Category Archives: Prayer

How Your Prayers Made a Difference

Well I am home and recovering from my surgery on Tuesday. The night before the surgery I had a terrible night’s sleep. The dog’s collar kept jingling when she would move and we had heavy rain and storms come through as well. Maybe it was nerves too, but I tossed and turned that night.

We arrived at the surgical hospital about an hour before the procedure and they got me in their system, handed me some pretty fancy hospital wares  and then we waited. My Dr. is an OB/GYN and apparently there was a potential labor emergency during the time the surgery was supposed to start so we had to wait almost an hour longer than we expected.

Dominic and my sister Beth kept me company until they brought me back. We had some laughs so it made the time pass pretty quickly. Once in the operating room they hooked me up to a heart monitor and started the IV. They said the meds would kick in pretty quickly and in one moment the ceiling was moving above me and the next thing I remember was waking up and asking the nurse if they had to take the ovary or not.

She said I needed to talk to the Dr. about that and honestly if I did, I don’t remember that conversation! But eventually they brought me to a second recovery room and brought Dominic and Beth back in.

Everything went better than I had imagined it would. No cancer, the ovary remains, my tubes are gone and the ablation was successful. Praise God!!!

In the weeks leading up to this surgery I had steeled myself for a different answer. I really did have a peace about all of it and knew that if the news wasn’t great that God would be with me on whatever path I would walk next. I had even stopped praying for specific requests for myself and instead just thanked God for giving me peace and for being my strength.

But so so many of you did pray those specific prayers on my behalf. It was incredible really, people from my community and local church rallied around me. Women that my mom knew from another prayer group she is in emailed me and told me that they were praying. So many of my Facebook friends sent encouragement and positive thoughts my way. And my parents drove up to make sure that we had someone to be with the kids while we were gone!

Each prayer, comment, text message…they made a difference and I am just humbled that you would step in and support me in that way. At a time when in so many ways our country seems like a dark and sad place, you my friends brought me light. Oh and a few of my dear, best friends from church worked it out with Dominic to come to our house when I was gone to redecorate the built in shelves in my kitchen/dining room AND the tackle the chair recovering that I just had not been able to complete!! Seriously it is overwhelming to be loved on like that!!

Thank you doesn’t seem enough, but it is what I can offer right now. That and the promise that I will intercede on your behalf if and when the need arises.

The last time I had a surgery I was so very sick from the meds, that recovery and coming out of the surgery were the things I feared the most. But my Dr. was proactive and prescribed a little patch that I placed behind my ear 3 hours before the surgery. In addition they offered me a pill to take right before the surgery, that when paired with the patch usually resulted in very little nausea.

So thankfully when I woke up I wasn’t really sick. I am uncomfortable today and need to stay consistent with my pain meds, and I already over did it this morning when I got up to help the kids get ready for school. It proved to be too much and I have since spent the majority of the day in bed.

I don’t “rest” well. I don’t accept help well either. Ha! But we have friends from church scheduled to bring us a few meals, and our neighbor brought us over a meal this afternoon as well that we can have later this week. What a gift that will be for our whole family!

I don’t remember if it was my dad or someone else that said to me that when we deny  people the opportunity of helping us, we are denying them the use of their spiritual gifts. I like that way of looking at it and so instead of believing that I should be able to manage it all, I step back and am humbly accepting  the gifts of others.

The anesthesiologist said that they would make a list of everything the used to help control the nausea  so that next time we could do it again. I told him that I would prefer there not be a next time..but if there is I will remember this experience too. How so many people gave us support and encouragement.

Because we know that there will be trials, we often don’t know when they will come, but they will come in some shape or form. I know that next time I can hopefully be that gift to someone else.

This experience has reminded me that when I become ready and willing to turn all of it, whatever it is (fears, worries, doubts etc,) over to God, that I can walk through a situation confident that He is with me even if I can’t comprehend what will happen. I have this hope that is an anchor to my soul….

This experience has also reminded me about the value of community. Of having a church family, good neighborhood relationships, family and friends that you can confide in. So that if there is ever a time when you don’t have the words to pray, you can know someone else is interceding on your behalf.

