Documented Faith Series – Please see the disclaimer & explanation at the bottom of this post *
January | Week One *
(( PRAY | James 5: 13-16 ))
>> Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working <<
Okay, if you’ve been following my blog, …try to follow me here >> My year literally kicked-off with a verse centered around having “abundance;” and was immediately followed by a lesson on how to “abound;” which, of course, involved the importance of prayer. Remember? I made that bedside reminder… Anyway, now here we are… studying the first “Word Of The Month” of 2016: PRAY* Here’s the thing – I truly believe that God often makes it easy* for us to hear & understand Him; we just have to pay attention! For me, He speaks in themes. The theme recently: “I plan for you to have a year of abundance, Ash. You may abound* in all that you do. BUT (1) You’re still going to encounter trouble – anticipate it, don’t be naive about it. Instead, when it comes… just keep going* AND (2) You need me. Ask me, talk to me, connect with me – AKA, PRAY >> I have so much in store for you, but you won’t experience it if you leave me in the dust.”
I love love love * that He does that :)
Moving on, here’s a quick synopsis of my favorite, personal realizations about prayer –
I’ll never forget when my dad – who has been a believing and praying man my whole life – asked me why I prayed before every race at swim meets. I responded with, “Dad, do you care about my race?” His answer: “Of course!” My follow-up question: “Then how much more do you think our ‘Father’ does?” >> I was a mere child at the time, but there’s an obvious truth to the verse about the purity in the faith of a child (Matthew 18: 2-4). That truth I realized as a child, is one that I try to keep clinging to… tightly (Matthew 6:25-34). Pray… about anything* and everything* >> He loves and welcomes conversation with His beloved child! He cares* about every single care that clouds your weary head. So take it – ANYTHING* and EVERYTHING* – to Him. Unashamed. With the vulnerability, humility, and strength-of-faith of a child.
Probably because I believed with a child-like connection, the POWER* of prayer didn’t really hit me until a college friend encouraged me with verse 16 of the set of scriptures highlighted in the picture above: “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (!!!) – Have you embraced the power that you hold, by being a child of The King? That “righteous person?” – That’s you and me! Of course we’re imperfect and flawed as humans, but in Him we’ve been made “a new creation!” (2nd Corinthians 5:17)
Brothers and Sisters, we are flawless. We’re “wrapped in righteousness.”
And therefore, we have Power*
So, PRAY! Pray for those in need around you. Pray when you’re feeling inferior to who You Truly Are. Pray for the sick. Pray for your friend in sin, your friend in need. Pray for the one who’s breaking your heart, or driving you nuts. And do so, with authority.
Your prayers are heard.
They hold power.
They are* effective.
Lastly, I’m so thankful for when I came to a better understanding of what it means to have received The Holy Spirit, who intercedes upon our behalf. Those gates and alters and walls that used to separate the people from approaching The Lord? They’ve been torn down.
Guys, we don’t have to burden ourselves with praying a certain way, in a certain place, at a certain time, for a certain length.
We don’t have to cross our t’s and dot our i’s… or check off each box of whatever acronym someone gave you on “How To Pray.”
You don’t have to do it every morning, before each meal, and/or before bed.
Nope, you really don’t have to… you GET* to talk to Him – all day, every day, whenever you want to!
Oh, the freedom I felt when I understood this revelation! I no longer try to stay focused as I rattle off all of my “please” and “thank you’s” – and then feel guilty when I realize: “DANG IT! I fell asleep, again!” Or… “Oops, sorry God. I got side-tracked / distracted on you…”
Now my prayer life looks so* different >> Instead of it being something I check off of my mental list of “to-do’s” – it’s become an indication of my true* & honest* synchronicity with Christ. I love* when I catch myself just in casual conversation with Him… as I’m driving home from Costco, or unlocking the classroom door of one of my schools in the morning. When I catch myself in conversation with Him – that’s when I know I’m in sync with Him.
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Today’s Encouragement >> So, pray… always… unceasingly. Seriously, don’t stop. When you’re having a good day, share it with Him! He cares, and wants to hear you celebrate! When you’re sick, drained, or worried – PRAY, with confidence in your power! When you’re angry, frustrated, annoyed, or just feeling “off” – talk to Him about it, just as you would with your best friend, your spouse, or even your mom! Oh yeah, and when you’re angry with Him – or straight-up MAD at Him: Let Him know. Let Him “have it.” I promise, He can take it. And He’ll still love you, despite whatever it is you say. Kick and scream and yell. Whatever you do, don’t stop talking. The worst thing you could do to yourself is cut off communication with Your Father. You don’t have to like what He allows. You don’t have to understand where He guides. In the dark, He won’t leave your side; so in the dark, don’t leave His *
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Documented Faith Series – disclaimer * >> Around the middle of 2015 I discovered and began following Stephanie Ackerman – a courageous woman of faith who leads millions of other women of faith around the world. She’s beautiful – inside and out – and I strongly encourage you to find her for yourself! She started the Documented Faith movement, that I’ve merely jumped on board with! If you’re interested in joining, you can find all the information you need to know about it, by clicking on that highlighted link. If you would simply like to understand what’s going on in the posts you’ll find in this series, here’s the main gist –
- Every month, there’s a “Word Of The Month” – and every week, there’s a “Verse Of The Week.” Stephanie sends these out via email, along with a mini devotional that she writes to get our hearts stirring, helping us apply the word & the verse to our daily lives – for the purpose of hearing, feeling, sensing and connecting with God. Together, we share them and inspire & encourage each other within a private Facebook Group. I tend to have a longer response than what is typically “appropriate” for the Facebook world, so I’ve decided to create my own, separate space – to track my personally documented walk of faith in the year of 2016. In the posts found within this series ((which will always begin with a header that matches this one)), you’ll find my responses. Again – this is important: “Documented Faith” is not mine. Stephanie Ackerman launched it and leads it. Her* words – paired with The Spirit’s tug on my heart – is what leads to these posts. Enjoy!