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.

blond-countryside-daylight-543368.jpg

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!

BetterPrayerLifePinGraphic.png

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

Advertisements

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

 

 

 

 

 

Why A Heart Needs To Rest (Guess Blogger)

I would like to introduce to you Rebecca Jones:

I’m a writer, Christian, I love music and art. I am hoping to encourage others, to inspire them to follow their dreams and trust Jesus. I am always working on improving my blog, keeping with the theme of teaching women to rest and be the beloved, and to depend on the mercy and grace of our Lord. It’s all for His glory. Thank you reading or following, blessings. https://www.pinterest.com/beckyspage1916/

4ef6ec4d89781ced47d9930e68cb46a1.jpg

Why does a heart need to rest? Proverbs 23:4 says to guard it, for out of it flows everything you do. Sometimes, it translates it that issues flow. And they do. I was guilty of not guarding mine. I let things said and done hurt me to the extreme. My heart was overwhelmed and I had to turn to Jesus. I truthfully, don’t think I would have survived had I not.
I am very good with words, for God’s glory. I try to choose them wisely. I highly recommend reading Proverbs about words. Soft words, kind words, and healing words, all do a heart good. The Bible is full of love and poetry. John is the best book to read about God’s love. Sow these words into your heart so you can meditate on them and walk in them, and speak them at a moment’s notice.

You, as a believer, have an enemy. The devil would like nothing better than to steal from your heart and he will if you let him. Mark 4 and Matthew 17 describe the sower and how he comes immediately for the Word’s sake. And he will wriggle it out of your heart, break it out, rip it out. Anyway, he can get it! Using anybody he can. Family, fellow Christians, it doesn’t have to be someone you may not know or pay much attention. You have to get close to inflict these wounds.
Look at how the disciples argued, Jesus rebuked Peter, there was contention and the worst of all Judas. Jesus loved them all and look how they treated Him. They even ran when He was arrested. Jesus is the most forgiving person ever and look how people treat Him. even now, they call Him when they need Him but how often can we say we talk to Him about little things, big decisions or anything at all. Even a moment of thanks, ” Where are the other nine?, He asked of those He healed.

I talk to Him all the time now. I used to just pray, but now I talk to Him as a friend, a best friend. I tell Him things I can’t tell anyone else. Nothing extreme, just sorting things out, so I won’t make the same mistakes. Your heart needs to rest and that’s more than less stress, watching your diet or even medication. It’s His rest, work for it, concentrate and focus on the healer of hearts, not the breaker. And I’m not just talking romance here. Love is so much more than that.
His love is deeper than a physical relationship, yet, as intimate as a marriage. I love Jesus and He loves me even more! So let your heart rest and safely trust in Him, you can trust your heart if He’s in it! Watch your words. His heart beats for you. Rest! So your heart will receive His peace and that passes understanding. Rebecca Jones

A heart at peace gives life to the body. Proverbs 14:30
He left us His peace and it is important to speak that into our hearts and spirits. Even for health to our bodies. John 14:27, We also need the peace that passes understand to guard our hearts. Philippians 4:7

Trust Him!

Psalm 56.png

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?                Psalm 56:3-4

Trust Jesus and don’t be afraid, for he is your strength and song. Imagine what it means to have him as your strength. God spoke the universe into existence; God’s power is absolutely unlimited! Human weakness, consecrated to him, is like a magnet, drawing ever so near to him. Remember fear can block the flow of God’s strength into you. Instead of trying to fight your fears, concentrate on trusting him. When you relate to Jesus in confident trust, there is no limit to how much he can strengthen you. Remember that Jesus is your song. He wants you to share his joy, living in conscious awareness of his presence. Rejoice as your journey together towards heaven, join him in singing his song. 

Rejoice and be thankful! As you walk with Jesus through your day, practice trusting and thanking him all along the way. Trust in the channel through which his peace flows into you. Thankfulness lifts you up above your circumstances. Jesus does his greatest works through people with grateful, trusting hearts. Rather than planning and evaluating, practice trusting and thanking him continually.  As you continue to study the scriptures look to the letter to Philippi which is call the book of Philippians 4:4-6 ( New Testament) in which the Apostle Paul tells us the following: Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do  not be anxious about anything, but in  every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your request to God.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

 

Wait For The Lord

Psalm 27.png

Teach me your way, Lord, lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witness rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations. I remain confident of this; I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 27:11-14

When we are waiting, trusting, and hoping for God, it is intricately connected, like golden strands interwoven to form a strong chain. Trusting is the central strand because it is the response from God’s children that he desires most. Waiting and hoping embellish the central strand and strengthen the chains that connects God to us. Waiting for God to work, with our eyes on him, is evidence that we really do trust him. If you or I mouth the words “I trust You” while anxiously trying to make sure things go our way, our words ring hollow. Hoping is future-directed, connecting you to your inheritance in heaven. However, the benefits of hope fall fully on me and you in the present. Because we belong to God, we don’t just pass time in waiting. We can wait expectantly, in hopeful trust. Keep our antennae out to pick up even the faintest glimmer of God’s Presence.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

