31 Days of Fervent Prayer – Having a Plan

Fervent Prayer

We have spent a few days talking about fear and originally I had planned on sharing some of my favorite Bible verses about fear, but then I had the privilege to walk beside a dear friend that was facing a wall of her own and the way she made a plan to face that wall, through prayer, was so inspiring that I had to share it with you today.

The day was looming. It had been almost a year since her husband had lost his job. The toll it had taken on him and her family had left a cloud of hopelessness  hanging over their home. In the 11 months prior we had prayed time and time again over possible job opportunities, only to see doors close.

It was frustrating and it didn’t make sense.

Not only that, sickness, over and over sickness, had plagued their family. For weeks they battled an illness only to be met with another days later. A little more than a week before the “anniversary” of the job loss she messaged a few close friends. Women who she knew would pray with her. She had a plan and she invited us to walk along side of her.

Various promptings had led her to several different passages that gave her hope that God would do some major restoration for their family on that anniversary date. But she wanted to walk forward in faith and obedience in the days leading up to that date.

She was drawn to Joshua and was committing to reading 2 chapters a day while walking and praying around her home. Claiming the victory that was to come. Believing that God would do more than they could hope or imagine in regards to her husband’s employment.

So we committed to praying for her every day that week.

The first morning I spent some time in prayer and then decided to listen to Joshua 1-2 myself. I was struck that in the first chapter God tells Joshua to be “strong and courageous” four times. Whenever I see something repeated more than once, it is obviously something we should take note of.

When we are standing strong and courageous in faith with God, fear has no place in the equation.

My friend could have been filled with fear and doubt.

Instead she decided to march around her own “wall” claiming the victory she believed God had planned for her family. As we will read later in Joshua…he was faced with his own wall. And God calls him to walk around that wall every day and on the 7th day to walk around it 7 times and shout and the wall would come falling down.

I encourage you to read through Joshua and see what happens next…it’s pretty incredible.

As for my friend?

Well, “Victory Day” came and went…those of us that had marched and prayed and believed with her felt discouraged. The answer had not come as we had hoped and believed. Some may ask “where was God in all of this?”

It is a question we have all asked at times, I am sure. But I felt so strongly that even though the prayers weren’t answered THAT day as we had hoped, they would be. And God’s presence was felt….the prayers were not wasted. It was a time of faith building for each of us! Her son said it best when he said he will just keep on marching if that’s what it takes!

Oh the sweet faith of a child!

I told her on the first day that not only could this be a growing experience for her family, but I also thought that her faith and approach to the entire situation was an example for me…for others.

When we are facing that wall of our own we can wallow or we can march. We can march around that wall claiming victory. We can have a plan to fast and to pray so that we are communing with God. We can push away fear and remain strong and courageous because we know the Lord will fight for us.

What’s your wall?

Whatever it is, take some time today to pray and make a plan. How can you fight the battle in prayer? And don’t go at it alone! Invite some of your faithful friends to walk alongside of you. It is always an honor to be asked to pray for someone else. Don’t face your wall alone!

Lord, we hear Your call to stand strong and courageous. I know that there are people reading today that are facing a wall of their own. Guide them Lord. Help them to make a plan, to march and pray. To claim victory. We thank You for Your provision Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – Red Sea Moment

Fervent Prayer

Yesterday we talked about fear. As I said before the enemy knows this can be a weak point for us and so it should not be a surprise that we find ourselves attacked in this area time and time again.

Even throughout the Bible we can read stories about people who faced fear, trusted God and saw the unique ways that He was with them through it all.

In Fervent, Priscilla brings us to the story of Moses and the people of Israel. They have fled and now Pharaoh is mad. Exodus 14 details how Pharaoh takes 600 of his chosen chariots and all the rest of this chariots and army to pursue the people of Israel.

As you can imagine the people are terrified. Pharaoh’s army charging at them, their back to the Red Sea…no where to go. Surely they will die. They question Moses and ask why he would bring them there to perish and this is what he says. “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:13

Fear not, stand firm. The Lord will fight for you.

Pretty crazy words when it seems that death is charging at you full speed. But Moses trusted God. And stood ready to listen to His command. God spoke to Moses and told him to raise his staff and in doing so the waters of the Red Sea parted and the people were allowed to pass through on dry ground. A wall of water on their right and a wall of water on their left.

Can you even imagine what that must have felt like?!

