Constant Conversations with the Creator

I love reminders. Lists in my purse keep me from forgetting to pick up cheese and milk at the store, the warning chime in my Jeep lets me know when the lift gate is open or the oil needs changed, and inspirational quotes, comics, and pictures posted on my fridge, computer, and dresser caution me to be kind, prompt me to be patient, and fan the flames of my faith.

 

 

1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to pray without ceasing. At first, this seems a daunting task, perhaps even impossible. But once we realize what prayer truly is – simple yet deliberate communication with God – we can begin to see that it’s not only doable, but enjoyable. After all, we do it with friends and family. We post to Facebook about the great cup of coffee we’re enjoying and what our kids are doing, text our spouse about what we need him to pick up and our friends about a yard sale they should go to, and Instagram a great party we’re attending. Simple yet deliberate communication.

 

When an ambulance races past and my two-year-old exclaims, “Siren truck!” I pray for everyone affected, that healing would be granted, souls would have one last chance to seek Him, and His comfort would be felt. When my husband heads to a business appointment I pray for favor with those he’s meeting with and for safety during his travels. Throughout the day, just breathing a heartfelt prayer over whatever I face makes me more familiar with hearing and communicating with the Lover of my soul.

 

One way I make prayer a constant conversation is by keeping prayer reminders around my home. Just as I have lists and quotes and pictures to motivate me to do my best and remember what to buy, I have prayer prompts in strategic places.

 

I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased attractive boxes and some river rock, then wrote scripture verses on some and put them on our bathroom counter. When I brush my teeth or fluff my hair, I take out a rock, read the scripture, and pray it back to the Lord.

 

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Another box of river rocks contains names of people I love, nations of the world, vocations, families, and ministries and is placed on a table near our front door. Whenever I walk past it, I pick up a rock and pray for the missionary, pastor, lost loved one, family member, or ministry printed on the rock.

 

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Pinterest can be a helpful tool, but can also become a place to waste time if you let it. So to keep my time in check, Pinterest is another place I keep prayer reminders. I started a board titled Prayer and I begin my time there, praying for others and myself. From there I can search Pinterest having begun in the Spirit, with His guiding eye on my time. I also keep a sharp eye out for prayers to pin, so my prayers continue throughout my time spent on the site.

 

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Novelist and fellow blogger, Amy A. Corrin, took spiral bound note cards and wrote scriptures on them to pray for her children. Each day, Amy took one note card and prayed that scripture over her little ones. Her children are grown now, but she still treasures those cards, and re-reads them often. Her story inspired me, and now, as I read through the Bible, I pick scriptures that I want to pray over my daughter. I’m compiling a list to do just as Amy did.

 

Over the years I have collected many excellent books on prayer. Some of them are in-depth studies on the methods and elements of prayer, or the vitality of it in a believer’s life. Some of them are books of prayers that you can read each day, or by subject. I keep these lying around the house in places where I can pick them up throughout the day to unclutter my mind and re-focus on seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

 

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Jesus calls us His friends, and confides in us all that the Father has told Him (John 15:15). Friends talk with one another anytime about anything, and our friendship with God is no different. Today, let’s commit to constant conversations with our Creator!

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The Weapon of Our Warfare

Steel_sword_detailI’ve taken a bit of a blogging break lately – nearly a month and a half! The first couple of weeks after my last post, I simply didn’t have the time to write. Later, it wasn’t that I didn’t have the time, but felt that it wasn’t the time.

 

I’ve been on the Potter’s wheel lately, and He’s working to mold and shape me more into His likeness. As with any time of new growth, at times it’s been painful, leaving me breathless and worn out. Other times it has been elating, leaving me excited and eager to bear the fruit of His work. Always, though, it’s left me with a greater desire to simply wait before the Lord, quiet and still. There are many things I am learning and want to share with you, and one of them is where the Lord is leading me in the subject of prayer.

I have always loved the sweet gift of prayer and own many wonderful books on the subject. God has led me faithfully into a deeper and deeper prayer life, and just as communication between a husband and his wife can always improve, so can our communion with the Lord.

 

A couple of years ago, I inadvertently stumbled on a golden key to praying with power and intimacy: Scripture praying. I was reading through a study Bible from Stormie Omartian, the author of The Power of a Praying Woman. Stormie shares encouraging words and personal prayers throughout the Bible, and it inspired me to not just read the scriptures, but to pray them.

 

I began to write my prayers out beside the verses that I was returning to the Lord in petition, praise, thanksgiving, and confession. If it were a specific request, I would write the date beside the prayer. Soon, my Bible became my prayer journal, and I realized that I was memorizing scripture easier and quicker than ever before.

 

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My times of reading Scripture became an exciting conversation between My Beloved and me, and when I talked with Him throughout the day, it took on new meaning and closeness.

