Pray: Write31Days

Pray: Write31Days

Kate says that pray is the prompt for today’s writing.

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What does your prayer life look like? Is it a couple of minutes when you first wake up? A sleepy prayer before you go to bed? Certainly, there is nothing wrong with those things.

A few years back, with the movie War Room, there was a huge emphasis on prayer — having prayer lists, a room or some area set aside for prayer, etc.  There has been some debate about this topic — is it necessary to have a set-aside place? How can one pray without ceasing if one has to go someplace to be alone and private?

Affiliate Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Amazon and if you click on the War Room link, I might earn a small commission. You will not pay more.

I believe Jesus’ words and actions make the case for going away, alone and in a separate place, for prayer on a regular basis. I went to Bible Gateway, searched the NASB version of the New Testament,  and stopped counting at 15 instances where Jesus referenced going away or departing to pray.

Sometimes it’s hard to do. If you’re in a busy season of life whether you’re a mom of littles, a caregiver, traveling for business, etc., it seems like finding five minutes alone can be a nightmare. True confession: When my late husband was ill (and dying, though I didn’t know that then) and my kids were young, most of my serious, open-my-heart, cry-out-to-the-Lord (whether it be in joyful thanks or heartbroken sobs) time happened in the bathtub. I carefully scheduled my bathtime so that I would have some small block of time alone. The running of the water would drown out either my sobs or my songs (my singing is joyful only to the Lord!)

Those moments of time, snatched from the busyness of life and given with open hands and heart to the Lord, were some of the best of my life. They helped nurture a relationship that has only grown stronger.

So I will encourage you, my sisters, pray in fits and starts! Offer up one-line prayers and make time to listen for Him — don’t make it only one way! But also find a way to have some devoted prayer time.

I look at it as a part of tithing. He gives me 24 hours in each day. I rarely give Him 2.4 hours back in prayer, but shouldn’t I? Shouldn’t we?

When: Write31Days

When: Write31Days

WHEN is Kate‘s word for today and one of the words with which I struggle most in my Christian walk.

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“When” is all about the timing of things happening. As Christians, we are called to trust in God’s timing and to wait for Him.

Honestly, this is one of my biggest fails.

The years of my late husband’s illness contributed to me becoming a major control freak. So much to stay on top of between raising kids, taking care of him with coordinating care and meds and always having to have everything caught up and maybe even a little ahead because we never knew when there’d be EMS at our house or an emergency hospitalization.

I did some searching on Bible Gateway today about the word when and about the word wait. They are intertwined in my mind. Interestingly, there were 0 results for “when,” as it is too broad. I found that “wait” has 142 results in the NASB version. I read through them all.

My husband is always encouraging me to wait on the Lord’s timing, reminding me that His “when” is perfect and my jumping the gun, the knee-jerk reactions I have a lot of times, only lead to more troubles.

This particular verse resonated with me this morning:

Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said“you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Acts 1:4-5 (NASB)

Jesus had risen and had appeared to the apostles. They were probably all set to go out and accomplish their mission to be fishers of men. Can you imagine their excitement?

Yet, here the crucified and risen Lord is telling them to wait! And He doesn’t even say for how long. Just “not many days from now.”

And they did wait. When the Holy Spirit filled them, they did great and mighty things in the name of Jesus.

I am trying to be more patient about waiting for the “when” of various circumstances in my life. Recently the Lord took my husband and me through a big time of “when,” and we listened and obeyed but it wasn’t easy. After the “when” had been accomplished, we really saw the toll that the waiting had taken on us.

Our trust in the Lord grew through that time. We had to trust in His provision during that time. We prayed believing that the “when” would come and that any hardships we suffered through the waiting were for good (Romans 8:28). Had we tried to manipulate circumstances to engineer the timing we wanted, who knows how things might have turned out?

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What is the “when” for which you are waiting? Are you doing it with grace and patience or are you chafing at the “be still and wait,” in this area of your life?

Ask: Write31Days

Ask: Write31Days

Ask. Kate‘s word for today.

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It is incredibly hard for me to ask anyone for anything. Someone once told me that that attitude is arrogance and pride on my part, that I think I can handle everything. That’s actually not it at all.

My story is really about not having anyone in my life on whom I can depend. I am fiercely independent and that has been born of necessity. Okay, so it’s not quite that bleak but the exceptions are pretty few and far between and notable in my mind.

