I know many of you are like me, we want our prayers answered.So how do we pray with confident assurance that God will hear and answer our prayers?
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him,” says 1 John 5:14-15.
What a powerful promise! God says he will give us “anything” we ask for according to His will. Isn’t that amazing? It doesn’t say that he might answer the prayer, or that sometimes He’ll say “no.” He says “we have what we have asked of him.” That’s 100 percent of the time! Granted it might not be in our timing, but it’s always in God’s perfect timing. The answer is, “Yes.”
But there is one caveat: We must ask according to God’s will.
Ah…now that’s the tricky part. How can we possibly know God’s will? The only way to truly know God’s will is to pray the Scriptures. As it says in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”
When I (Sally) was a young mom and a new believer in Christ, I had never actually prayed out loud. So when I stepped into my first Moms in Prayer meeting, I listened. Just listened. For six weeks I prayed along in my heart, but didn’t say a word. I loved hearing the other women’s Holy Spirit-directed prayers for my children. Yet I was too afraid to pray out loud. After about six weeks, I was brave enough to pray the Scripture for my child out loud. The Holy Spirit gave me the courage to speak out His Word, to pray His truth for my son. What an amazing experience, praying for my son, hearing other moms pray for my son. This was my new top priority for my kids.
God’s answers poured out like a flood that first year; our group witnessed dramatic miracles. God healed children of major illnesses. We saw changes in kids’ attitudes and behaviors. We prayed that every child would hear the good news—and He brought a Good News Club to our campus. And several teachers at our elementary school accepted Christ as Savior!
Eventually, I was leading my own Moms in Prayer group. We’d pray for our public school teachers adapting verse Acts 26:18: “May [teacher’s name] open his/her eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Christ.”
One day a mom came into the group upset about a certain teacher. I said, “That’s the teacher we’re going to pray for today!” And every week we prayed for her. As we prayed week after week for this teacher, God grew our love for her. Soon, she came to know the Lord, and my two youngest got to be in her class. I felt so privileged to be able to talk with her about the Lord and about prayer. It was amazing to watch and see her grow in Christ. But that wasn’t the only teacher that became a Christian on that public school campus. Eleven other teachers came to Christ as we prayed Acts 26:18 over them!
Want to see God at work? Pray the Scriptures over the people in your life. How do you know if God is going to answer your prayer? If you pray according to His will. And His will is the mighty Word of God, which never comes back void. It always fulfills His purpose and His plan.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:8-11
My prayer for each one of you, is that you will “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. And every day has a time of need.
Want to learn how to remain unshaken in our crazy world? Sally Burke, the president of Moms in Prayer International, and Cyndie Claypool de Neve explain how in their new book, Unshaken. Want to go deeper? Experience what it really means to be unshaken through the innovative companion study guide.
Enjoy the peace and power of praying with other women for your children. Visit www.MomsInPrayer.org to learn more.
The truth was, everything being divulged was an outright lie.
My stomach churned.
My gut cramped.
A burning sensation rose in my throat, beads of sweat pooled on my forehead as I willed bile back down.
Nausea swirled about me as if intentionally together, we spun miserably about a ballroom…naked.
I was hurt to my core.
Utterly undone, the feedback stung my ears. The story being relayed to me, a story this person heard from my friend… my Christian friend was a lie.
I managed to behave as though the incident were laughable. I changed the subject and then explained I had to be on my way.
The informant substituted concern, “I just knew you would want to hear it from me instead of someone else, don’t worry, I won’t repeat it.”
I tried not to guffaw audibly. She’d already repeated it to four or five others, who I knew – knew, and now I knew they knew for sure because of their delicate treatment of me just hours before… I knew for sure.
I knew better than to trust… but, still was this really my fault? Really? Was I, the victim of a malicious lie, by someone I counted a friend, the one to blame?
Certainly, I felt like a fool. Alone in my car, I wept… er, well… snot flinging hysterically wailed. I was humiliated. I checked the date. Indeed, 2016… the circumstances had me briefly fooled to believe it was in fact 1986 and the last day of junior high.
Okay, I am a creative gal. I plotted my nemesis’ demise.
I pulled through Starbucks and ordered something hot and decadent. I knew stuff about this wretched “friend.” An eye for and eye I thought. And the tales I would tell would be the truth.
Why did she make up such a terrible story about me?
What made her feel the need to betray me?
I plotted and toiled.
I pulled my car into an empty place at the park, pulled my sweater from the back seat, grabbed my magic Java and decided to walk. I had about 45 minutes until the afternoon rush. I wanted to empty my head and pray.
The crisp March air borrowed only hints of warmer days to come. I walked slowly and observed little buds forming on the trees. Soon they’d expose entire blooms, for now there was only the hope that a late freeze wouldn’t destroy the mystic.
Tears nipped my eyes again.
Part of me wanted confrontation, the other part of me wanted to disappear.
I stopped and sat down on a bench and prayed.
“I am so hurt. So, embarrassed. So, angry. What should I do?”
There was no audible answer. And I didn’t want to rehash the story to my husband or tell it to another friend. I knew it was wrong, I didn’t need that affirmation.
Somewhere on the breeze, I heard my answer.
I inhaled deeply and prayed a prayer that was not my own.
“Jesus, show me what you see.”
Suddenly, I was bowled over with compassion. Immediately my lungs filled without ache. Instantly I felt a rush of love and understanding.
I saw what He saw.
Tears bubbled up again, but I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t even sad. I was flooded with a wisdom that what I thought was a friendship was not. I came to terms with that undoing in a supernatural way. However, I didn’t believe this betrayer to be my enemy either?
I knew the truth.
My God knew the truth. He loved her, and He wanted better things for her than juvenile lies that hurt me. He was altogether for me… and yes, for her. For her, He wanted her to live in the freedom of His abundance. She was trying to make things happen, a busy-ness I was once a party to. And as I sat and sipped my Mocha, He sat with me and offered me comfort and ask me to pray… and to let this one go.
I agreed, I would.
Sporadically, over the next couple months, the hurt would sneak up on me. There was no way she didn’t know I knew. It was awkward, but I was obedient to the agreement. I let it go. On occasion, it came up with a group of friends, I quickly changed the subject. And it is not as if I am better than, I am just His. I want what He wants and He wants restoration, peace, joy, and life abundant.
This scenario is not always the answer, but in this incident, I was in perfect sync with what Jesus wanted for this person and me. Letting Jesus be Jesus was the most healing medicine for my hurt. Later that summer she and her family moved and I have never seen or heard from her again. Yet I feel no lack of closure. I need not retribution or malice. I want God’s will and His will is always Jesus.
Since that day in the park, my chosen prayer is simply, “Jesus, show me what you see…” And I close my eyes and wait.
For there is nothing hidden that not be disclosed and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Luke 8:17
Jami Amerine is a wife, and mother to anywhere from 6-8 children. Jami and her husband Justin are active foster parents and advocates for foster care and adoption. Jami’s Sacred Ground Sticky Floors is fun, inspirational, and filled with utter lunacy with a dash of hope. Jami holds a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences (yes Home Ec.) and can cook you just about anything, but don’t ask her to sew. She also holds a Masters Degree in Education, Counseling, and Human Development. Her blog includes topics on marriage, children, babies, toddlers, learning disabilities, tweens, teens, college kids, adoption, foster care, Jesus, homeschooling, unschooling, dieting, not dieting, dieting again, chronic illness, stupid people, food allergies, and all things real life. You can find her blog at Sacred Ground Sticky Floors, follow her onFacebook or Twitter.
Do you feel unable? Do you have a dream no one believes in? Have you hit an impossible roadblock?
Maybe you’re after a miracle.
Even worse, maybe your not. Maybe, you’ve given up.
I am well aware, we all have our – “if onlys”, “it’s impossible” or “that couldn’t happen” scenarios. They loom like harbingers of how we will self-destruct, how those we love will get hurt or how we will never come out the other side – alive.
The enemy loves to tell us we can look, but can’t touch. He tells us good things are out of reach. So, instead we put on anti-faith, which is doubt cloaked in the covering of Christian-like behavior. We pretend.
We forget about this: Truly, truly, I tell you, whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you. Jo. 16:23
Our real problem isn’t that it’s out of reach, it’s that we don’t believe God’ll put it within reach.
The difference between a miracle and a mirage – is prayer.
If only we asked. And believed.
For 80% of my life, I lived not believing. I mean, half-believing, I guess…if that is such a thing. I lived attending church. I lived trying my best. I lived praying. But, for the most part I lived doubting: doubting I’d ever do good, doubting God would really forgive me, doubting God could use me, doubting people would ever like me.
Fear was my slave master and my inadequacy his whip. I stayed in line.
