How To Created A Better Prayer Life (Guess Blogger)

I am so glad you are here! I’m Ashley, I am 26-years young, a coffee-addict, Army wife and future Chaplain’s spouse, INFJ, extroverted introvert and a 2 on the Enneagram. Originally from Indiana but currently in Missouri, I love Jesus, summer nights, ice cream and coffee dates with my husband, comfy sweatshirts and the feeling of finishing a good book.

 

I have a heart for helping other women learn to plant deep roots in Christ and grow in their faith; I struggled for many years to achieve any kind of deep spiritual growth and I have a passion for helping other women who may be struggling too. You are not alone.

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Prayer is one of those basics of our Christian life, but can be one of the most difficult to begin implementing. A lot of Christians say they need to pray more but struggle to make prayer a daily habit.

Prayer was something I really struggled to incorporate into my life when I became a Christian. I had no idea what I was doing or what to say and this kept me from growing in my faith for a long time. Eventually, I learned more about it from watching others and learning from more mature Christians, but it still overwhelmed me.

When you start to think about who you should be praying for and what you should be praying about, it can start to get incredibly overwhelming. We worry about what to say and how long to pray for and a bunch of other things that don’t really matter.

Learning to pray and pray consistently is just like any other positive habit you try to implement; it’s going to feel odd at first because it’s new but the only way to make it part of your life is to just start.

You might stumble a little and miss some days, but the more you do it, the easier it will become.

Here are some simple ways you can have a better prayer life, starting today!

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Keep It Simple

Praying every day really doesn’t require a lot of time and can be done anywhere. After I realized that, I was convicted pretty hard and made the decision to make prayer a priority in my life.

Simplicity took me a long time to get my head around, because talking to the Creator of the universe made me feel like my prayers had to be articulate and long and full of zealous words. But prayer is really just a conversation, just like if you were talking to a friend about your life.

Some of my most honest, raw and intimate prayers have been the ones with the fewest words. A prayer for safety can simply be “Lord I trust in your protection, please keep me and my family safe as we go. Amen.”

Don’t overthink it; just start talking to God about your life, your hopes, dreams, fears and anxieties. It will get easier over time.

Pray Scripture

Use the Lord’s Prayer found in Mathew 6: 9-13 as a guide if you are unsure where to start or how to pray.

  • Start with Praise;
  • Pray God’s will to be done in your situation;
  • Pray for and thank God for provision over your situation;
  • Confess any sin and pray for forgiveness; ask the Holy Spirit to reveal your heart and shine a light on areas that need forgiveness;
  • Pray for protection, safety and deliverance from temptation.

As you are studying the bible, you can also use any passage or verse as a guide for prayer. The Psalms are a great place to begin if you are searching for words for prayer and praise.

Find Prewritten Prayers

From guided books to blog posts, there are tons of resources out there for people who are unsure what to pray about or what to say during prayer. These are a great way to get you started and build your prayer vocabulary.

Just on Pinterest alone you can find pins with pre-written prayers for just about anything: anxiety, focus, healing, health, safety, your husband, your kids, your family, your finances, your friends, etc.

Start a prayer board on Pinterest and start grabbing some for future use. You can go follow my Prayer Board on Pinterest to get some ideas!

Practice Meditation

This may seem like an odd tip, but part of the reason we struggle to pray is because it requires us to slow down and be still in the presence of God. We feel like we don’t have time to slow down, and thus, struggle to pray.

I am not talking about the meditation you may be thinking about; I am talking about meditation on Christ & who He is, on the attributes of God, on His goodness and faithfulness and on Scripture.

Meditation can help you get into that habit of slowing down. It can put your heart at mind in a primed state to engage in meaningful prayer because you are already still and calm, instead of anxious because of all the things you have to do that day.

A good way to do this is to listen to scriptures while practicing deep breathing or reading through a Psalm. You can also play worship music and meditate on the lyrics. I have even created a playlist of my favorite worship songs on Spotify you can use!

By listening to or reading a short passage of encouraging Scripture, your heart is tuned to the Holy Spirit and speaking to God will feel like the natural next step.

Get Organized

The best way to fight prayer overwhelm is to organize it. Spend some time writing down all of the different areas of your life you want to cover in prayer. For example, your categories could be Personal, Marriage, Family/Kids, Friends, Church, Community, Requests, etc.

Under each category, write specific things you want to pray for. Choose 1-2 categories a day to pray through.

If you are someone who writes a to do list or uses a planner to schedule your day, write in your prayer time! Things that require discipline and forethought rarely occur organically during our day. It is important to make time for it and block it off in your schedule.

