Because You Prayed

by Tammy Whitehurst

Hi There! Yes, I am talking to you. (Looking at you eyeball to eyeball.)

It’s not the time to slack off, be lazy, or wait till things get better. When those feet hit the ground this morning begin by doing something powerful. PRAY.

Make sure your eyes are alert and your ears listen close. Why? Because the enemy is waiting to attack.

Keep in mind he will put things in your way. Frustrate you. Use the people you love to upset you. You will be distracted. Perhaps cut off in traffic. Or hear a cutting remark by a co-worker aimed at you. A flat tire.

He will tempt. No one is exempt.

He is very good at serving up a sizzling plate of aggravation. However, He has no idea who he is messing with. He picked the wrong gal on the wrong day. The Creator is lighting your path and leading the way. The darkness has no power over you.

Not today. No way. Because YOU PRAYED.

In God’s Word He tells us in Philippians 4:6 not to worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. It’s an incredible weapon.

Grin ear to ear. Boldly declare you live your life to glorify God. Lift that chin up. Pull those shoulders back. This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

No matter what.

Today, we are unstoppable because GREATER is He that is in us than he that is in the world. Let’s Roll!

 . . .A prayer of a righteous person, when it is brought about, can accomplish much. James 5:16 NIV

About the author: As an author, blogger, and full time speaker, Tammy Whitehurst encourages and challenges audiences to live life kicked up a notch. She is the co-owner of the Christian Communicators Conference. She struggles like the rest of us with dust, dog hair, cellulite, junk drawers, and wrinkles.

Join the conversation: What do you pray when you first wake up in the morning?

Seven Ways to Know God is Watching Out for Us

by Janet Perez Eckles

The LORD watches over you—the LORD is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. Psalm 121:5 NIV

Fall is almost here. We go into it with memories of hot summer days, walking on the sand and splashing in the water. This not-so-silly episode in one of Florida’s beach stands out…

“C’mon, Nana.” My granddaughter impatiently pulled my hand. Even at four years old, she knew to lead her blind Nana.

“Don’t go too far,” hubby said, from where he relaxed on a lounger.

With her small hand tight in mine, our feet sunk into the hot sand as we drew closer to the water. We jumped over the waves, giggled, collected shells, and giggled some more.

After a long while I realized I had no idea where we were—maybe too far from hubby. Was he still watching us?

I got on one knee and held my granddaughter’s wet cheeks between my hands. “Sweet baby, look at me, do you see Papa anywhere?”

“Nope. C’mon Nana, let’s jump.”

Suppressing the panic that cramped my stomach, I said silent prayers, the kind that blurts out from the heart. The kind you want to word just right so God would be quick to answer. And my silent pleas were those that bordered on self-pity. “Oh, if I could only see a little bit, this wouldn’t happen.”

With all traces of patience tossed into the sea, I quickly drew closer to a group of folks talking. “Excuse me,” I waved in the direction of their voices. Would you have a cell phone?” I said. “I think I lost my husband.”

As I gave the first few numbers for them to dial, I heard a familiar voice right behind me. “Honey, what’s wrong?”

“Oh, there you are.” I grinned with relief at my hubby.

“I was watching you both the whole time,” he said.

A little shame swept over me. Not because of what had just happened. But I remembered how often, during tough times in my life, I doubted, I panicked, I feared that God took His eyes off me. I worried I had drifted too far from His love, His provision, and His care.

We all do that sometimes, don’t we? We listen to the news; fear grips us. We learn of the growing statistics of the virus; anxiety invades our peace. And the whole time, we wonder is God there? Is He watching? Does He care?

Even in the midst of our well-meaning prayer, doubt creeps in, because we’re still walking on the hot sand of uncertainty. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Fear leaves, doubt ends, and faith comes. They do when we follow these seven steps:

1. Readjust our priorities. Do we seek the answer to our prayer with more passion than we seek God Himself? Some seek answers first, but here’s God’s order of priorities: “…seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33 NIV).

2. Resist the temptation to recite memorized, perfect prayers, with lovely words and deep insights. God simply wants the genuine expression of our heart. He’s listening. He even knows what we need before we ask Him, “…when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:7 NIV).

3. Recognize that sometimes we don’t know how to pray or what our requests should be. So, we can freely ask for Him to show us what to pray for. Confident that He’s aware of every detail, we whisper to Him, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV).