Until, I started praying. Prayer is the liberator every woman needs, but has no idea how to find.
Me? A girl who stayed back in 3rd grade. A girl crippled by a chest that clenched its own self. A woman afraid that everyone would hate her. A quitter. An anorexic who felt she had to be perfect. A woman who hid from opportunities because she didn’t want to fail. A lady who was told she’d never write, nonetheless be an author.
No doubt, underneath this stark movement in my life, were countless prayers. Above it, stood a limitless God. Between these two places, was my belief. I watched everything collide.
God is calling us to step deeper and walk further into the fullness of all he can do. You see, we don’t have to imagine it, or perceive it – forget all that – we just have to believe it.
This is what my book Fear Fighting is all about. It’s about linking arms with the Savior, the Redeemer and the Creator of all good, so that we, as sisters, may walk bold and brave. It’s about leaving behind trembling so we can walk, on sure foundation, into God’s greatest callings. It’s about exchanging comparison and jealousy for the life-charging power of I-am-loved, beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s about seeing yourself as God sees you. It’s about stepping out when every voice from your past tells you to step in. It’s about finding the you God created you to be.
Join the Fear Fight. The time is now. Your God waits. He will help you. Prayer will be your guide and God will not steer you wrong. Your greatest miracle is just ahead.
I was recently at a friend’s house with some other gals and the subject of prayer came up.
We all agreed our heart’s desire was to stay in the presence of God more and the best way to do this was through prayer. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and that does seem to be the logical way to stay connected because God is always listening. (Psalm 34:15)
But how in the world do we pray without ceasing when our distractions never cease to end?
We talked about food fasting (you can read about this numerous places in the Bible, Luke 2:37, Matt 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Matt 6; 16-18) but the two who were hypo-glycemic (yes I was one of them—I get hangry) nixed the idea. So for that night we went our separate ways with no solution.
The next morning one of my friends texted a brilliant idea on how we could remind ourselves to pray. She didn’t present it as a challenge but being the competitive gal I am I took it as a challenge. A holy one.
She said the phone was her biggest distraction. The plan was, if her phone rang she would answer it (might be one of her kiddos) but if she wanted to look at Facebook, text, Instagram, email, or Google, she would offer up a prayer first.
Fast the phone and feed the prayer.
It was a brilliant idea to me because I pick up my phone like a nicotine addict lights up a cigarette. If I’m bored, nervous, sad, hungry, agitated, frustrated, impatient, or fidgety I pick it up. I thought, if I were to pray before I lit up my phone, others would be blessed and in the process I’d get a blessing of being less bored, sad, agitated, frustrated, impatient and fidgety.
Perks of staying in God’s presence.
It took me a couple of tries to get in the habit but that’s exactly what it became—a habit.
A praying habit.
I prayed while I was driving. I prayed while I was shopping. I prayed while I was exercising. Every time I heard an alert on my phone I prayed or praised God.
And this is what ihappened:
~ I became much more aware of time and space and what I was doing with each. I must have prayed 25-30 times between when I started in the morning and dinner.
~ I felt more connected to God. (But I guess so, we talked a lot!)
~ My attitude and the quality of my day changed. I couldn’t contain my joy and I shared with everyone else what I was doing.
~ And with all this I came to understand a deeper meaning to the verse in Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. in all your ways submit to him and he will keep your paths straight.”
That’s exactly what happens when you pray without ceasing. You are in a virtual all day extended conversation with The Almighty, asking Him about your every step.
And this phone thing, it had a pleasant ring. The message began spread.
I shared it with this sweet woman who owns a gift shop I frequent. And about an hour later my friend who unknowingly gave me the challenge walked in the door and the shop owner shared it with her!
I told another girlfriend about it and she told her mother…and so on.
The Holy Spirit sets our hearts a blaze when we pray.
Today I challenge you my friend, if only for a day, to use your phone as a prompt to pray. And share it with someone else. See what a difference it makes in your life and the lives for whom you offer petitions.
And if you choose to take this challenge I will make this guarantee:
When you light up the heavens instead of your phone you’ll not only get better reception but you’ll also get a holy connection every time!
May God bless you as you stay connected to Him.
Looking forward, pressing on and seeking God in every bump and twist in the road.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email –click here.
Christy is a wife, mother, mother-in-law (soon to be grandmother), mentor, and speaker. Her passion is to encourage women to move forward, and press on while seeking God’s presence in every bump and circumstance they encounter.
