prayer

The Recipe for Answered Prayer

If you’re reading this, then you might have some questions or challenges about some prayers you’ve made that are unanswered or unresolved – so we’re in this together 🙂

To this end, I was recently asking God to change someone & make them more flexible.  This could translate to mean that I want that person to be more compliant to my preferences and it could mean that God might want to work on some control issues in my heart, which is certainly food for thought 🙂

As we think about the prayers we make to God, it’s interesting to think about how God answers prayers.  I say this because of recently reading two exchanges between David and God in 2Samuel 5, when David asks God about attacking the Philistines.  In the first exchange, God tells David to attack in response to his first enquiry.  David obeys God’s direction and successfully defeats the Philistines.

On the heels of being defeated, the Philistines attack a second time.  And David asks God again about confronting the Philistines.  In response to David’s second enquiry, God tells David to circle behind the Philistines, wait for the sound of marching in the tree tops and then attack.  David obeys God’s instructions and defeats the Philistines the second time.  From my point of view, these are very explicit instruction & a stark contrast from the first battle.

So here are some ingredients for the recipe to Answered Prayer:

  1. AFDI:  Ask For Divine Input rather than depending on your own brilliance or willpower
  2. Unlimited obedience, served up with daily consistency
  3. Trusting God more than a method:  yeast goes with flour like trust goes with God;  God seems to work uniquely in each situation, so trusting in a method isn’t as helpful as trusting in God 🙂
  4. DBS:  Don’t Be Surprised when you have to repeat something, but with a different method

In addition to these ingredients, it’s also important to consider how these ingredients go together, some possible marinading time and what happens when heat is applied over a length of time.  To this end, when I asked God about changing someone and making them more flexible, like I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I received an interesting reply.

I felt God say to me, “Sarah, maybe the answer to your prayer is a combination of that person becoming more flexible and you being less controlling.”

I had to sit with that feedback and let that marinade for a little while.  And truth be told, I’m still ruminating on what God said to me.  Maybe I’m a little similar to meat marinating in a sauce.  Maybe it takes God a little time to break down the fibers of my resistance and self-deception so that God’s truth and loving flavor can influence my thoughts, attitudes, words, decisions and action.  Ultimately, this is what I want.  This is the ultimate answer to my prayers, even in the heat and fire of daily living.

In our quest to get our prayers answered, let’s be committed to allowing God to change us and help us grow.  Maybe the tasty outcome of God’s culinary efforts in our lives is the expression of genuine love, as we are wholly dependant on God’s presence yeasting into our core identity 🙂

Selah 🙂

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, cooking, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Doing Difficult Things

Life seems to throw difficult things our way, such as dropping off a child at college, health challenges, relationship struggles, financial crisis & lots of other stuff as well. Sometimes the stuff we face is a surprise & sometimes there’s a cumulative process the winds up being a significant difficulty.

In these experiences & seasons, I find it helpful to remember that Jesus is walking with me & doesn’t leave me to navigate alone. And when Jesus is with us, it’s good to ask Him for strength, comfort, wisdom, help, endurance & for His love to overflow our hearts. I also appreciate remembering Ps 40:1, “I waited patiently for the Lord, He inclined to me & He heard my cry.”

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Posted by Sarah in busy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

School Shootings

I live in Denver & yesterday we had another school shooting in a Denver suburb. It’s very unsettling to us because our city went through the Columbine school shooting 20 years ago, the Aurora theater shooting, etc. This kind of event triggers bad memories & feelings in us, causing some to have panic attacks, experience crippling fear, reliving PTSD experiences and lots of other stuff.  And it’s a very disturbing development in our country that schools have become unsafe and places to express violence, aggression, combative and hostile behaviors.

To this end, we all have experiences in our lives that have been traumatic and various things can be triggers to catapult panic, anxiety, fear, pain, etc into the front of our thoughts and feelings.  While these emotions can  natural and honest, let’s also be careful to bring these feelings and events to Jesus for prayer, help, courage, strength and grace.  And let’s pray for the people who are going through these traumatic experiences – may God give them grace, strength, wisdom and clarity to navigate this turbulent season / experience for peaceful resolution and redemptive outcomes!

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Posted by Sarah in Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Doing Important Stuff

Doing important stuff can be intimidating & even overwhelming. And yet, I believe that we are on the planet to do important stuff. 

For example, today I’m joining an amazing team to do strategic planning for Saving Moses. It’s an important activity because today’s outcomes affect babies & toddlers who would die or suffer abuse / neglect without our efforts. So we are doing important stuff!!

So when you do important stuff, here are some things that might be helpful:

  • Pray: it’s necessary to include God with important stuff
  • Plan: my husband helps me remember that proper prior planning prevents poor performance
  • Do: take a step & start even with something small to do / make progress
  • Teamwork: include people & be a good team player
  • Measure:  it’s helpful to pause & take inventory of the progress & direction 

Let’s make progress w important stuff!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, family, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, thought life, travel, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

When God Doesn’t Make Sense

More than 50,000 soldiers dead all triggered by a concubine running away from her husband. I’m reading the last few chapters of Judges in the OT & these events leave me baffled & cold. They baffle me because even though Israel obeyed God’s directives, they still lost two battles and 40,000 soldiers died.

