I feel compelled to write today because I want to share some practical ways of navigating through these difficult days. The world seems so heavy right now and believe me, I understand the weight of heavy.
This scripture is my mantra right now:
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
What does Jesus mean when he says has overcome the world? To me it means that nothing in this world can override God’s will, desire and plan for all men to know Him. Isn’t that powerful—through all of these unsettling times God is still God and His ultimate desire is to connect with our hearts. We don’t have to carry the weight of distress, affliction or trouble (tribulation) because God has a plan.
My church sermon last week REALLY spoke to me. My pastor shared about the fact that God’s will is carried out whether we respond or not. He and his wife had started our church years ago and while it was still in its infancy (and my pastor was working a second job), another pastor of a large, established church approached him and offered him the head pastor position at his church due to a relocation. My pastor was really excited to tell his wife and when he did, she asked him, “What is God saying?” He knew right away that God was calling him to stay the church he had started and boy, has God blessed them there.
It was what he said next that got me, that this church he had started would have happened whether he was at the helm or not. I’ve just been fascinated by that thought all week. Romans 12 talks about us being one body with many members and John 15 mentions that Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. We ALL work together to fulfill God’s plan and He gives us a free will to decide how we want to participate.
This is definitely a time where we must weigh our participation in prayer, in word, and in deed. I would encourage you to seek God on how you should use your words and actions during this time. We must be purposeful and strategic. God has a plan and we need to ask Him how we fit in. Ask God these questions: What is my part? How am I to be involved?
The very basis of knowing God’s will and plan for our lives is to truly know Him. The first step is a desire to know Him (a strong sense of a pulling toward Him), and a base connection with him by saying the sinner’s prayer. This is my version of that: “God, I feel you pursuing my heart. I want to know you in a personal way and today is the start of that journey. The Bible says in Romans 10:9 that if I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in my heart that you raised him from the dead, I will be saved. I confess that Jesus IS Lord and I ask that he would be the Lord of my life. And I believe that you did raise him from the dead, meaning that he defeated death to atone for my sins.”
I believe that God, the maker of the universe, hears our prayers. And when we make that decision to become a Christ-follower, we establish a relationship with Him. That’s where we see the power in prayer! I have known Christ since I was a little girl and I have been so blessed to hear and know His voice over the years. Just this morning as I was praying, I felt Him speak to me to write this post. I have 100 things on my to do list today but He prompted me to pause and write. That is His plan for me today. He revealed it and I was given a choice. I am compelled to write because He has touched my life in such a powerful way and I have a heart to help others as they journey.
I would like to share how I pray, not because I think it’s a perfect formula, but because it has become a very effective way for me to connect with God throughout my life. He wants that connection with each of us but we have to be intentional about it. Have you ever mulled over a grocery list for a couple of days knowing that you were getting to a place where you were running out of everything? You write a couple items down in your phone, then while sitting at your desk you scratch a couple items on a piece of paper. You also put a few things in a mental list. When you get to the store you stare at the produce and wonder what in the world you’re supposed to buy because the list is so disjointed.
I used to pray like that.
I used to read something on social media and respond with, “Praying,” and I would pause and say a prayer. But now I do things differently.
I bought a little spiral index card notebook and I organized it into a prayer book. Here are the pages I have:
- My boys, my extended family
- Close friends
- My sponsored children and their families
- God drawing hearts to Him
- People who are battling sickness
- People who have experienced loss
- Local, state and country government
- The heaviness in our world right now: COVID, racism, violence, disrespect
- What do I need to work on in my life? What is your will? God, guide me.
Every index page has names listed and then the things that I pray for…protection, provision, etc. I add to it all the time. This week a group of local teenagers were in a car accident and two of the kids were ejected from the car. One of the girls is in really bad shape. Her family is in my prayer book and will remain there for a long time.
The other pages are full of scriptures. As I’m praying over people I can flip to these pages and pray God’s word over them. They are numbered and then I put numbers next to a person’s name so I can flip to that page and SPEAK GOD’S WORD. There is so much power in that.
I try to work through this book every day (I miss days, it happens) and it is powerful. God shows me pictures of things to pray over people, and He will often drop someone in my mind that needs to be added and how to pray for them. Often at the end I feel a real heaviness (these are real and trying times) and this is where it gets good.
This scripture speaks to me: “Come to Me, all you who labor and are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
THIS is the scripture we need to end our prayers with. This is the moment where we give our burdens to God for the rest of the day and we find PEACE in that! Yes, the world is weighty right now and we need to allow ourselves to fully feel the impact so that we are compelled to pray and ask God to reveal His will. But we can also surrender the dark cloud to God and embrace what He has for us, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is FULLNESS of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). After prayer in the mornings I ask God to exchange the heaviness of whatever I am going through for His JOY. I believe it’s healthy to feel the heavy—it motivates us, it inspires us to act. But we don’t have to lug it around all day. We truly can trade it for the fullness of His joy, even in the darkest of times.
If you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share. God carved out a path of intense healing for me and I would like to share it with as many people who need or want to hear.