But really? Being super honest? Sometimes I’d really like to give up the reins. Know that if I ask, there’s someone who will bend over backward to try to make it happen. Because I don’t ask or need often.

And there is!

Jesus said, in Matthew 21:21-22 (NASB) And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”

Words from Jesus Christ Himself that tell me that there is nothing I need, that is within God’s plan for me, that I cannot ask for and receive. I only have to believe that He will answer those prayers.

I don’t have to feel alone or lonely. I don’t have to feel needy or impoverished.

God answered prayer for my husband and me on Friday. It did not come in the timing we had hoped and it was beginning to feel stressful and uncomfortable but we kept the faith — not perfectly but we kept it. When we prayed over this situation, we prayed believing He would bring the answers and resolution we needed. And He did!

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Do you find it difficult to ask for help? Do you feel like your needs/wants are too puny to take before the Lord? They are not! Everything I have studied in Scripture, every beat of my heart, tells me that He wants us to come to us. Of course, He already knows our needs. But He desires that intimacy with us, the closeness that comes with vulnerability and authenticity.  Ask Him for what you need today! He will answer according to His will and in His best timing for you!

Talk: Write31Days

Talk: Write31Days

Talk is the prompt from Kate at Five Minute Friday for today. There are a lot of directions in which to go with that one. I’m going to address one of my personal bugaboos.

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But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. Ephesians 5:3-4

While I sometimes say or think a bad word in the heat of a moment (like right now at 3:54 am as I am writing and a spider just crawled across my wrist!), I’m not really all about that or so much about coarse jesting.

Silly talk and gossip are my thing.  I grew up on the “stories,” the soap operas that my Aunt Bell used to watch. After my parents were divorced when I was preschooler, and my mother went to work, Aunt Bell (my great aunt, actually) kept my sister and me, as well as my two cousins. We lived in Augusta, GA, where it is horribly hot and humid in the summer. We were sent outside to play all morning and then, in the heat of the day, we could curl up in the coolest room of her house, on the beautiful braided rug she had, and watch TV. In her room, Aunt Bell had on the soaps. She worked hard from morning until night but made time to keep up with the stories.

I don’t know if you’ve ever watched soap operas but they are just full of gossip and “silly” talk.

I grew up with a love for Harlequin romances (talk about silly!), a good understanding of melodrama, and a love for gossip.

I have a curious brain by nature and gossip is just satisfying my curiosity about people, right?

No!

It is wrong. Flat-out wrong and against the teachings of Christ. Check out these verses that I quickly pulled up in BibleGateway.

Our talk, as Christian women, should be wholesome. It should be encouraging to other women and edifying to the Lord. Of course, we can joke and have fun and laugh! God created laughter so I have to believe that it’s a good thing. In all things, though, even our talk with one another, we should be thankful.

And, I’m going over my 5 minutes by a bit, but I also wanted to say that too many Christian women cloak their gossip, their silly talk, in the guise of prayer requests for others.  Sisters, let’s be careful with that!

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What about you? Do you have problems guarding the way you talk? Is it hard to talk about your sisters, lift them up for prayer, express concern, without it becoming gossip?

Praise: Write31Days

Praise: Write31Days

I didn’t attend the Twitter party at Kate‘s (I was sleeping!) but the word she gave was praise. I love this word!

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At the time I am writing this verse, the internet is down and this is kind of cool timing. Can’t rely on any Internet sources so I’m just going from my adoration of our Lord.  Isn’t His timing always just the best?

I love giving praise to Him. He is infinitely good and faithful and true even though I so often am not. I praise Him for that.

I praise Him in His sovereignty, the fact that I can count on GAKAT (God Already Knew About That — a Susanism).

I praise Him for giving me hard situations to teach me to die to self and live for Him.

I praise Him for loving me enough to prune me and cause my own desires to better align with His plans for me.

I praise Him for blessing me with two challenging, but rewarding and loving, marriages that have taught me that my reliance — my absolute dependence for love, for the material needs of life, for all things, should be on Him and Him alone. He is the only one Who is ultimately and always trustworthy.

I praise Him for His just and loving nature.

I praise Him in the morning, at noon, and at night. (I really do! Even on the grumpy, hard days.)

I praise Him for setting in motion the steps that have brought me to this place in life. I would never have willingly taken some of them but there’s no getting away from His plan. Looking back, it was His way of correcting my course and bringing me back closer to Him.

I just praise Him!

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My favorite way to praise, the one that is most natural to me, is with music. What’s yours?

Sing with me!