God’s Gift Called Grace

Ephesians 2a.pngBut because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works so that no one can boast.                                                 Ephesians 2:4-9

John Wesley the founder of the Methodist movement, grace was the powerful process by which believes came to experience God and know God’s salvation. Wesley believed grace was ever present and influential in believers coming to repentance. He believed grace could lead believers to love God with all their being and to love neighbors and the world as they loved themselves. Mr. Wesley understood God’s grace as a unified piece, but teaching he defined grace as having three aspects; prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying.

Prevenient Grace: Is the grace that comes to us even before we know God. God showers it upon all people whether they are aware of it or not. Through prevenient grace, God takes the initiative in beginning a relationship with us. Prevenient grace is God’s way of showing us that no matter who we are or where we are, God is already there ahead of us, waiting for us. God’s prevenient grace precedes us wherever we go.

Justifying Grace: Brings a big change to the relationship we have with God. Through justifying grace we begin to realize and trust (have faith) that we are restored to relationship with God. We come to acknowledge our sinfulness and trust that we are forgiven by God’s grace. Just as justifying text in a document aligns it a certain way, (right or left-justified) justifying grace aligns us with God through Jesus Christ. This is when “God reaches out to a person with accepting and pardoning love.” This change includes feelings of peace, hope, and joy. Such as experience “may be sudden and dramatic, or gradual and cumulative. It marks a new beginning, yet it is part of an ongoing process.”

Sanctifying Grace: Prevenient grace is God meeting you at every corner. Justifying grace is God reaching out to you with love. When you say yes to the invitation of justifying grace, you turn a corner in your faith journey. One of the most controversial teachings of the early Methodist movement was that it is possible for us to realize Christian perfection in this life, perfect love, loving perfectly. Wesley called this process “going on to Christian perfection,” or sanctifying grace. This part of grace challengers believers to go deeper in faith, to love the world more energetically, and to keep growing in the knowledge and love of God. For Wesley, God’s sanctifying grace led believers to have their hearts “habitually filled with the love of God and neighbor. For you, this might mean coming to understand your life as more and more focused on living by faith. Faith becomes the center out of which you live. Little by little, God’s sanctifying grace uncovers more and more of God’s image in you. As one who has been forgiven, you become more forgiving. As one who is loved, you become more loving. Wesley emphasized that we are continually filled with God’s love, we are led more fully to acts of mercy and works of justice.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends npoty

Blue Christmas

Romans 15.pngTragedies unfold each year pausing for nothing. Heartless shootings that result in lives lost with no cause. The Las Vegas Massacre. The Texas Church shooting. Those left behind consumed with grief which feels as if their hearts are being ripped out, no words can describe its depth.
Natural disasters destroying countless people. Leaving communities once thriving fighting to stay alive. Desperately trying to rebuild. Each natural disaster claiming lives. Hurricane Harvey. Hurricane Irma. Wildfires in California.
Then the issue of human sin within the truth of Hashtag Me Too. Ugly, heartless sin which begs to be hidden. Revealing the horror humans are capable of. Of course, these few things are only the surface of the devastation surrounding us. Financial difficulties, abuse, and relationship issues add to the impact. Additionally, much devastation consumes us. Heartbreak, depression, anxiety, panic attack, grief, and personality disorders.   The hardships are unending. The news reminds us of this often. Is there meaning in life? Any purpose in all the pain? One can even question if there is anywhere safe anymore. It is draining; sucking the joy from us. At times, we feel dead inside, nearly falling apart as the world caves in burying us.                                                                                 As we all think of these things within our own lives it does not mean that there is no hope for any of us. As I read these words today in the book of Romans 15:13 written by the Apostle Paul “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.” We humans try day in and day out to find things that can fill the void we are feeling and have been feeling for a long time. Through difficulties around in this world. Rejoice that Jesus is always present with us. Knowing Jesus can enable us to cope with any and all circumstances, strengthening us as we all look to trust the baby in the manger. No matter how hopeless your situation may seen, Jesus assure you that all things are possible with God. Jesus is the Truth and therefore he is true to all of his promises. They provide a rock-solid foundation on which you can live and move and have your being. Since he is the living word, affirming your trust in his promises is an excellent way to draw near him. As any or all of us bask in the beauty of His Presence, you may find yourself wanting to praise Jesus, the Christ, The “Great I Am” Do not restrain that holy impulse, instead, give it a voice. While you are worshipping Jesus, new hope will grow within you. Hope is in Jesus this Christ Season may the Christ Child give you the joy, love and peace that you long to have.

Merry Christmas

Grace and Peace to You My Friends