Prayers of Faith

PRAYERS

This month, my pastor is doing a series on Prayer. Since it was announced that we would be focusing on prayer during worship services and bible studies, I have been thinking a lot about prayer and what makes our prayers effective. And one thing that keeps resurfacing during my meditation time is FAITH.  That led me to wonder how a “regular prayer” is different from a prayer of faith.
Verses on which to meditate:. 
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 
Mark 11: 24
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
Matthew 21:22
Before I forget, if you are in the Atlanta Area and want to hear an awesome word, from an anointed man of God, I invite you to to come visit us this Sunday.  

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In my life, here is what I have learned about faith:
– Faith gives you supernatural confidence.
– When we take a leap of faith with God, we have everything to gain (and nothing to lose but fear.)
– Faith allows us to believe that God has a plan for our life.
– .Faith allows us to genuinely believe that ALL things work together for our good. 
– Faith allows us to be genuinely happy for the achievements of our family and friends because we know that if God is blessing them, He most certainly can and will bless us.
– Faith reassures us that in our loneliness, God is enough.
– Faith calms us despite discouragement and anxiety.
– Faith allows us to pursue our respective purposes with reckless abandon even when we can’t see where we are headed.
Additional Verses on Which to Meditate:
But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.
James 1:6
Without faith, it is impossible to please God.
Hebrews 11:6 (I’d really just recommend reading the entirety of Hebrews 11. It’s all about FAITH!!
Knowing what I know about faith and about prayer, here are my tips:
1) Always Pray (1 Thessalonians 5:17) – Remain in constant communion with God. 
2) Don’t Lose Heart (Luke 18:1) – Persevere; you already have the victory. 
3) Give Thanks in All Circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18) – Praise God for His goodness. 
I pray that your prayers shift from “regular prayers” to prayers of faith. Remember, God is not a man that He should lie, not a human being that he should change His mind. He will do just what he said!
A Prayer For You:

Dear Father, I thank you for each reader of this post. I pray that each reader will have full faith and full trust in You. I know that if we abide in you, you will abide in us. And that if you abide in us, we will fulfill our respective purposes and live blessed lives. Grant us the desire to spend time in your word and in your presence. Increase our faith so that we are comfortable coming boldly to your throne. Increase our faith such that we pray prayers of faith and know that what we ask will be done. We know that you are a God who is able to do more than we could ever ask, think or imagine. For that, we are thankful. Amen.

Peace,
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P.S. I’ve been away for so long because, well, life happens. But, in large part, because I am building a law practice. I entered private practice with my dad in January of this year. It is definitely an experience. But, I would’t trade it for anything. If you need a great lawyer or two, give us a call. If you’re in Northeast Georgia, call our Elberton Office at 706.283.9732. 

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Nobody…Everybody…Somebody…Anybody

I am often asked to speak at different events. I recently lead a discussion during a break out session among single young women at my church’s women’s conference (I blogged about it a few weeks ago). My session was called Pillow Talk (which I borrowed from a flyer I created for a friend). The ladies were very active participants.  Their participation just might’ve had something to do with my bowl of candy that I passed to each person when they shared with the group. 🙂 We definitely had a frank, candid conversation about dating, temptation, sex and life. I was pleasantly surprised at the excitement and interaction among the group members who ranged from 16 – 50+. I received lots of positive feedback.

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I’m continually amazed and blessed when people are moved, affected or inspired by my words – both written and spoken. I say thank you. (Long sidenote:  I’m learning to accept compliments.  I have a friend who tells me that I don’t accept compliments well.  I can admit that that is true.  Having all of the attention focused on me makes me uncomfortable, which is strange given that when I am speaking in court, everyone’s attention is on me.)  I digress.  When I receive compliments, internally, I am thinking (1) I’m not anyone special and (2) I haven’t said anything profound or anything that I someone else hasn’t said before.  But, then I have to remind myself that I AM God’s Vessel (2 Timothy 2:21) and that he created little ol’ me to do GREAT works for HIM (Ephesians 2:10).  I’m floored by that and amazed at God’s grace.

As the Williams Brothers sang, “I’m just a nobody, trying to tell everybody about somebody who can save anybody.” I remember this song from a Williams Brothers tape my mother had when I was a child. I understood the basic point they were trying to get across, but the more my faith is deepened, the more I realize how profound those simple words are.

When you receive praise and compliments for things that you do, you too may feel that you aren’t anyone special. But, trust me, you are! It is great to be humble. But, it is also important to acknowledge the fruit of God’s blessings on your life. We never accomplish anything on our own.  It is only by God’s grace that we are able to accomplish or excel. And, even when you feel less than special or plain old ordinary, there are people watching you who want to be just like you.

