Tag Archives: Fervent Prayer

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – Stirring Up Discord

Fervent Prayer

I can’t even remember what the argument was about.

I am sure I felt justified in my feelings (I always do) and thought that Dominic should just apologize for whatever it was and then things would be ok again. When that didn’t happen the way I thought it should, I got more and more angry.

He, it turns out, was hurt by what I had said or done and was waiting for me to come and apologize. There we sat on opposite sides of the home, angry and justified and waiting.

This is how the Saturday morning began that was supposed to be our special 20 year anniversary weekend away. We had arranged for Isaac to come and be with the kids, had reserved a cottage at a lake a few hours away and bought tickets to a murder mystery dinner for that evening.

20 years and you would think I would know better!

As a part of this murder mystery dinner we had been given specific parts to play. We had a suggested costume list and had spent some time gathering up everything for this night. We were excited about it, really excited.

So how did we end up almost missing it?!

Besides my stubborn pride and self-righteousness, I believe that the enemy was working hard to stir up discord in our home. It is a pretty big deal that we were celebrating 20 years of marriage. It was a big deal that we had planned this fun weekend away. Things in our relationship were good and as we know the enemy will stop at nothing to hurt and destroy us.

Especially marriages!

So that afternoon as I sat in our living room, angry, I KNEW it was an enemy attack. I knew it. But for several hours I was too stubborn to address it. I didn’t pray. I didn’t apologize. I stewed.

And then it was getting to be about the time that if we didn’t leave soon, there was no way that we would make it at all. So I went to talk to Dominic. Still prideful that I was the “right” one. Turns out as we talked that we both perceived the situation differently. We agreed that we still really wanted to go to the dinner and rushed around like crazy people to get out the door.

We made it there with minutes to spare.

Our special weekend almost didn’t happen. I almost let the enemy win that one and I couldn’t help but feel like it was a victory when we got their on time, changed into our costumes and completely enjoyed our evening. He almost won…but in the end he didn’t!

How many times have you found yourself in a situation where there is discord? Hurt has been exchanged, pride has bubbled to the surface and both parties are feeling justified?

Have you ever stopped to consider who or what is behind it?

Priscilla says this, “Even in knowing the truth, we can lose sight of where these attacks are originating from…from back there, behind the curtain. And by failing to take notice and remember, it’s not hard to lose our cool, our temper, and most of all our self-control before we ever find our way back to ultimate reality.”p 42

It is as though she was writing those words to describe me. Can you relate?!

The enemy is a master of discontentment. He wants us angry and bitter and full of justified pride. And when we are, well no one wins. It would have been a real shame if we had missed our entire weekend away. We needed that time, we deserved it!

I am grateful for forgiveness and that the God’s spirit prevailed in that situation. I think that the more we are going to God in prayer and the more we pray that we would be aware of the enemy’s schemes, the more that we will recognize when he is at work and start call it out.

Discord will happen, but when it does I challenge you to step back and ask who is stirring up the problem…maybe it isn’t your spouse or your child or your co-worker. Maybe the enemy is behind it all. Let’s call it out for what it is. Pray for protection and walk in God’s will for our lives!

Lord, we know the enemy will stop at nothing to hurt us derail us and keep us from you. Open our eyes to the truth. In those moments where pride or selfishness has entered in, convict us Lord and set us back on the right path. Help us develop a spirit of pausing to bring every thought to You so that we can see our situations clearly for what they are. In Jesus Name, Amen

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – The Real Enemy

Fervent Prayer

Ephesians 6:12  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

How many times have I fought the battle against the wrong enemy?

Unfortunately, too many times to count.

Priscilla says this about the enemy and his affect in our lives. “Success, to him, means stirring up discord in your home, your church, your workplace, your neighborhood, and doing it in such a  way that no one’s even aware he’s been in the building. He knows our natural, physical response is to start coming after each other instead of him – attacking, counterattacking, pointing fingers, assigning blame – while he sits out in the driveway monitoring the clamor inside, fiendishly rubbing his hands together, admiring just how adept he is…and what easy targets we are.” p 45

Oh how this truth makes my blood boil! Really it makes me angry!

