Using the Sword of the Spirit

Using the Sword of the Spirit

If you knew of an effective, spiritual weapon that would flawlessly protect you from the schemes of the enemy, would you use it?

Jesus did. He was adept at using the Sword of the Spirit.

 

In the wilderness, He was hungry, hadn’t likely slept well for weeks, and was far from what might have felt comfortable. 40 days of fasting in the wilderness will do that. During this time of weakness, Jesus faced the temptation of Satan (see Luke 4:1-13), fought a spiritual battle with spiritual weapons, and walked away victorious. This provides the ultimate example of using the Sword of the Spirit, which the Bible teaches is the Word of God.

The Temptation of Jesus and What it Teaches About our Enemy

The Lord’s interaction with the enemy exposes the schemes of the evil one. It’s good to know our enemy and through this event, and we learn much about his destructive tactics:

  • Satan comes after us in times of weakness. While we hope that he may leave us alone during difficult periods, the opposite is true. He knows the perfect times to move in and attack – and it’s not while we’re strong.
  • The enemy knows exactly how to pull each of us off track. He may come after me with lies about my identity in Christ while assaulting you with temptation toward laziness. There’s no question he knows just where and how to strike and he executes with precision.
  • The efforts of the enemy are relentless. Satan knows we may withstand one wave of temptation, so he’s prepared to move in with additional assaults if necessary.
  • Tactics of the enemy are to accuse, tempt, and deceive. Watch the progression:
    1. Accusation: Luke 4:3 – “If you are the Son of God…” Can’t you just hear that hiss? The whisper to our Savior saying, you’re not really the son of God.
    2. Temptation: Luke 4:6-7 – “I will give you all this domain and its glory… if You worship before me.” He tried to tempt Jesus with kingdoms of this world.
    3. Deception: Luke 4:9-11 – Our enemy knows God’s Word and twists it with the intent to deceive: Just jump, he dared. God will send His angels to protect you.

Jesus battled each tactic with one weapon: the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Scripture worked against each of the enemy’s schemes. Talk about powerful and effective!

Using the Sword of the Spirit—Praying Scripture

What does it mean to use the Sword of the Spirit? It’s simply praying the Word of God.

Satan tried to control Jesus through temptation, accusation, and deception. Our own vulnerabilities look different, but for each of us, the enemy attempts to open a dangerous pit of control and mastery that we must fight hard to avoid. The Sword is a powerful weapon.

Beth Moore authored a tremendous book titled Praying God’s Word. It seemed as if I highlighted nearly every word I read. In this book, she refers to the practice of praying God’s Word as: “… one of the most effective approaches to the liberated life in Christ that God has ever taught me.”[1] When we use God’s Word relentlessly in prayer it’s part of putting on the full Armor of God. By wielding the Sword of the Spirit:

  • We know we are praying His will, and using His perfect words to intercede.
  • We’re using the most powerful tool in our arsenal.
  • Truth begins to fill our minds so that we can ward off the lies of the enemy.
  • Eventually, we’ll learn the verses by heart so that the Holy Spirit can call them to mind when we need them most.

Victory in Jesus

It’s imperative to recognize that you and I have all the same weapons that Jesus had to fight the spiritual battle.

  • The Word of God is at our disposal. If we find we’re too busy to read and meditate on the Bible, we forfeit the most potent tool in our toolbox. You’ll notice that Jesus first response was Scripture. He didn’t need to stop and look up a verse – He knew the Word of God.
  • Our loving, heavenly Father remains in full authority over Satan. God never tempts us. He does not allow us to undergo temptation without reason – for our strengthening and betterment. “Temptation is Satan’s weapon to defeat us, but it can become God’s tool to build us.”[2]
  • We have God-given power and authority over the enemy. Do you find yourself questioning this? Look at these Scriptures and embrace them as God’s truth: Luke 10:19, Colossians 2:10, 1 John 4:4.
  • The Holy Spirit intercedes for us. I’ve had moments – and I bet you have too – where I feel I’m walking into a battle without prayer support. Sometimes battles come upon us in a surprising fashion, without time to ask for prayer from our sisters and support teams. But here’s a truth to cling to: “In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness… the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. … He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27 HCSB).