Christy is also a girly girl at heart who chases tennis balls for recreation and at the end of the day does her best thinking in the tub.
There is one tactic that can literally change the outcome of your daily wars (you will see exactly how below). It can help with people problems. It can reconstruct your mental state. It can abolish the feelings of despair. Do you know it?
Likely not. I think the majority Christians – know of it, but they know not – the power of prayer.
There are 3 reasons why:
1. They got hurt. They prayed for something big, yet nothing big happened. They, now, figure prayer is an outdated practice.
2. They have to wait. They give up before God gets up to fix their predicament.
3. They get bored. They think prayer is pleading endlessly about other people; there’s nothing for them.
Prayer sounds good on face value but on our knees?
Well, we’d rather be anywhere else, doing anything else, to fix our something else –
than praying. We’d rather be – doing, than – praying. We’d rather be – posturing, than – praying.
This is our problem; this is why we stay stuck.
Being on our knees hurts. Our very feet that want to go, fix and control circumstances are cut out from under us.
Yet, what if this is the point?
Perhaps, God has us on our knees, because our feet can’t bring us where our knees will.
And, this I am learning: A man will get more done on his knees than he ever will a lifetime on his feet.
The power of prayer is sometimes subtle, but it is also potent. I call my husband sometimes, and say, “I’ve been praying for you.” He replies, “I know. I can tell. Keep it up.”
You don’t think that changes his moment? It changes mine. My faith is renewed in a God – who answers.
This is not an isolated incident either. Prayer works, I’m finding. It wants to release captives from shame. It wants to change circumstances 360 degrees. It wants to restructure bodies, broken. It wants to change hearts, today.
Moses lifted his hands in prayer and look at how it worked for him:
As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. (Ex. 17:11-13)
Our power to win is often held within the power of prayer.
When Moses lifted his hands to pray, the Israelites were front-runners. When he dropped them, and grew weary, they fell behind.
Someone had the insight to realize this. Someone noticed the power of prayer. Do we?
Aaron and Hur responded; they seized constant prayer by: holding “his hands up – one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset.” They made it happen.
Do we make constant prayer happen?
There are mountains God, with us, God wants to move. (Mt. 17:20)
Prayer isn’t pleasantries. It isn’t niceties offered up to appease a mean God. It isn’t a way to gain favor with God for the bad stuff you did yesterday. It is the real charge of heaven falling on earth. It is strength for weakness. Hope for despair. Renewal for recovering addicts. Recovery for controllers. Realizations for the real pursuers of God’s heart.
Lift your hands; you’ll win. I think it is that simple. It’s the faith that makes it so. So believe.
Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.
We used to live and work at a Bible Camp. The camp director often challenged the campers to move from being takers to being givers. He explained that it was a sign of maturity to focus on giving instead of getting.
People are hurting, grieving, accusing, and fighting. People are taking jabs at one another in light of the pain they are feeling. People are pointing fingers and striving to be heard above the roar. Some are spitting out venom, in hate. Some are even using fists to crush.
I’m afraid we are a sorry bunch as we walk around bruised, mocked, and wounded.
Yet, I have hope. I have hope that the Spirit of God who resides within us will lead the way through the gray.
We have the holy honor to give instead of take.
May we offer empathy as the hurting gather near.
As we pass the mashed potatoes, may we dish out compassion. As we fill up glasses, may we pour out refreshing words. As we look into the eyes of those around the table, may we focus on what we already have—not what we lack. As we partake of what’s been given, may we express thanksgiving for the sacrifice (of family, of employers, of military, of leaders).
As we gather around the table, may we remember that table spread all those years ago—the bread torn, the wine poured. The Body broken, the Blood spilled—that we might receive the very thing we lacked; salvation.
I’m afraid we have forgotten to be thankful for the One who was bruised, mocked and killed on our behalf.
Jesus stood silently before the angry crowd. He heard their false accusations yet He forgave them still.
Jesus demonstrated great restraint in order to extend a Greater Love.
He is Hope. May we offer Him our life.
May we follow in His steps…
As we pass the marginalized, may we hand out compassion. As we fill our social media feeds, may we pour out refreshing words. As we look into the eyes of those with whom we disagree, may we focus on what what we share—not where we differ. As we partake of His grace, may we express thanksgiving for the sacrifice of our Savior.
Let’s remember the Ultimate Giver—of life, of salvation, of hope. Our sin separated us from God yet Jesus came to bridge the gap. We can be restored through Christ’s Ultimate Sacrifice, if we believe and receive.
