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
Prayer is a staple in a life of faith. Or perhaps we assume it is. But the truth is that many of us struggle with prayer. Why is that? There are numerous reasons why we might not make prayer a priority in our lives.
For one thing, we might feel like we are not seeing the results we expected. Sometimes our prayers take awhile before they are answered. Often times this means that God is working behind the scenes to make things happen. In Luke 18:1-8, Jesus teaches us to keep praying and never give up. And the Bible assures us countless times that God hears our prayers. We have to keep faith alive and stay anchored to Him.
Pray without ceasing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Also, sometimes we feel discouraged if things go differently than we wanted. It is true that not all of our prayers will be answered in the way we hoped. We have to trust that the Lord knows what is best in our lives. If things go differently than we hoped, it is important to remember that God can see the big picture and we cannot.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5
Another reason why we might struggle with prayer is because we don’t always have the right words. That is okay. We don’t have to be eloquent when talking to God. We can just speak to Him like we are speaking to a friend. Open up to Him, share your thoughts and feelings, and remember that He is on your side. If you keep in mind the love and devotion that the Lord has for you, this will help you to speak more freely to Him.
I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. – John 15:15
Some of us shy away from prayer because we are used to handling everything ourselves. Perhaps over your life circumstances have taught you that you have to be strong, you have to stay in control, and if you want something done you have to do it yourself. There is nothing wrong with being proactive, accomplishing things, and working hard. But we cannot try to take over for God. We have to remember that He is the ruler of our lives. And when we also keep in mind that He is eager to help us, it takes a heavy weight off of our shoulders.
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. – Exodus 14:14
Some might also struggle to speak to God due to feelings of guilt. The first step in having a relationship with the Lord is to confess our sins and repent from them. This is customary when we first accept Jesus into our lives. But after that initial prayer, we might have to confess and repent on other occasions if we are holding onto sin in our lives. If there is something in your life that you know needs to go, take it to the Lord today. Tell Him you are sorry for whatever it is, and ask for His help in walking away from it. Then remember that you are forgiven and you do not need to feel guilty any longer. You might have to keep reminding yourself of the last point. Remember that God loves you and no longer sees your past mistakes. This will help you to approach His throne with confidence.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:9
These are just a few reasons why we might struggle with prayer. If prayer is something you have a hard time with, please take time today to give this some thought to see where your roadblocks might be. Once you define where your struggles are, you will have the ability to take action and overcome whatever is holding you back. And then you will have a new sense of freedom as you meet with God daily in prayer.
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
Perhaps the most famous prayer in the Bible is the Lord’s Prayer. In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus teaches us to pray. The King James Version is the most familiar, I believe.
After this manner therefore pray ye: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
Many of us have recited this in church, weekly. I imagine many people even recite it daily. I have a friend whose pastor does not agree with the church praying this prayer often. He believes that when we say something over and over, it loses it’s impact. I can see his point. At times we might say the words, but our minds are somewhere else. But when we focus on the words, our hearts can pull out key elements to use within our prayers.
1 – Reverence
Verse 9 starts off with the following: “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.” Some of these words can be confusing, so I like to look at other versions of the Bible to see how they translate these words. The NLT version puts verse 9 this way: “Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.“
When we pray, we should come humbly before God with reverence in our hearts. We should remember that He is holy and above everything our human minds can fathom. This helps us in a few ways. For one thing, it helps us to keep God in His rightful place. Also, it helps us to remember that we are placing our trust in the hands of the only One who is almighty. I believe this verse also reminds us to add praise into our prayers. When we praise God for who He is, this will in turn revive our hearts. This will help us to find joy because we are focused on our Savior and not our problems.
