Purposeful Faith

When You Feel Nameless

I saw the other author from afar. Sure, conference attendees were blocking her, but I knew it was her, so I approached to say ‘Hi’.

Sitting down right next to her, I smiled. She stared back tentatively. I waited for her to recognize me (we are after all in a similar circle with similar friends). Yet, her face was blank.

“Hey there, it’s so great to see you,” I proclaimed. She muttered back a one-word answer.

Perplexed, I asked her, “Hey ___, don’t you know me? I’m Kelly Balarie. I am an author too.”

She answered, “Nope, I don’t know you. I’ve never heard your name.”

She what?!!! Bricks hit my chest. My chest hit the floor. I sat like an exposed duck full of embarrassment.

I’m unknown.

I’m unwanted.

I’m unseen.

What a fool I am to think I’d be “known”.

I’m so full of pride. I should have known better to think someone would “know my name”.
 It was so arrogant of me pre-suppose I’d be recognized.

Here, it was as if every childhood diss hit me afresh. Me – the girl sitting alone on the curb at recess. Me – the one made fun of because of my big nose. Me – the one the cool girls walked away from. Kelly? Huh? Who is she? We don’t know her name. 

I want to blame all them. As if they’re the reason I want to be wanted and I need to be needed. 

They’re why I cry out for attention.

But are they?

Growing up, I was the oldest of six kids, a mom on some days, a daytime babysitter on others, a back-up disciplinarian, a school-supply checker, a number amongst other important numbers…but, at the center of all this – I always wanted to be seen, known, wanted, valuable.

Is this wrong?

To want to be wanted? Do you feel this way too? Perhaps you want your husband to talk to you more. Perhaps you want that boss to finally give you the promotion you deserve. Or you want to be recognized for the friend you really are. Or as the sister who is super patient and forgiving

I don’t think God hates our desire to be seen, as much as we detach from it and call it “icky pride”. I don’t think He’s as embarrassed by our desire to be wanted as we are. I don’t think He shames us because we want to be known.

Because God fulfills each and every one of these desires – in us.

The question is are we looking to Him or to man for this infilling?

For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ. (Gal. 1:10)

7 Truths that Show How Much God Sees & Knows You: 

God “Knows the plans He has for us.” (Jer. 29:11)

He calls us “children of God; and so we are.” (1 Jo. 3:1)

He creates us as His “worksmanship”, a beautiful work reflecting His glory. (Eph. 2:10)

God looks at us and sees Christ in us. (Ro. 8:10)

God wants us; He gave his most precious possession for us. (Jo. 3:16)

Our names are written on the palm of His hands, our hairs are counted and our words are known before they’re even spoken. (Is. 49:16, Lu. 12:7, Ps. 139:4)

He loves us first – before ever loved Him. (1 Jo. 4:19)

Do you feel alone? Disappointed? Are you struggling? It is not too late to get the Journey Together All Access Pass, full of 40+ how-to videos from authors and women’s ministers – click here for more information: www.journeytogethersummit.com

Get Kelly’s short blog posts by email – click here.

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How God Sees Me

She’s taking advantage of me.

I’m being used.

They left me behind. 

I’m getting the raw end of the deal.

Kelly: “God, I feel angry at people. I can’t stop thinking of the past.”

God (what I believe He says to me): “Kelly, it is not about them. It never was about them. In actuality, they’re not the blockages to your goals, the answers to your cause, nor the life you are looking for. When you look at them, it is as if you stare at the gutter. Yet, if you want to strike the fullness of life – of me and all I have – you have to look down the lane. Don’t look left or right. Behold, the pins of my glory. Gaze on the beauty of what I am doing. See past the side-shows. Look straight into who I am, how I see you and what I am doing. Choose to see me. Know me and follow me.

Be led by my Spirit; I’ll take care of the rest.”

Kelly: “God I dismantle the lie that I am being taken advantage of. The truth is, God, you are taking care, defending and providing for me. God, I no longer want to dwell in discouragement. You have enough encouragement to set me free.”

God, you are my all-in-all, my friend, hope, cause, love, guide, strength, help, initiative, being, wholeness, Savior, love, life, wisdom, entirety, mission and surroundings. I trust you.”

Kelly: God, who am I to you?