Once again I have been a bit long-winded, thank you for sticking with me. And if some of this doesn’t flow well, I am blaming it on the meds I am taking. I feel a bit foggy with my thoughts and my words. But it was important to me to take a few minutes and post an update here.

Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus to me and my family. I am so very grateful for each and everyone of you!!

Photo Credit: ThienLong

A Woman of Fervent Prayer

Fervent

I have not seen the War Room movie yet, but I am desperate to after reading this amazing book Fervent -by Pricilla Shirer. I was sent this book and several others that are all designed to partner with the movie. All of them are wonderful resources, but this book was POWERFUL. I read almost the entire book on my plane trips to Florida!

Just the back cover was enough to peak my interest….

“You have an enemy. And he’s dead set on destroying all you hold dear. He does it strategically. He does it specifically. He’s doing it right this minute, in fact – aimed at personally drawn targets on your heart, your home, your mind, your life. And this book, the battle plan, is your chance to fight back. With a weapon that really works, With prayer.”

Oh friends. This book is THE BOOK you need to be reading right now.

I have long felt the attacks of an enemy that seeks to ruin and destroy all that we hold dear. Any time my husband or I step out to do something FOR God, participate in a church activity, share our story, get involved in a ministry…EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. we are attacked.

Sometimes we don’t see it as an attack either, we just become short with one another, our tempers flare, we get over busy and overwhelmed, we stop praying and start trying to handle it all ourselves and then BAM we are waist deep in the thick of a struggle or sin.

THIS is where the enemy wants to keep us!

STUCK. ANGRY. OVERWHELMED. DISTANT. LONELY…

My friends the list goes on and on. When we find ourselves surrounded with our problems, when we allow unforgiveness to flood our hearts, when we choose sin because trying to do the right thing is too much…the enemy is having a party.

Pricilla says “The real enemy isn’t your husband. Or your teenager. Or your brother’s wife. Or your mother-in-law. Or the weather. Or the traffic. Or your sweet tooth. Or whatever powder keg of frustration really gets under your skin and sets you off before you can think straight. The real enemy – the capital E “Enemy” – well you know who it is. And you cannot keep letting him go unchecked while you throw money and anger and logic and physchology at your problems in a vain attempt at overcoming or outsmarting them…..”(p 43)

It doesn’t have to be that way. We don’t have to sit around helpless. We CAN do something. We can fight, we can stand firm in who Christ has created us to be and we can live in victory but we have to enter the battle prepared. We MUST prepare first with prayer!

“Prayer is a reminder to yourself, as well as declaration to the enemy, that you know he’s there. That you are on to him. When you bring your concerns and fears and irritations to the Lord in prayer, you’re aligning your weak-ling spirit with the full force of God’s Holy Spirit. Instead of continuing to to fail by taking the battle into your own hands – and taking the battle to the wrong people – you’re joining instead with all the power of heaven….” (p44)

This book caused me to ask myself if I am bringing all of my fear, frustrations and worries to God. What am I trying to handle on my own? What am I “allowing” God to be a part of? So much more today I realize that He wants to be a part of ALL of it. God loves me and wants to fight FOR me, WITH me….so why don’t I let Him?

One of the ways this book encourages a strategic battle plan is to pray using the PRAY model.

P – Praise – Thank Him for completely forgiving you, cleansing you, changing you.

R – Repentance – See the foolishness of anything that perpetuates old sin patterns , and by His Holy Spirit, walk away.

A – Asking – Ask for freedom, for release, for the ability to deflect lies and embrace truth.

Y – Yes – Because you,, by His resurrection power, can now walk in a new way of life.

We need to fight these battles with prayer.

In the movie the main character gets a prayer room. She starts writing down her prayers and then tapes them up on the walls. It is a tangible way to see and remember all of the things you are praying for and also documenting when answers come.

At this point I don’t have a specific space that is a prayer room for me, but I do have a prayer journal. Each morning I get up and write out my daily prayer requests in my journal. One of the resources Icon Media sent to me was a prayer journal. They also have a beautiful book for kids that talks about a boy’s journey to prayer and it includes this poster with “I prayed” stickers so the kids can write out their prayers and see tangible results as well.

I am finding more and more for myself that prayer needs to be something so constant, it becomes like breathing. I need prayer to sustain me, to keep me going, to ground me, encourage and bring hope.