And even more He again instructs Moses to pass his hand over the water and it swallows up the army that was chasing them. The Lord fought for them.

Priscilla says this that encapsulates everything so beautifully. “Notice that Moses wasn’t telling them not to feel fear. The prospect of looming death will just kind of do that. On its own. Fear is a natural human response to a lot of things, a Red Sea moment being one of them. So he knew they would feel fear, but he was telling them not to wallow in it. Not to choose it. Not to make friends with it. Not to entertain it, engage it. Because if they did, they risked not sticking around long enough to experience the stunning miracle their God was about to perform. And even more they risked not getting to the other side. To the Promised Land.” p110-111

The enemy knew that the Promised Land was just up ahead. If the people could be convinced that their plight was hopeless, they wouldn’t trust God and wait to see what He would do. The enemy always has and always will use fear as a means to get us off track.

Five years ago when my husband and I found ourselves both unemployed, in a new community, with a bigger mortgage…the fears of bankruptcy and loss, of having to move back with family, loomed heavy over us. In my Red Sea moment I was certain all was doomed. My husband though got on his knees and asked God to guide Him. He prayed that no matter what happened if we were still a family we would be ok.

In his Red Sea moment he chose to trust. He stepped out and did some crazy, scary things like file an LLC for a business he wasn’t sure would take off. He felt God’s leading and he followed it. People told him he couldn’t do it and it would fail…but standing on that water’s edge he knew he had no other option but to step forward.

God has been a part of every step. Doors have opened and connections have been made in ways that can only be accredited to God. He has blessed this business we work at together in a way neither of us could have hoped or imagined. We just pray that the work we do for families can be a blessing to them and we try not to take it all for granted.

I don’t know what you are facing today. It may be something small, a difficult decision to make. It may be a mountain of a problem and everything in you tells you that you will fail. But if God has called you to it, you better believe He will equip you and lead you to your Promised Land.

Get on your knees today and pray over it. Don’t let fear destroy the plans God has for you. Trust Him. He will fight for you.

Lord, thank you for giving us the Bible as a source of encouragement and hope. Reminders that we should not fear, and You will fight for us. Please remove fear from our hearts and replace it with Your peace. That in all things we may come to You and know that You will keep our paths straight. We love You Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen!

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – Fear

Fervent Prayer

2 Timothy 1:7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

Priscilla tells us in Strategy 6 that “The fact is this: fear is one of Satan’s primary schemes for crippling God’s people. I’m not talking about legitimate concern. I’m not talking about the protective warnings of wisdom and godly counsel. I’m talking about fear. Incessant worry. Up-all-night anxiety. Worst-case scenarios becoming the only probabilities you can think about….”p 109 

How many times have you found yourself in  a situation where you are dealing with this kind of fear? I think for me, the better question would be how often do I not feel this kind of fear?

I have a mind that JUMPS to the worst-case scenarios. It doesn’t matter what it is, I go there. I don’t pause and pray, I assume the worst and make myself sick over the details about what might happen. For the most part, the worst-case never comes to fruition….but the enemy knows it is a weakness in my life and it is a constant place of attack.

About 7 months after my miscarriage in 2008 I found myself pregnant again. While I was thrilled, I also now had a jaded view of what could happen. I had heard stories of loss before my own, but always thought it wouldn’t happen to me.

But then it did and everything changed. Healing through that loss opened my eyes and my naive heart to what did happen, to so many women. And while the knowledge created a sense of empathy I didn’t have before, it also started to fester as fear in my spirit.

For months I found myself unable to relax, to really enjoy the pregnancy. I lived moment by moment waiting for the other shoe to drop. Certain that because it happened once, it surely could happen again.

Fear – it is ugly. It masks the truth, it darkens hope and it makes me feel out of control.

During that time I did a search for bible versus related to fear and here are some that I found.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41: 10)

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalms 27:1)

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in Thee. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?” (Psalms 56:3-4)

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

Promises – promises to us that no matter what we face, real or not, God is with us. He is my rock and my salvation, He is the strength of my life. Do not fear for He is with me.

What do I want to believe today? Promises or lies? Real truth or unrealized fear?

It is my choice really. I hold fast to the promises today and I will shield myself with His word and His truth – that the lies of one who seeks to destroy me will flee in terror of the almighty truth of a God who love me.

And the truth shall set me free….

I can’t say that I have defeated fear in my life. I still struggle with it. But today I am bringing more and more to God in prayer. Usually I know I am being irrational, but He listens. I pray for peace to fill my spirit instead of fear.