God: “You are my love, my daughter, my special one, my prize, my sight, my friend, my seen one, my speaker, my joy, my reflection, my peace, my heart, my beginning of new things, my growing child, my blooming flower, my eager-beaver, my purpose, my cause, my listener, my prize, my delight, my boldness and, again, my love.”

Wow. Somehow understanding how God sees me changes everything. He wants me. He loves me. He helps me. He watches me. He knows me. I am not alone. I am not left behind. I am not forgotten. I don’t have to fend for myself. I don’t have to look to man to fix my problems. I am free in Christ.

So are you.

Who does God say you are – to Him?

Here’s a hint:

You are altogether beautiful, my love; (because of Christ) there is no flaw in you. (Song of Solomon 4:7)

Don’t miss out on the 2018 Journey Together Summit today as various bestselling and wise authors (Shannon Ethridge, Sharon Jaynes, Cherie Lowe, Bonnie Gray, Joanna Weaver, Kat Lee)…share about their struggles. Watch the free videos today: www.journeytogethersummit.com

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.


Are you in a Slump?

Recently, I found myself in a slump.

You know a slump, don’t you? Baseball pitchers hit them all the time. After a streak of bad throws, they think their past throws are their future portion. Losing is their destiny.  A few too-far-left or too-far-right throws become a heavy weighted burden. I’m messing up the whole game, I’m not going to do well, I can’t fix how I am throwing.

A slump is when you get so down on yourself, you can’t see out of the hole you’ve put yourself in.

Are you there today?

Regarding my slump? I didn’t like how I was acting. I wasn’t seeing God’s goodness. I was judging others, thinking negatively, becoming offended and perturbed by little issues. Ugh. I don’t want to do this anymore.

I decided to try harder. I can act better than this!

Which, of course, only made matters worse. Deeper, I went into the hole. One I couldn’t climb out of.

Maybe you’re here today: angry that you keep on thinking about that one girl, unsure how to ditch that mindset of comparison, destroyed that you can’t win your battle against finances, broken because you keep responding unkindly to people, uncertain because God still hasn’t shown up yet, sad because you thought life would be better than this. Are you in a hole you can’t climb out of?

“He saved us, not on the basis of deeds, which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.” (Titus 3:5)

I translate this personally as: He saved me, not by the hard work of Kelly Balarie, nor the decisive nature of my strong will to “not sin”, but according to the unwarranted mercy Jesus poured out on the cross, which works itself into me today through a washing and renewal solely done by the work of the Holy Spirit.

This mouthful makes me hope-filled. It’s not me that does the work, but God. It is not my saving work that saves me, but Jesus’ saving power at work within me. I come and ask for forgiveness, and it is God who gives me every divine thing I need for godliness.

The same goes for you.

Yet, it is hard to receive life, if we aren’t surrounded by it. I’ve noticed when I flood my mind with truth, it starts to believe and receive it. Yet, when I am drowning in my own thoughts and not finding that renewal, I sink.

One way to surround yourself with truth, new life and the renewal of the Holy Spirit is to join the 2018 Journey Together Summit (40+ authors/leaders will share about their life struggles, issues and how they overcame through Christ). This event starts today a and continues through to Friday. I’d love it if you join in with me as I talk with some amazing Christian authors, leaders and ministers.

It is all new content from last years summit (and we pray – a lot!)

Topics include: 
Why Your Mind-set Matters
When a Marriage is Blowing Up
Fighting the Lies Every Parent Hears
Hope for the Financially Frustrated Mama
When Spiritual Strongholds Keep You Stuck
Confronting Shame
When Health Issues Isolate You
When the Past Hurts
I am Discouraged
People Tire Me

and more…

See the full agenda here: www.journeytogethersummit.com

The starts today, THIS TUESDAY, so sign up ASAP. (And if you can’t grab the interviews live, feel free to upgrade the ticket to watch them when they fit your schedule.)

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

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The Day God Showed Me What Casting Out Fear Means.

Blog Post by Abby McDonald

“I am going to die.”

That’s what I kept telling myself on repeat as I talked to the OBGYN nurse over the phone. I tried to catch my breath but the tightness in my chest made it difficult to breathe.

“Don’t try to come here,” the she said. “Just go straight to the E.R. Tell them you just had a c-section.”

