How to Pray Daily, Even if You Feel You Don’t Have Time

How to Pray Daily, Even if You Feel You Don’t Have Time

“Do I have to pray daily?” she asked.

 

I looked at my new friend’s puzzled expression over the salads that were just placed before us.  I delivered what I hoped was a warm, understanding smile before responding. “Does prayer feel like a chore? Like something you’re supposed to do?”

 

“Yes!” She answered without hesitation. “It’s on my list of ‘shoulds’. I should eat right. I should exercise. I should pray every day. But I rarely want to pray.”

 

By asking careful questions of this brave friend who was willing to risk vulnerability, I discovered that her reluctance toward prayer began in childhood. She was required to pray each night before bed with a father who later abandoned their family. After he left, she begged God to restore her family. She perceived those pleas as the beginning of a lifetime of unanswered prayers.

 

She felt as if she were the only one struggling to trust God, as if everyone who surrounded her in church each week found it easy to turn to Him in daily prayer.

 

In reality, many Christians occasionally feel blocked in prayer. Most of us sometimes wonder if God is listening. It’s during those seasons when our faith is stretched. We can give up and stop our practice of prayer, or we can see the opportunity to press in and watch Him restore our trust.

 

By regularly talking to God through prayer, we make it possible to see and feel real, tangible blessings.  But what do the Scriptures say about prayer?

 

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure statement to learn more).

 

Does the Bible Say I Should Pray Daily?

 

Christianity is more about relationship than religion. It’s not that we’re required to pray every day in response to spiritual law. It’s more of a heart issue. We’re called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength (see Matthew 22:37). To love God, we must spend time with Him, foster a relationship with Him, and establish trust—just as we would in any human relationship.

 

That said, we’re instructed in the Bible to “pray at all times” (Ephesians 6:18, CSB) and to “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16). These instructions imply more than a requirement to bend our knees and bow our heads at a particular time every day. Instead, they speak into our need for a continual attitude of prayer, seeking God and abiding in Him in all we do.

 

What are the benefits of daily prayer?

 

I find it’s so easy to become absorbed with my daily routine: get up, get ready for work, take care of the family, and fly out the door to meet the day. There’s so much to be done and never enough to finish it all. When my time is scheduled to overflowing, why would I pause and take time to pray and seek God?

 

The benefit of time

 

When I spend time with God, I find I’m more efficient. I believe God honors the time I devote to Him and supernaturally returns it to me as I move through my tasks, responsibilities, and even fun activities. It’s the law of sowing and reaping. When I sow time into my relationship with Jesus, I reap multiplied time for other things. If I were to plant a kernel of corn into a fertile field, I would harvest several ears with hundreds of kernels. The Bible says “whatever a person sows he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7). One powerful (and nearly unexplainable) benefit to daily prayer is reaping the efficiency of time every day.

 

The benefit of drawing near to God with prayer

 

There are many other benefits as well. By sitting with God each day, I learn to discern His will for my life. Decisions become easier and stress diminishes. My relationship with Him grows stronger and I feel more confidence and assurance. When I pray daily, I more readily sense His closeness and His love for me. Through daily prayer, I grow my faith and draw near to God.

 

The benefit of involvement with God through daily prayer

 

When we pray, we’re given the blessing of watching Him work. I believe He encourages us to ask so that we can become more involved with what He’s doing. When I pray for someone, I’m more alert to the changes that come in their circumstance. It builds my hope which I can then share with others.

 

How to Pray Daily When You’re Short on Time

 

Because prayer is simply a conversation with God, it can take place at any time, day or night. God is always available. We don’t need a reservation to talk with Him or wait for Him to give us His attention before we begin. We can talk to Him while we’re driving, in the shower, cooking lunch, changing diapers, or any other time of the day. I do like to converse with Him throughout the day in whatever I’m doing, but I like to give Him my full, undivided attention too. Here are some ways I’ve learned to do this, even my work or family schedule is full to the brim:

 

Pray First

 

If I’m going to give God my full attention, it’s easiest first thing in the morning. Just as I’m opening my eyes, I thank Him for the new day and invite Him to lead me in all I do. This works best for me before getting out of bed, before jumping on the scale or reaching for my first cup of coffee. Then, as I rise and I’m bombarded with all things that need doing, I know I’ve already made Him my priority. The rest of the day I can stay in a continued conversation with Him about whatever comes up.

