Organizing Your Prayer Journal

The Word of God is my favorite Book.  Oh, how I love it.  My Bible is a treasure to me.  Its worn, marked up pages and loose binding are all precious, and I wouldn’t take  a million dollars for it. I mean it.

Now, let me tell you about my second favorite book.  It’s my prayer Journal.  I began using this almost ten years ago.  It has been to the “hospital” many times.  I’ve had to make new pages and add paper reinforcers.  I’ve had to remove pages to make room for more requests, more answers to prayer, and more notes from my morning Bible reading.

When I look at its pages and see the check marks, which reveal an answer to prayer, my heart leaps with gratitude and joy at my wonderful God.  It’s a reminder to me that God answers prayer!  It keeps me coming back day after day, moment by moment to cry out to the Lord for the burdens and needs in my life and the lives of others I know.

Corrie Ten Boom referred to prayer as our steering wheel.  I’ve likened my prayer journal to a car.  Without the car, the steering wheel wouldn’t have direction or a place to go! Of course you can pray without a journal, but in my experience, before I began a serious prayer journal, I prayed, but I really didn’t have a prayer life. A life is the period of existence, activity, or effectiveness of something inanimate, and without the direction of my journal, my prayer life really wasn’t that effective.

Using the imagery of a car, let me explain how a prayer journal can help your prayer life.

It’s great to have a glove box (pocket) at the front in order to hold verses of Scripture that you can pray.

The radio being on, (you singing a song of praise) is a great way to start your time alone with God.

Every car needs a clean windshield (heart), and it’s helpful to have windshield cleaning fluid (a time of confession of sin) ready to do the job necessary to have a clean heart..

It’s time to start the engine (petitioning) when you specifically ask God for the requests before you.  Have a seat for everyone (a different page for each family member).  List their needs for each day of the week.

What a blessing it is to look in your rear view mirror (at the past) and see how God has answered your prayers!  Be sure to make a check mark beside that request and write how God took care of that request.  It will increase your faith and cause you to pray more fervently in the future!

If you have a trunk (back pocket) in your binder, put your prayer bulletin there, missionary prayer cards, or other tools that will help you pray more specifically.

Park the car (sit still and alone) while you pray.  Don’t let the engine idle (don’t have distractions around you).  Be all there so you can pray and then listen to God.

Rosalind Goforth, missionary to China in the late 1800’s wrote a book, How I Know God Answers Prayer.  She had to have a method of recording His answers in order to write a book like this.  Could you write a whole book of how God has been at work while you’ve prayed?  It will only happen as you record it, otherwise you will forget.

I challenge you to get a journal of some model (kind) started.  See how it will change your prayer life!

Do you use a journal when you pray?  What’s keeping you from starting one?

With love,

Stop Focusing On the Lizards

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I hate snakes.  I hate them so much that I hate anything that looks like a snake, acts like a snake or moves like one – that would include worms!  I hate anything that is related to a snake – any reptile, like lizards.  Guess what beaches and warm weather attract?  You guessed it – lizards – the snakes even uglier cousin!

Last week while at the pool area on the first day, my chair was right next to the edge of the concrete.  On the other side of the concrete/fenced area were tall grasses and sand and…lizards!  I saw them zooming here and there, always in a hurry.  (I’m sure they were scurrying to scare other vacationers!)  I was okay with them being on that side of the fence, but when I saw one come under the fence and run over to the rocks in front of me, I thought I would die!!!  Those rocks were where I had to set my feet to get out of my chair!  Ahhhh!  My skin was crawling and I was squirming, filled with fear. I failed to mention that I was also squealing, but if you know me at all, you would have assumed that!

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In the meantime, my husband is happy as a clam in his chair.  He was watching the parisailers flying above the ocean, commenting about the beauty of the day.

Parisailers?  Where?  

What beauty?  

ALL I SEE ARE LIZARDS!!!

It was then that I realized I had to get a handle on this.  Here I was looking into the grasses waiting for a lizard (who, I’m assuming, would be more afraid of me…and he should be!)!  I decided then and there that I was going to stop looking for the lizards and keep my eyes upward.  I could slip my sandals on and avoid stepping on a lizard, should he be dumb enough to sun himself on a rock near me!

Guess what?  I never saw another one all week!  I know it’s not because they all left the beach, but my focus was turned from them.

Isn’t it so easy to get our focus on our worries and forget to look up and trust our heavenly Father?  We miss all He is doing.  We miss out on the beauty He was created around us.  We miss out on telling our family about God’s goodness – all because we’re focused on our “lizards.”  It’s what we talk about, dream about and look at.

What “lizards” do you have in your life?  Are you worried about a person?  A situation?  A need?  A health issue?  It’s important and even urgent that you stop worrying and start putting your eyes on the Lord.  Why?  Because

Focusing on Christ instead of the anxiety at hand
has the capability to change
your situation,
your attitude and your influence!

