A Glimpse into My Prayer Journal Series: Conclusion

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Today is the final day of the series A Glimpse into my Prayer Journal. You can find the previous posts of the series here. Thank you so much for joining me this week! I hope you have been blessed, encouraged, and inspired! Today, I leave you with a Conclusion & a Challenge.

Here’s a quiet time throw back of mine for ya! Some of my favorite things… my journaling Bible, a journal, a plan or study, & coffee of course!

So these are the words from an email that hit my email inbox this week from Arabah Joy. I’m just going to share them with you because it’s a fabulous conclusion to this series, and then I’m going to share with you some wonderful resources you can use to make this work for you too, or find what does work for you. It’s totally okay if you don’t do exactly what I do. Put your own spin on it, or do something completely different. Whatever lights you up and excites you about praying is good with me!

So here’s what Arabah Joy writes…she sure challenged me a little bit and inspired me all at the same time. There is always room for growth.

Do you love prayer or just the idea of prayer?

I ask this because so many of us in the church today want a powerful prayer life…we’ve watched movies like War Room and read biographies like George Mueller and desire that kind of prayer life… but the fact is, few of us ever actually have one. Do you know what the only difference between the wanters and the havers is? 

ACTION.

Yup. That’s it. James tells us that Elijah was a man just like us- imperfect. He wasn’t a super Christian but simply did something each one of us can do: he prayed. He asked God for something, and God listened. We can either live our days being a prayer wanter or being a prayer doer and the only difference is taking action. 

James also wrote, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22) We like to think wanting and wishing for a great prayer life is as good as doing it, listening and taking in the Word are as good as acting on it, and knowing truth is as good as obeying it, but that’s where we’re wrong. James actually called this self-deception. 

“When it’s all said and done, God isn’t going to say, ‘Well said. Well thought. Well planned.’ There’s ONE measuring stick, “Well DONE, good and faithful servant.”
-Mark Batterson, Chase the Lion

Okay, so let’s decide right now to be prayer DOERS. Are you with me? 

Now that you’ve decided to be a Prayer DOER, the first step is for you to have a plan. A goal without a plan is really just a wish. Figure out what works for you.

I’ll share this because I think it can kind of relate… when I started my journey to fitness & health, I had a whole list of excuses. A whole list, yall! (Not necessarily a written list, but one in my head). My husband is a personal trainer and CrossFit coach, as you know, so he would encourage me and give me ideas of where to start, but I had an excuse for every single thing and a reason not to try. I’m so glad he didn’t give up on me but that he just waited until I was really ready. And one by one, I began to cross those things off that mental list. One by one, the bricks in that wall I had built up began to fall. Yes, there are still things that come up, and some days it’s hard to make it work, but for the most part – I’ve realized that it’s something important to me, and I need to take care of myself.

The same can be with prayer & quiet time with God. I was this way too. I had all the excuses in the world for why it wouldn’t work. So I didn’t even try. And then I felt the conviction and really desperately wanted more from God. He was always there. He just patiently waited for me to show up too. He didn’t give up on me either. I needed to seek Him first with my whole being. So that’s what I began to do. I began to cross the things off that list, one by one. It’s imporant to me now. It’s one of my non-negotiables in life.

Make a list of your struggles and any excuses you might have for not spending time in the Word and in Prayer, and then find a solution for them one at a time. Think of it like a barrier wall, in which you are destroying and taking it apart brick by brick. Jump over all the hurdles that stand in the way of you meeting with your God. Make a plan for success!

I want my time with the Lord to be efficient, effective, and transformative. So, creating a Daily Bible Reading and Prayer Routine has helped me so much in this area! -Leigh Ann Dutton

Tips for Creating a Daily Bible Reading & Prayer Routine
How to Make a Prayer Notebook
 (Binder-Style Notebook with Dividers)
How I Set Up My New Prayer Journal (Bullet-journal Style)

I have been blessed this week by everyone who has shared their “Prayer Life” story. I love that these are special people in my life that I have a relationship with. It is so important to surround yourself with good, Christian friends & influences! Today, we get to hear from another one of my best friends, Tiffany Stone. Tiffany is one of the strongest people I know. She prays about a situation, and she never gives up. She is fiesty, and she will tell you like it is, but she’s also that kind of person that everyone loves and the epitome of the quote “She leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes.” 😉 

What does your prayer time look like?
My prayer time is anytime, any place, where I am at the moment and when I feel like prayer is needed. I do a lot of praying in my car while I’m driving. It‘s really the only time I am alone.

How do you pray, specifically?
If I have things, situations, or people that I am praying specifically for usually I will find a bible verse to claim over that situation, person, or thing, Many times while I am praying I notice that God my drop someone on my mind. When this happens I will pray over that person usually out loud if I am alone, then I will text them and ask them if I need to be specifically praying for something! There are currently several situations that I am claiming verse over in my life. I also feel like if I am praying of those situations specifically they seem to not affect my mood as much as they normally would.

Is your prayer time quiet, prayer in your heart or loud and declaring things to and from God?
When I am not alone, which is a lot with an almost 3 year old at home, I will pray in my heart or a faint whisper. I know He hears these prayers. When I get the chance to be loud and declare I love to do that! I just feel like when I can say it out loud that the devil hears it and that I am warring against the things that he is putting into to place. I just feel more effective when I can pray out loud.

Do you have music that you worship as you pray, or is there silence?
It really depends on where I am and what is going on around me. I really like to have music playing in the background. I like the music, because if I get to a point where I am not sure what to pray I can worship and usually they will bring me back into the pray. 

Where do you pray?
I pray any and everywhere. I pray in my classroom, on my job, in my car, in Walmart, at my house. If I go to a place usually I will at some point pray while I am there. I love when I am at a place that I am not necessarily thinking about praying and God drops the person who walked beside me in my spirit. I feel like He is using me when things like this happen. 