 

Keep Prayer Short

 

Prayer is about building a relationship with God and spending time with Him in conversation. He knows what we need before we ask (see Matthew 6:8), so when we turn to Him, we’re simply sharing our heart on a matter. If you’re a parent, consider the difference between knowing something about your child because you saw it on social media versus hearing it through a heartfelt conversation. If you’re like me, you’d much rather see the joy on your child’s face or be able to encourage them through trials than just know what they experienced. I believe the same is true with God. We are His children and He loves when we share the details of our lives with Him.

 

Our prayers don’t need to be long and filled with spiritual words. Matthew 6:7 (CEV) instructs, When you pray, don’t talk on and on as people do who don’t know God. They think God likes to hear long prayers.”  We can simply talk to God as we would our best friend. Often, honestly, and in friendly, conversational tones.

 

Use Tips and Tools to Grow Closer to God in prayer

 

It takes a measure of discipline to pray every day. There are a few tips and tools that I use to help the process and stay dedicated to at least short daily prayers. Each helps me draw near to God and develop an abiding relationship with Him.

 

1)    Devotional books

 

The first tool is a daily devotional book. This is filled with short readings that take only a few moments and point my heart toward the goodness of God. Reading a devotional helps me know what to pray and often provides a Bible verse that I can pray back to God. Two of my current favorite devotional books are Everyday Joy, a compilation from the writers at The Joyful Life Magazine, and Gracelaced by Ruth Chou Simons.

 

I’ve also released a daily prayer devotional for marriage. It’s a powerful tool that guides prayer for couples or individuals, specifically on the topic of marriage. I believe all marriages need prayer and whether you’re married or want to pray for the marriages of those you know, this devotional (31 Specific Prayers for Your Marriage) is sure to be a blessing to you.

 

2)    Prayer Journals

 

Recording my prayers helps me focus. Whether I write prayers longhand or add bulleted notes to a prayer journal, I find it helpful to have a pen in my hand. Prayer journals often provide helpful prompts, walking me through several parts of prayer including thankfulness, praise, confession, and asking.

 

A friend of mine recently released a printable prayer journal bundle. It’s not only lovely, but it also shares specific Scriptures to pray for categories like marriage, forgiveness, family, and more. I also like that I can print only what I need and use the files over and over as I need more pages for my journal. Take a look at all of the great content inside:

 

 

3)    Daily Prayer Challenge

 

Sometimes I need a bit of prompting to stay on track. Since I know a few other people who benefit from daily reminders, I created the free 21-day prayer challenge. Inside the challenge, a prayer prompt is delivered to your email inbox first thing each morning for 21 days. It’s open for anyone to join and, again, is my gift to my readers.

 

What Does the Bible Say About Prayer?

 

Throughout His Word, God emphasized the need for prayer. It’s a sound practice to help us draw near to God day by day. Prayer helps grow your faith and develop an abiding relationship with Jesus, so we should practice it daily and work toward an attitude of continually communing with God. I want to leave you with a few Scriptures on prayer that I’m sure will fuel your desire to connect with God. In time, I believe you will stop thinking of yourself as someone who is reluctant to pray and start seeing yourself as a child of God who enjoys spending time with the Father.

You are a Child of God. Come enjoy time with your Heavenly Father. Remember, God listens to and acts on every word we utter to Him. Here are 5 inspiring Bible verses revealing that God hears our prayers.

 

Jeremiah 29:12 (CSB)

You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

 

Psalm 141:2

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.

 

2 Chronicles 7:14

And my people, who bear my name, humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land.

 

Jeremiah 33:3

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things you do not know.