All my symptoms pointed to a pulmonary embolism, which could be fatal. I sat there in shock, rocking my newborn while I fed him and wondering what to do. Take him with me? Finish feeding him?

My mother-in-law and husband were the only source of calm in the room. I looked at them both, searching for answers to questions I didn’t feel capable of asking.

“Finish feeding the baby and we will take him. I will send Larry out for formula,” my mother-in-law said. The evenness in her voice steadied me for a moment. She didn’t seem worried. Perhaps things were going to be okay.

A Love that Casts Out Fear

When I look back this moment when my firstborn was just days old, I see a person who was wrecked by fear. It was one of the scariest times of my life. All I could tell myself was to keep breathing in and out, from one second to the next.

I didn’t have a pulmonary embolism, but anxiety and side efforts from some medication I was taking contributed to my symptoms. Within a couple of days, the chest pains and shortness of breath passed, but the lessons I learned after those few hours in the E.R. would play out for years.

Sometimes God allows us to face our greatest fears so we see that there is no fear greater than his love.

Most of us would be afraid if someone told us we could be about to die. It’s the second most common phobia, with the first being public speaking. But what about those of us who live life scared, all the time? Scared of what people will think, scared to take that step of faith into the unknown, or scared to reach out to someone who may reject us?

For a large chapter of my life, this was my every day. I was terrified to truly live because I thought if I did, I would mess things up. What would I mess up? Anything that mattered. Relationships, career, kids, you name it. God’s grace was a gift I couldn’t fathom or recognize.

In the year following my experience at the E.R., God captured my heart in a way I can’t explain. A latticework of events that included a friend reaching out, a book I read at the right time, and many others all combined to reach my tired soul. Day by day, I realized: God’s love will drown my fear, if I let it.

For years, I read the following verse and thought I understood it, but didn’t.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18 NIV

I thought, “Well, that sounds nice. God loves me and watches over me. I need not fear.” And this is true, but then it hit me. If I’m living as though the words of this scripture are true, I must not only accept his love, but live in it.

When I live in God’s love, I know nothing I can do will separate me from him. I know other’s rejection of me doesn’t matter because he will never reject me, once I’ve declared my devotion to him.

Living in his love means I can walk forward without fear because I know even if trials, discomfort or tragedy lies ahead, he will be with me.

The trials are not punishment, but an opportunity for me to grow in his love even more. They’re when I declare his truth over me- that his presence goes before me, beside me, and has my back.

Living in his love means I can love others even if they don’t reciprocate, because the love Christ gives me is sufficient, complete, and unconditional.

Friends, his love changes everything. But for it to take a radical effect on our lives, we must not only say we believe it, but mean it in our core. A love like this captures every aspect of existence and makes us view it differently.

Fear looks at a trial or struggle and says, “How can this be happening to me?”

Love looks at it and says, “What can God teach me through this?”

How are we going to respond today? I’m still a work in progress and am far from having this whole thing figured out. But I’m learning.

I grew up singing “Jesus Loves Me,” but it’s taken me half my life to believe it and become fully alive because it’s true. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to go back. I want to sing it with its truth in my bones.

 

Abby McDonald is the mom of three, a wife and writer whose hope is show readers their identity is found in Christ alone, not the noise of the world. When she’s not chasing their two boys or cuddling their newest sweet girl, you can find her drinking copious amounts of coffee while writing about her adventures on her blog. Abby would love to connect with you on her blog and her growing Facebook community.

You’re invited! Don’t miss The Journey Together Summit. 40+ Christian Authors and Women’s Ministers will talk about their battles and how they overcame them. Learn how to stand strong, faithful and to trust in God, no matter what you face. See the full agenda here: www.journeytogethersummit.com


You are Invited to Join a Special Sisterhood

I’ve noticed that when I feel bad about myself, I draw back. I don’t want to burden others. Can’t pull them down. I’ve gotta seem like I somewhat have my act together.

To pull away emotionally, mentally or physically is my safest bet. No one likes a Negative Nelly, after all. People can take a couple of minutes of hard-times talk, but after that – we’ve all seen it – their eyes start to wander and you just know they’re strategizing their exit.

It’s usually safer to stay away from people when problems hit. You usually get less-hurt this way. But, a whole lot more lonely. That’s the paradox. What you want the most – to be seen and known – then, feels utterly impossible. Pain heightens.