Do you Journal?
If I have an open afternoon or night when I know I am alone I will take out my prayer journal and journal. I love to journal because I can go back and look at those prayers and see how things have changed over time or I can see the prayers that He has answered that maybe I have forgotten about. Sometimes I write them word for word other times I just list the items I am praying for. I love to see how my prayers change though, so I prefer to write the whole thing out. 

Do you post prayers and scriptures around you to pray?
I will post scriptures, but not prayers. I feel like those are between me and God and I don’t really want others in my house seeing them.

What resources do you use?
I will use my bible for scriptures and google to find specific scriptures. I will sometimes use pinterest to find a quick list of all the verses that may to pertain to a certain topic.

Do you have a list of scriptures you pray for certain people or things?
Yes! It’s really according to what is going on and how long I have been praying for that person or situation. I usually will pray over it and find the scriptures. I don’t always get to read over the scriptures as I am praying for that person or things but many times I have memorized small bits of the verses and will call them out.

What are some ways your prayer time has changed over the years?
At this point, I tend to pray more specifically for things and love to declare those things out loud. I also seem to declare His word during prayers also. I haven’t always. I used to just be general when I prayed and I also would never have spoken the prayer out loud.

What are some things you’ve learned about prayer?
IT WORKS! And If you pray about it more than you talk about it, I tend to not forget about it but I won’t let it bother me as much!

Is there anything else you would like to add that I did not ask?
I feel like right now although my “quiet” times are few and far between, am in a state of constant prayer throughout the day. There was a time in my life several years ago when I didn’t realize how important prayer was. I literally just prayed when bad things were happening or when people were sick or if they ask me to. I was so caught up in me that I didn’t even realize how much not praying was hurting my relationship with others and ultimately my relationship with Christ. It is amazing how much peace I receive when I pray about situations. I know God is in control of every situation and circumstance. He already knows the plans He has for me, I just need to believe that!

A Glimpse into my Prayer Journal: Praying for Others

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This section might be the biggest in my journal. This is where I pray for my husband, my children, our pastors, our church, members of my small groups, members of the teams we lead, people we serve with, family, friends, and any other specific requests that are mentioned to me. When I pray for my husband and my children, I have a bullet-list of things I like to pray, just like when I pray for myself. I’ve also written scriptures of things I am praying for them. While I can’t show you all the pages, I can show you some of them that have scriptures I pray over them. These came from Pinterest and small group handouts. I utilize the tools that are given to me. I could just keep the handouts, but I’ve found that when I write things in my journal, it helps me to focus on what I’m doing, not get distracted, and I feel like as my hand writes the words, those things drop down into my heart. It becomes important to me, and I pray these things more often.

I also have things like scriptures for the homeschool mom and scriptures to pray for your students in my homeschool planner. I strategically use these and try to pray at least one over them a day as we begin our homeschool lessons.

Another way I pray for my children, specifically, is by using this scripture book. I found it on Pinterest, and made it for us to use, and I love it! I could have probably found a prettier way to make it, but it was probably right after I got my laminator so I was excited to use it or something. 😉

When I pray for others, I list all of the names individually. I write beside their name any specifics that I know to pray for. Sometimes I feel the need to text them or ask them when I see them how things are going. The more I pray for them and their needs, the more it’s on my mind. It becomes a conversation-point when I see them. If the time and place is appropriate, I will ask them for a follow-up on the situation or need. I love to get updates, especially when it’s an answered prayer! Many times I don’t know what to pray, specifically for people on my list, and I pray general prayers over them and their families – for them to be blessed, to have all they need, and to grow closer to God. That’s always a good thing to pray for people, I think. Sometimes God will give me scriptures to pray for specific people and situations. I always write these down so that it’s easy to pray them the next time too.

It may seem that my prayer time is super long, but it’s really not. I pray in the mornings, intentionally, with my journal and lists in front of me, but I also pray throughout my day whenever I am prompted. I guess it does take a little longer because I’m writing down things, but now that I am prioritizing this time, and it’s so specialy to me – I wouldn’t have it any other way! When I pray in the morning, I just pray as I feel led. I may not pray for every single person on my lists every single day. But some days I feel the need to pray for some more than others.

Today’s guest writer is Mrs. Marion Sellers. Mrs. Marion is on our Prayer team also, but she’s also served with me in nursery for a season because God led her to do so. I love her obedience and openness about why she does the things she does. It’s refreshing! It is clear to me that she is a praying woman. She talks about God like He’s her best friend and has told me things He’s asked her to do. I know I’ve asked her before, “Who is ‘he’ you are referring to?” because I wasn’t sure at first if she meant her husband, Wayne, or God. The way that He speaks to her is very practical and clear, and she is so submissive and obedient to his authority. I just love that! 

The prayers of a righteous person accomplishes much. My prayer time varies from moment to moment, hour to hour, day to day, week to week. I don’t rely on my own understanding (thoughts). My mission is to always pray the will of God. Unless directed otherwise, I start my time praying in the Spirit (in my prayer language). I’m desiring direction at this point. And I’m building myself up in the faith of my Father. Right now I’m praying in the spirit for my daughter, because of a dream I had last night. I’m believing for restoration of our relationship. I sent her a message this morning telling her I love her and that I’m praying for her to receive the blessings that come her way today. So I just received the scripture Psalm 51:17 that says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Reading in several different versions, I pray this over myself, asking for forgiveness and revelation knowledge for anything I need to repent for. The presence of the Lord is very evident. I’m very humbled at this point, knowing that He’s telling me my prayers will be answered. My prayer language is stronger at this point as I’m interceding for both of us. Thanking the Lord for restoring and healing our relationship.

