Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pray without Ceasing



How can we pray without ceasing?

"Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, KJV). The Greek word "without ceasing" means continuous action.

Just as soldiers have radio transmissions built into their helmets to hear their commanding officer at all times, prayer is our way of hearing our leading Savior. It’s a heart attitude, expressed throughout the day in silent prayers of communication with the Lord. It’s being willing to be inline with Him so that when He prompts us we respond.

It’s before our feet hit the floor, at meal times, the last words of the day, while driving, changing diapers, washing dishes and piles of laundry, weeding, picking up toys. It doesn’t replace our alone time, but adds to it.

I have justified to myself that I have been too busy to be consistent with my quiet time.  But yet, it really is my own lack of self discipline and laziness.  I stay up late to watch an episode on Netflix, which means I am too tire to get up for quiet time before all the kids are up.  And then my head and heart are not in the right place so I'm annoyed at the interruptions.  I am committing to get my act together. 

I wrote about my devotional time, what I do and how I got to that point here.

Satan wants me so busy, so depleted that I am too discouraged and too tired to spend time with God.  As a mom, sometimes it feels like another task or chore.   

I look back at all the heart ache over the past 5 years and see that as my quiet time with the Lord has dwindled my stress levels have risen.  Not that previously life was easy, but the weight and burden of the emotional and mental handling of situations was different.  Life has actually been easier these past couple of years, but I feel overwhelmed and lost a lot of the time.  As I set back and have started digging in again, I can feel that calm.  As if I was separated from my unit, trying to survive in a jungle and suddenly I am found and being led back to safety to be flown home.  Why would I even have given this up?



When we spend time in prayer, it familiarizes us with the Lord. I need to know Him well enough to recognize His voice so that when He whispers directions, I can trust He is the one speaking rather than the enemy.  I do not want to miss a divine appointment. I want to play a role in a great assignment. 

While I have always enjoyed studying the Bible.  There have been times when I questioned if my prayers really made any difference, felt that prayer time was boring, that God was going to do what He planned reguardless. So this prompted me to want more and understand the ways and why's of prayer.

My biggest take away is that there are not RIGHT words, only RIGHT desires.

But I am not very good at free styling anything.  I like, love lists.  I need direction.  Below is what I've found and some of the ideas that work for me. I am freshly motivated and challenged to be consistent in my morning devotions again.  I hope it will help give you a starting point or perhaps to add in to your quiet time and prayer time as well.



ACTS
Adoration,Who God Is:
Listen to a praise and worship song, I like to listen to International House of Prayer
Read a Psalms
Sing to Him

Confession:
Ask God what areas He is not pleased with
Confess my wrongs
Give thanks that He forgives
Pray about others I need to forgive

Thanksgiving,What God has Done:
Thankfulness cards (we have a recipe box filled with 365 index card and each morning we write the date on the top and then add 5 things to be thankful for, then as each year goes round, we can just add to the cards)
All the blessings He has given us.
That I can come to Him with my problems anytime
That He is concerned about me
That He loves me
That He said He would help me
That He will see me through this problem
That He has the power to calm the storm
Jer 29:11-I’m at the perfect place, what am I suppose to be growing in?
That I trust Him 100%
Review Prayer Journal with answered prayers

Supplication and Intercession:
Focus on people not things
*When praying for others and ourselves, pray for the person and their characters to grow in the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, generiosity and self-control)
Don't give up if it something that I feel is in God's will, such as a marriage healed, someone's salvation etc. By prayer and petition. Waiting on God to answer is sometimes a test for our own endurance, faith and committment.
Say the Lord’s prayer
7 questions for our prayers:
1) Will the thing that I am praying for meet my Godly personal needs and will it fit in with a just and righteous life style
2) Am I being submissive to God's will, and will I gladly accept what ever God is willing to give me, if anything. Can I say, “not my will Father, but let your will be done?”
3) If my prayer is answered will the result honor God?
4) Will it harm or hurt someone else or will it interfere in another person's life.
5) Will it please God.
6) Does my request contradict or conflict with the Word of God in anyway.
7) Will it further my spiritual growth. Will what I pray for bring me closer to God?


