For my devotions, I started going through a study of the prayers of men and women in the Bible and examining them to see if there are ways or patterns in their prayers that I can apply to my personal prayer life.
Each passage has been interesting so far, and I've spotted some similar patterns in the way they present their requests to God. Most of them started off with praise. I don't know about you, but half the time I fill my prayers with requests to do this or that and not nearly as much praise as our God deserves. Nehemiah, Hezekiah, and Jeremiah all started their prayers with praise. (See Nehemiah 1:4-11, 2 Kings 19:14-19, & Jeremiah 32:16-25.)
Here's an interesting pattern I found going through this study: they start by praising God, they ask Him to hear their prayers; they confess their sins, sometimes they plead promises out of God's Word, and THEN they give their requests for safety, provision, or whatever it is they are coming to Him for. Isn't it interesting that the requests come last in that lineup? It's a way to encourage ourselves to be humble and to think of others before ourselves, as we're taught in scripture.
Another aspect jumped out at me. I noticed it in the first few passages I read and caught on to what motivated them to pray and to turn to God. Using my examples above, Nehemiah was sorrowful after hearing a report about those left behind in the captivity, in the ruins of Jerusalem. And this sorrow drove him to pray. Hezekiah received a letter from the messengers of King Sennacherib who threatened to fight against their city to overtake it. He was no doubt distressed by this message, and it drove him to the house of the Lord to pray.
Jeremiah's motivation was different, but it's still very useful for us to know. God had commanded him earlier in the chapter to buy a field from his cousin, and he purchased it. Jeremiah then came to the Lord and prayed, motivated by his obedience and fulfillment of God's Word.
We find another quick example in 1 Kings 8:22-54 about how Solomon prayed after he dedicated the house of the Lord that he'd built. The people (Israel), when they knew their sinfulness, came to pray towards the house of God.
There are lots of things that can further motivate us to pray in our walk with God. I hope these few insights into the prayers of men from the Bible encourage you and are as helpful to your prayer life as they've been to mine!
What motivates you to pray?
End-of-the-month writing update: After taking a writing break for two-and-a-half weeks, I came back to my work in progress and deleted the six chapters I had written so far. I wanted to start fresh, so that's what I'll be working on in the coming weeks.
I have a credible reason for being a day late in posting this! ;P
This week, I attended the Montrose Christian Writer's Conference here in Montrose, PA, for the second year in a row. It was AWESOME! (as usual!) If you haven't been to this particular conference, I suggest you make plans to be here next year!
Some of the authors on faculty this year were: Karen Whiting, Cindy K. Sproles, Tiffany Amber Stockton, Diane Stark, Jeanette Levellie, Sue Fairchild, Michele Chynoweth, Zoe M. McCarthy, and some others! They had 30 minute critiques, or *free* 15 minute meetings with authors/agents/editors to show them your work and get feedback. I did that this year and it was so helpful!
I learned a lot about marketing books, editing and formatting manuscripts, how to make scenes more interesting, how to bring history to life in a story, how to write devotions, and much more. My brain hurt by the end of the day, but that's expected! It happened last year, too. ;)
Some guidelines were in place due to the virus but it didn't make it less fun. As usual, the director, Marsha Hubler, did a fabulous job of lining up the faculty this year and getting everything arranged. And the morning challenges and jokes were quite a highlight of my days there. :)
I'm so thankful the Lord gave us this opportunity to come together as writers to learn more about writing the message He would have us share with others.
I can't wait to go back next year! (Lord willing.)
See you soon!
P.S. Check out my book haul from the conference!
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." Psalm 119:11
This is something I have tried to do more of recently: memorizing scripture. There are so many blessings and benefits that flow from having God's Word ingrained in your mind. It helps you meditate on verses more and when you feel fearful or stressed, it helps to have a verse to go to that will help bring His peace that "passeth all understanding..." (Philippians 4:7) to your heart.
And more recently for me, I've recited the passage in my mind on morning walks I take with my Mom and sisters. The biggest chunk of scripture I've memorized so far is Psalm 84 besides the few bits of verses I've stored in my heart already.
I encourage you to memorize His Word more... then maybe, just maybe, you'll find your heart and mind brimming over with His promises and His truths.
I'll leave you with a verse from the hymn "Thy Word Have I Hid in My Heart" composed by Ernest O. Sellers.
Thy word have I hid in my heart,
That I might not sin against thee;
That I might not sin, that I might not sin,
Thy word have I hid in my heart.
Have a great rest of your week!
What are some scriptures you've memorized so far? What other ways have helped you memorize scripture?
Happy Independence Day, everyone! I thought it would be fun to give you a couple excerpts from one of my older stories, "Her Trust" where it just so happens that the characters are celebrating Independence Day! ;) Enjoy these snippets!
Rain just wasn't an option.
Matthew gritted his teeth and stared out the window on the morning of Independence Day. So much for the barbecue. Now everything would be ruined. We need to do something---to fix it somehow.
Someone groaned behind him. "Oh, boy. It doesn't look good for the barbecue tonight, does it?" Martha joined him at the window and peered out at the rain. "At least it's light."
"We can't cancel the barbecue." Matthew was desperate. He had to see her again. Meredith was the only reason he dreaded canceling the plans. She was getting more comfortable around them all, and he was looking forward to getting to know her more. Why did the weather have to barge in at the wrong time?
Martha glanced at him. "Cancel the barbecue? That would be the last thing we'd do. If worse comes to worse, we can have it inside."
Matthew grinned. "That's it!"
"You seem rather excited for a barbecue." Martha studied him with a sly grin. "Or is it the company you're trying to impress?" Her eyes sparkled. She was on to him.
Matthew avoided her eyes. "What makes you think that?"
"I've seen the way you look at Meredith."
Matthew stood to clear the dishes from the table and glanced out the window. The rain still pelted the roads. He could tell by looking at the puddles on the corner; they were dotted with drops every second.
He resisted the urge to groan. Maybe it will stop by tonight?
He could only hope.
"That was Matt." Lydia set the phone on the hook and joined Meredith on the couch in the living room.
Meredith looked up from her laptop, where she'd been checking emails. "What did he say?" She bit her lip, holding back the smile that came to her face whenever she heard his name. She could feel the heat creeping up the back of her neck as well.
"They're not canceling the barbecue. We'll just have it indoors." Lydia smiled.
Meredith breathed a quiet sigh of relief and glanced out the sliding door window. "Looks like the rain has stopped some."
"It'll be cloudy and windy the rest of the day." Lydia nodded. "I checked the weather. Oh, and I saw on Facebook that the Wildwood beach fireworks were postponed until tomorrow night."
"That's too bad."
It wasn't that she was looking forward to the fireworks anyway. It was the company--the fellowship--that she was excited about. Who cares if the fireworks were washed out? It was still a holiday in her heart.
Whoa! When did I start feeling this way? She glanced at the email she was forming to her sister Gloria and realized she'd been typing the words she was thinking. Meredith jammed the backspace to remove the message. I'm getting ahead of myself.
Lydia studied her with a mischievous look. "Now I know why he didn't have the sense to cancel the barbecue." She laughed.
Meredith gasped. "He wouldn't!"
"If he likes you as much as I think he does, that's exactly what his motives are." Lydia stood and glanced at the clock. "You better get ready. We're leaving soon." She winked and headed up the stairs.
Meredith slammed her laptop shut. That girl--she's going to get it! She couldn't help but laugh, though. Had he really not canceled the party for her sake, so they could see each other again?
Meredith's thoughts dissipated when the door opened. Matthew held the door wide and invited them inside. He smiled as she passed. "Happy Independence Day."
"Happy Independence Day to you, too." Meredith beamed.
All of Grace
by C.H. Spurgeon
I'm only five chapters into this book and guys, it's been phenomenal! It's all
about how God redeems us and how He truly turned our lives around by
His grace. Chapter 5 really made an impression on me when the author used
the example of Niagara Falls as a way to describe how God completely
reversed our evil desires and tendencies and made us desire better,
righteous things. It was as if we were falling down over those rocks and cliffs
away from Him (like the falls) and then God changed our direction
to go back up, ever upward toward Him. Only He can do something like that. :)
For more info, see the back cover for a description!