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Cultivating A Heart of Prayer – The Gap – Week 4

26 Jul

be-still

This week I have had a hard time blogging.  Not sure why, but usually by Thursday I am finished.  Well, it is Thursday morning, and here I sit trying to think of how to write on the great topics suggested by our blog leader. Some of what I would like to write about, I can not because of the subject matter and the people I love who are hurting.  Honestly, I have been unable to come up with which subject in our prayer study to blog about, and what to say on any of the subjects so I am sitting here, thinking, typing and wondering  where this goes.

I thought about the subject of our study, Cultivating A Heart of Prayer, and I thought how we  sometimes shorten it to “The Gap”.  It is a gap between Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Studies – the last one which ended in June and the next one which starts in August.  I know what gap means, but think I will look it up.  I googled it and found in “The Free Dictionary” several things that apply.  One definition was “a space between object or points”.  I have a subject, I have done the work this week, but the words are not coming.  But for some reason God has placed that word “gap” in my mind even though I have been in several gap studies before.

So, I sit here wondering about what has been missing in my prayer life and about that word “gap”.  I have my prayer notebook.   I write prayer requests.  I write specifically for my family and friends on what I am praying about. I get on my knees in tears some days so what is missing, is there a gap Lord?

I thought about an analysis we used to do when I was working.  It was called a “gap analysis”.  We would sit down and perform an analysis of where we are today and where we wanted to be at a certain point in time.  From that analysis, we would analyze what to do to get there.

I learned something really crucial this week that I have been missing when I pray and it just hit me it is the gap.  BAM!   So what kind of GAP analysis did we do these last three weeks –  our gap – God Answers Prayers?

We learned first to sit quietly before the Lord and really hear from Him.  We studied and searched scriptures and learned how powerful praying scriptures back to Him can be, and what I believe is the product of all our analysis.   We were encouraged to think of people, issues, relationships – things or giants in our lives and to choose ONLY one to bring before our Father.  That could have been a hard task and for some it was about what to choose, but immediately the Father placed an individual on my heart, someone I know and love, someone who has people all over the world praying for her and her family.  I can not go into details here about that person and that issue, but I chose her because she is one whom I love deeply and who shares her heart with me sometimes.

As I began the assignments, I was awed on Monday morning how fast God put that person on my heart-maybe it is because I have been praying so much for her.  So once I chose her, I began the assignment of five sections.  Actually it is similar to the gap analysis at work – choosing a person, thing, etc.  now and deciding ultimately how we are going to pray for them.

These were our sections (thanks Christa Hutchins)

Section 1 – A Promise to Claim – we left blank until we finished all the other sections.  I still have this section to finish.

Section 2 – Be Thankful –  as I listed all the things I am thankful for about that beautiful lady, and I thought about all the pain she has been through (doctors, hospitals, surgeries, medicines, fear, sadness, hurt), I was able to ask the Father to change me, to change me to be more of an encourager for people, to change me to have more of a hurting heart for people, to change me to be more like Him.

Section 3 – Areas of Struggle – I listed ways this family is struggling, if they have any wrong relationships with God or others and why this issue is a struggle for me.

Section 4 – First, Change Me – I looked at did my attitude need to change and what harmful thoughts or attitudes do I have that are different from God’s view.  I also looked to see if I had been approaching this issue in the wrong way and had I contributed to the problem with wrong attitudes or actions and what God needs to change in me to bring about resolution.

Section 5 – Blessings – What does this person need or desire in their life?  How could God bless them so that they are drawn to Him?  How could this issue be a blessing to you and others?  What would be the perfect outcome that is consistent with God’s Word and His plan for your life?

The very second day of this assignment there were two miracles from God.  I will not list those either but oh how I wish I could.  I shared privately with my prayer group what God had done.  As I evaluated me and He began to change my heart, and I shared my heart with someone else, that person, in turn called me an hour later and said  that God burdened her heart after we had been together that morning sharing our hearts about our Jesus sister and He asked her to do something that would bless four families.

God has taken this pain and blessed many lives this week, mostly mine and I believe I am going to see others changed in the coming months.  I learned  that God truly answers prayers when we humble ourselves, evaluate ourselves and spend time with Him.   GAP – God answers prayers!

