Community, Hearing from God, HOPE, Prayer, Uncategorized

Powerful Prayer Part 4 ~ What To Do When Doubt Creeps In

Well now that you’re becoming a crazy prayer WARRIOR, you’ll undoubtedly join the ranks of those who’s faith has fallen and risen again and fallen and risen again. The truth of the matter is: The more you pray, the more likely you are to see miracles (yay!!) and the more likely you are to have questions, fears and doubt.

I love this quote from Shauna Niequist’s Savor:

“The  question is not, will my life be easy or will my heart break? But rather, when my heart breaks, will I choose to grow?”

We all have our moments of doubt. We start to think that maybe God doesn’t want to answer our prayer, or maybe He just won’t. Maybe it’s Him, maybe it’s us, but for some unknown and invisible reason, the answer is no. Honestly, the bigger your faith is, the bigger your questions will become – which is good! With questioning, and voicing our fears, comes a strengthening of our beliefs as we seek the word of God and our faith community for the answers. This actually deepens our resolve in what we believe and why – instead of just taking it at face value.

Buuuuuuut, what do we often do when faced with dissappointment, fear or doubt? We have a little temper tantrum. Yep, so often when I see my youngest lay herself down on the floor for a good scream or stamp that little foot and scrunch up her face into a pout, I think: I bet that’s what I look like when I hear “no” from God, haha!

So as I tell Miss Mya so often “Please, just use your words to tell me how you feel!” And I put on my big girl britches and “choose to grow”. I tell God my doubt and fear. Sometimes this process takes me days. The worries or anger oozes out of me from so many unknown places I never realized it had been building up so much! Sometimes it’s one good cry or shouting session and I can feel the release of my angst and put words to my fear to see it’s only that: fear. There’s no truth in it at all!

OK, but what if your fear and doubt is beyond words? What if those lies have run so deep that they’re mixed up with truth and experience and perhaps even trauma (eek!) and you have nowhere to begin and no way to start? What if you feel hopeless about a thing you hold so dear and it hurts to talk about it – even to God? What if you’re scared or lost or broken or fragile? I think we may all have such an area or season in our hearts if we are truly being honest. You are not the first, nor the last to enter this place.

This is where I have found 3 things to be helpful. (Hint: they all start with my own humility!) Essentially, I admit that I have nothing- not even the words to express my heart. I alone have no power to bring change to the world or my situation and I honestly cannot even change my beliefs. If you are still in the struggle and haven’t reached the bottom yet, this is a difficult thing! If you’re already at ground zero, it somehow seems a little easier. So, on to three things:

#1 : The Fake-It-‘Till-You-Make-It Approach

Maybe it’s not even faking anything, but just pressing forward in the direction you want to go whether you feel it or not! I surround myself with truth. I want to move toward faith so I listen to speakers of faith. I spend time with people who have big faith! I post scripture on every surface of my room/house/car/office and read or listen to TRUTH on auto-pilot until some of the thoughts I’ve chosen to “fake” become my own. (Does this qualify as self-brainwashing? If so, it works!)

#2 : Praying Scripture/Praying in the Spirit.

When I have no words, I have nothing to pray. I admit, I don’t have the answers or the solution and I get to a point where I don’t even know what I’m asking for anymore. This is where the Bible says “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27) These groanings of the Spirit can be so many things. Sometimes my creative side comes through and I can paint, draw or even dance. Sometimes praying in tongues is a way to allow the spirit to do the talking and my heart finds peace. Another way is to play some soaking music and allow the Lord to speak as you rest in His presence. Just allow yourself to be.

Praying scripture is the most powerful way to fight the enemy. There is nothing stronger (especially when I have no words) than the very word of God! Our pastor just gave an incredible sermon referencing this very thing and it might just be the truth you need to fake-till-you-can-make-it! Another great resource for Praying Scripture is Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word. Her book is an incredible list of scriptures organized by topic. If you want to pray for your marriage/anxiety/co-worker, she’s got God’s word ready for you to search and speak. I encourage you to seek the scripture and find a verse, story, or chapter that speaks to where you are right now and pray that! Our pastor gave Psalm 32 and 51 as launching points for prayer and it’s a great place to start.

#3 : Worship & Thankfulness

Worship while we’re waiting, of course! Worship fills my mind and the atmosphere around me with hope even when I’m not feeling it. It’s true that silence can be healing as well, but perhaps a balance of both is what you need?

Thankfulness is a practice of positivity. If I’ve been focusing on the negative, just naming three things I’m thankful for will switch my brain and change the focus from “Woe is me” to “Whoa, I’m blessed!” There is loads of actual research supporting this, but I’m sure you’ve heard it. Play the “Glad Game” you Pollyanna fans!

