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it’s our last day of talking about prayer! i’m so excited to be done because i’m so worn out from doing a post for every day. BUT i’m also kind of sad. i haven’t really gotten any better at prayer. i’ve just thought about it a lot. it’s been interesting. i wish i was better, more thoughtful, more consistent, closer to God… but it just takes practice! and 31 days is not enough practice yet! ;)

so for today’s last post, we’re going to talk about listening again. i think this is such an important part of prayer that we don’t really know how to do. like yesterday when i talked about how important it is to BE STILL.  well now we need to practice listening.

last week, at a class for seminary wives, we heard a speaker talk about her life and about spiritual formation. it was very fruitful and i wish i could transport each of you there to hear what i heard from her! but alas, you’re stuck with my sub-par summary and conclusions from  it.

we talked about when Jesus rose from the dead in John 20:

11″ But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb.12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.”

why was Mary sad? her beloved Jesus was gone. not only had he been killed only a couple days earlier, but now it appeared as if he was stolen. but as she was weeping, Jesus appeared to her. she didn’t even recognize him when he was standing in front of her. she supposed him to be a gardener. not until He said her name.  He called her by name.

it makes me think of a couple things.

  • how often have we cried out to Jesus in our pain and we haven’t noticed Him standing right there? we’re weeping and feeling so alone. but HE is THERE. He always is.  i love how this song by David Crowder : “this is all i can say” really portrays how sometimes it’s impossible to do anything, just cry to Him, and when we do, we finally notice He’s standing right there.
  • He showed himself to Mary. before anyone else. this is a beautiful example that God knows exactly what we need. He didn’t show himself to the other disciples until later… but Mary was so distraught and hurt and alone that He knew she needed Him. She needed His comfort. He gives us what we need.
  • He called her by name. He calls you by name. He calls me by name. He knows you. it is such a beautiful thought! do you believe it?
  • He gives her something to do. He tells her to go and tell the disciples what she has seen. He gives her a calling. He also has a calling for each of us. He has something for us to do until He returns again.

i think it’s going to take me even longer to process all of this. but it’s beautiful to think about, don’t you think? so, then the speaker had three questions for us to ask Jesus:

  1. What does Jesus call you when you talk together? Ask him now. Listen.
  2. What question is he asking you now? Listen.
  3. What is Jesus calling you to- to do, or to be? Listen.

Listen my friends. Listen to what He calls you. What He asks you. What He is calling you.  Just take a few moments to listen to Jesus. {::there’s also this song:: “come and listen” by David Crowder that may help in listening. :)}

May you fall more in love with your Savior through prayer and through listening to Him my friends.

since it’s the last day of the series i wanted to share with you a couple other books on prayer that come highly recommended by Husbuddy: Praying by JI Packer & Carolyn Nystrom {amazon link here} and  Prayer Finding the Heart’s True Home by Richard J. Foster. {amazon link here}

thanks for being here this month! it’s been a great month learning more how to practice prayer, and i appreciate each of you for being here.  please share if you learned anything new this month! i’d love to hear from you!!

in His love and joy, kimberly renee.

to see the other 31 prayer posts click HERE:

this morning in my devotional i went through 1st Samuel 23:1-6

“…Therefore David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?” And the Lord said to David, “Go and attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” But David’s men said to him, “Behold, we are afraid here in Judah; how much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” Then David inquired of the Lord again. And the Lord answered him, “Arise, go down to Keilah, for I will give the Philistines into your hand.” And David and his men went to Keilah and fought with the Philistines and brought away their livestock and struck them with a great blow. So David saved the inhabitants of Keilah.”

David asks God what to do. God answers him. David believes him the first time, but his men are a little doubtful. i would be too if it meant my life was more in danger if we followed those directions. so David asks again. and God answers him AGAIN.

i love that God was so evident and real in David’s life. and i love that David listens so well.

the study went on to eventually say:

“David did not ask God a second time because he doubted God, but because he needed to be certain. In the same way, you or I might ask God to reconfirm His direction-not because we doubt God’s Word, but because we question our understanding. To doubt God in the face of clear direction is disobedience, but to double-check our understanding and interpretation of God’s will is prudent”

(from Beth Moore’s David, 90 Days to a heart like His)

here David listens. truly listens to what God has for him. how often do we shut up enough in our requests to God to just listen? can we quiet our hearts enough?