So what has God taught me this week?  He has taught me there is more to prayer than I could have ever imagined.  He taught me as I sit quietly with Him that first day and really listened with an open heart for Him to guide me as to what I would write down in all those sections.  He taught me the missing “gap” is focusing more intently on how I pray.

INTERCEDE

20 Jun

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Has there been a time in your life when you could not find the words to pray, when you were so emotionally overcome by a situation that you could not even utter a prayer, and just so overwhelmed and perhaps even angry at God?  Tracie Miles says “we have all found ourselves in a pit at one time or another.”

I remember one time in my life when I was in one of those deserts, one of those pits where I found I could not pray.   I did not understand how something so bad could happen to someone so in love with Jesus, and I am so ashamed to say that I was angry with that thorn and I wanted it removed and the doubt, tears, and all that came with it.   I wanted to pray at times, but I could not get the words to come.  I know during those times that my God cares, and He is interceding for me, but nonetheless it hurts when you know you need to pray but you can not utter the words.  I find it scary that “He knoweth the secrets of my heart.’  Psalm 44:21b (KJV).  In Psalm 139:2  (KJV) it also says,  “Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.”   Did you know Jesus knows us inside out?  Yes we may hide to others what we are thinking or feeling, but we can never, ever hide our thoughts from Him.

He knows our thoughts, he hears our cries, and carries us through those heartbreaking times.  Romans 8:26 is   comforting to me because I know God is standing in the gap for me and you.  God desires to intervene and he will intercede .  Our prayers, and our cries are heard by Him.  He sees our tears too and hurts with us.

I  believe the enemy will try his best to keep us from praying.  Read this quote from Beth Moore, “What victory the enemy has in winning us over to prayerlessness. He would rather we do anything than pray.”  WOW!  But thank God that it is He who is in control .

This week in Stressed Less Living in Chapter 11, we studied how we can reset our lives when we come to the end of of our ropes.  As I studied those steps I realized at times I have gone through all of them and sometimes more than one at once.  These were the steps that Tracie Miles revealed:

  1. Realign your life to God’s word.
  2. Recognize your need for God’s help.
  3. Adjust your focus to God, not your circumstances.
  4. Be filled with the Holy Spirit.  (Remember the one who’s praying on your behalf)
  5. Be faithful in your prayer life.
  6. Believe God is Who He says He is

While I can improve in all these areas, the one that spoke to me  was #3.  I need to adjust my focus to God and not  on my circumstances.   It is hard at times to not focus on the negative.  Stuff going on in life can just get you down.  The loss of my Mom this year in February was much harder than I ever dreamed.  Going to her house now each week to mow and try to get it cleaned out and empty both hers and Dad’s “stuff” to sell – well let’s just say it has been heartbreaking with all the memories.  I find when I focus only on the negative happening in my life that it makes things so much worse and I could easily stay and wallow in that pit.  But, if I focus on God and all the blessings in my life, it does bring peace.

So how do I adjust my focus to God and not all these negative circumstances, hurts and pain.  One way that God showed me this week was when I jump in the car to leave Moms is to turn my radio up and sing with 94.9 KLTY or put a good CD in like  Big Daddy Weave and I can sing Redeemed without missing a word (love that song) or this one “Every Good Thing” by The Afters because it will make you and me worship.   Even if I do not know the words I can let that music blare.   Another thing a sweet Bible study friend shared with me this week that, like me, she wakes up during the night with thoughts of her mother.  Last night she said I came to mind and she prayed for me when she woke up.   Sooooo when I wake up again with thoughts of Mom, I know now that instead of feeling sorry for myself, I will turn that around to reflect on Him and to reflect on Linda and lift her in prayer as well as all of Group 31 and our leadership team.  I will also focus on all the precious memories of Mom and not the pain of her being gone.  FOCUS – adjust my focus to God and not my circumstances and me, me, me – but HIM!

So how about you?  Will you share how you get through the  hurts and pain, thorns and pit in your life, or one of the steps above that you need to tackle to reset your life?

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