I like to pray early in the morning, while it’s still dark, with a cup of green tea with crushed ginger. I go outside and start praying in my prayer language. It’s quiet. No distractions. As the Lord leads, I pray. Normally, I know beforehand who and what to pray for. I speak scripture as directed. I have my Iphone so I can look up the exact words. I know I’ve prayed for people in the spirit that I don’t know or that I don’t have a personal relationship with.

I always pray for Wayne, praying Psalm 91 for protection, wisdom, and favor from God, and direction on who he would minister to. Wayne has a devotion with his men every morning.

I do journal, not as much as I used to. I write my dreams down, and pray over them. They mostly concern the church, our pastors, friends, and family. At times the government, end time storms, etc.

After I was spirit-filled the Lord spoke to me during a time of prayer Luke 4:18, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon you…” I rejected it because I thought that was just for Jesus. It took Him three days of saying it before I received and started declaring, the Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has annointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to healt thee broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind. To set at liberty those who are oppressed. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. Matthew 10:8 “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received. Freely give.” 2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” That’s my mandate from the Lord.

I’ve prayed through life-threatening situations. In Haiti, during mission trips- once when we were praveling from Porte-Au-Prince to the mountains for a week-long stay during the time when the gorilla military took over the government. (I had already had a dream that I was to go and who all was going.) When we got off the airplane all the “tap tap” Cabs were covered with flowers. I ask the missionary, Jay, who died? I figured it was someone important – but no. There was a government takeover, and we could get right back on the last plane leaving or stay and finish what the Lord had called us to do. We traveled from there to the mountains in 3 vehicles. In the lead was a pickup truck with supplies, luggage, and men. Second was an 18-wheeler with sound equipment and some of the men. Finally, a jeep with 5 women in it. We prayed in the spirit, sang worship songs, and spoke the Word over us. As we would come to different road blocks, the Lord would make a way through. At one point, I literally saw the hand of the Lord stretch forth over a wide deep gap in the road at the 18-wheeler drover over it. At one road block the missionary talked our way through but this one young man wouldn’t let the jeep go through and demanded we all get out! Linda, the missionary’s wife, told him, “No”, and he picked up an old flat bottom jack to bash in the window but as it all began the Lord directed me to call forth the angel of God to come and take authority over this situation! I looked to my right and saw this little old man sitting on a huge tree trunk slowly get up and even slower walk over to the other side of the Jeep and stay the man’s hand that was holding the jack. He put his hand on his arm, pulled it down, and directed him to leave and the barrier be opened. They had no choice but to obey! The men were physically helpless against these gorillas. But then GOD!! The Lord kept 5 women from who knows what type of harm that day. Our God! A very present help in the time of trouble. During that trip to our destination, I saw dead bodies on the road, burning buildings, total chaos. The Lord worked mighty miracles among the people that week. Deaf ears were opened. The blind received their sight. So many were healed of various diseases. Demons were cast out. Chains were broken. We saw hundreds repent and give their lives to the Lord. They received the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Prayer, in tongues, spiritual warfare, intercession, declaring the end from the beginning, the expected outcome had been going on for a month. We all had been praying, but the pastor and his congregation had been praying for hours every day from 6am until 6pm. The team was protected from the U.S. all the way up to that little mountain village. I saw the pastor, who was small in stature, but in the spirit- he was a giant!

This is just a small glimpse into what prayer does. Communication with the One who hears and fulfills. Our commander and chief! We are mighty warriors in the Lord’s army.

 


A Glimpse into My Prayer Journal: Personal Prayers

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This is Day 5 of this 7-Day Series. You can find the first 4 days here:
Establishing the Habit
Daily Prayers
Praise & Adoration; Rest
Confession

Today is all about Personal Prayers – the things I pray for myself.

Because it’s too personal and intimate, I will not be sharing a picture of these pages in my journal. However, I’ll tell you about the things I have listed.

I’ve listed all the hats I wear – I pray for myself as a wife, as a mother, as a small group leader, as a homeschool teacher, etc.

I pray for our homeschool. I pray for my relationships with my children who have a different personality type than me. I humble myself at this time in my prayers so that I can be moldable by God – that He can make me into a better mom. I want to understand how He created my children and the ways they tick, the ways they grow, and learn and how I can respond to them better. I want to understand my husband and serve him better.

I pray for my friendships and relationships with others.

I pray for my goals in my personal life, my spiritual life, and all aspects.

I pray that I can be intentional and prioritize my time wisely, that I can be okay with the things that don’t get done or checked off my list because they may not have been in God’s plan for that day.

I pray that God helps me to see Him in the ordinary, in the every day things – that I’m aware and can thank Him for those little blessings throughout my day.

I pray for struggles I have currently and things that God is working on in my life.

I thank God for prayers He’s already answered in my life – like my addiction to sweets & cravings, my self-image, my sins I’ve been set free from. I keep these in the forefront of my mind so that I don’t forget where I came from and what He’s done.

I have this written in my journal on the Personal Prayers page. I think it comes from the L.I.F.E. Bible study book, and it’s a good reminder for me of the areas I can pray and surrender in my life.

I surrender all…
my plans
my goals
my pleasures
my ambitions
my hurts
my furutre
my past
my selfishness
my ego
my sin
my pride
my physical appearance
my lust
my anger
my fear
my health
my unforgiveness

Usually when I “journal” prayers, more than just bullet point lists, it’s in this section. Especially when I’m dealing with hard things or don’t know what to do, I journal my feelings and thoughts and prayers to God, and it’s nice to be able to come back and see these and how he’s answered them for me.

Today, we are going to hear from Mrs. Dianne Goulet. Mrs. Dianne is also a volunteer for the Prayer Team at Northwood church. I have been blown away by the faith of this woman as she battles some pretty major things in her life. She has an awesome story of redemption and healing, and she’s a huge inspiration for me as a Christian, homeschooling mom. I know you will be blessed by this today.

Prayer is not so much a specific time of day for me, as it is a way of life.  Just as relationship between two people is ongoing and dynamic, involving frequent communication that encompasses many emotions, so is my relationship with the Father.  As I’ve grown closer to Him since the day I first surrendered everything in exchange for His all, the natural result has been that I want to talk to Him more and more.  I started out praying about problems, asking for help and healing; today, I find myself devoting more of my prayer time to worship and to listening. The focus has shifted from what I want Him to do for me, to loving and listening to Him.
The practical expression of my prayer life has varied in different seasons.  When I was a full-time student with a preschooler at home, I got up in the wee hours of the morning, before it was light, to read the Word and talk to God.  Whether I was at the kitchen table, on the couch, or out on the deck with a flashlight, waiting for the sun to rise, I always came with a hunger to hear from God and an expectancy that I would, either through His Word or as the Spirit spoke to my heart.  When I was working full time, my long commute provided uninterrupted time to pour out my heart to Him about the trials in our marriage and family, asking Him for supernatural empowerment to love through the pain and to minister, both at home and at work.  When my son was hospitalized for mental health issues, I paced the floor of my home shouting, “Satan, you cannot have my son!”, declaring the Word of God over his life and agreeing with it in a loud voice punctuated with sobs.  When it appeared that my husband had lost all interest in our marriage and I couldn’t sleep because of the agony in my heart, I laid face down on the floor of my walk-in closet, sobbing and praying in tongues until there was peace.  When doctors told me I should not be alive, I said, “Lord, what do YOU say about it?”  As I lay in bed for months, I proclaimed the Scripture He had given me declaring life and purpose, praising and thanking Him that He would bring it to pass.   At times of feeling overwhelmed, prayer has simply been sitting on a chair in the sun and saying, “Lord, I need You…” waiting there until He spoke to my heart.  In corporate and personal worship, I sing the songs as a prayer to Him.  During seasons He has called me to intercede for specific people or situations, I’ve set aside dedicated time for prayer and fasting.  I often journal those prayers word for word, until I receive a release from that intercessory mandate.  If He’s given me Scriptures to pray for someone, I’ll write those down, too.
In this particular season of life, I’m a homeschooling mom.  I start my day with prayer before my feet even hit the floor.  My husband and I pray for each other before he leaves for work.  My daughter and I start our day with time in the Word, sharing how God is speaking to us and talking about how to apply what He’s saying.  We pray before we start school, and especially before those subjects or assignments we know are likely to be more difficult for her.  As I move through the day, prayer is like breathing–a rhythm I no longer have to plan; it’s just interwoven with thought and action.  It is an ongoing conversation with my Beloved. I ask the Holy Spirit to direct my day.  I ask God how to be a good steward with our resources.  I thank Him for self-control when I walk down the cookie aisle at the grocery store.  I ask Him for wisdom to advise our young adult children.  When I see all the wildflowers in the roadside ditches, I praise Him that He has richly given me all good things to enjoy.  As different people or situations come to mind, I pray for them on the spot rather than wait.  If they are comfortable with it, I pray with them, too.  At bedtime, my daughter and I pray together for the people and situations God lays on her heart.  There are times, especially when I’m seeking direction, that I do head to my bedroom and kneel before Him, shutting out distractions for as long as it takes.  I still talk to Him while I’m driving, especially about my human relationships and about the condition of my own heart.  At times, He wakes me in the early hours of the morning to speak to me when all is quiet. I don’t worry so much about what prayer is supposed to look like…my focus is worshipping, loving and obeying Jesus, and the prayer flows out of that relationship.
Over the years, I’ve learned how vital and valuable it is to pray in agreement with Scripture.  1 John 5:14-15 NIV says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.”  When I pray the Word of God, I am praying the will of God, and I can be confident of the answer.  Isaiah 55:11 tells us that God’s Word always accomplishes what He sends it out to do–it always produces fruit.  Hebrews 4:12 reveals that His Word is alive and powerful, able to penetrate to the heart of the matter.   Praying the Word is powerful, focused prayer that produces lasting fruit in accordance with God’s will.  As I speak His Word over situations and people, it increases my faith as well, because faith comes by hearing, and hearing through the Word of God (Romans 10:17).
The Lord does want us to bring our needs to Him and to thank Him for what He’s done (Philippians 4:6-7).  We can come boldly before His throne to find grace and mercy to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).  Jesus taught us to pray with persistence (Luke 11:5-10). Our prayers are incense before His throne, a pleasing aroma (Revelation 5:8, 8:4).  And yet…if my only communication with my husband was to walk up to him, talk at him, and walk away without hearing his response, what kind of marriage would we have?  I have learned that the sweetest intimacy with God in prayer comes from pouring out my heart to Him, and then being still before Him while He answers with the words my heart so needs to hear.
The third thing I have learned is that if I am awakened suddenly at the same time every night (for me, usually between 1 and 3 am), and there’s no apparent reason, it’s usually because the Lord wants to tell me something.  Some of the sweetest, most healing, most powerful moments of my spiritual life have come when, like Samuel, I finally realized it was the Lord waking me and replied, “Speak, Lord; your servant is listening.”…and was still before Him as He sang over me, taught my heart, corrected me, and spoke purpose into me.  I was never tired the day following those times alone with the Lover of my soul.
God is faithful to His Word, and He does answer prayer.  I have seen Him heal me of multiple sclerosis and celiac disease.  He has twice immediately opened my daughter’s airways during a life-threatening asthma attack.  I have seen Him spontaneously heal a third-degree burn, and literally set an SUV that was in the process of rolling onto another car back down on its wheels, all in response to prayer.  During the past six years He has delivered my husband from addictions to alcohol and pornography.  We have seen children turn back to following Him in answer to prayer.  Several years ago, I was hiking on a trail with my daughters and we saw a van parked at the trail head, with its windows blacked out and back doors wide open, and two men peering out of the bushes on either side of the trail up ahead, waiting for us.  Their intention was clear.  I pulled the girls closer and slowed our pace.  I had no cell phone to call the sheriff, and heading back up the trail would only put us further away from help and attention. I prayed and asked the Lord to send His warrior angels to protect us, as He promised (Psalm 91:9-11, Hebrews 1:14).  The terror subsided and I felt His peace.  The next time one man peered out of the bushes, he looked startled and ran across the trail, exposing himself to us, to reach his friend.  He pointed back our way and said, “Where did those six big guys come from???”  The second man looked, and said, “I don’t know, but they’re scary!”.  They both ran to the van and, without even shutting the back doors, drove away as fast as they could.  I saw nothing, but I have no doubt they saw the angels of God.
If you are desiring to grow your prayer life, I encourage you not to worry so much about how it’s “supposed” to look, but just cry out to your Father, Who loves you and wants to fellowship with you intimately.  He will meet you where you are.  He is not concerned with outward appearance, but with the heart (1 Samuel 16:7)–and if you seek Him with your whole heart, you will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).  As you read the Word, begin to pray it for yourself and for others.  Make time to be still in His presence, and listen to His heartbeat as you lay your head against His chest.