 

Psalm 18:6

I called to the LORD in my distress, and I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice and my cry to him reached his ears.

 

Why It’s Important to Pray Every Day

 

Once again, prayer is about building a relationship with God. It’s about turning to Him will all of our cares, joys, celebrations, and tears. When we do, we draw closer to Him and He draws near to us. While it’s not required that we pray every day, the benefits to “praying without ceasing” (as the Bible instructs) are endless. God is less interested in our regimen than He is with our friendship and our desire to fellowship with Him. By offering even short prayers every day, we see an increase in our desire to be near to Him. As we’re honest and vulnerable with Him, we develop trust and it becomes easier to seek Him more. Yes, prayer is a foundational habit to grow our faith and connect with Jesus, the Living God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Draw Near to God (even when He seems far away)

How to Draw Near to God (even when He seems far away)

It’s not uncommon. All followers of Jesus have seasons of life when they feel distant from Him. It’s a natural part of our spiritual journey. Knowing that, however, didn’t ease my feelings of discouragement when it happened to me.  Our family—and I suspect yours too—has seen long periods of unexpected, sometimes troubling situations. I’ll admit that amid the distractions, I wondered if I would ever be able to draw near to God again.

 

I’m thankful that when we draw near to God He draws near to us. The Bible promises this is so. Even when my efforts feel feeble—or somewhat mechanical—God responds. I’ve experienced firsthand that remaining consistent with the spiritual practices (or “holy habits”) helps me feel God’s nearness again. It helps me grow in faith and sense God’s closeness and His favor.

 

 

What does it mean to draw near to God?

 

Drawing near to God is a process of humbling myself, confessing my sins, and turning my full focus upon Him. Often that means finding a way to mute daily distractions. It requires making room in my schedule for time with Him, even when I don’t “feel” like it or when countless disruptions stare me in the face.

 

Drawing near to God means letting go of my own desires and letting God have His way in my life. This is a picture of submission to the Holy King. When I submit to Him, I affirm—day by day—His priority in my life.

 

As I draw near to God with a sincere heart (see Hebrews 10:22), I see His promises become apparent in my life. I recognize His blessings, His partnership in my efforts, and His mercy in my mistakes. I no longer feel alone or separated from Him and I can sense that He walks with me every minute.

 

 

 

 

Grow in Faith and Find Intimacy With God

 

I believe that all followers of Jesus want to draw near to Him and develop an intimate level of faith that’s unshakeable, even through the most challenging seasons of life.  Our distractions don’t have to make us feel discouraged or steal the focus we want to give God. We don’t have to feel as if we’re missing out on the blessings He has in store for us. Instead, with some intentional practice, we can grow in faith. Later in this post, I’ll share some tips on how to practice our faith daily.

 

Resist the Devil When You Draw Near to God

 

James 4:7 (ESV) says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” When we draw near to God, we enter into His presence—a place where evil cannot dwell. The most effective way to resist the devil is to practice the holy habits that help us connect more deeply with the Lord. The following verse confirms it. James 4:8a (ESV) says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

 

Why is it Important to Draw Near to God?

 

Our current world events seem to become more troubling every instant. It’s clear that I cannot handle every situation I face on my own. I fully understand my need for divine help, so I draw near to Him in prayer.

 

As with any relationship, intimacy with God develops when I spend quality time with Him, practicing His presence and turning to Him. The more comfortable I begin to feel with God and the more I delight in His presence when my circumstances are good, the more readily I can turn to Him and receive His partnership in everything I face.

 

Then, as I rely on God more and more and receive His blessings, I begin to reflect His love. Soon, others around me start to sense something different in me—a level of hope they may sense is missing in their own lives. This opens doors to begin conversations about Jesus and His love. Not only is my life blessed, but I can start to have an influence on others and share the hope of Christ.

I feel so strongly about the importance of drawing near to God that I created an online membership to support you as you grow in Christ. I invite you to hear more in this video.

 

 

5 Beginning Steps to Draw Near to God

 

By now I hope you’re wondering—How do I get more faith in God? How can I practice my faith daily?  Here are 5 simple beginning steps to begin the process. Keep in mind that they are simple, but unless you practice them, you will not experience the deep connection with God that you seek.

 

Read God’s Word

 

At times the Bible can be difficult to understand, but I hope you won’t let that deter you from reading it every day. I found that it becomes so much easier to understand when I ask the Holy Spirit to guide and teach me as I read. The key is simply to begin. Find a place to start—the Gospel of John, the Psalms, or even Genesis—and begin reading. Before your eyes touch the first word, ask God for wisdom and understanding. He will meet you where you are and soon you’ll be drawing near to Him.

 

Worship God

 

One way that I feel almost immediately connected to God is through worshipping Him.  Psalm 16:11 (NASB) says, “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand, there are pleasures forever.”  Worship is an essential step to enter His presence and draw near to God.

 

Our worship can take on many forms, like quiet meditation, writing, speaking, or singing about who the Lord has shown Himself to be. We can worship at church, of course, but we can also praise Him while doing mundane tasks like laundry, changing diapers, driving to work, or in any task we do.

 

Pray Without Ceasing

 

The very nature of prayer suggests that we draw near to God as we begin. Prayer is much more than a wish list—it involves connection and fellowship with Him. In the Scriptures, Jesus made an ongoing habit of prayer, yet He didn’t use a ritual or repeated words as He prayed. He often shared true, raw emotion before His Father while staying fully submitted to His will. We, too, can show our real, heartfelt emotion as we draw near to God in prayer. We can imagine ourselves climbing into the lap of our Abba Father and feeling safe in His arms. Being honest and vulnerable with God is a quick way to develop intimacy with Him.

 

Engage With Other Believers

 

One often-overlooked way to draw near to God is to partner with other believers. Don’t go this journey alone. Developing strong spiritual habits that grow your faith is easier alongside like-minded friends. I almost always find greater success when I work together with others who support, encourage, and inspire me. Develop friendships with others who have similar goals. Ask them to help you press on and connect with Jesus and in deeper and more meaningful ways.

 

Practice Faith Daily

 

Alongside practicing spiritual habits, building strong character is essential to drawing near to God. I find that my intimacy with Him is more intense when I confess my sins, forgive others, practice gratitude, and live generously. Each requires that I rely on God’s strength to (as Colossians 1:10 says), walk in a manner worthy of Him.

 

 

God is always near. He is always accessible to us and will never leave us (see Hebrews 13:5). Still, we can take intentional steps to deepen our connection with Him. With a sincere heart and commitment to intimacy with God, we can draw near, receive His goodness, respond to His love, and rest in His promises. There’s no greater joy than the unshakeable faith that comes when we do.

 

 

15 Bible Verses to Help Overcome Discouragement

15 Bible Verses to Help Overcome Discouragement

It’s rare that I receive such an outpouring of response, but when I published several Bible verses to help overcome discouragement, it resonated with a lot of people. I shared my past struggle with finding joy and the way I’ve wrestled with discouragement. Almost immediately, responses like these started pouring in:

  • My marriage is joyless. I’m giving up hope.
  • I’m in a dark place, grieving the loss of my purpose.
  • I’ve been dominated by a spirit of discouragement for many weeks.
  • My heart is broken. I feel nothing but despair.
  • I’m a weeping mess.

These responses are from real people, experiencing an overwhelming sense of heartache, each seeking to overcome discouragement and embrace the joy of the Lord. I know how it feels to walk through heavy seasons of discouragement. Perhaps you do too. Maybe you’re there now. One woman asked, “do you have any pearls?” As I responded to her question, I suggested two simple practices that I’ll now share with you now. I pray their focus on God and His goodness will offer encouragement to you, or help you share the burden of a friend or loved one who is struggling.

How Do You Overcome Discouragement?

