Instaprayer: Prayers to Share Guest Blog

One of me dear friends, Kelly O’ Stanley has an awesome book on prayer that comes out today! Below is a blog that she has created just for today! Click the link at the end of the blog to order! It is so good! Leave a comment to enter for a giveaway to win a copy! Also, refer people here and have them put your name in the comments for extra entries!

I’ve been creating calendars full or prayer prompts for almost five years. I’ve designed keychain prayers, online prompts, and now (with the release of InstaPrayer: Prayers to Share) a whole book of them.

But still, I think a lot of people wonder, “What exactly IS a prayer prompt, anyway?”

Think of it as a prayer starter. Do you remember the old game show “Name That Tune?” They’d play three notes (or four or five) and the contestants would try to recognize the song. If you’re anything like me, though, the rest of the song keeps playing in your head. It doesn’t stop on the fifth note.

Sometimes the hardest part of prayer—or any conversation—is figuring out how to start, so you can use my prayer prompts as visual aids to jump-start your prayers. They help you bypass whatever routine prayers you’re used to saying and open your mind to new possibilities. New prayer needs. New ways to look at people.

Let’s look at the prayer prompt above. You can take it literally—for instance, there were just bad tornadoes down south. You might start by giving thanks for those who survived, and asking God to help them as they work through the process of clean-up and repairs. You could pray for the linemen who will be restoring electrical service, and for those who are temporarily without a home or job. You could pray for those who build homes, those who donate to relief efforts, and those who have done so in other circumstances. You might pray for missionaries, or pastors, or community leaders who make a concerted effort to help people in the aftermath of disasters of all kinds. Or use the “down south” part of my earlier statement to think of all your friends and family who live in the south. Picture a map as you work through and pray for those who come to mind.

If you know that a weather storm is coming, you might be moved to pray for the homeless that do not have shelter, and then pray for the people and agencies that work with them. You might ask God how you can offer help to someone whose circumstances are more challenging than your own. You might give thanks for the home that shelters you from the weather, and pray for each of the people who live there with you. Empty nester? You can pray for those who started life in your home and moved on. Or start by praying for your own household and expand it to praying for your neighbors, your community, your schools, your workplace, your world.

You might take the prompt metaphorically—who’s in a life experience that feels like a storm?Someone with a dark cloud of depression or anxiety. Someone living through intense grief or disappointment. The friend who’s nursing her mother through her final days. Those of us isolated and lonely at home right now, or worried about sick loved ones, or fearful about lost jobs and income. The woman who just mentioned the anniversary of her miscarriage—and then you might pray for her other children, her partner, her support system. Maybe you’ll be led to pray for those who are without a job—you can ask God to provide for them, to take care of their family, to meet their needs and be present in their life. Which could lead you to pray for your own job, your boss, your coworkers, your career—or ask God for direction to pursue your passions.

You might pray for a storm you’re going through, asking God to give you faith to walk on the water, like Peter did when in the boat with Jesus. Then you may feel like giving thanks to God for those whose faith has taught and inspired you, or those who have helped lift you up in prayer as you’ve gone through a hard time. Maybe the worst of the storm is past, but the consequences remain—there are still mud puddles every time you try to take a step forward. Ask for direction, wisdom, endurance, patience.

Or use the visual itself as your prompt. Pray for every woman you see wearing red, or a raincoat, or carrying an umbrella. Pray for the people inside any businesses with striped awnings or flags outside. The woman in the image looks like the situation is too much for her. Who else in your life is in over their head? Is lacking resources? Is in a position they’re not equipped for financially, educationally, or otherwise? Lift them up in prayer. And let your mind go from there.

