Pray 7 Days – Sunday (day 1)

sunday 01

Sunday mornings can be so busy, trying to get out the door to church,…

but not rushing, starting the day (and starting the week) by praying, even if just for a few minutes, makes such a difference!

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“SEEK”

– my word for Day 1

Sunday, a day for worship, a day for listening and learning, a day for seeking.

Seeking the LORD is the perfect way to start the day!

sunday 02

It doesn’t take long to quiet my heart, intentionally lifting my eyes to heaven and the asking the LORD’s blessing and seeking Him for wisdom and guidance throughout the day.

I begin by reading a few verses.  (I’ve listed some that I have printed for this season, and I’ve numbered them to go along with the dates of the month so that I don’t always begin with the same verse.)

I pray what is on my heart, and then I pray through my “top requests”, as time allows, that I’ve made simple pages for in the back of my book.

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In the pocket of this page, I have favorite prayers from scripture, and   I have a couple short prayers written out.   Currently, in a paper-clipped page, I have two words:  “direction” and “victory” with verses that I am claiming as I pray for these things I am seeking.

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Verses on Seeking:

1 Chr. 16:11 “Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.”

Ps. 27:8 “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, O LORD, I shall seek.’”

Jer. 29:13 “You will seek Me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

1 Pt. 3:11 “Seek peace and pursue it”

Mt. 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

Deut. 4:29 “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

1 Chr. 22:19a “Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the LORD your God.”

1 Chr. 28:9 “…acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desie and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.”

Ps. 32:6 “Therefore let al the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.”

Is. 45: 19 “I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in a land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, ‘Seek me in vain.’ I, the LORD, speak the truth; I declare what is right.”

Jer. 24:7 “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.”

Amos 5:4 “This is what the LORD says to Israel: ‘Seek Me and live.’”

Lam. 3:25 “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.”

Lam. 2:19 “Arise, cry out in the night, as the watches of the night begin; pour out your heart like water in the presence of the LORD. Lift up your hands to Him for the lives of your children, who faint from hunger at every street corner.”

Ps. 130:6 “I wait for the LORD more than watchmen wait for the morning…”

Ps. 16:7 “I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.”

Ps. 42:8 “The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; and His song will be with me in the nights, a prayer to the God of my life.” (Job 35:10 “…God my Maker, who gives songs in the night…”; Ps. 77:6; Ps. 149:5; Ps. 119:55 PS. 63:6)

Ps. 27:14 “Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”

Is. 25:9 “In that day they will say, ‘Surely this is our God; we trusted in Him, and He saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in Him; let us rejoice and be glad in His salvation.’”

Is. 26:9 “My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you.”

Mt. 6:33 “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Ps. 63:1 “O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh years for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”

Is. 55:1 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”

Ps. 139:17 “How precious are your thoughts to me, O God!”

Heb. 4:16 “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

Eph. 3:12 “In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

Ps. 91:15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.” (Ps. 50:15)

Jer. 33:3 “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

Jer. 32:17 “Ah Lord GOD! Behold You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You.” (Mt. 19:26; Mk. 10:27; Lk. 1:37; Lk. 18:27; Gen. 18:14; 2 Ki 3:18; Lk. 1:37)

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Pray 7 Days (notebook – how to)

For those of you who were curious, I made my “Pray 7 Days” notebook from an old card organizer.

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The six front and back pocket pages were perfect for the seven days of the week.

  • a single page for Sunday and Saturday
  • and the double page spreads for Monday through Friday

nb 01 nb 02 nb 03 nb 04 nb 05 nb 06 nb 07

I ripped out the address pages, but left the dividers for prayer requests one page for each of my top requests.

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I cut and glued scrapbook paper to cover the pages (and added stickers and filled the pages with scriptures, quotes, photos, and requests, as you’ll see in the “Pray 7 Days” daily posts)  to make them my own.

Look around your own home and see what you can recycle to make your own prayer tools.  Whatever you make, enjoy being made in the image of your Creator and let every step of your “creating” process be done as a gift to Him.

Why not PRAY as you make your Prayer Book?

Prayer-Days & Every-days

24/7, Seven Days a Week

Praying "24/7" is so much easier when I stop to meet with the LORD "Seven Days a Week".

Jesus Christ is the King of my life!  Like my precious Savior, I need to come away to a quiet place to hear what the Father would say to me.  Then, I can better hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit throughout the day as I pray without ceasing.

In this particular season of homeschooling, doctor appointments, band practices, hula lessons, training for races, mountains of laundry, and always hungry teen boys, I personally need to productively stay FOCUSED in the mornings and then LINGER in the quieter middle of the day.

In order to be the best steward of my time and more faithful in my calling, I’m adjusting to this season and making changes in my morning routine.

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A Brief History

Here’s a quick timeline of how my prayer life has evolved:

  • Beginning in 2006, my goal was to start the day in prayer.
  • In 2007, I added having an annual prayer day, a day totally set apart to seek the LORD and enjoy His presence.
  • Those prayer days were so significant in my life, that by 2013, I was having two (one before the start of the new year and one at my birthday) and also added a less formal prayer day every month (on the monthly prayer days, I still had my children with me, but I kept the day as simple as possible).
  • Last year, 2015, I came to realize that through these prayer days, I was actually only starting to keep a Sabbath day (twice a year and once a month).  So, I’ve recently added weekly prayer days.  Oh, what a wonderful day!!!!  My favorite day of the week!  These are what Sundays used to be like before I was married, totally open ended to keep company with the LORD: reading entire books of the Bible, doing word studies, indulging in hours of study, listening to worship songs, whatever!

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Prayer-Days

So here is my current prayer strategy:

Daily Prayer Time (“Pray 7 Days”, approximately 15 minutes in prayer, followed by a brief time of Bible reading)  — Then later in the day after school is well underway, the laundry is started, and I’ve run a few miles, I can pray (use my regular prayer notebook), study, meditate and memorize to my heart’s content.

Weekly Prayer Days (a day at home, every Wednesday marked out on my calendar till the end of 2016; kept as simple as possible with crockpot meals or frozen pizza and independent studies for my kids)  — On this day, I start with my “Pray 7 Days”, but then I linger and go wherever the Holy Spirit and a rabbit trail chain reference takes me.  These are the days I “intercede”, focusing my prayers for others, especially those outside my family and closest friends that I pray for everyday.  

Monthly Prayer Days (these are the familiar 01-01, 02-02, etc… dates that I’ve been using for years) —  These days are for planning and dreaming in the LORD’s presence.  These are “calendar days”; I spread out pages of my month/year (of my personal and homeschool calendars) and ask the LORD to fill and remove what He wants.  There’s a lot of Spirit-filled journaling done on these days.

(Bi-)Annual Prayer Days (one entire day before my birthday and often a series of days over Christmas break before the New Year <see the Pray 12 Days Christmas prayer challenge to see where this began>) — This is when I up-date my prayer notebook, write out new prayer lists for my family, and have a most formal time of prayer.  These are my “most holy days”.  I seek the LORD with reverence and spend a much more focused time on confession and worship.

I can’t tell you how addictively wonderful the presence of the LORD is, and these days are the highlights of my life.  When our family takes a trip to the shore or heads out on a fishing trip, one of my first thoughts is, “Hurray!!!!  Extra prayer days!!!”

You’ve got to try this!  Start with just once a year if you need to.

There’s nothing in the world like showing up to meet the LORD without any particular agenda, saying, “LORD, what would You like to do today?”, and then hearing Him answer…

Or, at the end of the day, saying, “LORD, is there anything else You’d like to say?”, writing out verses and ideas that slowly come to mind, then looking back months later and seeing that what the LORD impressed on my heart at the end of the day, when I was most quiet and attentive, was the most insightful and profound wisdom or direction for the season I was about to enter.

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Every-days

Here’s a quick out-line of my “Pray 7 Days”:

Each days has two parts.

  1. First, I turn to the pocket page created especially for that day of the week:

Sunday – SEEK – Upon opening my eyes, I read a few selected prayers from scripture about prayer and dive right in to my top requests.  Then it’s out of bed, and I get ready for church.

Monday through Friday – each day has two theme words, scriptures/lists to go along with them, and some of the Appendix lists provided in the back of The Battle Plan for Prayer – by the Kendrick Brothers, makers of the War Room (The books and Bible study associated with the movie are the resources my prayer group has decided to focus on applying this year.)

  • Mondays – PETITION & THANKSGIVING
  • Tuesdays – REMEMBER & NAMES
  • Wednesdays – ATTRIBUTES & PERSEPECTIVE
  • Thursdays – PURPOSE & PROMISE
  • Fridays – IMAGE & REIGN

Saturday – REST – This morning I read a few favorite verses about peace and rest.  Then I choose to be still and listen, and wait for the LORD to speak to me.

If you chose to make a "Pray 7 Days" prayer book, I hope you would make it personal and choose your own theme words for each day.

For day by day descriptions with pictures of “Pray 7 Days” go to: “1-1-1-1” (pray)

2.  Then, I turn to the back of my book which has a separate page for each of the items on my priority prayer list:
  • ME
  • US (Handsome & Me, and “us” as a family)
  • KIDS (as a group & individually)
  • MINISTRY (my calling & roles)
  • CHURCH
  • HOME (our household, our “hub” & location as part of this neighborhood, community, and county)
  • DREAMS (ideas, passions, goals, …)
  • FRIENDS (my tea/prayer group & other especially close friends)
  • FAMILY (extended family)
  • AMERICA & the WORLD
  • TEMPLE (“my house” – my body, my bedroom, & my physical house)
  • ISRAEL (& the coming of our Messiah)
As with the daily themes, you should choose your own areas of priority prayer, having fewer or more as is practical for you.

rest

Unlike my regular prayer notebook, which can have pages and pages of requests for each topic, I keep these lists brief and in clear bullet points.  I also paper clipped the Appendix lists (mentioned above) that best apply to each area to the corresponding page.

Each day I begin with “me” and my immediate family, but then I move to the page that left off with the days before.  (I put a special clip on the next page when I finish; so I will remember where to start tomorrow.)

When it comes to using the Appendix lists, I have them numbered for the days of the month; so I only focus on one item and the corresponding verse each day.  Many of the references are ones I have memorized, but if I don’t, I take the time to look them up again so that by repetition, I will hopefully add those scriptures to my heart.

After 15 minutes or so, I try to wrap it up.  This is hard, but when I come back later, I am thankful for all I have accomplished in the morning.  Also, there is never a reason to skip praying in the morning, because I know it will only take a few minutes.  Before, when my morning pray time would take over an hour, I would post-pone it if I had a morning appointment, which often resulted in never having a quiet time.

As wonderful as “praying without ceasing” is, I’ve found that it is so much richer and I hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit so much clearer when I’ve stopped to focus on the LORD.  Posture (in my cozy corner or prayer closet, kneeling or on my face, or hands folded with eyes closed) has a remarkable effect on my attitude and focus.

For day by day descriptions with pictures of “Pray 7 Days” go to: “1-1-1-1” (pray)

Preparing for Prayer with Prayer

“Putting ‘my house’ in Order”

I want (I NEED) a clean house, a clean body, a clean mind, a clean spirit…  So, where to begin?  First things first!

Let’s get on our knees before God, seek His face, offer “it all” as a sacrifice to Him, then ask for His blessing and His wisdom.  Especially as we seek to enter into a special time of prayer, we are wise to begin asking God to guide and bless us.

My prayer for you and myself is that we will become powerful warriors in prayer and faith-filled women of God in each opportunity we encounter and every responsibility we oversee.  That we will establish long lasting disciplines that ground us firming in God's truth, yet not become burdened by any ritualistic routine or legalistic habit.

“…your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own”  1 Corinthians 6:19

A couple stories from the Bible kept coming to mind as I thought about our temples:

when Solomon Dedicates the Temple

  • 1 Kings 8
  • 2 Chronicles 6

and

when King Josiah founded the lost book in the house of the LORD and reformed the entire nation and reinstituted the Passover

  • 2 Kings 22-23

Solomon had prayed in advance for the LORD to be merciful and gracious when God’s people would one day fall away from pure worship, for when they came to their senses and turned towards the temple and prayed to God that He would hear them.

I sometimes critically wonder how God’s chosen people could so forget the temple that they would misplace the Word of God; only until I can’t find my own copy of the scripture through neglect.  Life gets busy, I get distracted, and priorities and healthy disciplines are forgotten.

