Last week I talked about how kneeling in prayer shows respect and reverence towards God. Today I wanted to talk about a Biblical example. You are likely familiar with the story of Daniel and the lions’ den. Daniel was living in Babylon where a law was passed stating that everyone had to pray to the king. Anyone who prayed to someone else would be thrown into the lions’ den.
It says in Daniel 6:10, “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”
Although there was a new law stating that everyone had to pray to the king, Daniel still prayed to the one and only God. Well, the king’s men saw Daniel do this and reported him. However, the king liked Daniel, so it upset him very much. The king didn’t want to throw Daniel in the lions’ den, but now he had no choice. You likely know how the story goes. When the king went to the lions’ den the next morning, he found that Daniel had survived, against all odds.
Daniel told the king in verse 22, “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
I love this story because it shows how deeply Daniel honored the Lord. He had such reverence for Him that he kneeled in prayer. And not only that, he continued to kneel in prayer, even after a law forbid it. Daniel did not fear the king or his men. Daniel feared God and only God. As a result, Daniel was faithful to God, no matter what.
As I mentioned last week, if you are unable to physically kneel, then don’t try it. The key to reverence is in our hearts. And when we learn the art of reverence, I believe our hearts will also cling to God in the same way. No matter what we face in life, we will still hold tightly to God and honor Him. We will know deep in our hearts how faithful and trustworthy our God is. And nothing can keep us from putting Him first in our lives.
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
A few months ago I started a new habit. Each morning I take a moment to kneel on the floor. In that moment I tell God that I am handing my day over to Him. I tell Him that I want all my words and actions to be for His honor and glory.
Kneeling in prayer is often found in the Bible. But I don’t believe many people do this today. I realize this is difficult for some with disabilities. So don’t try it if you can’t get back up! If this is the case, then in your prayer, tell the Lord you are kneeling in your heart.
Kneeling before God is an act of reverence. We show God that we respect Him and fear Him with a godly fear. I feel the art of reverence is being lost, little by little, with each generation. For example, we all know that many people use the Lord’s name inappropriately. Too many people do not give God a second thought, let alone give Him respect. Even Christians allow their pride to get in the way and stop them from fully surrendering to our Holy God.
God is greater than everything we know and can imagine. He is the only One who is completely holy and righteous. Our best efforts are filthy rags in His sight (Isaiah 64:6). We deserve the worst punishment. But thanks to His unfailing love, we have been given the gift of salvation. He gave us life and breath. Each day He shows us mercy and grace. There are so many reasons why we should show God reverence.
If reverence is an area in which you would like to grow, simply ask God to help you. He certainly will oblige. And even just the fact that you asked will help turn your heart around. You also can make it a practice to get on your knees each morning, as I do. This practice has helped shape my days for the better. It reminds me to praise Him and to honor Him. It reminds me to do my best each day, for His glory. It reminds me to not allow minor circumstances to affect my attitude. It reminds me that my whole life belongs to Him.
I challenge you today to take some time to evaluate your heart’s posture before the Lord. Do you need a renewed sense of reverence? If so, then pray about it and take a moment to get on your knees, either physically or in your heart. And He will be faithful to meet you there.
Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. – Psalm 95:6
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
A new year and a new beginning
There is so much possibility
But we don’t know what lies ahead
For the future only God can see
We can plan and we can plot
We can wrap a fist around our goals
Or we can take a step back
And allow God to have full control
Yes let us cling to the Lord this year
While all our fears release
Knowing no matter what we face
We will have the Prince of Peace
What a precious gift we have
Our Father guiding the way
He gives us beloved hope
As we rest in Him each day
Dear Heavenly Father,
We have stepped into a new year with hearts full of hope. We desperately long to see brighter days ahead. Of course we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but we know Who holds tomorrow. So we humbly come before You and ask for Your help, Your guidance, Your strength, and Your provision for each day ahead. Thank You!
Lord, we pray for peace in the United States and in the world. We have become so weary and tired of all the chaos and violence. What the world needs is Jesus. We fervently pray that all hearts turn to You, because You alone can set us back on our feet. All our hope is in You. Thank You!
God, we pray for our loved ones who are lost and need You in their life. We pray that they will accept Jesus into their heart. We pray that they see You alone are the answer they have been looking for. The world might be trying to pull them down, but we stand on their behalf and pull them up. We pray for them to fully embrace You as Lord. Thank You!
