While there’s a lot I’d like to leave behind in 2020, my prayer life isn’t one of them.
For thirty years, I’ve celebrated the truth that God wants to be personally known, experienced, and trusted. But my time with Him hasn’t always reflected it. My intentions were good, but apparently, my excuses were sometimes better, widening the door for guilt to slither in and crack open the window for shame to join in the harassment.
In early 2020, I began reading Priscilla Shirer’s devotional, Awaken: 90 Days with the God Who Speaks. The title resonated with a deep desire to stop the cycle of good intentions.
And so I began the 90-Day journey with God.
I sat down with her devotional, the Bible, and my trusted journal. Within a week or two, I sensed the Lord creating a daily rhythm for our dedicated time of fellowship:
- Slowly and prayerfully, read through the book of Psalms, one a day.
- Read the Proverb that corresponds with the date.
- Read one devotional from Awaken.
- Keep my travel journal close by and jot down observations.
- Spend a few minutes in silence.
In no time flat, accusations disguised as whispers began to chatter:
- You should be working through a study instead of just reading your Bible.
- Why are you only reading “x” amount of verses?
- You call this a valid quiet time?
But I did it anyway. And here’s what happened.
You know that elated feeling you experience when spending time with someone who shares a mutual interest? You could talk about (fill in the blank) all day long, and with a little caffeine, maybe all night! You leave their presence feeling energetic, encouraged, and ready to face another day, right?
That’s what happened when I began showing up with a holy expectancy! What will my heavenly Father reveal today? Not like a little girl on Santa’s knee, but a woman who’s incredibly flawed but hungry to hear from God and join in the adventure! (Even that desire is from Him, my flesh would prefer to be eating breakfast.)
During our dedicated time of fellowship, He reveals my sins: how I overdo sweets, the way I sometimes relate to my husband, and my lack of faith in various areas of my life, just to name a few. Some revelations are painful, but they’re necessary, and even a confirmation of His love. (Proverbs 3:12, Hebrews 12:6)
God opens my eyes to spiritual truths I wouldn’t see or receive otherwise. He provides ideas for ministry, ways to love others, words, sentences, paragraphs, and a dream Literary Agent only He could’ve provided. The list goes on!!! (Multiple exclamation points = holy excitement)
Still, I prayed for weeks before creating this post.
You see, I wanted to make sure it was God’s voice (and not mine) prompting me to share how He transformed our time together. The last thing I wanted was to give the illusion that I had anything to offer but a willing heart, or that there was a “magic” formula for drawing closer to God, or that I was discounting the vital need for studying God’s Word in-depth.
We know the simple act of reading the Word and studying it is the difference between wading in a pool and swimming in it. And if there’s ever been a time when we as Christ-followers need to know the Word for ourselves, it is today. I did, however, learn that if reading is done prayerfully, there’s much to glean and is anything but a simple read.
I can only testify that the plan He unfolded for a season deepened my faith and infused our time of fellowship with a deep, abiding joy that I never saw coming.
So, how do we begin moving toward a more consistent prayer life in 2021?
- Check the heart. What do we truly believe about our time with God? Is He present? Does He hear us? Does He respond? Am I willing to hear His conviction as well as His blessings?
- Create a plan. Whether or not we consider ourselves a planner is irrelevant. We plan other worthy appointments⏤the doctor, work, hair, etc. Is He worthy?
- Come with an expectant heart! This connects with the first point but it’s also a vital part of the adventure.
- Prayerfully consider what plan God might want to unfold for your time together.
- Equip our time with essentials beforehand: Bible, journal, “travel with God” journal, and pen.
*Bonus: Continue the engagement with God throughout the day!
Not only did God confirm that others might benefit from this post, but He also broke it down into bite-sized pieces for “(Re)Awaken Your Prayer Life.” Inside, you’ll find more information on the five considerations above (and the bonus!), along with inspiring verses and quotes in the form of coloring pages.
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So, as we look forward to a new year with a fresh slate, what is one spiritual discipline you sense God is calling you to cultivate in 2021? Share in the comment section to be entered into a giveaway for your own leather “travel with God” journal!
P.S. For one week in January, an added bonus on ways to grow a more consistent prayer life will be shared each day. (And don’t be surprised if there’s a daily giveaway to help in those efforts.)
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