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Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

 

 

I have learned so much about prayer in the last few years. I have learned how to pray, who to pray for and why God says no. I have barely scratched the surface with this devotional series on prayer, but I have tried to present some of the basics and I hope I have given you some motivation to do your own research on this vast topic. There are not only many Bible verses that I left untouched, but the internet is full of stories of prayer giants throughout history that God worked through and partnered with because of their prayers. I encourage you to do some digging and find out for yourself what a rich topic this is. In the meantime, I will leave you with my own reflections on what I have learned in writing this devotional series:

  1. Intercession – As Christians, we have a call to pray for ALL people. We can’t just pick and choose who we pray for. God doesn’t want any of us to perish. We are to pray for EVERYONE!
  2. Three Ways To Pray In Difficult Circumstances – God never promised that life would be easy. When we are faced with tough circumstances, God expects us to REJOICE ALWAYS, PRAY CONTINUALLY, and GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. Is it easy to do? NO! But, it is the only way to find God’s peace and comfort in the midst of the storm.
  3. Simple Prayers From A Humble Heart – We do not need to pray one certain way or be a certain way for God to hear and answer our prayers. He made us all unique and we all have a unique set of spiritual giftings. Some of us are extroverts and the Holy Spirit does guide them to lead others in corporate prayer for a specific issue, but there are also some of us who are introverts whose prayers are just as effective, even if we are quietly praying from the pew.
  4. Community Prayer – We are made for community. God made us to encourage each other and to do life together. One of the most important things we can do together is pray. Prayer can transform communities. Corporate prayer has led to revivals. Our prayers become so much more powerful when we join our prayers in unity for the cause of Christ.
  5. Pray For Your Enemies – God expects us to pray for our enemies and those who persecute us. We already know that prayer can transform communities. The transformation of communities only happens when individual hearts are transformed because of our prayers. There is so much pain in this world today because of hate-filled hearts. How can we not obey?
  6. God Answers Prayers – We know that God WILL answer our prayers, but they MUST be according to His will and we MUST believe that we have received it. Believing requires faith. Faith is that trust that resides deep in our spirits because of prayers answered in our own personal lives or because we believe the God of the Bible will is still the same God today. We have faith that God will answer our prayers if we pray according to His will.

 

MY CHALLENGE TO YOU: Do your own research on prayer, prayer giants throughout history, and revivals through history that have come about because of corporate prayer. More importantly, begin your own prayer journey. Pray on your own and get into a church or prayer group and pray corporately for transformation in your community and the lives of those around you.

Prayer is such a huge part of the Christian’s life that we are called to pray constantly. We are to be in continual communication with our maker, our heavenly Father. This is such an important way to find that peace and comfort when everything around us is falling apart. If I can pray for you in any way, contact me and let me know your need. I am always here. God bless you in your prayer journey!

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Acts 1:13-14

13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

Acts 2:42

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Acts 12:11-12

11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.” 12 When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.

My last post was on individual prayer and praying in private. I wanted this post to focus on community (or corporate) prayer. Community prayer is just as important as individual prayer. In these three scriptures we find the early believers joining together constantly in prayer, devoting themselves to prayer, and gathering to pray. When believers join together in prayer, miracles happen.  When believers join together in prayer, healing happens. When believers join together in prayer, communities are transformed.

In order for our prayers to result in miracles and transformations, God asks three things from us:

Repentance – We can not expect God to answer our prayers if we are carrying around unrepented sin in our hearts. When we come together in prayer, we need to make sure that each one of us is asking God to forgive us for any sin that we are harboring in our hearts.

Humility – We need to come together with humble hearts. If we come together wanting to be the center of attention, showing off our flowery prayers for all to admire, God will not answer our prayers. We can not expect God to honor our requests if we do not have humble hearts.

Love – We need to cultivate love in our hearts for each other and those around us. We need to allow the love of God to bring us together, so our prayers are prayers of love and compassion. We can not expect God to answer our prayers if they do not come from a place of love.

In a time when we see more pain and chaos in the world around us than ever before, we need to come together to pray for our communities and the world as a whole. God calls us, as believers, to seek His face together.