2 – Come into agreement with God
Verse 10 in the KJV says, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” NLT puts it like this, “May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.“
Many times in life and in our prayers, we think we know best. We believe we know how things should go in our lives, and even the lives of others. We are quick to offer an opinion, even when it’s not asked for. This verse reminds me that no matter what I may think, God ultimately knows what is best. And it would do us good to realign our thinking with His. God can see the big picture. He can see the beginning and the end. He can see how the jagged pieces of the puzzle will fit together and create a work of art. We have to learn to trust Him and then that will help us to come into agreement with Him.
3 – Pray for our needs and give thanks
Verse 11 seems pretty straightforward at first glance. The KJV says, “Give us this day our daily bread.” And NLT says, “Give us today the food we need.“
Often our prayers are filled with requests. I think this is something many of us have mastered when it comes to prayer. We are good about asking God for what we want. However, I think there is much we can still learn from this verse. First, we ask for things we want, but often they might be things that we don’t necessarily need. This verse reminds me to adjust my perspective. Also, this verse is a reminder that we often forget to give thanks when our daily needs are met. Therefore, this verse nudges me to extend gratitude to God because He has always provided my daily bread, He has always provided me with a roof over my head, and He has always provided me with clothes to wear. I think that adding thanks to our prayers will help us to keep the right frame of mind. We might think that everything in life is really hard, until we stop and see how much God has blessed us.
But honestly, when I think about this verse, I think beyond actual food. In John 6:35 it says, “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” So when I pray for my “daily bread,” I am reminded to seek the Lord daily, by reading my Bible, praying, and spending time in His presence.
4 – Forgiveness
Verse 12 in the KJV says, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” NLT says, “And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” When I was growing up, in church we used to say it like this, “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.“
This verse reminds us of a few things. For one thing, when we come to God in prayer, we should come with a repentant heart. As Christians, we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. The Holy Spirit will often nudge us when we have messed up. And this is a trigger that we should confess our mistakes to God, and turn the other way. There are many things that our flesh will want to do that is not holy. This can be big or small. But when we come into agreement with God, the Holy Spirit helps us to discard the things that are no longer fitting in our lives as children of the Most High God.
This verse also reminds us that we have already been forgiven of so much. We should meet Jesus in thanksgiving, for all that He has done for us and the steep price He paid for us.
This verse also nudges us to forgive others. Because we have been forgiven of so much, we too should extend that forgiveness towards others.
5 – Walk with God
Verse 13 of the KJV says, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” The NLT puts verse 13 like this, “And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.” As you can see, this translation (and many translations) have left off the last line.
I feel the beginning part of this verse is an extension of verse 12. We sought God’s forgiveness for our sins, and now we are asking for His help to keep from sinning again. When we make it our mission to walk with God each day, it will be easier to resist temptation. Also, we are reminded of the daily battle we face against the devil. He has spread evil all across the globe and is always looking for ways to attack God’s children. So it does us good to remember this as we face each day. We cannot let our guard down. When we make it our mission to walk with God each day, this also helps us to stand strong against the enemy’s forces.
In this verse I like the last line that is often left out of many versions. I think it brings us around full circle to where we started. We are remembering who God is and we are remembering He is all powerful. This is a reminder that God should be on the throne of our hearts. And it also is a reminder that we have an Almighty God on our side.
It is such an honor and a privilege to meet God in prayer. I think sometimes we forget this and just expect God to be a genie who grants all of our wishes. But breaking down the verses of the Lord’s prayers, we are reminded to come to God with reverence in our hearts. We are reminded to come into agreement with God. We are reminded to pray for our needs, but also to be thankful for our blessings. We are reminded to repent, to be grateful for His mercy, and to extend forgiveness to others. And we are reminded to walk with God, resisting temptation and resisting the devil. Rather than repeating this prayer mindlessly, I hope that digging into it verse by verse will help open our hearts in a new way.
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
One of the most powerful things we can do in our prayer lives is to implement Bible verses within our prayers. God’s Word is powerful and alive. As it says in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” And it says in Isaiah 55:11, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” When we pray with Scripture, we are standing in agreement with God. We are aligning our hearts with His. In today’s post, I would like to walk through some examples that you can use in different situations.