Set a reminder on your phone, write it in your planner, or leave post it reminders for yourself.

Use a Prayer Journal

Using a prayer journal completely changed my prayer life. Physically writing out my prayers helped me to focus and keep my mind from drifting.

You can use any blank journal for prayer, but the one I use is a yearly prayer journal from ValMarie Paper. It takes care of the Organizing and Journaling all in one!

 

A big thank you to Ashley for sharing about prayer, you can find more with Ashley at faithfullyplanted.com

It’s Okay Not To Be Okay (Guess Blogger)

Welcome Back Victoria

Featuring an Ann Voskamp devotional video.

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:8
Worn. Drained. Over spent. Bone tired. Every waking second consumed with endless tasks. Sinking. Stressed. Drowning in appointments, work engagements and family obligations. Battling your own body- perhaps your own mind too. Battle after battle back to back with no time to recover.
Not okay. It is okay to not be okay to be in dire need of rest in the Saviors arms. Take time off from the chaos to reconnect with the Source of Life. Pour out your heart to Him, sweet friend.
“It’s okay to not feel okay because you have One who made you His one. You have One who left the clamor of the ninety-nine, to find you, remind you, remake you, rename you, and release you. It’s okay to feel whatever you feel because you don’t judge your feelings; you feel your feelings—and then let your emotions — move your toward God. You may feel ready to just forget what you’ve done, but you have one is who more than ready to forgive you. You may feel ready to just give up — but you have one who is more than ready to give you Grace. You may feel like you aren’t enough — seen enough, liked enough, heard enough, wanted enough, loved enough — but you have One who is an even greater Lover, an even greater Advocate, an even greater Friend, an even greater Savior, than you have ever imagined Him to be even when your love for Him was most on fire. Whatever the story is today, it is abundantly okay. Because the Writer of The Story has written Himself into the hardest places of your story and He is with you and He is in you and He is for you and He will not leave you until your story is made into abundant and amazing and forever glory.” Ann Voskamp

 

Lord,
I have neglected my time with You. I have become consumed with wordy things, things that are quickly fading. I am over burdened and over spent. I am drained from trying to take control over things, make things okay, and do it all. I try to appear like I have it all together which is so far from the truth. Oh Lord, I need You now more than ever! Give me rest. Renew my bone weary soul. Remind me of who I am in You. Remake me to reflect Your heart. Give me the courage to pour our my heart to You. Let every breath move me closer to You.
Thank You for all You have done for me. I praise You for knowing me fully and allowing me to pour my heart out to You. Thank you from the depths of my soul for Your grace. Thank You for loving me where I am and reminding me that I am enough. Thank You for writing my story and allowing it to bring honor and glory to Your Mighty Name.
Amen

 

 

 

 

 

God’s Greatest Story of Grace (Guess Blogger)

I hope you are having a lovely day. I am extremely excited to be having a sweet sister in Christ share a beautiful blog post with you.  A little about Crystal:

Hi, I’m Crystal, I am wife to husband Michael, mother to 3 growing kids- Anna, Grace &

When I am not at home taking care of my family you will most often find me at my church. There I serve in AWANA as a leader and I am happy to help with anything else that needs to be done. I will join our ladies Bible study group as often as I can. I love to be able to dig into Scripture and share it with friends.

God’s Word is my greatest passion. I studied Theology (Bible) at Dallas Christian College where I had the best professors (I am a little partial) who not only taught me about the Bible but because of them, I fell in love with God’s Word. I enjoy drawing and painting when I can squeeze it in. When you mix a Bible student with an artist you get me, many of my recent paintings reflect whatever I was studying at the time. I am enjoying this because when I show my paintings I am then able to share my passion, God’s word.

God’s greatest story of grace the story of Salvation.

The Gospel is the most amazing story of love that you will ever find. It is simple enough for a child to understand and so that is how I am going to talk about it today. Not that you are a child but there is no point in making complicated what is simple.

God made everything, including you and me. In fact, we are God’s beloved creation made in His very image. He loves us deeper and wider then we can ever imagine.

The Bible is the story of His great love for us from Genesis to Revelation.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth – Genesis 1:1

You are worthy, our Lord and God to receive glory and honor and power for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being  -Revelation 4:11

 

 no matter who you are you can see that this is an imperfect world. It is imperfect because of something the Bible calls sin; because of this sin we are separated from God because of sin we deserve to go to hell and be separated from God for eternity.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God  -Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord  -Romans 6:23

 

God loves us so much the He sent Jesus.

Jesus was born of a virgin, a miraculous conception and the only way He could be born sinless.