My first suggestion: Turn to the Scriptures when discouraged. There are many examples of discouragement in the Bible, along with stories of hope and healing for those afflicted. I recommend creating some note cards with Bible verses about discouragement and hanging them where you’ll see them often. They will remind you of God’s TRUTH in your situation. For example, if you’re feeling hopeless, write out Romans 15:13 on a card and place it where you’ll see it and read it often. Let it’s truth penetrate your heart and mind. This will require:

  • naming each “category” of discouragement that you are experiencing by asking the Lord to help you identify those areas.
  • finding a Bible passage on discouragement that dispels the lies of the enemy and points to God’s truth. Again, ask the Lord to help you identify the verses then find them. (Google is also a good tool. Type in “what does the Bible say about discouragement”).
  • taking the time to write out the verses.
  • committing to memorize the verses so that when you’re not near your notecards you can still resist the enemy with the power of God’s truth.

The more I considered this option for my hurting friends, the stronger I felt the Lord prompt me to compile a collection of Bible verses to help uplift anyone facing a difficult season of discouragement. Here they are:

15 Bible Verses About Discouragement:

Isaiah 41:10 Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.

Romans 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Lamentations 3:22-24 Because of the LORD’s faithful love we do not perish, for his mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness! I say, “The LORD is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in him.”

Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering since he who promised is faithful.

Psalm 33:22 May your faithful love rest on us, LORD, for we put our hope in you.

Romans 8:31  What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

2 Chronicles 20:15  This is what the Lord says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged . . . for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

To bring us to 15 Bible verses about discouragement, I’ve collected eight additional verses and designed them into printable notecards that you can carry with you or post in a prominent location. If you’d like your own copy, please complete the information below and I’ll send them straight to your email inbox!

Yes! Send the Scripture Cards!

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*Please note: by clicking subscribe, you will receive email notifications, updates and product announcements from Cathy McIntosh and Strengthened by the Word Ministries. You are free to unsubscribe from the notifications at any time. 

The Power of Worship to Find Encouragement

My second suggestion is this: Fill your home, your car, your mind, and your workplace (to the extent possible) with worship music. Praise Him continually. The Lord inhabits the praise of His people and where His light is, darkness flees. Whether we’re singing along with the music or listening to it in the background, it will begin to feel like a companion that helps keep thoughts positive and focused on God.

 

** By the way, all of the verses are from the HCSB version.

 

Please know that the Lord never leaves nor forsakes His children. Whatever you face today, you do not face it alone. He is with you. I encourage you to keep your mind fixed on Him. That is the surest way to embrace the gift of joy He has waiting for you.

 

Also, if you’re struggling with discouragement today, will you reach out and let me know so I can lift you in prayer? It’s my honor to stand with you during this challenge.

Blessings,

joy of God's Word

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 Overcome Discouragement

 

 

21 Ways to Pray for Law Enforcement

21 Ways to Pray for Law Enforcement

We didn’t know it at the time, but we were about to face incredible life changes. I said “I do” to the man of my dreams more than 30 years ago, believing we loved each other enough to have a delightfully easy life. He was a construction worker and I was a student. But change—the life-altering kind of change—cam soon. The local Sheriff’s Office hired him just six short months later, and I began to feel the burden to pray for law enforcement.

For too long, I declared “I didn’t marry a cop.” I wore that fact like a merit badge, feeling I earned an “out” if this newfound role as a cop’s wife became too difficult to bear.  I didn’t sign up for long nights when I’d lay awake at night wondering if he was safe (this was before cell phones, mind you), or feeling like a single parent because his shifts were opposite those of a “normal” family. Somehow I thought that if I proclaimed my innocence, life as a law enforcement wife would get easier.

It didn’t.

I finally realized that whether I became a law enforcement wife by choice or not, it’s one of the callings the Lord placed on my life. My husband has a divinely appointed call to serve our community with integrity; therefore I am also divinely appointed to stand firm in the role of his supporter and prayer warrior. In the Lord’s strength, I’ve embraced that calling and recognize the honor that it brings to our family and future generations.

(This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure statement).