1 – When facing something you don’t understand
Romans 8:28 is one of the most beautiful promises in the Bible. It tells us that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him. We will face many things in life that we do not understand. We might be quick to ask God, “Why?” But it would do us good to remember this verse and include it in prayer. We might pray something like this: Dear Heavenly Father, I don’t understand why this had to happen in my life. I admit it is painful to deal with. But I hand it over to You and remember that You knew this would happen. I trust what it says in Your Word, God. I believe that You work all things together for the good of those who love You. Thank You, Lord. I trust You and I hand this situation over to You.
2 – When worrying about the future
In Philippians 4:19, the apostle Paul is reminding the church of Philippi that God will supply their needs. It can be easy to worry about the things to come in our lives. Especially with the way the world has been in a state of chaos over the last year. This makes us worry even more about the unknowns that lie ahead. When these fearful moments hit, we can add the words from this verse into our prayers. We might pray something like: Dear God, I confess that thinking about the future brings on anxious thoughts. I don’t know what lies ahead, but You know. So I put my worries into Your hands. I know You will be there for me. And I know that You will supply all my needs from Your glorious riches. I trust You, God. Thank You for your endless love and care.
3 – When seeking the Lord’s protection
Psalm 91 is one of my favorite Psalms to pray for God’s protection. In fact, I try to remember to recite this daily over myself and my household. You can do this too by inserting your name and/or names of loved ones in place of the appropriate pronouns. For example, verse 2 says, “This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.” You can insert the person’s name in this way: “This Bridget declares about the Lord: He alone is Bridget’s refuge, Bridget’s place of safety; he is Bridget’s God, and Bridget trusts him.” Now try it with your name or the name of a particular loved one that needs protection: “This _____ declares about the Lord: He alone is _____’s refuge, _____’s place of safety; he is _____’s God, and _____ trusts him.”
These are just a few examples of how you can implement Scripture into your prayers. If you are facing a particular concern, try to find verses that talk about that issue. If your Bible has a concordance, you may use it to find pertinent verses. Or you can also search the internet for verses that deal with the topic you need. For example, if you are in need of healing, you can search for “Bible verses about healing.” One excellent website that I love to use is openbible.info. They have lists of Bible verses related to hundreds of topics.
The Bible is such a powerful weapon that the Lord has given us. Once you add God’s Word into your prayers, you will walk away from your prayer time feeling more at peace. You will be reminded of God’s promises and His goodness. And you will feel confidence, knowing that Almighty God is by your side.
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
When I think about different prayers in the Bible, one that comes to mind is from King Jehoshaphat found in 2 Chronicles 20. King Jehoshaphat was one of the kings of Judah. In this story that we are going to cover, Judah was facing an unexpected battle. The Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat (v 1). As you can imagine, this “alarmed” Jehoshaphat (v 3). But he immediately took action.
1 – God should be our first response, not our last resort
One thing that I love about this story is that in verses 6-12, Jehoshaphat promptly turned to God in prayer. When we are facing a difficulty, what is our first reaction? I fear that often times we either try to handle it on our own, or we turn to other people for advice. But God should be our first response, not our last resort. This also tells me that Jehoshaphat was already accustomed to seeking God in prayer. He already had a strong relationship with God, or he would not have thought to turn to Him first and foremost. So we too should strengthen our relationship with the Lord and strengthen our prayer lives, every single day. Don’t wait. Prayer should be as natural to us as breathing.
2 – Encourage prayer
Another thing I like about Jehoshaphat’s response is that he prayed publicly. As the king of Judah and ultimately a person of influence, this was a vital step to take. The people of Judah would look to the king to see what his response was. If he was fearful, they would likely be fearful as well. But he responded with faith, which brought faith to the people. We too can influence those around us to seek God in prayer, when we display strong prayer lives. This doesn’t necessarily mean we have to always pray publicly. In Matthew 6:5-8, Jesus warns against praying in front of others for recognition. But it might be good for those in our household, especially our children, to see us pray. And we can also let others know how much we rely on God in our prayer lives, without having a boastful attitude.