I can know something but in the moment I don’t recognize it for what it is. I have long had the knowledge that the enemy seeks to hurt and destroy us…but I didn’t see how it was relevant in my life “moments.”

Reading Fervent has opened my eyes. Now I’m not saying that everything little thing is “the devil’s fault.” I know we live in a fallen world, and we ourselves are born sinners. Crap happens, it just does. But the point she is trying to drive home here in the chapter on Focus is that in those times we are fighting one another…maybe we need to step back and see who might be stirring up the discord in the first place.

So what can we do?!

We have talked about putting on our armor. Daily going to God in prayer and asking that He helps us suit up so that we are ready for battle.

We can’t expect to fight an enemy of a spiritual nature if we aren’t starting first with fervent prayer.

If you haven’t found them already, in the back of the book are blank prayer cards. When we did this book as a bible study at my church I encouraged the ladies to start getting in the habit of writing out their prayers.

Maybe it is a favorite verse or a short note about why you are praying for someone. It doesn’t take much time, but it is a tangible way to get in the habit of spending time in prayer. It is also another way that we can make a record of those prayers we have prayed and when we see the answer.

Priscilla says this “Prayer is a reminder to yourself, as well as a 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 weakling spirit with the full force of God’s Holy Spirit. Instead of continuing to fail by taking the battle to the wrong people – you’re joining instead with all the power of heaven to take your fight directly to the source of the problem.” p44 

Truth right?! I love that visual that we are joining our weakling spirit with the full force of God’s Holy Spirit. So powerful.

It doesn’t have to be our battle alone. God can and will fight the battle with us. Go to Him in prayer and ask for His help. Yes there is an enemy that is seeking to cause hurt and discord in our marriages and families, but we don’t have to fight back alone! Praise God!

Lord, we thank you that you allow us the gift of your Holy Spirit. That we can come to you and trust that You will battle with us! That while we are weak, we know the power of Your Holy Spirit will make us strong. In Your Name and because of Your Name we can prevail over the attacks of the enemy. Give us discernment to know what our real fight is against. Give us humble and willing hearts to continue to seek You in all things. We love you Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen!

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – His Passions for My Life

Fervent Prayer

Yesterday I shared a bit of my undoing. It wasn’t a pretty time. I was hurting. Have you heard the saying that hurt people, hurt people? Yea, that was me. In my hurt I lashed out. In my hurt I blamed and acted in unrighteous anger.

And yet, God was there.

I didn’t really feel it at the time, but I know it to be true. Having walked a path of self-destruction and pain, and now seeing all the ways God has moved in my life…I can’t believe anything else. He was there. He was working.

I have shared here before that about a year ago I started seeing a Christian counselor. The first few sessions I just yelled and blamed and crossed my arms in anger. I wasn’t the problem. But at some point my heart was broken by the truth. And S.L.O.W.L.Y I started to seeing all the ways I had a hand in my current situation.

Apparently I have a chronic problem of being quick to point blame and slow to take responsibility. :/

Pride, as I said, has always been a huge problem for me. I clean up on the outside and start to look like I have it together and then I start taking credit…it is the first step to my falling. When I take back the reins in my life and stop asking God for direction, I go right off His path.

But as I started seeing my failings and started praying that God would work in my heart, things began to change. I began attending a Bible study at my church and shared my reality in that safe place. I found women who loved me for who I was, mistakes and all. They prayed for me and encouraged me. All those things I wanted to bring to a women’s ministry at church. It was already there.

Isn’t God good?!

I didn’t want to attend that study at first, even told my dear friend on a vox on the way to church that I didn’t expect anything good to come of it. (ha!) But I knew I needed something and so right before I went in I prayed a little prayer. Lord, give me just one thing I can hold onto for the next week.

And boy did He deliver.

It was the joy I desperately needed in my week. I left that space each Monday night feeling lighter. My circumstances hadn’t really changed. I was still dealing with the hurt I had caused…it wasn’t going away with one Bible study. But that group of women gave me strength to keep going each week. It was such a gift.

