Confession: I have a purse with a monogram on it… but the monogram does not equate to my initials. The letters are WWG. This is a little nudge, and ultimately a comforting reminder, to “Walk With God.” It doesn’t just remind me to walk with God. It also feels like a warm embrace to know that I am walking with God. I can face whatever comes my way each day, with Him by my side.
Over on the Christians Read blog, I had a series on walking with God. I initially wrote one post about walking with God in February. But over the past several weeks I have expanded on it a bit. I looked at walking with God from different angles, using Psalm 23 as a theme. If you are interested in reading those posts, I have the links below.
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
Hi Friends! Over the month of July I have been revisiting some of my past posts. Today I am sharing my 2021 posts on prayer. On the surface, prayer seems to be pretty straightforward. But when we dig deeper, we find that there is so much we can say about prayer. Millions of words have been written in countless books about prayer. I have touched on different aspects of prayer over the course of this series. I hope they have provided encouragement to make prayer a part of your life. If you would like to revisit my posts on prayer from this spring, I have compiled that list below. I hope you get some value out of them as you learn to cling to the Lord in prayer.
“We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own souls, closer than our most secret thoughts.” – A.W. Tozer
Bonus Post: Closer Than a Phone Call Away
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
Hello! As I mentioned last week, over the month of July, I will be revisiting some of my past posts. Last week I also mentioned that when the pandemic hit, I focused on praising God. But I also spent time focusing on strong faith. I learned some principles that help us in our faith walk. I shared what I was learning over on the Christians Read blog last spring. Below are links to those posts. I hope you find these posts to be encouraging.
“Faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God.” – A.W. Tozer
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
Hi Friends! Over the month of July I will be revisiting some past posts. Today I am sharing my 2020 posts on the subject of praising God. When the pandemic hit last year, I quickly learned the importance of praising God. I read through the book of Psalms, reading five Psalms a day. And I implemented praise into my daily life. Instead of feeling down, as many were during those months, I felt a new sense of peace. It amazed me how much praising God could lift our spirits. This is because when we focus on praising God, we are concentrating on His goodness, not on our worries. Whether you are struggling with anything right now or not, I encourage you to make praising God part of your life. It will bring you joy as you cling to the magnificence of our Lord and Savior. Below are the posts I shared last spring, if you are interested in reading any of them again. Personally, I have needed to revisit the importance of praise lately in my own life. So perhaps you do as well. If so, I hope this brings you some encouragement to praise God through life’s ups and downs.
“Let the seeking man reach a place where life and lips join to say continually, ‘Be thou exalted,’ and a thousand minor problems will be solved at once.” – A.W. Tozer
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
Today I want to take a few moments to pray together. Feel free to use this prayer as a prompt at any time.
Dear Heavenly Father, we humbly come before you today in prayer to seek Your grace and guidance.
Lord, first we want to confess anything hidden in our hearts that needs to go. Please show us anything that we might not be aware of that is lurking below the surface. Cleanse us from these hidden faults. We are sorry we grieve You at times when we hold onto our old ways. We hand it all over to You now. Please help us to overcome our weaknesses and move forward in Your grace. Thank You, God. [Take a moment to think about any sins or mistakes that you would like to confess now.]
Lord, we also want to ask You today to help us with the different things that have been weighing on our hearts and minds. Please give us the strength and wisdom we need to move forward in faith. We have spent a lot of time worrying about these things. But we know You don’t like for us to worry. So we are handing our concerns over to You. What freedom it brings to know that You are handling all of our needs. Thank You, God. [Take a moment to think about any concerns you have, and seek God’s help now.]
Lord, we also have different loved ones who are on our hearts today. Please help them with the struggles they are facing. Please help them to draw closer to You. Please help them to see that You are their ultimate source. We ask that You please guide them on their path and provide for their needs. Sometimes we feel helpless when we see our loved ones dealing with various concerns. But we know how powerful prayer is, and we place them in Your hands. Thank You, God. [Think about different family members and friends who need prayer and lift them up to God.]
Lord, we thank You for all that You do for us each and every day. You continually shower us with blessings and favor. We are so grateful for all that we have. We thank You that we can come to You in prayer at any time. What a gift that is! We are so thankful for Jesus and the price He paid for us. And Lord, we are also thankful for the Holy Spirit who guides us daily. We have so much to be thankful for. [Add anything else that you would like to give thanks for.]
Lord, we praise You and all that You are. You are greater than anything and everything. Our minds have trouble grasping just how marvelous You are, God. Words cannot even describe Your glory. We take a look around at this world and this universe and we are in awe of how You set everything in place. Yet You also see each one of us and know us by name. What a gift it is to know that You love us and care for us. Thank You, God. You are the King of kings and the Lord of lords. We give You all the honor and all the glory. [Feel free to add your own praises.]
It is in Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen.
[Also, take a few minutes to sit quietly with God. Listen for anything He might want to reveal to you.]
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
It says in Luke 5:16, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” And indeed when we read the Gospels, we see how spending time in prayer was important to Jesus. We see many instances where it says He withdrew from the crowd and went to a solitary place to pray. If this time alone with the Father was vital for Jesus, how much more important should it be for us?
There is something significant that I hope to convey here. Prayer is so much more than something we check off of our to do lists. Prayer is not something we HAVE to do. Prayer is something we GET to do. Prayer is an honor and a privilege. We are able to meet with our loving Father at any time and from anywhere.
As we pray, we are being shaped and formed to be more like Jesus. We are molded into the person God purposed us to be. We shed the gunk of this world as we are transformed from the inside out.
“Walking with God down the avenues of prayer we acquire something of His likeness, and unconsciously we become witnesses to others of His beauty and His grace.” – E. M. Bounds
Whether we are crying our in despair, whispering words of gratitude, calling out in praise, or begging for divine help – He is there. He is eager to hear from us. He listens to every word. And He is happy to help us and wrap us in His loving arms.
“So now we draw near freely and boldly to where grace is enthroned, to receive mercy’s kiss and discover the grace we urgently need to strengthen us in our time of weakness.” – Hebrews 4:16 TPT
Spending time with God in prayer helps us to learn more about Him. We begin to understand how incredibly merciful and faithful He is. We are filled with awe at His goodness. His love fills a void deep within our hearts.
“The first privilege of having an intimate relationship with God through prayer is that you get to know God. Consider what a great and awesome honor that is—to know the One who not only created all that exists but also directs it from His mighty throne.” – Dr. Charles F. Stanley
We sit in God’s presence and have a conversation with Him. We are forming a strong bond and a meaningful relationship. God is incredibly fond of us and longs to hear from us. Through prayer we not only receive strength and help and guidance, but we also receive love and tender care. May we remember the priceless gift we have in prayer.
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
Last week I briefly mentioned intercession as a type of prayer that we can implement in our prayer lives. Today I wanted to dig deeper into this topic.
1 – We can intercede for others
It might sound complex at first, but this is actually something we do all the time. When we pray for other people, we are interceding on their behalf. And this is something the Bible instructs us to do.
1 Timothy 2:1-5 (NLT) it says, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.”
We have many opportunities to pray for other people. First, we can pray for non-believers to be saved. It says above in verse 4 that the Lord “wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” We might be a witness to some people, and explain the gospel to them. But even if they reject the message, we can continue to pray that the seed planted in their lives will grow.
We might also pray for those who need healing of some sort. We can pray for anyone who is struggling with a particular difficulty in their life. Prayer would be a good place to start when we know someone who is battling something spiritually. I am being a little vague here, because the truth is that the opportunities for prayer are endless. From someone who has a drug addiction, to someone who has a problem with anger, to someone who is battling cancer, to someone who has a financial concern – we can pray in all these instances.
Sometimes we feel helpless when our loved ones are dealing with a mountain. But prayer is the most powerful weapon there is!
I really appreciate how 1 Timothy 2:2 says to “Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority.” This is a great reminder for us to add our government leaders to our prayer lists. We can pray for the leaders in our own countries and across the globe. The decisions they make will affect our lives. And I imagine it is not easy to be in such positions. Whether we agree with their views or not, there is room for prayer.
This verse also reminds us to pray for our pastors, law enforcement, bosses, and any other authority figures in our lives.
And there is something else that this verse implies. We don’t have to know someone personally to pray for them. Now this might seem to start a flood because there are so many people in the world. How would we know who exactly to pray for? It’s important to listen to the Holy Spirit. He will put a burden on our hearts for those who we should pray for.