3 – Rely on God’s strength
Jehoshaphat starts off his prayer in verse 6 by saying, “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.” In these sentences, Jehoshaphat recognizes God’s strength and power. This is so important for us to remember when we are facing a problem. We often have fear because we are looking at our issues from a human perspective. We think that we have to face our difficulties in our own strength. But things look completely different when we remember that we have Almighty God beside us, and that we are relying on HIS strength and power, not our own.
4 – Remember God’s promises and God’s victories
In verses 7-9, Jehoshaphat goes on to say, “Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’”
In these verses Jehoshaphat is remembering that God promised the land where they are living to Abraham’s descendants. In other words, Jehoshaphat is saying, “Surely those who wage war against us cannot win this battle. You promised us this land, God.” When we are facing a battle, we too should remember God’s promises. Familiarize yourself with promises found in the Bible and memorize them. Keep God’s Word tucked in your heart. It would also do us good to remember battles that God has won in the past, either in our own lives or in biblical times. When we are facing something scary, we can remember all the times when God has saved us or His people before. Both of these will help us to face our struggles with renewed confidence. Keeping a gratitude journal and/or prayer journal would also be beneficial in this area.
5 – Seek God’s guidance, wisdom, and protection
In verses 10-12, Jehoshaphat prays, “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
In these verses, Jehoshaphat is ultimately seeking God’s guidance, wisdom, and protection. This is something we should do every day, not just when facing a difficulty. Before our feet hit the floor, we should remember to hand our day over to God. We don’t know what we will face each day, but He does. And He can help us to take on whatever comes our way.
In the end, God defeated the armies that were coming to attack Jehoshaphat and Judah. In fact, they never even had to lift one weapon. This story is an amazing picture of God’s goodness and power. And this story is also a great reminder for us to seek God in prayer, not just when we are facing a battle, but every day of our lives. When we pray daily, we are growing closer to God and strengthening our walk. Then when we do face a difficulty, God will be our first response, not our last resort.
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
Prayer is more than asking for things
It is a time of fellowship
It is a time to meet with our Savior
Of His living water we take a sip
We rest in His garden of goodness
He is waiting there to meet
Instead of saying we’re too busy
We sit for a while at His feet
Prayer is an open door to heaven
He hears our requests praises and fears
But it’s a two way conversation
If we take the time to hear
Prayer is a daily practice
Even all throughout the day
A way to connect with our Father
As He guides us and shows us the way
Jesus taught us to pray and never give up
His ways might not always be clear
We might not see results right away
But we are assured that He hears
Let’s take some time today
To connect with our Father above
It will bring us peace and comfort
As we take in His everlasting love
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. – Luke 18:1
Prayer is something that God has been laying on my heart a lot lately. It might seem obvious that prayer is something Christians do. But I fear prayer is often neglected and slowly falling away in many people’s lives. The world needs for us to stand up and become strong prayer warriors. I am going to be writing a lot about prayer in coming posts. I hope they will help encourage us all to “pray without ceasing” as we are instructed to do in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
Sometimes we mess up
But we keep on going
God’s mercy is great
And helps us to keep growing
We might make mistakes
But it shouldn’t bring us down
God’s arms wrap around us
And He pulls us off the ground
We all need grace sometimes
No one is without flaw
God is there to guide us
And love us all the more
I want to apologize for misspeaking a couple of weeks ago. When writing about the Lord’s Prayer, I said that the last line was not in the Bible. (“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.”) It is in some traditional versions, like King James. It just has been removed in many modern versions. I never want to misrepresent the Bible, so I thank you for your grace. And I especially wanted to bring it up because too often with blunders like that, I have a tendency to beat myself up. I bet I am not the only one. But the truth is that we are not perfect and we all make mistakes. But we don’t have to put ourselves down. Instead, we correct our mistakes, if possible. And then we should move on and let it go. I am so thankful that God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23).