It is a part of our faith walk that can be difficult. Do we trust God? I once had a friend ask me if I could trust God even if the worst-case scenario came true. Would He still be the same to me as He is when things are fine and dandy? To be honest, in the moment, I wasn’t sure. I wrestled with that!

But God is faithful and patient. I have tested this truth time and time again!

So when I find myself stuck in the mire of fear, I bring it to Him. I pray over it, as many times as is needed…until I am filled with His peace. The situation doesn’t always give me the result that I hope for…but I do believe that God is with me through it all. He can handle my hurt and my fear and He gives me peace.

There is freedom in that. I am praying that if fear is an obstacle for you, you would read some of those verses above for yourself. Commit one to memory and bring all of your needs to God in fervent prayer.

Lord, we struggle with fear. It is a tool that the enemy has used as a weapon against us time and time again. Your word tells us that we should not fear because You are with us. We are holding to that promise today. Fill us with your peace Lord, strengthen our trust in You. Thank you that we don’t have to walk alone. In Jesus Name, Amen!

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – Transformation

Fervent Prayer

Yesterday I talked a little about my past and so often I think we question if God can actually transform our past.

I can tell you, based on my personal experience alone, that yes He can!

There are so many broken pieces to my story. At times I believed that I was just too broken to be put back together. Then years ago a blogger (now author) Angie Smith wrote about how she smashed this pitcher she had and through prayer, and patience, glued it back together.

I was so moved by this visual. I too found myself broken after a miscarriage, lost and angry at a God that would let something like that happen. I thought that we had finally gotten ourselves on the “right” path. I thought we deserved a pregnancy.

For months I questioned God but when I read Angie’s post, saw her own brokenness and how God was slowly working with her and through her to bring her to healing…and I believed it might just be possible for me too.

So I bought my own pitcher. And one evening I smashed it and then set to task to put it back together.

It sits on my shelves today, a reminder that while my broken pieces didn’t fit back together like new, and the scars are still evident…I am a new person. And the cracks in the pitcher allow light through in a way that a whole pitcher could not.

Some of the things I have gone through in the past 41 years have made me more compassionate towards others that are hurting. I have empathy in a way that might not be possible without my past. And having found the hope that I have in Christ…I want others to know about His redeeming power too!

The enemy would like to see me broken and helpless. But through God I am able to be a witness to His power and grace in my life. God has transformed me in so many ways. And he continues to transform those places in my heart that remain selfish and self-centered.

God doesn’t expect me to be perfect and have it all together.

And even better, He can still use me in spite of all my failings! So many of the prominent people in the Bible were people that were, seemingly, the least likely to be used by God. Jesus didn’t spend time with the “perfect” people. He surrounded Himself with the broken, the thieves,  the murderers and unfaithful. Tax collectors and people caught in adultery.

Paul, one of my favorites, spent years persecuting Christians only to be transformed and used in a mighty way throughout his time then and through his words today. But Paul recognized that he needed God more than anything.

Paul knew that we needed to remain in communication with God through prayer. Even after his conversion, he still struggled with sin. This is a man that walked with Jesus in the flesh, and still struggled. Oh can I tell you how much hope that gives me?!

God can and will transform your past.

Isaiah 43: 16-19 says this

Thus says the Lord,
    who makes a way in the sea,
    a path in the mighty waters,
17 who brings forth chariot and horse,
    army and warrior;
they lie down, they cannot rise,
    they are extinguished, quenched like a wick:
18 “Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.”

Behold, He is doing a new thing. For me…for you! Do you believe it friend?!

God loves us so much, He poured His grace over us through the blood of His Son so that if we chose to turn to Him we might spend eternity with Him. What a gift. Do you have that assurance for yourself?

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to share the Gospel Truth here. The Bible tells us that ALL fall short of the glory of God. No one is blameless/sinless. None of us have the right to be in the presence of a Holy God. Knowing this, God chose to send His Son as a living sacrifice for our sins. Every dark part of my past, of yours, was nailed on that cross with Jesus. By the shedding of Holy blood, the penalty of our sins was covered. In John 5:24 it says “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” The debt has been paid and all we need to do is put our faith in the God that gave us His Son.

Will you still struggle? Yep, likely you will. I sin daily. But those sins were covered and I walk in the freedom of knowing that my faith in God has passed me from death to life. Talk about a transformation!