A Glimpse into My Prayer Journal Series: Confession

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This is Day 4 of this series. Here are the posts you might’ve missed…
Establishing the Habit
Daily Prayers
Praise & Adoration; Rest

I’m updating this post to add this scripture from today’s One Year Bible Reading… I don’t think it was a coincidence. Let’s call it evidence that it matches up with today’s post exactly.

“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16

 
And as Pastor Mike always says, “God’s not mad at you. He’s madly in love with you.”

After resting and spending some time just listening to God and searching my heart, I use these questions to review the last 24 hours of my life. I don’t journal the answers – I just use them as a guide and confess any areas that are evident to me through prayer.

Did I avoid doing something I should have done?
Did I fail God in any areas of personal conduct?
Did I miss an opportunity?
Was I honest in my dealings with others?
Were my thoughts pleasant?
Did I depend on myself or on God?
Was I wasteful of my time or money?
Did I honor God with my actions?

Let evil in conduct, thought, and motive be brought into the open fully without excuse & under proper names. He is faithful & just to fogvie. Search me, O God, and know my heart. Psalm 139

I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquiry; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Psalm 32:5

I’m going to share with you a GREAT resource today! This post was the post that inspired me to start my prayer journal and gave me some ideas in doing so, so you’ll notice that many of the components are similar. As I looked back at it it writing this post, I’m noticing her section on “Scripture Prayers” which I love. I also love where she asks herself “why” when she petitions God for certain things to check her motives. That’s good stuff.

Today’s guest author is Mrs. Holly Bond. Mrs. Holly is one of the first people I remember meeting from Northwood. She is SUCH a joyful person. It overflows from her when you meet her, and I love that about her. She is on the prayer team at Northwood, and she lists my favorite scripture at the end of her writing today. She definitely is doing just what it says!

Here’s what Mrs. Holly has to share about her prayer time: 

So, as I go throughout my day, I try to stay aware to the Spirit’s nudges. A news story may make me stop and say a formal prayer or something more frivolous may cause a “Mercy, Father” (Sometimes a “forgive them, they don’t know what they are saying or doing”.) I may think an unclean or worldly thought about it myself and I try to instantly ask for forgiveness. The “nudges” may be anything from sending an encouragement or scripture to someone to even getting on Facebook. (This has become a “praying field” for me.) Then I end my day with “Good night, Daddy”. A “thanks for being with me, and giving me another day.” This is when I pray specifically for my husband, children, grandson(now grandsons), Mother, Brothers (and their families), and Ernie’s sister (and her family), my Pastors(and their families) and my church. Sometimes this is just a “bless and I name the list”, then sometimes it’s more in depth. As the Spirit leads.

And finally, sometimes I have a “pray down/showdown”. This is when I turn up the worship music, ask God who needs prayer or just start praying in tongues. This is so satisfying ! I usually end up with my Bible in hand and a scripture for someone. If I feel led, I share this, if not, I continue to pray this over that person or situation as long as I feel lead to do so!

This last prayer time is the one that my puppies enjoy. They will dance and bark with me! When I sit and pray quietly, my Yorkie will get in my lap. On occasion, she will place a paw on my mouth! I like to think she is praying with me! Who knows? 😂 lol

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18New Living Translation (NLT) 16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

 

 

A Glimpse into My Prayer Journal Series: Praise & Adoration

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Today is the third day of this series. If you missed day 1 or day 2, you can find them here…
Day 1 – Establishing the Habit
Day 2 – Daily Prayers

This next page of my journal and portion of my prayer time is an ongoing list of my Praise and Adoration for God. I take some time to thank God for who He is and what He’s done. Sometimes I will add things that I read from the One Year Bible that day that speak to who God is and what He does.  If there’s anything that just comes to mind, I will add it as well.
If I did this everyday, my journal would be completely full faily quickly so I don’t always write them down. I also pray these things quite often throughout my day, and my journal is not always nearby. I just pray and thank God for a few of these things each time I pray. These are the pages from two different journals of mine this year.