Jesus did many signs and taught while He walked this earth proving that He is God.

He Chose the Nails

He chose the nails – for me & for you

He was betrayed by one of His closest friends. This was allowed so that He might be our perfect sacrifice taking the punishment we deserve for our sin.

Jesus was beaten and hung on a cross though He was the only one who has ever been and will ever be sinless.

After He died this horrible death, His body was then taken and placed in a nearby tomb, guarded by Roman soldiers. But just 3 days later something amazing happened, the tomb was opened reviling it was empty!

 

He is not Here!

He is not Here

Jesus had done what He said he would and rose from the dead!

He defeated the power of sin and death… He made away for us to be free and now able to join Him in heaven one day. There is nothing we can ever do to be good enough or pay for our own sin it is only through the shed blood of Jesus that we are forgiven.

For God so love the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life  -John 3:16

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this; While we were still sinners, Christ died for us – Romans 5:8

For by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not of works, so that no one can bost. -Ephesians 2:8-9

All we must do is believe and accept His free gift of eternal life.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. -John 14:6

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. -Romans 10:9

 

Gospel - ABCsYou may have grown up in church or maybe you have never walked through the doors of one it doesn’t matter, God loves you! He made away for you to live with Him eternally in Heaven.

I will ask you this one question; has there ever been a time when you have accepted this free gift of salvation from your sin?

If you have and know without a doubt that you are saved, great!

But, if do not know of a time that you have done that then allow me a minute here to explain how you can do just that.

You can simply pray,

God, I admit I am a sinner and I deserve to go to hell for my sin,
I believe that you sent Jesus and that He paid the price for my sin.
I chose today to accept the gift of salvation you have offered me
and want to live with you forever in Heaven.
Please forgive my sin, come into my life and change me,
teach me to follow you for the rest of my life.

in Jesus name Amen

 

If you have prayed this for the first time I encourage you to find someone you know is a Christian or just walk in the doors of a church, go tell someone.

I promise you there is nothing that will bring them greater joy then you sharing this. I would love to hear from you too!

I told you it is not complicated simple enough even a child can understand and yet it is the greatest story of grace ever told. God loved us so much that He made a way to save us from our own sin and now He offers us the gift of salvation.

 

I was a young girl when I accepted this gift. I will share my story of salvation next time.

Be sure to check out Crystal’s blog.

Brokenness

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Jesus looked at them and said, ” With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”                             Matthew 19:26

They did not yet understand from the Scriptures that Jesus must rise from the dead.

John 20:9

Could there have been a greater tragedy for Jesus disciples and his followers than that Jesus was now dead. For three years they all were following Jesus and learning what it meant to Seek God’s Kingdom. To learn to have forgiveness for others, to have compassion for others and to know what it was to love, unconditionally the way the Master had loved them. And yet, here it is the day after the death of their friend and teacher. All their all knew was Jesus was dead. The Master’s body was lifeless and was buried in a tomb, they don’t yet know about the Resurrection. If we go to the Gospel of John 11:21:26 after the death of his friend Lazarus, Jesus went to comfort his sisters.

“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask. Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again.” Martha answered, “I know he will rise in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE. The one who believes in me will live, even through they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.

You are feeling brokenhearted and bound, entangled in webs of discouragement. Pick up the pieces of your broken heart, scattered all around you and bring them to Jesus. Place them on the altar that he provides and wait on his healing presence. Be still in His Holy Light while he cleanse you from binding webs of discouragement. Look into His face and see the great love he has for you. Because Jesus love is limitless, he never runs out of compassion. When you feel on the brink of giving up, remind yourself of his great faithfulness, and remember he will not give up on you. Through your disappointment is real, his presence with you is even more real. Stay close to the Master as he works on mending your broken heart. Of course, your repaired heart will not be exactly as it was before, but in some ways it will be much better. Your renewed heart stripped of its cherished hopes will have more space for Jesus than ever before. And as you remember the crucifixion of Jesus on this Holy Saturday just remember “Joy Comes In The Morning”

Grace and Peace to You My Friends 

“It Is Finished”

 

jOHN 19bWhen Jesus had received the drink, he said “It is finished”.      John 19:30

Judas betrayed Jesus, Jesus sacrificed himself to become the perfect Lamb, laid on the altar, the perfect offering to measure up to all of God’s requirements. The enemies were defeated! Darkness turned into shining light. The power of Satan and darkness was broken and the triumphant Christ could now say, “I Am the Resurrection and the Life” Anyone who believes in Me will live, even after dying (John 11:25)

Sin won’t rule over us anymore, because hell is concealed beneath us and heaven above is open to us. The devil’s power has been destroyed forever for those who place their hope, love and faith in the Risen Savior.