Weeks turned into months. Breakthroughs happened. I worked through some really hard things with my counselor and one week we talked about my passions. I wasn’t ready to get back into them at that point. I was scared and honestly exhausted. But I believed that if they were God’s call for me that one day I would pursue them again.

Then one day in Bible study we started talking about what we wanted to study next. One of the girls mentioned the book Fervent. I had read it 3 times at that point and whole-heartedly agreed. The only downfall was it didn’t have a study guide to go with it. That night something in my heart stirred.

The next morning I woke up early and in the matter of less than an hour I had 5 weeks of studies mapped out. It wasn’t anything spectacular, but it was a guide. I nervously emailed the two women that were leading the group and shared what I had written. I was confident that I could write the rest of the week’s studies. 12 weeks in all.

They were excited and after getting our Pastor’s approval, I agreed to lead a study over the summer on Fervent.

I never felt like I was called to write Bible studies or lead them! But that morning God gave me the outline and the words to start that guide. I hadn’t written much in months and here I was pouring words onto the computer. It was all His and I was honored and excited to just be a part of it.

As we went through the book this summer I was reminded time and time again that this was His. Most weeks I prayed that He would just be present. I felt so ill-equipped to be leading at all. But each week the discussions were honest and heart-felt. There was transparency in that room and it always felt like a safe place to share.

If I had tried to write that study on my own doing, my pride would have gotten in the way. I know it would have because it is MY nature. But when God fueled it, by His nature, it was all grace. To this day I am humbled and honored that I got to be a small part of it.

And in one of those last weeks of the study I once again felt the stirring. To sit down and map out a plan for a 31 Day study on Fervent Prayer. And just as before, the words came quickly. Hundreds of words that were His.

THAT is how we know it is a passion from Him.

This time I have prayed for protection from the enemy. I anticipate his attacks and when there is discontentment in my home or my heart, I quickly call it out for what it is. And often times I will declare out loud that he WILL NOT get my heart, my mind, this time.

I don’t know what passions you are being called to. But I do know this. If it is for God’s glory you can be sure that the enemy is going to work HARD at getting you off track.  As we develop a more fervent prayer life we need to be watching and aware of those times we are under attack. Pray for covering, God’s direction and for a humble heart. So that you can use your passions to bring God glory.

Lord, You are good, yes Lord you are.You walk us through difficult times, and love us even when we are filled with pride. You find us Lord, no matter where we are. Thank you for loving us that much. Fuel our passions Lord that we may spend our days using them for Your glory. In Jesus Name, Amen.

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – My Passions

Fervent Prayer

“Passion is the fuel in the engine of your purpose.”  Priscilla starts our look into the ten different strategies that the enemy uses to draw us away from God and stifle our attempts at fervent prayer by talking about our passions.

What are the things that you are passionate about? Those things that stir your heart, the God-inspired activities that you pursue because you can’t imagine not doing them?

For me I am passionate about writing, and I have a heart for missions. I have a passion to unite women and create an environment where all feel welcome and find encouragement.

The enemy is well aware of the way God has equipped me to follow my passions, and he will stop at nothing to make sure I feel discouraged and disheartened if I pursue them.

A little over a year ago I approached a couple of other women in my church and asked if they would be interested in starting a women’s ministry at church. We didn’t have anything official in place and I felt like it was a need that the women of the church could benefit from.

We had a few activities planned and they were so much fun. We hosted a movie night and watched “Mom’s Night Out” and even did a painting class and marveled at the artistic ability of so many women in our church!

I felt inspired and excited at all God was going to do with this group of women. Unity was forming as I began to get to know so many people I hadn’t known well before.

I guess I should have known the attack was coming. I wasn’t praying over it, I was hardly praying at all really. I was in that place where everything on the outside looked good and put together…but my heart told another story.

Much of my undoing was a result of pride, this claiming of my role in the success.

I had stopped praising God for all the ways He was moving, thanking Him for fueling this passion He placed in my heart.