And rightfully so. God did not intend for us to live this way.

If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 1 Cor. 12:26

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Ro. 12:15

Clearly, rather than running away from those in pain, we’re supposed to run towards them. Why? Because often our healing comes as another does a deep revealing of their own painful story.

Certainly, God speaks through His Word, prayer and life happenings, but especially He talks through others. We don’t want to shut the door in His face as He’s trying to send us a message.

I put together The Journey Together Summit for those like me. Those who may be suffering silently. Those who need help but are afraid. Those going through a hard battle. I wanted to address a wide variety of issues and provide help. I wanted you to hear personal stories, wisdom and biblical insights, to help you.

You ARE not alone. I believe there is help for you. I hope this event feels like a whole bunch of sisters coming alongside to help you.

I’ve gathered a bunch of girlfriends (authors, speakers and women’s ministry leaders) to join me on video to openly talk about their issues, hardships and life problems.

Filming this was amazing. As I heard so many of these women’s difficult stories, I started to hear the voice of Jesus saying to me: I’ve got you, Kelly. I know your way. I want to heal some things. You’re not alone. This was powerful.

I believe The 2018 Journey Together Summit, will be powerful for you too.

Learn from experts, how to stand faithful and firm the worst of life’s trials hit. Whether you’re struggling with finances, your marriage, grief, uncertainty, doubt, discouragement or despair -there is a topic for you.

See the full agenda and speaker line-up here: www.journeytogethersummit.com.

At this event, you will:

  • Gain practical and biblical tips to break the power of uncertainty, doubt and worry in your life.
  • See past the mountains before you to the heights of your victorious God.
  • Come to believe God really can do exceedingly abundantly more than you can ever ask or imagine as you trust Him.

All the General Sessions (40+ videos) are FREE.  Beyond this, you can upgrade your pass to the Practical Application sessions if you want to dive deeper on a subject, get practical wisdom on how to proceed or if you want to watch the videos over the next year.

What are you waiting for? Grab your FREE ticket today. And, if you can’t attend Sept. 11-14, we’ve got you covered. Get the All Access Pass and you’ll be able to watch the videos post-event.

Visit: www.journeytogethersummit.com.

 

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I’m SO angry at myself

“Ugh.”

My body language said much more than those three letters. I stomped around the kitchen huffing and puffing, while making dramatic hand movements as I tried to clean the horribly messy kitchen.

The whole world needs to know right now that I am irritated right now. 

My husband looked at me and said, “Oh no, here we go again.” That really irritated me and threw me over the cliff. At this point, I cleaned the messy counters with increasing levels of frustration.

All the while, I hated that I was so flustered. I hated that I was so annoyed.

I hated that I was reactively responding to the fact:

1. I was hungry and hadn’t eaten anything this morning.

2. I had just finished a couple grueling rounds of doing my daughter’s hair.

3. I was already late to get the kids to school and there was still more to do in the house.

All the dominoes had fallen, on me. Now, here I was contending with that feeling I thought I’d beaten: anxiety. I hated myself for feeling this emotion. I thought I was done with this life-sucking feeling that rises in a chest and acts-out like a jerk.

The guilt hit when I got back from the school drop-off. I really dropped the ball this morning. I really let the family down. I really – did it again. God, I am sorry. Forgive me. 

5 minutes later: I was still hating myself for it.

10 minutes later: I thought back to it.

15 minutes later: I still was coursing through my mistakes.

So here I am writing a blog post to process through it all, with you. And, I want to process it, because to examine your heart with God, is to heal it – once and for all.

I’m angry at myself. I hate how I do what I’m not meaning to do.

Yet, as I get to the bottom of what is happening in my heart, I can hear God. He practically says:

Like clothes of old, I give-away remembrance of your old mistakes.
I’m in charge of transformation. Just keep connection with me.
Come to me when you’re weary and heavy-laden. I have your rest.
It’s not what you do for me, but what Jesus has already done for you that matters.
You don’t work up repentance to appease me, on the contrary, because of Jesus I’m pleased with you.
Fear not, I am with you and for you, always.
Today’s mistake becomes tomorrow’s learning that delivers your “breakthrough”.
The best part of you falling down is me helping you up, so we can do “it” together.