Thumb: Our strongest digit. Pray those things closest in our lives and spouse, kids, (when folding laundry, dishes, picking up), family, friends, neighbors,
Index: Points the way
Pray for those who direct us: our teachers, mentors. Prayer for our church – personal, local, national, and those with influence, CCC, MOPS, School
Middle finger, tallest:
Pray for World Issues- Our town, our state, our nation, globally, Peace in the wars, our leaders and influential people,
Ring finger, the weakest:
For Missions & Foster Care Families– faith, personal and financial support, their family life, the places they are working, protection against Satan’s attacks, praise for their ministry, For the sick healing, peace, their family, strength, their Doctors, andFor non Christians, their needs For the poor, For 3rd world countries suffering For our environment,
Little Finger, smallest:
For Ourselves-our needs not wants, our character to become more like God/Jesus, protection against evil and temptation.

Read a devotional prayer book:
Power of the Praying Wife, Parent or Woman. Have been powerful tools for me to know where to start with prayer many days.





Days of the Week: 
I also divide life into Daily on kid, Oola field of the day, House Blessing Focus of the Day, Meal Time Topic of the day, Special Night plans.
Monday: 
     (Husband) One of the prayers from Power of Praying Parent.
     (Child) Oldest Child:  and specific issues going on in their life. One of the prayers from Power of Praying parent.
     (My Siblings) Their lives and families, anything specific they are facing.
     (Teachers) Both from church and school.  For wisdom, love for students, for their lessons to touch the hearts of those hearing.
     (World Issues) Our Town: Revival, employment, construction, jail.
     (Missionaries/Foster Care) specific family & how can we be missionaries in our own neighborhood/town.
     (Myself) : specific struggles.  Read a prayer from Praying Power of a Woman or other devotional book. 
     (Oola) Field: my career with Young Living, where to work, follow up, fresh ideas, wisdom with promoting and conflict resolutions, speaking life, encouraging, tasks to be completed, areas of emotional focus for each family member, which products do we need this week for supporting health.  Read and pray over a promise and topic in my Business Prayers book.  My responsibilities as a stay home mom, housework projects, balance in completely quickly, staying on top of chores, energy and thankfulness for the chores.  Read a devotional prayer from Moms prayer book.
     (House Blessing) Kitchen: This is the day I pray for wisdom in organizing, cleaning and balancing my time in the kitchen, cooking, spending time with kid of the day during cooking times.
     (Meal Topic) Current Events:  what is our Christian World View on Current Events?  Who can we be praying for that is or will be affected?
     (Special Night) Movie Night - Pray that the time together will be enjoyable, that we can have a great discussion after and leading to next weeks movie.

Etc for each of the week, I change my focus topics.  There are so many areas to pray about.

And most importantly : Just Rest in His Spirit and Be Still.  Be present and allow yourself to just feel and breathe Him. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Perspective

I have been absent from the blog world so long, I'm not even sure if I understand all the buttons and updates.

This life that we have found ourselves in the midst of, is again, not the story I wanted to write.  I want to cry and have a pity party.  To be angry that my dreams and goals seem so different than the life we walk. 

Much like how Psalms 77 starts out.  The focus is all on the Psalmist himself, that panic, that feeling of being forgotten, being thrown aside.  Then about half way thru the chapter he settles and changes his focus from the problem to the creator.  He remembers God's right hand of redemption and what had been demonstrated in the past.

Trials are not foreign to my life.  But neither is God's power to redeem for good and use what satan tries to use to destroy us.

God's right hand is referred to as Righteous, Salvation and Redemption.  We cannot always change our circumstances, but we can choose to change our perspective.



Sunday, January 26, 2014

On His Timing

I miss writing.  The kind of writing that involves more than the quick status update.  I had every desire and intention to be more purposeful in writing daily...starting January 1st.  Here it is 26 days in.  Our foresight doesn't always match the future He has yet to unfold.  In the past 26 days our oldest had an emergency appendectomy, my father lost his 3 year battle to leukemia and won his place in heaven, and our youngest had a febrile seizure.  There were other major life events that I cannot even bring myself yet to type out.  Mixed into all that still were the loads of dirty laundry, the many tummy's to feed and boo boos to be kissed, dirt to be swept and hearts to be held.  I lay down my daily agenda to accept His.  I lift up my goals and say, "You Choose Lord".  May this year be filled searching for Him in everything and offering up my life and time to fulfill His purpose in me, our marriage, family and home.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Impressed

I just read a wonderful article on What Should Spiritual Leadership look like.  I encourage you ladies to take it in.  It, as well as some of the comments from others, echoed my heart.  Allen works from 4am until 6 pm Monday thru Friday and sometimes Saturdays.  We have 6 kiddos that we homeschool.  Allen is a young Christian in his walk in comparison to the years I have in.  At times, I get tempted to compare his walk and mine.  I get tempted to compare his walk with other men.  And all unhappiness comes from comparison.  I tend to forget that at the time the words of Deuteronomy 6:7 were written, there wasn't a printing company on every corner and a bible in every hotel room drawer nor a devotional of 101 great family night devotionals to order from Amazon.  But that there were men and women gathering to break bread together, and hear the word shared.  It was at a time that the majority of children were home all day working along side their parents, passing down teaching and stories through life.  Our Americanized and Christianized new standard ways sometimes blur our vision.  My prayer is that I will woo my husband's heart as the Lord does by being gentle and not that constant dripping.  So that as my husband grows I will not get in the Lord's way.  So that God, if it's HIS will, will be the one to encourage Allen to want to teach and lead more.  But for now, I too am being impressed upon.  Impressed how generous Allen is.  How he honors not only his, but my parents.  How he strives to do what is right.  How hard working he is.  How protective he is of us.  And directing the kids attention to those qualities.  What we do speaks louder than what we say, is the old saying. Our pastor just pointed out last week that there is no such thing as a better christian.  We are one or we aren't one.  We all grow at different paces and in different areas.  Thankfully my husband is a Christian and for this I have so much to be thankful for.  I pray that I find more grace for Allen and watch for more opportunities to point our his life as it reflects the qualities that The Lord is overjoyed by rather than the areas he is still growing in.  After all, that is what I hope for from him and HIM.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Let Grace Reign Down

Moms, can we offer up our grace to one another?  Can it be our rally call?  Our anthem?  Our tears and plea?  Grace to the mother!

Maybe because I am my own worst enemy that I often feel a deep sting when I'm on the receiving end of condemnation in my parenting walk.  And I have seen the damage it does.  From the new mom still learning to the seasoned mom that felt she should have known better.

For the majority of us moms, we do all we can and are all we know to be.  We belong to MOPS, MIT and other play groups.  We had a collection of books from Raising up Boys to Managers of our Homes.  Our days are filled with one decision after another that carosels around our kiddos.  And we all lay down at the end of the day tired and replaying moments of our day that we wish weren't going down in the record book.  We all have bad moments, make less than stellar choices, have meltdowns and wish we could push the "do-over" button.  Let us offer as much grace to other moms as the Lord offers to us.  He comforts us as we share our tears and dissapointments.  Let us offer encouragement and a kind word to that mother that has the crying child in the grocery store or the one playing limp noodle so he cannot be picked up and carried to the car graciously.

We do not know all that the Lord plans for us.  We might have some amazing kids.  Today.  But there are no guarantees.  We may have some really challenging kids.  Today.  But the Lord is faithful to finish a good work.  I have seen faithful families produce unfaithful children.  Amazing children from the spawn hellion.  And a mix of the good, bad and ugly all from one family. 

When we are tempted to think we are doing something so right that others should glean from our wisdom and take notes, let us remember that satan tries to destroy some of us by way of increase (Matthew 13:22).  And when we are tempted to think are so failing at this parenting thing and everyone else does it better, let us remember that satan tries to destroy some of us by way of decrease (Luke 13:16).  If we've had a bad week, we need the encouragment and if we've had a great day, reach out to another mom that we know needs that overflow from you.

Do I have one very difficult child because it was a surprise to the Lord?  No.  He knew the very DNA to this little redheaded spitfire before I knew he existed.  The Lord knew I had it in me even if that requires some growing on my part.  Going thru the fire refines.  The Lord also knew that I have it in me that if I had all compliant wonderful easy children, that I would probably go around gloating at my skills and asking if anyone wanted my autograph.   

The next time we are tempted to judge and disgrace another momma, remember that she is just as tired, just as worn, just as desperate to make good choices for her brood as we are.  We do not know all that goes on behind a single status update and behind closed doors. 

