Most of us, at some point in our lives, find difficulty in believing our prayers or more so even just making time for prayer. Life is busy, we hurry through our prayers (when we remember to pray), our minds drift to thoughts of what’s for dinner etc. our focus is scattered and everywhere but on God. Prayer is simply conversation with God, no set time or location and minimal effort required and yet so many believers struggle with taking time to talk with God.
Lay aside all prayer formulas and simply be yourself with God. He has uniquely created each one of us to interact with Him as individuals and your prayer style should be consistent with the way He designed you.
Be yourself, approach Him with your own personality, your strengths, weaknesses and everything that is you. In the book of 1 Samuel we read a story of Hannah heartbroken and grief stricken as she was childless in a society that considered not having a child the ultimate failure. When Hannah cried out to God I imagine, she wasn’t on her knees with head bowed and whispering her petitions, rather the Word says she was ‘in bitterness of soul and wept in anguish’ (chapter 1:12) . God wants to meet with you, He wants to take you just as you are.
I recall a time of desperate prayer on my knees in the pouring rain as I ‘wept in anguish’, God answered and my journey of healing began in that desperate moment. God loves that we come to Him with our emotions, our hurt, our true self, just as a parent does with his child. I want my children to feel they can come to me with all manner of problems, not hide their emotions under a veil of fear.
When my daughters come to me and show dependence on me as the role of a loving parent, I feel fulfilled, my heart bubbles with love in that they trust me with their deepest hurts.
In similar ways, the parent child relationship defines the attitude we ought to have in prayer an attitude that focuses on God and expresses absolute dependence on Him as Father, the One who gave us life and who loves, cares for, provides for, and protects us.
Sometimes at night I hear my little girl praying, not some mechanical script, but words that flow from a heart of thanksgiving and faith in a Heavenly Father that ‘makes everything okay because He loves me’. God is not manipulated by long-winded, rehearsed babbling, but rather He is moved by our heart attitude, an attitude that seeks His presence… not His presents. Give it a go, He is waiting to chat with you x
Lately it’s been on my heart to share an excerpt from my book, may you be encouraged that no matter how tough life gets there is ALWAYS Hope… always x
Overwhelmed with fear and alone I found myself calling on God, my God the God I had abandoned, the God I didn’t need. All the while I had been trying to do life my way, He was there waiting for me to come running back into His arms, all of my effort and strength was gone all I had left was to surrender to the hope that I once knew. Hope in God was buried deep within my spirit, early years of Sunday school had planted seeds of hope that somehow, someway there was a divine meaning to my life. As I turned my thoughts back to God, I cried out to the unseen, somehow I knew He was in the room with me as a profound peace swept over my being.
My broken heart carried a pain so deep that I could hardly breathe, still in grief from my father’s death, in shock from the promiscuity of *Jake and now I lay waiting, hoping for a miracle… the survival of my twin babies. Somehow that night my hurt collided with the healing power of Jesus, I felt simultaneously weak but strong. The apostle Paul tells of the strength he found in Christ “It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (MSG)
Letting Christ take over is hard for most of us, for me there was no other choice I had reached rock bottom with no options but to surrender my will to His. Often in a sorrowful situation we shout accusations at God and then turn and walk away, I have learned by my past to not shout at God but instead it is best that we stop and listen.
Amid the calamity, a monitor strapped around my stomach, intravenous drip and observations by the nurse every hour, I managed to drift into a peaceful sleep a peace which truly surpassed my understanding. I awoke early to the gentle nudge of the obstetrician on duty, before I could clear the sleep from my eyes he began, “good morning, we are making plans for you to be taken to a larger hospital that specialises in pre-term labour, it is the safest place to be should your twins decide to come early”. Within the hour I was in the ambulance and being taken to Rockhampton hospital, alone and uncertain of how the following days would unfold the long drive in the ambulance ushered in the opportunity for my thoughts to begin to race and before long my peace had turned to dread.
Immediately upon arrival I was taken for an ultrasound to check on the twins, a cold stone-faced radiologist performed the ultrasound without a word spoken to me. All I recall is thinking “God where are you in all this, it’s all my fault this is my punishment for turning away from you”, why would He want to answer my prayers? I was convinced that God was angry with me. Finally, the radiologist broke his silence; “we can’t do anything for you, one baby is very sick and will possibly die in the next couple of days and then the other will have a chance of survival, you need to be taken to Brisbane”. His words were like missiles flying off his tongue and straight into my heart, no warmth or empathy just very matter of fact. The hours went by very slowly that day, as I lay and wait for the next report on when and how I would be leaving, the same incomprehensible peace washed over me.
*name changed for privacy 😉
Jesus says, ‘… In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV)
Jesus knew well in advance that this life would be full of trouble, He has not promised when you believe in Him your life will be trouble-free, He has promised though that no matter what you face He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Trust me, when I gave my heart to Jesus there were no bolts of lightning tracking through the sky, the devil didn’t send me a congratulations card and wipe me off his list, what did happen though was a deep peace moved into my spirit.
Peace like no other, to this day has been my anchor in the storms. I am almost certain, had I not been anchored in Him throughout the past few years, I quite possibly would have ended my life. In His Grace, Mercy and immeasurable love I have been made whole, complete in Him.
Whatever storms you may be going through stand fast, let the winds blow and when things settle you will look back and see His Sovereign hand has drawn a line of purpose through that which you thought you would never survive.
God wants to heal you from depression, anxiety, shame, addiction and whatever else holds you captive, He wants you to dream again, dream big! You were created for purpose, to have a vision for your life that captures your heart and imagination, something so big that you become purpose-driven.
For this to happen you must first confront your captors, those past hurts, habits, unforgiveness and all else holding you captive, must be dealt with before you can launch out into a new life of complete freedom and joy, ready to dream again, to truly live again!. Doing this requires courage, plenty of it!
Author Bob Gass writes: “On the heels of every dream there’s a demon of doubt. No sooner is your dream conceived than your mind is suddenly filled with all the reasons why it may not work…” Your inner dialogue may go something like this:, receiving prayer ‘doesn’t really work’, going to a counselor ‘may be a waste of time’, I have been this way for so long now I doubt anything will ever change… this is ‘just the way I am’… “ and there will be folks around you who’ll be quick to confirm those fears. In spite of that, you must forge ahead and dream; otherwise you’ll spend the rest of your life fulfilling the dreams of others”.
It is time to stand firm and declare you will not stay this way, break free from the shackles of fear, God has more for you than you have been settling for. ‘Rise up; this matter is in your hands… take courage and do it.” Ezra 10:4
Amidst life’s storms, I recently started to feel like God is ‘holding out’ on me, nothing I pray & nothing I do seems to be working towards changing our circumstances. My breath prayer (even in my sleep) has been ‘I lean not on my own understanding, my life is in the hands of the Maker of Heaven’. My patience & trust levels were at an all time low when I came across the following teaching from Bobby Conner, this brought peace and a profound ability to endure this season of seemingly nothing happening. God is at work behind the scenes & I want to encourage you to do all you can and then simply stand! Enjoy Bobby’s wisdom here…
Are you feeling frustrated and impatient that your prayers have not yet come to pass? Discern that those are the enemy’s accusations sent to discourage you from standing firm.
Worry, anxiety, lethargy, bitterness, pride, frustration, envy, impatience – anything that is not in harmony with righteousness, peace, joy, love, patience, goodness, kindness and self-control is falling prey to the enemy’s tactics.
Be angry – but do not sin in that anger.
Fear and tremble – but fear God only, with a contrite heart. Continue reading
In the book *Prince Caspian, Lucy sees Aslan the lion for the first time in many years. He has changed since their last encounter. His size surprises her, and she tells him as much. ‘Aslan,’ says Lucy, ‘you’re bigger.’ He replies, ‘That is because you are older little one.’ Lucy says, ‘Not because you are?’ He replies, ‘I am not. But every year you grow, you find me bigger.’ And so it is in our walk with Christ. The longer we serve Him, the greater He becomes. It’s not that He changes, but that we do. We see dimensions, aspects, characteristics we never saw before; increasing and astonishing increments of His purity, power and uniqueness.
It is only recently that I have realised God is much bigger than the religious box I had been holding Him in for the past 15 years. As I grow in the true knowledge of who He is I am in awe of the many facets to His goodness, mercy, forgiveness and love. David wrote: ‘Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things He does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things…’ (Psalm 103:2-5)
May you see Him ‘bigger’ today… get a BIG view of God and this will translate into BIG courage! For He is bigger than the financial pressure you have, bigger than the sickness you’re battling, bigger than the persecution of other’s, bigger than the relationship problems your dealing with… bigger than all that life has to throw at you. He is Lord over all that comes against you, Hudson Taylor said, if He is not Lord over all, He is not Lord at all!
*ref; Bob Gass Word For Today
The biblical term for thoughts which are negative is referred to as a stronghold, an area in which we are held in bondage (in prison) due to a certain way of thinking . For example a daily negative thought pattern for me, when suffering depression, would run like this: “life is not worth living, I am worthless and I will never be happy again”. This train of thought would play over and over in my mind keeping me oppressed, depressed and in bondage, a prisoner held captive by my thoughts.
You may be experiencing this battle with a negative thought life right at this moment, maybe you have strongholds in your mind, scripts you have been playing for years and you’re not even sure how they got there. Let me encourage you, God is on your side He will not forsake you.
There is a war going on and your mind is the battlefield but here’s the thing, as Satan attempts to build strongholds in your mind rest assured we have all the weapons we need to tear down the strongholds. Strongholds in the mind are, in essence, deceptive lies and false beliefs. The Bible has promised you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32). I believe what Jesus was saying is that the truth (God’s word) is our primary weapon for tearing down strongholds. Consider it this way, the opposite to a lie is truth, therefore the more time you spend immersed in truth (reading the Bible, hearing Biblical teaching) the light of God is shed upon the darkness, the lies in your mind.
Without question the truth will dispel the darkness, that my friend, is the power of God’s word! Take a simple example of walking into a dark room, we switch the light on and the dark is gone instantly, light and dark cannot coexist and so it is with truth and a lie so go ahead ‘switch some lights on’ disempower Satan’s ability to influence your thoughts. X
Before we can heal the soul we must first understand what is the soul? God has created us as a triune being, we are spirit which has a soul and lives in a body. In pursuit of healing the soul it is most important to understand the soul consists of the mind (which includes the conscience), the will and the emotions.
The soul and the spirit are mysteriously tied together and make up what the Scriptures call the “heart.” The writer of Proverbs declares, “ Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.” (Prov. 4:23 NKJV). We see here that our “heart” is central to our will and emotions, * “ for out of it are the issues of life; of natural life: it is the seat of it, from whence all actions of life are derived; it is, as philosophers say, the first that lives, and the last that dies”.
So in healing the soul we must watch with all diligence, guarding the heart from all that would cause the spring, the stream of life that proceeds from it, to be sealed up. Failure to guard the heart will leave our spirit and soul vulnerable to fear-based living, a heart where no life flows, a life personified as a ‘dead-man walking’ carrying a depressed heart.
Purpose in your heart to continue talking to God about how you are feeling, or simply praise Him for His promises, as you do this your soul will be renewed, or as my counsellor once put it ‘pray, God re-boot me to the manufacturers original default settings’. Think about this, if all the thoughts you’ve had up until this point has not made you feel any better, have another thought. As you pursue God He will eclipse your fears, broaden your horizons, change your perspective and you will have another thought, a thought which comes from His heart and you will begin to see yourself and your circumstances as He does… through eyes of faith, hope and love. Rejoice in this truth – now there’s a thought!