessly. We make rules for our children, because we love them and want to protect them and God makes rules to protect us from the harshness of the world.

He never expects us to walk out His will alone. He is always with us and He gives us others to help us up when we fall. If you need a hand up today, let me know. I am here for you as you seek God’s will for your life. I am here for you as you start to implement God’s commands into your life. You never have to walk alone. How can I help you? How can I pray for you?

Remember always, that God loves you and so do I!

 

 

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