Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

 

WOW! It is already 2019! The last year of the decade! Time is certainly flying by and 2018 seemed like it was gone with a blink of the eye. I have dedicated 2019 as my year in prayer. I decided to make prayer my focus this year for one reason. My youngest, Ty, will be 18 in December and this will open up an entire new season for me. I need to know what God’s will is for me in this next season. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I try to open my own doors and control my own destiny. It never works out well. If the door opens, I end up overbooked and stressed trying to juggle my new commitment, my job and family. Most of the time, though, God shuts the door and I am frustrated by the feeling of being stuck in my job and my life. Yes, I am where I am supposed to be for now. I have accepted that until my kids were grown, where I am is where I am supposed to be. A new season is coming and I have no idea what I am supposed to do. I know that I am passionate about prayer, justice, building relationships, and loving people to Jesus.

My life verse is: 

Luke 4:18 (NKJV)

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; 

In the New International Version it is, “proclaim the Gospel to the poor.”

My Life Vision is:

To be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit, show compassion to a hurting world and serve others out of love.

I, also, have to keep in mind what God keeps whispering to my spirit over and over:

Teach My People To Pray!

I have decided that I will NOT try to open any doors on my own this year. I will “be still” and allow God to reveal my purpose in His timing. Instead, I will pray. Which is actually the best thing I can do anyways. Prayer is already a discipline in my life. I usually have a continual conversation going with God as I go about my day. Before you get the idea that this makes me super spiritual or anything, I’m not. I am simply a person who deals with worry and anxiety and I have found that if I keep God close to me through prayer during the day that it helps me “let go of that which I can’t control” and gain some semblance of peace in my life. I have implemented three practices that I will use to seek God’s will for my life this year:

  1. A Prayer Journal: it is nothing fancy! I am not creative at all! It is simply a 1″ 3 ring binder that is divided into 13 sections. I have my life verse, my life vision and the prayer of Jabez written on paper at the front to remind me daily what I am passionate about. In section #1 I have my own personal petitions. I have Sunday-Saturday focused prayer points (Christ follower, as a mom, steward, life pressures, purpose/work, wisdom/discernment, fears/anxiety) and then I have extra paper for my immediate needs and answers to prayer. Sections #2-6 are for my kids (spouses are listed with the child that he/she is married to: Cherokee & Chris). Again, I have focused prayer points for each day of the week based on where they each are in their lives. Sunday’s prayer focus for all of us is Christ follower/Passion for God. I have added extra paper in each section for immediate prayer needs and answered prayers. Section #7 is for the grandchildren. Same set up as the others, but I am putting all of my grandchildren in one section. Section #8 is a section for urgent prayers. Prayer requests of anyone not listed in my journal or any world events that need immediate prayer. Section #9 is for extended family. I have a list of those I pray for on a daily basis with extra paper for immediate needs and answered prayers. Section #10 is for those I want to love to Jesus. I keep a list of family and friends who do not have a relationship with Jesus that I pray for on a daily basis. I, also, keep extra paper for immediate needs and answered prayers. Section #11 is for the Church. I have specific prayer focuses Sunday-Saturday that I pray for the church. I have tried to hit on every point, so most days have more than one focus (ex: Sunday: outpouring of the Holy Spirit, rid the Church of false teachers, remember Jesus as the Head of the Church). Section #12 is a 31 day of prayer set up for America. God has given me a passion to pray for America and the Church of America. These 31 day of prayer plans can be found on the internet. I found mine here. I have tweaked it a bit to fit me and what God is telling me specifically to pray for, but this gives you an idea of how you can pray for this great country. Section #13 is for focused prayers for the World. Again, I have set it up for Sunday-Saturday, using the seven mountains of prayer (seven spheres of influence) as my focus for praying for the World. You may wonder what this prayer journal has to do with seeking God’s will for my future. It is simply something I felt important in implementing in my personal prayer time. As I pray for others and the World as a whole, I know that God is working to create the perfect opportunity for me.
  2. The Daily Examen: The Daily Examen is a spiritual practice created by Saint Ignatius of Loyola. It was created to help us focus on God’s presence in our daily lives. It is a practice of reflection at the end of the day. Knowing where we felt God’s presence and where we felt a disconnect. It helps us acknowledge when we were acting according to God’s will and when we were not. It helps us ask forgiveness where we need it and ask for grace in facing tomorrow. The Daily Examen has 5 steps. To implement the Daily Examen in your life, you can find the steps here. I decided to implement the Daily Examen to help me focus more on God’s presence in the craziness of everyday life. I want to use it to help me focus on listening to the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. I am also using it to help me remember that I am an example of Jesus in the World and my actions do affect others.
  3. The Bible: I am doing a Bible reading plan focusing on reading through the New Testament this year. I am focusing on how to become a disciple that glorifies God. I am also seeking wisdom while waiting on God.

I pray through the prayer journal every morning and do the Bible study and Daily Examen every night. As hard as it is I am not going to try to open any doors on my own. I am going to wait and pray. I will keep you updated on any developments and I trust that by December 17th there will be an open door for me to walk through.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

 

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!

 

 

Read Full Post »

 

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.

 

 

Read Full Post »

 

 

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!

 

Read Full Post »

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!!!

 

Read Full Post »

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.”

 

 

Read Full Post »

Jesus in prayer

Hebrews 5:7,8

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered…

If we want an example of how to live our lives, then we need look no further than Jesus. He was the perfect example of how we should live our lives. No, we will never be perfect, but Jesus gives us an example we can strive to imitate. In Hebrews 5:7,8 Jesus models for us three characteristics that we should incorporate into our daily lives:

  1. He Prayed– Jesus prayed. Not only did He pray, He prayed with fervent cries and tears. According to http://www.merriam-webster.com, fervent means felt very strongly: having or showing very strong feelings. Jesus poured out His heart to His Father in heaven. When Jesus prayed, they weren’t just monotone prayers, prayed with a feeling of apathy. Jesus had compassion for the people He met. I can imagine that His prayers were much like a parent praying for a wayward child; filled with deep love and compassion for that person. We need to pray for others with fervent cries and tears. Our prayers need to be filled with emotion. Our prayers need to be filled with that deep passion that Jesus felt.
  2. He was Submissive– Jesus was reverently submissive. According to http://www.merriam-webster.com, reverently means to show a lot of respect. Jesus had a deep respect for His heavenly Father and was submissive to His Father’s will. According to http://www.merriam-webster.com, submissive means that a person is willing to obey someone else. Out of His deep respect to His Father, God, Jesus was willing to do God’s will. Even when we can’t see down the road to what God is doing, we need to respect God enough to be willing to submit to His will.
  3. He was Obedient– Jesus was obedient. Even when facing death, Jesus was willing to obey God, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42) It is possible that Jesus didn’t really want to go through what He knew was coming. Jesus knew that God had a plan of salvation and that He must die, for that plan to work. Jesus was human. He had a choice. He could have been disobedient. He knew what was coming and still He obeyed, because God’s purpose is bigger and better than our own. We must live in a posture of obedience to God. Even when the request seems crazy or impossible, we must obey God and trust Him with the outcome. We must strive to ALWAYS put God’s will above our own.

I am challenging you this next week to live in a posture of prayer, submission and obedience. See what happens and how God blesses you because of it. If it was good enough for Jesus, it has to be good enough for us.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »