Tag Archives: be alert

Week One: Be Alert

Welcome to the 40-Day Challenge! Now is a great time to get serious with God. The time you spend seeking God is never wasted. As I’ve said before, training our heart to hear God’s voice is our most important task on earth. But listening to God and praying with power can be hard in our busy, noisy world. Continue reading

got a minute?

Got a minute? We toss our minutes around like spare pennies. But pause and reflect: Your minutes matter. Your life is made up of minutes. Minute-after-minute-after-minute. So what can you do with a minute?

Apparently, lots. One university study found that students who listed their anxieties for just ten minutes prior to taking a test performed better on the test–by nearly half a letter grade. Another  group of researchers discovered that subjects who relaxed and closed their eyes, letting their minds wander for exactly eight minutes experienced a significant boost in short-term memory. Still another team of scientists (don’t you wonder who has time to do all this research?) discovered that when people practiced “sustained gratitude” for five uninterrupted minutes, their bodies produce disease fighting antibodies!  And the list goes on.

What can happen with a minute of prayer?  It might just change the trajectory of your life. That’s what happened to me when I began to pray this simple prayer:  “Lord, break my heart for the things that break Yours.”

I began praying for people in places I’d never met…just a minute a day here and  there. Monday, it was a minute a day for the Sudan, a place where Christians were undergoing intense persecution.  In time, my feet found their way to the Sudan, and I met people like Ryan Boyette, the young American who is risking his life to tell the story of genocide in the Nuba Mountains.

Tuesdays, I prayed for the tiny African nation of Burundi, and I’ve now completed my fourth missions trip to the war ravaged country.   Soon, I’ll travel to India, also on my “Tuesday list.”  I set my cell phone to pray each day at noon for a persecuted pastor in Syria whose name I can’t mention.  And I lift my voice in a prayer of agreement with the thousands praying for the release of  Pastor Saeed Abedini a US citizen unjustly imprisoned in Iran.

Hebrews 13:3 gives us this reminder:  “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”

Friends, something miraculous happens when you give your minutes to God for prayer.  It’s as if the Holy Spirit carves out a pathway in your brain and begins to remind you to pray.  A minute here.  A minute there.  Day after day.  And prayer, God promises, can move mountains.

Got a minute? Are you willing to pray for a nation? Just a minute a day.  Then ask God to break your heart for the things that break His. Hold on tight…it just might be the ride of your life!

my anti-social prayer experiment

Several friends have confessed lately to feeling  “spiritually numb.”   Being numb is the opposite of being alert.  And when we’re not alert, it’s hard to hear God, right?   Here are some powerful thoughts from my friend ASHLEY  in response to the question: “What keeps you from being ALERT for prayer?”

Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV).

For the past several years, the Lord has beckoned me deeper and deeper into a more intimate relationship with Him. Before I had kids, I would wake up at 6am just to meet with Him and His Word, and I loved to pray during my 45 minute commute to work. After having kids I would long for naptime, a good cup of tea, and an hour in Word and prayer.

Earlier this year I felt such a distance from the Lord, and sensed a lack of depth in my relationship with Him. I did not understand why.  I go to church, I serve, I read the Word, but my prayer life was in the pits. I made excuses. I have three small children, I’m exhausted, my baby girl still wakes up at night, I can’t even clean my house, so how can I find time to pray? And that is just it–God doesn’t want me to fit him into my day. He doesn’t want me to clock in and clock out or check him off my list. He says pray without ceasing. That means don’t stop.

So I tried a little experiment, what I called “anti-social.”   One  month.  No Facebook.   No Instagram.   No Pinterest. What I learned was, since getting my smart phone last year, I replaced all my quiet, reflective moments of the day with media.  Nursing my baby, waiting in the car, awake for no reason at 3am–these moments were filled with my phone on. I even started checking Facebook constantly and uploading pictures on Instagram obsessively instead of actually enjoying the gift of that time with my family. Take away the idol of media–including TV–and suddenly I have time to pray and just enjoy rare quiet moments with the Lord. Continue reading