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

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Christ Is Risen! Alleluia!

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When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, Who, will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb? But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has Risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, and tell his disciples and Peter, He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you. Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

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According to the Scriptures, our Risen Savior appeared to different individuals before ascending to the Father. It was a random coming and going, but specific encounters to teach us certain things. This took place during the period between Easter and Pentecost, between the Resurrection and Ascension. In today’s Scripture verse, Jesus gives us some “resurrection comfort.” When the men who walked to Emmaus were back in Jerusalem with the joyful news of their encounter with the risen Jesus, the other disciples replied, “The Lord has really risen!” (Luke 24:34) Paul says, “He was seen by Peter and then by the twelve” (I Corinthians 15:5-6) All these pronouncements tells us that, firstly, the Risen Lord wants to give the remorseful sinner back his self-respect. The first apostle Jesus appeared to was the one who denied Him. (Peter) Here the greatness of Christ’s love is demonstrated. He thought about the bitter grief of the Peter who wronged him, instead of wrongs and grief He himself suffered. Put yourself in this situation. Imagine with how much trepidation Peter received this message! Could it be true? Did he hear correctly? Did Jesus really mention his name? He has been the cause of so much of Jesus’ sorrow. He had denied Him three times! But this is how Jesus treats the sinner. Wo will ever be able to fathom the depth of God’s forgiving grace?

Against the dark background of Peter’s denial, the light breaks through in the disciples’ words to the men from Emmaus: The Lord has really risen! He appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34) A jewel glitters so much brighter on a dark background. Likewise, the grace of God and His saving omnipotence are best seen in a deeply fallen sinner. This short extract from history should encourage even the greatest sinner to go to the Father and confess their sins.

The gospel gives us no sensational or gripping detail of the conversation between Christ and Peter. Peter didn’t tell anyone what happened between him and Jesus. In life there are intimate and personal things that cannot bear up under the harsh glare of public exposure. There are spiritual experiences that must remain private because they are part of one’s personal fellowship with God. We dare not reveal every spiritual blessings to inquisitive publicity seekers, or shout it from the mountaintops. 

Three long nights of consuming grief followed Golgotha as well as the shock of Judas’ gruesome death. The offering that God seeks is a broken heart and a downcast spirit; He will not break those who are struggling. Peter discovered what true remorse meant, being tearful, unsure of his next step, knowing he was a fallen sinner, with hands outstretched to heaven in an impassioned plea for grace. And Christ in His unfathomable love and mercy is there, a place of true repentance. He meets in quiet reclusion with the remorseful sinner.

Prayer: Dear Jesus:

I come to you with a humble heart asking for forgiveness of my sins that I have committed. I thank you for taking my place on the cross at Calvary. Help me to become more like you and to serve others in your name, as you did here on earth.    Amen

Blessings to All of You on this Easter Day!

 

Mary Visits Elizabeth

Luke 1b.pngAt that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting. the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for hoy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

And Mary said: My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me, holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.                                     Luke 1:39:56

When one thinks of the women of the ancient world, our first emotional response is usually pity. This would even be true in the Jewish world of those days when our Lord added humanity to His deity and manifested Himself to men. There was so much that women could not do, or at least were not allowed to do. We might suspect that the limitations of biblical revelation, compounded by those of the culture, would have made womanhood a curse. The men assumed the leadership roles, especially in spiritual matters. The women seemed only fit for fixing meals and bearing children. Perhaps a few women, “blessed” by financial prosperity and social standing, may have been able to enjoy some of the benefits of the male world. Luke is well-known for his high regard for women and for the prominence which he gives them in his two accounts. We find the first instance of his highlighting of women in our text in the first chapter of Luke’s gospel, where the spotlight is directed toward two godly women. The two women are Elizabeth, the soon-to-be mother of John the Baptist, and Mary, the mother-to-be of Messiah, were truly great and godly women. Both were humble women of no social or economic standing. Elizabeth was the wife of an obscure priest. Both she and Zacharias were country people, who lived in an unnamed village in the hill country of Judah. The bore the added social stigma of having no children. No doubt in the minds of some they were being punished by God for some sin. Mary, too, was a humble peasant girl. She did not have any social standing due to her parentage or class, nor even the dignity of Elizabeth and Zacharias age. Yet the worship of both of these women is such that they are models for all true disciples of our Lord. By reading these words in the Gospel of Luke I believe that as long as anyone including a woman has a willing heart God will use them to glorified his kingdom.

