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Just a few of my daily alarms

Month two is coming to a close and I am about to wrap up my stress fast. For the past four weeks I have had my alarm set for seven different times during the day/night reminding me it was time to pray. I will be completely honest as I say that the 6 AM and midnight prayers were not exactly on schedule. I attempted to do these but after I realized that I was just repeating myself for about half an hour because I continued to fall asleep I decided to change the times a little. My 6 AM prayer was done after I was up and dressed and moving around so that my mind had some time to wake up. The midnight prayer was just when I was getting ready for bed. I decided that it didn’t really matter what times the prayers were just so long as I took those seven pauses in the day to pray.

Here is what I realized during this month. First, it is way easier to actually do all seven pauses when you are home! When you are out and about it doesn’t matter if you try to find a quiet place, somehow they always seemed to be interrupted. Second, I realized how little time I actually spend before God talking to him about something other than a request. The seven prayers each had something different to pray about, so yes there were times when I would make a “request.” However, looking at the themes of the prayers: thankfulness, love toward others, servant’s heart, praying for my husband, praying for my son, praying for protection and praying for healing (for those I do and do not know) I began to spend more time praying for these things and less time being selfish. It is so easy to fall into a routine with our prayer life, and so easy to become selfish in our prayers. Once I began to recognize this I started to focus a little less on the things that I wanted God to answer and more on what else I could pray for during these seven pauses.

Now the question you might be asking yourself is how well did this fast carry out my original goal of tackling stress? Rather beautifully! I can’t tell you how many times I would begin to get stressed out and then guess what would happen? My alarm would go off. Oh, it’s time to pray! So I would take the time to pause and pray and by the time I was done praying my stress level had lowered AND I wasn’t even praying about what was stressing me out! Taking those few moments to pray about a non-related subject was all it took! It’s all because I took the time to be in God’s presence, and wow does that make a difference when you come back to whatever was previously stressing you out!

So will I keep this up now that the month is coming to an end? Probably not to the same extent, I mean I wasn’t even perfect during this month. Yes, I messed up and missed a few prayers during the day. But, my view is forever changed. There is something to be said about being intentional about how we handle stress, our prayer lives and not always coming to God with the “I want” kind of attitude. I will definitely take what I have learned from this fast to heart!

What Passion Can Do

November 29, 2011 — Leave a comment

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:11 (NIV) 

Growing up in my youth group I remember learning this verse and hearing sermons about it. Our youth leaders would always remind us that just because we were teenagers did not mean that we couldn’t make a lasting impact, and so this verse was given to us often. Now, when I look at my son and think about his future, this verse comes to mind. I have prayed since the day I found out I was pregnant that he would be a world changer. I pray that he will follow God’s plan for his life and make a difference in the lives of others. What better verse to go with that prayer than this one? I remember just from when I was young being so passionate and wanting to see change but fearing what others would say or think. If only I would have put this verse to use more often maybe I wouldn’t have been so afraid. I knew the verse, but I don’t think that I truly tried to grasp it and live by it, because lets face it… I was young, and young people can’t make a difference, or that is how it feels. I want all my children to know that they do not have to be a grow adult to make a difference and to see change happen. If they are passionate about what they want to see changed then they can do more good than an adult who has no passion! Our children are the future, they must believe in themselves and believe that they can make a difference.

Photo Credit: Linh Do

Prayer: Make an Impact

October 10, 2011 — Leave a comment

“It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” Ephesians 1:11-12 (MSG)

I have talked about Chazown many times, the book written by Craig Groeschel about finding the specific purpose/vision for your life from God. I believe we all have a very specific purpose designed uniquely for us. My husband and I have both sought after our Chazown’s and found them. Now I am thinking about my son. He is almost one, but it is still on my mind. I have begun praying that he would find his purpose God has designed for him, that he will find it early in life and that he will daily strive to follow that purpose. As parents we are going to be the major influence in our children’s lives. What better way to help them find their Chazown than to start praying about it? It will be many years before Eli will be old enough to read the Bible and fully understand it. But, from the beginning God had Eli’s existence planned and He has a vision mapped out for his life. As his parent I am going to do all that I can to make sure that He finds that path. The way that I can start to help my son is by praying and leading by example. I am making a point to pray about this daily. We can impact our children’s lives one prayer at a time!

Photo Credit: Lisa Humes

Quotes: God is Faithful

September 26, 2011 — Leave a comment

Today I felt the need to share these quotes. I know that my husband and I have prayed about a few things on our plate along with some of our friends. So for me and the friends I know praying, I wanted to put together quotes to remind us of God’s faithfulness. He will NEVER fail us!

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37 (NIV) 

“Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.” Mother Teresa 

“Walk boldly and wisely…There is a hand above that will help you on.” Philip James Bailey 

“Faith is a living and unshakable confidence. A belief in God so assured that a man would die a thousands deaths for its sake.” Martin Luther  

Being pregnant is one of the most exciting times but it can also be a stressful time. One of the struggles I had at the beginning of my pregnancy was fear. I was afraid of all the possible bad outcomes that could happen. Nine months is a long time to allow ourselves to fret. My husband knew from the start that I had fears and was having a hard time releasing these concerns. He bought me a book Praying Through Your Pregnancy by Jennifer Polimino. This was the best thing that he could have done for me. The book is a week by week journal. You read about what is going on with your baby that week, there is a place to journal and a prayer to say. This was the beginning of my prayer life for my son. What an amazing experience, praying for my unborn baby! God used this book to heal me of my fears. I gave every concern I ever had to Him and truthfully was able to be at peace. My pregnancy was honestly one of the most carefree times of my life. During my pregnancy my prayer life was brought to a new level and it was all because I learned to truly trust God with my fears. I knew that God would watch over me and my son but I had to live like I believed it. I was finally able to tell God what I was feeling, say “amen” and not pick my burden back up again. Because I learned this early on in my pregnancy it has been something that has carried over into other areas of my life even now after my son is here.  Starting to pray for my son before he was born has carried into continuing to pray for him daily now that he is here. I believe because my prayer life was transformed my prayers have been transformed. I know that I can give any and everything to God. I am not perfect, I still struggle with trying to carry my own burden. However, I know what it is like to pray and truly give it all to God. I know the peace that is given so I strive in every prayer and every burden I have to truly give it to Him. Your experience may be different, you may not be pregnant right now. No matter the case we all need to give everything to God in prayer. It is not easy to completely release our burdens but it is totally worth it. Sit down and pray today, release your burden to Him and see how amazing it is to no longer carry it on your own.

“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22 (NIV)

“Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22 (NIV)