The work of salvation had been completed. You are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. You were killed, and Your blood has ransomed for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.         (Revelation 5:9)

holy-week1.jpgHere we hear the sixth words Jesus spoke on the cross. “It is finished!” What is translated into three words in English is only one word in Greek” Tetelestai. It is a triumphant cry, an exclamation of victory. It does not indicate defeat, but glorious victory! These are the only word spoken on the cross that are not directed at a specific person. They are meant for all nations, a triumphant cry of victory!

The Old Testament prophecies had been fulfilled. A virgin gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem, He was from the lineage of David; he was called Immanuel and his parents did flee to Egypt. He was numbered among the poor and the simple. He found his place among criminals, His hands and feet were pierced, His side was pierced with a spear, they gambled for His clothes by throwing dice, He made the disable walk, the blind see, the deaf hear and He raised the dead. Everything happened as it has been prophesied. The people of that time must have asked themselves, “Why didn’t we believed? Why didn’t we see it? And us? What about Jesus’ predictions about His second coming? Will the prophecies come true once again? He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him.   (John 1:11) Will you accepted or reject Him, it is your choice!

Grace and Peace to You My Friends 

 

Life To The Full

Psalm 36.pngThey feast on the abundance f your house; you give them drink from your river delights. For with you is the fountain of life, in your light we see light.    Psalm 36:8-9

Never allow life to become an unbearable burden to you, because it is God’s greatest gift to you. He only gives to you what is good and you should be exceedingly grateful for that. Unfortunately it is possible to make your life an unbearable burden through degenerating and negative thoughts, and by the total neglect of your spiritual life and principles.

If you want to lead a full and blessed life, there are certain principles that must be accepted. One of the most important principles is that you must be grateful for your life, because it is the best thing God has given you. Of course this doesn’t mean that everything must always be plain sailing, but when you accept the goodness of life with gratitude towards God, you will stop fighting it. When you start co-operating with life, you become a collaborator with the almighty God. When you accept that life is good, you become aware that it has a clean goal and plan. This acceptance removes all impatience and frustration, and life becomes an exciting and satisfying experience. But, in order for you to understand the great plan of life, you need to know the Planner. You need to accept the fact that God exists and allow your life to be controlled by godly principles, until eventually you become an expression of those plans.

When you have this experience and make it your own, you posses a unity with the Creator and your life is filled with the fullness of God. How can you possibly thank and praise Him enough for this lifetime?, and I am not sure we can.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Jesus The Way To The Father

John 14 a

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know hi and have seen him. “                 Matthew 14:5-7

If you know what it feels like to lose your ticket for an important event or journey, you will know how embarrassing it is to explain what happened, and to ask to be allowed access because you did in fact pay for it. You will also know how frustrating it can be if the person in control will not under any circumstances give you permission without your ticket. But if someone you know arrives on the scene, and has the authority to tell the person to help you, you will probably think, “This is my lucky day!”

Christ is your “ticket” to the eternal and holy presence of the Father. Do you know Him as your “in”? There is, however, much more to what Jesus says in this verse. Jesus was emphasizing how He and the Father are one. They know and enjoy complete fellowship and unity with each other. For this reason, those who know Jesus and are given right of admission by Him, also have access to God the Father.

Jesus’ pronouncement raised many questions. But in fact everything is straightforward and easy to understand. It simply means, “Get to know Jesus. Stay with Jesus and always be “in” Jesus, as Paul puts it. As long as you have fellowship with Him, you will also have fellowship with the Father. Don’t look for inferior ways to find God, You find Him in Jesus and in Jesus only. So make Jesus your road to follow, acknowledge Him as the highest truth of the world and of life. Look for nothing bigger and more glorious than the life you find in Him, and He will lead you to the Father. 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Walking The Walk

Walking where Jesus walked.pngPerhaps no other symbol is more revealing of the journey of Christians through the season of Lent that a pair of Biblical sandals. Sandals speak of our journey through the promises, perils, and pitfalls of life that can only be authentically experienced through “Walking the Walk” of Jesus. To be sure, Jesus was the supreme, historical walker Biblical scholars have estimated that, during his 33 year lifetime, Jesus walked over 21,000 (400 miles from Egypt to Nazareth; 18,000 miles from Nazareth to Jerusalem and back-at least seventy-five times by age 30, and 3,125 miles during his 3 year public ministry, averaging 20-25 miles per day.) And then, of course, there was Jesus 40-day walk in the desert, where he was subjected to three Satanic temptations. All this walking was more that just physical exercise, it was instilling patience, persistence, and soul-sustaining endurance in the one, who in human and Divinely resurrected form, would be God’s eternal model of “the Truth, the Way, and the Life” for the world that followed him in time.