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
If you know me, then you know I like Lent, Advent, a New Year, and any opportunity that has the potential to bring growth. Although Lent is now over for this year, I wanted to share a bit of what my Lent looked like.
Many people fast from something during Lent. The intent is to sacrifice something that you love in order to honor God. It is a way of saying that God is more important than anything else in your life. And it is also a way to lay aside things that pull your heart away from Him. Many people fast a specific food or beverage, such as sugar or coffee. Others might fast from things like radio or television, if they know they spend too much time on something like this.
These days are worse than ever when it comes to distractions. We have so many things at our fingertips to pull our eyes, our ears, and our heart away from the Lord. With our smartphones glued to our hands, it can be all too easy to get sucked into social media, games, streaming, Amazon, and so much more.
Personally for Lent, I did not get on social media. Also, I did not purchase anything online for myself, unless it was a necessity. And I was deliberate with what books I read during this time.
Ironically, my smartphone died during Lent, so I was forced to spend two days without one. It was a bit strange, to tell you the truth. I felt like I had lost a layer or protection, yet I also felt liberated. I appreciate the technology and having access to everything so easily. But I also know that I don’t want to feel tied to my phone.
Mainly I just tried to slow down and not do so much. I know you have heard me say this before. But I am bringing it up again, because it can be so easy to fall back into the busy trap. We don’t always realize how many distractions are taking our focus. The things that crowd our lives aren’t necessarily “wrong.” However, if they keep our eyes from the right things, then it might mean we need to reevaluate certain areas of our lives.
During Lent, or a time of fasting, we can also add things into our daily lives. Examples would be adding prayer time, adding in more Bible reading time, or adding in a devotional. During these weeks, I added in several things to my routine, which helped me to keep my mind in the right direction, and to focus on God.
During Lent I read a devotional called The 40-Day Social Media Fast by Wendy Speake. This book touches on so much more than social media. It touches on anything that might pull our hearts and attention away from God. I highly recommend it if you are planning any kind of fast. (This author also has a book called The 40-Day Sugar Fast, which I have not read. But I thought I would mention it, in case you are interested.)
I also worked through a Write the Word journal by Cultivate What Matters. These journals each have a specific theme. For each day that you work through the journal, there are pre-selected Bible verses. You look up the verse(s) and write them out by hand in the journal. There is also room to journal about what is on your heart and mind that day. In this space I usually wrote out a prayer pertaining to the Bible verse for that day. This journal helped me to spend time with God, in the Bible, and in prayer, in a fresh way. If you feel your time with God could use a boost, I highly recommend these journals.
During this time:
If you feel the lure of all the world has to offer these days, if you feel that some things could be taking your focus off of God, or if you feel that you want to draw closer to God, then I encourage you to prayerfully seek fasting or cutting back from anything that is keeping you from a wholehearted relationship with Him.
I love how 1 Thessalonians 4:11 says to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.” That is my goal. I want to lead a quiet life. This allows room for the important things. There are things that leave our souls feeling parched and there are things that replenish our souls. I want to focus on the latter. I want to spend my days walking with God by my side. I want to grow closer to Him and become more like Jesus each day. I want to make God my default, not my last resort. How about you?
