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

Overcoming the Paralysis of Fear (Guess Blogger

I am Sharon Fletcher, and I am so grateful that you took the time to stop by and fellowship with me!  I am a sinner saved by His grace.  I am a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.   I am a wife to a courageous, loving and selfless man, a mother to 3 bright and beautiful children.  I am a pharmacist. I love helping and encouraging people, and all things pretty (home decor) somewhere in between.  I hope that in sharing my journey, others may be inspired and encouraged, find rest in the word of God, and experience times of refreshing.

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So…I have noticed from talking to my sister friends and from statuses on my timeline that an old unwanted “friend” (enemy) has been hanging out a lot these days.  And he is rearing his head as fear and anxiety.

Constant anxiety about bills.  Insurmountable debt.  Definitely more going out than coming in.

Constant fear of losing another loved one, or yet another family member becoming ill.

Constant anxiety from an overwhelming amount to tasks to accomplish in what seems like not enough time to accomplish them.

Strained and difficult relationships.  Fear that someone will take more from you than what you have to give:  Your peace,  your joy,  your sanity.

Fear of not being good enough.  Or, that you will never measure up to someone else’s expectations.

Fear of the unknown.  What’s going to happen as a result of my actions, reactions, or decisions?

All of these fears.  All of this anxiety.  It was all created to stop you.

To paralyze you .

To keep you in bondage and to stop you from moving forward.

To keep you from living and being effective.

To keep you from raising children of destiny.

To keep you from being a warrior.

Sometimes, he goes as far as to tell you that you would be better off dead.

The truth is, YOU are a mighty weapon.  And satan wants to do everything in his power to stop  YOU from stopping HIM in his tracks.

That’s right, you have a very real enemy.  And his job is to make everything look so big, so impossible, so insurmountable, so unachievable that you feel like it is useless for you to even try.

So you become paralyzed.

We see this as the Israelites were about to cross over into the Promised Land.

In the bible, while Moses and the Israelites were in the wilderness, God spoke to Moses and told him to send a group of men to explore the land that He had promised them.  The land of Canaan, a land flowing with milk and honey.

So, leaders from each tribe went to explore the land for 40 days.  At the end of that period, they gave a report.

“The people are too powerful!  The cities are fortified and large!  There are even giants in the land!  We can’t attack those people: they are stronger than we are!  We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them!”  (Numbers 13th and 14th chapters).

This is exactly how our fear and anxiety speaks to us.   “It’s too big!  I can’t do that!  It’s too hard! What if it doesn’t work?  I couldn’t possibly get that done!  The report from the doctor was not good, I won’t be able to bounce back from this!”

The more we think on it, the more we focus on it, the more we believe it instead of the promises of God, the bigger it gets.  And the bigger it gets, the more it keeps eating away at our peace, our joy, and our sanity.  It makes the issues look like giants and us feel like grasshoppers.  And the bigger it gets, the more we forget about God’s promises and provision.  And we become paralyzed.

We won’t move because we believe our fears more than we believe God.  We shrink back.  We become prisoners in our own mind.  We become hostages to our own thoughts.  At that point, the enemy has done a might fine job of keeping us from being all that God has created us to be.

The Israelites grumbled and complained.  They would rather stay in the wilderness or go back to slavery than walk into the abundance that was promised to them by God.  They did not want to move forward.  All because of fear.

But there is an anecdote.   It may not happen overnight.  It will take some effort.  But, just like in every other situation, if you consistently apply it, it will work.

That anecdote is rehearsing the Word of God, and praying with confidence that He hears your prayers.  It is our greatest weapon against the enemy, who works so hard to make your fears and anxieties look so much bigger than your God.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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 minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.””

— PHILLIPIANS 4:6-9

I am going to share with you some key points that may help in overcoming the paralysis of fear and anxiety.

