This is Chapter 12 of "Discovering Joy," a devotion-style diary written during the coronavirus self-isolation. I've been posting it chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad. Enjoy!
10. Pray until you get an answer.
I was talking recently with some ladies and the question arose: "Is it okay to pray many times for the same thing, even in the same day?" The ladies were talking about those times when a particular matter weighed heavily on their spirits and they could barely think of any other thing throughout the day. They feared falling into the category of "vain repetition," as Jesus described it in Matthew 6:7-8:
This is Chapter 11 of "Discovering Joy," a devotion-style diary written during the coronavirus self-isolation. I've been posting it chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad. Enjoy!
7. Pray continually throughout the day.
When we read books on prayer or accounts of Christians who have been known for their prayer lives, we usually only hear about the hours that they spend in dedicated prayer. While those prayer times are important (see my thoughts on "set apart prayer time" in the next section), when we're developing prayer-muscles or we are in a particularly demanding season of life, five-second prayers are totally legitimate. They overcome the first barrier to prayer (the reluctance to start praying at all) and they direct our thoughts toward the Lord many times throughout the day. Instead of "saving up our prayers" for a particular time and place in which we can offer set-apart prayer, we see all times and places and contexts as legitimate for prayer. Many times, we see people in the Bible pray as they go, seeking that brief connection with the Lord in the midst of their activities.
This is Chapter 10 of "Discovering Joy," a devotion-style diary written during the coronavirus self-isolation. I've been posting it chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad. Enjoy!
Read Part 1 here.
4. Pray about literally everything.
Let's go back to the concept of creating categories. We do this all the time:
This is Chapter 9 of "Discovering Joy," a devotion-style diary written during the coronavirus self-isolation. I've been posting it chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad. Enjoy!
The next few chapters will be about prayer, not because I set out to write some sort of theological treatise on prayer (I'm not nearly qualified!) but because I believe the Lord is building our prayer muscles during this time of self-isolation, global fear, and suffering. By "our" I don't mean just my husband and I, but the church as a whole. If God's people will not pray, who will? If we do not believe prayer to be effective enough, important enough, crucial enough--then do we truly believe in the God we say we do? If we saw prayer as more than just a blessing over food--if we saw it as a Christian soldier's active use of a sword and a shield in a furious spiritual battle--how would we pray?
These are the things that I have learned about prayer. I hope they help you as you also join the "prayer front" in this battle!
This is Chapter 7 of Discovering Joy, my devotion-style diary during the coronavirus self-isolation, which I am posting chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad. Enjoy!
"I am banning myself from Facebook for the rest of the day," I announced to my husband Paul. "I've just seen way too much negativity today."
Being pregnant has made my emotions so much more "extra," so things that normally I'd be able to shake my head at and then ignore, I now find infuriating or irrationally devastating. I've found myself typing out paragraphs of responses to various posts on Facebook, only to pause, re-read what I have written, and recognize that my brilliant riposte is not going to solve anything ultimately. Highlight. Delete. Of course, I think of myself as one of the few sane ones in a sea of irrational adults. But every other adult in this mess thinks the exact same thing, so who am I to claim that I'm different?
This is Chapter 6 in a devotion-style coronavirus isolation diary entitled Discovering Joy, which I am posting chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad. Enjoy!
Today, I am thinking about the global church during the oppression of the virus, and how the intentionality we must put into fellowship now suddenly makes us so much more aware of who we choose to spend time with.
One of the most powerful things about the church is that it forces us to love people that we would never have chosen to love. We live in an age in which church shopping is normal. While I do believe there are legitimate reasons to choose to fellowship in one church over another, and that it's important to worship in an environment where you are truly being built up spiritually, I also suspect that we approach church with far too much self-focus.
This is Chapter 5 of a devotion-style coronavirus isolation diary entitled Discovering Joy, which I am posting chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad. Enjoy!
It feels as though the Lord is revealing a reenactment of the Easter history in the world today.
As we shut ourselves into our homes to avoid the presence of viral death, it feels like the closing of a tomb.
As we wait in breathless, exhausting solitude for the danger to pass, it feels like the stillness of death.
When we finally step outside our doors into the light of restored fellowship, it will feel like a resurrection.
Without that third part--without the rising from the dead--the story's ending is not worth reading. We remain huddled in separation and social death and fear, with no hope of deliverance. We must have hope. We must know that renewed life is part of the story.
This is Chapter 4 of Discovering Joy, a devotion-style quarantine diary I'm posting chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad during the coronavirus self-isolation.
Holy Week feels strange this year. I'm used to the bustle of planned Easter egg hunts, baskets filled with goodies, and pastel everything. I'm used to the deprivation of Lent*, the solemn assemblies on Good Friday, the light-filled church service on Sunday, and the laughter of large family gatherings after church.
(*For the record, I'm Protestant, but my mother's side of the family is Catholic, so traditions like Lent are a part of our extended family's larger celebration.)
This is Chapter 3 of Discovering Joy, a devotional-style quarantine diary I'm posting chapter-by-chapter on Wattpad during the coronavirus self-isolation.
Last week, the fear hit me hard. Up until then, I had been doing a good job of ignoring it. I was just collecting data, keeping up with the news, practicing my proper social distancing, sheltering at home... It was a tidy response and I thought it was sufficient.
But the cracks have been showing for weeks.
Reading the news circulating on Facebook is panic-worthy. Stories of otherwise healthy people who first developed symptoms on Wednesday and were dead by the next Tuesday, stories from survivors who tell of gasping for air for weeks as they battled for their lives in home quarantine, stories of hospital staff making ethical decisions to aid one patient over another because there simply are not enough resources for everyone.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.