There is such hope in this message of Truth. God is so good and so loving. Are you certain of your salvation? If you have questions, would you please contact me? I don’t and won’t have all the answers…but I would love to pray for you and could connect you with my Pastor who might be able to answer questions you have better than I can! Understanding this fundamental truth is so important. If you aren’t certain, don’t wait to seek out answers. Pray that God would open your heart and eyes so that you might know Him more.

Lord, I don’t know who is reading today or the condition of their heart, but You do Lord. I have seen Your mighty redemptive work in my own life and I am so grateful. I was walking in such darkness and because of You Lord, I now stand in Your light. Thank you for Your sacrifice. Thank you for loving us so much. I pray for all who may not believe today Lord. For those who question Your existence, or haven’t yet heard Your Name. I know that You wish that none would perish Lord. Give me courage, strength and wisdom to continue to share Your Truth and the hope I have found in You. We praise Your MIGHTY Name Lord, Amen!

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – My Past

Fervent Prayer

“If I were your enemy, I’d constantly remind you of your past mistakes and poor choices. I’d want to keep you burdened by shame and guilt, in hopes that you’ll feel incapacitated by your many feelings and see no point in trying again….” p93

Oh those words struck me when I read them…they still do.

How often have shame and guilt permeated your thoughts, that reminder again and again that your past defines you and you will never be good enough for God?

It is something that I have struggled with for years. Honestly I didn’t even understand how much shame played a large part in shaping who I am. It wasn’t until recently when I read a book that focused on on how damaging shame can be that I realized how the enemy had used it in my life, time and time again.

In our Bible study we discussed the difference between shame and guilt. I heard it said that guilt is when you feel badly about something you have done. But shame is the feeling that you are bad.

And stuck in shame is right where the enemy wants us.

Is there something in your past that you think is just too bad for God to redeem?

When I found out that I was pregnant out of marriage I believed that I had sinned in a way that would keep me from God. Even if I repented…I just didn’t believe that He could love me anymore.

When life got hard, I believed that it was God’s punishment for my sin. I spent YEARS with a warped sense of who He was. I didn’t trust that my sin was forgivable, even though I had grown up hearing about Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Maybe he just didn’t mean it for a girl like me.

The enemy whispers lies like that to keep us stuck in shame.

Or how about those times that you mess up, plead for forgiveness vowing never to make that mistake again…only to find yourself stuck in your sin once again. Oh how the enemy loves to keep us there.

I can tell you with all honesty that there are sins and character defects in my life today that God has not fully removed from me yet. Trust me when I say that I have asked, begged Him to take away my problems (mainly my anger or my tendency to fight unfairly). I don’t like those parts of me. In the heat of the situation, I don’t stop and pray. I shoot off my mouth and then feel guilty later.

In those moments it feels like nothing is ever going to change. Sometimes my past mistakes seem so hopeless.

But Priscilla challenges that idea suggesting that God doesn’t live in our past. He exists outside of time. And furthermore, when I accepted the free gift of Jesus as a payment for ALL of my sins, God no longer sees me as the sinful woman that I am. Instead He sees Jesus’ atonement for my sins and I too am washed white as snow.

It is hard for me to grasp really. Is it for you too?

Tomorrow I will talk a little more about our new identity. How we can walk in the freedom of a transformed past. But for today I want to leave you with this.

Nothing, and I mean nothing is too bad that God can’t redeem it if we ask Him to. It doesn’t mean that we will immediately be “cured” of all of our character defects. I am finding that I am given lots of opportunities to “practice” a new response.

One of my biggest struggles is remaining calm when I get upset. But in those moments if I just pause and pray…the intensity of my feelings goes down. If I am seeking God first before I respond, I will respond in a way that is more grace filled and peaceful than if I just react on my own.

But I have to start with prayer.

There are days I pray that God would put a muzzle over my mouth…because I need it! I am helpless and hopeless on my own. But with prayer I can access a mighty and powerful God who can lead me in the right direction.

When I pause and pray, He brings me the peace I need and the direction I want to move me forward in a manner that is pleasing and honoring to Him.

Pause and pray. That needs to be my mantra.

I promise you that I WILL be tested, and probably soon, now that I have written those words! Ha! It is easy for me to write it out and much harder for me to put it into practice in the moment! But I challenge myself to try it before even challenging you! What do you think, would pause and pray work for you too?