Because of Christ, I am no longer angry at you.

“For the mountains may move
and the hills disappear,
but even then my faithful love for you will remain.
My covenant of blessing will never be broken,”
says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” (Is. 54:10 NLT)

 

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Beware! (You May Realize You’re Doing This)

I tried “God’s way” without results, so now I’ll do things my way. 

I couldn’t see this malignant heart-belief, but, certainly, it had taken root within me. God has let me down.

Amazingly, I wouldn’t have even recognized it, except I started judging someone, thinking, They’re striving by works, They’re so caught up in their mission, They’re missing the point.

God hit me back with love. Kelly, it is less about them, and far more about the heart-of-the-issue within you.  

Oh really, God??!!

But He was right… After all the prayer…  After all the giving… After all the believing… After all the seeking… All the hoping… All the wanting… All the pursuing… All the doing…

…God didn’t answer exactly how I thought He would.

Therefore, in the place of abiding, I started striving. Perhaps you are there today too.

You may be “there” if you feel:

1. God hasn’t yet shown up for you.

2. You get the sense you’re doing things wrong and have to fix them.

3. Nothing ever appears to change.

4. Greater is the mission God has for you than the work He is doing in you.

5. People are blockages to your goals.

Here, you may be saying, “The going has gotten tough, so the tough in me’s gotta to get going!”

But, daughter or son, beware. Work only toughens the skin around a heart; it never softens it. Additionally, it makes an idol out of impact.

You may, unknowingly or knowingly, be sliding into a works-mentality if:

1. You are becoming judgemental.

2. You are charting out your course, scheming “breakthrough” strategies, formulating outcomes, or believing organizational goals are your “breakthrough”.

3. You tell people what to do and how to do it.

4. You have a passive-aggressive or controlling approach.

5. If you find yourself less and less authentic with God and others.

6. You cannot receive love or help.

These are huge wake-up signs. They woke me up.

The reality is: God does show up. Today, I choose to cast off the lie that I am “in it” on my own, that God has forsaken me, that I fight my own battle and that I have to make people agree with me. Today, I receive the truth, that even when I do nothing, Christ has done everything. Today, I trust that even when I don’t “work” God is working all things out for my good. Today, I ask for forgiveness. Today, I delight in God’s perfect work within me. Today, I rest in love. Today, I trust His work to change others. Today, I make room for the leadings of the Spirit, verses the aspirations of Kelly. Today, I trust His timelines. Today, I breathe in the fresh air of God.

Check out my new book, Battle Ready: Train your Mind to Conquer Challenges, Defeat Doubt and Live Victoriously! Learn how to stand strong and faithful during trials.

Get all Purposeful Faith blog posts by email – click here.

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Purposefully Faithful Friendship in Seasons of Sorrow

“What can I do to help?” my friend asked. “How can I be there for you?”

I was going through another foggy season of depression, struggling to get out of bed in the morning, unable to focus on tasks I normally enjoyed, and just not feeling like myself. Even though I wasn’t surprised my friend of over fourteen years posed the question, that didn’t make me any less grateful she was willing to ask.

It’s difficult to know how to support friends in their seasons of sorrow, especially if they’re going through disappointments, betrayal, and loss we haven’t experienced before. Thankfully, the Bible offers general principles for being a purposefully faithful friend in seasons of sorrow:

Be quick to listen and slow to speak {James 1:19}.

Proverbs 25:20 says, “Whoever sings songs to a heavy heart is like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, and like vinegar on soda.” There are times when using words to address your friend’s pain is not only useless but causes more harm. When words are necessary, focus on acknowledging your friend’s pain or asking questions to better understand what they are going through. We live in a culture that values quick fixes, but some types of heartache are long-suffering or can’t be fixed, especially with words. Have faith enough that God will bring healing, understanding, peace or comfort in His perfect timing.

Pray without ceasing {1 Thessalonians 5:17}.

Your friend may feel so discouraged they don’t have the energy, words, or desire to pray. Remind them their pain and anxieties are still being lifted up to heaven by saying: “Even when you don’t know how to pray, I am praying for you.” And then pray for miracles. Pray for peace that passes understanding. Pray for beauty to be created out of the dark, ugly ashes of your friend’s sorrow. Pray Jesus will come back and wipe away your friend’s tears once and for all.