Prayer: Lord, I offer YOU all or me (my heart, gifts, abilities, time, energy ,and finances)! Use me to show and tell others about you.  Use me for your glory. Finally, please help me to remember that it’s not about me, and that it is all about YOU. Amen.

Peace and blessings!

ivori (green)

P.S.  Ivori celebrated her 6th birthday on May 21!!  It was bittersweet because I realized that almost half of her life is gone (since the life expectancy for her breed is only 13 – 14 years).  But, I won’t worry about that.  I will be happy for the time I have with her now. The photo above is from our photo session a few weeks ago.

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend!

A Prayer for My Blog

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I am a firm believer in prayer.  If you haven’t already, you really should read Praying to Change Your Life.  It really will change your prayer life. 🙂  I know that prayer changes things.  It has changed many things in my life, especially when someone else prayed for me (when I didn’t pray as I should).  But, before I dive in to my prayer for my blog, I have to back up just a little bit.  Two days ago, one of my friends called and told me how much she enjoys my blog and that it lifts her spirits.  Listening to her talk about how my words encouraged her blessed my soul, which I really needed yesterday.  It is a totally awesome feeling to know that what I write inspires another person. It is almost unbelievable that people actually look forward to what I write.  I say almost unbelievable because it has been my prayer that my words would motivate, encourage the readers.   Because of those prayers, I know it is possible.

I pray blessings over my blog, my community of supporters, my writing and my life.

I pray for my blog.  I pray that I always blog intentionally and with purpose.  My prayer for my blog is that it honors and brings glory to God, above all else.  I pray that my blog’s readership increases and that this part-time hobby can catapult me into a business venture. It is my prayer that I inspire readers as I convey God’s amazing grace.

I pray for my community of supporters.  My prayer for my supporters, who find  time in their busy schedules to visit my blog, read my posts and look at my crafts and recipes, is that they have an earnest desire to live as God calls us to live and an earnest desire to build a more intimate relationship with Him.  I am thankful for the comments.  Not all readers leave comments, in fact, I get more Facebook messages and text messages than anything.  Those messages lift my spirits and keep me going.

I ask God to give me the right things to write.  My blog isn’t about me.  I am God’s vessel.  It is about Real. Life. Christianity.  I am a real person who experiences things common to young women. Transparency and authenticity are the goal.   It has only been a few short months, but it seems like much longer.  I hope I have been transparent (enough) 🙂 about my life – shortcomings, vulnerabilities and all. I ask God for the ability to write graceful and insightful words that draw people closer to Him.

God has made us what we are, in our union with Christ Jesus he has created a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us.
Ephesians 2:10 (GNT)

Last, but not least, I pray for myself.  Each day, I am one step closer to wherever God is taking me.  I feel as though everyone who lives for Christ has a ministry.  My life is my ministry, and my blog is my platform.  I am thankful that God does indeed have a purpose for my life, despite my uncertainty about my purpose.  I do know that I have been placed here to do the great work that He has created in advance just for me (Ephesians 2:10).  I am thankful that He has given me a platform to express my faith, in a way that inspires others and allows them to see God in me.

As always, I wish you peace and blessings!

P.S.  When I started writing this, my intention was not for it to be as long as it turned out.  (shoulder shrug) 🙂
P.P.S.  I am getting really excited about my 30th birthday events!!!!

Praying for Purity

imageThe word purity has various connotations. But, usually when people hear purity, they automatically think of sexual purity (chastity or abstinence). Sexual purity is one type of purity that we should all definitely and wholeheartedly strive for. But, it is not the only approach to purity.  We should be pure in our thoughts (no lusting or improper motives), words (no cussing, gossip or unkind words) and deeds (no stealing, sexual activity or “everything but” activity). God calls every person, especially women (single and married) to be pure.  Choosing and pursuing purity means a desire to commit every area of your life to God so that you can be His vessel (Romans 6:13).  Purity begins in your heart.  As a [wo]man thinks in [her] heart, so [s]he is (Proverbs 23:7).

 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.  – Matthew 5:8

Because Christ calls us to be pure in our thoughts, words and deeds, we must answer his calling. It is hard to be pure in these areas when society and pop culture are constantly pushing movies, TV shows, music, and magazines that have anything but pure messages in them.  Such media desensitizes us, making it hard to remain pure, especially when we don’t do our part to avoid it. Our bodies are living sacrifices.  We are set apart! We should not become/behave like everyone else.  Instead, we should behave differently because of what we know to be God’s will for our lives (Romans 12:1 – 2). In today’s society, many women are becoming more and more desensitized.  Sex and sexual activity are a way of life for some people.  Everyone is doing it and talking about it. As a result, these women cannot be examples to teenagers and younger adults because they aren’t leading by example. When we lower our standards to the standards of the world, we are no longer set apart. We are just like everyone else.  It should never be our goal to be just like everyone else.