Supporting Law Enforcement as we Pray

It’s imperative that we lift up our country’s law enforcement officers and all of our leaders from coast to coast. For many who don’t know what the life of an officer is like, you may not know the best way to pray, so I have compiled 21 prayer prompts that are detailed below.

As you pray, consider the moral decline in our world. It makes me heartsick, but honestly, we shouldn’t be surprised to see it. Look at how the last days are described in Matthew 24:12 in a variety of Bible translations:

Because of an increase in wickedness, the love of most will grow cold (NIV)

Sin will be rampant everywhere… (NLT)

Lawlessness will be increased… (ESV)

Iniquity shall abound… (KJV)

Lawlessness will multiply… (HCSB)

Pray for Law Enforcement: Those on the Front Lines of Lawlessness

Who stands on the front lines of lawlessness? Our law enforcement officers. Men and women who sacrifice themselves and family to keep their communities safe. When the world rises up to say, “We need no law!” our men and women in blue stand firm and say, “We will uphold law and order!”

For most officers, law enforcement is not a career or a profession. It’s a high calling that flows into their families as well. One of the best ways to say thank you to a first responder—and the families who sacrifice so much—is to pray for them.

When Families Feel the Burden

When I meet the wives of young officers, the deeply planted seed of fear that I see in their eyes touches my heart. I feel it.

Young wives often believe their fear is invisible – that no one can see that they’re afraid. Most of the time they’re right. But women who have lived in the same place of uncertainty recognize it in an instant.

One thing I’ve learned over the years – relating not only to a husband in law enforcement but to our marriage as a whole – is that we cannot fight a spiritual battle in the flesh.  We must remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of darkness and spiritual forces of evil (Ephesians 6:12).  We do not fight the government, or the criminals, or those who have developed a hatred for cops, or even our husbands.  Our battle is against the enemy of our souls who desires to steal, kill, and destroy. He must not win.

As wives of our officers, we have no choice but to stand firm in our roles and fight for our men. They need us. They need our prayer coverage and our steadfast courage in the fight. Our ONLY offensive weapon in spiritual battles is the Word of God and we are to pray at all times in the Spirit.  In a seemingly supernatural sense, praying for our husbands brings a level of peace and trust in the Lord for ourselves that we may not have expected.

If I had one piece of advice to give the wife of a law enforcement officer it would be this: Pray. At all times.

 

 

How to Pray for First Responders

The list of prayers that follows was developed for anyone with a heart to pray for our law enforcement officers, whether the wife of an officer or not. For some, this may be your first attempt at prayer.  Please know that God hears them all. For others who may be seasoned prayer warriors, this will provide some on-target ammunition for real needs that real officers face.

For simplicity, I’ve kept the prayers male-specific, but in no way wish to exclude our female officers.

Insert an officer’s name in the blanks if you know it.