Behind closed doors I was becoming more and more embittered. I held unreasonably high expectations of those closest to me and became discontented with everything in my life. When I was confronted with my behaviors, I pointed fingers and blamed. I was unwilling to see that I was causing hurt and thought that because I was doing something good for the church that I must be “good” as well.

And so one day I walked away from it all.

I didn’t want to deal with the ugly, so I thought quitting everything that I loved was the answer, but what really needed to happen was a heart change.

And so just like that, everything that I was passionate about was gone and I was mad.

Mad at God, mad at my family…but you know, not once did I consider that the enemy might have his hand in all of it!

The enemy whispers lies, he is cunning and manipulative, he fuels pride and discontentment.

If we are not engaging in fervent prayer as we pursue our passions we are setting ourselves up for certain failure.

Yes God calls us, He fills us with His passions for our lives. But as we move forward in those passions we need to be in constant prayer. Prayer to remain humble, prayers giving glory to the One who started it in the first place. Prayers for guidance and prayers for protection.

I will share tomorrow the incredible way that God redeemed this entire situation. He is the reason that I am writing today. A gift He gave me and I always want my words to honor Him.

But for now I encourage you  to examine your passions. Take some time to write them down. Where is God calling you, and are you praying about those passions? Is there any heart work that needs to be done so that you can follow them?

And come back tomorrow as I share a little more of my journey!

Lord, Thank you that You have filled our hearts with different passions. Help us Lord to walk in those giftings in a manner that will bring You honor and glory. In Jesus Name, Amen.

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – The Great Accuser

Fervent Prayer

“Satan is a full-time accuser. He does it day and night, the Bible says (Revelations 12:10). Instead of convicting you for the purpose of restoration, as God’s Spirit does, he condenms you for the purpose of destroying, humiliating.” Fervent p28

For a long time I believed that God was punishing me.

I found myself in a hard marriage (much my own doing) but instead of taking responsibility for my part in the problems, it was easier to blame God and believe that the reason life was so hard was because I was a sinner.

Pregnant before we were married I had sinned in the ultimate way, I believed. God couldn’t and wouldn’t love someone like me and so with every trial we faced I saw it as a punishment.

It is hard to build a solid relationship with a God that you feel is punishing you 24/7.

And isn’t that right where the enemy wanted me? For years I was deceived and my relationship with God was distant and strained.

Oh God was always there and I know now that He loved me right through that time…but I kept God at arm’s length. Sure I would pray when I needed something (He was my spiritual vending machine remember?) but my prayers were not filled with love and awe for Him.

They were empty and selfish prayers. The prayers of someone who was stuck in the mire of lies from the enemy.

Yes there were choices I made that brought me to a place of conviction, but instead I saw it as condemnation.

Shame has been a tool that the enemy has used against me for years.

Until this past year, I wasn’t even really aware of it either. But I spent some time reading a book called “Tired of Trying to Measure Up” and the core focus of that book was how shame can shape who we are.

I understood shame in my earliest years, although I wouldn’t have labeled it as that. I felt in my heart that I was not ok. No one said that to me that I can remember, it was just a pervasive feeling I have always had.

Enter awkward teenage years, bad hair, braces and glasses…I was not what you would consider “popular” and I so desperately wanted to be more.  So I tried to be the smart girl instead. But I wasn’t the smartest. I was painfully shy so things like theater or swing choir, while appealing, were not something I could try out for.

The enemy knows my fears and I was an easy target. Even today I struggle with feelings of inadequacy. And while I can more easily call them out for what they are…it isn’t easy walking as though they don’t bother me.

Priscilla says this “He (the enemy) warps your perspective on the current events in your life until reality appears much worse and more desperate than it truly is.” p29

What situation is he warping in your life right now?

It may be really bad, I have been there. I’ve walked through the really bad…so I am not trying to write it off as unimportant. But what if, in these moments, we stopped acting in crisis mode and started to pray that God would reveal His perspective?

I imagine that the chains the enemy has had me in for so long would start to be broken if I stopped seeing life as another crisis and started asking God to show me the way forward.