Contribute to their needs {Romans 12:13}.

Show up in your friend’s life in tangible ways. Bring them dinner, coffee, or a treat you know they love. If applicable, offer to babysit their kids for a couple hours, clean their house, or fold laundry. Instead of saying, “Let me know if you need anything,” offer something specific.

Let your love bear all things and endure all things {1 Corinthians 13:7}.

You don’t know when your friend’s pain will end. This is a hard truth that can make friendship in seasons of sorrow frustrating or downright awkward. But persevere, remembering there may come a time you will need them to be a purposefully faithful friend in your life.

In his book Lament for a Son, Nicholas Wolterstorff wrote, “In commanding us to love, God invites us to suffer.” Learning true compassion means being willing to walk alongside our friends in times of both laughter and tears.

***

Bio:

Kendra recently launched an online community called Mourning Companion to teach readers the lost language of lament and share advice for people supporting friends in seasons of sorrow. Follow along her ministry on Facebook and Instagram as @mourningcompanion. Kendra also enjoys writing about her everyday experiences of motherhood and neighboring on Facebook and Instagram as @kendrabroekhuis. She is the author of Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor. The book highlights her 30 Day journey to recognize God’s love in her daily life, as well as her somewhat awkward attempts to share that love with her neighbors. For her day job, Kendra stays home with three of their children in the city of Milwaukee.

Amazon Link:

https://www.amazon.com/Here-Goes-Nothing-Introverts-Reckless/dp/0718083261/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

Website:

www.kendrabroekhuis.com

Facebook:

General writing page: https://www.facebook.com/kendrabroekhuisauthor/

Mourning Companion page: https://www.facebook.com/mourningcompanion/

Instagram:

@kendrabroekhuis

@mourningcompanion


The Prayer Coin

Post By: Elisa Morgan

We women are praying people. We can hardly help ourselves.  When we lose it and run out of patience – at 9am – already four hours into our day. Under our breath in a moment of frustration. For our friends and husbands and children so in need of hope and help. Over our troubled world. After a stunningly happy surprise. We pray.

And yet, we can find prayer baffling. At times, even unsatisfying. We wonder, does this make any difference? Is God listening? Will he answer? Why is he taking so long? Why do we feel so cut off from him? What if we’re praying in the wrong way?

Like a coin, prayer possesses two sides. We see this in how Jesus prayed. In the deepest hours of his personal life on this planet, in a garden the night before he went to die on a cross, Jesus prayed “Take this cup, yet not my will but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). Two specific prayers: First: Take this Cup. Then: Not my Will. Such a duality powerfully displayed in three of the gospel accounts, and mentioned in the fourth. Two sides of Jesus. Two sides of us. Two sides of prayer. The Prayer Coin.

When Jesus says, Take this Cup, that’s the honest side of the prayer. He reveals his own desire, “This is what I want.”

Then Jesus flips the coin, praying Not my Will, the side of abandon. Abandon is saying to God, “But what do you want, God?”

Notice that in between the two sides of honest and abandon is the word “yet” which forms the edge of the coin – a kind of pivot where we tip back and forth between each side, experiencing one side at a time: honest (what I want) – pivot – abandon (what do you want, God?) – pivot – honest – pivot – abandon.

Take this cup, yet not my will but yours be done.

The Prayer Coin.

I remember my heart beating a bit faster when I paused to take in this realization. It still steps up-tempo even now as I try to put this discovery into words. This prayer is quoted more than any other prayer in the Bible. Yet…(there’s that pivot!), have I ever prayed it? For myself? For those I love? Have you?

Is that even a “thing?” Do I dare consider praying this prayer? I mean, this was Jesus’ garden prayer. He prayed it in the last night of his earthly life. Before his heavenly Father. When he was in torture in the anticipation of death on a cross. Surely my circumstances will never match up to that.

Yet…(again!) in each of the gospel tellings, Jesus repeatedly invites his disciples into the prayer. That their exhaustion sends them to sleep instead is not the point. The point is that Jesus invited his first century disciples (and his twenty-first century disciples as well) to pray a daringly intimate prayer of simultaneous and opposite pleas.