So, how do we-how can we-follow in the footsteps of Jesus during the forty days of the Lenten season? For one thing, we can symbolically emulate Jesus’s pre-ministry walk through the desert-fasting, praying, examining ourselves, and trying to cleanse ourselves of transgressions and wrongdoings that have been haunting us for the past year. Secondly, we can discipline ourselves, through our “walk” through the Lenten season, to focus our thoughts, prayers, and actions squarely on the two greatest commandments that Jesus professed: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and You shall love your neighbor as yourself”  (Matthew 22:37-39) How rewarding it is for those who, on Easter Sunday, can affirm with great Joy and Certainty:

“I walked today where Jesus walked, and felt His presence there!”

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Walking By Faith

2 Corinthians 5.pngTherefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith and not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, so that we each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

2 Corinthians 5:6-10

The believer not only is well assured by faith that there is another and a happy life after this is ended, but we have good hope, through grace, of heaven as a dwelling-place, a resting-place, a hiding-place. In our Father’s house there are many mansions, whose Builder and Maker is God. The happiness of the future state is what God has prepared for those that love him: everlasting habitations, not like the earthly tabernacles, the poor cottages of clay, in which our souls now dwell; that are moldering and decaying, whose foundations are in the dust. The body of flesh is a heavy burden, the calamities of life are a heavy load. But believers groan, being burdened with a body of sin, and because of the many corruptions remaining and raging within them. Death will strip us of the clothing of flesh, and all the comforts of life, as well as end all our troubles here below. But believing souls shall be clothed with garments of praise, with robes of righteousness and glory. The present graces and comforts of the Spirit are earnests of everlasting grace and comfort. And though God is with us here, by his Spirit, and in his ordinances, yet we are not with him as we hope to be. Faith is for this world, and sight is for the other world. It is our duty, and it will be our interest, to walk by faith, till we live by sight. This shows clearly the happiness to be enjoyed by the souls of believers when absent from the body, and where Jesus makes known his glorious presence. We are related to the body and to the Lord; each claims a part in us. But how much more powerfully the Lord pleads for having the soul of the believer closely united with himself! Thou art one of the souls I have loved and chosen; one of those given to me. What is death, as an object of fear, compared with being absent from the Lord. We need to continue to focus our eyes on Jesus on a daily basis and yes I know that is not an easy thing to do. This is why it is important for us Christians to continue in being in fellowship with each other, reading scriptures and having a prayer life each and everyday. And by doing so our faith becomes stronger one day at a time.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The Heart of Worship

 

Romans 6.pngIn the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourselves to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and offer every part of yourselves to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.      Romans 6:11-14

The heart of worship is surrender. Surrender is an unpopular word, disliked almost as much as the word submission. It implies losing, and no one wants to be a loser. Surrender evokes the unpleasant imagines of admitting defeat in battle, forfeiting a game, or yielding to a stronger opponent. The word is almost always used in a negative context. In today’s world we are taught early in our lives to never give up, or never give in. so we don’t hear much about surrendering. If winning is every thing (like in sports), surrendering is just unthinkable. We would rather talk about winning, succeeding, overcoming, and conquering than yielding, submitting, obeying and surrendering. But to surrendering to God is the heart of worship. It is the natural response to God’s amazing love and mercy. WE give ourselves to him, not out of fear or duty, but in love, “because he first loved us”. True worship bringing God pleasure–happens when you give yourselves completely to God.  Offering yourselves to God is what worship is all about. This act of personal surrender is called many things, consecration, making Jesus your Lord, taking up your cross, dying to self, God wants all of you, not just part of you, he wants all of you. Everybody eventually surrenders to something or someone. If not to God, you will surrender to the opinions or expectations of others, to money, to resentment, to dear, or to your own pride, lusts or ego. You were designed to worship God, and if you fail to worship him, you will create other things (idols) to give your life to. You are free to choose what you surrender to, but you are not free from the consequences of that choice. If God is going to do his deepest work in you, it will begin with this. So give it all to God, your past regrets, your present problems, your future ambitions, your fears, dreams, weaknesses, habits, hurts, and hang-ups. Put Jesus Christ in the driver’s seat of your life and take your hands off the steering wheel. Don’t be afraid, nothing under his control can ever be out of control. Mastered by Christ, you can handle anything. I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13

 

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends