Hibernate in Prayer to Awaken Your Soul in 2018

Hibernate in Prayer

There once was a man who loved Jesus with his whole heart. He also loved his family, served the church faithfully, and gave sacrificially, often in secret. When an evangelist joined his family for dinner the night before a revival, this man confided in the evangelist that he felt uncomfortable praying aloud in church. So, what did the evangelist do? He called on this man to pray during the revival. The congregation closed their eyes on cue but the man stood up and politely said, “No thank you” and sat back down.

That man was my paternal grandfather and I’m quite proud of him. Proud, you say? Yep. He wasn’t a hypocrite. Sure, he could’ve stood up, put on a certain air of confidence and spurted out eloquent words in an attempt to save face, but I suppose that prayer would’ve only reached the height of the chandeliers dangling overhead.


Jesus has something to say about those kinds of prayers.


“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 5:5-6

Jesus doesn’t deny the need for public prayer. He prayed publicly, as did the early church. And there’s nothing wrong if someone hears us pray. Jesus is simply getting to the heart of the matter: The motive.

“Do not have as your motive the desire to be known as a praying man. Get an inner chamber in which to pray where no one knows you are praying, shut the door, and talk to God in secret.” Oswald Chambers

God meets us in the secret place. It’s there we hibernate⏤where we are not seen, just as God is not seen. The King James Version refers to this place as a closet.


I don’t know about you, but my closet isn’t the first place that comes to mind when I think of meeting God in prayer.


I’m more liable to get a concussion from falling debris than I am finishing my prayer. Thankfully, we’re not bound to a closet or a particular room. Maybe it’s a corner, or a desk, outside, or in an outdoor shed. It’s more about finding a place to pray that’s free from distractions and the temptation to be heard. {Party of two, please!}

But it’s not just any prayer meeting. The word Jesus uses in Matthew 5 to describe the room or closet is derived from the word tamion, which makes me a tad giddy because it describes the inner rooms of ancient Hebrew homes that were used as a storehouse or a place of protection.


When we hibernate in prayer, we come to a place of abundance, not scarcity.


God is our storehouse. We step foot into our own tamion and find He is already there. We ask for wisdom. James 1:5 says God gives it to us generously without finding fault. We ask for physical healing, financial provision, boldness to share the gospel, or the return of a wayward child.

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20

“God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, but you may be aware of three of them.” John Piper

God is our place of protection. Spiritual attacks, temptation, anxiety⏤whatever requires His protection this side of heaven, God stands ready to provide it from a place of abundance.

We have God’s full attention and He has ours, there in the secret place. But first, we must come.

How to Hibernate in Prayer During Every Season in Life

Jot down hibernation dates on your calendar.

The power of prayer floods the heavenlies, whether it’s done publicly, privately, or spontaneously. It’s all biblical. But hibernating in prayer requires intentionality⏤giving a hint as to its power. When we are deliberate in making time to meet with God we can testify that unexpected circumstances begin to happen. Our perspective becomes sharper, our hope takes flight, and we move through our days with deeper purpose.

Be content with a heavenly reward.

Yes, those rewards which bring immediate gratification like a slick, newly painted wall are enjoyable but they’re temporal. Those who pray “the right words” in order to impress others receive their reward right there on the spot. When we pray in secret with pure motives, God says He will reward us. I tend to believe the reward is the fact that our almighty God bends to hear the quiet desires of His children, and answers those prayers for our ultimate good. But perhaps there’s even more?

Pray aloud.

So, how do we know if we’re hibernating in the right spot? We’ll feel comfortable praying aloud. I can’t explain it, but when audible words meet the inaudible desires of my heart it feels as if a victorious tag-team is taking place in my soul. And yet, there will be days when we have no words, and that’s okay, too. Romans 8:26 says the Holy Spirit stands ready to intercede for us with groanings too deep for words. There is no right or wrong way to pray in our Father’s presence.

When we intentionally spend time with God in secret, our soul awakens to divine possibilities that surround us every day. Maybe we’ll discover that it’s possible to spontaneously pray for the weary mom behind us in the check-out line. Or to become who God created us to be, flaws and all, for His glory. Or maybe, just maybe, we find the courage to pray aloud in a church gathering.

“Awake, my soul!” Psalm 57:8

What’s one thing you are praying for yourself in 2018?


5 Ways to Settle the Soul Before December Begins + A Free E-book Reminder!

Settle the Soul Now

I want it to be different than the year before⏤you know, the way I go about celebrating the Christmas season.

Every December begins the mad dash to buy gifts, decorate rooms, pick out a fresh Christmas tree, make never-ending grocery lists, mail invitations, start new traditions and bake favorite foods.

And yet, one thing I’ve learned this year is that if I don’t take a few minutes each day to move me closer to necessary changes, nothing happens⏤nothing changes.

“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.” – Albert Einstein

So, before the hoopla of the season hijacks the days of our December, let us consider small but specific ways to settle the soul and savor the beauty of our Savior.


Every Day in December

Step outside for five minutes.


Depending on our season in life, this may mean stepping out while little ones nap or watch a favorite Christmas movie. It may require a bundling process but we can do this. Inhale and take in all God has for you. Thank Him. May we see⏤really see⏤our surroundings and remember the humble beginning of our Savior.

Look for Christ and you will find Him. And with Him, everything else. – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


Read and meditate.


If possible, read from your hard copy instead of the phone. Intentionally slow down to ponder God-breathed words as you listen to crisp vellum-thin pages turn one by one. Click here to access Daily December Scripture Readings if structure is your friend (we’re BFF’s, by the way!) Obviously, longer reads are ideal but if given the choice to glaze over a chapter or indulge in a hand-full of verses, I’ll choose the latter any day, especially in December.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. -Matthew 2:10


Savor a favorite cup of coffee or tea.


What does this have to do with settling the soul? On the mornings I choose the sip over the gulp, my day begins on a calmer note. Couple that time with reading scripture, and it becomes both calming and enlightening, for nothing is sweeter than conversing with my heavenly Father over a hot cup of brew. Sometimes I even pull up a nearby chair to remind myself that yes, His presence is that real.

If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: “God with us.” -John F. MacArthur


Play Christ-centered Christmas music.


I’m a huge Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Johnny Mathis fan. Tears hit the brim line when I hear these artists at Christmas. Immediately, I’m transported back to my grandmother’s house where her stereo console turned all their albums upstairs while she crafted homemade fudge in the kitchen. Nowadays, we play a variety of music during the Christmas season but mostly our music consists of a few favorites. My absolute favorite artist is Michael Card. I’ve played several of his songs from The Promise in my bible studies throughout the years. A few other favorites are: Behold the Lamb by Andrew Peterson, City on a Hill: It’s Christmas Time by various artists and Windham Hill’s Christmas Solitude, which is instrumental. Its quiet notes quiets the heart. And a quiet heart is a receptive one.

O come, let us adore Him. (Based on Luke 2:15-16)


Light a Candle.


Before bedtime, light a Christmas candle. Marvel at its glow. Reflect on the warmth and the beauty discovered in the flickering light. Inhale and enjoy its fragrance. Close out your day by quietly worshipping the Light of the World who was born on a bed of straw that we might one day walk streets of gold.

I have come into the world as light so that no one who believes me need remain in the dark. – John 12:46


Is there one thing you would plan to change as you move through the days of December? If so, please share!


Settle My Soul



Christmas PausesSubscribers! Watch for your gift scheduled to arrive in your inbox tonight. This e-book offers Christ-centered celebration tips for each day in December leading up to Christmas Eve.





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How to Pocket Your Prayers

Pocket Prayers

I’m thankful the act of prayer isn’t limited to bent knees, closed eyes, or hushed silence.

Prayer is simply conversing with our heavenly Father. I use the word simply because, in the past, I’ve made it much more complicated than I believe God ever intended. Guilt whispered if my prayers weren’t long enough⏤whatever that means⏤or if I failed to use what I call “pretty” words. Let’s face it, we all know someone who prays so eloquently that we peek in the middle of her prayer in hopes of catching a glimpse of angel wings hidden beneath the “I Love Clemson” sweatshirt. (What can I say, my someone loves her tigers!)

I’m not an eloquent pray-er. After over two decades of praying aloud, I still stumble through the words, especially when I pray with others. At home, my eyes are open and my voice is loud. For some reason though, I always shut my eyes in a crowd, leading to a major distraction when my eyes start simmering from the mascara slowly melding my eyelashes together. But I digress.

As a new believer, I began to journal my prayers. My first journal was a $1.99 three-subject stark green notebook from Walmart. l still have it today, twenty-five years later. Since then, I’ve varied prayer formats. Sometimes I list out my prayers and other times I use paragraphs or even, well…doodles. These days, I use a plain ole blank steno from Barnes and Noble. I think we can agree that in the end, it’s not so much about the method of our prayers but the heart from which they are prayed.

In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart. John Bunyan Click To Tweet

When I received the Giving Shawl for my birthday, prayer ideas soon began to emerge. (Maybe I should re-name it the Prayer Shawl!) One idea I’m currently giving a whirl is what I call pocket prayers. I cut small pieces of paper, and on each piece, I write the name of one person from my list. The prayed-over congregate in an owl-cloaked pencil case.

Want to give pocket prayers a try?

Prayer for my pocket

Two Ways to Pocket Your Prayers

On the mornings I mull over my prayer list and pray, the power of prayer extends for one person/group on the list by choosing a piece of paper from the case. Sometimes the Holy Spirit burdens the heart for one particular person but if not, it’s a random draw (at least on my part.) The piece of paper is then tucked in my pocket for the day.

On the hectic mull-less mornings, I open the envelope, pull out a name/group and slip it in my pocket so I can pray for him/her throughout the day.

Either way, that person or group remains with me both physically and spiritually. Most importantly, I’m reminded to pray for them each time I reach into my pocket. Maybe it’s for the keys, a grocery list, or the extra packs of Stevia stowed away for my coffee stop on the way home. Or perhaps it’s not the touch of the paper that reminds me to pray but the sound of crinkled paper in my coat pocket.

(If you’re pocket-less, try writing the name on a sticky notepad and placing it somewhere you’ll see it throughout the day. If the desire is there, the ideas will follow.)

To some, an idea like this might seem so simple that it’s silly. But I venture to say there’s nothing silly about becoming more intentional in praying for another person. I just need tangible reminders and maybe I’m not alone.

“Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.” – E.M. Bounds, Crosswalk

How can I pray for you today?


4 Ways We Can Pray for Our Adult Children

Praying for Our Adult Children

I wish they could have started sooner⏤the prayers for my children.

When I entered into a relationship with Christ at the age of twenty-seven, my boys were ages 6 and 2.  I desperately wanted the cycle of divorce to end with me and for a new legacy to begin with them⏤one that would carry on to future generations I would never know. So I began praying specifically for:

  • Their future spouses and their families.
  • Our sons and their future wives to remain sexually pure until marriage.
  • Them to know Christ at an early age —  by experience, not head knowledge.
  • Godly friends.
  • God to use them for His glory.

Years passed, the boys grew up and married two amazing young women with God-shaped hearts. They now have families of their own.

When the boys became husbands, I admit that my prayers were not as fervent for them as they once were. I don’t know why. Maybe without realizing it, I believed this momma’s prayers weren’t needed as much. And then I recalled separate conversations I had with both grandmothers when I was in my early 40’s. Each shared how they had prayed for me every day of my life. Wow, just wow.

How many can say they are prayed for daily? Let's be that person for our family! Click To Tweet

Today I’m sharing specific ways I’ve started praying for our sons and daughter-in-laws. I hope these will resonate in some way and inspire you to write out your own prayers.

I pray

Their hunger and thirst for Christ will only increase as they grow older

With a birthday just around the corner, I’m reminded how vital it is that I don’t become lazy in the faith. It’s not a realization that jumps out like a bad prank but rather one that eases in the back door of our heart with a pack of chips and a million excuses. I want to finish strong and I desire this for my children as well.


That they will grasp the depth of love God has for them

I want our children to be convinced of God’s love at a gut level because let’s face it, this truth is a game-changer, and one the enemy desires to keep hidden away in his slimy pocket.

I pray the following for my sons and daughter-in-laws, inserting their names in place of the pronouns. Whose name could fill in your blanks?

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen ________ with power through his Spirit in _______ inner being, so that Christ may dwell in _______ hearts through faith. And I pray that _________, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that _________ may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19


Their protection⏤spiritually, emotionally, and physically

None of us are impervious to the sin that awaits us around the next corner. (The moment we believe we are, watch out!) I pray for my children to continue to grow deeply in love with Christ and with their spouses. For outside negative influences to stand at the gate of want with no hope of entrance into the minds and hearts of my loved ones.