Let’s build a bridge, instead of a wedge—not through compromise of the Word, but by following Jesus’ example to love others—even when it’s not reciprocated.
Let’s give thanks for life, and breath, and everything else. Let’s take time to pray for the restoration of this upside down place we find ourselves, in this season.
The Perfect One is here. The Unchanging One is near. Jesus has taken our sin, this we believe. He has given us salvation, this we receive. It is done. King Jesus has won!
God will turn the upside down, right side up. He can heal the hurt. He can set the captives free. He can draw all men to Himself. He can do anything.
And so, we have hope!
We give praise that He is able. We take stock of His good and precious promises. We give up the right to control. We take up the sword of the Spirit. We lay down our pride. We put on the armor of Love.
We gather around the table and we offer Grace.
It’s Good News, after all.
Katie M. Reid is a writer and speaker who encourages others to find grace in the unraveling of life. She also inspires women to embrace their identity in Christ and live out their God-given purpose. Katie delights in her hubby, five children, and their life in ministry. Cut-to-the-chase conversation over hot or iced tea is one of her favorite things.
Sometimes praying feels like throwing darts – with your eyes closed. You hurl some words heavenward and wonder if you’ve hit the bulls-eye of progress. You hope something sticks.
What have you been praying for? Do you wonder if God hears your prayers? If they matter?
Lately, I’ve been thinking, I don’t want my words to just touch heaven, but I want them to move heaven’s power on my behalf. I want to pray knowing, all I am – needs all of Him . I want – what I throw up, to fall back down with such strength – God’s fingerprints, clearly, handled my every word. Even more, I want the Lord’s will to fall on earth, not because I am good (far from it), but because He is good, all good. And, more than enough.
I want God to touch even the smallest details of my life and the lives of those I love.
Do you desire the same?
I’ve been wondering how to be effective in prayer.
And, when I think of it, if ever there was a prayer warrior – it was Paul. If there ever was a man who moved the needle of this world (besides Jesus) – it was Paul. And, if there was ever a man who prayed with power – it was Paul.
What would happen if we prayed like Paul?
God got me asking this question. So, I searched every prayer Paul prayed (below) to find the essence of God’s power held within his words. What I found were 12 categories of prayer. I hope they bless you as much as they did me!
Here are 12 Power-Prayers Sourced from Paul:
“God, I thank you for others. I ask you to fill them, and myself, with knowledge of your will, with wisdom and understanding. Even more, may I pursue others with love, through prayer, while building unity. “
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:3–6)
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you. (Romans 1:8–10)
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. (Eph. 1:15)
We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord. (Col. 1: 9-10)
We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 1:2–3)
We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. Therefore, among God’s churches we boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring. . . . (2 Thessalonians 1:3)
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5-6)
May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus. (2 Timothy 1:16-18)
2. “God, may others be saved. May they understand the fullness of your love.”
Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. (Romans 10:1)
I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints. (Philemon 5–7)
3. “May my life, and the lives of those around me, be filled to the measure of the fullness of God (through love, hope, power, strength, faith, grace and mercy). Through this, may your name be glorified.”
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)
I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Ephesians 215–23)
For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21)
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. (1 Thess. 3:13)
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thess. 1:11-12)
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. (2 Thessalonians 3:16)
4. “May the power of Jesus Christ continually fill with joy, grace, peace and hope, through the Holy Spirit. Encourage our hearts, Lord God, so we may we be pleasing to you.”
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. (1 Corinthians 16:23)
We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. [Colossians 1:9–14]
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)
5. “May our hearts be in continual prayer. May you open doors to our messages. May we proclaim Jesus. May we refresh others. May the mysteries of Lord Jesus Christ be open as we fearlessly convey the gospel.”
Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. (Colossians 4:2-4)
I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints there, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and together with you be refreshed. The God of peace be with you all. Amen. (Romans 15:30-33)
Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. (Ephesians 6:19-20)
6. “God, praise be to your name for all your goodness. All goodness is you. We praise you for who you are, what you do and how you’ve blessed us with a new standing in Christ Jesus.”
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3-7)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. . . . (Ephesians 1:3)
7. “We offer all thanks to you, God. You do all things, You bring life and You deliver hope. Thank you for enriching us, keeping us and equipping us with spiritual blessings. We lack nothing. We praise you.”
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)
I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. For in him you have been enriched in every way— in all your speaking and in all your knowledge—because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9)
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has give you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! (2 Corinthians 9:12-15)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)
8. “God, may you heal us. If we do not see healing, please speak your truth into our heart. May we know that all you give is more than enough and that, in us, you are still working.”
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take (thorn in flesh) away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12: 8-9)
9. Father, may holiness and love – thrive. Sanctify us more and more.”
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. [Philippians 1:9–11
Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. [2 Corinthians 13:7–9]
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. [1 Thessalonians 5:23–24]
10. “God, may grace abound in me, to me and through me.”
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. [Galatians 6:18]
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen. [Philippians 4:23]
11. “May you protect me and those I love. Strengthen us too.”
And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance. [2 Thessalonians 3:2–5]
12. “God, again, we cry, thank you, Father. Thank you for blessing us with the ability to serve you.“
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. [1 Timothy 1:12]
Imagine if every time you hit a hard time, you had a friend a step ahead of you. Your car broke down? They were already waiting on-location with the jack. Your mom was in the hospital? Upon your arrival, they stood at the hospital room door with soup. Your landlord just kicked you out of your house? They beat his call by 5 minutes to invite you to stay with them.
You may think one of three things:
This person is the rock-star of all friends.
You can’t live without them.
Only God could do this sort of thing.
On all three counts, you’d be right.
Sadly, there is no person like this. But there’s a God just this way: Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Is. 65:24
God isn’t just in step with our needs, he’s one step ahead.
We call, he’s already answering. We speak, he’s already working. What we can’t voice, he’s addressing.
What we’ve been afraid to ask for, he’s hearing.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.
We do not know what we ought to pray for,
but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Ro. 8:26
God doesn’t just hear our prayers, he preemptively steps in front of them. Like a good basketball player, he anticipates where we’re headed and beats us there. The only difference is, rather than blocking us, he gets there to lift us up. He gets there to help us score our goal. God improves our shot.
Have you been negating the love of God, the power of prayer or the worth of praise?
Often, we don’t say thank you for what we can’t see. We don’t say thank you for the disastrous saves never knew. We don’t say thank you for the trials God averted. We don’t say thank you for the small blessings we thought were our work.
Maybe today is the day we do.
Thank you, God, for all you do. You do more than meets the eye. You are working for us, helping us, and freeing us. Thank you that you are leaning into our problems and calling out on behalf of our weakness. Thank you that your all-consuming power is behind us and pushing for our best outcome. Amen.
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I stared out the window. My eyes squinted, not because the sun was blinding me, but because I was furious with God.
Absolutely. Stinkin’. Furious.
He failed me. And from where I stood in that moment, on those knees that were bended in prayer for the past six months – my view wasn’t pretty. I pleaded and postured and trusted to no end – and I saw nothing for it. I believed God was going to come through for me – and now I am left looking at a pile of nothingness. Even worse, I am looking at damages.
God not only didn’t come through, he hurt me.
So, like any good Christian girl, I went to church. And when they sung, “How great is our God,” I lip-synced. When they asked us to pray, I kept my insides empty. And when my husband asked what stood out in the pastor’s message, I grunted, “Mmm…hmmm….”
Do you feel that God abandoned you?
Maybe someone is still sick. The spouse is still mean. The dog is still lost. Your heart is even more lost. A child still won’t return. Your finances are in the dumps. A friend has gone and hurt you. Your past is not healed. You live in a place that is horrible. Your car won’t stop breaking down. Your face is getting old. Your kids are getting obnoxious. Your life looks ugly.
Whatever is going wrong, it’s because God is gone rogue.
Whatever is broken is because Mr. Fixer Upper didn’t do his job right.
Whatever makes us feel uncomfortable is because the God of comfort lost his magic.
Oh, I know these feelings alright. To say they’ve never existed is probably to lie.
But, years later, upon reflection of this bitter hour, I see things through a different prism, a different angle. Whoever said time heals, knows its true. And it is. Looking back, I see both Him and me through time and things played out. Sense arrives.
1. Sometimes you don’t get the lesser prayer because God is answering a bigger prayer.
Let me tell you about my son. He was a screamer on steroids. He’d wail so hard a lung would nearly pop out. I’d pace. I’d try to keep him together. I’d try to keep me together. It was a song and dance, an anxious time. God didn’t answer my prayer that he sleep. But, you know what? In retrospect, it was an anointed time. It kept my husband up, and me too, so we could pray my numb legs and hands were not an actual diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. You know what? God answered that prayer.