2 – The Mediator
In 1 Timothy 2:5 it says, “There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.” Jesus is our Mediator. It’s important to remember that Jesus bridged the gap between God and ourselves. In the book of Hebrews, Jesus is called our High Priest. Thanks to Jesus, our Mediator, and our High Priest, we are able to “come boldly to the throne of our gracious God” (Heb 4:16).
3 – The Lord intercedes for us
When we tell others that we will pray for them, it usually gives them a bit of comfort. And when we know someone is praying for us, it brings us some comfort too. Well, did you know that the Lord also intercedes for us? How amazing and comforting is that!
It says in Romans 8:26, “And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.” And it also says in Romans 8:34 that Jesus “is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” These two verses should console us. No matter what difficulty we are facing, the Lord is interceding for us.
Intercession simply means that we can pray for other people. As you seek God in prayer, keep your loved ones in mind. Who do you know that needs prayer? And keep in mind that the Lord prays for us as well. So when we are facing something, big or small, we can have peace knowing that the Lord is interceding for us. What a glorious God we have!
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
I felt led to share this, in case there was anyone out there who needed it…
Do you have a personal relationship with God? If not, then I invite you to begin one today. I promise you that you will not regret it. Having a relationship with the Lord will bring comfort and peace into your life.
But having a relationship with God, starts with accepting Jesus. The Bible says that we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We all deserve to perish (Romans 6:23). And there is nothing we can do on our own to achieve salvation (Ephesians 2:9).
But the good news is that “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). This is because Jesus paid the price that we could never pay. He died for all of our sins. He took them on Himself so that we might have eternal life. Then three days after Jesus’s death, He rose from the dead. This ultimately defeated death and gave us the hope of salvation. It bridged the gap between a Holy God and ourselves.
A life with Jesus by your side can be so freeing. Every day we struggle with the weight of the world on our shoulders. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can accept Jesus into our hearts, and let God handle our troubles. It doesn’t mean life will be perfect. But it does mean we will have peace, knowing that Almighty God is beside us. I can tell you firsthand how much my life has improved every day with Jesus in my life. I now have so much more joy in my heart, because I walk each day with an amazing Shepherd. And you can too.
I invite you to pray the prayer below. It will be the best decision of your life.
Lord Jesus, I ask You to please forgive me of my sins. I believe that You died on the cross for me and rose from the grave three days later. I can never thank You enough for paying my sin debt. Thank You for hearing my prayer. Thank You for Your unconditional love. I am ready to hand my life over to You. I am ready to walk in Your strength and power. I am ready for You to be the center, purpose, and meaning in my life. I am ready for You to be my Lord and Savior. In Jesus’s name I pray. Amen.
If you prayed this prayer, congratulations on your new life! Welcome to the family. You are a child of the Most High God. He loves you with an unfailing love. And He will be there for you, every single day.
When many people think of prayer, they think of asking God for things. That is a big part of our prayers. But it is not the only way we can pray. Today I want to outline several types of prayer.
1 – Confession and Repentance
In a previous post, I had mentioned that when we first embark on our relationship with the Lord, we confess our sins and repent of them. But this might be something we need to do again and again if sin continues to be a part of our lives. We are not perfect and we will mess up sometimes. Thankfully, as Christians, the Holy Spirit lives inside of us and nudges us when we have taken a wrong turn. This helps us to recognize sin and to take it to the Lord in prayer. We can ask for His forgiveness and then make every effort to turn away from that sin.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10
2 – Petition / Supplication
This is what we are most familiar with in our prayer lives. We bring our needs before the Lord and ask Him for His help and provision. We might ask for necessities, such as food and clothing. We might ask for strength when facing something difficult. We might ask for healing, when we have a particular illness. We might ask for help with our finances. The items here are endless. The good news is that God knows exactly what we need and loves to provide for His children.
Many years ago, two missionaries, who were also husband and wife, spoke in front of our church. They talked about how little they had when they were on their missions trips. But they also talked about how God provided for them. One night they prayed for soap because they didn’t even have a bar of soap to bathe with. The next morning they discovered a bar of soap where they were staying. It had teeth marks in it and it appeared as though God had used a rat to transport it for them. When I heard them tell that story, it left an impact on me. This is a good reminder of how powerful prayer is and how much God wants to help us with our needs.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6
3 – Intercession
Intercessory prayer is when we pray for other people. This is a powerful way to help our loved ones who need salvation, healing, protection, or anything else.
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people. – 1 Timothy 2:1
4 – Gratitude
In our prayers, I think it is important to thank God for all He has done for us. Thank Him for all the answered prayers. If you like keeping a prayer journal, this might be a good way to keep track of answered prayers. Personally I don’t have a dedicated prayer journal. But I do have a gratitude journal. In it I try to jot down blessings that I see in my life. This helps me to remember that even when things in my life are a little chaotic, there is still a whole lot of good in my life too. It reminds me of God’s goodness. And it reminds me that every day is a gift from God.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
5 – Praise
Praise and gratitude might sound pretty similar. In some ways they are. But praising God goes a little further than gratitude. When we praise God, we are praising Him for who He is, not just for all that He does for us. We praise Him for His character, His goodness, His magnificence, and His sovereignty.
Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. – Psalm 106:1
These are a few types of prayers that we can implement into our daily prayer routines. If we try dividing our prayer time among these parts, I believe we will see our prayers become stronger and more meaningful. We will connect with God in a significant way. And we will walk away with more peace and joy in our hearts.
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
I have read many books on prayer lately. But one thing that I learned is that you can read all the books in the world on prayer, but you still have to put it into practice for it to be useful! For me, forming a habit and staying organized were essential. Here are some methods and tools that I have used in my prayer life recently.
I like to keep a prayer list. I simply use paper and pen to write out names of people who need prayer, as well as particular concerns in my own life. I find a list to be helpful because I might not always remember different people or topics that I intended to pray about. And I also have this list on my phone so I can access it anytime and anywhere. A list can become quite long. So don’t feel obligated to get through all items every day. You could categorize high priority items that need prayer daily. Then some of the other items you can rotate through during a week’s time.
I am not a talkative person. So even in prayer, I struggle to find words to say. I might not always know what to pray about, or I might not always have the words. So one thing I have been using periodically is the prayer I posted at the beginning of the year. It is a comprehensive list of different needs which we might pray about. I have used this to pray for myself and also for loved ones. I printed this post out on paper to keep it handy, and I also added the hyperlink to my favorites on my phone so I can access it electronically.
There are many wonderful prayer devotionals as well. These are excellent resources to help you focus on prayer and to add a little variety to your prayers.
Most often I pray silently. But I confess that my mind does wander sometimes. So I also like to pray aloud as a means to keep myself focused. Usually I will only do this in the car when driving alone, so that only God will hear me!
Side note: One important thing to remember about prayer is that it is a conversation. When we converse with others, it is a two-way street. We will talk some, and the other person will talk some as well. As it is in prayer as well. So we have to remember to include listening to God anytime we communicate with Him.
You might consider incorporating prayer into your exercise routine. If you walk, jog, or cycle – those are all great times to pray. I especially like praying outdoors because I feel closer to God in nature. But this works on indoor equipment as well. And it will help your exercise time to go by faster and not be quite so boring!
Some people like to keep a prayer journal. This is another good way to keep yourself focused. However, personally, I don’t normally write out my prayers because it takes longer to write than it does to just speak to God. But I will write out certain prayers, if something in particular is weighing on my heart or if it is something I wouldn’t mind keeping record of.
As I mentioned in a previous post, during Lent I did write out prayers in a Write The Word journal by Cultivate What Matters. In these journals the majority of my prayers were focused on particular Bible verses. This was a good way for me to combine Scripture and prayer. Doing this has so many benefits. It helps the Bible to have more meaning as we apply it to our lives. And it helps us make our prayers more meaningful as well.
I do keep a gratitude journal and there is one way that this helped me to stay on track with my prayers recently. On days when I prayed, I have been putting a check mark and the word “Pray” next to it. This is a simple way to keep myself accountable. Another option is to put a sticky note somewhere that you will see it every day. I fear that many days we hit the ground running and prayer can easily become an afterthought. So try to think of ways you can remind yourself to pray each day, or even throughout the day.
These are a few things that I have had to keep in mind over the last several months as I’ve tried to improve my prayer life. Different things work for different people. For me, I like to keep things simple and keep tools handy, otherwise I might feel overwhelmed. I hope you will give this some thought to see how you might make changes in your prayer life. Doing so will help you to make prayer a daily habit, which will result in cherished moments with the Lord.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. – Psalm 145:18
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas