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 daily 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 His Word to Draw Near to God

 

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 to Enter His Presence

 

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 to Connect with Jesus

 

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.

 

 

Mull It Over:  Meditate on God’s Word

Mull It Over: Meditate on God’s Word

Earlier on the blog I laid out a simple, 15-minute challenge to sprout our spiritual growth:

Read 5 Psalms and 1 Proverb each day.

Like when we meditate on God’s Word, the simple practice of reading it daily 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 like meditating on God’s Word, 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 is also simple:

Mull it over. Meditate on God’s Word

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Meditate on God’s Word

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.

A Meditation 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 mull over 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

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.

Additional Help for Meditation

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,

 

 

 

Meditate on God's Word

Meditate on God's Word
Helpful Bible Study Tips for Beginners

Helpful Bible Study Tips for Beginners

If you’re like me, you might be feeling a bit unsettled these days, wondering how to find and embrace inner peace. There’s one thing that’s helped me immensely and that’s drawing near to God. My ultimate favorite way to do that is through Bible Study. I receive a lot of questions about how to get started, so I decided to post these helpful tips for Bible study beginners.

If this is your first step into learning God’s Word, allow me to be the first to say welcome to Bible study! Knowing some basic information will help you persevere, and will hopefully set a fire in your heart for learning more about God through the Bible. So let’s start at the beginning.

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

Why is Bible Study Important for Beginners?

Before beginning any endeavor, it’s important to understand why you’re starting. Your “why” will help you push through when it doesn’t feel easy, or in the case of Bible study, when you’d rather press your snooze button and get a few extra minutes of sleep. Here are some compelling reasons why Bible study is important:

We learn about God.

The Bible reveals who God is and shows His character. Sometimes it seems the world portrays God as a mean judge, constantly trying to catch us making mistakes. As you open His Word, however, that’s not what you’ll find at all. You’ll begin to see His true nature as a loving Father, a helpful Guide, and a beloved friend.

The Bible is a Plumbline of Truth.

There’s a lot of noise in our society, and lots of people offering their opinions on every subject imaginable. It’s always important to have a baseline of truth from which to consider the opinions of others. God’s Word is truth (see John 17:17). When we know and understand His truth, it strengthens our daily decisions, improves our relationships, and delivers inner peace.

We discover God’s love for us.

Bible study is especially important for beginners who want to discover how God sees them as His children. Through God’s Word, I discover that I am His child, He loves me unconditionally, I never disappoint Him, and that He values me just as I am—so much that His Son willingly sacrificed His life for me. As you dig into His Word, you’ll realize He feels just the same about you

What is the Best Way for Beginners to Study the Bible?

 While there are many methods of Bible study, the best way for beginners to study the is to. . .

  • Observe the Text by slowly reading and examining what it says.
  • Interpret the Text by looking up meanings of words in the original language and taking context into consideration. Even beginners can do this easily with Bible apps like Strong’s Concordance or through websites like blueletterbible.com.
  • Apply the Text by taking what you learn to heart. Consider how it can impact your situation, your upcoming decisions, and your current needs. Then trust God’s instruction and live it out.

Bible Study Ideas

As you begin to study the Bible at home, here are some ideas to get you started.

Study the Bible by Verse

Bible apps like You Version Bible provide a verse of the day and offer a large number of translations to choose from. Using that as a starting point, you can use the Observe, Interpret, Apply method of Bible study (detailed above) to learn more about that verse.

Study the Bible by Topic

If you’re currently struggling with something specific (such as fear, worry or anxiety), you can use sites like info to search for those words and discover what the Bible says about them.

Study the Bible by Book

Many people study individual books of the Bible, like the book of Esther, for example, or John, or Matthew, or Romans. By studying a book in its entirety, you’ll discover much deeper meaning and context than studying by verse.

Bible Study Groups

It’s always nice to study with a group of friends. Having the ability to talk about what you’re learning is helpful and many times additional resources are used inside groups. Since it’s difficult to meet in groups right now, online Bible studies are becoming more popular. One I recommend is through the Facebook group for The Joyful Life Magazine. They offer online studies once a quarter or so.

Bible Study at Home

Here’s where I want to encourage you right now. Just begin today, right where you are. Pray and ask God to lead you with His wisdom, then open His Word and begin. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll reap some of His overwhelming blessings. Engage with your family members, or start off on your own. There’s no reason to fear because God will meet with you when you seek Him.  When the Bible seems confusing, look into different versions or look up the word meanings as suggested above, or consult with a friend or pastor who knows the Bible well.

Tools for Bible Study Beginners

You may wonder what you need to begin studying the Bible. What you truly need is simply a Bible (electronic or in book form), a pencil, and some paper. The more you progress, however, the more you’ll enjoy having some writing tools to use. The pages of paper Bibles are thin and a lot of the writing instruments we use every day bleed through the pages and make it hard to read. Here are some of my favorite writing tools that I use specifically for Bible study:

Bible Study Pens

I like these Micro Pens from Amazon because they come in a variety of colors, they’re fine-tipped which makes it easier to write in small spaces, and best of all, they don’t bleed through Bible pages. This set from Sakura is even higher quality but has fewer color selections.

Bible Study Highlighters

Call me crazy but my favorite Bible study highlighters aren’t highlighters at all. They’re colored pencils, but they never bleed, they’re comfortable to write with, and they come in a large variety of colors. Check out these Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils.  You can also find Bible Study Highlighters in Bible book stores or online, but I find they’re more expensive and don’t last as long.

Sticky Notes

It’s nice to have smaller, narrower sticky notes that fit into the margins of your Bible. For that reason, I like those designed for calendars like these from Erin Condren. (And they’re cute)!

Bible Reflection Worksheets

I created these printable worksheets to use over and over with any book or passage of the Bible. They’ve proved invaluable in my faith walk and I hope you’ll enjoy them!

Books I recommend for Bible Study Beginners

It’s always a good idea to start to accumulate a small library of resources. There are several books I recommend—specifically for Bible Study beginners—because they have fueled my own faith.

  • Without question, you need a Bible that’s easy to read and understand. To begin your journey, I recommend a version that’s a bit more conversational in tone, but still maintains the integrity of original Biblical texts. The CSB version is my favorite and is available in these gems: The Study Bible for Women,  She Reads Truth and (in)Courage Devotional Bible.
  • Believing God was the first book I ever read by Beth Moore and it had a profound impact on my life and ministry. It remains one of my highest recommendations, even after all these years.
  • Kay Arthur is another Bible study favorite because she teaches you to mine God’s word for truth on your own. I recommend Lord Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 Days.

I hope these pointers and recommendations get you off to a strong start in Bible study, especially if you’re a beginner.  As always, I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions!

To your closer connection to God,

Cathy McIntosh

 

 

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