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the importance of ongoing prayer

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“For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things.” Psalm 107:9

This year I have gone through a lot of change… I mean a lot. If I were to list the major life changes, emotional changes, and season changes I have gone through this year, you wouldn’t believe me. I might not even believe me!

However, throughout this year, I have learned one very, very important piece of my spiritual journey with Jesus – ongoing prayer.

See, prayer is what keeps us in contact with God. Prayer is the tool we use to combat the lies of Satan, it’s the gateway to a growing relationship with our Savior, and it’s the mechanism we use to keep our hearts and emotions in tune and in check with the truth of God (2 Chronicles 7:14, Ephesians 6:18,James 5:13, Matthew 26:41, etc.).

Until summer of this year, I never understood how critical prayer is to my life. This all changed when I was at a baby shower (seriously… could y’all have any more babies right now), and I ran into a girl whose car Dylan and I bought off the side of the road in September of last year. I knew of her through our 30 minute encounter where we handed her cash and drove off with her car (ha!). So, I run into this girl and we strike up immediate spiritual conversation.

Throughout our two hour talk I felt the Lord pressing on me to reach out to her after the baby shower and learn more about her life, which lead to me learning about her mission. I later learned that Lauren (author of two of the most powerful prayer devotional books ever written – link at the bottom) was on a mission of teaching women to pray through prayer journaling. I couldn’t contain myself when I learned this!

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the heart behind my words

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I can be an overtalker. An anxious rambler. I sometimes fear awkward silences, and I can hardly let an uncomfortable situation sit.

There’s a frantic urgency to overreach with my words, to extent an apology or clarifying statement or burst of emotion.

I’ve known this to be true throughout my life, but lately it’s been flashing bright like Vegas Neon. And truthfully, I’m bothered by it.

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” Proverbs 18:21

I’m disturbed by my fear of discomfort in a conversation. I’m weary from my need to explain myself completely and entirely, to cover all my bases, to fix a situation immediately.

I wonder about pride, and how it could be a root issue here: the need to be sure I’m understood, the desire to make sure I’m not seen as wrong or confused or behind the curve.

Once I get going, words like a garden hose rush from my lips. Usually resulting in regret or self-doubt or disappointment, sometimes condemnation before Holy Spirit catches me.

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making choices like Jesus would

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Thanksgiving week this year was full. Full of family, laughter, conversations, shooting guns, being outside, delicious food, a few tears, lots of grace.

I was driving out to my parents’ house asking Father for help. God, please give me wisdom and discernment in my choices. Bless our families with good quality time and rich conversation. Be honored by our words and actions and thoughts. In His goodness, He gave me a visual.

Two sisters, different personalities. Mary and Martha in Luke 10. Mary sitting at Jesus’ feet while busy bee Martha is frazzled and distracted.

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” v. 41-42

The greatest possession is close fellowship with the Lord as our ‘portion’ in life, says the ESV Study Bible. “It will not be taken away from her” — neither now to help Martha in the kitchen, nor for all eternity.

And Father said, stay at my feet, stay close, rest and trust Me. 

Instead of feeling like my mind is distracted and frazzled and busy like Martha, trying to please everyone and make the perfect choice.

Jesus was a man who lived on this earth. He walked, talked, overcame, felt physical needs, spent time with other humans. He valued close fellowship with his Father.

“Jesus came to reveal God to us. He is the defining word on God—on what the heart of God is truly like, on what God is up to in the world, and on what God is up to in your life. An intimate encounter with Jesus is the most transforming experience of human existence. To know him as he is, is to come home. To have his life, joy, love, and presence cannot be compared. A true knowledge of Jesus is our greatest need and our greatest happiness. To be mistaken about him is the saddest mistake of all.”

To experience him and learn about him and know him is transformative.

God is cultivating in me a longing to know Jesus like I know my best friend or my husband.

To wonder about him when doing mundane tasks. To imitate how he speaks to both friends and strangers. To prioritize life as he prioritized life. To learn how he responds well in tricky situations. To love him by my service. To listen to him. To learn his mannerisms and tendencies. To know his heart.

I’m reading a book by John Eldredge called Beautiful Outlaw, about Jesus and his personality. All the quotes in this post are found in the book. It’s an interesting read.

He woos, he confronts, he delivers, he heals, he shoots straight, and then he uses intrigue. He lives out before them the most compelling view of God, shows them an incredibly attractive holiness while shattering the religious glaze.

I’m learning it this way… Holy Spirit is God in us; He is companion, wisdom, comfort, guide, and more. Jesus is our example for life; He lived a life that pleased God. Jesus is our brother to learn from. God is Father; He is creator, judge, powerful.

The purpose of his life, death, and resurrection was to ransom you from your sin, deliver you from the clutches of evil, restore you to God – so that his personality and his life could heal and fill your personality. Your humanity, and your life. This is the reason he came. Anything else is religion.

I sometimes underestimate the power of knowing Jesus as if he was a physical person in my life today. I sometimes underestimate the stories of the Bible.. passages that tell of his expressions, his words, his way of being, his view of the world.

The purpose of his life, death, and resurrection was to ransom you from your sin, deliver you from the clutches of evil, restore you to God – so that his personality and his life could heal and fill your personality.

Forgive me, Father. Thank you, for sending Jesus to live perfectly and die sacrificially.