Tag Archives: pray



Pray without ceasing…this is a phrase we like to throw around. “Oh, you are going through some tough times?” After we get done telling others that God will work all things for their good (When You Need More Than A Band-Aid Verse,) we tell them to pray without ceasing. Or we guilt people into prayer. “How is your prayer life? How long do you spend a day in prayer? You know, we are called to pray without ceasing.” So what does this even mean? I am glad you asked. Here is my take on it…

What I believe this verse to be talking about is a lifestyle, an attitude. Prayer is so much more than us thanking God and then dumping a list of requests at his feet. This attitude is relational. Praying without ceasing is letting God into your day. It’s including Him, throughout the day, thinking of Him, thanking Him, meditating on His promises, asking for His help, and worshiping Him.

Pastor Matt Chandler has a wonderful take on this. He talks about the rhythm of our day, this ebb and flow of communication that should be happening. Pulling aside time to spend in prayer and in God’s Word are integral but so are what he calls the “rifle shot prayers.” These are the prayers we throw heavenward during the day. This is when you say, “Hey God, this is it. I prayed about this earlier. I really need you to be with me now as I face this co-worker, this trial, this temptation, you fill in the blank.” I would venture to guess that most of do better with the “rifle-shot” requests than recognizing and offering thanks for the blessings, both those big and small throughout the day. It’s this constant flow of communication, carrying God with you throughout your day. Both forms are necessary for the vibrancy of your relationship. One type feeds the other.

Today, make a concerted effort to pray without ceasing. Invite God into your day. Listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting to pray and know that God is with you and for you. And if you don’t do so well? It’s ok, tomorrow is a new day.

The Unspoken…A Cry In The Night

Charles Spurgeon once remarked that “the best style of prayer is that which cannot be called anything else but a cry.”

Last week I had my 5th cardiac MRI since my diagnosis of Takayasu’s arteritus in January of 2012. In the days since I have often found myself much like the woman in the photo, on my knees on the side of my bed crying out to God. The Lord continues to keep my disease in remission but I know that all of that can change. With one blood test, one MRI, one beat of my heart, I will be facing an entirely new chapter in this story. For today, I praise God for answering the cries of my heart and wanted to share with you a journal entry that I wrote on April 15, 2012 as I faced my first MRI after being diagnosed. It was a good reminder to me as I have settled into living under the banner if this disease that I need to continue to cling to my dependence and not grow complacent in remission…

Today marks the beginning of the week I have been waiting for, praying for. I have been excited for this week and dreading it. I have been afraid to hope for a miracle but confident that my God is capable. So today, more than in days prior, as Friday gets ever closer, I find myself at God’s throne pleading for intervention, for rescue…for a miracle. I have been through the medical regimen, done everything the doctors have said to do, and now have come full circle back to where I began this journey, on my knees desperately crying out to God. With full confidence that while sometimes all I can do is cry out, God is intimately aware of what is in my heart. The closer Friday gets, the more imminent the answers I have been searching for, the more my prayers become nothing more than this frightened, desperate cry because, in all honesty, I am afraid of being let down.

Through all of this I have learned some very important lessons, particularly in regard to prayer. First of all, that is exactly what prayer is supposed to be…first. Through prayer God is able to encourage us, to lift us up. When was the last time that you found yourself more discouraged after spending time with God in prayer? It doesn’t happen. I have also learned that if your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God. Through answering our prayers God is able to show his power, his omnipotence, his divine intervention. When He answers, there will be no other reasonable or possible explanation to what we are experiencing. There is nothing God loves more than keeping promises, answering prayers, and performing miracles. It is who He is and what he does. I know He can, and I pray He will. I also know that He knows better than I what the path for my life needs to be and He won’t give me more than I can handle without His help. I have many times over the last weeks found myself overwhelmed and I know now that is exactly where God wants me. I read that raw dependence on God gives birth to the raw material out of which God performs His greatest miracles. Trouble, is one of God’s greatest tools because it reminds us how much we continually need the Lord. Otherwise, we tend to forget about entreating him. For some reason we want to carry on by ourselves. I have promised myself to never forget again, no matter what the outcome on Friday.

I haven’t stopped praying for my “medical” miracle but I continue to rest in the knowledge that my life is in the hands of my loving Father. No matter what the next test shows, He will not leave me or forsake me, and I will try my hardest to live this story for His glory.

If you find yourself crying out today, Jesus hears you and He understands your hurts. Let Him provide the healing comfort you need.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. (Hebrews 4:16 NLT)

I wish I may, I wish I might…

pray impossible
Don’t just pray about what seems logical and possible. Pray hard about the impossible. God will show you that NOTHING, nothing, nothing, nothing is impossible with Him. Ever. Period. End of Story.