2. Seasons come, but seasons also pass.
Back to the 10-pound screamer…he screamed, but six months later, he stopped screaming. I no longer had to endlessly bounce, with a broken back and arms that felt as if they might fall off. He, miraculously, like an angel, fell asleep on his own. Not only that, he made it through the night! What is hard today, may often becomes joy the next morning.
3. Waiting produces patience. What we often fail to realize is that patience = faith. We pray, “God make me more faithful.” This is usually the equivalent of praying, “God make me a better waiter.” It is in the wait that we learn faith. It is here where iron meets the road and we either stick it through with God – or we bail.
4. God’s sole job is not to keep me happy. There is no law that says God must keep me happy. He often does, because he loves me. But, also, because he loves me, he teaches me. Just as I allow my son to learn from his mistakes, often God lets us live out ours, so we can return closer to him.
5. What looks like rejection is often protection. We see life horizontally. God sees life horizontally, vertically, cross-diagonally and inside out, he sees it up and down and all around. He sees how person A affects person B and how person B may know Jesus if person A goes here or there. He also sees how shutting a door may prevent our foot from getting jammed in it.
God hasn’t given up on the disgrace that is you. He doesn’t have better or more important people to deal with. He doesn’t discount your prayer as stupid, frivilous or worthless. He doesn’t see you as needy. He loves your need. He loves your longing. He loves you voice that calls out for his name.
Even more, God has a plan. It isn’t a plan that looks like your days activity. It looks like a matrix, a flow-chart and a high-level war plan for greatness that is being worked out on spiritual, eternal and visible levels. You can’t understand it. But, you’re not meant to.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
Surely, as I have planned, so it will be and as I have purposed, so it will happen. Is. 14:24
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“It’s kinda boring in here, Mom. There’s nothing colorful about this place.”
She says this a little sassy, from a plain old emergency room bed. She’s drawing a picture in her fancy notebook, and watching Liv & Maddie on the corner television. Most importantly, she’s breathing slower. She’s acting like herself again.
We wait for medications to wear off, and these unplanned hospital hours have me thinking. A Carrie Underwood song I played last week, on the day I turned 40, runs through my head:
“Whenever you remember times gone by,
Remember how we held our heads so high.
When all this world was there for us,
And we believed that we could touch the sky…”
(“Whenever You Remember” lyrics)
Time has a way of humbling us, doesn’t it? I no longer believe I could touch the sky. Not like that anyway. I also don’t feel 40.
The age we feel on the outside never seems to match the way we feel on the inside.
Do you know what I mean?
When I turned 30, a friend asked me if I felt older. I said I felt about 17. I told my older sister yesterday, now that I’m 40, I feel a good strong 27 inside. Maybe it’s only lingering optimism, although it wasn’t all pretty then.
On my 27th birthday, I woke, sobbing, with Temporary Insanity. My overdue “little tiny” still had not joined us. I thought I’d be pregnant forever with that one.
Eventually, he arrived, and 27 began this giant growth spurt that is motherhood.
I started questioning my ability and doubting my own strength. Looking back, that’s where my real growth began. I wanted to depend fully on God, but something was in the way. Youth, maybe? So I regularly exhausted my own efforts, research, and ideas, and just after that, called on the name of Jesus.
It’s funny the way life changes us.
You go from believing you could almost touch the sky–to knowing the limits of your power.
You go from holding your head high, feeling the wind of the world beneath your wings–to bowing down, carried by One who moves like wind or however He chooses.
It’s upside-down, but this is where life gets good. Because now you’re falling upward. In the corner of your bedroom. In the emergency room. And everywhere in-between.
“My heart beating, my soul breathing,
I found my life when I laid it down.
Upward falling, spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground.”
(Hillsong United, “Touch the Sky” lyrics)
You fall to your knees, like it all depends on the GOD who holds up the sky.
You’re singing a new song, because now you really believe.
Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. James 5:13, NLT
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Angela Parlin is Dan’s wife and Mom to 3 rowdy boys and 1 sweet girl. From her home in North Carolina, she writes about the Jesus, grace, and motherhood, because there’s always “So Much Beauty in All This Chaos.” In addition to writing, she spends her days homeschooling, putting meals on the table, and wiping countertops. When she can’t be found, she’s hiding in the closet, devouring another novel, because stories are her favorite.