  1. Please realize that EVERYTHING BEGINS IN YOUR MIND.  This is such an important concept to grasp.  If the enemy can speak to your thoughts words that are opposite of what God says and get you to not only meditate, regurgitate, ruminate, and rehearse these lies, but also to believe them, then he has a leg up in the battle.  Instead, meditate, regurgitate, ruminate, and rehearse the Word of God.  My pastor always says that the devil with tell you a lie about the truth.  So, whatever comes into your mind that is negative, that is condemning, that is demeaning to yourselves or others, quickly combat that thought with a thought that is opposite.  Be intentional about your thoughts and what you allow yourself to dwell upon.
  2. Pray with confidence, knowing that He hears you, and that you can cast your cares on Him. When praying, it is so important to believe that He hears us and will answer our prayers, according to His will.  We have to believe that His word is true, and that He is a promise keeper.  He is not like one of our friends or family members.  He WANTS us to cast our cares upon Him.  He WANTS you to tell Him about all of your worries and troubles.  He doesn’t get tired of us calling on him, sis. (1 Peter 5:7).  It is amazing how much peace you experience just by doing this.  The situation may not change immediately.  It may not change at all.  But, oh the peace that you experience and the grace that He gives you to go through it is PRICELESS! And you will find in the end, that YOU will be changed.  And through this, you will find the strength to make it, and the courage to take another step.
  3. Know that you are in a battle, and know WHO your REAL enemy is.   It is not your spouse or ex-spouse.  It is not your boss or co-worker.  It is not your child.  It is not that mom.  It’s not your sister or brother.  It is not your bank account.  Your REAL enemy is satan.  And he is out to steal your peace, your joy, and your sanity.  He is out to keep you paralyzed, so that you will not move forward.  So that you won’t take that job. So that you will stay in that toxic relationship or friendship.  So that you won’t take on that project.  So that you won’t do what God has called you to do.   Don’t let him take anything from you sis!  And if he has already stolen it from you, then take it back!  The best weapons that you have are prayer and the Word of God.  At the end of the post, you will find Scriptures to meditate on and to help combat your enemy against fear and anxiety.

You’ve got this!  Be strong and courageous!  Walk in your God given authority!  It may look too big.  It may seem too hard.  It may look like it will never work.  But one thing is for sure, it won’t work unless you do.

You have to take step.  At least one.  And then take another.  One step at a time.  And each step will get easier and easier.

Fight for you!  Fight for your peace!  Fight for your joy!

There is so much in you.  Fear and anxiety have dimmed your light for too long.  It’s time to take action.  Rise my sister!  Awaken the Warrior!  You’ve got this!  Take the job!  Open the business!  Start that ministry!  Mend those relationships!  Be that awesome wife and mom!  Whatever it is that He has put in your hands to do, do it!

He has given us all the tools and weapons that we need.  It is up to us to use them.  You are an overcomer!  Nothing can stop you, not even fear and anxiety…unless you allow it.

Love you all with the love of Christ.

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God’s Love Letters

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 A few months ago, I attended a class on preaching. The teacher of this class asks all of the students, tell me in a few short words what does the gospel mean to you. Well I answered pretty quickly and said the Gospel is God’s Love Letters to us. It is not just any old book that is filled with stories, but it is a book of God’s instructions of how we should live our lives day by day. It is a book that contains many books inside of it. Their are 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament, which makes a total of 66 books in all. I read the bible at least once a day, and  sometimes more than once a day, just reading along with a devotion, and more important for me to grow a deeper understanding of who God is and why his love for me a sinner is unconditional. When life seems so overwhelming to me, I turn to this book for answers for my own life. When I am tired, when I feel I am not smart enough like others, when I can’t forgive myself for something I have done, I turn to find the answers. When I asked myself in the past can anyone love me just because who I am with no strings attached, when I feel lonely even in a crowd of people, does anyone care. There have been times in my life when I feel I can’t or don’t care to go forward and somewhere in the depth of my soul, my soul cries out Abba Father. Lord are you there, do you even care for me, I know you are so busy with more important things than me. Sometimes the nights seem so long, so very long I wonder when will the morning come, because my soul longs to rest. It is during these times that different scriptures have come to my mind and my heart and I would like to share them with you.

You Say:                                              God says:                                                 Bible Verse:

“It’s impossible”                     “All things are possible”                        Luke 18:27                              “I’m too tired”                         “I will give you rest”                                 Matthew 11:28-30              “Nobody loves me”                 ” I love you”                                                John 3:16                                 “I can’t go on”                          “My grace is sufficient”                        2 Corinthians 12:9                 “I can’t figure it out”              “I will direct your steps”                      Proverbs 3:5-6                        “I can’t do it”                             “You can do all things”                        Philippians 4:13                   “I’m not able”                           ” | am able”                                              2 Corinthians 9:8                “It’s not worth it”                     “It will be worth it”                               Romans 8:28                         “I can’t forgive myself”          “I forgive you”                                         Romans 8:1                            “I’m afraid”                                “I have not given you fear”                 2 Timothy 1:7                          “I’m always worried”              “Cast all your cares on Me”                 1 Peter 5:7                               “I’m not smart enough”         “I will give you wisdom”                     1 Corinthians 1:30                 “I feel alone”                               “I will never leave you”                        Hebrews 13:5                       “I can’t manage”                        “I will supply all your needs”            Philippians 4:19

 

These scriptures has been my inspiration over the many years of my journey with Christ , and as they have also given me comfort and peace, they will due the same thing for you. Once we as Christians accept who Jesus was and is and forever will be, which is the Messiah, the Great I Am, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords,  these words will give you the comfort and peace and encouragement on a daily basis.
Grace and Peace to you my friend