Can I be very honest with you for a moment? Prayer is really difficult for me. It always has been. I can read the Bible for hours, but I struggle to remain focused in prayer for more than a couple of minutes without my mind wandering to the hundred other things I need to do or finish. In the past, when I have managed to pray more than a few sentences, the experience often felt empty and tedious—like a task on a to-do list. All of that changed for me last summer.
At the time, I was going through a season of grief and heartache. My husband and I had lost a baby, a job, and a dear family member in the span of eight weeks. My heart was shattered, and I felt like I was just going through the motions of life. For most of my time as a believer, I had managed to get by while keeping God at a safe arms-length from me. When things fell apart last year, however, I realized I needed so much MORE of Him. I desperately longed to release the power of God in my life. I was drowning, and I knew only He could save me, but I didn’t know how or where to begin.
About that time I read a post by Donna Gaines discussing the power of prayer in her role as a mother. The post gave a testimony of how God had moved in the lives of her children through prayer. It also included some practical tips and printables for setting up a prayer notebook system. I decided a prayer notebook was a great way to dive in and go deeper into my relationship with God. I bought a binder at Target, printed off the attached materials, and began jotting down my needs, desires, and fears. I also wrote out several prayers for my family and friends who were facing their own challenges. On June 22, 2014, I opened my notebook for the first time and got busy praying.
Once each day I would pray through the book. At first it was slow and clumsy, and I didn’t know if my prayers were even accomplishing anything. Still, I felt compelled to keep knocking, seeking, and asking. I was so desperate for a touch from God, so I pushed forward.
After about two weeks passed, I started noticing that things were happening around me. Some of the hopeless situations I had prayed about were beginning to resolve, and certain doors that had been locked tight were beginning to creak open. At the same time, my wounded heart began to heal as I cried out to God each day and poured out all of my hurt and fear.
More time passed, and I kept praying. I began to sense God’s direction in praying for new situations. God opened my eyes to so many needs around me that I had overlooked before. I was constantly making notes in my book, adding details to old requests, recording answered prayers, and interceding on behalf of specific people as God directed me.
After a few months of daily fervent prayer, it felt like the floodgates of heaven opened and the power of God started pouring out into every area of my life. The Holy Spirit was moving in situations everywhere. Circumstances and relationships that had once been stagnant began to change and grow and bear fruit. That is not to say that God gave me everything I asked for or that life got easier. He didn’t, and it didn’t. However, I began to experience an inexplicable peace regardless of the context. God also began to bring people into my life with specific needs and give me direction on how to pray for them and minister to them. My prayers became less of a one-sided request list and more of a conversation with God. I began to see myself as a worker alongside God, laboring WITH HIM for His kingdom.
This was especially true when it came to motherhood. The majority of my time as a mom, I’ve longed to help point my young children to Jesus, but I have often felt clueless about how to help in these very early years of infancy and toddlerhood. Now that I spend time daily praying for their hearts, I know this is the crucial kingdom work God has appointed for me in this important season of life.
If you, like me, have been intimidated by prayer in the past, I challenge you to try the prayer notebook method (see below) or find another plan that works for you and stick with it, even when (especially when) you don’t feel like praying. I know you will begin to see God work in your circumstances, but more importantly, I can guarantee that God will transform YOU from the inside out as he conforms your heart to His own. We’ve all heard others talk about the “prayer warriors” in the church. For once in my life, I count myself among them. Won’t you join us?
**If you would like more information about creating a Prayer Notebook of your own with free printables to get you started, click here.
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