 

 

 

It’s time to wield the Sword of the Spirit

It’s time to let the Word of God penetrate our minds, hearts, and spirits so that we can use it as the powerful and effective weapon that it’s intended to be. Here are a few challenges to help us get started:

  • Choose one verse to learn by heart. Read it, write it on an index card, say it, sing it, and by all means, use it to battle our enemy. Pick a verse that specifically speaks to your biggest weakness, your area of vulnerability. (Use openbible.info for help).
  • Pray the Scriptures over your family. As you read through daily devotions you’re sure to read Bible verses that make you shout, “I wish my ___ knew that!” Well, pray it for them! Insert their name into it. Ask God to fill them with it. Refer to pages 86-91 of Fervent by Priscilla Shirer for additional help. As you start to pray the Scriptures, pay attention to how God moves. Prepare to be astonished, then be sure to thank the Lord!
  • Read a Psalm – just one – each day for an entire week. Read it silently and out loud. Paste it into the notes section of your phone so you can read it at the doctor’s office or in the drive-through. The more you read, the more familiar it becomes and the more it starts to sink into the portion of your brain that memorizes. It becomes like that product jingle that you can’t get out of your head – only you want this one!

With Practice Comes Progression

As with any tool or weapon, wielding the Sword of the Spirit requires practice. We don’t seek perfection, but we are looking to move forward, to equip ourselves for battle, to prepare our hearts and minds to honor God above all else. We have the power – and the authority – to say “No, Satan. Not today. I will not believe your lies because I know the truth and here it is!” And then, we walk away from the battle in freedom and victory. How fun is that? Have a blessed day in the Lord, my friend.

 

   Praying God's Word

  [1] Moore, Beth. Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds (p. 2). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. [2] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 182). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Uplifting Quotes to Overcome Disappointment and Discouragement

Uplifting Quotes to Overcome Disappointment and Discouragement

Everyone faces disappointment from time to time. We can feel disappointed about other people, ourselves, circumstances, our work, our families, or the world around us. The trick is to avoid letting that disappointment escalate to discouragement. We might wonder what to say to ourselves to overcome disappointment, or what to say to someone else who is discouraged. This short post offers several uplifting quotes about discouragement to help inspire a positive outlook and focus on God.

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

Quotes About Discouragement and Hope

 

Oswald Chambers

If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a time or great personal growth ahead.”


Thomas Edison

I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.


 Billy Graham 

“I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.'”


Beth Moore

“I think that what women need to hear is that there is life after failure.” 


 

The Printable “Give it to God” Prayer Journal Bundle is Available Now! 

 

Encouraging Words for the Disappointed

 

Charles Stanley

“Nobody else can make us discouraged; it is a choice that we alone make when facing disappointments.”     


Warren Wiersbe

“The remedy for discouragement is the Word of God. When you feed your heart and mind with its truth, you regain your perspective and find renewed strength.”    


Dale Carnegie

“Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success.”


Disappointment Quotes from the Bible

There is no better hope for discouragement than the Word of God, which can sustain our hearts in every disappointment of life. Some of my favorite Bible Verses that help me through seasons of disappointment:

Proverbs 16:9 (CSB)

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.


Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.


Habakkuk 2:2-3 (ESV)

And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. (ESV)


Romans 8:28 (NIV)

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.


The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines discourage as dishearten; to deprive of courage or confidence; to dissuade from doing something. But Jesus is our Comforter and the lifter of our heads. In Christ we have unimaginable hope, even through difficult situations and circumstances. When we place our focus on Him, we can walk through disappointment with peace and surety. He stands with us no matter what we face. God is for us. He is our ally and no highs or lows or any created thing can separate us from His love (see Romans 8:39). What a tremendous help to overcome discouragement!  

15 Bible Verses to Help Overcome Discouragement

15 Bible Verses to Help Overcome Discouragement

It’s safe to say we’ve all faced a large measure of discouragement over the past year. The definition of discouragement is a loss of confidence or enthusiasm (New Oxford American Dictionary). Many people have lost confidence in things that once provided security, such as employers, experts, leaders, and the like. As Christians, we’re taught through God’s Word to put our confidence in God alone. Accordingly, there are many Bible verses about discouragement that provide hope, even when life situations become challenging.