Father, we also pray for complete healing on behalf of ourselves and our loved ones. We pray for physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental healing. Many of us struggle with different aches and pains, sorrows and struggles. We ask for a breakthrough. There is power in the name of Jesus, and it is in Jesus’ name that we humbly ask for healing from head to toe. Thank You!
Lord, we also ask You to break any bondages, strongholds, or chains that are holding us and our loved ones prisoner. Jesus came so that we could be free. So, we are taking hold of that freedom, right here and right now. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And since the Holy Spirit lives in each of us, that means freedom is here. We claim it and we accept it! Thank You!
God, we also pray for our finances. We know that You are our provider. Jesus reminds us that You know everything that happens to the sparrows, and that we are more valuable than them. We have nothing to worry about when we have You beside us. We know You will continue to provide and we are so thankful. We ask that You help us pay off our debts. As children of God, we know You don’t want us to be indebted. We will lend and not borrow, as we are reminded in Deuteronomy. Lord, we give You our tithe and offering in faith, knowing that we can’t out give You. We have nothing to fear. Thank You!
Heavenly Father, we also pray for our jobs and our ministries. Please guide us each day. We want to honor You and glorify You in all that we do. We remember that no matter who signs our paychecks, or even if we don’t get a paycheck in our current work, we are ultimately working for You. You have a purpose for each of us. You have planted us in certain places for a reason. We are in awe that You care about every detail of our lives, even down to where we work and our day-to-day interactions. So we humbly ask for Your wisdom, Your strength, and Your guidance with the things we will face. Thank You!
God, we also pray for our relationships. Please help us to nurture the relationships in our lives, with our immediate family, extended family, friends, and coworkers. Help us to share each other’s burdens. Help us to show others the love of Jesus. We pray for our relationships to grow stronger this year. You gave us precious loved ones to cherish and we are thankful for them.
Most importantly, pray for our relationship with You, Father. Please help us to grow closer to You. Please help us to seek You and pursue You. Help us to put You first in our lives. Help us to spend time with you daily, reading our Bibles, praying, and worshiping You. We want to become more like Jesus. We want to remove everything in our lives that You do not like. We want to cling to You every moment of every day. Help us to see Your footprints in our lives. Thank You!
Thank You, Lord! We are so grateful that we can come to You in prayer. And we are grateful to have You in our lives. We are in awe of all that You do and all that You are! We praise You, God! It is in Jesus’ name that we pray. Amen.
Here are a few songs I wanted to share:
– I Know Who Holds Tomorrow by Gaither Vocal Band (I had to share this one for my mother-in-law. She loved the Gaithers.)
– All My Hope by Crowder featuring Tauren Wells
– Break Every Chain by Jesus Culture
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
Happy New Year! I love new years, fresh starts, and clean slates. There is so much promise and possibility in the days ahead. And one thing I particularly enjoy doing at the beginning of the year is picking an anchor word to focus on throughout the year. Some years picking my word is easy, and I just know the right word. In 2019, I just knew the word Seek was the right word. Other years, picking a word turns into a battle of sorts. I might have a few good words in mind. But I don’t always know what word is the best word to go with. That was the case in 2020 when I finally settled on the word Grace. I do believe we should pray when we pick our word, so the Lord can help guide us down the right path and towards the things He wants us to focus on. This year, picking my word was easy. I knew what my word would be before we even reached December.
My word for 2021 is Cultivate.
This word kept coming up a lot towards the end of the year. I was part of an online Bible study with Proverbs 31 ministries that dealt with cultivating worship. At the time, the word really struck me and that was when I began to ponder making it my word for 2021. Then I read a poem by Daryl Madden with the title of Cultivate, and I knew that this was confirmation. Then I read a Dayspring devotional where the writer mentioned that her word for 2020 was Cultivate. And I saw this word continue come up a number of other times in different ways. I just knew deep down that this was the word for me.
According to Oxford, cultivate is defined as:
1 – prepare and use (land) for crops or gardening.
2 – try to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill).
But what does cultivate mean to me and why did I choose it? With each new year, I always think of different areas of my life that I want to improve. My relationship with God is always my number one priority. In my spiritual life I want to draw closer to God, I want to seek Him more, I want to spend more time with Him, I want to praise Him more, and I want to pray more. But there are also numerous other areas that I want to improve in my family life, personal life, work life, writing life, etc. I want to live an intentional life. I want to be present in each moment. I want to make wise choices with my words, my actions, my health, my finances, etc. To think about all of these things can be overwhelming. But this one word – cultivate – will be a reminder to me throughout the year to nurture the things that matter most. It will be a reminder to make good decisions and to live with intention. It will be a reminder to focus on the important things in life. It will help me to embrace life to the fullest. With each new day, we can choose what we will cultivate in our lives. I want to cultivate the things that last and the things that matter. I am excited to see where the word Cultivate will lead me this year.
If you have chosen a word for the year, I would love to hear what it is. Please share in the comments.
(c) 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
If you have been following my blog for a while, then you might know that I like to choose an anchor word at the beginning of each year. The idea is to focus on this word throughout the year, keep it in mind each day, and hopefully it will help bring growth in the months ahead. In 2020 I chose the word “grace.” As the year is coming to a close, I have been reflecting on where this word led me this year.
Initially, I felt like I did not give grace the attention it deserved. But as I thought about it more and more, I realized that God still brought grace into my life in a variety of ways. I will start by explaining the ways that I tried to learn about grace this year. And then I will talk about God’s amazing work to teach me about grace.
In the beginning of the year, I read a book called Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine by Max Lucado. I have never read a Max Lucado book that I didn’t enjoy. His writing style is easy to digest and entertaining as well. This book was no exception. Grace was insightful, yet also humorous. Lucado has a way of keeping one’s attention with fascinating stories that bring the point home. Therefore, reading this book was an excellent way to learn about and focus on the grace of God.
Another thing that I did to help keep my mind in the right direction was to write the word “grace” at the top of every journal page, each day throughout the year. I also put sticky notes in a variety of places with the word “grace” written on them. These two things helped keep the word in the forefront of my mind.
Also, in the beginning of the year, I tried to make note of “Grace Moments” in my journal. These were moments in my day when I saw grace extended. These were moments when life slowed down a bit and love took precedence. Unfortunately, I neglected to keep this up though, as the year moved on.
The items above were the extent of my efforts. At first glance, I felt that I failed to embrace grace. But as I dug deeper, I realized that I learned more than I thought. Thankfully, God showed up, and helped fill in the large gaps that I left empty. Ironically, I needed God’s grace to teach me about grace.
It is no secret that 2020 has been a year of upheaval. I don’t have to go into all the chaos we saw, because you saw it yourself. But through it all, God’s grace was with me and my family. I was fortunate to work remotely for three months when the pandemic hit. I was fortunate to keep my steady job, when many others did not. I was fortunate that God provided for us and protected us through so much chaos. All by the grace of God.
There was something that I thought might come to pass this year, but it did not. It was disappointing, but I held onto the the words of Romans 8:28. The Passion Translation puts it this way: “So we are convinced that every detail of our lives is continually woven together to fit into God’s perfect plan of bringing good into our lives, for we are his lovers who have been called to fulfill his designed purpose.” All by the grace of God.
This year actually turned out to be a very rich one in my spiritual walk. I have a newfound love of the Psalms. I learned the importance and the joy of Praise. I developed a stronger Faith and Trust in the Lord. I also sought a more intentional life and a more confident life. And I must say that I truly have had more peace and contentment on the inside. All by the grace of God.
I have also learned to extend grace to myself. I am learning the art of balance. I am learning to let things go. And I am learning it is okay to be me, even if the world wants me to be someone else. All by the grace of God.
To be honest, I did not want “Grace” to be my word for the year. I really wanted the word “Joy” instead. But I felt God nudging me to choose the word “Grace.” But the funny thing is that Grace has brought me Joy. God always works things out in a divine way.
I have much to be thankful for in 2020, thanks be to God. Looking back, I am amazed at all the ways He has been by my side and forever extending grace. Only God can work in such miraculous ways.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him. – Psalm 40:1-3
Photo by Pok Rie on Pexels.com
© 2020 Bridget A. Thomas
The world around appears dark
Wearing despair like a coat
But the promised Savior is on the way
We cannot afford to lose Hope
He brings what we are seeking
Death will meet defeat
We can finally breathe easy
He ushers in beloved Peace
The world rejoices at the news
Born is a blessed Baby Boy
The shepherds quake in awe
We finally understand pure Joy
What a precious blessing He is
Straight from heaven above
Emmanuel, God with us
He truly is a gift of Love
I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for being here and for walking by my side. This Christmas I am so grateful for you and I can never tell you how much your presence means to me. Your friendship to me is priceless. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And I pray you have a very Merry Christmas!
© 2020 Bridget A. Thomas
Dear Heavenly Father, we humbly come before You with full hearts this Christmas. While this year has been difficult for each of us and the entire world, we are still grateful. The birth of Jesus, the gift of Your Son, brings everything into perspective. This year, the world has been full of despair. But we are so thankful to know that You have overcome the world.
So, we thank You for giving us hope today and every day. We have hope in Your Son, Jesus. We have hope because You have redeemed us. We have hope of spending eternity in Your presence. And we have hope because You are by our sides every single day. Thank You, Father, for the beautiful gift of hope.
Lord, even before this year started, peace often seemed elusive to us. We long to have peace in our lives. This world we live in feels anything but peaceful. The things we face each day bring a lot of stress and worry. But then we remember Your Son, The Prince of Peace. Oh how amazing it is that Jesus left us the gift of His peace. So today we choose to take hold of that peace. We will allow that peace to work in our lives. And in turn we will also be an instrument of Your peace to those around us. Thank You for giving us peace.
God, Christmastime is often associated with joy. This year especially we would love to have more joy in our lives. But we confess that there are times when we let circumstances steal our joy. Deep down we know these circumstances come from the enemy. So today we are taking a stand. We will not let the enemy steal our joy any longer. Having Your joy gives us strength. And we will hold onto it tightly. Thank You for giving us true joy.
Father, when we think about how much You love us, we are speechless. We have no words to express how amazing Your love is. Emmanuel. God with us. When we reflect on those words, we feel Your love overflowing in our lives. Knowing that You loved us so much that You chased after us and paved a way to save us from death. We can never repay that debt. But we are so very thankful for You and for Your unfailing love.
Lord, we pray You can help us to hold onto hope, peace, joy, and love – during this Christmas season, into the New Year, and every day in the foreseeable future. We are so thankful for the gift of Jesus and what He has done for us. And we are thankful for all that He represents. Having Jesus in our lives makes all the difference as we face each new day. Thank You. We are so grateful. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
What an amazing November we had! I hope you all enjoyed the gratitude challenge as much as I did. It turned out to be such a rich month, as we drew closer to God. Spending time with Him in prayer, gratitude, and praise filled our hearts. I hope to continue making prayer, gratitude, and praise a part of my daily life. And I hope you will too.
This year has been a whirlwind, to say the least. The world saw much fear and heartache over a number of different issues. And we each faced personal battles on top of all that. But the gratitude challenge showed us how much we still have to be thankful for. Between all of us who shared what we were thankful for here on the blog, we tallied well over 450 blessings. How amazing is that? Even when life feels like a struggle, God is still showering us with an abundance of gifts.
The journey we took together really highlighted the goodness of God. We saw how God is always there. We were reminded of the precious gift of Jesus and salvation. We remembered that God is our protection, our source, our strength, and our provider. Our eyes were opened to the beauty around us. We saw how spending time daily with God is vital to our wellbeing. We grew in our friendships and relationships with others. And I dare say we truly felt the love and care of our Heavenly Father.
What a wonderful month we had. And my heart overflows with gratitude. I am grateful for God, who was by our sides throughout this journey. And I am grateful for each of you who walked the path with me. It truly was a blessing to have you here.
I will share one more song with you. It is one that my friend “Perth Girl” shared with me in one of the gratitude challenge posts. (She is also a blogger over at https://faithfood.blog/. Please check it out. You will love her enlightening and encouraging posts.) The song is such a beautiful reminder of what each day is all about, of what this gratitude challenge was about, and how our hearts should be focused on Him every single moment. Enjoy! Goodness of God by Jenn Johnson
Below are links to each of the Gratitude Challenge posts. I wanted to put them all in one place in case anyone was interested in revisiting them.