Think Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, the game that is based on the “six degrees of separation” concept, which says that any two people on earth are six or fewer acquaintance links apart. Movie buffs challenge one another to find the shortest path between any specific actor and Kevin Bacon, who’s been in tons of movies. In college, I learned that following these connections or trails of thought can also be called stream of consciousness. There are different ways to look at it, but the idea is the same. Let one connection trigger another. The woman in the red coat > red uniforms > basketball team > your old basketball coach > your favorite teacher > college > college roommate. Woman carrying an umbrella > man walking with a cane > your grandfather > your grandparents’ neighbor, who just had a baby > a friend who recently became pregnant.

There is no “right” or “wrong.”Prayer can look a million different ways, just as we—all of God’s creation—are varied and unique. By definition, prayer is simply a conversation. Just as your discussions with friends might bounce from one topic to another faster than you can figure out the connections, your prayers can do the same. Because what makes prayer valuable and worthwhile is that it is time spent with God. A chance to deepen the connection, or simply allow your mind to focus more on God, so that you can see Him throughout your days.

I don’t always know what to pray for. Sometimes there are so many needs I don’t know where to begin. So I just pick a jumping-off point and start. Because along the way, God shows me things I didn’t think I knew, people I hadn’t otherwise remembered, and inspires me to keep talking. To keep listening. To keep reaching out to Him and making Him part of every day. Every conversation. Every thought. In turn, my love for Him grows and my mind stays fixed on Him.

It is my prayer that you will use the prompts I developed to simply start that all-important conversation, to keep your dialog with God running non-stop in the background as you walk through your days. Because He is good, and He is faithful, and He loves to hear from us.


My new book, InstaPrayer: Prayers to Share, released today!

Quarantine Continuing to Bring the Shift

The time that I have spent basically at home have brought forth a lot of issues and things that I have been avoiding.  I usually spend my after work time with my friends, family or at my church, but right now, that is not possible.  I haven’t had this much time to sit around and think about my life and the direction it is heading.  I don’t know what is going to happen, but what I do know is that God is in charge, knows the ending and won’t leave me.

I have been spending time in His Word and in devotion.  I have watched the daily check ins and noon prayer with my pastors.  I have been focusing on a study that is bringing healing to areas of my life that have needed it for a long time.  Those things have been great!  I have also been blessed to still be able to work full time for my day job.   I have not been any surer of these things.

I have also experienced more anxiety than I have in a long time.  I can feel it coming and I try to just feel all the feels, but eventually it gets to be too much.  There are times where I feel like I am losing it.  I know that my feelings are an indicator of other issues and not to let them rule my mind, but it gets difficult.  These are the times where I would like to say that I go and do battle in my prayer closet all of the time.  Sometimes I walk around and let the anxiety wear me down until I am too exhausted to keep my eyes open.  Situations that were big before are becoming enlarged and in focus now.  I do not like this part.

God has been bringing the word, Anchored, into my mind so much during this time.  That is why I changed the name of my blog and wrote it on my Bible.  I believe this is a time in which God is bringing everything into the light.  I believe He is calling me deeper into relationship with Him and wants me to look at every aspect of my life, both good and bad to get down to the basics.  Sitting here, writing this blog, feeling everything, listening to music is putting me in a place that is confusing because I don’t know the outcome, yet renewing because I can feel a shift happening in my life.  I feel it happening for the world because they are learning just how much is out of our control.  I also see the same thing in my own life.

I know I am not the only one going through all of this.  I am not the only Enneagram 2, hugger enthusiast, extrovert sitting in her office going crazy because of this upheaval.  The thing that I have the most certainty in is that God is on the throne and He sees everything.  He did not cause bad things to happen, but He has given us hope.  He has also given us 365 examples in the Bible to not be afraid and not to fear.  There is a peace that only He can give us.  So, join me and look to the One who knows the ending and has us in the palm of His hands.

Finding Your Voice by Csilla Muscan

This is a beautiful 40 day devotional guide about discovering who we are as daughters of God. Csilla takes the reader through her story and gives examples of Biblical stories and verses to help them understand the love God has for us. I would recommend this book to every woman who is trying to use this time in our history to find out who they truly are.