Now I have a choice, I’ve unloaded on God. (I often view it as a spew or vomit, but perhaps you’d prefer to see it as leaving baggage or burdens at the feet of a wise and capable King.) I’ve surrounded myself with what I WANT to believe and chosen to look for the good. So what next? I can leave His presence and I am truly better for the time I’ve spent. I feel lighter and less overcome already. OR I can stay there. I can choose to let Him speak truth over me. I can listen for the refreshing truth that replaces those ugly burdens. This practice can change the way my brain works to renounce those lies in the FUTURE too! I want to prevent myself from coming back to this place of doubt and despair.

Hebrews 6:19-20 The Message (MSG)

“We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us…”

No matter which avenue you choose, (one or all three!) just keep moving forward. Do what needs to be done so that you are choosing to GROW. As long as we trust God and HIS plan, we will come out as victors- no matter how long it takes to get there and how much “faking” it takes to finally believe.

So what are you trusting God for? What fight are you holding out hope for? What brings you back from a place of doubt? Please share so we can all stand together in faith and even benefit from other’s great ideas!!

Adoption, Hearing from God, Prayer

Powerful Prayers Part 2 -Little Games to Play with God.

I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback about Poweful Prayers, thank you all so much! Of course I’m writing for the therapy for myself and because I feel like God asked me to, but it really is encouraging to engage with all of you and hear how God has touched you or is working in your lives too!! Please keep commenting on and sharing these posts!

So now that we understand some of the basics of how God speaks, let’s practice hearing God! Let’s learn to dive into this two-way conversation and take advantage of the intimacy Jesus died to give us!

(Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com)

Probably the simplest way to learn to hear God’s voice is with immediate affirmation.  The goal of these games is to have that so you can KNOW you’re hearing God.

Right now, I want you to invite God to speak you. Pray & ask Him to speak clearly and straight to your heart. Then think of a Bible verse (You’ll think of it just like the birthday song!) and look it up. Does it speak to you? Sometimes right away you’ll think “Awesome! This has everything to do with what’s on my heart!” You know God is speaking. Sometimes not. At this point, just ask God to keep speaking throughout the day. Chances are, by the end of the day, if you look back at that verse, you’ll think “Ohhhhh that’s what He meant.” It now applies to something you’ve experienced. If not, keep asking for clarification, write it down and come back to it, maybe tomorrow. I do this with Bible verses or chapters all the time. Scripture is the most powerful truth in the world and the greatest weapon against the enemy. {You simply cannot have too much BIBLE in your life!}

Another aspect of this same game is with a favorite devo. (That’s out-dated Christian speak for a book of short “devotional” thoughts or verses… Usually a-page-a-day type of book.) I have a few favorite authors whose writing consistently speak truth to me. (My current top 2: Come Away My Beloved by Frances J Roberts & Savor by Shauna Niequist) I ask the Lord for a page number and look it up. This is my “thought for the day”. I pray and ask God to speak more about it in my heart. Sometimes it’s a wise word about something I’ve been worrying over or if a big situation happens in my day, I have that encouragement in advance to help carry me through. (Bonus if the page # is a recipe in Shauna’s Savor! Aaaaaaand now I have a meal plan.)

board center chalk chalkboard

(Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com)

So that game is full of little thoughts to you from God and you know you can trust them because it’s based in scripture. You can’t lose! However, the more you play, the more intimately God can speak and direct your heart. And the more YOU trust what you’re hearing, the more likely you are to ask specific questions.

~ Personal Experience~ I have asked God “Is my Elisee EVER going to come home!?” Honestly, I’ve doubted the word I heard from the Lord 10 years ago since it’s been so long and we’re not seeing movement or even hope. And the verses I received: John 14:18 “I will not leave you as Orphans. I will come for you”.  And Isaiah 43:5-7 “So don’t be afraid: I’m with you. I’ll round up all your scattered children, pull them in from east and west. I’ll send orders north and south: ‘Send them back. Return my sons from distant lands, my daughters from faraway places. I want them back, every last one who bears my name, every man, woman, and child Whom I created for my glory, yes, personally formed and made each one.’” Well that’s pretty specific! I guess I’ll keep hoping, haha.

Back to our game: one more level up… Take this same idea and play with a friend! Do you know someone needing encouragement? Are you having a coffee date/playdate this week? Or just to show some love!! Ask God to speak a verse for someone else. I encourage you to pre-read the verse and check with your heart. Is this an encouraging word from the Lord for this person? Yes? Send it! Maybe/Maybe Not? Ask God to clarify – did you find the right verse? Or ask Him to give you a thought or picture to send with it.) Wouldn’t you love to receive a call or text like this out of the blue!?

Guys, this is not too hard. You don’t have to be crazy to hear voices. It’s a simple little game with exponential benefits. You’ve got nothing to lose. And don’t tell me you “just don’t have the gift.” God speaks to all of His children. What kind of parent would God be to only speak to some of His kids!? You’ll hear him. Trust your gut and have a little faith. God’s going to do big things in your heart this week!

Aaaaaaaand there’s another game coming soon… 🙂