No Buts About It {How My Prayers Have Changed Pt. 2}

This is the second post in my James Prayer series — on how my prayers have changed. You may read the first post HERE.

https://simplystriving.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/no-buts-about-it-how-my-prayers-have-changed-pt-2/

My elbows dug into my knees, palms firmly planted on my chin. And I rocked slowly, trying to soothe my pounding chest as I searched for words. I have no idea how much time fled as I started over and over, determined to get it right…I realized then I was doing exactly what the verses warned me about. Finally, I relented and told Him outright:

Lord, I don’t even know how to pray…I know how to praise and thank You, but I don’t know how to bring my worries to You. Because they seem to bubble with doubt…

It stung as it rolled off my tongue. I’ve considered myself a prayer for years, with prayer journals to prove it. And here I sat on this moonless night realizing I’ve completely lost my way, drifting off to sea.

I’d become a “But Christian”.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, Who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
James 1:5-8

For how many times have I said

“Lord, please heal _____, but if it’s not Your will…”
“Father, help me _____, but if You have other plans…”

Oh mylanta, I’m as wishy-washy as they come. How can He even look at me let alone listen…

I opened my Bible, hoping I missed something. Where does it say how to believe firmly when you know not every prayer gets answered with hoped-for results? How do you decipher between needs and wants? Do I admit how big of a deal these things are to me when in the grand scheme of grace, they are so very small?

Then I saw it…how I’ve been complicating prayer all these years. How I’ve tried to act double-minded, like I can read His mind, how I’ve presented pleas instead of just presenting myself.

  • I’ve asked for solutions and not answers.
  • I’ve treated Him like a taskmaster — focusing more on the gifts than the Giver.
  • I’ve acted as if I know better…and then tried to cover it up with a ‘but’…

James shows us how to get our buts out-of-the-way. What to ask when we’re deep in need: Wisdom. Ask for His wisdom. Every time.

And he even promises…God gives that out generously to all (vs. 5). I have no reason to doubt His will in this regard.

Solomon knew it–all one really needs to get through this world that’s not our home is wisdom. Intimate life-knowledge. And He is the Bread of Life. He is the source of wisdom we all seek. He is all we need.

If I want to gain life-knowledge, I need to know the One Who Is…I need to see Him.

https://simplystriving.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/no-buts-about-it-how-my-prayers-have-changed-pt-2/

Doubt holds no weight when all we seek is to know Him. When all we ask for is what He’s promised to always freely give.

So when trouble comes and I’m grasping for a way out, I can pray:

“Father, I’m sinking, yet You’ve never let me go… Here, You take this ____. Give me wisdom, Lord, so I can see You and know You’ve got this. Show me how You want me to respond. For I know and believe fully–You are all I need.”

When cancer/illness plagues someone who owns a piece of my heart, I can pray:

“God, You are bigger than this cancer cell. Let us see You, Lord, right here right now. Rest Your healing hands upon ___ and overwhelm them with Your comfort. Peace. Gives us eyes of wisdom, Father, so we can watch Your glory unfold and know You’ve got us in the palm of Your hand. We’re right where we need to be.”

I go through my prayer list and put it to practice as I seek this intimate life-knowledge He freely gives. And smile wide as I realize…there are no buts about it.

My back straightens as I pick up pace. My shoulders relax as I chat easily with my Creator. And for the first time in my tenure of claiming His name, I can pray with confidence and know He’s heard me when I call.

How about you, friend? Do you ask for wisdom when you pray? How do you tackle those areas we so desperately want to go a certain way? I’d love to hear.

P.S. I’m just getting started with what I’ve learned from the Book of James lately. I hope you’ll stick around. You can catch up on other posts HERE.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

He Knows Me {And My Prayer for Today}

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Father God, I humbly come before You just to bask in Your grace. To catch a glimpse of Your wonder and be mesmerized by Your glory.

For You simply spoke and it came to be. You brought perfection to an infinite level, capturing every detail needed to sustain…everything.