Gratitude Challenge Day 1
Gratitude Challenge Day 2
Gratitude Challenge Day 3
Gratitude Challenge Day 4
Gratitude Challenge Day 5
Gratitude Challenge Day 6
Gratitude Challenge Day 7
Gratitude Challenge Day 8
Gratitude Challenge Day 9
Gratitude Challenge Day 10
Gratitude Challenge Day 11
Gratitude Challenge Day 12
Gratitude Challenge Day 13
Gratitude Challenge Day 14
Gratitude Challenge Day 15
Gratitude Challenge Day 16
Gratitude Challenge Day 17
Gratitude Challenge Day 18
Gratitude Challenge Day 19
Gratitude Challenge Day 20
Gratitude Challenge Day 21
Gratitude Challenge Day 22
Gratitude Challenge Day 23
Gratitude Challenge Day 24
Gratitude Challenge Day 25
Gratitude Challenge Day 26
Gratitude Challenge Day 27
Gratitude Challenge Day 28
Gratitude Challenge Day 29
Gratitude Challenge Day 30
© Bridget A. Thomas 2020
Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, there is so much we want to say to You today. Our hearts are overflowing with love for You. You have taught us so much this month. You have shown us how You are always there for us. You have shown us that You are always working behind the scenes in our lives. You have reminded us that You are our fortress, our refuge, our rest, our Shepherd, our provider, our source, and our comforter. We have felt Your unfailing love and meticulous care in our lives every day over the past several weeks. We are so very thankful for You and for the abundance of blessings You shower upon us. But even without the blessings, our cup still overflows because of Your steadfast love. Even if we had nothing else, You are enough. These past thirty days have been such a joy and a treasure to us. We have loved spending more time with You, in prayer, gratitude, and praise. We have felt more peace and love in our lives. We have seen that even when things go wrong in our days, we still have so much to be thankful for. So that is why we are choosing prayer, gratitude, and praise as lifelong practices. We want to continue on this beautiful journey, with You by our sides. Thank You, Lord, for opening our hearts in a new way this month. As we step forward and continue to navigate this journey, help us to remember that we have a choice. Help us to remember that gratitude, optimism, and love are decisions we can make every day from now on. Help us to remember to turn to You in prayer and in praise, even when we don’t feel like it, because there is power in prayer and praise. And help us to remember that every day is a gift from You, Lord. In Jesus’ wonderful name we pray, Amen.
Practice Gratitude: I have so much to be thankful for today as we wrap up this challenge. I am so thankful for the gratitude challenge. I am truly thankful for those of you who walked with me on this journey. I am thankful for the simple fact that we can choose gratitude each day of our lives. I am thankful for all the things that the Lord has taught us this month. I am thankful for our Father’s unfailing love and care. I am thankful to have Jesus in my life, because He is enough. I am thankful for the practices of prayer, gratitude, and praise, which draw our hearts closer to God. I am thankful to know that no matter what, God is always there. What are you thankful for?
Praise: Here is today’s song! Enjoy! Yes I Will by Vertical Worship
Please share in the comments if today’s reading spoke to you. Or you may add a prayer, your gratitude list, praise, etc.
© 2020 Bridget A. Thomas
Pray: Dear Lord, we are so thankful for another beautiful day, another day to spend with You, another day in our gratitude walk, and another lovely sabbath. We thank You for this day and we hand it over to You. We seek to honor You in all that we do today. We will soak in Your love today, as our hearts overflow with thanksgiving and gratitude. There are so many blessings in our lives. But one in particular for which we want to express our thanks is Jesus. Just the sound of His beautiful name brings us joy. Jesus, who paid all our debts. Jesus, who washed us clean. Jesus, who wiped away our sins. Jesus, who made us righteous in Your eyes. Lord, when we think about what we deserve, and then remember that Jesus redeemed us, we are so overwhelmed. There is no way we could ever repay this gift. But we are so thankful that we don’t have to. This is something You gave us freely, because of Your tremendous love. Lord, we love You so much for the beautiful gift of salvation. We can never say “thank You” enough for this one thing. But, each and every day, we will still express our gratitude. We give thanks in Jesus’ most beautiful name, Amen.
Practice Gratitude: What are you grateful for? I am grateful for a sabbath. I am grateful for a long weekend. I am grateful for the incredible gift of salvation. I am grateful for Jesus. And I am grateful for the power of His beautiful name.
Praise: Here is today’s song! Enjoy! What a Beautiful Name by Hillsong Worship
Please share in the comments if today’s reading spoke to you. Or you may add a prayer, your gratitude list, praise, etc.
© 2020 Bridget A. Thomas