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Tag Archives: prayer
Our daughter, Hannah, was home from college last weekend. Jon and I took her out for breakfast one morning and I just couldn’t help but stare at her . There she was, in the flesh, sitting across the table eating chocolate chip pancakes and telling us about life at school in Arizona. I reached across the table to hold her hand, and she laughed and said, “Mom, why are you being so weird?” I laughed back, “I know, I just miss you when you are away and am so glad to be talking to you face to face.”
I do miss her, but I am really thankful for this little technology marvel called Facetime that she and I use when she is back at school. It is the next best thing to watching her eat chocolate chip pancakes in person. I love Facetime because I can experience her world a little better. Sometimes she is walking through campus, or washing her face in the mirror, or in line at Chipotle. I’m right there, connected with her.
It is a far cry from communication of the past. My in-laws were in town a couple of weeks ago and they were telling stories of when my father-in-law, Vin, was stationed on an aircraft carrier at sea for six months at a time while in the military. Letters were the only way of communication to his wife and kids except for the occasional phone call. These phone calls would have no prior notice and my mother-in-law would have to just hope she was at home to receive the call on her land-line.
I am sure during those many months home as a single-mom, my mother-in-law longed for a face to face conversation with her husband, or to reach out and hold his hand, as did my father-in-law on a ship at sea for days on end. And I’m sure they would have been thrilled to be able to FaceTime each other each night. It would have dramatically changed the experience for them.
I think that we often communicate with God in pre-FaceTime mindset.
We send up a “letter” to God, a one way form of communication with hopes of receiving an answer back sometime in the future. We perceive our relationship with him to be long-distance. We hope we are listening and aware when he hopefully decides to respond to a prayer. When we pray it is without assurance that someone is really listening on the other side.
And then we wonder why our connection to God is struggling and why he seems unreachable.
It’s time for a technology update in our prayer life.
I just finished reading the newly published book, Talking To Jesus, by Jeannie Blackmer. Jeannie writes about how the bible records many conversations people had with Jesus, and if we took a fresh look at those conversations as “prayers” it gives us a whole new perspective on how reachable, close and present Jesus really is.
Men and women in the bible approached Jesus during his time on earth with different requests or situations. And he responded. Like when he was sought out by the grieving ruler whose daughter had just died of a mysterious illness. Jesus responded by walking to the ruler’s house, taking the child’s hand and commanding her to wake up. She immediately began breathing again.
Let that sink in. Regular folks like you and me approached the Son of God and asked for physical healing, or to understand him better, or to calm a storm, or for wisdom or direction, or to describe the cost of following him. And he listened and had a response to their need.
Aren’t those the topics we go to God with every day? What if we truly believed we had direct access to him anytime. What if we embraced the fact that Jesus wants to communicate and respond to our needs just as earnestly now as he did in biblical times? How would that change our prayer life?
While true face to face conversations with Jesus will happen only when we get to heaven, I do think we can liken our prayer life to a Facetime call. He is right there, having a conversation with me and acknowledging my questions and concerns. His responses are not random. I can picture his face and his loving expressions…and maybe entertain the idea that he’s eating chocolate chip pancakes while we talk.
I realize this metaphor might be stretching it a bit…but here my point. Let’s not treat our interactions with God as if he is far away, with time and distance preventing intimate, present, personal relationship.
And the disciples asked Jesus, “Where are we going to get enough bread in such a desolate place to feed so great a crowd?” Matthew15:33
Personal, present, honest.
What if we asked Jesus for help in our lives today as assuredly as the real people who did 2000 years ago? What if we got rid of our old technology mindset?
Jeannie explores this idea with beautiful conversations and written illustrations in her book. If you would like to understand this personal way of praying even more, I would highly recommend reading TALKING TO JESUS. Not only does she share the conversations people had with Jesus in detail and depth, but she then invites us into personal reflection that encourages us to go deeper in our own prayer lives.
If you struggle with prayer like so many of us, this book is a must read…you may even begin to experience Jesus like he is sitting right across the table from you, listening to you talk, reaching for more syrup.
You can get the book here: http://amzn.to/2y2Y1Rf
Blessings to you this week!
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POSTED IN: Christianity, faith, faith blog, God, prayer, Talking To Jesus, Updating Prayer Life
POSTED IN: Christianity, faith, faith blog, God, prayer, Talking To Jesus, Updating Prayer Life
Welcome to the third post in the War Room marriage series! If you missed the first two, they are here: Three Marriage Lessons From The Movie War Room and The Perfect Place To Pray. And at the bottom of this post are great free printables for you and your prayer life!
Today’s blog is about giving you strategy and tools for your prayer life–specifically for using in a War Room or Prayer Closet (see links above for more info on creating this). I can’t figure out which title for this prayer place I like the best. I’m pretty sure the producers of the movie “War Room” didn’t have this struggle…they knew the movie “Prayer Closet” wouldn’t be a Saturday night blockbuster. But, I’m leaning toward Prayer Closet for my new space. I think I will get less odd looks from my family when I say that’s where I’m heading for a little bit.