Here – I’m holding out this Prayer Coin to you. Take it? Feel the weight of it as you turn it over and over in your palm. Honest. Abandon. Abandon. Honest.

Now, are you ready to try it out? This Prayer Coin that might just cash in a deeper faith for you?

First – be honest: What are you currently wanting, needing, desiring before God?

  • Maybe you’re concerned about your three-year-old. Is she using enough words for her age? Take this cup of delayed speech God!
  • Your husband isn’t super attentive – in fact, he’s hardly attentive at all and you’re wondering just why you married him. Take this cup of a lukewarm marriage God!
  • You look around at other women you know, all happy in their Pintresty friendships and you wonder what’s wrong with you. Take this cup of feeling so excluded God.

And after you’ve poured out what’s really in your heart, instead of saying what you think you’re supposed to say… try a pivot. Flip the prayer coin to the other side: abandon. What might you want for me Lord?

Abandon asks how far will you go to commit your wants, needs and desires to what God wants for you and your life?

  • Your daughter may need testing – expensive testing – in order to determine her need. I’m willing to sacrifice my coffee money. Not my will, God.
  • Your husband may come from a family where affection was doled out in tiny sips rather than generous doses. I’ll reach out to him rather than insisting he change for me. Not my will God.
  • Women around you may be just as lonely as you are. I’ll go first and risk rejection in order to see if friendship is possible. Not my will God.

And then in each need, back again to honest. Then a pivot to abandon. Again and again, all the while learning more and more about what you really want and what God wants as well.

Prayer is like a coin. On one side is honest: the freedom to be ourselves in relationship with God. On the other side is abandon: the calling to yield to his desires in our lives and in our world. We spend prayer best, like a coin, with the currency of both sides: honest and abandon. Pivoting from one to another. Flipping first one then intentionally turning to other to allow one side to influence the other.

As you do, you’ll journey deeper in your relationship with God, who uses both sides of prayer to draw us closer to him, just as he did in a garden long ago with his Son.

BIO:

Elisa Morgan is an author and speaker.

Her latest book is The Prayer Coin: Daring to Pray with Honest Abandon. Her other books include The Beauty of Broken, Hello, Beauty Full, and She Did What She Could.

Elisa is the cohost of Discover the Word and contributor to Our Daily Bread. Connect with Elisa at www.elisamorgan.com, @elisa_morgan on Twitter, and elisamorganauthor on Facebook and Instagram.

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Someone needs this post right now…

12 Power-Prayers

I am sending this out right now because I felt, after prayer, that someone needs these prayers to help them where they are right now. Someone is in a struggle and does not know what to do. Someone can’t see from here to where they hope God will take them. Someone is crying. Someone has hands in their head right now. Someone doesn’t believe they can make it through.

Let me assure you of some things:

  1. Every prayer you pray counts.
  2. Every prayer you pray is heard.
  3. Every prayer you pray is powerful.
  4. Every prayer you pray is handled by God.
  5. Every prayer you pray moves the needle in your life.

Do not doubt. Believe and pray. God has something special for you in this day. This is why this email is going out at a random hour on a random day. Receive this message from Him to you. Circle the prayers that will help you.

Rescuing God is coming to rescue some of you right now. Some big prayers will be answered. I trust Him to save you.

Love, Kelly

Here are 12 Power-Prayers Sourced from Paul:

  1. “God, I thank you for others. Even when I can’t understand them, I want to love them. Help me be uniter not a divider.

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 all come into a loving, knowing and abiding relationship with you.”

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. “God, fill me with your goodness. 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 me with joy, grace, peace and hope, in believing, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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 my heart continually pursue you. May I hear, understand and uncover all you have to say to me through your Word and in prayer. Give me the words and wisdom I so desperatly need.

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, you are the fullness of all I desire, want, hope for and need. Come and be my everything.”

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. “I lack no good thing, Father God. Thank you for everything.”

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, as Healer, please heal me. I trust you will complete the good work you’ve begun.”

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, mold me, make me and fashion me into your likeness. May I not hate the process you have, but delight in the journey of doing it with you.”

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 I come to know, trust and understand what your grace is.”

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]

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. [1 Thessalonians 5:28]

The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you. [2 Timothy 4:22]

Grace be with you all. [Titus 3:15b]

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, you are the giver and all you give to me is good. I thank 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]

 


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