We are going to be faced with difficulty, the Bible says that in John 16:33! But read the second half of that verse…“But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Satan is the great accuser yes, but God IS the MIGHTY REDEEMER!

The battle has already been won. The enemy is just hoping that during your journey you would be filled with more stress and doubt than peace. But God has already had the final word and one day we will understand all things clearly.

So for today, whatever battle you face…step forward in prayer. Ask God for clarity and wisdom. In whatever you are doing, invite God to reveal His truth to you. The accuser will continue to come at you but you can fight back in prayer!

Lord, You are mighty and we claim the promise today that the battle has already been won. While the enemy may still attack us we can remain firm in Your Truth. Help us in our moments of doubt and fear to seek You first. We know Lord that when we call out to You, You hear us. Thank you that we don’t have to walk this path alone. In Jesus Name, Amen 

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – Where to Start with Prayer

Fervent Prayer

There have been moments in my life where my prayers were more like demands. God – do this, and if I was feeling generous…God PLEASE do that! Other times I have found myself speechless, unsure of what words are even appropriate for a certain situation. I have questioned if I am doing it right because my prayers didn’t seem to be answered.

It is easy to get caught up in the “how to pray the right way” mentality. And for someone like me that can be taken to an extreme. I get over focused on doing it perfectly that I forget that this is my opportunity to commune with a Father who loves me.

So I share this model that Priscilla introduces as just another way you can approach prayer. You don’t have to do it this way to do it “right.” But if you are anything like me, there are times that my mind can wander and I get off track. Praying one minute, thinking about the items I need to add to my grocery list the next.

This model helps me stay focused and also keeps me from sending up only demanding prayers.

Throughout the book Fervent, Priscilla uses this model to encourage us to be more specific in our prayer life, it helps ready us for the daily battle.


P – Praise

This is our opportunity to spend some time thanking and praising God for who He is. I often thank God for the beautiful creation we get to experience every day. The sunrise and the rains that nourish our ground. I see God so much in nature, so it is one of the easiest ways for me to thank Him for who He is.

R – Repentance

Boy do I need to spend some time with God each day asking for forgiveness! Ha! 🙂 But really, come at this time in prayer being willing to recognize your part in things. If you have Christ in your life you are already forgiven. The debt has been paid. But understanding that sacrifice leads us to having hearts of repentance. I know when I have messed up, been hurtful with my words or had a short temper with one of my children. God already knows it too.

We aren’t confessing something that God doesn’t already know, but it is those times we are convicted by the Holy Spirit that we come and repent of those sins and thank God for His grace. In these times of real honesty with God I am sharing the lesson I learned and am often overwhelmed once again by how much He loves me, even though I am a constant hot mess!

A – Asking

When we ask in prayer we are submitting our specific needs to God. Who are we praying for, what is their specific need? As I said before I used to spend my asking time demanding MY will in the situation. I have found that it is better for me to be praying in God’s will instead of my own. This is where walking out my faith is put to the test. Will I trust God even if the answer isn’t what I had hoped?

In so many instances I have found that God does answer my prayers…and not always as I had hoped, but always for my best interest. We are just not equipped to see like He is. How often I need to remind myself of that!

Y – Yes

Here is where Priscilla recommends that we end our prayers with agreement in God’s word. Praying scripture is yet another way that we can add power to our prayer time! One of my favorite verses is Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us…”

How often in a time of crisis am I worried about the what-ifs? When fear starts to creep in I will pray this verse in my prayers. Remembering that God can do far more than we had ever hoped or imagined. Some days that is all I can cling to. But I would rather hold onto hope from His word than anything this world tries to offer me!

Prayer doesn’t have to be hard. And maybe there is a method of praying that has worked better for you? I’d love to hear about it! Just remember that this is a place to start if a fervent prayer life is something new to you. God will reward our faithfulness and the more we spend time with God the closer our relationship will be with Him. And that is the ultimate goal!

