Prayer

Yay….. all we need in the world is someone else giving advice on how or what to pray. Just what the world needs right now. Then again, looking at the world right now, it may be exactly what is needed. I have no magic potion for prayer, but prayer isn’t magic. It’s way, waaaaaaay beyond magic. It is supernatural. It is miraculous. It is God at His very, very best…. and He’s always good. 🙂

I have found that Matthew 6 is a good place to start.

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” – Matthew 6:6-8

Find a quiet place… a quiet room, a mountaintop, a prayer closet, whatever works for you and shut out all distractions. Then open your heart to God. As the verse says, He knows what you need before you ask (but ask Him anyway) and He will reward you. What an awesome promise! Be honest and open without holding back. Strip away the facade. Set aside your masks…. all of them, and talk to God. Open up to God, take your limitations off of Him and what He can and will do for you… and then trust Him. In a with all your heart kind of trust. He already knows what you’re going to ask/say/pray… be honest with Him.

Believe He will do what He says He will do. We have heard and read the verses about asking, believing and receiving many times over to the point of them being committed to memory. But I feel where we fall short most likely is believing He will do them for us.

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask… – 1 John 3:21-22a

And there it is… “If our hearts do not condemn us.” We’ve all been hurt by the world and betrayed by people we loved who promised always to be by our sides….. and they’re nowhere to be seen. We go into defense mode and employ whatever survival techniques to get by. We let our hearts condemn us. It’s a trick of the enemy. The battle is in our minds, but the fight is for our hearts. If he takes the heart out of the equation, he has won. Don’t let the enemy win. Your heart is where the Holy Spirit lives. Fight for your heart…. fight for Him. Open up to God in prayer, then turn Him loose.

Again, take your limitations off Him. Don’t start out your prayers with “God, I know I’m not worthy, but…” You are worthy. You are a child of God. Approach the throne with confidence.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. – Hebrews 4:16

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7

Be bold with your prayers. Pray for yourself. Pray for others. Pray for the world before it blows up or we get swallowed whole by the giant Covid death clouds. 😉 Just pray. Pray without ceasing. Pray with thanksgiving. And pray believing a just, merciful and loving Father will answer your prayers in His will and His timing.

Awwww….. why’d I have to go and throw those last two in? Well…. because they’re true. Everything is in His timing and we (as in me) needs to let go of the wheel. But, but God…. I prayed this two minutes, two hours, two days, two weeks, two years ago. Where is the answer to my prayer? What’s taking so long?? Breathe… as in a trust in the Lord with all your heart kind of breath and hope it doesn’t take two decades. Some people wandered for forty years…some people are wandering still. Be still and know. Wait on the Lord. Take courage and wait on the Lord. 🙂 He knows the plans He has for you.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:11-13

Hmmm…. there’s that all your heart thingy again. It must be important to God. Your heart is important to God. Another reason why it’s important to trust in His timing and His will. Because sometimes the answers aren’t what you expected. Other times they are, but they look different than what you imagined. Sometimes your friend or family member’s healing you prayed so very hard for happened in heaven. Sometimes your friend or family members and the promises they made just walked away. Sometimes the job you had or business you started fell on tough times and you had to adapt and change the life you had envisioned.

Just know they are seasons and they won’t last. Also know that God’s love, mercy and grace will last, He will never leave you and that He keeps His promises…. although they may look a little different than what you thought. They also may take longer than you wanted to get there, but they will happen. Pray without ceasing. Praying with thanksgiving. And pray with hope knowing that God finishes what He has started… exceedingly and abundantly more than you could even begin to imagine in your wildest dreams. So sleep well tonight knowing God has it all under control and you are in His arms. Ask and receive, but most of all…. Believe. Believe (and trust) in the promises of God.

Write Something… Part 2

Aka. This One’s for Me

When I originally had the idea for this, I had three reasons to write about why I stopped writing almost two years ago. As of now, I can only think of two, but hope to remember the third before I hit the publish button.