  • Your situation – God is omnipotent.  You cannot change the situation, but He is able to do so!  Have faith and trust Him to do what only He can do!
  • Your attitude – When you focus on Christ, He replaces your paralysis with peace, your jitters with joy and your moaning with mirth!
  • Your influence –  People enjoy being with someone who trusts instead of tremors!  Who wants to be with someone who’s always screaming about their “lizards?!”  What worrier do you long to be with so they can go on and on about their woes?  I’m sure my husband was glad when I let the lizards go and started enjoying the fun he was having. We will only have a powerful influence in others’ lives if we are triumphing over worry!

God is bigger than our “lizards,” so enjoy your day!

Lovingly,

 

 

My Prayer Strategy

Strategy – a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining specific goal or result.  We have strategies for weight loss, organization or job promotions, right?  We need a strategy for our prayer life, too.  How will we maneuver through the burdens on our hearts without a plan?  

Let’s face it, we all face so much every single day that can cause us to be overwhelmed.  The devil would love for us to feel hopeless, and we are UNTIL we open our Bible and read God’s promises!  We need to take those promises and pray them back to the Lord.  Can I give you some suggestions on how to gather and use those verses in your prayer strategy?

You could copy those verses, or print them out from your computer.

Another simple way I’ve found to keep track of those verses I want to pray, is by using You Version Bible app on my phone.  When I’m reading a passage that would be the perfect promise to pray for a person or a need, I go to the top left of the Bible app where the three lines are, and I click that and then go to “bookmark.”  I choose “Options” then and write the theme of that verse or the person for whom I want to pray that passage.  Here’s what it looks like on my phone:

 

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These are just a few of the many that I’ve bookmarked.  As I’m praying, I click on those verses and I pray them to the Lord.

It may sound like this:

Father, I pray that you will give to Dale a heart to warn those in his flock that are unruly – those who are disobedient to Scripture.  Give him wisdom to know how to comfort the feebleminded and those who are weak (here I will share the people for whom we are burdened – sick and lost, alike).

Keep him from desiring to return evil to those who may do evil to him today. Give him wisdom and the desire to follow that which is good today and to even discern what is good and what is not…

You get the idea.  I love having these verses bookmarked on my phone, and not just posted in my Prayer Closet, because then I have those verses with me to pray at any time and any place.

  • Praying verses is powerful because it’s God’s Word!

 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.  Isaiah 55:11

  • Praying verses is also giving the Lord specific things that you’re asking God for, rather than just rambling, or not knowing how to intervene for that dear one or for your own needs!  Here’s how Paul prayed:And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. 

    Who wouldn’t want someone to pray that for them?!

I encourage you to find verses to use as your prayer strategies, then watch and see God answer!

Lovingly,

 

My Secret Place

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I have a special space in my house that I claimed before we moved in – it’s a walk-in closet off my bathroom.  I’ve never had anything but a tiny space for my clothes, and while it’s a blessing to have a place to hang both warm and cool season clothes in one place, the best part of this little room is what I do in here each morning.  I pray.

It’s the perfect spot to close off the world.  I can’t hear anything going on in the rest of the house when I’m in there.  I have a(n uncomfortable) little stool that I perch on, or sometimes I just kneel on the carpet as I pour my heart out to God.  This room is special to me because I meet with God here.

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I’ve recently watched War Room again and one line in the film jumped out at me.  The main character in this movie about fervent prayer is selling her house.  Toward the end of the movie, a buyer comes to look at her house and when he walks into her closet that was her prayer closet (her War Room), he said, “Someone’s been praying in here.  It feels baked in.” It felt Ingrained, Covered, Plastered in prayer.  Wow.  That’s how I want my closet to be – more importantly, that’s how I want my LIFE to be!

I fail often in prayer, but I long to be a prayer warrior.  I read books on prayer so I know how to pray.  I fill out my prayer journal so I know what to pray.  But no matter what I cannot give up when it’s hard, or early, or seems useless.  I must keep on praying, and so must you, Friend.

Who else will pray for your husband if you don’t?

Who will petition God for your child(ren) if you neglect?

Who else will beg God for the souls of your grandchildren if you are lax?

How can you offer your thanks without prayer?

How will your faith grow if you don’t trust God for the things that seem impossible?

Just yesterday I added this vinyl wall art in my prayer closet as a visual reminder that God can do anything!

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You don’t need a walk-in closet in order to pray.  Find a corner of a room, or a room that you can close off.  I used to put a sticky note on the bedroom door of our former house that said, “Praying,” so that my family would know that unless it was urgent, I chose not to be disturbed.  Of course a ten year-old considers asking where the new box of cereal is urgent, but that’s okay, too. Because when she came in and found me on my knees, that testimony spoke to her about what was important to me.

My Secret Place is probably my favorite room in my house, as it was for Clara on War Room.  This old song tells why:

In the secret of His presence how my soul delights to hide!
Oh, how precious are the lessons which I learn at Jesus’ side!
Earthly cares can never vex me, neither trials lay me low;
For when Satan comes to tempt me, to the secret place I go,
To the secret place I go.

Only this I know: I tell Him all my doubts, my griefs and fears;
Oh, how patiently He listens! and my drooping soul He cheers:
Do you think He ne’er reproves me? What a false Friend He would be,
If He never, never told me of the sins which He must see,
Of the sins which He must see.