Lord, we thank you for the gift of prayer! That You created prayer as a way to commune with You. Thank you for loving us that much. You are never out of reach, we can always access You! What a gift! So often I take this time with You for granted. I rush through my prayers demanding MY will and MY wants instead of taking into consideration that You know what is best for me. Thank you Lord that You are so abundant with Your grace. Lord there are women here today that may be struggling with this topic of fervent prayer. Pour out your presence on them today. May they feel strengthened in their relationship with you by beginning to be obedient in prayer. You do give us more than we could hope or imagine Lord, and while I don’t always remember that during times of difficulty, have seen it play out in my life time and time again. Thank you for your faithfulness Lord. In Jesus Mighty Name, Amen!

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – Putting on My Armor

Fervent Prayer

I think it was one of those mornings when I just woke up on the “wrong side of the bed.”  The reality was that I hadn’t done anything to fight against it. I didn’t attempt to get up early for some much needed quiet time. I didn’t pray in the shower like I sometimes do. Instead I just had a spirit of irritability.

Ever been there?

It probably doesn’t matter what someone else does or doesn’t do…it wouldn’t be right regardless. Everything is annoying or makes you angry and it is hard to find joy!

I was just in that foul mood and surprisingly it took most of the day into the late afternoon before I realized that I had let the enemy run a muck in my heart. And when I became aware I was MAD.

Seriously, not again! What in the world is my problem?

Here I am almost 5 times through the reading of a book FOCUSED on prayer and the schemes of the enemy and I was walking around angry at the world and blaming them for my bad attitude.

Sometimes I want to give myself a good scolding.

I should know better, but here’s what I realized once again. I hadn’t been preparing myself for the daily battle. I wasn’t in communication with God. I wasn’t walking in Truth. I was floundering trying to control everyone and everything around me.

It is a humbling moment when you find yourself there once again. Once again Lord here I am so very sorry for my behavior and ready to start again.

Thank God for grace right?

In Ephesians Paul talks about how we should prepare ourselves for this battle we face against the enemy every day.

Ephesians 6: 10-18 says: 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.”

What struck me most the first time I read this was “with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” The enemy is firing rounds at us ALL.THE.TIME. And they hurt, they burn! And if we aren’t prepared they will wound us.

It is not in my own might that I am able to stand against the enemy – but God’s. 

He is the one that will fight on my behalf, but I MUST take on His protection over me. The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, being ready by the gospel of peace and the shield of faith,the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit.

Man if I had put on even one of those things that morning, imagine how much differently it might have turned out!

And so, armed with Truth I can start my day over again. Seeking His protection as I walk this journey. Knowing that the enemy WILL come, but I don’t have to go into battle unprotected! Don’t forget friends that this is a spiritual battle. So often we try and handle things on our own with little to no success.

I don’t want anger and emotions to rule my day, but instead I want to be filled with the peace of God’s spirit. Don’t we all?!

Lord, we come to you weary from the battle. We confess that we have tried too often to fight by our own strength and we are beaten down by the enemy. Forgive us for not turning first to You Lord! Help us to each put on our armor, Your armor Lord that will protect us from all the enemy has to fire at us. Thank you for loving us so much that you protect and provide for us. Our hearts are ever grateful for new beginnings and grace. In Jesus Name, Amen.

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – Having a Prayer Journal

Fervent Prayer

My mom recently brought me some things that she found in my old room. Included were a couple of worn notebooks. Filled inside were the prayers of a young teenager. I read through several of the pages and almost burned them (I still might)!

The cries of my heart at that time were so juvenile. A desperate need to be loved. Whether it was this boy or that…I wanted a “relationship” with someone. A wanted to be told that I was special. My prayers for a boyfriend were often not answered in the way I had hoped. I had many boy friends, but very few that wanted to “go out” with me.

As embarrassing as those notebooks were, they were evidence of a love for journaling  and record keeping that has been with me for years and years.

I had prayer journals in college where I prayed big prayers for my now husband. And in 2008 when I started my family blog, it became an online cry of my heart. Writing has been an outlet for me to share my faith, my hopes and dreams and even at times, my biggest frustrations.