Holy
the only one that matters
Constant; never-changing
So faithful
How awesome are your deeds!
Worthy of praise
I’m in awe of you!
Extrordinary!
Mighty and Powerful; yet also gentle and Meek
SO BIG!
You listen
All About You
Your praise should never end
Great & Powerful
Merciful
You carry me
Slow to Anger
Abounding in Steadfast Love
Forgiving of iniquity and transgression
You go before me, and you fight for me
An awesome creator
You established the mountains; You still the roaring seas.
Righteous
Faithful
Abundant in my Weakness
All-Knowing
Understanding
Forgiving
There Always
You never Leave
You heal my broken soul
Powerful
Loving
Everything I need you to Be
You plan ahead for my every moment
My rescuer

Another practice I like to do in my intentional, morning prayer times is to Rest. It’s not easy to do, and this is really the only time of my day that I have been able to do this well. I close my eyes, and try to turn off all my thoughts and just listen. I meditate on God, and try to hear if He is saying anything specific to me. I focus all my attention on God. It’s so easy to get distracted or start thinking about my day or other things. Sometimes I may even actually set a timer for a few minutesto do this, not to put God in a box and limit when He can speak to me, but for me to practice that aspect of really listening for Him. And sometimes I just have so much on my mind, that I have to stop and write things down, and then re-set my timer. I know that sounds crazy, and this might be kind of a odd thing to do, but I need to practice turning my mind off, and it is so difficult to do. I’m learning to quiet my mind and heart before Him, for Him to speak to me throughout the rest of my prayer time or throughout my day. If we don’t take this intentional time to really listen, we may be too busy to hear what He’s trying to tell us.

And just some words to encourage me in this:
Wait, Rest, Quiet
Wordless Worship
Silent Waiting
Quiet my Mind
All Thoughts to God
Just BE in the presence of God
Deep Pondering
Breathing in God and all He has for me
Meditation
Listening & Hearing

Today, we get to hear from one of my best friends, Melissa Floyd. I love Melissa’s big faith. If you talk to her for long, you will see that she is very radical in her faith and what she believes God can and will do. In fact, she believed that God will heal her, and He did. She prays for God to heal others, and He does. And I think she’s probably one who has like a bucket list of prayers she wants God to answer – those things that are SO BIG that people can’t even comprehend. I’ve heard her say before that she prays this verse, “Whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” She believes that God will use her to do big things, and He does, yall. He’s using her in big ways. So now let’s here from Melissa… 

I don’t really have a specific time set aside for prayer only. I do pray all day though. I wake up between 5-5:15 to have my quiet time which might include, but is not limited to, prayer. I usually pray for things as they come to my mind, which may be all throughout the day.

Most of the prayers are quiet, in my heart. Although there are times when I am in warfare that I will declare God’s promises over my life and bind the enemy. These are usually out loud. I do whisper and pray “out loud” but not really for everyone to hear sometimes too.  I’m normally in silence. I get easily distracted so I don’t play music. I may sometimes miss that element that does help usher in the presence of God though.

My quiet time is usually in my favorite chair in the corner of my living room. I love to sit there wrapped in a blanket, no matter the time of year, because it brings me comfort. But because I pray all day I’m obviously not always there. At work, I will often go to the bathroom to pray – just because it’s a quiet place, and if I’m lucky, no one will bother me. I do this especially if I’m having difficulty handling a person or situation. It’s a “time out” before I go back to handle it.

I don’t journal. I used to and for some reason have stopped. May need to pick that back up. I try to pray for my family while I’m doing dishes and laundry. Mostly to keep my heart right because honestly, I’m not always happy to be having to do those things alone.. so if I pray for them while doing that, it does help my perspective and attitude.

If I know that someone is going through something specific sometimes I will look up promises from the Word that is applicable to that situation. Other times I just pray in the spirit. I’ve definitely evolved to praying all of the time instead of only at a specific time. And if I tell someone I will pray for them, I usually do it right then so that I don’t forget.

I’ve learned to stand on the promises that are in the Word, even if I can’t see them yet. I’ve also learned to bind the enemy and speak truth over situations. Not just to throw around empty hope or words. But to pray what the Bible says and what I know is truth and life over things and people.

Last week I prayed for a little girl to be healed from a hole that was in her heart and the doctors confirmed that it is completely closed. And even made a point to say that they don’t usually close this late in life.

A Glimpse into my Prayer Journal Series: Daily Prayers

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I am just a paper and pen kind of girl. Digital has it’s place for me, and I utilize it in many, many ways – but I used paper planner, paper journals, and a good ole paper Bible. I’m not saying my way is the only way – but it’s what I love, and it’s what works for me. I just encourage you to find what works for you… whatever excites you and makes you want to dive into God’s word and spend intentional time in prayer with Him.

The journal I’m currently using is just a simple insert that was made for a Traveler’s notebook. Foxy Fix is the brand, and I ordered it when I ordered my TN for my birthday this past year. It’s not my favorite insert notebook, but it works well enough. It came in a pack of three so it’s lasted me a little bit. My favorites are the Moleskine Volant-style and May Designs books. I use it kind of like a bullet journal with an index, and I’ve also added dividers (by washi-taping the edges of a few pages) and tabs to organize it a bit more and help me find specific pages easily. I like to decorate it with stickers too. (My favorites have been The Happy Planner Faith collection.)

Again – none of these fancy things are necessary. You can use the notes app on your phone or grab a composition notebook at the grocery store, and it will work just fine. I like the idea of journaling prayers, even if just in list-form, because you will be able to see how He answers them over time. I’m a list-girl, and there’s nothing more satisfying to me than checking something completed off a list. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but it’s really really exciting to check off an answered prayer and praise God that something is no longer a struggle or He did what He said He was going to do.

Today’s Page of my journal that I’m sharing is called “Daily Prayers”.
These are scriptures I’ve found throughout my daily Bible readings that I thought may be good scriptures to pray every day and focus my mind on what I am doing. It sets the tone for my time in prayer. It’s also quotes from books or things I’ve found that do the same thing. I’ve just added a page of these to my journal, and I start here usually. It’s a short, but ongoing list that I add to as I feel the need.

May I be careful to maintain a constant habitual, sense of Thee in my mind; to live and act as in Thy Presence; to think often of Thee. May I ever remember that I am in the presence of the great and Holy God.
-Susanna Wesley

Give me a new heart, and put a new spirit in me. Remove my heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh. Put your spirit in me, and move me to follow your decrees and be careful to keep your lawas. Ezekial 36:26-27

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139: 23-24

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51: 10-11

Help me to be filled with the spirt. Ephesians 5: 18

Show me, Change me, Fill me!

Today, our special guest is my dad -David Keen. He is the pastor of Bethel Baptist Church in Louisville. He is truly one who is a servant of God and has such a heart for ministry. He loves people, especially his church family. He is always on the go – and most of the time it’s to help or visit with someone in the church. He is there to encourage them and pray for them, and he does his job well. Today, he’s here to share with us the simplicity of what it means to pray and how he does that each morning.

In the morning, before the world comes crashing in. Before the phone rings, Before the noise of the day begins… It is time to begin a conversation with God. I’ve always liked the ACTS prayer method. It may sound simple, but that’s me.
A – Adoration (speaking how much I adore God and all He does)
C – Confession (simply cleaning the slate… forgiveness, starting my day anew)
T – Thanks (This may take a while… thanking God for salvation, family, blessings… of life.)
S – Supplication (The needs of the day, direction, guidance, help, strength, etc.)

My normal prayer life consists of one special request… “Lord, use me today.” (and He usually does, whether I see it or not.)

My prayer life continues all day… riding in the car, Wal-mart, sitting in a deer stand, walking down the halls of a hospital, or studying God’s word.

Without prayer, we are powerless… we need the connection to the Father. Without prayer, we would continue wandering in the wilderness of this world.

Prayer really does change things!

A Glimpse into My Prayer Journal Series: Establishing the Habit

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I am so excited to share this series with you! It’s something God placed on my heart last Sunday morning during my quiet time with Him. I was reading back over by prayer journal from earlier in the year and saw all the prayers He has answered for us and those around us, and it was so encouraging to me. I remembered when I started keeping a journal of my prayers not too long ago. I thought about the resources I found and that are working well for me – that also might work well for you. Later on in the morning, I started thinking about those people around me that are prayer warriors – about how good it would be to hear from them about what their prayer life looks like. Bascially just because I wanted to glean some ideas, inspiration, and encouragement for myself! Then, the message that Pastor Mike delivered was all about prayer too! It’s like God had lined all of these things up, and that is so exciting to me when He does that! This week, you will not only be hearing from me, but also from a few select people that I know are rocking their prayer life! We can all read and be encouraged by their stories! I hope that you will be as blessed by their stories as I have been as I compiled them into these posts. I hope you enjoy all of the resources I share with you as well.

Establishing the Habit of Quiet Time & Prayer in my Own Life:
Before I begin with the actual components of my prayer journal, I feel like I should share with you what my prayer life looks like and how it’s grown and changed. It hasn’t always been all that, actually. I used to pray, only when I thought about it, which wasn’t often. And I definitely was not intentional about it. I have always had lots of faith and belief that God does and will do amazing things, I would let him do his thing – whatever He wanted, and didn’t really feel the need to discuss it much, other than a quick prayer here and there. I also wasn’t reading my Bible on a regular basis either. I had all the good excuses too. I’m a stay at home mom. There is no “quiet time”. My kids won’t let me. I think I had this ideal picture of what my quiet time with God should look like, and I didn’t know how to make it work so I just didn’t. Our communication was lacking.

I begin to feel more and more conviction for not pursing God in the way that I should, and I decided I needed to make a change. So in October of 2015, I got on Amazon and ordered this Bible. It wasn’t quite this expensive then, but it was way pricier than I’ve ever spent on a book or Bible, but I wanted a really nice one that would last me years and years and years and could be passed on to my children one day. I saw it as a small investment into my spiritual life, and called it a Christmas gift for myself. (Justin – you’re welcome. You’re were off the hook that year.)

So I ordered the Bible, and it came in the mail and smelled SO GOOD! That leather — Yum! I couldn’t wait to dive in and start studying. I printed off Mackenzie Monroe’s Savor & Establish study of Phillippians for the month of November. I remember this because I was also using some of the tips I’d read in a post about how busy moms who can barely finish a cup of coffee can sneak in quiet time… One of those tips was to leave your Bible out so that you could come back to it when you have gaps in your day. I did this and my little Linkin used my pen and scribbled all over one of the pages when I wasn’t looking. I wanted to be mad, yall. But I chose not to. Instead, I labelled it with his name and the date so I could remember how old he was when it happened. A sweet little memory that shows growth in him and in my quiet times. I wish I could find that post for yall, because it was filled with tips, and they were good, but unfortunately it’s no longer online. So I guess I will be writing my own post about that soon.

So I started with that study, and I did an Advent study in December 2015. In January of 2016, I was determined to make this a habit and a rhythm of my life. It’s so important, yall. And so I did. I found the Journal & Doodle Bible Studies from Stone Soup for Five. They are so good! I filled up a few Moleskine books with my notes from these studies and prayers and scriptures. I’ve found that I really like having nice quality journals to use, and it makes me actually want to use them. Nice leather Bible, nice quality paper, and nice quality pens to write on. Investments into my spiritual life, and to me – these are worth it because now I actually use them.