Grace and Peace to You My Friend

 

Send Someone Else

Exodus.jpgThe Lord said to him (Moses), ” Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, I will help you speak and teach you what to say.” But Moses said, ” Pardon your servant Lord, Please send someone else? I can honestly say that Moses sounds a lot like of us in the world today. Why you might say, when their is a job or some kind of task that we know that we should be doing, we also say Lord why don’t you send someone else and not me. These have also been my words to my Lord more than once in my own life and during my own journey. I have mention more than once here that I was brought up in a Christian home, where we always went to church each Sunday, I attend Sunday School, in a youth group, sang in the children choir, for me I would have love attending church five days a week, and regular school just once a week. When I became a young adult I began giving back by serving in the church where I attend, such as a Sunday School teacher, and other areas of the church. From time to time I would be ask when I would become a pastor, and my answer was God’s doesn’t want me there, I do better being around children and not being a pastor especially to adults. After the birth of my first child I began leading Vacation Bible School and I have done that for more than fifteen years and this week I will lead that program once again. However God was never going to allow me to run and hide especially knowing deep down within my soul where he was truly calling me. And no matter how many excuses I can come up with, or how many times I truly tried to hid, I simply could not shaken from my own spirit my true calling on my life. A few years ago I had the opportunity to attend classes thru the Methodist Church and the more I began to study the scriptures more and more,  and my soul was hungry for more, the more I learn something the more I had the desire to learn more. Two years ago I attended a long weekend retreat for Woman called The Walk to Emmaus, it was there on my knees and in tears I knew what God was telling me to do and the call on my life. I realize that I could no longer hide from my Savior, I just needed to follow. In Exodus Moses said to God, “Who am I should go to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt? And God said, “I will be with you.”     (Exodus 3:11-12) My words to God was whom am I to preach your words to your people, and God said to me, I will be with you! I have the willing heart to always serve my Lord and I continue to learn, study and grow with the Lord, and for the last few months I have been the interim pastor to a small congregation, and I am truly amazed what God has done thru me. It doesn’t matter what the message I have prepared for a Sunday, as long as I walk with my Lord continue to stay in prayer before that time God’s message will be spoken from my lips to the person (or persons) that needs to hear what God is telling them. When someone shared within the service or after with me, I have been praying and asking God to confirm what he is telling me and that person said Pastor (which is me) you just did that thru your message, I simply cry because I am allowing God to use me they way he has always plan to do in the first place. I will share this with you as long as we continue to stay humble walking with God, he will use us to bring glory to His Kingdom here on earth.

 

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Jesus Has Risen

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On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not found the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside the,. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them,” Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; for her has risen! Remember how he told you, while still with you in Galilee: ” The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day raise again.”                  Luke 24:1-7

Light comes after the night has been long and dark. Jesus has concord death. The women was so surprise just ad his disciples were on that very day. Their sorrow has turn to joy just as Jesus has told them as he walk among them.

Dear Lord:

Our hearts have leap with J-O-Y as we remember that death could never hold you, Praise your Name. You Lord had taken our place on the Cross at Calvary our own punishment you took upon yourself because you love all of your children so deeply. Give us the words to speak to others that “You Live, and that you died for all mankind so that we can continue to make more disciples for your kingdom.

Amen

Grace and Peace to all of you my friends, on this Easter Day