Challenge: Find a church or body of believers and join together on a regular basis in prayer for each other and for issues that we are facing as a nation. Find a body of believers who join together on a regular basis to pray for the world. We need to be on our knees in prayer now more than ever. Prayer is what brings us together as believers. Prayer is what brings us to the heart of God.

Prayer is the only thing that can transform hearts and communities. When we pray, God performs miracles.

 

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I have spent 18 years as a single mom. That is more than twice the amount of time that I was married. There have been good times, as well as, bad times. There have been moments when I felt like I was nailing this single mom thing and then there have been times when I knew without a doubt that my kids would need some serious counseling because of me. My kids aren’t kids any more. They are adults who are growing into their own lives. My youngest, Ty has 11 months until he is 18. It is a bitter sweet moment for me. I’m not going to lie, I have had moments when I wished my kid’s childhoods away. Times when I thought that life would be so much easier if they were all grown up. Have I done enough to get them through the challenges that they will face in life? I hope so. I tried. I have always made them my priority. Amid the failures, God has blessed me by being ever present in this single parent journey. I wanted to mark this bittersweet moment by reflecting on the lessons that I have learned as a single mom.

  1. I Have Learned How To Pray – Through the ups, downs, tears, tantrums (not just from the kids!), joys, sorrows, anger and overwhelming love, God has taught me to pray. Not just the run of the mill prayer list prayers, but deep, heart wrenching, conversational prayers that has drawn me closer to God. I have learned to listen to that soft whisper of the Holy Spirit. Prayer is everything. Prayer is the number one thing that draws us to the heart of God. As a single mom, prayer has truly become my life-line.
  2. I Have Learned To Have Faith – God has shown me many, many times that HE LOVES ME! God has also shown me that HE LOVES MY KIDS! He has answered prayer after prayer (some spoken, some unspoken) and He has provided for us in ways that are truly miracles to me. At times when I felt like I was at the end of my rope, God was there for me. There were many times when I felt God’s presence comforting me, wrapping me in that peace that only God can give us. I will admit that there are times when my faith wavers, but God knows my heart. My faith in God is what keeps me going when I want to give up.
  3. I Have Learned Life Lessons From My Kids – I have learned so many lessons from my kids as they have grown and matured into responsible, compassionate, loving adults. They never cease to amaze me. They have had their bumps, but they always bounce back and as I watch them become adults, I gain wisdom for my own journey. Click HERE to read a series of posts I wrote on lessons I have learned from my kids.
  4. I Have Learned That They Are All Different – As they have grown into adults, I have learned that my kids are all different. Once upon a time I thought that they would ALL go to college/tech school, have great careers and live a happy life. I have learned that life and purpose are not one size fits all. They have each taken different routes, as far as, school and work. They each have different passions, strengths and weaknesses. The other part of the lesson for me has been to allow them each to figure things out for themselves. I give advice, but ultimately they have to figure out what is right for them. So, I encourage them each to do what only they can do.
  5. I Have Learned That Quality Time Can Be Simple – When the kids were little, we ate dinner at the table. We would share how our days were, share positive insights about each other and laugh much. We would go to the park and have picnics. At times, simply being together was enough. We didn’t have to be doing anything exciting or expensive, sharing life seemed to be enough.
  6. I Have Learned That I Am An Example Of Jesus To My Kids – It took me forever to get it through my head that I am a role model for my kids. I am that person that they will emulate. I am that person that they will get their values from. I behaved badly in the first few years. I was wracked with anger, bitterness and overwhelming hopelessness. No excuses though. I was setting a horrible example for them. Thanks to my friend, the Holy Spirit, I finally figured it out and started to be a role model that they can emulate. Am I perfect? Not a chance! Do I mess up? Absolutely! Every day! But I try. I don’t always get it right, but with God by my side, I do my best and leave the rest to Him.
  7. I Have Learned That Kids Have Feelings Too – I never really considered how the divorce affected the kids. I was so caught up in my own feelings that I never considered that the kids were hurting too. I never considered that they might be confused or have fears of their own. I have learned that, but a little late. Our kids feel the same emotions adults do. We all to often dismiss our kids feelings, but I have learned that if we ignore those feelings they will manifest themselves physically and usually not in good ways. Our kids deserve to be heard.
  8. I Have Learned To Apologize – I have already said that I have made mistakes. My kids have seen me at my worst and I have learned that even moms need to apologize. It shows that we are human. If I expect my kids to feel remorse for a wrongdoing then they need to know that there are times when we need to apologize when we blow it.
  9. I Have Learned That My Kids Aren’t Perfect – If I’m not perfect, why do I expect my kids to be perfect? As parents, we all to often, expect our kids to be perfect, to never misbehave, and to never fail. Why do we do this? We aren’t perfect! We misbehave! We fail! Why do we put these unrealistic expectations on our kids? We want better for them, but placing unrealistic expectations on them creates unneeded stress. My kids have had hard times. They have made bad decisions. I have learned that I have to grant them room to grow and learn from their mistakes.
  10. I Have Learned The Art Of Surrender – In my single mom journey I have had broken down cars or no car, I have worried about my kids, I have lived in poverty and I have wondered how I will ever survive. It has not been easy. I have struggled with trying to control everything. I have placed unneeded stress and anxiety on myself by thinking that I had to control everything. There are some things beyond our control. I have had to learn to surrender the challenges to the only one who controls ALL things: GOD.