You make beautiful things out of the dust. (Gungor, Beautiful Things)

I am fascinated lately by this imagery, Glorious Ruins, life from the ashes, beauty springing forth from destruction.  I guess this is what hope is, if you had to put a label on this picture.  But in my mind, this is bigger than that.  Hope is defined as “a wish to get or do something, or for something to happen or be true, especially something that seems possible or likely.”  What I am talking about is a hope that is bigger than a wish.  A belief in the impossible!   Hope that is only possible through the hand of God, our Father.  Who else can take a story of death and disease and turn it beautiful.  Not me, not without God.  Who else can repair relationships that are damaged beyond our ability to communicate? Only through God.  He is the one who can get to the “heart” of the matter.  We can’t change others, we can’t fix them, our love isn’t enough.  But God’s is.  He is the perfecter of love and He wields the power to change the unchangeable.  Nothing is to big for God!

Sometimes we have to see things torn apart around us, we ourselves have to be torn down,  before we can spring forth, emerging stronger and more beautiful.  God’s hand in this process repairs us, so that even if our situation doesn’t change, we will still shine brilliantly, reflecting His love.  A lighthouse in the middle of the storm, guiding others to Him through that light of love. But being broken hurts, and healing, is a slow and painful process.

“Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them– the LORD, who remains faithful forever” (Psalm 146:5,6).

Where is your hope springing forth from today?  Maybe a better question, the first question, is do you have hope?  Are you listening to a world that tells you to make wishes on stars and put your faith in the things that seem likely? Or in a God who says “Dream the impossible.  I love to answer big prayers in big ways.”  Those big miraculous answers are the answers that  are unmistakably from the hand of God.  In answering our big prayers, in bringing forth life from the ruins, His glory shines brighter.  Today, put your hope in God, not the things of this world.   Allow Him to have control,  not only of your situation, but also your heart, and then have the faith that He will not disappoint you!

Father God, You know my every desire and wish.  You know the secrets of my heart.  You know that sometimes I am afraid to hope for the impossible because of my fear of disappointment or failure.  Please help me to continue to put my hope in you and my fuel my faith in Your miraculous power.  Help me to remember, no matter how big or small Your answer to my prayer, it is exactly right in Your plan for my life. When things seem to be falling apart around me, help me to remember that this hasn’t slipped by without your knowledge.  You are the giver of life, and I will cling to Your promise of restoration and wholeness, even in the midst of the ruins, knowing that if it is Your sovereign plan, goodness and growth will spring forth from it.  I know your Word says you have big plans for me, good plans for me.  That you are able to do immeasurably more than I ask or even imagine.  Please Lord, plant in me the seeds of longing for Your plans.  Help the dreams I dream, be rooted and aligned in Your will, and help me not to sell them short for fear of the impossible.  I pray all of this in your holy, powerful, life-giving name. Amen.

Did you have time to pray today?

20130909-223737.jpgHave you ever tried to pray when you are busy? I don’t mean a little busy, but the busy where you are trying to be in two places at once, bake (not burn) cookies for a school event, and not only manage, but try to actually meet, deadlines for work. On those days I can barely form a coherent thought and my brain is a hurricane of activity. So, prayer? Unfortunately, those days when I could use the peace that prayer provides the most I find it the hardest to grasp.

In the 1960s Charles Hummel wrote about the “Tyranny of the Urgent” and it is a timeless piece.

Don’t let the urgent take place of the important in your life. Oh, the urgent will really fight, claw, and scream for attention. It will plead for our time and even make us think we have done the right thing by calming our nerves. But the tragedy of it all is this: while you and I were putting out the fires of the urgent (an everyday affair), the important thing again was left in a holding pattern. And interestingly, the important thing is neither noisy or demanding. Unlike the urgent, it patiently and quietly waits for us to realize its importance.

The problem is not a lack of time: the problem has to do with priorities. If we have more time, we will simply fill it with more things. (I know this well from experience!)

I have heard the acronym B-U-S-Y, Being Under Satan’s Yoke. The Urgent is Satan’s trick to distract. Satan’s ploy is to get us so caught up with the little – and not so little – details of life that the things that God actually wants you to be busy with are left undone. If we get caught up in the busy, even for a noble cause, and we don’t spend time in prayer we will have no idea if what we are so busy doing lines up with God’s will for our lives. We will simply wind up exhausted, having in our busyness, handed Satan a victory.

I was challenged today to take an inventory of what was usurping my attention, my energy, my time to pray. I would challenge you to do the same.