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

What Can Cause Discouragement?

 

Before we look at the Scriptures, it’s helpful to understand some of what may cause feelings of discouragement. There are several factors involved, some of which are weariness, fear, and setbacks.

 

Weariness that leads to dismay

 

Weariness is one of the most prominent causes of discouragement. We can experience weariness physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. In short, when we encounter difficult circumstances it becomes exhausting. We don’t sleep well, so we’re physically tired. We concentrate too hard, weighing multiple options about our situation and become mentally fatigued. Emotions become hard to navigate and the spiritual burden becomes hard to bear. Weariness fuels discouragement and causes us to lose confidence in ourselves, others, and our circumstance.

 

Fear that steals peace

 

When facing uncertainty, fear becomes a readily available tool of the enemy. He uses it against us as fiery darts, stealing our peace and causing us to feel disheartened and hopeless. In seasons where we experience fear, it feels so very hard to raise our shield of faith and combat it. Fear holds us in bondage and contributes to further discouragement.

 

Setbacks that cause disappointment

 

Another factor that adds to discouragement is setbacks. We strive and work to achieve certain outcomes, for example: working for years to accumulate retirement income; putting in countless hours to build a successful side hustle; pouring prayer and effort into parenting children who follow God. When our efforts are disrupted or when we encounter setbacks beyond our control, we often feel discouraged.

 

During the past many months of global pandemic, we’ve experienced all three of the primary factors of discouragement. In some manner, our world-wide population has encountered weariness, fear, and setbacks that have brought disappointment and discouragement.

How to Handle Discouragement

 

Thankfully, God’s Word gives us careful instruction and encouragement on how to handle discouragement. The Scriptures show us how to overcome disappointment and deal with discouragement to walk in victory.

There are many examples of discouragement in the Bible, along with stories of hope and healing for those afflicted. Staying focused on God’s Word brings peace we can never muster in our own strength. It’s helpful to place note cards with Bible verses in a place 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. Allow its truth to penetrate your heart and mind.

To do find the most help with discouragement 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 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
  • memorizing the verses so that when you’re not near your notecards you can still resist the enemy with the power of God’s truth

I’ve recently compiled 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.

 

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The Power of Worship to Find Encouragement

Worship is another powerful weapon to help overcome discouragement. 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 listed above are from the HCSB.

 

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 difficult season.

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

Just a cursory glance at headlines and you’ll know—police need our prayers. They need everyday citizens like you and me to pray for law enforcement—immediately and fervently.

 

 

With over 800,000 sworn officers in the US (more than the estimated 2019 population of Denver, Colorado), it’s inevitable that some become jaded. They’re encased in negative environments, confronting those who are facing their worst days in the most troubling circumstances. Some officers become angry while some feel the pull of power.  There are some who make unexpected, detrimental decisions in the blink of an eye.  A few “bad apples” have climbed the ranks of leadership. They’ve then developed subordinates with misguided and horribly unfortunate demeanors. That’s just wrong.

 

It’s easy to see that not all cops are good guys. But I’d go so far as to say that the vast majority are. They are kind-hearted men and women who work hard to serve their communities well. Officers would prefer that judgment from the media, politicians, and celebrities address individual issues rather than police lives as a whole. Too often they feel attacked at the core of who they are and who they’ve worked hard to be.

 

What Causes Stress for Police Officers?

 

Most law enforcement officers embraced their call to serve to help others and protect their communities. The majority have stayed true to that calling, despite negative press, half-truths reported in the media, personal sacrifice, and the ghastly—unimaginable to most of us—situations they address. Such experiences would tear at the hearts of even the strongest among us, yet masses of men and women in blue uphold strong morals and continue to serve with integrity amidst great personal sacrifice.

 

The Toll Law Enforcement Takes on Families

 

The job of law enforcement is hard on marriages.  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, as if no one can see that they’re afraid. But women who have lived in the same place of uncertainty recognize it in an instant.

 

One thing I’ve learned through over 30 years as a law enforcement wife is, we cannot fight a spiritual battle in the flesh.

 

 

A Message to Police Wives

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. So we must pray daily.