It has been one heck of a roller coaster ride! It isn’t over yet! I will always be a single mom. My kids may be adults, but they will always need me. I still have Ty to guide into adulthood. I’m sure that as they grow they will continue to teach me life lessons. You are never to old to learn and grow and my kids have been my best teachers. Thank you Cherokee, Kiowa, Cree, Talon and Ty. You five are my heart!

 

 

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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. James 5: 14-16 tells us 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. 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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After months of gathering documentation, attorney meetings and court appearances, our prayers were answered, but not in the way we wanted or expected. My daughter, Cherokee and Son-in-law, Chris were fighting for permanent custody of Chris’s two sons; 9 year old Haydon and 4 year old Keaton. He shares 50/50 custody with his ex-wife and the arrangement has been stressful and is not in the best interest of the boys. Cherokee and Chris were given the news this past Thursday that permanent custody would NOT be granted. We were all disappointed, sad and angry at the judge’s decision.

I then found myself asking God, “WHY?” I prayed! Others prayed! This was not some attempt to get back at an ex. This was sincerely for the health and well-being of the boys. Why would God not give Chris custody of his sons? Why would justice and safety for the boys not be God’s will? Why would God leave these young children in an unsafe situation when we love them so much and can make sure they are safe and cared for?

All questions I may never have answers for. I have come to understand that God doesn’t owe us any explanations on anything He does. We may never know the ultimate reasoning for this decision. Sometimes we pray and are still heartbroken by the outcome.

THEN WHY DO WE PRAY?

I’m not even going to pretend to know why prayers that seem to be reasonable and appropriate are answered with a resounding NO! I am just as confused by God’s actions as everyone else. However, I can say this:

I will NEVER stop praying!

and

I will NEVER stop believing!

Why do I continue to pray? Why do I continue to believe? It’s simple really. Even in a life of struggle, I have seen the manifestation of the goodness of God. I have seen the answers to unspoken prayers and the protection of my children when the only answer could be: THAT WAS GOD! He continues to work good into my life even when He answers no. Without God, there is no hope. No hope in the goodness of people. No hope that all things will work out for the better. No hope that death was defeated and the enemy crushed forever.

When we stop praying the enemy laughs. When we stop believing the enemy wins. Did God answer NO! to your prayer? Are you confused? Are you angry? I urge you to keep praying. We can only see what’s in front of us. God can see the whole picture. He knows what is coming and He knows what is best for us. I know that God loves Haydon and Keaton even more than we ever could. He has every hair on their heads numbered and He will protect them and keep them safe. We have to choose to believe. I WILL continue to pray that God reveals His will in this situation. I choose to believe that this is not over. He is still at work and will bring good where we only see injustice and sadness.

If God has NO! to your prayer and you are struggling to make sense of it, please contact me. I don’t know all the answers, but maybe together we can continue to pray and find the hope that is buried underneath the confusion, anger and sadness. God IS good and He continues to have our best interest at heart. NEVER STOP PRAYING! NEVER STOP BELIEVING!

