All I can Do is Pray [Day 16: PRAY]

I was lying on an operating table in a foreign hospital. I had just been escorted through the OR and was horrified to see all the doors open and various procedures happening before my eyes. What I am now told was iodine stains splattered on the floor looked like blood to the untrained eye, and all the unconscious people just looked dead. Yeah, I was freaking out! I knew it was a simple procedure that was about to happen, but my mind went into anxiety over-drive anyway.

In that moment, all I could do was pray. I asked God to be with me and to calm my crazy thoughts. And then, I fell asleep. I woke up on the other side, alone in a recovery room and in a total panic. I had been intubated during my surgery, and my throat was raw and sore. No one had warned me about that. Again, I found myself praying because I was helpless to do anything else.

I think back on one our first Saturdays at church here when the devastating earthquake of 2015 hit. We were at church and followed the frenzied crowd as far as we could. We ended up huddled in a bathroom doorway with other national believers. We wrapped our arms around each other and did the only thing we could do — pray.

Photo by Ruben Hutabarat on Unsplash

In these scenarios, we were completely helpless to do anything to relieve the terror of the circumstances at hand. We had no control over the outcome and did not even have the option to run away! When we feel helpless, we do the only thing we can do. In daily life, though, prayer is not my most and first-utilized tool. How often do I let my worries run wild, consult with Google, tell a friend or vent in my journal before I hand it all over to God? I’m sorry to say this is often the case.

I buy the lie that I am in control of the day-to-day. That God is not interested and will not intervene in my life and its minuscule concerns. So, I try to manage it all on my own — without prayer. The reality is, my helplessness serves me. My helplessness causes me to cry out to God. The circumstances that cause me to feel helpless are exactly what I need. It’s just a shame I forget so easily.

I need to be needy. Every day, I need to realize my utter helplessness without God. And every day, I must put all my anxieties in His hands admitting my complete inability to control the circumstances of my life. I surrender and submit to His infinite wisdom in prayer. These “I need you” prayers need to happy every day even as I rise.

I need the peace only God can provide when I’m lying in my warm bed just as much as when I’m lying on an operating table. I need His provision just as much today as the infamous day of the earthquake. I just need Him, and I plan to tell Him that.

I “make” God big in my life when I daily come to Him in prayer admitting my dependence on Him for each day.

Have you admitted your need of God in prayer today?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

To Rejoice is Greater than to Rush [Day 15: WHEN]

I wrote the following post for Five Minute Friday a few months ago, and I thought it was so fitting for this series. When my little life is less than what I want it to be or I feel stuck in my current circumstances, I don’t have to continue my pattern of waiting, wishing, and whining. I don’t have to rush from one thing to the next in search of something that will fill me. I can do the will of God even when my feelings war against my joy.

To Rejoice is Greater Than to Rush

When will the kids grow up? When is our ministry going to take off? When are we going to get to go out on a date together again? These thoughts come in waves as I rush from one event to the next always wishing the next more comfortable phase would usher itself in while I’m scrambling to catch up to the chaos of the one that came before. I want the fruits of my labors like yesterday, and I really wish we could just get a hurry up on this harvest we’re waiting for. Oh, and when is it okay to rest? Here I am again waiting, wishing, and whining.

Photo by Kelly Rockhold Photography

In this rush which seems far too routine to me, I wonder what I am missing. I don’t have to search long to find my answer.

Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

It really couldn’t be more clear than that. While the present may not be savory, it can be sanctifying. I can daily find reason to rejoice rather than rush to the next better thing. The King of the Universe reigns also over my days. I fail never to have the opportunity to commune with him as friend with friend. And I happen to believe that this encouragement to give thanks in every thing is good advice for today, tomorrow and this season and the next one. Actually, forever because I’m told it’s God’s will concerning me, and I know He won’t change His mind on that matter. I want to see what this looks like in daily practice. Do you?

I “make” God big in my life when I choose to do His will be rejoicing, praying, and giving thanks in every circumstance of my little life. 

What can you rejoice in today?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

 

Changing the Way I Petition God [Day 14: ASK]

I had a big burden on my heart and a corresponding prayer request. I had talked with God about this specific need over the course of a few years with no clear answer. I fought discouragement over not receiving this answer for the Lord, but I kept asking in faith that He would give me what I wanted. But then I realized something — my faith was misplaced.

My faith was that the Lord’s will would align with my desires, but this is not what the Bible teaches. John 15:7 says, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” That sure sounds wonderful doesn’t it? We can have whatever we ask! But what we fail to notice is there’s a condition with that promise.