1 Timothy 2:19 instructs us to depart from iniquity. That means we have to be mindful of what we see, what we hear and what influences are in our lives. Music, various forms of media and friends and associates have great influence over our lives. A few months ago I asked the kids (ages 11 – 13) in my Sunday school class about the music they listen to. The artists’ names started flowing.  I told them that I liked some of the artists they named.  I also told them that nothing is wrong with secular music. Then I cautioned them that all music is not created equally – especially music with explicit and profane language and  music objectifies women.  What we see, hear and involve ourselves in (be it good or bad) will eventually start to manifest itself in our conversations and actions. What goes into our minds/hearts will eventually come out.  I have to remind myself of this.

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Seeing + Hearing + Speaking x NO EVIL = Thinking & Doing No Evil

So whoever cleanses himself [from what is ignoble and unclean, who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences] will [then himself] be a vessel set apart AND useful (emphasis my own) for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work. – 2 Timothy 2:2 (AMP)

When we have impure thoughts, we need to reject those thoughts and command them to leave our minds immediately. Once a thought enters my mind, I try not to focus on it. I don’t let my imagination run wild. We must die to ourselves daily and live in righteousness (1 Peter 2:24).  We are set apart for God’s holy purpose.  We can’t fulfill that purpose/those purposes if we are impure.

 …we take every thought captive and make it obey Christ. – 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

 Things that can and often do cause us to be impure are our triggers.  Examples of triggers are music, friends, excess alcohol and the way we choose to spend our free time.  Our triggers also influence our attitudes and behaviors. Not each of these things is a trigger for everyone. Friends may be one person’s trigger; alcohol and music might be another person’s trigger, while a combination of several things might be yet another person’s trigger.  God does not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear, and he always provides a way out of temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). We must pray that God will guide us in maintaining (or regaining) our purity and that he will help us establish boundaries that prevent our triggers from being pulled.  If you know that drinking too much and hearing certain types of music causes you to behave differently or improperly, STOP listening to those types of music, especially when you drink.

We should be intentional about the friendships we foster and the things we hear, see and watch on TV and the internet.  I have figured out what my triggers are.  As a result, I have stopped reading certain books, watching certain things on TV and listening to certain music (though I do still listen to secular music).  By being intentional about the words going into my ears and sights before my eyes, I am better able to control (by God’s grace), the negative influences in and over my life.  What are your triggers?

Will power is a great thing to have.  But, we don’t have to rely on will power as much when we change our environment and our influences.  Striving to remain pure can be is difficult. As we continue to read God’s word, meditate on it and pray, our thinking will align with God’s will. Daily, we will be strengthened and encouraged.  Living pure lives gives us strength, power and courage to live abundant lives such that other’s can see God at work in us.  By striving to live pure lives, we are setting an example for others and making God look good in the process.

But you are a chosen race; a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [god’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. –   1 Peter 2:9 (AMP)

God can’t fix issues that we don’t acknowledge. Acknowledge areas in your life where you could be more pure.  If there is a certain vice you need to overcome, certain temptations you need to avoid or certain thoughts you need removed from your mind, admit those shortcomings to God and ask him to take control of those sin issues.  If you are unmarried and still involved in a sexual relationship (or married and having an extramarital affair), confess these sins to God and ask his forgiveness. He is faithful. He will forgive and restore you.

Sample Purity Prayer: Lord, thank you for your restorative and redeeming power. My thoughts (words, actions, etc.) are sinful. Please remove the things that trigger those desires that are not in compliance with your will for my life. Father, I pray that every improper thought, desire, emotion, action and reaction is taken captive and made to obey Christ. Please give me a pure heart and pure motives so that you can use me for your glory. Finally, Lord, I ask that you restore my generation so that we can passionately and purposefully pursue you.  In the majestic name of Jesus, Amen.

Just like we should guard our hearts, we should guard our purity.  The pursuit of purity matters. It is important! Fight for it!  Be encouraged and (like a friend told me last week) keep making God look good!

 Peace and blessings!

P.S. There were quite a few verses of scripture that I wanted to use for this post. But, it was getting wordy so I couldn’t use them all.  I have listed them here.  Click on each scripture to be taken to the text.  Read them, write them and pray about their application to your life.

As a friend recently told me, keep making God look good.

Peace and blessings!

Joy I Can’t Explain

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Several months ago, I had a friend tell me that I am always happy and that nothing seems to bother me.  Initially, I disagreed with her.  Then I realized that she was right. Something had changed. I had to ask … Continue reading