David also proves something else:: David proves that it’s ok to question God’s direction.  sometimes we aren’t sure if what we heard is really right. did we just make it up in our heads? it’s OK to ask God to confirm his direction, because it was ok for David to ask.  if David was wrong he would have put all his men in more danger than they were already in. he would have led them to slaughter. so it was good to double check. He didn’t doubt or disobey. he just asked God to confirm his direction.

 i don’t think any of us are really in his exact situation… but all of our big decisions have consequences.  how often do we honestly seek God and pray for his direction in them? and how often do we listen? and how often do we double check it and then obey? just some hard thoughts for today.

{this is day 29 of 31 days of prayer! thanks so much for being here!

pray for::

Your Spouse! Your loved ones! Your children!

we’ve been to Family Life conferences a couple times together. i can’t even count how many times they strongly suggest praying for your spouse. it is SO important. i mean, think about it. Husbuddy is the most important person, friend, love in my life after God. i should pray for him. all.the.time.

they gave out this brochure at the last conference we were at that i’ve had by my bed since then. if only i wasn’t so used to seeing it there and i actually read it once in a while. ;) it lists different verses that can help me to pray for him. for example:

“Fill my husband with love for you, that he would love “with all [his] heart and with all [his] soul and with all [his] mind” (Matt.22:37-40)

“Compel him to pray continually(1 Thes.5:17) so that he’ll live and walk by your Spirit” (Gal. 5:25)

“Because you oppose the proud and give grace to the humble (James 4:6) instill a genuine sense of humility in my husband’s heart” (see also Isaiah 66:2)

you get the idea…it actually makes it seem pretty easy. just take scripture that stuck out to you today, and instead of always only thinking about how this can affect yourself, think and pray for your spouse through it!  be careful though, you’re not on a mission to “change” them. you’re on a mission to watch God grow them while He grows you too.

if you’d like to make your own list of how to pray for your husband/wife there are some resources on Family Life website. Like this list on praying for your husband or  this article directed to Husbands on how to pray for your wife and this list of ideas on what to pray for her.  there are even articles on how to pray for your children. It is important to remember to pray for your loved ones, but even better to pray together. See this article about growing together spiritually together.

doh. missed another day. so, we’ll just combine them today ;)

we’re called to pray for others. plenty of us pray for our loved ones without even thinking of it. we pray when they’re hurting, we pray for their future and for what’s going on in their lives. but… Jesus says that when we pray for our friends or family we really are no better than non-Christians, even they often pray for their loved ones. {and don’t hear me wrong, we still should pray for our loved ones!} but we’re called to pray for not only our loved ones, but also our enemies…

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

-Matthew 5:43-48

we’re even called to pray for those who have it out for us. who are mean to us at work. who just dismiss us as unimportant… or whoever you think of who has hurt you. how hard is that? HARD. it’s easier to get indignant and to come home fuming becuase of how that person has hurt us. it’s easier to gossip about that person, isn’t it? but Jesus calls us to LOVE them and PRAY for them.

that’s a little convicting, huh? who are you going to pray for today?

20121027-130919.jpg

who should we pray for? we should pray for others…others includes those close to our hearts and those who aren’t. today, let’s start with praying for our leaders.

1 Timothy 2:1-4

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,  for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

it is good to pray for our leaders.

especially as we drive along and hear the incessant ads from the politicians go back and forth. sometimes i get so annoyed with those ads and i just don’t want to hear any more slander from grown up men acting like little boys pointing fingers…

but God calls us to pray for them. and all leaders. our bosses. everyone who is in a position to lead us. because they are human too… they are fallen. they need Jesus. and God cares for them too. so, together, let us pray for them.

{this is day 25 of 31 days of prayer! almost done! we’re all almost pros at prayer! ok… not at all… but it’s been fun to think about it for the past few days, thanks for being here!}

“Give ear to my words, O Lord;
consider my groaning.
 Give attention to the sound of my cry,
my King and my God,
for to you do I pray.
O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice;
in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.”

psalm 5:1-3

it’s ok to cry out to God. it’s ok to ask him to listen to your groaning. in the morning, call out to your Daddy in heaven in prayer.