If there is something in your past that is still being used as a hurt in your life? I just pray that today you might be able to leave that at the foot of the cross. Pray that God would heal your wounds, allowing you to grow if and where needed…but then also that you may find the freedom of walking forward without the shame you have carried for far too long.

Lord, we just thank and praise You that our past and all of its ugliness doesn’t have to define us today. We know we are sinners and we are so grateful for the gift of Jesus. He took the punishment for every sin. Past, present and future. I can’t understand a love like that, so I just fall on my knees grateful for who You are. Help us Lord in those moments where our sin might take a hold of our thoughts and our words…that we might pause and pray. That we would humbly ask for Your words, Your path and direction in all we do. So that all that we do might bring You honor and glory. We pray this in Jesus Name, Amen.

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – Assuming a New Fighting Position

Fervent Prayer

We are half way through our month long look at the book Fervent! Can you believe it?! We have seen several ways in which the enemy seeks to attack some of the most important people, places and things in our lives. It seems no area is off limit.

And if you are anything like me, you are sick of the attacks. Tired of letting the enemy run over your heart and your life and maybe, just maybe, you are ready to really do something different.

I get it. I am right there with you!

It wasn’t that long ago that I found myself in my living room, on my knees in prayer.

I have shared a little in the past few weeks about some of my struggles, my unique character defects. And while I know what they are, and I really want to change…when conflict happens it seems like everything that I have learned flies out the window and I am right back to saying or doing something I regret.

It is easy to feel defeated in those moments isn’t it?

And I find myself right where the enemy wants me to be. But that morning I was ready for something different. Maybe you are too?

We have come to the point in the book when Priscilla charges us with 5 challenging words. Assume a new fighting position.

So how does that look?

That morning I prayed that God would work in my marriage. One of my biggest character defects is that I am quick to fight and S.L.O.W to respect. On more than one occasion I have been disrespectful towards my husband in front of my kids. Instead of standing with him I become an adversary.

I can say I respect him (and I do) but if my actions reflect differently, what is most likely to be remembered? So that morning I prayed that God would remove that specific character defect from my life.  I prayed for guidance and tangible ways that I could honor and respect him well.

We won’t always agree…but I can disagree and be respectful at the same time. Well at least I understand it is possible…I clearly haven’t mastered that yet! But with God’s help, anything is possible. I know that nothing is going to change if I am not bringing it humbly to His feet and asking for help.

On pages 86 -87 Priscilla gives several verses that can be prayed over by a wife. Verses she says counsel how a wife should treat, bless, think about and respond to her husband. What if I took even 10 minutes each morning praying over some specific verses about how to be a Godly wife? What blessings could come from that?!

I MUST assume a new fighting position!

Priscilla says this ” Home and families, marriages and children can all too easily dissolve into combat zones – which was the last thing in the world you ever foresaw when you pledged your life to your husband at the wedding alter, when you brought home that bundle of joy from the delivery room. What I’m telling you is this: You may not be able to control all the discord and unwise choices that occur in the various corners of your house or among the people you share a family with. But you can make sure that the only place you engage in combat is in the heavenlies, in prayer, in secret.” p 91-92 

In the back of the book are prayer cards. They can be written on and torn out, and placed in any special place that you have to hold your prayers. I don’t have a “War Room” like in the movie, but I started writing out prayers and putting them inside the door of a cabinet we have in our living room.

I was really diligent about doing that for months, and then I got lazy. And when I let my guard down I am more susceptible to the attacks that come. I MUST assume a new fighting position.

Not just when life gets hard, or I need something…but every day. On my knees in prayer. Prayer for my family and my marriage. Prayer for my kids and the people we come in contact with at the office. Prayer over my character defects and my wrong choices.

If I start my day on my knees in prayer instead of scrolling through my Facebook feed to see what I might have missed overnight, I am beginning my day focused on what God would have for me. This selfish, self-centered girl needs a lot more of Jesus every day and a whole lot less of herself!

So even if you haven’t started yet on this journey of fervent prayer, you can today.

Humble yourself, on your knees, and ask God into all of the details of your life. Write out some scripture that you can be praying over for a specific area of your life. With God’s power and fervent prayer, start reclaiming those broken areas that the enemy has tried to destroy!

Lord, we humbly ask for your help. We know that the enemy has created discord in our homes and with our families. We ask in Your mighty power that those hurts might be redeemed. Change us from the inside. Mold us and shape us into the kind of wives You call us to be. Lead us on Your path, we know that we can’t journey in this life without Your guidance and direction. Thank you for Your Word, may we seek to know You more through it. We pray all of these things in Jesus Name, Amen.