I was posting more/most/all of my writing on facebook than I was here, although I have shared a few of them since on hope, forgiveness and trust. I was writing what I felt God was telling me to. I was writing on breaking strongholds, negative patterns and thinking, generational curses and learning to live and love life as God intended. Unfortunately and unwittingly I gave the enemy a stronghold to use against me. I was getting likes and positive comments. I was getting private messages about how my “Jeff talks” helped heal friendships, family relationships and people’s outlooks on life. And as a result I was becoming more hope filled also. As time went by, though, I began to add a disclaimer (sort of) that the things I wrote were merely my opinion. That I hoped they helped, but in a way attached an asterisk to them… and you don’t add an asterisk to God’s words. Again I was writing on breaking strongholds and gave the enemy a stronghold. Not my brightest moment as a fledgling, wannabe writer.

The second reason was something about a girl. When I started this endeavor in March 2016, it was called Letters to Shelly. The enemy mentioned above had torn Shelly and I apart in 2015, and we were completely broken by the beginning of 2016. But through lots and lots of prayer and even more grace given by God, Shelly and I were reunited by May of that year and she came home in June. We prayed. We listened. God guided our steps. He was ahead of us, behind us and more importantly next to us. We took a step of faith… then another and another. And it was good……for a while. But happily ever after, didn’t happen. After a few months she was mentally checked out of our story, and a few months later the rest of her left.

But that isn’t why I stopped writing. I was still writing. She and I were still talking and hanging out and having fun. Things weren’t great, but they were good…. and I still had hope. After all, it was a God story. All good, right? Not so much. When she came back we had made a promise we would share our God story with others. Soon after coming home, though, she asked to delay that for a month or two until she was settled and I agreed. Because of that though, she eventually became Eve and unfortunately, I was Adam. The enemy began to whisper to her and she began to believe him. And just like the original Adam, I sat by and watched….. and didn’t do a thing.

By now we were no longer a couple, but I still had hope. Again, the God story thingy. And then one day in conversation, she told me she never told anyone our story. I had told family and friends. I had the church praying for us. I told everyone who would listen about everything God had done for us and it was HUGE. God moved mountains to put Shelly and I together again. And she couldn’t tell one person. I saw God answer prayer after prayer after answered prayer. And she couldn’t tell anyone. How do you handle that? I had no idea then, and I have no idea now. I have no answers. I know it was a God story and God stories don’t usually end like that. It’s hard to take God out of His story, but somehow she did. I know God gave us free will and she used hers to walk away. I know God has His reasons and one day I will know, but for now I still don’t.

What I do know, though, is finding out one of the most Christian women I have ever known couldn’t include God in our story, caused the air to be taken from me and my hope to be taken from me and I stopped writing. Well, I’m writing again. I have hope again and I’m praying again…. although I never really stopped. But when you see prayer after prayer after prayer answered and they still choose to walk away, you wonder if they were ever answered….even though you know in your heart God answered them. << I sense a blog about this in the very near future. I began to think I prayed wrong, that I had misheard God…. but know I didn’t. It was a God story regardless of the outcome. He had His reasons, and one day I will know….. or I won’t. He’s God. He doesn’t have to tell me. 🙂

If you’ve made it this far, thank you. As I subtitled this one, This One’s for Me, it was. I still have faith in God. I believe more than I ever have, and I trust Him. Still working on the waiting, His will and timing stuff, and I may always be. I know He is never wrong, though, and that is why I can sleep at night knowing He loves me, cares for me, knows His plans for me, not to harm me, to give me hope and a future. And I can sleep knowing He’s there for Shelly too, wherever she may be and wherever she may go.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  When you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:11-13

And there’s that ALL your heart thing again. I see a theme here… 🙂 I still have no idea what the third reason for not writing was, so maybe it wasn’t that big a thing. If I think of it I may update this, but will probably just let it go.. pretty sure it’s a God thing I don’t remember.