21 Ways to Pray for Law Enforcement

  1. Lord, please go before our officers and be their rear guard. With you before and behind them, they will be surrounded in your great protection.  (Isaiah 52:12)
  2. You, Lord, are a shield around _______.  Be his protection, his glory, and the one who lifts his head.  (Psalm 3:3)
  3. May _______ be filled with wisdom and all spiritual discernment to walk in a manner pleasing to You, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.  (Colossians 1:9)
  4. Rescue our officers, Lord, from evil men and women. Keep them safe from those who plan evil in their hearts.  (Psalm 140:1-2)
  5. Help ______ keep his mind steadfast on You and keep him in perfect peace.  (Isaiah 26:3)   ** This is also a great prayer for the families at home!
  6. Father, our officers see far more devastation and evil than most of us can imagine. Guard their hearts and minds in Christ Jesus with your peace, which surpasses understanding. Protect them from replaying graphic scenes in their minds.
  7. May ______ find favor and high regard in the sight of God and man.  Shift thoughts of anyone who wishes to find undeserved fault in ______.  Help his good work shine brightly for all to see.  (Proverbs 3:4)
  8. Keep _______ blameless and pure in your sight – faultless in a crooked and depraved generation.  May _____ shine among men like stars in the universe (Philippians 2:15)
  9. Help _____ live above reproach, faithful to his wife and family, temperate, self-controlled and respectable. Strengthen his heart that he will not fall into temptation.
  10. May _____ get good rest to stay healthy and alert.  When he lies down, he will not be afraid and his sleep will be sweet. (Proverbs 3:24)
  11. Lord, please help _____, a peacemaker who sows in peace, reap a harvest of righteousness.  May his good deeds be returned to him a hundredfold.  (James 3:18)
  12. May _____ devote himself to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2)
  13. Help ______ be vigilant at all times, alert and aware of his surroundings.  May he be on the alert, standing firm in the faith, and strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)
  14. Protect ______’s friendships, both inside and outside of law enforcement, so that he is not prone to isolation. Two are better than one…if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion.  (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10)
  15. May _____ never lose hope, remembering that You, Lord, have plans for him – plans for welfare and not for evil, to give him hope and a future.”  (Jeremiah 29:11)
  16. May You, the God of hope, fill _____ with all joy an peace as he trusts in You so that he will be filled with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13)
  17. Make _____’s love for our community increase and overflow.  Protect him, Lord, from adopting an “us vs. them” way of thinking.  (1 Thessalonians 3:12)
  18. Guard marriages of our officers, helping them remember that their spouse is their friend and supporter, not an enemy with whom to do battle. They are no longer two but one flesh. What God has joined together, let no man separate.  (Matthew 19:6) Help him love his wife as himself and equip his wife to respect him as her husband. (Ephesians 5:33)
  19. Lord, turn the hearts of the fathers (and mothers) toward their children, and the hearts of the children toward their fathers (and mothers). Protect the family unit. Restore broken relationships and continue to strengthen those that are healthy.  (Malachi 2:6)
  20. Keep _____ from the temptation of repaying evil for evil and strengthen him to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  When possible, as far as it depends on _____, may he live in peace with everyone.  May ______ not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.   (Romans 12:17-21)
  21. May _____ walk daily in the full armor of God.

Praying The Full Armor of God

This list wouldn’t be complete without emphasizing the armor of God detailed in Ephesians.

“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength. Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it, you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert in this with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.”  Ephesians 6:10-18 (HCSB)

 

THANK YOU, for joining the battle by making the decision to pray for our law enforcement officers. Your prayers matter and encourage our officers every day.

For more prayer support, I encourage you to join my FREE 21-day Prayer Challenge. If you enjoyed this post on prayer, you’ll love the growing closer to God through the prayer challenge! I hope to see you there.

Blessings,

 

 

 

 

 

how to pray for local law enforcement

 

Mull It Over:  Meditate on God’s Word

Mull It Over: Meditate on God’s Word

Recently on the blog, I laid out a simple, 15-minute challenge to sprout our spiritual growth: Read 5 Psalms and 1 Proverb each day. In today’s post, we’ll take reading the Scriptures one step further and begin to meditate on God’s Word. 

 

To recap the challenge, the simple practice of Bible reading helps turn our hearts to God and keep Him at the forefront of our minds. The Psalms are filled with encouragement and hope while the Proverbs teach wisdom and point us toward a character-filled life. Reviewing them often—reading God’s Word as an ongoing process—draws us into a deeper, abiding connection with the Lord of Hosts.

 

That’s the entire goal for sprouting our spiritual growth. It’s the process of transformation that draws us into a closer relationship with Jesus. It prepares us to allow the Holy Spirit, making us more like Christ so that we may participate in the divine (see 2 Peter 1:3-8).

 

As we begin to adopt new practices, it’s not merely for the sake of doing, it’s for the sake of displaying more of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and less of our worldly nature.

 

Today’s challenge to meditate on God’s Word is also simple:

Meditation is simply mulling over or pondering God’s Word and allowing it to penetrate the entirety of our lives.