You hung every star in place, these sparks of fire that bring luster to the darkest of nights. Father, we haven’t even begun to discover them all and yet You know each one by name.

And to think…You know me, too.

Lord, You made sure I was one of a kind. No one can bring You glory quite like me. You know every swirl on my head and every trace of my footprint.

You’ve memorized me.

You know what hurts my heart and what makes me burst with delight. You know when I fail and when I nearly get it right.

You do more than see me…You know me. And love me anyway.

This gift You have given me of today — I give to You. Make me a part of the intricate details of Your plan, Father. Use me however You see fit for Your glory. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear so I may be Your hands and feet today.

Holy Spirit, keep my heart soft and open. Break it for what breaks Yours. Help me to love even the least of these and keep reminding me that’s what I am…nothing more.

Thank You for letting me bask, Father. Thank You for allowing me to have moments where I see You today.

Lord, I’ll never get over You. You know that… For You know me

Subscribers, CLICK HERE to listen in to this amazing song

You Know Me

Bethel Music

You have been
And You will be
You have seen
And You will see

You know when I rise and when I fall
When I come or go, You see it all
You hung the stars and You move the sea,
And still You know me

And nothing is hidden from Your sight
Wherever I go, You find me
And You know every detail of my life
And You are God and You don’t miss a thing

You know me
You memorize me

You know me…

How about you, friend? What is your prayer today? How can I pray for you this week? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

My Homeschooling Journey {Another Let Go and Let God Post}

After fulfilling my dream of becoming a wife, I had nine years to decide what kind of mother I was or was not going to be. I spent those years wisely. Observing, making mental note of what I would or would not do. Oh yes, I was going to be the best. mother. ever.

Let me be the first to tell you, homeschooling was on my not-going-to-do list. It’s now become proof that God truly does have a sense of humor.

You see, I neglected to consider some key factors while creating my mother equations:

  • God has made each child unique with individual needs He has asked me to meet while in my care.
  • God loves my child more than I ever could. And knows what’s best farther than I can see.

We all have heard “He broke the mold when He made ____” and I’m certain it’s true with each and every child I meet.

My oldest son is no exception as he has busted every frame I had wrapped around him.

Friends, my son loves to learn. He’s good at it, too. Even at the age of four he’s methodical, extremely inquisitive, has to know the how and why every. single. time. And he’s been begging to go to school since he was two.

To say I wrestled with God on this would be an understatement. It wasn’t a part of my master plan. Yes, my son reads chapter books, writes his own stories, and meets every marker used to gauge kindergarten readiness with flying colors. Except age.

He’s still too young I would tell myself. I don’t want to force him to grow up too fast. We’ll just coast this year and do another year of preschool and he’ll simply be more than ready next year. Yes, that’s what we’ll do. This can work with my plan.

But it wasn’t working with His plan. And I’m learning I need to let go and let Him take control.

To say He’s given me the writing on the wall seems like an understatement.
And I’m going to let go and let Him lead the way.
Starting with kindergarten.
Starting with homeschooling.
Starting today.

What He’s showing me is I’m not making my son grow up too fast. I’m simply giving him an opportunity to thrive.

God has given him a desire to learn and who am I to stand in the way.

Sorry I’ve been kind of quiet here lately as I was preparing to be obedient today and create a platform for my son to grow, friends.

It’s taken me awhile to get my ducks in a row.

Can I share with you what I’ve learned from this experience so far?

  • He was right when He told me to want Him more and less will want me. It’s proving to be the solution to all my troubles.
  • Leaning on Him through this has made it so easy. Why, He even took care of the expense of it all (another post perhaps?)
  • I can do all things through Christ who truly does strengthen me.
  • Homeschooling is so not what I thought it was. Wow.
  • I thought homeschooling would cause me to be more controlling–which is something I struggle with (again, another post). But I was wrong. It’s completely out of my control as I need to lay it in His hands every single day.

