Thursday, July 27, 2017

when I am not good at quiet time

Happy Thursday!

I have so much rolling around in my brain, but I don't exactly know how much of it I want to share right this moment, so I'm going to share again, about my quiet time, and how sometimes I am not very good at it.

I wrote about this already on Instagram this morning, but I'll share it here.  A few times a year, sometimes a little more or less, I get stuck in this rut with my quiet time habits.  As much as I love to pray and spend time with God, it does not always come easily or naturally.  I wanted to share about this, because I think it's something all of us believers experience from time to time.

When this happens to me, it's almost like I can't find the words to pray, or when I do finally getting around to spilling my heart, I cannot stay focused.  #keepingitreal

When I get like that, I pull out my old, trusty prayer notebook that you see pictured above.  There is nothing super special about this notebook, but a few years ago, I came across a blog post written by Donna Gaines, who is the wife of a pastor named Steve Gaines who pastors a huge church here in Memphis, about the power of prayer.  She shares about a personal testimony of how prayer impacted her family.

Go here to read about it for yourself.

This struck the very core of my heart, and I created a similar notebook that very week.  Maybe even that day.

I do not always use this notebook.

It can seem overwhelming at times when I don't have a lot of free time first thing in the morning, and I will be honest, it takes some time to pray through all the sections of my notebook.

And there are days when I honestly do not want to sit and be quiet and pray and read the word of God for an hour.

Again, I'm just being honest here.

On days like that, I might pray in short segments.  I'll always follow a basic acronym on these days, but I cut it short.  I pray according to ACTS.  Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication (prayer for others).  I ask God to give me pockets of time to spend with Him throughout the day, and He does do that usually.  It may seem short and sporadic, but I feel that is way better than not spending time with Him at all.

Quiet time is a daily act of self discipline.

It's not always easy.  Sometimes it may seem more scripted than usual, like when I'm using my prayer notebook, but that is okay.  Whatever it takes to help me spend time with my Savior every single day is worth any amount of time and effort that is put into it.

When I use the prayer notebook, like I did this morning, I still prayed according to that ACTS acronym, but I spent a longer amount of time praying each of the letters.  It's been a while since I have done that, and I felt conviction over not spending quality time with the Lord this morning.

For the A, I spent more time praising God, not for what He has done, but for Who He is.  He is faithful Friend, our Advocate and Helper, He is Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace.  These are His attributes, or characteristics.  Once I get going on this one, I could go on and on forever.  His word says Who He is, and often times, I use that, praying scripture back to Him.  It's easy to do this from the book of Psalm.  Especially those last fifteen or so in the book.

I always spend time confessing my sin (C).  Some days the sins I've committed against God jump out at me, like if I'm gossipy with a friend, but other days, it does not.  When it's not always obvious, I ask God to examine my heart and show me my sin.  And He always does.  I ask Him all the time to convict me quickly of my sin.  He will do that as well, showing me when I am judgmental or overly critical of someone, or if I am angry about something I shouldn't be angry about.  His word says in Colossians 3 that we are to put away anger, wrath, malice, and so on.  When I'm angry, I confess it, and ask Him to forgive me.

He is such a good Father to answer this way that I pray.  (I pray this for my whole family, as well, especially my kids.)

The thanksgiving (T) part comes so easily, because I have so very much to be thankful for.  My family.  Our health, all that He has provided us with, our home, clothes, a job my husband loves, wisdom in parenting during tough situations, friends, a beloved church home, and many more things.
The supplication portion (S) is everything else I pray for everyone in my life.  I start with my husband, move onto my kids, our extended families, lost family members or friends, our church family and staff pastors, our government, and missionary friends or people we know on the mission field temporarily right now.  For my husband and kids, I pray scripture over them as well.  I have pages printed out with that scripture on them.  For example, one thing I pray is that Todd would love the Lord his God with all his heart, with all his soul, and with all his mind, and to love his neighbor as he loves himself (Matthew 22:37, 39).  I have the scripture printed out, and I insert the names.

I don't always pray through all those I listed under the supplication portion, sometimes just shortening it to ones I know personally.

And that is how my quiet time ended up going this morning.  It may or may not go like that tomorrow, but for today, I am so glad to have been able to spend quality time with my Father in heaven.

I finish up by giving Him my day, committing it all to Him, and asking Him to help me walk in submission to His authority over my life.

And He does.

One last thing I need to remind myself of often, and I would guess others would feel this way as well, is something I came across while looking for an old picture today.

The Lord loves us, and He wants us to pour out our hearts to Him.  His word says in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast our cares on Him, because He cares for us.

Can you even grasp that?  I cannot, truthfully, that He would so willingly take our burdens from us, and bear them Himself.  But that is exactly what Jesus did when He died on the cross for our sin.  He bore our sins, and made a way for us to live with Him eternally.  How He loves us.

If you want to know more, if you have questions, please reach out to someone today.  I pray these words inspire you to want to know God more by spending time with Him in prayer and in His word.

Thanks for reading.  Love to all.

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