3 Ways to Pray More Intentionally + A Tiny Journal Giveaway!

Intentional is my “one-word” for the year.

Some think the one-word movement is hokey. I know because that was me not so long ago. And yet, in a world that tugs on us with the same fervor as a hungry toddler, embracing a word that points us to the Word offers an intentional act that can help us stay focused.


Many areas in life deserve more intentionality on my part, but none more than prayer.


Below are three ways I’m learning to re-engage the power and beauty of prayer in my own life. I’d love to know how you’re doing the same in the comment section below. We are in this together, after all. *smile*


1. Re-visit the Why


Why pray? If we were raised in the church, our whys more than likely roll off the tongue with ease. But what about today? What about prayer stirs us to set aside time on a busy morning? What do we believe about prayer that causes us to risk embarrassment by thanking God for our food in public places?

For me, this “why” surfaced first: Because I can⏤because we can. Thanks be to Christ’s sacrifice, we can converse with the One True God⏤the One who formed us, the One who redeemed us, sanctifies us, loves us beyond comprehension, quiets us, heals us, and empowers us to live more like Jesus.

It is impossible to grasp the reality of this magnificent privilege and remain the same. 

What is your “why” and how does it change your intentions for 2020?


2. Scribble Your Prayers


Scribble, you say? Okay, maybe that’s not exactly what I mean, but one of the best pieces of writing advice I ever received was to scribble my rogue ideas and rough drafts in a plain spiral-bound notebook. Not fancy ones, like those Brian used to bring home from France. {I’m not sure what it says about me that I asked for paper instead of perfume, but let me just say, this was no ordinary paper. The crisp white sheets were smooth as glass, yet thick enough to resist any bleed-through.}

But this same sheet of paper sat blank because I didn’t want to waste a “good” sheet for what could be the worst paragraph ever.

And therein lies the beauty of a solid-colored spiral-bound notebook. The sheets are thin and anything but crisp⏤but they are brimming with words. There’s no concern about messing up or writing the wrong thing on a cheap piece of paper.

Sometimes when journaling our prayers, it’s easy to feel stuck, unsure of what we want to write. Or we skip a day, a week, or longer because we don’t know where to begin. So the page remains blank.

But when the imperfect spiral-bound pages make themselves available for imperfect words and sentences, there’s a freedom at work that I can’t explain.

“Scribbling” tips:

  • Write like no one else will read it but God. It’s a safe place to pour out your hurt, your dreams, your doubts–whatever is on your heart. King David paved the way in Psalms, showing us how to trust God with our honesty while never failing to recognize His majesty.
  • Try different methods. There’s no one way that’s right for everyone. Over the years, I’ve used an organized prayer notebook with tabs for praise, confession, intercession, and salvation. I also have stacks of plain notebooks, some started but never finished, and others filled with my failures and God’s faithfulness.
  • Keep a tiny journal with you at all times. Be intentional, watching for God’s goodness as you move through your day. Eventually, you will create your own pocketful of praises. {Don’t miss the tiny journal opportunity below!}


3. Incorporate “Touchpoints” of Prayer


To be clear, there’s nothing sacred about touching anything. But using everyday touches to prompt a prayer is a simple and intentional way to stay connected with God throughout our day. Such as:

  • Washing the dishes. Let the water running over your hands serve as a reminder to pray for those who are spiritually thirsty, without Christ. We pray for their salvation so that their innermost being will flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)
  • Steering wheel. As you take hold of the wheel, let your grip serve as a reminder of God’s closeness to you, praising God for surrounding you with His presence. “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 125:1,2)
  • Feet to the floor. This “touchpoint” is mentioned in 4 “Touchpoints” to Connect with God Throughout the Day, the latest gift for current/new subscribers. The moment our feet touch either the coldness of hardwood flooring or the warmth of cozy slippers in the morning, let that touch prompt us to offer God our first thought of the day. It can be as simple as, Thank you for a new day, Thank you for fresh mercy (Lamentations 3:22, 23), or Have Your Way Today, Lord.


“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” Jeremiah 29:12


How would you like to become more intentional in 2020? Share in the comment section below to help cement your own intentions, encourage others, and have your name placed in a random giveaway for a pair of mini journals.