A few years ago I heard about Mark Batterson’s 40 Day Prayer Challenge. He wrote about circling your prayers. Writing them down and circling them in prayer until you had an answer. I loved the idea and every morning I would get up early and listen to one of his devotionals and then spend time writing out the prayers I had for myself and my family.

I loved Priscilla’s story about her grandmother’s prayer journal. And the reason behind all of her recording was simple. “So I won’t forget.”

How often have I whispered a prayer, and then when it was answered, moved on…even forgotten how it was answered?

When I take the time to write out my prayer requests, and the answers, it helps me remember all the ways that God has been faithful to respond.

Even in those teenage cries, He heard and He answered. Thankfully He didn’t always answer in the way I hoped. What’s that old Garth Brooks song…“Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers. Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs. That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care. Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” 

You’re welcome by the way…that’s one of those that will be stuck in your head all day! 😉

But there is so much truth there.

Sometimes the prayers God doesn’t answer the way WE think best, are the greatest gift.

Life gets hectic, years run together and I start to forget.

I forget all the ways God has been faithful. In times of crisis I need to remember the last time I felt hopeless and out of control. I need to remember that He was there, remember the way He took my ashes and made them into something beautiful.

The enemy would like nothing more than to erase the miracles from our memory.

When we journal our prayers we leave a legacy of God’s goodness. A testimony to all He has done, something for our family to read that may just strengthen their faith. We just never know what God can and will use to bring someone to Him.

So I encourage you today that if you haven’t ever written out a prayer, that you start. It doesn’t have to be pages and pages. Keep it simple. Do what works for you. But write them down, so that you won’t forget either!

Lord, Thank you for answering our prayers even if they aren’t in the way we had hoped. We want to be people that remember and tell of your goodness. Prayer journaling is a way to do that. Stir in our hearts a joy for not only prayer, but also in sharing all the ways that You have been faithful to answer. May the recording be a way to bring You glory and honor. We love you Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – My View of Prayer

Fervent Prayer

As I have studied prayer I have come to realize that my view of prayer, why we pray, how to pray, what to pray about has been skewed.

Often times prayer came as a last resort.

Crisis would happen, I would be in that place again and I needed help. I had essentially tried everything in my own power to manage and control a situation and found myself broken and hopeless. I would pray for God to “fix it” and hope He would answer my prayer in a way that was acceptable to me.

God was my spiritual vending machine.

When I needed a fix I would go and ask for a handout. I didn’t spend time praying every day….only when I finally needed help.

I don’t believe that I had ever considered that prayer was an opportunity for me to be prepared for battle against the enemy.

Have you?

As we move through this book Fervent we will discover that the enemy does everything he can to pull us down, but we don’t have to enter into those situations defenseless. We can have a plan for strategic, fervent prayer!

But God can’t be my after thought, my last resort. He needs to be my first choice, my only defense. {<===Click to Tweet}

Priscilla says this “If all we’re doing is flinging words and emotions in all directions without any real consideration for the specific ways the enemy is targeting us and the promises of God that apply to us, we’re mostly just wasting our time.” p4

The first few times I read that sentence I was focused on the the ways that the enemy was targeting me. I was completely ignoring the promises of God. It is easy to get wrapped up in the mess.

It is where the enemy wants us stuck in. The hopelessness, the fear, the anxiety and what-ifs.

In those moments we aren’t thinking about God’s promises are we? When I am focused on the burn of his fiery darts I am forgetting about the truth that the battle has already been won. God has already redeemed us, our situations. He has already defeated the enemy.

The enemy will lie to us and tell us that we can’t trust God, our broken will never be fixed. But it IS a lie! The blood of Jesus has already covered our sins. We are promised life with Him in eternity.

So in those times where I am filled with fear and doubt, I need to be praying His truths out loud! And just like I need some daily exercise {we are working on that next} I also need to spend time every day in prayer.

When we are working to build a new friendship, we invest in it by spending time with that person. The more time we spend, the deeper the intimacy that is shared, the more personal the relationship.

This same idea goes for our relationship with God.

If I want to know His truth, His heart and love for me, I need to invest in a relationship with Him.