If I want my prayers to be heard and answered by God, I must be spending time with Him growing in my love and knowledge of Him. Something interesting happens when I commit myself to this — my desires and requests begin to align with His will. As my desires more closely mirror His, I am basically asking in faith that He will do what He already wants to do!

Photo by Kelly Rockhold Photography

I surrendered that need to God. Instead of asking for the natural desires that looked like that of any other worldly gal’s, I asked Him to work in my life. I asked Him to change me and all my desires. I said God, “You know I want this thing, but I am trusting You to do your will. Give me the strength I need to accept your answer. I pray above all that your name will be lifted high.”

For the first time regarding this situation, I was in a state of total peace. I remain here, still asking. Still trusting. Hoping each day I get closer to asking for His will instead of what I want.

What desire do you need to surrender to God as you commit yourself to knowing Him?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

Motherhood Made me Beg God to Reign over Mouth [Day 13: TALK]

In the heat of the summer with no A.C. and too much on my mind, I found my fuse had become shorter than usual. I was impatient with my kids and irritated with my husband. I was a real GRUMP. Looking around on the reading app I use, I found a book called Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses by Amber Lia and Wendy Speake. I knew I needed to read it. It was a Biblical challenge to examine my own tendencies towards sin and selfishness. It called me out on my sinful angry reactions with my family. It kicked me in the pants in the most holy way.

In the mornings, before I got out of bed, I began with a simple prayer “Lord, reign over my mouth.” Most days that was all I could muster before my two wild ones barged in my bedroom door a few minutes before 6 a.m. as per the daily routine. My triggers started early and appeared often, but it was my decision to let the Holy Spirit reign over my mouth or let the Enemy have His way in my home at my hand. It’s a daily battle — one I lose often. But it is worth fighting every day. The Lord, my strength and my redeemer makes victory possible.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

The words of my mouth — my talk — starts first in my heart. The things I dwell on deep inside find their way to the tip of my tongue. This is why it is imperative for me to be filling myself up with Biblical wisdom so I may talk truth to myself when my temper wars against the right I know to do. This is why I must guard my mind from worldly things that creep in and work against me. This is why I must empty myself and say, “All for Jesus.”

I desperately need Him to reign over my heart and mind each day. And I’ll keep asking Him trusting He will use me in spite of me and provide all I need to conquer my sinful reactions to all of life’s circumstances and all the people in it.

I “make” God big in my life when I talk the truth and allow God to reign over my heart, mind, and mouth. 

What area of your life do you need to ask God reign over?

Talk to me in the comment section below!

A Sacrifice of Praise [Day 12: PRAISE]

I sat in Ama’s home with a lovely group of women made up of Americans and nationals too. We had paid our dear widow of our church a visit with the hope of being a blessing to her. But I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we were all blessed that day. She made us black tea, and we conversed with her dogs to make her smile. One of the girls of the group shared later that a cockroach crawled between her feet. We thanked her for *impressively* remaining calm and not taking away from the sweet vibes shared between sisters in Christ sipping tea and enjoying the company of one another.

As the conversation died down, Ama showed us her beloved Bible — never mind that she can’t read — and sadly shared with us that a rat had eaten through some of its pages. She then pulled out her solar powered audio Bible and began playing in Genesis 1:1. She closed her eyes and smiled. She listened intently as if it was the first time she had pressed play on this device.

When she opened her eyes she said, “I love the Bible. It’s sweeter than honey to me.” I translated these words for our visiting friends, and the elders in the bunch got collectively teary-eyed. She began praising God and sharing with us how good He is. Even though she knew there was not one unbeliever in the bunch, she got her Gospel on in a big way!

Photo by Kelly Rockhold Photography

I was encouraged by Kate Motaung’s post today to change my vocabulary to regularly praise God for everything He is and every gift He gives. And I was encouraged by Ama that no matter how little I have or how small my life may seem on the grand scale of things, I can praise God big. I can offer a sacrifice of praise.

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Hebrews 13:15-16

It has been said that praise is the consummation of joy. When I’m truly enjoying God and relishing His gifts, praise is the expression of that fulness I find only in HIm. He is well pleased, and His name is glorified when I offer it back to Him. May my heart always be the kind that rejoices in the Lord and my mouth always be spewing sacrifices of praise.

I “make” God big in my life when I praise Him in times of victory and defeat, great joy and great sorrow. I “make” Him big when I enjoy Him and let Him (and everyone else around me) know it. 

What can you praise God for today?

Talk to me in the comment section below!