 

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prayer

 

I have been contemplating the role of prayer in my life. What is prayer and why is it so important to our christian walk?

What draws me into prayer?

A need and a wanting to be closer to God. I want to share every moment of my day with my heavenly Father and I want to hear what He has to say. My desire is to be in continual prayer throughout the day, so I am always near to God and prepared for whatever may happen, be it good or bad. My desire is to abide deeply with God, with Jesus and with the Holy Spirit. I want to have the same relationship with God that George Mueller had. God worked through George Mueller to transform the lives of thousands of orphans. God could not have used Mr. Mueller to that level without Mr. Mueller being intentional in his prayer life and his christian walk.

Prayer is such an important part of having that deep abiding relationship with God. It is partnering with God in His will on this earth. He allows us to partner with Him to make sure His will is done on this earth. He loves us that much. How do we have that kind of prayer life? My prayer life is always a work in progress. I am always making adjustments. There are a couple of changes I want to make because of this unit on prayer and I want the year 2017 to be a year of focused prayer. The changes I will make are:

Add:

Centering Prayer – a quiet prayer time to really hear what God is saying.

The Daily Examen – An Ignatian practice to prayerfully examen the day’s activities and look for ways in which God has spoken to us or convicted us of sin.

Prayer Journaling – A way to pour out our hearts to God. It is often easier to write out our prayers. Journaling is a good way to empty ourselves, letting go of everything we need God to know.

Praying Scripture – Using scripture as prayers. Praying God’s Word back to Him can be effective.

Holy Spirit Led Prayer – Praying as the Holy Spirit leads rather than using legalistic lists.

Delete:

Prayer Lists – They feel legalistic and make me feel disconnected, rather than connected.

I also, want to pray as George Mueller prayed. Never making an appeal for finances etc. instead making his needs known to God and God alone and trusting in a Provident God to provide. God always met their needs. Depending on God and not man to meet our needs has to deepen our faith. Trusting God alone to meet my needs is going to push me to deeper levels in my relationship with my Provident God. I have a feeling it may push me out of my comfort zone as well. I have a feeling God is up to something and when I partner with Him in prayer, the heavens are going to break open and His abundant grace and favor are going to rain down like a Spring rain, giving life in the wilderness. I can’t wait!!!

 

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Kiowasiouxburris

 

I watched her disappear down the boarding ramp. My heart ached. As the tears streamed down my face, I couldn’t help but remember when she was 2 and stuffed worms in her coat pockets. I found them when I did the laundry, all shriveled up. She still has the crack in her tooth from a stunt she tried on her bike when she was 10. Always the dare-devil, she would ride her bike down the porch steps, nearly giving me a heart attack. She ran her first half-marathon when she was 14 and finished in the top 4 percent. When she was 17, she defended a classmate who was being bullied at school. A week before her 18th birthday, she ran her first marathon. She finished just 8 minutes shy of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. I shouldn’t have been surprised when this courageous, risk-taking, defender of justice announced that she was joining the Air Force. She had served four years of JR ROTC in high school, but had always sworn up and down that she would NEVER join the military!

Yet, there I was, my heart pounding with a mixture of pride and fear. I gave her a farewell hug, whispering, “Stay strong and trust God.” As I watch her plane take off, taking her to a far away land, I whisper the same words to my own heart, “Stay strong and trust God.”

Easier said than done. How can I trust God to protect this daughter of mine? How can I trust Him to keep her safe from harm? Matthew 10:30 tells us that God has numbered the very hairs on our head. I love my daughter with all of my heart and soul, but I have not numbered the hairs on her head. How much more must He love her, to have every hair on her head numbered? As much as I love her, He loves her so much more.

Do I still worry? I would be lying if I said I didn’t. These are troubling times. I think some worry lurks in the heart of every military mom. I remind myself that I serve a God that is in control of ALL circumstances. Nothing happens on this earth that He doesn’t know about. I pray for her safety, as she does her job as an electrician. I pray that God will keep her out of harm’s way, here and abroad. I pray that God will continue to give her courage as she serves this beautiful country that we call the United States of America. When the worry creeps in, or missing her becomes to much for me to handle, I feel the whispering of the Holy Spirit in my own heart, telling me to, “stay strong and trust God.”

 

 

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