"When Solomon had finished praying this entire prayer and supplication to the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread toward heaven ... 'Blessed be the LORD, who has given rest to His people Israel, according to all that He promised; not one word has failed of all His good promise... May the LORD our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may he not leave us or forsake us, that He may incline our hearts to Himself, to walk in His ways... so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no one else.  Let your heart therefore be wholly devoted to the LORD our God...'." 1 Kings 8: 54-61

My household is a living study in the Second Law of Thermodynamics:  “the entropy of an isolated system does not decrease”:

  • a tendency toward decay and disintegration
  • a system going from order to disorder
  • a spiraling state of decline

Disorder never produces order by a random, accidental process.  And, my bedroom, bathroom drawers, cupboards, hall laundry room, hall closet, mudroom, basement, and barn all silently testify that without intervention the disarray only get worse.

More than just the physical “stuff”, my entire life (my thoughts, relationships, work, ministries, and yes, especially my spiritual life) becomes an exercise in futility when I take out the One Supernatural Element from the equation, the One that turns every Law upside-down and inside-out, the Creator of the Universe, the Source of all Energy and Life, the God of Order that gives meaning and significance to every seemingly insignificant part of life.

So, let’s begin with Him.

Put Your House in Order

The FlyLady has her shiny sink, and I have PRAYER.  When I start to put my house in order, I start with PRAYER.  Always first each day, and especially when everything is overwhelmingly out of control and I need to “start over”.

I think of myself, my responsibilities, and areas influences as ever expanding concentric circles.  Starting at the hub, the outer reaches of my life begin to reflect the order or disorder of my heart.

To put my house in order, I need to have the LORD put me in order, beginning with my heart and my thoughts.

  1. I begin on my knees and clean out my “temple” (my heart and mind) in confession and seeking God for wisdom and help
  2. and then I move on to tidying my “holy-of-holies” (my place of prayer) 
  3. then my prayer notebook and tools
  4. next to my “sanctuary” (my master bath and bedroom)
  5. and on to the other areas of my “home”
    • relationships
      • with my husband, my children,…
    • the house
      • the living areas of the house, kitchen, baths,…
    • homeschooling
      • planning, grading, organizing,…
  6. then out to the world
    • friendships, work, community, church, …

Choose Your Strategy / Select Your Tools

From January 29th to February 28th (or one month from the date you set as your personal “LEAP Day”), seek the LORD to help you come up with your own strategy for prayer.

  • How do you want to grow in your relationship with the LORD?
  • When do you pray?
  • Where do you pray?
  • What tools do you use?
  • What accountability do you have?
  • Where do you find encouragement?
  • How do you maintain prayer as a priority?

I have posted some suggestions of things that have been a blessing to me, but I like any idea, they become most useful when you make them your own.

So, which tools might be the most beneficial for you in this season?

  • a concise prayer list with just a few items   (Top Ten)
  • a prayer journal  (Journal)
  • a prayer board on the wall or prayer calendar  (Boards/Calendars)
  • a unique notebook or binder to organize your lists and tools (Notebook)
  • a prayer group or accountability partner
  • a book with scriptures written into prayers, prayers of others, lists from other books, a study on prayer, hymns, poems, etc.  (People/Books)
  • or check out the latest tool I’m using to simplify my morning prayer time (PRAY 7 Days,  Here’s a link to Day 1)
Why not take a day or an afternoon checking out Pinterest or Googling prayer ideas?  Then another day, pick out a notebook or journal and gather a few supplies.  Then over the rest of the month, collect pictures and prayer requests to make your own inspiring prayer reminders.
Begin With Prayer

Ask the LORD to direct you and teach you to pray.  Prayer is a conversation with the King of Kings.   Don’t overcomplicate it.  The best way to start is to talk to Him.  All He seeks is a humble heart that is wholly devoted to Him.

Whatever discipline you need and whatever tools you choose to aid you in seeking the LORD, I hope you’ll make them your own special gift to and from the LORD.   I’m asking the LORD to help us be wholly devoted to Him, intentionally investing in this most precious of all relationships.  May the LORD direct your search in this adventure!

Check out the links associated with this challenge: “1-1-1-1” (pray).

PRAYER TOOLS – best of the best (part 5)

PEOPLE and BOOKS

When it comes to learning how to pray,

We need a teachable spirit.

  1. We can ask the Holy Spirit to teach us,
  2. and learn from the examples God has given us…
    • in scripture
    • in your life
    • in books.

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An easy way to begin is to post your prayer, "LORD to teach me to pray" as a reminder to pray everyday (on your mirror, refrigerator, car dashboard, or calendar).

The Holy Spirit is the one that teaches us, and in addition to what we read in scripture, He often uses the prayer lives of others to encourage us.  We can learn by…

  • listening to others pray
  • and reading the prayers of godly saints

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The Influence of Christians

Looking back I see prayer mentors the LORD had placed in my path all throughout my life, but it wasn’t until I became a teachable student that I began trying to apply the lessons modelled for me.

What examples has the LORD put in you life?

What lessons have they taught you? 

(at the end of this post I will list some personal examples)

One of the best ways to find encouragement and to grow in prayer is to join a prayer group or to start one of your own.   —  If your church does not already have an organized prayer meeting, you could start a small group with a few friends in your home.   It doesn’t have to be fancy.   Simple is often better.  (When my “tea group”  meets, we have a quick devotion, led by the host since we rotate homes, and then we exchange requests and pray.)

The Influence of Other Christians (via books)

As Aragon says in the Lord of the Rings, “Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not.”  This line is quoted in the opening of Priscilla Shire’s book Fervent.

Now is a most urgent time for us to engage in this battle for our souls, for our husbands, for our children, for our country.  Whether we fight strategically or pretend it isn’t there, the battle is all around us.

War Room 2 War Room

The movie War Room, recently released on DVD, gives all of us a perfect opportunity to easily start our own prayer groups.  We can invite a few friends over for a movie night, then simply ask how many would like to be part of a prayer group(They wrote an excellent 5 week Bible Study you could begin together.  Or, you could find just one friend to read one of the two excellent books written and call each other regularly for encouragement and accountability.)

Other’s Prayers:

Just as the prayers of the characters in the movie War Room teach  by example, the prayers of mighty warriors that have been recorded or written down can challenge us to pray with conviction and with the authority of the Word of God.

(*those that challenge specifically to pray scripture)

  •  the movie/book  A Man Called Peter and The Prayers of Peter Marshall – compiled by Catherine Marshall
  • Corrie ten Boom’s book *Prayers & Promises for Every Day from the Living Bible (and her father, as portrayed in the movie The Hiding Place and told in her book In My Father’s House)

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  • Beth Moore’s *Praying God’s Word book and prayer cards

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  • a gift from my mother-in-law *Praying God’s Will for my Husband

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  • *Praying Paul’s Letters by Elmer Towns
  • once I was in the habit of praying scripture, I used a variety of *“promise books”, scriptures arranged by topic
  • Prayers that Avail Much for Mothers – Germaine Copeland
  • Pulpit Prayers by Eminent Preachers (from the Clerical Library)
  • Songs and Service Book for Ship and Field – Army and Navy (1942)

prayer books 11 prayer books 12

 

Books About Prayer:

Though it’s easy to get lulled into just talking or reading about prayer, if we keep our focus on our purpose and actually apply the lessons, it can be helpful to use books about prayer.

  • The Practice of the Presence of God – Brother Lawrence
  • Prayer Begins with Relationship – Cynthia Bezek
  • from the “book club” days, Stormie Omartian – Power of a Praying Wife  (/Parent)”
  • Bill Hybels – Too Busy Not to Pray
  • Kay Arthur – LORD, I Want to Know You
  • With Christ in the School of Prayer – Andrew Murray
  • The Contemporaries Meet the Classics on Prayer – compiled by L. Allen
  • What Happens When Women Pray – Evelyn Christenson
  • Praying the LORD’s Prayer for Spiritual Breakthrough – Towns

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Books turned into Prayers

Some of my favorite and most powerful prayer list came from books that are not specifically about prayer.  [Hymns, poems, chapter titles from contents pages (copied, typed, or written out) fill the back section of my prayer notebook and are rotated through the front section for personal use.]

Turning Everything into a Prayer

Here are just a few examples of my favorites resources (to turn them into a prayer, read a small section, then pray your thoughts or response back to God):

Books Content
  •  The Westminster Confession of Faith -1647  (I used this with my children one year as part of our school.  We’d read one paragraph, look up the passages of scripture that were referenced, and then pray back the truths to the LORD using many of the words from the text.)

prayer book tool 01 prayer book tool 02

  • Jewish Prayer Books (especially those used for feast days – I find it such a blessing to pray, with the added insight I have in Christ, the passages of the Bible that God’s chosen people are reading as they still look for a Messiah.  Nothing else compels me more earnestly to pray for the peace of Jerusalem or for God’s people to come to Jesus.)

prayers books jewish 02 prayers books jewish 03 prayers books jewish

  • Lies Women Believe

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Books Chapter Titles (Contents Page)

(If the chapter titles don’t lend themselves to a prayer list, try taking the bold print points from your favorite books as prayer bullets.)

  • A Woman After God’s Own Heart – Elizabeth George

title 02  titles 01 titles 03

  • Your Beautiful Purpose – Susie Larson

titles 05 titles 04 title 06

Hymnals and Books of Poetry

“Great is Thy Faithfulness, O God my Father.  There is no shadow of turning with Thee…”

hymnals

(With this section, I’ve saved one of the very “best of the best” for last.  Singing prayers to God takes my heart to a whole new level of worship and petition.)

hymn 02hymn 03hymn 01

  • Hymnals (or books with the stories behind the hymns)
  • Christian poets that have published collections, like Helen Steiner Rice (or even an on line search for a Christian poem on a particular topic)
Here are a few favorite first lines:

“I got up early one morning
and rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
that I didn’t have time to pray…” – unknown

“I met God in the morning,
when my day was at its best.
And His Presence came like glory,
a sunrise in my breast…” – Ralph Cushman

“LORD, make me an instrument of Your peace…”  – St. Francis

“I asked for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things…” – unknown Confederate Soldier

 

—-BONUS —-

(As Mentioned Above) Personal Examples of the Influence of Christians:
  1. my dad
    • praying aloud all through out the day at random moments
    • tucking me in and praying blessings over me every night with his hand on my head  (I vividly remember peeking out between his fingers as he prayed.)
    • habits at specific times (such as every time we got in the car)
    • on the phone any time a need was mentioned  (I appreciated this most in college and after I was first married.)
    • anywhere and everywhere!  (in parking lots, in restaurants, on elevators, in lobbies, my dad would pray with anyone in need, anywhere)
    • almost every single morning before I was awake (He was an early riser and was so consistent, I could count him having prayed for me even when I was in an earlier time zone.)
    • his intentional strategies  (having his coffee pot set on a timer and supplies ready the night before; every where we moved he creating a prayer room or chose a specific desk or spot at the dining room table; keeping a prayer notebook, using photographs, claiming scriptures…)
    • keeping it “real”, “personal”, and “private”  (That was the outline of my favorite sermon he ever preached, and it was one he modeled well.)
  2. my mom and my grandma (dad’s mom)
    • their simplicity, asking what was on her heart without any “religious” or “professional Christian” sounding words
    • their sincerity (being vulnerable and earnest, even to tears)
    • (my grandma was one to kneel down and she’d pray for every relative by name… I know this especially from a summer I spent with my grandmothers in college.  She was so faithful!)
  3. my grandfather (mom’s dad)
    • he prayed l-o-n-g prayers (Even at meal times, his prayers were unhurried, deep, and heartfelt.  I think of him so often when I pray with my kids.  Sometimes I get so wrapped up in what I’m praying that I forget my kids are there or how long I’ve prayed, and when I suddenly become aware, I wonder if this was what happened when he prayed.)
  4. my grandmother (mom’s mom)
    • so reverent (her prayers though tender as Mother Goose when I was a child, were holy and respectful in the most sacred sense.  I’ll forever treasure the memory of how she holds her hands when she prays.)
  5. my youth leader’s wife in Germany
    • memorizing scripture for the purpose of prayer“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the spiritual wisdom and understanding, and we pray this is order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,…”  Many of Paul’s words and other scriptures roll of my tongue in prayer because of her influence.)
  6. a high school history teacher that sponsored our F.C.A. club, a particular volunteered for our youth group in New Jersey, two college friends that were more mature than their years in Christ (Christi H. and Jenny M.), my grandma’s Monday prayer group, Becky P. and the VCF Wednesday night prayer group, (and others) … each of these taught me something very specific about prayer by their prayers.

(I hope you’ll consider thinking through the timeline of your life and the prayers that have influenced you.)

I’m praying for you, dear Friend and Seeker!  I hope that you will choose to take responsibility for your spiritual growth and pursue those people and resources that can build you up in your most holy faith.

Don’t forget to check out the latest “personal retreat” a Leap Year Prayer challenge:  “1-1-1-1” (PRAY)