Father, when I look at my son, I see You. Thank You for giving me the opportunity to be a presence in his life as he discovers what plan You have for him.  Prepare the way for my child, Lord. Reveal Yourself to him in fascinating ways. Captivate his heart. Whisper love in his ear when he feels alone. Guide him on the right path when he is faced with choices.  Keep the spark of curiosity alive in him as he expands his perceptions. Oh Father, stay in his sights…
Use me in whatever way you can, Abba. Keep my heart pliable so I can conform to whatever You need me to do for my son. To You be all glory and honor in my family, Lord. All that we have is because of You, Jesus…
Jesus, thank You for changing my master plan and making it bigger and better than I ever dreamed…
I’m ready. I’m willing. This day’s for You.

How about you, friend? How has God changed your master plan lately? What has He asked you to do that you wouldn’t have dared dream years ago? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Linking up to the Heart & Home Gathering over at mercyINK as well as:

alifesurrendered.com

A Blogger’s Prayer

I’ve read a few in my 9 months of blogging. I’m sure you have, too. Some have stuck with me and I’ve prayed them more than once. Duane’s prayer resonated deep. I’ve prayed it countless times as it has been my heart’s cry lately.

Then my friend Mary Beth suggested I write a mission statement for my blog. Define my purpose in this space. She’s right. I do need to do that.

When I brought the idea to the Mastermind behind this space, He told me to slow down. And began to show me where I need to begin.

Friends, I need to find my own voice. My own heart’s cry to Him. I need my prayer to be more personal.

So, this is where I’m at right now. When I sit down at the keys, and seek His face, these are the words on my lips. And I wanted to share them with you. Let it be so.

Will you pray with/for me?

Father, thank You for meeting me in this space.
For letting me linger long in Your embrace.
Thank You for giving me words to shed here.
For using this outlet to draw me closer to You.

Jehovah, You astound me. Let it always be so.

You have given me the gift of writing.
And although I’ve fought it, I now humbly accept it.
Thank You, Yahweh, for allowing me to worship You this way.
And here, I give it back to You.

For Your glory. Let it be so.

So with trembling fingers I press publish,
Offering my heart to others in hopes they see You.
Although I know the words written are for You and me,
I pray You can use them for more.

Not for me, but for You. Let it stay so.

May my words speak Your name. Not mine.
May my writing be so that the author is forgotten,
But what is remembered is You.
Your glory. Your grace. Your love. Your works.

For it’s all about You. Let it remain so.

I am but a vessel.
Your handiwork.
Nothing more than a piece of clay.
Nothing less than a masterpiece.

Only You know the plan for my life. Let that be enough.

And when people stop by, may they see who made me.
May Your style resonate so that my face is forgotten.
For all they see is You.

I cannot think of a greater legacy
Than that which leaves Your fingerprints
On everything I’ve left behind.

Holy Spirit, let it be so.

Lord, make me unknown.
Known only to You.
And while You’re at it,
Can You make me okay with that, too?

To You, Abba, be all glory and honor forever. Jesus, let it be so.

I’m certain this prayer will  evolve as I continue to draw nearer to Him. So I’ve decided, like Duane, to add this prayer to the tab headers on my blog for easy access. My plan is to update it when necessary. I would be honored if you would stop by from time to time and pray alongside me. For His glory.

How about you, friend? What have you been praying lately? What is your heart’s cry? I’d love to hear. 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Linking up with:

Prayer Project ~ {and a Grocery Conviction Guest Post}

I’m on day 3 of my 31-day Blogger Prayer Project and am loving it. Intentionally praying for these women fits in perfectly with my one-word for the year, but what I enjoy most about it is these women will know. That when I visit their blogs or chat with them on Twitter and say I will pray for them, I mean it. I truly do pray for them. And this gives me a chance to email them my actual prayer.

Would you like to participate? Visit here for details!

Today I am praying for my Twitter friend, Rebekah at Simply Rebekah. She blogs about living a frugal lifestyle, taking green baby steps, and all of life in between.