{this is day 24 of 31 days of prayer. to see other bloggers who are posting 31 days in a row, click HERE}

 

when i was in college i was involved in campus crusade. every week we’d meet in an old theater for fellowship, worship and a message. it was awesome. i miss it! i still remember a particular lesson about prayer from one of those nights…

i don’t remember who was speaking, or what the message was really about, but something they said totally stuck out to me. they talked about  1 Thes. 5:17.

 ” pray without ceasing…”

how do you pray constantly? without stopping? without doing anything else?

how in the world do you do that?

that night, they talked about praying like you breathe.  hang with me…{i’m not sure if they actually said this, but this is what i have taken away from it all these years…} but what if we thought about prayer as much as we did about breathing? see, we don’t think of breathing at all. it just happens. what if we prayed like that?

they explained that if you think about it as you breathe…as you breathe in, breathe in the Holy Spirit, breathe in His goodness, breathe in His hope and joy.

as you breathe out, breathe out the evil thoughts, breathe out the failures that you’ve felt, breathe out the hurt, the things not of God,  breathe out and give them up to God.

little breaths. not much said or done. but little moments of hope and release.

i think it takes thought and practice at first. you can’t just not think about it to be able to pray at first. but after practice… it could be as easy and simple as breathing.

we all can learn to “pray without ceasing…”

{this is day 23 of 31 days of prayer! thanks for being here, friends!}

 

sometimes exploring some place new is so invigorating.

Husbuddy was in Boston all weekend for a conference. so, on Satuday, when the conference was done, i met him down there for a little date. we explored a little area called Copley Square. it was SO cute!

we’ve been feeling pretty ragged lately. totally exhausted from being too busy.

it was so nice to take a little time for date night. it felt like we were forcing ourselves to make time to do this. we didn’t really have the money to do a date night. we could have just met at home and had baked potatoes for dinner to save money and time. but we really needed this. we needed time to just hang out. we needed a chance to explore, a little time away together, to focus on each other. a little break from the house and everything we need  to do…

let me tell you, it was SO GOOD for our hearts, for each other.

a little date. not that hard. but why do we hardly ever make time for it?

it also made me think about this month’s theme on prayer. sometimes in our life we’re just so busy. it’s hard to find time, there are so many chores to do in our free moments, something is always coming up. sometimes, you have to literally make yourself do it.

 

 

wouldn’t it be great, if we could have a little date with God? if we took an evening, or morning, or something. we went for a walk, or went exploring some new place and we just hung out with God?

 

how awesome would that be?

Husbuddy is good at going on prayer walks. little dates with God where he just prays the whole time. i love that. i wish i was better at doing that.

 

maybe that’s something we could all try to make time for this week? i mean, we’re all too busy and should be doing something else… it’s going to be hard to find a moment here or there. but wouldn’t it be worth it? i mean, if just an evening together with Husbuddy can do so much to encourage us in our love, wouldn’t a date night with our Creator, our TRUE first Love, be awesome?!

our First Love really wants us to have little dates with Him.

“For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”

-Hosea 6:6

” I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart”

-Jeremiah 24:7

go take a date night (or morning) with your Greatest Love this week, my friends. i encourage you. and i’ll try to too. ;)

xo-kimberly renee

{this is day 22 of 31 days of prayer! we’re 2/3 of the way done! thanks for being here}

 

 

 

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God

Romans 8:26-27

a list of what i’m thankful for today. after yesterday’s post i thought it’d be helpful for me to start listing. ;) and all it took was a walk and getting my camera out to notice a few things!

the gift of colors: even in the fall, the yellow makes me happy.

the gift of cute front doors.

the gift of a puppy who begs me to walk::

the gift of interesting lines, like picket fences::

the gift of new friends::

all of these gifts are amazing things to be thankful for. it only took a few minutes to think about it…

maybe you could start your own list?!

xo-kimberly renee

{this is day #20 of the 31 days of prayer! thanks for being here!!}