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
Lord, mold me like clay
In Your precious hands
Shape me into a masterpiece
For only You can
Lord, refine me like silver
Under Your watchful eye
Turn me into Your best work
Lord, hear my cry
Lord, make me more like Jesus
Your beloved and beautiful Son
Remove all the dirt from my life
I want to spread Your love to everyone
Lord, I give you my life
For your honor and glory
I give You free rein
Take over for me
My heart is in your hands
I know it is safe there
I trust you, Lord
As I put my life in Your care
“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” – Isaiah 64:8
This poem reflects my heart’s cry. This is how I want to live my life. Though I must admit, it is not always easy. I tend to move along at my own pace, forgetting to seek God’s guidance first. Sometimes I am ahead of Him and sometimes I am behind. I pray I can learn to stay in step with Him and follow His lead. He is a loving, caring Shepherd who always has our best interest in mind. If we allow Him to have control of our lives, we will never regret it. But it must be a daily decision to relinquish control to Him. Each morning, we can make a conscious effort to hand Him our day. And we will know that our life cannot be in more loving hands. He will gently mold us with careful hands, into a beautiful masterpiece.
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas
As you can imagine, almost all of my meetings for work over the past year have been virtual instead of face-to-face. Even though we are all in the same office building, it is better for social distancing to meet over the computer at our respective desks, instead of in a conference room. Due to the fact that we interact less than we used to, my team has been doing fun activities in some of our meetings. At one recent meeting, we played “Two Truths and a Lie.” In this game, you provide three statements about yourself. Two are the truth and one is a fib. Then the group is supposed to guess which one is the fib. My three items were (1) I can say the alphabet backwards, (2) I know the alphabet in Spanish, (3) I know the alphabet in American Sign Language.
Which one do you think was the lie?
I will give you a moment to ponder…
…Insert Jeopardy! music…
The fib was number two. I do not know the alphabet in Spanish.
But the point of this post has more to do with the first item on the list – being able to say the alphabet backwards. You might wonder how this came about. When I was a child and had trouble sleeping, my grandmother encouraged me to silently recite the alphabet backwards in order to occupy my mind until I fell asleep. Before long, I had it memorized. As an adult, when I have had trouble sleeping, I have tried different things. Sometimes I will pray. Other times I might go through different Bible passages that I have memorized. Recently I did something new. I wish I could share it with my grandmother, because I think she would get a kick out of it. I went through the alphabet and thought of different words to describe God and His character. I have since done this on numerous occasions, picking different words. Sometimes I will go through this in my head as a way to praise God for His goodness, not just as a means to get to sleep.
Below is a list I have compiled, with Bible verse to go along with each word. However, when I put this particular list together, I did not create this list in alphabetical order, but added items to the list whenever I stumbled across a pertinent Bible verse. The last letter to get filled in was N. And when I found that particular Bible verse, I was a bit giddy with excitement. I felt as though God wanted me to find that one last so that it would make a big impact. And it did. Now anytime I hear the word “near,” it resonates in my heart like a sweet promise that God is near. I hope you enjoy going through the alphabet in this way, as you focus on how amazing our God is!
Awesome: “You, God, are awesome in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!” – Psalm 68:35
Beautiful: “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” – Psalm 27:4
Compassionate: “If you return to the Lord, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him.” – 2 Chronicles 30:9
Delightful: “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4
Everlasting: “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” – Isaiah 40:28
Forgiving: “You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.” – Psalm 86:5
Good: “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” – Psalm 34:8
Healer: “He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.’” – Exodus 15:26
Immortal: “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” – 1 Timothy 1:17
Just: “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.” – Deuteronomy 32:4
Kind: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.” – Titus 3:4-5a
Love: “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:8
Merciful: “For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.” – Deuteronomy 4:31
Near: “But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.” – Psalm 73:28
Omniscient: “If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.” – 1 John 3:20
Powerful: “Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.” – Psalm 71:18
Quencher: “But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – John 4:14
Righteous: “For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.” – Psalm 11:7
Spirit: “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” – John 4:24
Truth: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” – John 14:6
Unchanging: “’I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your ancestors you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.” – Malachi 3:6-7a
Victorious: “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 15:57
Worthy: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” – Revelation 4:11
eXalted: “God is exalted in his power. Who is a teacher like him?” – Job 36:22
Yours: “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” – Psalm 143:10
Zealous: “Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” – Isaiah 9:7
© 2021 Bridget A. Thomas