Prayer does that for me. Even when the answer isn’t as I had hoped…I can start to see God’s plan in my life, recognize His provision and protection. Prayer gives me peace when things are spinning out of control.

I really can’t recommend this book enough. I have more pages underlines, starred, dog eared and circled than I have in any book I have read recently. Filled with Bible verses, encouragement, real life examples and hope…Fervent is a book you need to order today!

Check out all the resources that accompany the War Room! I received these books at no cost from Icon Media in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

For Those Who Persecute You

Prayer

I know that I don’t fully understand what real persecution is like. The kind that causes one to hide to worship God because they fear the repercussions if they are found out. The kind that has men on their knees facing imminent death. I don’t for a moment want to compare the struggles we have been through to the magnitude that those are….but  we have faced persecution.

I don’t want to give too many specific details because honestly it is in the past and it doesn’t matter anymore…but there was a time that Dominic and I were persecuted by another. False things were said, attacks were made and ultimately God walked us through that time and has blessed us, but it was a painful time. Feelings were hurt and it can be hard to let those go.

Recently we heard that this person has cancer. We know no other details…just that word.

And can I be honest that the immediate thought that came to my mind was “they are getting what they deserve.” (Please know I am NOT proud of this either)

Immediately following that thought, was the command that I needed to be in prayer for this person. (THIS is ALL God)

When bad things happen to people that have hurt us, it somehow feels like a little bit of justice is taking place. Now let me temper that by saying that I too have hurt people, so by my own definition, I deserve bad things as well.

So please hear me that I don’t think that anyone who gets cancer must have done something to “deserve it.” Quite the contrary. What I am admitting to is that my humanness, my sinful nature, makes me react in a way that is not Christ-like.

I know that I am a failure. I can’t and don’t love like Christ. It is the reason that I need Him in my life every moment of every day.

But Jesus specifically said in Matthew 5:44 “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

It seems pretty clear doesn’t it?

It doesn’t mean that it is easy though….

So I looked at it a little deeper…if you read a little more in Matthew you see this. Matthew 5: 43-47: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers,[i] what more are you doing than others?”

If I am seeking to model my life like Christ, I need to be listening to His words on how to live.

I was sharing my thoughts with two of my closest friends this morning, because this IS hard. I can know it, and believe it, but the walking out of my faith can be a challenge.

One of these friends shared something that hit me in a new way this morning. When Jesus was hanging on the cross he was in between 2 criminals. Now I don’t know that we know for sure what their crimes were. We don’t know how old they were or if they had ever lived a “good” life…but we do know that their crimes were serious enough to warrant an execution of this manner.

One of the criminals taunted Jesus and told him to save himself and them. The other said this… Luke 23: 40-43:But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.

The 2nd criminal may have been a criminal all his life. But in that moment, with the recognition of his sins and the acknowledgement of the kingship of Jesus…he was forgiven – completely.

He may not have done a single thing “good” in his life up to that point, but when faced with the truth of Jesus he knew he wanted to have a chance at being remembered.

THAT is why Jesus came…if even only for that one criminal.

As I felt challenged to pray for this person who has cancer, I initially looked at it selfishly. It stinks to admit this, but I thought if I prayed and they found Jesus, maybe they would make restitution for the things they did…the things they said.

But God calls me to pray for those who persecute me…and I need to do that regardless if the offender attempts to make things right. I felt convicted today because I knew that I was putting conditions on my prayers. (<====Click to Tweet)

I will pray for them IF the end result serves me.

God’s love is unconditional. Regardless of how I respond, He loves me. If I am seeking to be more like Christ, I need to model my behavior after the example that was set for me.

So I will pray that this person will know Christ in a real, personal way. That God’s presence would be felt and that healing would occur.

This isn’t and won’t be easy, but it is necessary. As I make choices that are against my “human” nature and more align with a Christ-like nature….slowly I am being transformed in His image.

And these moments of transformation are pretty exciting!

“Change my heart Oh Lord, make it ever new. Change my heart Oh Lord…I want to be like you”

Photo Credit: Lel4nd

Making Time to Be Intentional in Your Prayer Life

As I write this post I am sitting in a beautiful rental home that our extended family gathered in over Christmas. The fireplace is flickering and warming the room, the sun is shining and right now I have some time to reflect by myself.

Battle Lake 3

It is easy to see God’s beauty in a place like this. The frozen lake glimmers with light from the sunset, the Christmas lights offer a warmth and glow to the home. It is perfect. And when things are perfect…well, I can find it hard to take time to be intentional with my prayer time with God.

Battle Lake 1

Do you struggle with that too?

Sure I cry out to Him when things are rough. I know all to well the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness…of trying to make sense of the hard and ugly places that life has taken us at times. God becomes my 1-800-helpline as I demand changes and results.

But this week, surrounded by family and beauty…all my wants and desires are met, and so my quiet time with God is pushed aside.

This isn’t how I want to live my days though. Seeking after God only when I have a need. No I want to develop a relationship with Him that is one of intentional seeking of His plan and purpose for my life. A relationship built on faith and trust and one that comes with an intentional seeking of His face each and every day.

Several months ago I was invited to participate in a 40 day prayer journey. A friend was starting Mark Batterson’s 40 Day Prayer Circle Challenge and she asked if we were interested in keeping each other accountable through it. I had heard encouraging things from others that had gone through it so I joined in.

I bought the audio book so that I could listen to the devotionals in the morning. In one of the first days Mark encouraged us to get a prayer journal and to start writing out our prayers. He said that when we write out the prayers, big and small, we can then go back and see how God had answered our prayers.

And so began my 40 day prayer journey. I am sharing more about my prayer journey over at Christen’s site for her 21 Day Prayer Challenge. Will you join me over there?!

31 Days of Finding God – JOIN

Thank you for joining me in my series 31 Days of Finding God. Each day I am going to use a prompt from Kate and incorporate that into how I am finding God in my everyday!

Prayer Circle 2

31 Days ago I started on a journey of prayer. I was asked to join with some fellow God-sized Dreamers in doing a devotional by Mark Batterson called “Draw the Circle, a 40 Day Prayer Challenge. 

We were going to be starting right after I had my eye surgery so I knew that reading might difficult so I ordered the Kindle version instead. Each morning I get up and listen to the short devotional for the day and then I circle my prayer requests.

This is the first time I have ever stuck with something like this, in this manner, for this long.

It is amazing!

One of the things that we were encouraged to do was to journal through this process. So often we pray something and then life happens and we forget about the specific prayer requests we have had. By journaling I can look back and see how God answered my specific prayers.

I take notes on the devotional, stopping the Audio app so I can keep up, and then I start drawing my circles.

Prayer Circle

At the beginning I committed that I would be praying specifically for Isaac. He has a lot of big decisions to make this year and I just wanted to pray that God would reveal His path to my son. I have joined in prayer for my family, our business, my church and our pastors and various things that have come up along the way.

I have seen answers to some prayers already, and with others, I wait.

But I am confident that God hears and we honor Him with our prayers. My plan is that when I hit day 40 I will start right back at Day 1 again. Like the counting of gifts, this could go on and on.

This devotional has changed the way I approach prayer and time with God in the morning. So I am inviting you to join me in doing the same. Pick up a copy of the book or the audio file, grab a journal and get to work! I promise you won’t regret it!

The time you invest in this exercise will reap a harvest that continues on and on.

31 Days Button

In Him, Kristin

Praying From Head to Toe

praying-for-your-husband-from-head-to-toe-copy

Photo Credit and free printable can found at Loving Life at Home!

I am not really sure how I came across Jennifer’s blog. I was probably searching to find some sort of prayer that I could reference in the morning so that I could be more intentional about praying for Dominic.

I spent a lot of years praying that God would change or fix Dominic because in my self-righteousness I believed that any problems we had were his “fault”. I never actively prayed for his protection of God’s favor.

There are a lot of books, posts etc. about wives praying for their husband’s, and it hasn’t been a priority of mine until recently.

I found Jennifer’s site and started praying the head-to-toe prayer every morning. It really is an easy way to focus on intentionally praying for your spouse. I change things up or expand my prayers on some days, but I can always remember the “basics” of this prayer.

After several weeks of doing this every morning, Dominic and I had some sort of silly fight. It wasn’t anything huge but as is typical in a situation like this my response was “well look at what I have been doing that is so holy by praying for you…what have you been doing?!”