These events leave me cold because of the human ability to be barbaric: the concubines husband cut her up into 12 pieces and sent her body parts throughout the 12 Tribes of Israel. Clearly, this is a very dark time in Israel’s history.

And there are times / events in our lives when we don’t understand God. Why does an omnipotent God allow atrocities and deplorable behaviors? And how does
God’s loving character reconcile with His judgment? Making these questions get even more personal, why doesn’t God heal various ailments & terminal illness?

Or why does a cheater co-worker get the promotion & we get bypassed, again?

I’m grateful that God is abundantly able to handle our questions, doubts, fears, uncertainties & pain.

While we wrestle with these questions, or different ones, let’s stay in fellowship with God for the simple reason that He holds us together because of His infinite love for us!

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Posted by Sarah in fellowship, grow, living, prayer, relationships, seeing Jesus, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, 0 comments

Getting in Shape

When I think about getting in shape, it crosses my mind that pears and grapes are viable options in contrast to the idealized hour-glass shape. I also think that I can get in shape for swimming, but be out of shape for running. This holds true for snowboarding, weightlifting & a plethora of other physical exercises.

Indeed, let’s go beyond the physical and cardiovascular concepts and think about our mental and spiritual shape! Keeping fit in our minds and emotions requires exercise and usage since the old adage, “Use it or lose it!” holds true.

And let’s be certain that we don’t neglect our spiritual shape when we consider what it means to be healthy. I’ve met plenty of people who are physically and mentally healthy, but whose spiritual lives are anemic on a good day. And I’m learning that if I’ll keep my spiritual health as a top priority, it’s often easier to be physically and mentally healthy. To stay spiritually healthy, here are a few helpful suggestions:

  • Read your Bible daily
  • Purpose to have prayerful conversations with God throughout the day
  • Connect with spiritual communities (church, small groups, Bible study, etc)

Let’s stay in shape!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, fasting, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Solutions for Congestion

Congestion isn’t appealing.  We don’t like to be congested from a cough or the flu and when traffic is congested, it’s not a pleasant experience to navigate.  Congested means too much and it happens when there are too many cars or when our immune system is trying to fight against a virus or bacteria.  So what are some possible solutions for congestion?

Here are some interesting ideas for your consideration:

  • drink more water:  when we are congested with sin, the washing of the water of the Word (Eph 5:26) can help to flush out the sinful toxins that are harmful to our walk with Jesus.
  • rest:  often times our lives get congested because we don’t maximize the rest times that God gives to us (Matt 11:28).  If you’re in congested traffic, consider using the time to thank God for various things throughout the day.
  • patience:  congestion can make us anxious and stressed out, which only makes the congestion worse.  Consider what Jesus says in Luke 21:19, “In patience, possess your souls.”  Seasons change and things come to pass but not stay.

May the healing and redemptive power of Jesus help us get past the congested times and maladies in our lives!

 

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, travel, values, watch, 0 comments

Appetite Driven Consumption

With Thanksgiving tomorrow, there’s a good chance that you & I will be eating some tasty food, along with second’s & possibly third’s. It’s also likely that you’ll skip some food that’s not in your favorite list. For me, I’ll take a pass on the cranberry relish but maybe double up on my mom’s chorizo stuffing 🙂
With the quantity of food that’s available tomorrow, let’s consider that our flesh appetites, left unchecked, can be highly destructive.  As we are being thankful in this season, let’s also remember to cultivate or appetite for spiritual food, like daily Bible & prayer time!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, fasting, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 0 comments

Thanks For The Extra Grace

I have a pretty consistent morning routine that generally helps to frame each day with sturdy Bible applications & a prayerful mindset, usually. But this morning didn’t pan out that way. I didn’t get to have my normal quiet prayer & Bible time before my family stirs. So I ran out the door to start my day, not having the rich fellowship with God that often sustains me throughout the day. I don’t like it when that happens & I’m grateful that this is a rare occurrence.
And here’s the really magnificent thing today: I’m sensing the Holy Spirit very clearly throughout this day, despite not having my morning tuning & calibrating fellowship. Of course my absence of quiet & solitary fellowship with the Holy Spirit this morning won’t become a daily habit. Nevertheless, sensing the rich presence of the Holy Spirit throughout this day encourages me that the Holy Spirit enjoys my company & interaction, not withholding that intimacy when I fall short on my end.
Be very certain in your heart that you’re deeply valued, highly treasured & greatly celebrated by the Holy Spirit!

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Posted by Sarah in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, Jesus Chix, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 2 comments

Obstacles & Uncertainties

There are times & situations when I don’t know what to do. There are also obstacles that seem to be unmovable. I can see where I want to be & what needs to be done, but I don’t always know how to get there or how to do what needs to be done.
These kinds of struggles can be experienced in our jobs, personal disciplines, education, relationships, finances, health, etc. So what to do?
Here are some things I’ve found to be helpful:

  • Pray more, worry less: ask for God’s intervention / interruption to do what seems to be impossible
  • God’s direction: what would God have you say or do in these struggles?
  • Active decisions: make intentional decisions to trust God, to speak faith filled words & to choose the high road.

 

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, family, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, saving moses, spiritual, thought life, values, watch, 1 comment