Praying the Psalms {day 30}

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Today I want to share with you some practical ideas that God has used to grow my prayer life. I hope some of these ideas are helpful for YOU. You may also have ideas that would be helpful to others!! Please share your ideas in the comments, or if you have a blog, LINK UP with us on the bottom of this post and we can all glean from each other!!

Here are my favorite practical prayer helps! Please, please, PLEASE do not get the idea that I do each of these daily. 🙂 These are all ideas I have used (and loved) in the past…but I do different things in different seasons…whatever fits with my family life, where I am in my walk with God, how much time I have, etc. I don’t ever do more than 1 of these at a time!! These are just tools that help. Don’t make the tools the god, ya know?

1. Tabbed prayer journals – I think these are neat because I wrote out prayers and verses for the special people in my life – I had a tab for David, each child, my church, our pastors, missions, neighbors, etc. Won’t it be amazing for my kids to look back at prayers I have prayed for them? I hope so!!
2. Index cards – this spiral has verses on it that I usually am working towards memorizing. This is probably my MOST used “tool” for prayer. I love to take this little spiral on my walks! I recite scripture and PRAY the scriptures as I get my exercise!!
3. Books – my other favorite and most used tool. If you’ve read my blog for long, you know I read a lot.  Prayer books and guides have enhanced my life so very much. I’m so grateful for the words of other believers and saints around the world who have gone before me…and who have oftentimes a better way with words, and speak words into my heartfelt prayers.
My favorite books on prayer, many of which I’ve mentioned in this series:
4. Typed up verses on cards – these are cards that I want to put MORE onto than I want to write on an index card. I keep the cards together with the metal craft rings. I had a card for each of my children with specific verses typed up for each of them.
5. Creative Journaling – another more recent favorite! I have a post written about this here, and I love, LOVE journaling the scriptures I am praying!!
6. Thankful journal – I try to always start my prayer time off with gratitude. (the picture above is one of my kids journals!) This focuses my heart on GOD and takes my eyes off of myself. I keep a gift list on my blog, that was inspired by Ann Voskamp, her blog and her book. I also have my kids keep thankful journals. These are PRECIOUS to look back on!! If you have kids, start now!!
7. Daily tabbed journal – this is another way to keep prayer requests organized. I have often struggled with SO many people I want to pray for and not being physically able to pray for each of them daily. So, I wrote out different things I would pray for each day – I’m sure you’ve seen this idea before. Sunday I prayed for my church. Monday I prayed for my marriage and husband. Etc.
8. These yellow cards were my spiritual warfare verses that I took on planes to mission trips. 🙂 I have used them in other settings too…and they immediately calm my fears when I start to pray and read and meditate on these truths.
9. Picture cards that I made for my kids – I mentioned these in my series on praying for our kids last year – some people really like the idea of the VISUAL as you pray. I have taken these cards on the treadmill before and just kept the faces looking at me as I prayed for them. 🙂 sweet moments.
AND…#10 – NOT PICTURED, but the best tool of all!! 🙂
10. JUST DO IT. JUST PRAY. Don’t focus on having the perfect tools. Don’t worry about not having the right words. Don’t worry that your heart is in the wrong place. Don’t fret about not doing it right. JUST PRAY. Honestly, the more I pray, the more I want to pray. 

And that has only come with time. And prayer.

So…these are my favorite tools for prayer — WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITES?? Please share in the comments or by linking up with a specific blog post (or 2) that you have written about prayer!! Let’s encourage one another to get on our knees!!

**If you’d like to read all the posts in this series, click here for a full list

Praying the Psalms {day 29}

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I can’t believe we are almost at the end of this series. Honestly, it has been such a wonderful challenge for me to write for 31 days in a row on one topic.  It’s been hard, but good. I have loved diving into this topic…I am a weird one, I like reading and researching and sharing good finds with people. I guess that is why I love blogging so much.

I’m so thankful for all my readers and I just wanted to pause and say thank you today! You are a blessing in my life. This blog has become an outlet, a journal, a creative hobby for me to enjoy at home. And it’s so much more than that too. It’s a ministry.

I have prayed for many of you.

And you have prayed for me.

I have shared Scriptures God has shown me.

And you have shared Scripture with me.

I have prayed and hoped to encourage you.

You have encouraged me GREATLY.

Your comments, your emails, your facebook messages. They truly mean the world to me. I used to say I was a blogger because it is fun…and it is.

But, I’m getting more and more used to saying this blog is a ministry. Because it is. You are. We are.

I came close to quitting blogging recently. I just started wondering why I was doing this. There are so.many.wonderful.blogs out there. Why add to the multitude? What do I have to say that is special? I read much more encouraging blogs than mine. I read much more eloquent blogs than mine. I see lots of fabulously creative ideas on other blogs. It seems that everywhere I was looking in blogland had a better blog than mine. 🙂

I also wonder at times about the selfishness in having a blog…hi, world! Look at my blog, look at me, me, me, me.  My prayer is that it never comes across that way. But, it is a fine line and balance in how to share, what to share, not sharing too much, etc.