I made my quiet time a priority, and I wanted my children to know that it was a priority for me too. At first when I would wake up early, they would wake up early too – no matter how quiet I tried to be. I tried not to get frustrated (because I really wanted to), but instead I would read it aloud to them if they would let me, or give them something to color, or tell them they could grab a granola bar so they wouldn’t be starving until breakfast time came around. It hasn’t always been perfect. I was pregnant last year so there was a lot of morning sickness. I can’t function well in the mornings when I’m pregnant. At least not during that first trimester. It’s just not pretty. So I did devotionals and the Bible reading app on my phone throughout the day, and I worked on my Journal and Doodle Studies randomly, when I found some time to do so. It took me MONTHS to get through the study of John. I think it’s definitely true that there are seasons of life, and God does give grace for those seasons in which it’s hard to prioritize this time. But I also think it’s up to us to make it happen when we can. God will always be there waiting for us. He’s just waiting for us to show up to meet him too.

During this time, I was learning the importance of prayer and how to strategically pray for myself and those around me. I learned how to pray scriptures, and I found that it makes it so much easier to know what to pray about certain situations when I do this. I will google a list of scriptures on a topic and select some to pray for specific people and situations and write them down in my journal. As I’m turning through the pages of my journal in the morning, I just pray as God leads me. I have many different things that I pray for myself, my husband, and my children especially, but I don’t pray every single item every single day. I just let God lead me and pray whatever is on my heart for them. I add to the list specifics that I’ve noticed or they’ve mentioned. I pray for my family, my friends, those that I know that are going through tough times or need healing, the members of my small group, my team members, and our pastors. If someone asks me to pray for them, I go ahead and do so right then. Many times I’ll have friends mention a prayer need during the week, and I want to make sure that I actually pray for them – instead of just intending to but never doing so. So I’ll pray for them immediately, then again whenever I think of them or in my morning prayer time, and doing that prompts me to follow up with them to see how things are going.

I usually have my quiet time of Bible study and prayer in the mornings in our living room. I’ve always loved when I’ve visted people’s homes and saw that they had “a chair” – a chair where their Bible study, books, and pens laid out right beside them. I’ve always wanted to have a “chair” like that – a place that I meet with God on a regular basis, and I have that in my living room now. I’ve found that I am more likely to spend time in prayer and Bible study when I have a plan in place. I have to be intentional about this time, just like any other thing for me. Whether it’s a Bible study, a list of scriptures to pray, or a journal that I can make a bulleted list of things to pray for – it helps me. I do pray spontaneously as I feel the need throughout the day, as something comes to mind, or as someone mentions a need. I love the idea of praying for my family while I wash the dishes, cook meals, or while I fold the laundry – but I usually use this time to listen to a podcast. I am noticing lately that I am prompted to pray more often throughout my day – sometimes I feel the need to just go in my room and get alone with God in the middle of the day. Sometimes I feel like voicing a quick prayer to help me through a parenting situation or some emotions I’ve been dealing with.

I’m trying to teach my boys to think about praying for situations in their lives – such as when they get hurt or when they hear the siren of an emergency vehicle going to respond to a call. I’m noticing the need to pray during our homeschooling times. I’m learning to pray when those frustrations arise and reset our attitudes so that we can do the work that we need to do. I’ve found that this is so important for cultivating this relationship with my children and encouraging them to love learning. They will not love it if it’s a fight every day and full of nasty attitudes from all of us.

My quiet time and prayer life is so important to me now. It’s grown so much over time, and I have goals that it will only keep getting better and better. I know that even as my prayer language is developed more, this will also take my prayer life to a new level.

Now I told you that I had a very special treat in store for you with this series, and this is it! I have invited several others to join me on this and share with my readers how they pray and what their prayer times look like. I don’t ever want this to be all about me – It’s so much fun to invite others in and have more of a community here.

Today you will get to hear from Mrs. Susan Ruff. She is a volunteer on the prayer team at Northwood Church, and there’s a reason why. She has led prayer small groups, including one called The Battle Plan for Prayer, based on the movie War Room. I was a member of this small group, and it taught me SO MUCH about applying scriptures to my prayers and praying God’s word, specifically for different things. I’ve been a Christian for a long time, but it was like that was a light bulb moment for me – something people have probably told me all my life, but it didn’t click for me, until I was in this small group with Mrs. Susan. I love her faith, how she intercedes for others, and how she calls God, Father when she refers to Him. It’s so intimate and wonderful. God has used her in many ways, some of which she shares with us here.

So without further ado, here is what Mrs. Susan had to say about her prayer life…

“My prayer time is throughout the day. I am constantly asking questions, praising God, or just talking to Him. I do try to get away for 30-60 minutes a day to just be quiet, but it does not happen every day. I pray specifically by getting scriptures to pray. I know when I am praying his Word, then I know He hears, and I know the anwer is on its way. Sometimes my prayers are very quiet, sometimes loud. But all the time with great respect for Father and the King of Kings. I am very honest with Him because how else can you be? Sometimes I start off with music, and sometimes it is very silent. My favorite place to pray – well, actually I have two. I love to go to church and pray. My other place is being in my hammock. That is a place where Father has showed me some pretty neat things. I have journaled, and I have written out prayers, but sometimes my hands do not allow me to do that. I guess I just want to say that there is no certain way, I just pour out my heart to Father in the name of Jesus. He is always there and even when I don’t feel Him, I know He is there. I have learned prayer is not as hard as we try to make it. It is just talking to my best friend. And I know He has my very beset interest in mind. I have also learned that He always answers, but it may not be in my timing. I am always amazed at his timing. Right now He is speaking to me about faith and healing. He has been leading me to certain people and books, and He is really showing me how much He loves me. Oh how He loves me! It is sometimes more than I can understand, but it is oh so good! One of the prayers that God has answered is the salvation of my brother in law. His wife and I prayed sever years for him. To me, the salvation of someone is the greatest. One time I was used to pray over a child who was having seizures – she came out of that seizure and never had another one. Can’t tell of all the times He has just given me the desires of my heart overy everyday matters. He is just so wonderful, and I can’t wait to see Him face to face.”