A couple of months ago, Rebekah put out a plea on Twitter for some blogger help. She was expecting her second child and wanted to take some form of maternity leave from her beautiful blog. But she still wanted to provide her readers something new to read and asked who was willing to do guest posts.

Rebekah blogs about a big passion of mine, one that I don’t blog about here, so I thought it was a perfect opportunity to share a bit of the practical me!

Over the last few years, I have been strongly convicted about my grocery shopping habits. I was a skilled coupon clipper back in the day. But my focus was in the wrong place. I was more concerned with the bottom line over what actual ingredients I was feeding my family.

Would you like to hear more? Visit Simply Rebekah HERE today and see how I maintained a tight budget while eating more natural.

If you don’t mind, I would like to share my prayer for dear Rebekah here.

Now may the God of peace, 
equip you with everything good for doing his will, 
and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, 
through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(Hebrews 13:20-21)

Heavenly Father, I humbly come before You to lift up my friend Rebekah. What a joy it has been getting to know her over the last year. To see her striving to make the most of all You have given her. She has inspired me in more ways than one and I am honored to feel like I know her even though we have never met. 

Lord, what a blessing You have given her in baby Noah! Praise Your Name, there were no major complications and Noah is a happy, healthy baby. Father I ask that You be with Rebekah in a powerful way over this adjustment period. Give her the assurance she needs to know she is a mom chosen by You to raise up Your children, Grace and Noah. Help her, Lord, during these first few months as they all find their way in being a new family of 4.

May she feel Your loving embrace, Lord. Shower her with peace so she can sleep well when she has an opportunity. Holy Spirit, I ask you provide Rebekah with the discernment, wisdom, and confidence to parent these two precious ones. To God be the glory. 

Guide her as she blogs, Lord. As she helps all of us make the most of all You have given us. May Your gifts be honored in her place, Father.

Thank You, for what You are going to do through Rebekah. To You be all glory and honor as she seeks Your will for their lives. It is in Your name I pray, Jesus. Amen.

Friends, I would be honored if you would follow me over at Rebekah’s today. It’s always a little un-nerving sharing your personal self in another space. Would you comment over at Rebekah’s and let me know you stopped by? Simply CLICK HERE. Thank you! 

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

Prayer for the Graduate ~ Praying with Purpose

Flickr Credit: Clevercupcakes

There are a few names on my prayer list that are graduating this year. And I wanted to use scripture to pray for them more specifically.

I had big visions of finding a few verses that would serve as a commission of sorts. One that would call them into their life of independence and show them who could guide them along life’s journey.

It seems my heart has other plans as I can’t get over this verse and feel pressed this is the one. In fact, I may write it in their graduation card:

~~~~~~~~~~

May the Master take you by the hand
and lead you along the path of God’s love and Christ’s endurance.
2 Thessalonians 3:4-5 MSG

~~~~~~~~~~

For no one should have to do this journey alone. And I can’t think of a better travel partner than Jehovah. What more could you need?

and so I pray:

Father, You know them better than we ever could. And what a treasure they are. You have given them countless gifts, talents, skills, a unique purpose. And here they are. About to begin taking these next steps of the journey solo.

Lord, into Your hands we place them. Lead them with Your love. Jesus, give them the strength they need to overcome whatever obstacles stand in their way. Cultivate their spirits, Father, so they resonate You. For Your glory. 

Show them the way, Lord. However necessary. Make Your presence known to them, as they seek their way.

I know You have big plans for them and cannot wait to see what You can do. To You be all glory…

How about you? Do you have any graduates on your prayer list? How do you pray for them? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki

NOTE: My Bloggers Prayer Project starts this Sunday. There’s still time to participate in whatever form you feel led. Are you willing to pray for someone each day for 31 days? To learn more, visit HERE.

Linking to:

 

Bloggers Prayer Project

Friends, I’ve been inspired. And have to share it with you.