 

Christian Meditation

The thought of meditation has taken on some negative connotations. Eastern religions and new age thinking often twist the Biblical practice. Throughout God’s Word, however, we’re instructed to mediate (mull over) on God and on His precepts and ways. When we meditate according to God’s instruction, we ponder His truths.

 

Biblical meditation is not a practice of emptying our minds to let “the universe fill the voids.” Rather, it is focusing intently on God’s Word.

 

As you read Scripture, take time to pause when a verse stirs your heart. For example, when I read Psalm 5:12 yesterday, it captured my attention and felt like a spiritual hug from God. So I paused to meditate.

Why is it important to Meditate on God’s Word?

 

Meditate on God’s Word—An Example

 

In The Passion Translation Psalm 5:12 says:

 

“Lord, how wonderfully you bless the righteous. Your favor wraps around each one and covers them under your canopy of kindness and joy.”

 

I began to ponder the verse, considering the wonderful blessings that God gives His children.  My mind traveled back a few days and I recalled God’s goodness in both large and very small ways. I thanked the Lord and spent time recognizing each gift as coming from my Heavenly Father.

 

Next, I pondered the idea of His favor wrapping around me. It isn’t in front of me or behind me, but wraps all around me, shielding me from every direction. When I considered being covered by a canopy of His kindness and joy, I couldn’t help but smile.

 

Mulling over this passage brought a new thought to my mind:  How can I live differently today knowing that God’s favor wraps around me, He has blessings in store for me, and that I am covered in His kindness and joy? As I face things like an uncomfortable conversation, or a new business venture, or deal with a challenging personality, how can I think and act differently knowing the promises of Psalm 5:12?

 

Embrace God’s Promises through Meditation

 

The Psalms and Proverbs are books of poetry. They’re beautifully written AND they are God’s truth. They’re thick with promises that the Lord will fulfill, and gifts that He wishes to lavish upon us as His own.

 

By mulling over Scripture, by taking the time to recognize that the Words are intended for me, personally, and by receiving them as my own, my outlook changes. My mood improves. And my hope and joy grow. I recognize that the Lord doesn’t intend for me to say stuck in a life of hum-drum, but longs to bless me as a child of the King.

 

As we move toward sprouting our spiritual growth, I encourage you to take a few minutes after reading God’s Word and mull it over. Let it penetrate your mind and sink into your heart. Receive God’s promises and grab hold of them with all your might.

 

Can Meditation Have a Dark Side?

 

Sadly, the practice of meditation has been perverted by the evil one. As in all things, what God intends as good and pure, the enemy distorts to lead people astray. Contrary to Biblical meditation, many apps and teachings lead one to empty the mind, focus on the breath, or concentrate on an external object. It’s reported that such practices can lead to panic attacks, an increase in fear, anxiety, insomnia, or detachment from emotions. I’d certainly call that a “dark side,” and not at all the type or outcome of meditation that the Lord intends.

 

Instead, God reminds us that He is our shepherd and provides all we need. He leads us beside quiet waters, renews our life, and leads us along right paths for His name’s sake. We fear no danger when He is with us (see Psalm 23:1-4).

 

God provides many additional promises about meditation in His Word.

 

What Does the Bible Say About Meditation?

When we meditate on God’s ways, we make our way successful and prosperous. Consider Joshua 1:8 (ESV):

“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.”

When we meditate on the things of God, He gives us His great peace. See Philippians 4:8-9 (ESV):

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”

 

We experience joy and satisfaction when we meditate on God through the night. Consider Psalm 63:6-7 (ESV):

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
    and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
  when I remember you upon my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
  for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

 

Additional Help to Meditate on God’s Word

 

My friend, Manyesha Batist helped me greatly. I’m thrilled to share her short video that helps me meditate on God’s Word.

 

If you’re joining me on this journey of spiritual growth, I’d love to know! Please reach out to me on Facebook or Instagram. And share this post with others if you feel they’ll be blessed!

 

May God’s Word strengthen you today,

Cathy McIntosh

 

 

 

Meditate on God's Word

 

Meditate on God's Word

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