Back to the tools. If you saw the movie, the main character, Elizabeth, learns specific strategies of how to pray in her closet. I am a sucker for lists and bullet points and strategy, especially when it comes to prayer. It helps me focus my thoughts and not wander to my “to do list” for the day during my time with God.
Here are the four strategies the movie shared:
ONE: Acknowledge God in His Glory. Praise God for all he is and does!
God deserves our praise. Truly. Let’s start our time letting him know how amazing He is. He doesn’t need to hear this from us–but it a posture we can take to move our hearts to a humble open place for praying.
“The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.”—2 Samuel 22:2-4
TWO: Confess Your Sins.
The bible says when we confess our sins before the Lord we are forgiven, washed white as snow, clean and pure to present our next requests before him.
Often we pray, “Lord please forgive me.” He already has! Instead, we can pray, “God, I confess my sin to you. I confess…..” It holds us more accountable to being truthful.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
THREE: Give Your Needs To God.
Here are some sentence starters to lay our requests before our heavenly Father:
God, I pray for ……..
Lord, please show me how to handle this situation through your eyes not mine.
Fill me with the holy spirit so I can ….
Show me where you can use me.
I need help or direction or wisdom with ….
Give me strength to endure….I want to be a woman of wisdom and courage and peace in the midst of all the chaos around me.
I feel hopeless or discouraged. Remind me that you are in control and you are Good.
FOUR: Choose To Believe
At some point our words spill onto the floor with no power if we do not choose to BELIEVE in what we are saying. Even a whisper of HOPE and FAITH that God is good and trustworthy can invite God to do powerful things in our lives. Try praying this:
“God I choose to put my faith in you. I choose to trust you and believe that you are all that you say you are. Even when I cannot see the outcome, even when life swirls and confuses, I choose to believe you are present and working and have a good plan for my life.”
I’ve created a few PRINTABLES (I have to put that in caps because free printables are just really exciting)! These are to help get your Prayer Closet started (remember it doesn’t have to be a closet–even just a corner or quiet nook of your home). I hope they give you inspiration and direction as you take prayer to the next level in your life.
You can print them out and tack them to a bulletin board or tape them to the wall of your prayer area. Use these printables to help you strategize your prayer time. If you don’t have a prayer closet, you can use these anywhere you go to pray.
This first printable if to help you structure your prayer time:
Click to DOWNLOAD: Prayer Strategy
This next printable is specifically for praying for your marriage:
Click to DOWNLOAD: Marriage Prayer
And for those of us who like a little scheduling in life..
Click to DOWNLOAD: Prayer Schedule
Think about how our perspective could change if we prayed the following every day:
Click here to DOWNLOAD: Psalm Prayer
Hopefully these get you started! I will be sharing more in future posts.
Subscribe to my email list to receive faith encouragement and decorating idea posts in your inbox once a week, and please share with your praying friends!
Any battle is won by planning, predicting, studying the enemy, and above all strategy. What if we applied strategy to the battles in our lives? My friend, we can. And one way is through setting up a place in our homes to fight those battles. Through prayer.
Hopefully you’ve had time to read the first post in this series Three Marriage Lessons From War Room. Have you seen the movie yet? It is quite amazing. It will give you great context for what I am sharing today which is how to practically set up your own “war room” or prayer closet.
True “War Rooms” are the real deal. They are secure, private, important places where strategy is implemented, direction is decided, and great minds are called upon to help in defeating the enemy. It is all serious business. And that is the mindset we can also have when setting up our very own war room. We are not messing around people.
War rooms or prayer closets are places in our home specially set aside for prayer. They are where we take the bitter and sweet of our life before God.
There is incredible power in prayer, yet most of us (including myself!) tend to pray inconsistently, often half-heartedly, and often only when we are in crisis as a last resort. I have always struggled to pray as if my life depended upon it. I push through pain or problems or stress on my own strength, throwing out an S.O.S when I run out of my own steam. And when things are running smoothly in my life, well the necessity of sitting before God just doesn’t seem as urgent.
On a Friday night a couple of months ago my husband and I sat on our couch and watched the movie War Room. Now if you don’t know the story of War Room, it’s about a marriage that is hanging together by threads, and a daughter who is grieving over the discord between her parents. The wife (Elizabeth), played by Pricillia Shirier, seems resigned to the pain and disconnect she experiences with her husband (Tony/T.C Stallings) who is angry and distant. Until Elizabeth meets an older woman, Miss Clara, whose direct and confident personality draws Elizabeth into relationship. In her wisdom, Miss Clara begins to encourage her to fight for her marriage with spiritual strength. And the story unfolds.
Jon and I found ourselves surprisingly emotional watching the movie, as it spoke of so many issues that married couples deal with. So, I wanted to take a blog post to share some of the powerfully important “marriage wisdoms” we can glean from the movie.
If you haven’t yet seen War Room, put it on your schedule for family movie night next weekend! What I will share won’t give anything away–if anything it will just lay out the welcome mat for the teachable moments.