 

As wives of our officers, we have no choice but to stand firm in our roles and fight for our men. They need us, 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 supernatural sense, praying for our husbands brings a level of peace and trust in the Lord that we may not expect.

 

If I had one piece of advice to give the wife of a law enforcement officer, it would be this: Offer a prayer for your police officer husband and continue to pray at all times.

 

 

Why Good Police Officers Are Quitting

 

Law enforcement places a huge strain on families. It takes a nasty toll on physical health. Without intentional effort, the job can make a horrible impact on mental well-being. Suicide rates among officers have seen a dramatic increase. The hatred of one person could literally end the life of a police officer in a split second. Yet the officers run into dangerous situations so that you and I are protected from harm. They serve us well, even when they don’t know who holds a gun and if they’ll be the target of the next fired round.

 

After years of helping victims find hope and healing, many officers are now reflecting on why they signed up for this job. They’re questioning whether they have the strength to continue. Not because of the horror they see on the streets, but because of the current abhorrence and disrespect they receive from those they so faithfully serve. Good officers are quitting every day because they’re vilified even as they protect the public.

 

Society, which is now encouraged to reject authority and to blatantly disregard law enforcement, is empowering people who are intent on committing crimes. Politicians know this. Sadly, the politicians who stand in public nodding in agreement with “defund the police” movements are the very ones asking local police chiefs to provide extra patrol coverage for their personal homes. It’s a double standard that’s hard to reconcile. Yet we shouldn’t be surprised.

 

Lawlessness in the “Last Days”

 

God’s Word told us this was coming. 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)

 

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!” we need honorable men and women in blue to stand firm and say, “We will uphold law and order!”

 

For most officers, law enforcement is not merely 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 police officer—and the families who sacrifice so much—is to pray for them.

 

 

Law Enforcement Support Through Prayer

 

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

 

 

21 Ways to Pray for Law Enforcement

 

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. For others who may be seasoned prayer warriors, this will provide some on-target ammunition for real needs that real officers face.

 

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

 

Insert an officer’s name in the blanks if you know it and use these words, often borrowed from the Bible verses referenced in the HCSB translation.

 

How to Pray for Police

 

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).

 

You, Lord, are a shield around _______.  Be his protection, his glory, and the one who lifts his head (Psalm 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). When he faces difficult split-second decisions, give him Your wisdom.

 

Rescue our officers, Lord, from evil men and women. Keep them safe from those who plan evil in their hearts (Psalm 140:1-2).

 

Help ______ keep his mind steadfast on You and keep him in perfect peace.  (Isaiah 26:3)

 

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 that surpasses understanding. Protect them from replaying graphic scenes in their minds.

 

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).

 

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).

 

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.

 

Prayers for Police Officers and Deputies

 

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).

 

Lord, please help _____, a peacemaker who sows in peace, reap a harvest of righteousness.  Cause his good deeds to be returned to him a hundredfold (James 3:18).

 

May _____ devote himself to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving (Colossians 4:2).

 

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).

 

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).

 

More Scriptures for Law Enforcement

 

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).

 

Oh, God of hope, fill _____ with all joy and peace as he trusts in You so that he will be filled with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).

 

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).

 

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).

 

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).

 

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).

 

 

A Powerful Bible Verse to Pray for Police

 

May _____ walk daily in the full armor of God.

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).

 

 

As the wife of a long-time officer, I THANK YOU, for joining the battle by making the decision to pray for law enforcement. 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

 

How to Build a Prayer Strategy That’s Effective

How to Build a Prayer Strategy That’s Effective

It feels hard to focus on just about anything these days. We’re constantly bombarded with news updates, social media posts, and marketing campaigns. We’re trying to work from home and juggling a lot, which is why it is so crucial to build a prayer strategy.  It is as difficult to focus during prayer as any other task in our day, yet time with God is one of the most important habits to foster. Having an effective prayer strategy will help drown out the distractions of the world and settle into our communion with God. In this post, I’ll provide a specific, personal example of building a prayer strategy.

This post may contain affiliate links. Please review the affiliate disclosure. 

Step 1 to an Effective Prayer Strategy—God’s Word

Open your Bible.