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – Can I Be a Witness?

Fervent Prayer

In Fervent as discussed in Strategy 4, Priscilla talks about how family and more specifically marriage is designed to be a witness to others of our relationship with God. She says, “It’s not a perfect representation, of course, since the best marriage we can possibly make on earth still involves a pair of fallen, broken people. But in its deepest sense, at its deepest level, this primary human relationship between husband and wife is meant to be a living witness to others of the love of Christ for His church.” p76

Marriage is hard.

For most people it isn’t the house with a white-picket fence, 2 kids and a dog (who doesn’t shed or bark or bite) picture of perfection that we may have grown up believing was out there for us.

It is long hours, sick kids, arguments and hurt feelings, past baggage that has shaped how we act/interact with others…the reality is, for most, that marriage can be a lot more work than we anticipated. The lovey-dovey feelings that happen in courtship are assaulted with the reality of life. And it isn’t always pretty.

The early years of our marriage, as I have shared here before, were difficult. We were (and still sometimes are) two selfish people. We didn’t honor Ephesians 5: 21-33. We didn’t work on loving and respecting one another as called to by God. We both wanted our own needs met first and it brought conflict and strife to our home.

The only witness we were during those years was how NOT to do marriage successfully!

But God was there…and through different people and circumstances we slowly found our way back to a Bible believing/preaching church. A relationship with God began, we saw the need for some changes in ourselves and started working on understanding our own personal character defects. We asked God to remove them and fill us with a desire to be a light to others.

When you pray for God to use you, He will.

We should not be put on a pedestal though. We don’t have it all figured out. We continue to make mistakes, we always will. But we recognize the higher calling we have. To treat one another as called to by Christ.

And let me be clear, I can’t walk in that calling without the constant daily help of God. I am a broken sinner. Selfish and self-centered to the core. So often my first thought is what’s in it for me? Sad but true! But I recognize that I am a better person when I spend time in prayer for my husband. It is hard to point fingers at someone and bless them in prayer at the same time.

A few years ago I came across a website and this printable that talked about how to pray for your husband from head to toe. It was a tangible way that I was able to cover Dominic in prayer each morning while I got ready. A reminder that he needed covering too, and this was one way I could lift him up.

Marriage is hard, yes. But if we bring everything in our marriage to the feet of God and ask for His guidance and direction…He will lead us on the right path. And by doing so you are able to be a witness to others around you.

I share some of our struggles here because I want to keep things real. It isn’t always sunshine and roses, and that’s ok. Because of God’s incredible redemptive power He has healed broken places in our hearts and home. I believe in His saving grace because I have witnessed it in my own life.

I will probably say it every day this month…the enemy wants you broken. He wants unforgiveness to rein in your home. And the only defense we have is to fight back in prayer. Pray that God would restore the hurt and broken. Pray daily for your spouse and your kids. Pray for love and respect to override selfishness. Just pray and watch what God can and will do!

And when you have? Tell someone. Don’t do it to brag on all you’ve done. No, share the truth with someone who is hurting. Give them hope. Be that witness to the power of God in your life. It is our calling!

Lord, we thank you for marriages. We know that it isn’t always easy and so often our selfish pride gets in the way of Your work. We bring our marriages to You Lord. You are the God that restores. Heal the broken places, and then give us courage to be a witness of that redemption to others that are hurting. Thank you for giving us You Word that we might discover your design for marriage. May we be challenged to study your ways and walk in them daily. In Jesus Name, Amen.

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – My Family

Fervent Prayer

“Satan loves to divide families by creating disunity. In fact, one of the most subtle and lethal ways the devil attacks us is by dividing and conquering our relationships. He wants to ruin all of our relationships – with friends, spouses, small groups, parents, siblings and kids. And he knows that the quickest and easiest way to do this is by getting us to divide over our differences.” Chip Ingram

I’ve shared in a few other posts about how the enemy likes to create discord. Throughout Fervent, Priscilla talks about the different ways the enemy sets out to attack us. Yes it is a book on prayer, but it is also a book to help open our eyes to the enemy’s schemes.

Part of fervently praying for those we love is to first know what we are up against!

The more my eyes have been opened to the crafty ways he has worked in my life, the more angry I am, and the more challenged I am to do things differently.