In the end, I realized my focus was not where it should be. When God gives us a ministry – in our home, in our church, in our neighborhood, the size doesn’t matter. The number of people reached doesn’t matter. The beauty of the ministry building doesn’t matter. The eloquence of guest speaker doesn’t matter. What matters is Him. What matters is the Holy Spirit in that ministry.

And I do feel that He is in this, with me, for now.

Christians need each other – for encouragement, support, prayers, comfort and to speak truth into one another’s lives. Thank you for allowing me this privilege and for extending your graciousness towards me by reading, responding and encouraging me in return. {{And please come back TOMORROW and share your practical prayer tips/helps with us!!}}

What a gift of grace.

Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary;
    praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power;
    praise him for his surpassing greatness.

 

Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,

 

    praise him with the harp and lyre,

 

praise him with timbrel and dancing,

 

    praise him with the strings and pipe,

 

praise him with the clash of cymbals,

 

    praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
Psalm 150

**If you’d like to read all the posts in this series, click here for a full list

Praying the Psalms {day 28}

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Another Psalm that I have memorized with my kids is 139. This is a favorite of many, many people…and I love it as well.

I will admit, though, that sometimes, it’s hard for me to pray.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” v. 14

I don’t usually feel fearfully and wonderfully made…but I believe it. And I want my kids to believe it. So, we memorize it.

One thing I have loved about memorizing Scriptures with my children is the tiny prayers I pray as we recite these verses…”Lord, plant these words deep in their souls. Bring them to mind later in life when they need them most.”

I know that God’s Word never returns void. (Isaiah) So I know these words, being planted in their minds and hearts, will somehow, someday make a difference in their lives. That gives me joy.

This is a Psalm that I love to hear my children repeating, but it’s also one that I love to pray over my children in my quiet prayer closet.

“O Lord, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise,
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue,
you know it completely, O Lord.
You hem me in – behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
{Thank you for hemming in my children, too!}
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
{Lord, thank you that you never leave me!!}
For you created my inmost being,
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
from Psalm 139

**If you’d like to read all the posts in this series, click here for a full list

Praying the Psalms {day 27}

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Praying the Scriptures and memorizing the Scriptures go hand in hand.

 

When you memorize scripture, you are able to meditate on the words and pray them as you go about your day – whether you can sit down with your Bible or not!!

 

There are so many wonderful things I could say about memorizing Scripture, but since this series is on praying the scriptures, I will focus on that aspect. 🙂

 

Every year in early November, my kids and I work on Psalm 100. This is a great psalm of thanksgiving! Since we have it memorized, it is very easy for us to take a few of the words from this Psalm and make them a prayer…at anytime, in any place.

 

Praying the Psalms {day 26}

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I love to do word studies in the Bible! This is also a great way to pray the Psalms with more understanding and more depth.

Maybe there is a situation in your life that you’d like to spend more time praying about…think about what words pertain to that situation, do a simple search and then you will have new verses to pray over this situation!!

Some examples of words to study in the Psalms:

  • shepherd
  • comfort
  • hope
  • truth
  • strength
  • portion
  • heaven
  • direction (direct)

Make sure when you are searching (maybe use www.biblegateway.com) to use different translations!! You will come up with even more possibilities!

Take the verses you find and turn them into prayers!!

“Lord, you are my shepherd, I shall not want!”
(a great prayer of trust and contentment!!)

**If you’d like to read all the posts in this series, click here for a full list

Praying the Psalms {day 25}

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Psalm 119 is probably my most favorite Psalm, maybe even my favorite chapter in the whole Bible. It is the longest chapter in the Bible, but it also is just a treasure trove of awesome verses to pray!!

Won’t you join me in praying from Psalm 119 today? I mean, just read through these words – and pray!! Aren’t these words – the very words of God – amazing???!!

“Oh my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!” v.5
“Lord, I can stay pure by living according
to Your Word…help me to be obedient.
daily. moment by moment. when it’s easy, when it’s hard.” v.9
“I seek You with all my heart,
do not let me stray from your commands!” v. 10
“Oh Lord, I am hiding Your Word in my heart,
help me to recall Your Words, help me not to sin.
Help me in the moment of temptation to TRUST and RECALL.” v. 11
“Lord, may Your Word always be a
DELIGHT to my soul.” v. 16
“Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.” v. 18
Let me understand…” v.27
strengthen me according to Your Word.” v.28
“I run in the path of your commands
for you have set my heart free.” v. 32
“Teach me…give me understanding,
direct me…turn my heart towards You.” v. 33-36
“You are my comfort in suffering.” v. 50
You are my portion, Lord.” v. 57
You are good, and what you do is good.” v. 68
“May your unfailing love be my comfort.” v.  76
“I have put my hope in your word.” v. 81
“Make your words sweeter than any other,
sweeter than honey to my mouth.” v. 103
“Your Word is a lamp to my feet,
a light for my path.” v. 105
“Your Word is the joy of my heart.” v. 111
“You are my refuge and my shield,
I have put my hope in your word.” v. 114
“Direct my footsteps according to your word,
let no sin rule over me.” v. 133
You are near, Lord.” v. 151
“Lord, you promise great peace to those who love your law,
thank you for your peace.” v. 165
“May my lips overflow with praise
may my tongue sing of your word
let me live that I may praise you
and may your laws sustain me.” v.171-175

**If you’d like to read all the posts in this series, click here for a full list

Praying the Psalms {day 23}

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Yesterday we talked briefly about waiting on God.