One of our members reviewed the plethora of Scripture verses included in Priscilla Shirer’s book Fervent. I can’t find a better way to emphasize our need to soak in God’s Word than the comment she shared:

“I am noting the disconnect in my own life where I’ve not really thought about these (Scriptures) or BELIEVED them with the current challenges in my life. There’s still a huge GAP in what the Word says and how I believe, but I’m determined to PRESS IN.”

Yes. Determined to press in. Amen, sister. Her statement underscores our vital need to incorporate the Word of God into our prayer life. Our aim is to eliminate any gaps in the truth we believe and function fully in God’s Word.

Step 2 to Build a Prayer Strategy—Powerful Tools

Use your Tools.

The Lord provides numerous tools, some of which fall into the category of the armor of God detailed in Ephesians 6.

The Belt of Truth

In Fervent, Priscilla emphasizes the belt of truth and the way it holds other pieces of armor in place. Jesus proclaimed the Bible as truth, saying in John 17:17 (HCSB), “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.” God’s Word serves as the belt or our spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:14)—the tool that holds all of the rest of our armor in place.

Sword of the Spirit

God’s Word sanctifies us (John 17). It also serves as our only offensive weapon as the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).

Prayer Acronyms

Another tool for our use is prayer acronyms. Evidence of the acronyms (a.k.a. “steps of prayer”) is scattered throughout the Word of God, even though they aren’t found verbatim in Scripture. In an earlier post, we covered the benefits of prayer acronyms. Please understand, these acronyms are simply tools—not mandatory routines of prayer. They help keep prayer organized. We use acronyms as a learning instrument, a way to develop a rhythm as we grow in a discipline of prayer. Acronyms are useful in defining a process through which we cover key elements of strategic intercession. Taking it a step further, when we take the Word of God and apply it to a prayer acronym, beautiful things happen.

A Personal Prayer Strategy Example

Note: In the example I’m about to share, I use this prayer journal.

I commonly struggle with my identity in Christ. The deeper I’ve moved into ministry, the bigger my struggle – for obvious reasons, wouldn’t you say? The enemy wants to keep us blinded to the truth of who God created us to be. Using Scriptures provided in Fervent (Strategy 3, Your Identity) and incorporating them into the acronym P.O.W.E.R. (Praise, Offer Thanks, Warfare, Embracing God’s Instruction and Repent) as delineated in My Prayer Journal, I created a powerful weapon against the lies that the enemy whispers (and sometimes shouts) on a daily basis. Here’s a picture of how I mapped out the acronym inside the prayer journal. So you don’t have to use a telescope, or zoom way in to see the words, OR try to read my handwriting, I offer it as an easier-to-read document here.

Borrowing a Prayer Strategy

One of the most intimidating aspects of prayer is sometimes finding words to express your heart. When we can’t find a way to say something, we can borrow the words—the prayer strategy—of a friend, or mentor. I don’t advocate plagiarism, but sharing words of others in prayer—as genuine expressions of our own hearts—is an acceptable practice. Most of the words I use in my example are straight from Scripture. Some come from past experiences. Each word is a genuine expression of my heart. Praying them is my way of pressing in and narrowing the gap between what God’s Word says about who I am in Christ and what I’ve allowed myself to believe. For me, believing the lies of the accuser stops here. I’m determined to not only believe in God but also believe what He says, and take Him at His Word.

Using a Prayer Strategy

It’s one thing to pray this strategy for myself, but I also find it immensely useful in praying it for those I love. I wish that they, too, would believe all the Lord says about them and find their true identity in Christ. I’ve prayed similar prayers for my children, my kids-in-law, my husband, pastors, school teachers, and others.

 

A New Challenge—Praying For Your Family

I challenge you to use a prayer acronym of your choice to build a prayer strategy for your family.  You’re welcome to use the sample I’ve provided (P.O.W.E.R) as a springboard. As I said above, building a prayer strategy isn’t necessarily easy, but it is an essential and effective tool in our prayer arsenals. Remember, prayer isn’t a time of rest, but a time of battle. The more preparation we engage in, the more impactful our prayers become. I pray that seeing an example of building a prayer strategy will make it easier to formulate your own battle plan.

You may also enjoy seeing a list of books I regularly recommend to help strengthen your prayer life. The list of resources about prayer is a great tool for your arsenal!

Love,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 the 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 lengthy 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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