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?
In the last year, the Lord has taught me so much about prayer. Partially, this has been through the influence of a fantastic book, A Praying Life by Paul E. Miller. I've heard a lot of sermons about the importance of prayer and, mostly, they've been simultaneously inspiring and guilt-inducing. "Yes! I will pray more! ... How do I do that?"
Mr. Miller's book has been refreshingly honest and practical. As a result, I've learned a few things along the way that I'd like to share with you.
But our eyes are on you.
The Judeans were a desperate people. The kingdoms of Ammon, Moab, and others were marching against the people of Judah.
"A great multitude is coming against you..."
This was no secret thing. All of the people knew it. Imagine the panic. Work postponed for the day as the people gathered tensely to hear what their king would say to comfort, to rally. But as he looked out over the assembled families--even the children! the children!--he felt only the sick acid knot in his heart. He had to stand and he had to speak and he had only one thing to say.
It first showed up in November. I felt exhausted, crippled with aching flu-like pain, and edged with the threat of tears. At some point during the worship service, my fiance leaned forward and whispered, "Do I need to take you someplace more comfortable?"
Torn between my desire to be with the people of God, but aware that I was unable to actually enjoy their presence, at last I acquiesced.
My legs had turned to jelly and the cacophony in my head made sight difficult, so my fiance led me. As soon as he opened the outer door of the church sanctuary, a wall-blast of light assaulted me. My legs crumpled.
Paul picked me up and carried me to the closest couch. For the next hour, my entire body spasmed violently, alternating between tremors, full-body whiplashing, intense contractions forward and backward. It was the first time anything like that had ever happened to me, and yet, as my soon-to-be-husband prayed quietly over me, I felt perfectly calm. Even as a prisoner of my body, my mind felt utterly relaxed.
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.