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What’s New? Your One Word

by Cathy Baker

So everybody is talking about their ONE word for the year. You know, the one word that sums up your NEW focus for the approaching year. 

Many have forsaken the New Year resolutions for the One Word movement. At least one book on the subject has been written, multiple blogs have been launched, and it’s the buzz on social media these days. 

Have you chosen your one word for the year? If you’ve not chosen a word yet, and you’re interested in doing so, consider these few ideas to get you moving in the right direction:

  • Is there a word or phrase that keeps popping up in your recent conversations?
  • Do you sense God moving you in a particular direction for your life or ministry? 
  • How do you want to become more like Jesus in 2015? What will it take on your end to move towards this goal? (For instance, if you want to become a better giver, what specific changes need to take place to accomplish this desire?)

Being a list maker, I still enjoy writing out my goals for a new year but I also appreciate the simplicity of the One Word idea. This year, I wrote out my goals but summed them up in one word: Intentionality. [intentional: done on purpose, conscious, preplanned.]

  • Intentional about the Word and making sure its priority is secure in my daily life. 
  • Intentional about seeking Him, the Person of Jesus Christ, and His kingdom first, trusting that all other things will fall into place.  
  • Intentional about who I’m becoming more than what I’m doing

Your turn! Do you have your one word to share? If not, do you plan to choose one?  

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33

Ready for a Worship-Filled Christmas?

It may seem a bit too early to mention Christmas, but consider the fact that as Christ followers, every day is to be a celebration of His love, mercy, and grace!

Beginning this Friday (31 days to December 22nd), a NEW series 31 Days to a Worship-Filled Christmas begins! Each day will offer a simple way to breathe Gospel-driven intentionality into our holiday season. We’ll kick off with Thanksgiving ideas through the weekend and then we’ll move into Christmas on Monday.

As we journey through the season, I invite you to share your own ideas—ways that your family celebrates Christmas. 

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one
another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 

Colossians 3:16


How An Introvert Does Life

As described by psychologist Carl Jung, introversion refers to energy flow and the tendency of some people to draw energy from the inner world — their focus is inward, on ideas and reflection, and they typically seek solitude to recharge their batteries. Many enjoy people and welcome social encounters and aren’t shy at all, but too much socializing would be draining for them.

My recent admission to being an introvert was met with disbelief and a few hints of laughter as our writer’s group cackled till midnight—yet it’s oh so true. I love people and enjoy “doing life” with women in different settings throughout the week, but without times of solitude, my battery is quickly zapped.

During our ten month search for a church home, we remained open to the Spirit’s leading in regard to a Sunday School format vs. life/small groups. For various reasons, the more structured-type teaching has always appealed to me a little more. We’ve “done life” with groups in the past and counted each a blessing, but I struggled nonetheless. 

Brian and I knew life groups were an integral part of Summit Church before visiting but it wasn’t until several weeks later, when we began sensing a true attachment to the church, that the reality of life groups hit home.

This won’t be comfortable.

Four words that sent my brain into a frenzy, like rowdy toddlers on a playground, until Truth quieted them with five words of His own.

Who says it should be?

In that glorious moment of conviction I realized how complacent I’d become. Since when did anything worth pursuing feel comfortable? Confession came quick (Hebrews 10:I9) and freedom forged in forgiveness swiftly followed.

This conviction, coupled with Sunday’s powerful message by our Campus Pastor, Brooke Taylor, left me feeling excited about the life group we were to attend that evening. One truth in particular from the message spoke life into this introvert’s soul: 

Community doesn’t just happen — it requires intentionality.

Here’s why I share my testimony: I know I’m not alone. There are others out there who feel there’s no greater place to be than a quiet nook, furnished with a good book and a hot cup of tea. I get it—but this doesn’t mean we’re not cut out for life groups. It simply means we require an extra dose of intentionality, with a booster shot of courage.

Turns out, our first visit to a Summit life group was a tremendous blessing (thank you Kevin and Carolyn!) We were warmly welcomed and felt right at home. As we drove away, I felt so energized by the group I almost mistook myself for an extrovert!
What about you? Have you ever allowed your comfort zone to impede God’s best for you? 
Be encouraged. Your glorious moment may be right around the corner. 
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.  Hebrews 19:24,25

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