 

 

Charles Spurgeon said, “Every promise of Scripture is a writing of God, which may be pleaded before Him with this reasonable request, ‘Do as Thou hast said!’ The Creator will not cheat the creature who depends upon His truth; and far more, the Heavenly Father will not break His Word to His own child.

 

Praying Scripture is the most effective way to break strongholds (2 Cor. 10:3-5), hide God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11), magnify God (Luke 1:46), pray the will of the Father (Is. 55:11), clothe yourself in power (Eph. 6:10-18), find direction (Is.30:21, Ps.32:8), grow in grace and knowledge (2 Pet. 3:18; Prov. 18:15), receive forgiveness (Psalm 51), pray when you can’t pray (Romans 8:26), put the enemy to flight (Is. 59:19), and much more – anything you need (2 Tim. 3:16)!

 

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When Jesus went into the desert and was tempted by the Devil, He knew the only way to handle the fiery darts of the enemy was by wielding the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Matt. 4:1-11; Eph. 6:17). Jesus took control of each temptation in the same way: It. Is. Written.

 

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No temptation comes on us that He does not provide an escape (1 Cor. 10:13). When the very words of God – which will not return to Him void (Is. 55:11) – become the foundation and inspiration of our praying, the power of the One who spoke them becomes ours (Matt. 4:4; 2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:12). 1 John 5:14 assures us that if we ask anything according to the will of God, He hears us. And if He hears us, we have what we request!*

 

But that leads us to the question: What is God’s will? The answer is found in His Word! When we pray His promises back to Him in context, we can be confident that our requests are squarely in line with His will. In His timing, He will answer them, whether we ever see it or not. Our prayers have the ability to travel through time, and can affect future generations long after we’re gone.

 

Many people believe that only the New Testament is truly relevant to us today, and may be hesitant to pray the Old Testament scriptures in faith. But Jesus says in John 5:39 that all scripture testifies about Him, and 1 Peter 1:10-11 tells us that the Spirit of Christ was in the Old Testament prophets, pointing them to Him.

 

If you search the Old Testament with diligence and attention, you will find Jesus Christ and His saving grace demonstrated throughout. Freedom should permeate our prayers, even when praying through the first 39 books of the Bible. The propitiation of the Messiah and the power of the Holy Spirit are shown in the whole of the Bible as it reveals God’s heart and plan, working effectually throughout history.

 

True prayer is turning our eyes upon Jesus, hearing His voice, and then responding in love, obedience, and faith. May God tune our ears and train our eyes to hear and see what He wants us to return to Him through prayer.

 

*God is not a genie in a bottle. We cannot control others and God will not. We must be careful that we are praying HIS will, not trying to impose our will on Him! We are free to petition Him for anything we desire, but must bow to His infinite knowledge.

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Thanksgiving Thursday: For This Cause

Radically Grateful

Hebrews 12:6 tells us that the Lord disciplines those He loves, and let me tell you, friends, I have been well loved this week! The Lord has walked before me to lead and guide, beside me to commune and comfort, and behind me to chasten and restrain.

I stand amazed at how, when God is molding me to be more like Him, He usually places something in my path that leaves no room for doubt about His leading. I felt the Spirit brooding over me in loving conviction…and then came the defining moment.

I sat down to write this post on a different subject, but was drawn away by the newest post on another writer’s blog where she had penned:

 “How can we who profess to be Christ followers remain disconnected from the suffering of those who bear His image? Do not all people have equal value and dignity in the sight of God?

If our heart beats for what God’s heart beats, shouldn’t compassion for people and passion for His mission on this earth be our Holy Obsession? Am I not supposed to love my neighbor as myself? When good people do nothing, injustice thrives.”

You Were Made

There it was. “Have I not spoken?” “Yes, Lord.” Then came the clincher: a power-packed video; a heart changing, 34-minute coupe de gras to the selfish life He is asking me to leave.

“In a generation that is so passionate about causes, Jesus said that for this cause I came to earth. There’s one cause, that’s above every other cause, and justice flows out of the cause of the Gospel of Jesus Christ going forward…What good is [anything] if another generation arises after us that does not know the Lord?”

Please watch the video posted below with me, friends! Let’s pray that we faithfully take the baton of faith for the next generation, carry the cause of the Gospel of Jesus forward, and fulfill the mission set before us. And, in all, let’s praise Him for loving conviction and radical grace!

 

Unwrapping the Gifts

862. The discipline-love of the Lord

859. The freedom for which He set me free (Galatians 5:1)

851. A new writing adventure

825. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19)

865. The scent of Snuggle laundry softener

718. Enjoying a good book and a glass of wine when the house is cozy, warm, and dark except one perfect reading lamp

836. Watching movies in bed while Skot works late

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864. Steak fajita quesadillas

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867. Bathtubs – which I’m sure were created for no other reason than filthy children

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Please tell me, what gifts have you unwrapped this week?