March 21, 2014

Does God Really Hear My Prayers?

We Pray So That…..

Happy Friday Morning sweet friends!

I didn’t plan on writing a post this morning, but the Lord prompted my heart to write, so I trust that if God brought you here today, this is a message from His heart to yours!

I thought we would talk a bit about prayer today. I included a chapter in my new book Living So That, entitled “Pray So That,” because I think we often forget what an amazing gift God has given us in prayer.

PraySoThatChapterPage

Does prayer intimidate you?

Do you wonder if God really hears you?

Do you wonder if God’s too busy with more important things so you don’t want to bother Him with your prayers?

I’ve had these thoughts. And at a desperate time in my life, I needed to KNOW if God really heard my prayers…if He really listened…if He really cared. So I began to search His Word on prayer, and He took me on an incredible journey and revealed to me much that I didn’t know.

What a privilege it is to enter into the presence of God and pray.

Did you know in the Old Testament the Israelites had no direct access to God? Jewish law allowed one Israelite, the High Priest, the privilege of direct communication with God. The law gave only him the privilege to enter into the presence of God. And even then he was only allowed access one time a year.

Solomon built God’s temple under the Old Covenant. God directed that the inner chamber include two rooms separated by a heavy veil. One of those rooms was called the Holy of Holies. Once a year Jewish law allowed the High Priest, chosen by God, to enter into the the Holy of Holies to offer up sacrificial prayers for himself and the sins of God’s people. God’s presence resided in that sacred place and only the High Priest had the privilege of entering in.

In the New Testament, under the New Covenant, God changed everything! He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross. Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection gave His people, Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) alike, access to enter in to His presence. Jesus’ death removed the curtain that had separated the heart of God from His people.

Scripture beautifully explains this:

At this point it was about noon, and the darkness fell over the whole region. The darkness persisted until about three in the afternoon, and at some point during this darkness, the curtain in the temple was torn in two. Luke 23:44-45 (The Voice)

The tearing of the curtain served as a powerful symbol revealing that God’s people were no longer separated from His presence. Jesus’ death opened the way for all people to have access to God. They no longer had to go through the High Priest. They no longer had to rely on another’s sacrifice on their behalf. Jesus was the only sacrifice needed for people to meet with God.

Now every believer in Jesus, no matter her past, title, position, or denomination, may enter into God’s presence any time, any place.

This means we can enter into God’s presence on our back porch, in our car, on a walk, at our desk, in our kitchen, in our laundry room, anytime…anywhere. Why? Because WE ARE NOW HIS TEMPLE. He comes to live inside ALL who invite Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior!

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians,

Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who comes from God and dwells inside of you….? 1 Corinthians 6:19 (The Voice).

Listen to the words of the author of Hebrews:

So, my friends, Jesus by His blood gives us courage to enter the most holy place. He has created for us a new and living way through the curtain, that is, through His flesh. Since we have a great High Priest who presides over the house of God, let us draw near with true hearts full of faith, with hearts rinsed clean of any evil conscience, and with bodies cleansed with pure water. Hebrews 10:19-22 (The Voice)

Hebrews10verse.Curtain

 

God paid a high price for us to have this gift of prayer. Scripture gives us full assurance that when we pray, God is listening and receiving every word we speak.

Do you exercise this beautiful gift of prayer?

Colossians 4:2 directs…

Pray, and keep praying. Be alert and thankful when you pray. (The Voice)

James 5:16 promises…

Your prayers are powerful when they are rooted in a righteous life. James
5:16 (The Voice)

Concerning prayer, Scripture tells us…

Be still, be calm, see, and understand I am the True God. Psalm 46:10 (The Voice)

If you think your prayers are not important enough. If you think God is too busy. If you wonder if God hears you. If you wonder if He cares. Remember the truths you have learned today. Remember God gave the life of His One and Only Son SO THAT you can enter into His presence and communicate with Him. You are precious and valuable in His sight!

Trust God with your heart. Know you are worthy of His time. He created you and longs to engage with your heart. Come before Him with thanksgiving…praise…confession…questions…doubts..hurts…hopes…dreams.

He is waiting for you!

Let’s start right now! Join me today. Find find a quiet place and pray. Ask the Lord to help you carve out a special time to be with Him each day for the next few days…even if only for a few minutes.

For a sneak peek at Living So That, please sign up for my FREE five-day companion devotion “Five Days to a Faith-Full Life” by clicking here.

If you want to dig deeper into this topic, join us for the Living So That Proverbs 31 online Bible study beginning April 6th! Sign up by clicking here.  

And to purchase a copy of  Living So That, visit the following links:

Proverbs 31 (signed copy if purchase by 3/24)

Amazon (kindle only $2.99 right now!)

LifeWay 

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on prayer today. And if the Lord prompts you over the next few days, stop back by and share what He has spoken to you. I look forward to hearing from you! 

Blessings,

January 1, 2014

Happy New Year w/ “Living So That” Giveaway!

Welcome to LIVING TRUTH! Oh, how I’ve prayed for each one of you who stops by today!! A special welcome if you’re visiting from Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today.

Today I invite you to make a New Year’s Prayer offering…to take first steps toward writing a New Year’s Prayer. As you prayerfully consider this invitation, I would love to hear from you… your verses, the beginning stages of your prayer, or maybe your own prayer that you’ve already written. Please take time to leave me a comment. I will choose two names from the comments to win a “Living So That Package.”

What’s in the package? I thought you’d never ask!! I have a book coming out in March called “Living So That: Making Faith-Filled Choices in the Midst of a Messy Life.”

You can pre-order it from Proverbs 31 by clicking here. If you order by Sunday, January 5, you will receive a signed copy with a personal verse just for you! But remember, it doesn’t come out until March.

“Living So That” will be part of a new collection of books by Thomas Nelson called Inscribed. To celebrate the release, Lisa Leonard has created a beautiful necklace hand stamped with Proverbs 3:3, the verse that inspired our collection.

InscribedNecklace

Not only will the winners receive a necklace, but they will also receive a signed copy of “Living So That” hot off the presses in March 2014!

Living So That March 2014

 

Extra exciting news is that “Living So That” will be the next Proverbs 31 on-line study after Lysa TerKeurst’s “Made to Crave.” So be sure to check out the P31 OBS page by clicking here and be one of the first to sign up!

Friends, God knows that the first day of each new year carries with it a myriad of emotions that often lead to promises and resolutions. We commit to lose weight,  exercise more, be more disciplined, pray more, be a better wife…a better mom, be kinder.

We want God’s highest and best for the next year.

But these promises and resolutions are often grounded not in His Word but in our flesh. We focus on the end result and not on the process. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight and exercise to feel better about ourselves. It’s a wonderful goal to be a “better” wife and mother. It’s admirable to commit to daily Bible reading and quiet time with the Lord. But we must beware of making these things a daily duty we check off.

Committing to a New Year’s Resolution will not bring profound lasting life change. Committing our hearts to God…studying, learning, and praying God’s Word…that’s what will bring eternal, lasting life transformation.

I invite you join me this year in writing a New Year’s Prayer.

To begin writing your prayer, examine your New Year’s Resolution and prayerfully ask the Lord for to reveal the heart issue behind your resolution. Ask Him to lead you through His Word to verses that directly address what you hear.

Listen to God’s promise in Hebrews 4:12:

For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. it exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.

Perhaps you want to lose weight because you feel unworthy of love due to your past, your present, or choices you’ve made. Find verses on God’s great love for you…His promises that He created you just the way you are because He has a great plan and purpose for your life that only you can accomplish.

Perhaps you want to spend more time in the Word but you are too busy…you just can’t fit it into your day. Find Scriptures on God’s wisdom and priorities. Proverbs is a great place to start.

Perhaps you want to be a better wife and mother, but you have a temper that flares or a tongue that cuts like a knife. Open God’s Word and find verses addressing speech, self-control, and patience. Proverbs and James are great places to start.

Once you’ve found your verses, take each one and personalize it. Then, put them together, along with your own heart’s cry, to make a prayer. Copy your prayer into a journal or notebook. Write your verses on pieces of paper and put them where you can see them throughout the day. Memorize them.

Listen to God’s promise in Isaiah 55:10-11:

The rain and snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.
It is the same with My Word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it
.

Friends, Isaiah 55 is God’s promise to YOU. If you pray His Word over your life…over your heart…over your home…He will be FAITHFUL to prosper it and make it bear fruit.

Don’t forget to leave a comment sharing the verses God spoke to you or the beginning stages of your prayer. I can’t wait to see how God has spoken to you!

New Year’s Blessings,

September 16, 2013

Do You Struggle with Fear? (Free Download on Fear Available)

If you’re joining us today from my Proverbs 31 Devotion, I am so thankful you stopped by! I love meeting new friends. Please leave a comment today so I can meet you and for a chance to win a signed copy of my book Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner!

NOTE: Feedburner randomly sent this post out incomplete on Saturday. I apologize for that. Today you will find the complete post.

**The winners of the Inscribed necklaces are: Jean Marie Browne who posted on 9/13 at 7:30 pm and Katherine B who posted on 9/9 at 11:58 pm. Please e-mail me at deuteronomysix@aol.com with your full name and mailing address. Congratulations! **

Imprisoned by Fear…

Do you struggle with fear?

Do you know God speaks to fear in the Bible?

To overcome fear, You must know and pray God’s Word.

For years…not just a few years…but for over a decade, I lived imprisoned in fear. During those years, I prayed for God to take away my fear. But it wasn’t until I learned to pray God’s Word and pray it in faith back to Him, that God finally helped me overcome my fear.

You see, sweet friend, God tells us in Romans 8:37:

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (NIV)

A “conqueror” is one who overcomes. To overcome, we must be in the battle, and we must be a participant in the battle. We must be fighting for our freedom.

James 5:16 tells us “the prayer of a righteous [woman] is powerful and effective.”

God taught me through this journey that simply praying a one line prayer a few times a day is not effective prayer. When God opened my eyes to His Word and taught me it is LIVING and ACTIVE  (Hebrews 4:12) and  that WHEN HIS WORD GOES OUT IT WILL NOT RETURN VOID BUT WILL ACCOMPLISH WHAT HE DESIRES AND ACHIEVE THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH HE SENT IT, (Isaiah 55:11) it opened my eyes to pray differently.

I found verses on fear. I personalized each one. I memorized it. I prayed it back to God all throughout the day every day. Over time, God transformed my heart and mind until one night, He freed me from my fear! It’s an amazing story found in Chapter Seven of my book Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner: The Transforming Power of God’s Story. 

Click here for a free download of Chapter 7. The personalized verses I prayed are below:

Isaiah 41:10

“God, I will not fear, for You are with me. I will not be dismayed, for You are my God. You will strengthen me and help me; You will uphold me with Your righteous right hand.”

Psalm 34:4

“Thank You, Lord, that when I see You, You will answer me and deliver me from all my fears.”

Psalm 23:4

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…through extreme fear and anxiety…I will fear no evil, God, because You are with me. Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

Psalm 91:4-6

“Thank You God that You shield me with Your wings! They shelter me. Your faithful promises are my armor. I don’t need to be afraid of the dark any more nor fear the dangers of the day; nor dread the plagues of darkness, nor the disasters in the morning.”

2 Timothy 1:7

“For You, God, do not give a spirit of fear; but of power, of love, and of a sound mind.”

I prayed these verses back to God because the power in prayer lies in praying God’s Word back to Him. It’s His Word and He must honor it. (Isaiah 55:11)

God does not put a spirit of fear in us, nor does He desire for us to have it. He is fully able to take it away. And I was ready to for Him to do it through my prayers!

Freed From Fear…

Below is an excerpt from Chapter 7…one of the greatest moments in my journey to healing and wholeness after being raped just days after my college graduation by an armed masked man hiding in my apartment.

It was a typical Tuesday evening. Monty had left for a business trip as he had done many times before, and I began my usual routine. I put my children to bed. I searched in closets, under beds, and in empty rooms. I turned on all the lights inside and out, turned on the alarm, and then the televisions in every room. I called my girlfriend, Meg, and asked her to pray. Finally, I forced myself to go to bed. As I lay there, I felt compelled to turn off the television. I fought the urge at first, because I knew it meant I would hear every house noise. In the end, I succumbed. With the television off, I lay there in silence, waiting…waiting…waiting for the fear to come as it had done for fifteen years. I continued waiting for that sense of dread and fear that always came with the night.

It never did. Instead, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace and security! A feeling so foreign that I could not even remember the last time I felt it….In that moment, I had a vision, a clear picture in my mind, of a wall of angels surrounding my house. After more than a decade of living locked inside a prison of fear, in one single moment, it was gone!

Remember, I had called my friend Meg earlier that night. Although it was now late, I felt compeled to call her and share my miracle. When I finished recounting my story, there was complete silence on the other end of the line. No words whatsoever. I was stunned. Why was she not joining in my praise? Finally, she spoke, and her words brought me to my knees…literally. Meg said that after I had called earlier in the evening, she and her husband had immediately prayed for me. He specifically prayed for a wall of angels to surround my home.

I was astonished. His prayer was my vision. God’s work was clearly evident. He wanted me to know that He was the reason for my new found freedom. He did not want rationalizations and logical presumptions to prevail. He wanted all the glory. That very night the battle for my heart was won in heaven. God’s power and love defeated the spirit of fear that had imprisoned me for so many years!

[Taken from Hidden Joy in A Dark Corner, pp. 105-106]

Friend, do you want this freedom for yourself…or someone you love? It’s available to you! It’s available to you in the pages of God’s Word.

Please leave a comment today and share your story with us. Maybe you have a story where God freed you from fear. Maybe you have a favorite verse on fear. Maybe you need prayer for your fear. Share with us today. I will choose one name to win a signed copy of Hidden Joy. And if you purchase a copy of Hidden Joy from Proverbs 31 this week, we will send you a personalized signed copy! To order your copy, click here.

Blessings,