A covering of wisdom and discernment

“Listen, I [wisdom] have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness. All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. To the discerning all of them are right; they are faultless to those who have knowledge. Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, for wisdom is more precious than rubies; and nothing you desire can compare with her.” Proverbs 8:6-11

Proverbs says that nothing we desire can compare to possessing wisdom. Thankfully, we need look only one direction for this wisdom: up.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5


Linking arms in prayer

Imagine parents like you and me linking arms on the battlefield of prayer in support of our children⏤regardless of their age. If you’re not a parent, I can almost guarantee that you are influencing some young person in your circle of influence by your words and/or actions.

My arm is extended.  Wanna join me?



The Life-Changing Results from Praying in Every Room of Our Home

Praying in Your HOmeThe morning I spent praying through our home back in January is a morning I won’t soon forget. Perhaps you remember this post I wrote back when limbs were exposed, and so was I.

I can’t say for sure why turmoil erupted from within when I began tapping the keys for that post. Maybe it’s because I shared about my struggle with depression. Or maybe it was revealing my fear of a test result or the fear that my prayer walk through our home may be taken as mystical rather than biblical. My guess is that pride and the enemy were vying for victory as they each tugged fiercely on the rope. Turns out, neither won.

The response from the post was overwhelming. Comments, emails, Facebook messages, etc., confirmed that I am not alone in this desire to have my home immersed in God’s presence. Nor am I alone in the desire to experience palpable peace and an underlying current of joy more powerful than the hundreds of volts running through my home.

Since praying through each room nine months ago, I’ve observed specific ways prayers have been answered.

House Prayers

Front Entry {Prayed in January}

For guests entering our home to feel welcomed and cared for by us, and ultimately, the Lord. To cultivate an open home, regardless of how clean or messy our house is at the moment. For God’s blessing and protection.

How Prayer Is Being Answered

We’ve had more guests in our home in the past nine months than we had in ten years at our last home. Trust me, I know this isn’t anything to brag about. I share it only to say that now when I struggle to open our home at inopportune times, I recall my prayer in January and quietly proclaim, This is Your house, God. Be glorified. And my soul hits the re-set button.


Den {Prayer in January}

For the conversations in this room to be edifying and glorifying to the Lord. To be filled with joy, laughter, and family-building moments. It was also in this room that with outstretched arms I prayed for any spirit not of God to flee, in the name of Jesus. There was no room for the spirit of fear, discouragement, or confusion in our home.

How Prayer is Being Answered

Conversations have taken place on our couch this year that I never dreamed possible. I still struggle with fear in some areas but when I had the same exact test done in July that I had in January, there was no fear.


Kitchen {Prayer in January}

For Brian and my family to feel loved (not cursed) by the food I prepare for them. To receive creative ideas in ministering to others through food and meals. For me to make wiser choices in my food selections. {I’m still reaping the consequences from last year’s stress-mess.} To embrace the mundane work of my hands for His glory.

How Prayer is Being Answered

With increased guests and family visits, the kitchen has naturally become busier than normal. But a special “thank You, Lord” shot to the heavens when I recently served a large meal that would’ve normally sent me running. Brian asked, “Who are you?” I smiled because I knew it was more about Whose I was than who I am.


Where You Create {Prayed in January}

My writing desk is in our little sunroom. I prayed that every word penned would take flight for God’s glory. To lean into, depend on, and rest in Christ for not only the work but also the results. For an outpouring of creativity. To seek to know {by experience} God more deeply, not to seek to be known by others.

How Prayer is Being Answered:

I’m not sure where to begin with this one. Since January, I’ve published two books and several more are following. Let’s just say that when I “heard” God tell me that I was treating my calling more like a hobby (on the same afternoon I prayed throughout our home), everything changed in an instant. I began working on my first book within five minutes⏤literally. Two and half months later, the first book was available on Amazon. To God be the glory!

It’s for these reasons⏤and so much more⏤that I decided to create this free e-book for my subscribers. As an added bonus, I added sensory tips for each room!


If you’re a new subscriber to Cultivating Creativity, welcome!

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“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” – Max Lucado

Which room in your home do you feel could use a little prayer today?


Coming to Our {Summer} Senses // Shine, Sister, Shine!