My typical response to conflict is to fight. Get defensive, point fingers and fight my way out of any responsibility. Clearly this is not a productive or healthy way to approach a loved one and often times I find myself in that place where I have harmed someone I care for.

This type of response only causes hurt. Clearly I don’t want that for anyone I love, but I am human and I DO make mistakes, lots of them. And there are consequences, because even though forgiveness is given, the hurt doesn’t always go away instantaneously…and waiting through that healing can be hard.

Years of not properly dealing with frustration and fighting unfairly led to my constant use of the silent treatment. Justifying my behavior in thinking that at least I wasn’t saying anything rude…I failed to recognize that cutting someone off can be just as damaging.

And I have found that in these moments, the enemy knew my weakness and my heart, which wasn’t centered on what God would have me do, and in the silence I felt more and more justified.

Brick by brick, walls were built. The mortar that held those bricks together were lies masked as truth.

I wasn’t praying for discernment. Change him, fix that…never fix me Lord. THAT should have been my prayer all along!

Then I was listening to the Love and Respect book on tape and the author said that in those moments when you are mad and hurt, feeling justified in your anger and not wanting to let go, you should be praying this…“Change me Lord, and bless him (or her)”

It is hard to be angry at someone when you are praying for God to bless them!

Sometimes that is all we can utter. Some days I said it but didn’t really mean it! But doing it changed me. The action of praying for someone else brought peace to my heart. The walls started to fall down and I wanted to let go of the hurt and anger more quickly. I wanted to take responsibility for what was mine.

I think God knows it isn’t easy. We are going to fight against praying for someone we are angry with. But if I take even a moment and remember the sacrifice made on my behalf, by a sinless and loving God…how can I not try and do the same for others?!

Satan would love it if we forgot about the unconditional love God has to offer. He wants us angry and bitter and defeated remember?!

So when you have conflict in your family, stop and see it for what it is. Before you say something hurtful, stop and pray. Oh I need to learn this lesson for myself…I write these words for me first and foremost friends!

We can bring ALL things to God in prayer. The more we do it, the more natural it becomes. Our response may just be one of prayer first instead of hurt. The enemy wants our families but we don’t have to stand around and let him have them! Fight back with prayer!!

Lord, we pray protection over families today. The enemy would love to see our families broken but we know that You are a God that restores. Help us Lord to fight for our families in prayer. We take time Lord now to lift up those we may be in a struggle with and ask that You bring peace. Help us to humble ourselves and to love our family unconditionally. We commit today to fighting all enemy attacks with prayer! In Jesus Mighty Name, Amen.

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – God Open My Eyes

Fervent Prayer

Fear has been a life-long chain, shackled around me…bringing worry and what-ifs into even the silliest of situations.

And if I am being honest, my fear often causes me to question my faith. I mean, if I trusted God wouldn’t I not be afraid? What if my fear is a reflection of my lack of faith?

If Dominic is traveling and doesn’t call when I expect him to I am certain that he must be in a ditch somewhere. It is never just as simple as he needed to stop for gas and got a phone call or was trying to grab a quick bite to eat…no he is dead in a ditch. And his car is probably on fire because that happens all the time right?

It is crazy even typing that out…but if I let them get the best of me, my thoughts can run wild.

Open my eyes Lord that I might see….

Have you ever prayed that?

In a circumstance that feels out of your control or too big to handle, have you ever prayed that God would open your eyes so that you may see the situation more clearly?

In the chapter about our identity, Priscilla shares a story from 2 Kings 6: 8-17.  In these verses we find Elisha, a servant of God and a man who is in constant communication (prayer) with God. Because of this, God gives him some advance warnings about what is going to happen next with this king of Aram. Elisha had the king of Israel’s ear and would then warn him of what was to come. Pretty cool huh?!

So apparently this makes the king of Aram pretty upset and when he discovers that Elisha is behind these leaks of information, he sends out this whole army that surrounds the city where Elisha is. Can we say worst case scenario?!

Now if it had been me, I would have been spinning like crazy with all the coulda/woulda/shoulda’s. But not Elisha. He had been in constant communication with God. And I have to believe that he trusted that God’s plan for him was good.  Elisha’s servant wakes up and sees the city surrounded and freaks out and guess what Elisha does?

He prays that God would open the servant’s eyes so that he might see.

And what does he see? As he looks out across the mountainside the servant sees it filled with horses and chariots of fire. A heavenly army protecting God’s faithful servant Elisha.