I am nice like that…

As I was driving to the office that morning I was messaging a couple of close friends and sharing how terrible I had been. As I was talking I realized that I was focusing my prayers on just Dominic and there were several areas in my own life that needed covering and protection as well!

Insert light bulb going off here! 🙂

So I told them that I was going to start praying those same prayers for myself …and I committed to praying the prayers for these girlfriends and their spouses as well.

There are specific areas that I really need help with – one being my sharp and quick tongue. So when I get to praying for our mouths, I ask that God would put words of affirmation and praise on my lips. That if angry or hurtful words are threatening to come out that I would be unable to speak them.

I can’t say that it is perfect – that since I started I haven’t spoken an angry word…but I believe it has been better. I am more aware of it in myself and willing to have God make the changes in me that refine me to be more of Him and less of me.

Progress not perfection right?!

This has become a meaningful part of my morning routine…I actually am praying while I am on my elliptical when I first get up. Eyes closed, I get some uninterrupted time with God and my workout seems to go faster! Win win! 🙂

Thank you to Jennifer for sharing this wonderful prayer, I am grateful that it is now a part of my quiet time with God!  What is a favorite prayer of yours? I’d love to hear about it!

A Mother’s Day Prayer

My dear friend Delonna is the new Prayer Team Leader for the God-sized Dreams website and since taking on that role in Houston has come up with some amazing ideas. One of those ideas was to start doing a Podcast series where she can pray over all that visit the site.

I just love her heart, and while she isn’t a mama to a biological child, she is a woman with a mother’s heart. Her love for orphans is amazing and I am just so blessed by her!

She recorded her first podcast so that it would be ready in time for Mother’s Day. So please take a few minutes and be blessed by her words and her prayer and share with a mother in your life!

YouTube Preview Image

 

Happy Mother’s Day friends!

When All You Can Do Is Pray

Snow

This was our view on one of the drives we made over Christmas.  I didn’t take a picture during the other drive, but imagine lots of snow, winds and at times near white out conditions….if I haven’t already mentioned it I do not like driving during winter weather.  And yes I realize that I live in Minnesota so it is inevitable, but I don’t have to like it!

On top of all of this I am a very nervous rider. It seems to me that when I am not in the drivers seat it feels like everything is always on the verge of being out of control. Good times for all involved I know.

So I found myself in a long car ride, sick to my stomach. Fear and worry can consume me in a snap and I start to think about the worst case scenerio happening to us. I know that these feelings are not from God and so at times like this the only thing I can do is pray.

I have no control over the weather.

I have no control over the drivers in front of us or behind us, or the semis that are screaming past us….no control. And while I find comfort in believing that I have control over some things…I knew this was one situation that I had to give over to God completely.

So I prayed.

And prayed and prayed.

In moments where we don’t have control and we don’t know what else to do – we CAN pray. And it doesn’t have to be a really in-depth prayer either….I literally just prayed “God Protect Us” over and over.

I just started reading a new book by Mark Batterson called “In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day“. I am not that far into the book but this stuck out at me specifically.

“The word over in the phrase “over the water” comes from the two-dimensional Hebrew word paniym.  In regards to time, paniym can refer to the split second before something happens and the split second after something happens. In regards to space, it can refer to the space right in front or right in back of you.

In the words of the Psalmist:

I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there too.

It’s almost as if God forms a parenthesis in time and a parenthesis in space around us. He is hovering all around you all the time.”

Do you love that visual as much as I do?

That God literally is behind you and in front of you at all times?!

Bad things happen but it doesn’t mean that God isn’t there with us.  I have struggled with this in the past so I am not some “expert” on walking the Christian life well.  I have found myself in situations where I was sure God had deserted me then to see, in hindsight, that He had been there all along.

He has formed a parenthesis around my life.

He is in it all. So I can remind myself in times of worry and fear, God continues to go before me, continues to walk behind me….Just as He always has.

I will find myself on a snowy road again in the future, literally and figuratively.  We are not promised that we won’t have troubles, but we are promised that He has overcome all of it.

Today I will hold tight to that promise and the idea that He goes before me and behind me through it all.

Do you struggle with worry? What works best for you in situations like these??

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