Mindset Shift Happening

This is quite a different time in history. We are all having to slow down, stay home and decide how we are going to react to everything. I have not been fearful during this time because I know where I put my trust, but I can admit that anxiety has been attempting to get me. I am not used to not being busy and always being on the go. I am used to finding places to go to fill my time. Now, I am only going out one evening a week. No, I don’t have the virus, but I have been sick on and off over the last few weeks so I have been sticking close to home. Earlier today, a major moment of anxiety hit me and I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. I got up from the table and stepped onto my deck and I just stopped. I stared out into the backyards that all come together on my allotment and took a deep breath. I realized something. I realized that I can choose how to respond to this situation. I could run around like freakin chicken little and scream about the sky falling, or I could look at it in another way. I could see it as a shift.

My church’s word for the year is shift. I have helped launch a boom entitled Shift. God gave me the words, Renewal, Peace and Selah for this year. I am going through this amazing class about healing from my past. I am learning how to follow the call on my life to write and speak about the freedom He has given me. These are the things I need to focus on. My focus needs to be on what is right in front of me. I need to look up at Him instead of all around for the answers. Yes, being educated and taking the situation serious is crucial, but even more than that, growing more focused on God and what He is teaching me, and each of us, is paramount.

He wanted me to take this year to focus on Him, healing, writing and community. Now that the initial shock of this situation has hit and gone, it is time to stop, shift my gaze, and use the gifts that He has given me, including time to rest and renew.

 

 

Dear Wife Review

This interactive book was created by the A Wife Like Me team. It involves 26 different invitations from numerous different contributors that encourage both growth in our relationship with God and with our husbands. It includes discussion questions, prayers and activities to do on your own and with your spouse. I would recommend this book to any woman who is wanting to grow in her relationship with God and her husband. I also believe that this would be a great book for an engaged woman so that she could start finding new ways to connect with her future husband.

Chasing Vines-Beth Moore

Beth Moore hits this one out of the vineyard! I love her correlation with physical vineyards and Jesus’s description of the vine and the branches. This book is relatable to every woman at every stage of life. Her encouragement and insight make this a must read! This book will be one to read over and over again! Thank you Beth for your encouragement and for paving the way for those behind you!

Shift-Abby McDonald

This book is such a great read for anyone who is in a time of waiting or needs to shift their focus. Abby draws the reader to examine their lives through the use of her story, Biblical examples, and adjusting our lens questions at the end of each chapter. I love the quote from pages 142-143 that seem to summarize this concept. “Staying faith means continuing to work though our current situation, even when the well appears to be dry….It requires us to shift our focus from what we feel to what we know-that God has called and equipped us.”

Praying Women-Sheila Walsh

This book is a call to action! I love Sheila’s heart for prayer and her desire to see women rise up and develop into the prayer warriors God has created us to be! There are so many great takeaways from this book! On page 35, Sheila reminds us: “But the truth is, God isn’t looking for a holy place to meet with us. Because of Jesus, we are the holy place, and God is always waiting to meet with us, wherever we are.” On page 160, she states, “I wonder in those dark times if the breakthrough God is looking for is a breakthrough in us. Perhaps this is the most significant breakthrough of all.” What a book!

Get Out of Your Head Review

This is such a powerful and insightful book by Jennie Allen! She addresses the physiological, mental and spiritual side of how harmful toxic thoughts are to us. She then teaches strategies to recognize and replace those toxic thoughts with what God thinks of us. She has a way of breaking everything down to a level where we can all understand it. I can not recommend this book enough to everyone who has battled negative or toxic thoughts. I began realizing my own thought patterns right away and adjusting them to be more positive. Men, women, teenagers, everyone can relate to this book!

In Pursuit of Love Review

I read the book from start to finish in a matter of hours! It draws you in as you learn about Rebecca’s story. It has you praying, crying, and eventually celebrating. God has truly turned her life around. When she was at her lowest, she cried out to God and He was always there. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the need for us to battle this issue that is affecting our cities, states and our world. It is a powerful read!