Would you like to know the sweetness of the secret of the Lord?
Go and hide beneath His shadow: this shall then be your reward;
And whene’er you leave the silence of that happy meeting place,
You must mind and bear the image of the Master in your face,
Of the Master in your face.

I’d love to hear about your Secret place!

Lovingly,

 

The Best Thing To Do With Worries

I have a luggage tag attached to my overnight bag. It’s so pretty. It’s a gift from a friend and makes me smile at the remembrance of her thoughtfulness, but I don’t like the tag. Why? It’s convicting. Yes, this is what I read every time I look down at it…

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Worry. Are you ever guilty? I sure am.

What will this year hold?

What will happen in the upcoming election?

Will there be a financial, health or personal crisis with which I’ll have to face?

On and on the worries go. They march ahead of me like angry Hobby Lobby shoppers on the day after Christmas. As powerless as I am at Hobby Lobby, I am even less powerful at the feet of these worries.

Matthew 6 reminds us to “Take no thought of the morrow, for the morrow will take thought of the things of itself.” No thought. It’s not my business to think about all the things that might, would, or could happen. I don’t have to think about it because God is already there. He is eternal and He is omniscient.  Therefore, He is already there. He is omnipotent, therefore He is able to care for whatever the needs will be. No need for any thought on my part, but plenty God’s end. He has my steps mapped out.
So instead of worrying, I must pray.

That is all.

Pray for the one who wearies my heart. Pray for the scare in my soul. Pray for the unknown, the known, the best, the worst. Prayers are to be my only thoughts about these matters.

That pretty little luggage tag reminds me that just like a trip I may take, my life is a journey of trusting my God, one leg of the adventure at a time. Trusting God really is an adventure – one that is mapped out by my Creator. I’ll get to the correct place if I will just take my cares to Him.

What is causing you to fret today? Let me share some advice I really do like…

Stop worrying. Start praying.

With love,

The Divided Highway of Worry

I traveled from Kentucky to Tennessee yesterday on my favorite route.  I was on I-75 for an hour, then pretty much the rest of the way home on a divided highway – four lanes of traffic – two going one way and two going the other way.

As I drove the divided highway, I thought about the sermon I heard at my parent’s church the day before.  The text was Philippians 4:6-8 and the pastor spoke about living without worry in a chaotic world.  He explained the word, “worry” comes from a Greek word meaning, a divided mind. Just like cars whizzing in two different directions, when I worry, my thoughts are going in the direction opposite of God’s path for my life.

Verse six says to be anxious for nothing – in other words, don’t worry about anything.  The pastor reminded us that worry chokes out the Word of God, as we read in the parable of the sower.

 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. Matthew 13:22

The resolution to worry is prayer.

But in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God, and the peace of God, which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  

In other words, the route has two paths to take, the path of worry and the path of peace.  The automobile that gets us to the path of peace is prayer.  What better views are on the path of peace, than the divided highway of worry!

What has your mind going in two directions today?  Stop right now and pray about whatever situation is on your heart.  The destination of peace is just ahead, if you’ll do that, friend.

Anxiety or peace?  It’s our choice.  Which road will you travel today?

Lovingly,

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A Reminder of God’s Care

It was just a little piece of jewelry, but it meant so much to me. It was a hoop earring with small diamonds, given to me by my husband when I finished the home school education of our youngest daughter. It was sentimental and special to me and I cherished those earrings, and I wore them often. Then last week it happened – I went to take them off, and instead of finding one in each ear, I only found the one in my left ear.

I searched everywhere. The floor, the laundry, the washer and dryer. It was nowhere to be found.

During the time of my searching, I had been listening to a message on my phone about prayer. The preacher was talking about how every part of our lives matters to God. There is no part of my life that is mine and the rest God cares about. No! He is interested and caring about it all. In the midst of my hunt, I stopped to pray and acknowledge the presence and power of my living God in even this small detail of my life. But, still no earring.

I wondered if the Lord was teaching me other lessons – perhaps,that things don’t matter. Then about three days after it was lost, I was doing my morning routines of cleaning the bathroom and when I stooped over to clean the bathtub, I saw something shiny and small…MY EARRING!

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I have no idea how it didn’t go down the drain earlier. I have no idea really how it got in the tub, but I do know that the Lord knew all along where it was, and I am sure He guided me to find it. I stopped then to thank Him and acknowledge His guidance and help in this detail that was important to me.

What a sweet reminder that He cares for every part of my life and yours! This was no coincidence, of that I am sure. I’m so thankful that I have a loving, wise heavenly Father to whom I can take my cares. I didn’t need this situation to know He cares – His Word tells me over and over again, and He proved it on Calvary, but how sweet these reminders are!

It makes me realize all the more that in every detail of my life, I must acknowledge God. How could I just move on as though He doesn’t exist? I need Him for the big things – decisions, provision, wisdom, courage to witness, and the little things – desires, remembering details, help for my daily routine as a homemaker, help with my meal prep; whatever is important to me. Nothing is too big, nor is anything too small that God is not interested.

What is on your heart today? Have you acknowledged the Lord in that area or need? Pray about it, then when He answers, be sure to give Him the credit due His wonderful Name, even for the little things!

With love,