But, what does it look like to wait on God? How exactly do we do that?

Waiting.
Expectant.
Hopeful.
Silent.
Listening.
Meditating.
Prayerful.

Think about sitting in a waiting room at the hospital. Waiting for the doctor to come out with news. Hoping against all odds that it is good news. It’s all you can think about. It consumes your thoughts, hopes and prayers. Waiting. When will the doctor ever come in??

Oh that we could wait on God with such hope and fervency!! That we could be so consumed with thoughts of Him and His Word.

Wait on God. Not for His gifts or what He will give. 

Wait on God. Not for His answers or His direction. 

Just sitting before God. Silently. Full of hope. Full of thanksgiving. Full of Him. 

 
 
**If you’d like to read all the posts in this series, click here for a full list

Praying the Psalms {day 22}

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Have you ever noticed that there are quite a few psalms that mention waiting on God?
Have you taken time to ponder and meditate on what it means to truly wait on God? I think it is a very difficult thing in this crazy, high-speed world we live in! But, I also think it is important enough that we need to be intentional about learning to do it.

“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice,
in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait in expectation.”
Psalm 5:3

“Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.”
Psalm 27:14

“I wait for the Lord,
my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.”
Psalm 130:5-6

“I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.”
Psalm 40:1

“At all our conventions and assemblies too little time is given to waiting on God. Is He not willing to put things right in His own divine way? Has the life of God’s people reached the utmost limit of what God is willing to do for them? Surely not. We need to wait on Him; to put away our experiences, however blessed they have been; our conceptions of truth, however sound and scriptural we think they seem; our plans, however needful and suitable they appear; and give God time and place to show us what He could do, what He will do. God has new developments and new resources. He can do new things, unheard-of things, hidden things. Let us enlarge our hearts and not limit Him.” – Andrew Murray from Waiting on God.

More tomorrow on waiting on God…

**If you’d like to read all the posts in this series, click here for a full list

Praying the Psalms {day 21}

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Today I want to share a little bit more with you about Seven Sacred Pauses and how this book (and the method for prayer) has influenced my prayer life.

In her book,Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day, Macrina Wiederkehr, shares that these pauses throughout our day are like “breathing spells for the soul.” 

Ahhh. Doesn’t that just bring immediate peace to your soul? I want more of that! I want to pause and breathe throughout my day. I need to. I want to stop and acknowledge God…in the difficult moments, in the normal moments, in the sacred moments, in the morning, in the night.

There are seven “pauses” to our days that fall into a natural rhythm with the turning of the earth. The author states that though all hours are important & sacred, “these special times have been hallowed by centuries of devotion and prayer.”

The Night Watch (midnight)
The Awakening Hour (dawn)
The Blessing Hour (midmorning)
The Hour of  Illumination (noon)
The Wisdom Hour (mid afternoon)
The Twilight Hour (early evening)
The Great Silence (bedtime)

Each pause has a theme or meaning to it. The idea is that you pause – whatever you are doing – stop and take a moment for prayer. It doesn’t have to be lengthy, just a pause. In this book there are quotes, Scriptures, poems, themes and guides to pray for each of these pauses. She doesn’t suggest that every person can do every one of these hours everyday. Ask God to show you where to focus your thoughts and prayer. Look at your weekly schedule and see which times will fit into your calendar. Make prayer a part of your life that can actually “fit” so that it will happen and not add guilt. Maybe you can focus on just adding in one of these times each week – a different “pause” each day or each week.

Pausing through our days to be mindful of the Lord in our everyday moments is a huge reason that I wanted to try praying these different pauses. But there is another reason, also. “I believe that the word practice is one of the most important words in the spiritual life. If you want to be a dancer, a pianist, a singer, a figure skater, you practice. If you want to make the team in any area of sports, you practice. Just imagine the many hours of practice given over to those who make it to the Olympics. Why should the spiritual life be any different?” Macrina Wiederkehr

This is my heart. I want to be a prayer warrior. But that is not going to just happen without practicing and persevering in prayer.

“Continue steadfastly in prayer…” Colossians 4:2

God commands us to pray. He promises to hear us. We need help, in our flesh & humanness, to fix our eyes on Him. We need to become faithful in prayer. All of these are the reasons I feel I must take pauses, I must persevere in prayer. I must.

**If you’d like to read all the posts in this series, click here for a full list