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Weary Moms Unite


Oh sweet mommas.  I have had you on my heart.  You fellow weary travelers on the parenting and potty road.  I have so much to say and so little left to offer.  Big dreams and tiny slivers of time.  Lysa Terkeurst in her book, "Unglued" has a phrase that I repeat often.  "Imperfect Progress".  I am that mom that has 6 kids and homeschools in a town that doesn't.  We are the misfit toys.  And as you other moms of many know, so often just the fact that we are skilled at multiplying and have a calling to homeschool, lands us on that invisible platform that others seem to think we must have it all together, that our kids must be so obedient, that our lives must be organized and beautiful.  I have come so that others may have hope. 

Once I started being completely transparent, I found freedom and deep friendships.  And the weight, OH THE WEIGHT, that lifted.  That was no longer there for ME to feel constantly defeated.

Our bookshelves are filled with enough trees instructing me how to manage my home, shepherd my kids, have a clean house daily, and a holy marriage. Of course I want our house to mimic Better Homes and Gardens.  But the reality is, that is not my bent.  Is housekeeping my gifting?  Depends.  Are you comparing me to what you see on Hoarders or in House Beautiful.  Of course I want polite, sibling loving kids.  The reality is my boys are those boys.  The ones that came home today with a giant snake, have machetes, hunt, wrestle, smell like wet dogs and have to be told to change their stinkin underwear.  The reality is, I struggle with attitudes in my kids.  Of course I want to be meek and gentle, but the reality is I wished we lived in New Jersey because then I would blend in and just be considered loud and telling it how it is, not yelling.  Of course I want my husband to be the spiritual leader and be called to teach classes at homeschool conventions on "how to support your wife in all she does".  The reality is, my husband is a good man, loves God.  Doesn't know Peter from Paul nor is he even remotely aware of where his bible was last located.  So I continue to strive towards that imperfect progress. 

 After our 5th baby, we just wanted to be closer to family, bless their hearts, and my dad was diagnosed with leukemia around the same time.  So that brought on the move.  We moved away from a town we loved and friends we adored and a business that was going into it's eighth year. I had so many grand plans for the house, the life, the homeschool group we would create, making up time for all the years I had lost with siblings and their families.  But the reality was, our 1st house option didn't work out, we lived with my parents in tight quarters almost a year until a home opened across the street.  We moved back in to their house a year later to buy it as my dad is now too ill to work and my mom has a full time job caring for him.  Even after raising her kids, she now is weary again.  I was at my peak of all time weariness.  2 babies 11 months apart.  One with a plethora of ear problems.  I have no homeschool connections with friends of same aged kids.  We have been forced to tear down what was once our identity formed by titles and appointments on the calendar and rebuild it on the rock in the wilderness.  Baby steps towards progress. 

We are gaining strength and stamina.  Keeping our weakness to ourselves makes it stronger.  Exposing our weakness, makes us stronger.  We are brought thru the refining fires to make progress.  We are brought thru struggles to reach out a hand and tell other moms, you can do this.  Just one more step.  Just one foot in front of the other.  I have been there.

I love the new movement of exposing the not so super super moms.  Admitting and embracing the weary mom that is all of us at different times.  The years of giving, sacrificing, loving, living with our hearts on our sleeves, having kids that yell in the grocery when you finally make it after being out of bread for two days.  Being sick and no one waiting on you hand and foot.  Being a referee just one time to many.  Trying to jump over the invisible goal bar that we set too high to even reach.  All those things make a spirit tired.  You are not alone and there is nothing wrong with being tired in this season of life.  Focus on just this day, what are you going to do today to make strides towards your imperfect progress?  We were created to need more and that more is Christ.  As we are empty He is the one that can fill us, care for us, love us.  He is holding out a hand to us and saying, just one more step, don't quit, I am here.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

My dad has always always had a great sense of humor and has always loved Halloween.  Yesterday we dressed up as Edna & Tracy Turnblad from the movie Hairspray.  He had chemo this week so this was our afternoon outting.  I dropped him off at the door and my the time I parked the Suburban and walked in, there was already a crowd of nurses and my dad was so pleased with putting smiles on everyone's faces. 




To our surprise, it was such a hit that they called the local paper and they came out to interview him.  I hope that we get another Halloween to celebrate again together.  Cancer can be really ugly, but as scripture tells us in Proverbs 17:22, "A joyful heart is good medicine."  And my dad is joyful.   

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