What, or who, will you fix your eyes on this week?

Father, forgive me for letting my days run my life. I never want to be too busy for You. Especially when I am claiming to do things in your name. Please open my eyes this week Lord to what is important, and to what is simply clammoring for my attention. I want all that I say and do to be pleasing to you. In your holy name, amen.

Knock, Knock

20130831-112515.jpgWhat do you do when fear comes knocking? This week I was told by my doctor that the blood supply to my brain may be insufficient at times. While this isn’t a major problem right now it could potentially become one. I won’t go into all of the medical explanations but will just say this, I thought I had covered all of the facets of fear my disease held, dealt with them, and filed them away. I was wrong, and this sent my blood pressure rocketing skyward. I am unable to control this situation. I am unable to DO anything to prevent or fix it. I have been here so many times and yet every time fear comes knocking and I answer the door I am unprepared.  My brain struggles against what I know to be true. I need to just be still and rest in The Lord. It’s one thing to write about it and another thing to live it. So, I share with you, in authenticity and transparency, today.  Here I struggle. Instead, I need to take my own advice from last Sunday, when I had no idea what the week would hold and I posted don’t worry about anything, pray about everything. When fear comes knocking it’s easy to let your brain run away with the “What If” game. You launch yourself ahead of God’s plans for you, you assume the worst, and you come to conclusions without ever stopping along the route to listen to what God has to say about it. I can’t imagine that I am the only one whose brain functions this way. This is my brain on default mode, hurtling into the future trying to sort out answers and solve problems, even before they exist. I have to make a concerted effort to say “STOP!” When fear comes knocking I have to ask, is this perception or reality? Is this of me or is this of God? If it’s fear, I can assure you it’s NOT of God. He doesn’t want us to live in fear. Verse after verse in the Bible Jesus tells us “do not be afraid.” But fear is a very real part of our lives. We can expect it to show up but we can’t allow it control us, not our thoughts, our actions, or how we live every day. This, at least for me, takes a concerted effort. It takes a conscious decision to let God have control of whatever is causing the fear. In this case, the very way the blood courses through my veins and arteries. And an even more concerted effort not to take that fear back after I have released it, not to obsess on it, but instead to pray over it. We are to turn our fears into our prayers. We aren’t to bottle it up, but let it out. Let it flow from us to the very throne of God. Let your fear drive you to God, not to madness. I speak those words to myself, afirm what I know to be true, and crawl towards God, worn down and worn out by the out of control spinning of my own thoughts.

Here is something, written by David Jeremiah, that I bookmarked a month after being diagnosed with Takayasu’s arteritus a year and a half ago. I refer back to it whenever I need a reminder of how to dissipate fear, how to rob it of the power it holds over us. “When fear is on your doorstep, express your faith. David said in Psalm 27:1, ‘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?’ We know David is in trouble and fear is knocking on his door. The rest of the Psalm speaks of his enemies and trouble. Yet, here he is expressing his faith out loud and aggressively. He is saying what he knows, even though his feelings don’t match what he’s expressing. We can’t have a blind kind of simple faith that’s not objectively attached to anything and get through fear. Jesus says that as a believer in Him, you don’t go through trouble alone. In the midst of his trouble, David can say, ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation, and I know that I don’t have to be afraid.’

Can a person just stop worrying and start trusting?  One day I read something that impressed me so profoundly that I haven’t worried since then. It said: ‘A man of God in the will of God is immortal until his work on earth is done.’ What that meant to me was that as long as I am a man of God doing the will of God, nothing can touch me until God is done with me. When He’s done with me, I don’t want to be around anymore.”

That is so profound to me. If I am in the will of God, going where God wants me to go, I can be sure that God knows what He is doing with me. Even in sickness and sidelining. Even when I don’t like it or understand it. God knows what He is doing and I don’t have to be afraid. And I will keep professing that until my feelings catch up with my words and embrace it as truth.  Some days it takes longer than others.

Kneeling on the Battleground


You are faithful, God You are faithful. I have had this bit of song stuck in my head since I got up this morning. It is from the chorus of “Never Once” by Matt Redman. Our God is so, so faithful and this song paints that in a beautiful way.

Kneeling on this battleground
Seeing just how much you’ve done
Knowing every victory is your power in us

Picture this for me if you would. A soldier, kneeling in the middle of a battlefield. There are casualties around him and the battle rages. Yet, he kneels. It makes no sense. He doesn’t fight, he doesn’t flinch. He simply kneels.

That is exactly the way we are called to do battle, on our knees before the throne of God.

This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. (2 Chronicles 20:15)
The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm. (Exodus 14:14)

Prayer is not just for the little old ladies of the church. (Although if you could see them the way the angels do they may look more like a spiritual linebacker than the head of the quilting bee.) The term prayer warrior was coined for a reason. Prayer is powerful! God is, through your prayers, providing you with His power. This is the power that through prayer has parted the sea, tumbled the walls of Jericho, shut the lions mouths, silenced the storm, made the blind to see, made the lame to walk, and raised the dead! Think about that for just a moment. When we pray we are engaging God in our battle. Do you want your battling to be in vain? As long as we stay on our knees God will be battling right alongside of us, providing unlimited access to the power that He is longing to provide.

Look at the above verses again. The battle is not yours! The Lord himself will fight for you! If God is for you, who can be against you? How do you get that kind of power? That assurance? Humble yourself before The Lord in prayer.

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say, yes our hearts can say
Never once, did we ever walk alone
Never once, did you leave us on our own
You are faithful, God you are faithful

There it is, faithful even through scars and struggles. Faithful to answer. Faithful to those who seek Him in obedience. Faithful to be forever by our side. God doesn’t promise an easy path. What he does promise is to never leave us to do the battling alone.

You have armed me with strength for the battle; you have subdued my enemies under my feet. (Psalm 18:39)

So many Christians want to live victoriously without having to go through the battle. My question in response is if you aren’t battling what are you claiming victory over?

Are you ready to see what miracle God may have in store for you? Are you prepared to see what He could do through you if you humble yourself before Him? Maybe it’s time to stop battling and start kneeling.

Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. (1 Timothy 6:11, 12 NLT)

Fight the good fight…

Still Moments

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7 NLT)

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (Matthew 6:34 NLT)

One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. (Luke 18:1 NLT)

Never stop praying. (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT)

Thine Is The Kingdom


Have you ever had one of those days when you feel like everything is a fight? Nothing comes easily. You find yourself trudging along waiting for the minutes to pass so you can escape to a slumber that you only hope will eventually come? But the battle rages on and you find yourself in a minefield, exhausted, dodging explosions and putting out fires. What do you do? Where can you turn? Where is God? And WHY does He seem silent? I admit I don’t have all of the answers for you but God has whispered this message to my soul as I have pleaded those same questions. There is a saying that goes like this. “When you are going through something hard and wonder where God is, remember the teacher is always quiet during a test.” I don’t believe that. God is never silent if we are searching for Him, seeking His will. He isn’t going to leave us hanging out to dry, left to figure things out on our own. But He isn’t going to give us the answers that we want if it isn’t His will for us. He isn’t going to just placate us to keep us happy. In our limited capabilities, we discern this as silence and in our humanity we don’t like being told “No.” On these days, we need to examine if we are actually fighting a battle with the will of God; if we are exhausted from trying to push our own agenda in our own power; and if God seems silent, is it because we don’t like what He’s saying and we have stopped listening?

Have you prayed about this as much as you have talked (or complained) about it? We have a tendency to forget how important and powerful prayer is. Examine for a moment how much time you are spending in God’s presence. Is your prayer life suffering in complacency? Does it look like the picture Max Lucado paints? “We say our prayers as casually as we’d order a burger at the drive-through: ‘I’ll have one solved problem and two blessings, cut the hassles, please.’ ”

We are told to pray boldly for things. We can ask God for anything! His main objective though, is not our happiness but instead, shaping Christ-like character in us. So while we pray boldly, let us also pray, Lord, if this is not your will please change my heart. Align my wants with your plan. Lay down whatever it is you are fighting for at Jesus’ feet, through prayer. Confess to Him your hurt, disappointment, your anger and frustration at Him for not doing what you thought He should do, not showing up when you thought He should have come. You will find the battle dissolving and the pathway smoothing.

And this is the boldness we have in God’s presence; that if we ask God for anything that agrees with what he wants, he hears us. 1 John 5:14

Finally, I leave you with this thought today, “For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:13, emphasis mine) Who’s kingdom? Not mine but thine.

P.S – You may be saying, I have prayed faithfully for this, I have listened, and I believe that I am walking in the will of God and yet I am STILL battling. There is another kind of battle that can rage, and that what happens when Satan gets involved in trying to thwart a blessing. You can read about that type of battle in an earlier post by clicking here.


Still Moments – Wait


But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

Do you feel like you have been placed in a holding pattern by God? Circling and circling, just waiting to land? Maybe more accurately it feels like sitting on the tarmac waiting to take off. Quit pushing yourself harder. Stop trying to do or force just a little bit more. Stop the search at God. Leave the battling to Him. Today, just rest and abide in the Great I Am.