Those that read here regularly know my friend Barbie. I link up to her blog most weekends with my Praying with Purpose series.

Last week, Barbie had a post titled “The Blogger’s Prayer Project “. She is joining Dawn at Beneath the Surface for a project committing to pray for fellow bloggers. For 31 days starting next week. (I was completely humbled to be listed on Barbie’s praying list.)

And I have decided to join in.

Starting May 20th, I plan on specifically praying for one blogger per day for 31 days. I will contact each one in some form to share my prayer and encouragement.

I must admit, it was difficult narrowing it down to 31 bloggers as I have met so many wonderful writers over these last 6 months. If you do not see your name listed, please know I appreciate you! If you have something specific you would like me to pray for, I am always willing. Please email me (or comment).

Here are the bloggers I am going to intentionally pray for these 31 days. If you would like to visit any of them, please do so and be encouraged by these wonderful women! I have listed needs I know of in parenthesis for some in hopes you will join with me in praying for these specific requests. If I find out any other needs, I will add them to the list.

  1. Barbie @ My Freshly Brewed Life ~ May 20th (healing, daughter’s wedding, wellness journey)
  2. Dolly @ Soulstops ~ May 21st (I pray for Dolly often already and rarely tell her so. I wanted to seize this opportunity to change that.)
  3. Rebekah @ SimplyRebekah ~ May 22nd (new baby addition, finding her groove, posting on her blog this day)
  4. Sherrey @ Not Just a Name ~ May 23rd
  5. Katie @ Simply{His} ~ May 24th (end of school year)
  6. Kim @ Journey Towards Epiphany ~ May 25th (new job, new directions)
  7. Tara @ Polkhotte Press ~ May 26th (juggling school, motherhood, work, and writing)
  8. Meredith @ My Journey to Authenticity ~ May 27th (moving, shoulder injury, graduation, marching bands)
  9. Joy @ Illumemylife ~ May 28th
  10. Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos ~ May 29th
  11. Aurie @ Our Good Life ~ May 30th
  12. Charina @ Pondered Thoughts ~ May 31st (finances, employment, direction, exhaustion)
  13. Shelly @ Redemption’s Beauty ~ June 1st
  14. Christina @ To Show them Jesus ~ June 2nd
  15. Sam @ Sam’s Noggin ~ June 3rd (continued successful quiet times, to accept His answers and to be more submissive)
  16. Lisa @ An Army Chaps Wife ~ June 4th (husband deployed)
  17. Lauren @ Serving From Home ~ June 5th
  18. Emily @ Imperfect Prose ~ June 6th (two new children, new book release)
  19. Denise @ Denise J. Hughes ~ June 7th
  20. Rosann @ Christian Super Mom ~ June 8th
  21. Laura @ Laura Rath ~ Journey in Faith ~ June 9th (ministry)
  22. Suzanne @ The Joyful Chaos ~ June 10th (pregnancy, homeschooling)
  23. Janelle @ A Story of Grace ~ June 11th (lymes disease, her child with lymes, her brother)
  24. Michele-Lyn @ A Life Surrendered ~ June 12th
  25. Joan @ Reflections of His Grace ~ June 13th
  26. Paula @ Average Housewife ~ June 14th (recent move, healthy living journey)
  27. Jamie @ Peace Love and Yarn ~ June 15th (recent move, sharing her testimony)
  28. MaryLeigh @ My Blue Cotton Memory ~ June 16th
  29. Kris @ Always Alleluia ~ June 17th
  30. Nacole @ SixintheSticks ~ June 18th
  31. JessieLeigh @ Parenting Miracles ~ June 19th (recent miscarriage)

If your name is on this list and you have a specific thing you would like me to pray for, please let me know! If your name is not on this list, but have a specific thing you would like me to pray for, I would be honored to hear from you.

How about you? Will you join me in creating a 31 day prayer list? Even if they’re not bloggers…I’d love to hear.

To learn more information or  join in on this project, please visit HERE.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,

Nikki