Prayer is the easiest way I have found to do this. Sometimes I share my heart, profess my love for Him. Sometimes I am frustrated and I tell Him so. (It’s ok…He can handle it!) Other times I am speechless, in awe of what He is doing in my own life or the lives of those I love. I use prayer as my way to commune with Him.

The more I do it, the more {like exercise} it becomes a habit. And as the relationship builds, the less I see God as my “fix my need” machine and instead He is becoming my “I can’t live without You” Savior.

I know I don’t do it perfectly, and there are days even now that I realize I haven’t invested in Him at all. But God is patient with me, and always there. And what a gift that is!

Lord, I don’t deserve the love You have for me. And yet…I am convinced it is there. I stand amazed and overwhelmed. Stir our hearts for more of You. That we would come to see that prayer would be as necessary as breathing. And in those times where we are facing a battle we can know, without a doubt, that You are there. The fight has already been won. Help us to bring our weary hearts to You. Every day. In Jesus Name, Amen

31 Days of Fervent Prayer – Developing a Strategy

Fervent Prayer

At the beginning of this process I didn’t really think that I needed a strategy for prayer. I mean, don’t you just pray? But the more I have studied the book the more I am convinced that the enemy will do ANYTHING to keep us in chains and if I am going to fight against that I need a plan, a strategy to fight back!

Because if I am being honest, prayer had become more of an after-thought in my life. “God please help me…”, “Lord, fix so-and-so wouldn’t you? Life would be easier for me if You would fix them.”

I didn’t pray the hard prayers because I wasn’t willing to walk through an answer that may mean work on my end!

I wanted to say the “easy” prayers and have things neatly wrapped up in a nice, pretty package when I was done.

But these words from Priscilla struck a deep chord within me, “We simply don’t have the luxury of playing nice with prayer. Not if we want things to change. Not if we want to be free – from whatever’s keeping us held down and held back. Not if we want our hearts whole and thriving and deep and grounded…different. Not if we want to reach our destinies and experience God’s promises….” p3

There is more and with each sentence I could hear my heart cry “yes!” Yes we want freedom from those things that keep us bound in chains. Yes we want clarity and direction for our husband and our children. Yes we want to walk in God’s calling for our lives.

But she goes on to say that we won’t see any of those things come to fruition if we aren’t praying with precision.

Just as a commander plots and plans his teams next move in a battle, so must we approach those areas that we most need God’s help.

So I ask you what is the greatest stronghold in your life today?

Where is the enemy attacking you, your home? Your marriage or your finances?

I discovered that the root of so many of my heart issues stemmed out of fear.

It is the weapon that the enemy has used in his arsenal against me time and time again and quite frankly I am tired of it!

Fear of the what if, fear of the worst case scenario, fear that holds me stuck so that I can’t move forward and allow God to work in me because I believe that the “what-if” scenarios will come true.

We will look more closely at fear a little later in our study, but for me it has keep me from the free and abundant life that Christ has for me.

So what can we do in these situations?

First I need to fight back in those fear-filled moments with prayer.

Ask God to reveal truth, look up and prayer actual scripture over your stronghold. I love 2 Timothy 1: 7 “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

What ever your stronghold is, know that it is a not from God. God doesn’t want us to live in fear, bound in chains. The enemy does, he thrives in the lies that you will never change, you can’t trust God. He wants you to believe that your what-ifs WILL come true.

But if we can begin to fight back in prayer, with a strategy that gives us power – the enemy is going to flee from the powerful woman that you will become!

I love the hope that is found in the pages of Fervent. And as we continue on we will discover more specific ways to march forward. But for today I encourage you to spend some time thinking about those things that keep you bound and start asking, boldly for God to break any chains you may find yourself in!

Lord, we thank you for the gift of knowledge. For the opportunity to develop a battle plan to fight against the enemy’s attacks. We know Lord that You are with us and I ask that You place a hedge of protection around the women walking this road. Strengthen us all and break those chains that keep us from the full freedom that is found in You. In Jesus Name, Amen.