Wednesday, August 17, 2016

on prayer, Bible reading and accountability

A couple of years ago, I came across a blog post written by Donna Gaines, that changed my prayer life.  Donna is the wife of Steve, who is the pastor of a mega church in our area.  I'd use my own words to tell you about it, but why, when I can just paste the link for you?  Click HERE to see for yourself this post and video, and then watch it.  It is so good and worth the time.

I read the post, watched her video on how to create a prayer notebook, made one, and now use it all the time and pass on to others what I've learned.

One thing I will add here is that I also had a lady named Pat teach me on this subject one summer at Bible study.  She taught me that praying for myself is crucial in my day to day life.  So, everyday in my quiet time, I pray for myself.

What, you wonder?

I start off by asking the Lord to show me any unconfessed sin in my heart, and I pause and wait for Him to remind me something.  Sometimes that'll be a thought I had or something spoken out of line about someone, or it could be that He prompts me to go and apologize to someone.  I ask His forgiveness, and I ask that He will change me from my old ways.  I heard a pastor say that if you think you don't have sin in your life, that's your sin.  Pride.  #truth

From there I pray that He will manifest His fruit of the Spirit in me, that He will clothe me in my spiritual armor, that He will help me WANT to memorize scripture and help me recall what I've learned, that He will guard over my mouth (the words I speak), that He will show me ways to serve my family, that He would help me to long for Him like a deer longs for water.  (Most of those are straight from His word.)

I move onto the other topics next and the time I spend in prayer varies, but know that if you ever ask me to pray for something, I will.  It always gets written down.

I write about this because I believe that prayer is the most powerful tool we have to use in our daily lives.  It is SERIOUSLY underused, and many who read this don't even know how to pray.  I do believe there is a process in prayer, and I never just jump in with a laundry list of things for God to answer.  I heard Francis Chan speak on this subject once and he reminded us that God is reverent, and we should go before Him with a good bit of fear and trembling.  It is an honor that we even have access to Him, and therefore, I always begin by giving Him praise.  (Think of His attributes.)

Something that goes along with prayer is spending time in His word.  I once heard a sermon in where the pastor said think about spending time with Him in this way: consider meeting someone for the first time.  Your personality clicks with theirs, you know right away that you could potentially be extremely good or even best friends with this person.  You start to get to know them; you text, you talk on the phone, you make plans to get together every so often.  But what if you didn't do all those things?  You wouldn't know them at all.

That's how it is with our relationship with God.  You call Him Lord or Father, but if you don't spend time with Him, how ever will you get to know Him?

His word is how we get to know Him.  If you're a believer in Him and you don't spend time in His word, something is desperately amiss in your relationship with Him.  God is way more than just someone we visit on Sunday morning.

(Preaching to the choir here...I have been guilty of this.)

I like to go through reading plans in my Bible.  I don't use devotions, I only use the Bible.  I'm not saying that there is something wrong with a devotion book, but when it's more a person's words than the Word of God, then that gives me reason to pause.  I was convicted of LOVING the devotion book I read once more than God's words.  Right this very minute, I am going through the book of James with my boys.

We must be reading God's word every single day.  It's okay to skip a day or two every once in a while, but don't make that a habit.  There's no reason why we can't take ten minutes and read a chapter.  I have more than that to read, but many of you don't.  It's not about quantity, it's about quality.

Along with reading His word, I love to write His words out.

I stumbled across a blog who made a monthly writing plan, and I print out the sheet and I write out a passage of scripture every day.  Again, it's okay to miss a day or two, but don't get too far behind if you do this, or it'll be hard to catch up.  I had to write out two pages this morning, because I missed yesterday.

The blog is Sweet Blessings.  Go here to check it out for yourself and to find the printable version.  And join me, if you want!  I'd love to hear that you're doing this with me.

Here was a picture of what I wrote out in July.

Sometimes she will make the month a topic, but other times it'll just be random passages from the Bible.

I post about these things on social media because accountability helps everyone, and that brings me to my last topic.

If you do not have an accountability partner, then go and get yourself one.  Or let it be me and I'll help you out.  I have a few, but I'll tell you about one: my friend Andrea.  I don't see her that often, maybe about once a month, but we text every single day.  We text pictures to each other of what we write out and we let the other know that we are praying for one another.  Just this morning, she asked me to pray for something specific, and I did, right when she asked.

It helps you to be faithful when you tell someone else what you've done for that day.

I am open about all of this in my life because I am a leader in youth at our church.  The teenage girls that look up to me see what I do on social media, and I pray that what I do inspires them to do the same.  Paul said something about this in the New Testament.  He told the church at Corinth that they could look to Paul's example as he looked to the example of Christ Jesus.

That can be found in 1 Corinthians eleven verse one.

That is how I aim to live out my life.  I have younger ones looking to me as an example.  My own teenage boys, other teenagers, even young adults who God has put in my path.  If they look to me, I need to be looking at Jesus.  I certainly do not profess to be perfect, I am a CONSTANT work in process, but I pray that He sharpens and uses me every single day.

That is why I share with you on this blog, and that's my prayer for it, that He will give me the words to write and that they will honor Him.  That's how I use social media, too.  I have family members who are not believers, and I pray that what I write on there is always pointing to Him Who is at work in me.

Thanks for reading this blog.  Love to all.

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