Shine, sister, shine

Summer offers a plethora of scents that leave us dizzy, mostly with delight:

  • Roses in bloom
  • Lit charcoal fluid
  • Suntan lotion
  • Freshly mowed grass (for allergy suffers like me this one literally leaves me dizzy!)
  • Chlorine ( = swimming)
  • Saturated air after a summer afternoon storm
  • Hawaiian Fruit Punch (throwback to the 70’s)
  • Citronella (delight in the sense that there are fewer mosquitoes!)

And when one is, oh say, 56 days away from a beach vacation, one must turn to the next best thing to capture the sea-side scent: a candle. But not just in any candle.

While searching for beach-themed goodies to promote my book Pauses for the Vacationing Soul, I came across this candle. The scent was not the first thing to grab my attention.

Non-lit candle can't shine

Being a sucker for all things visual, it took a mere three seconds to place myself in this VW van, front emblem and all. Then I noticed the packaging. A canvas material with California Dreamin’ printed in a funky font was only the prelude to the delight waiting beneath it, and one whiff was all it took. I paid more than I normally do but it was dreamy VW van (which I love) and I was there, in it, with ocean breezes blowing by as I drove down the California coast line. {Told you I was a sucker.}

But I digress.

Less than one mile from the TJ Maxx parking lot, I’d already finagled a way to keep this little treasure for myself. I would use it for inspiration by burning it each time I sat down to work on the next book in the series. Never mind that the book setting is in the mountains! Plus, it would be too heavy to mail if it became a contest prize. {If you care to hear more excuses as to why I needed to keep it, feel free to email me.}

Fast forward three months. This carefully carted VW-lovin’-ocean-breeze candle continues to sit on my kitchen bar⎯unwrapped, unopened, and unlit. Oh, I stop by occasionally to hover, inhale, and dream for a brief moment but I hesitate to take the cover off and light it. I want it to last. Burning it will only make it disappear. And because of this hesitation, the candle is neither being enjoyed or used to its fullest potential.

Jesus had something to say about this in Matthew 5:14-16. (Although tempted to focus on the 2 Corinthians 2:14 passage that eludes more to fragrance, Matthew just wouldn’t let it be.)

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

A covered, unlit candle’s fragrance is scant compared to one which sits on a stand and is lit. From the moment the flame licks the wick, everyone in the room benefits⎯both from the light it sheds, and from the delightful fragrance it diffuses.

Jesus declares that you and I are the light of the world! We are to display God’s gospel-work in our lives and not hide it away. It is meant to be shared and seen by others for His glory. So how do we shine our brightest, reflecting God’s glory to a darkened world?


3 Suggestions to Help Us Shine, Sister, Shine!


Recognize Who is behind our shine.

In John 1:9, John proclaims Jesus to be the true light who gives light to everyone. We are only able to shine because we are reflecting His great light! In Matthew 5:16 we’re given the very reason why it’s vital that we shine. When our calling, our spiritual gifts, our good works are seen, God is glorified.

Recognize that too many yes’s can actually diminish our ability to shine.

The candle wick’s purpose is to deliver fuel (liquified wax) to the flame. If it’s not trimmed before each lighting, it will burn too quickly. Just because we can shine in a lot of different ways doesn’t mean we should place ourselves between every problem/opportunity and the solution. Burning out is not glorifying, nor is it a true reflection of Jesus.

Recognize how community helps everyone to shine brighter.

Have you seen the multi-wick candles? Some think the extra wicks cause the candle to burn faster but the truth is, it helps the candle to burn more evenly. Isn’t it the same with us? Bearing one another’s burdens, being vulnerable and transparent with others, and keeping a teachable spirit so that others can speak truth into our lives are all good places to start. If we release what is not ours to carry we are all able to shine brighter for God’s glory.

If we release what is not ours to carry, we are all able to shine brighter for God's glory. Click To Tweet

An unlit candle doesn’t shine. Neither does a covered one.

Heavenly Father,

Reveal anything or anyone that is hindering my ability to shine for Your glory.
Help me to lay bare my sin, my struggles, guilt, shame, and fears before You now,
confident that in the process of uncovering the darkness way down deep within,
You will bring forth light, ushering in fresh grace and mercy
that I might shine brighter for Your glory and fame.
This is my heart’s desire.

How do you sense God calling you to shine, sister, shine?


Lit candles shine

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