Can you imagine what that would have felt like?!

Reading this chapter caused me to pause and ask myself what areas in my life do I need to ask God to open my eyes so that I can see more clearly? Maybe it is a struggle with a wayward child, or a difficult marriage, a job decision or a health matter. Maybe if we asked God to open our eyes we would not only see the situation more clearly, but we would be reminded that we are not alone in the battle. 

The enemy wants us to be stuck in the worst case scenario thoughts. He wants us to feel defeated and alone. But through prayer we can ask God to reveal the truth of our situation. That we would see how God is fighting for us, and be reminded that we are not entering the battlefield alone.

Romans 8: 15-17 says this For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

We are accepted heirs of God. Our identity is found in Him and because of Him we can walk in freedom. If you are burdened by fears today, like I so often have been, would you pray that God would open your eyes to the truth?

Lord, we come today and place our fears at Your feet. We ask Lord that You would open our eyes to Your truth. Remembering that You formed us, and have already seen our entire life set before you. We trust in the plans that You have for us Lord. We are broken but we are trusting You to take those broken, fear-filled pieces and make us whole for Your glory. Thank you Lord that we don’t have to journey alone. In Jesus Name, Amen.  

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – My Identity

Fervent Prayer

“Fervent prayer keeps your true identity in focus.” p57

About a year ago I had the opportunity to speak to a local MOPS group. I shared about some of the significant events in my life had shaped who I saw myself as. Embarrassed when I was hurt in an accident before 1st grade one morning and the entire class saw me cry. Shunned and alone as I spent a Friday night by myself at home in 6th grade while all of my friends attended the biggest boy/girl party ever.

Rejected when I didn’t make the cheerleading squad, ashamed when I got pregnant before marriage. Resentful and angry when life didn’t come easily or go as planned…

I shared that those defining moments had shaped me and although there were also good moments in there, I had spent way more time focusing on the hurt…believing that those specific events made me who I was.

And then one day I was reading Mark 5:21-43. It is one of my favorite stories in the Bible. Here is a women who had been labeled unclean, plagued with a blood disorder for 12 years. Kept separate from others, some people even speculate that because of the culture at the time she wasn’t allowed to be spoken to. Imagine that loneliness. And then she hears about this Jesus, a healer and she wonders if He might heal her too. So she pushes her way through a crowd so that she can touch the hem of his garment.

And immediately she is healed. Jesus knows that power has left Him and asks who touched Him. She comes forward and admits it was her and the first thing that Jesus does is call her Daughter.

Jesus looked at this woman, a woman that had been shunned and left alone, and he saw His daughter.

I like to believe that when He looks at me He sees the same…..

The enemy would like me to believe that what God sees are all my failures. And for a long time I believed the lies. I was only as good as my worst mistake. I wasn’t worth saving. Priscilla says this “He’s (the enemy) working overtime to keep your identity masked, to keep the truth from coming out – that you are indeed alive and free and empowered by God’s own Spirit to fight victoriously against him. He’d rather conspire to keep you in a constant state of mourning, grieving over who you wish you were, instead of relishing who you really are, exacerbated by insecurity and crippled by self-doubt.” p57 

So how do we counteract the lies? Because if you are anything like me, they will come and they will threaten to bring you down into the pit. There are many things we can do, but since this is a study on prayer I am going to start there.

We need to be praying that God would pour out His Truth onto us. Open our eyes to who we are because of Him. And when we spend time in God’s Word our eyes will continue to be opened to the character of God and His love for us.

One of the ladies from my Bible study gave me this bookmark that is titled My Identity – Who I am in Christ. It is filled with Bible verses that help point us to those specific places in the Word that speak to the truths that we are accepted, secure and significant.

I keep it in my Bible as a reference for those times that I need to be reminded of who I really am. Yes I mess up and make mistakes. More often than I would like to admit, but those mistakes do not embody who I am. I have to remember that when God looks at me, He sees His daughter. Jesus paid the sacrifice for my sins and because of that amazing gift, my identity will forever remain in who I am because of Him. Praise Jesus for that!

Lord, what a gift You gave us through Your Son. Most days I can’t understand Your love for me, but I am ever grateful. Give us eyes to see and hearts to understand that our identity remains in who You created us to be. Help us to walk in that full potential. Learning from our sins and mistakes but not burdened down in the pit because of them. Thank you for your love Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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