4. Remember that His answer is always in His timing, not ours because a thousand years in God’s sight are like a day that has just gone by (Psalm 90 NIV).

5.Relax and relish in the fact that while we wait, He’s at work in us, in our heart, in our situation because, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV).

6. Remove anxious thoughts. In the silence of the moment and in the power of His presence, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6 NIV).

7. Embrace profound confidence, not in the world or government, but in the power of God because “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14–15 NIV).

Father, we praise You because You have Your watchful eye on us and You observe our anxious moments. Knowing that each tomorrow is in Your hands, peace fills us. In Jesus name we thank You.

TWEETABLE
Seven Ways to Know God is Watching Out for Us – insight from author Janet Perez Eckles on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

janet perez eckles

About the author: Janet Perez Eckles is an international speaker, author and founder of J.C. Empowerment Ministries. Through her books and conference messages, she empowers thousands to overcome fear, conquer worry and live triumphantly. Janet’s book,  Hola, Happiness: Finding Joy by Dancing to the Melody of God’s Word is a brief Bible study to nudge you to the next level of triumph and joy. It is packed with deep reflections and answers from God’s Word. No matter what you face–disappointment, fear, heartache, shame, insecurity, sorrow–you will say “Hola” to happiness, peace, and the joy for which God created you.

Join the conversation: What is your favorite go-to verse when you struggle with doubt or fear?

Popcorn and Prayer

by Nancy Kay Grace @nancykaygrace

One afternoon while enjoying some peaceful moments reading, I wanted a snack. The thought of crunchy popcorn crossed my mind, so I decided to make some after finishing the current chapter.

Then the doorbell rang, disturbing my reading.

I got up from my comfy spot on the couch to answer my curiosity of an unexpected visitor. When I opened the door, there stood an elementary school-aged boy with a bag in his hand.

“Ma’am, Here’s the popcorn you ordered.”

“Thanks!” I smiled as he gave me the bag of ready-made popcorn.

What perfect timing! I’d forgotten about ordering it a month ago from the Cub Scouts’ fundraiser.

With the treasured popcorn in hand, I returned to the sofa, amazed and thankful that my desired snack appeared on my doorstep. The popcorn tasted delicious as I resumed reading the book.

Wouldn’t prayer be easy if that’s how it worked, to ask and receive? Thinking a bit deeper about the incident, I realized that is how prayer often works.

I had ordered the popcorn at least a month prior to receiving it, knowing I would receive it at a later date. Then I forgot about it. Life went on. When the delivery arrived at just the right time, I was delighted to receive the popcorn.

We are instructed in Scripture to make our requests known to God through prayer, whether it’s for crisis situations or small daily incidences. The words of Colossians 4:2 encourage us to “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (NIV). We pray, wait in faith, and are thankful that God will answer.

Sometimes God answers immediately with “yes” or “no” and other times it’s “not yet.” I can think of my prayers that God has answered in each of those categories. He’s answered “yes” to prayers of safety, guidance, and relationships. He’s answered “no” to my selfish desires that would pull me away from Him. Most times, I live in the “not yet” of prayer, waiting in faith for God’s answer. Sometimes I forget about the prayer until God answers it in His time. The answer may come soon after praying or years later. God’s timing trumps my impatience and timeline. His ways are far better than my shortsighted faith.

While we wait, we still pray, deepening our relationship with God. He is at work behind the scenes. When there is an answer, there is great joy in seeing the hand of God at work!

Like opening the door and finding His answer on your doorstep when you least expect it.

May we be diligent in prayer as we watch and wait with expectation, trusting God’s timing.

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  Philippians 4:6 NIV

TWEETABLE
Popcorn and Prayer – thoughts on #prayer from @NancyKayGrace on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

NancykaygraceAbout the author: Nancy Kay Grace is a speaker and award-winning author. She has contributed to several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, as well as online and print magazine articles. She loves sharing stories of God’s faithfulness and grace. To learn more about her ministry, please visit her website at http://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for her monthly GraceNotes devotional.

In her award-winning devotional book, The Grace ImpactNancy gives an up-close glimpse of God’s faithful character. In all things, His grace covers every detail of life, not in just the good things, but in the difficult, sad, and complicated.

Join the conversation: When has God answered your prayer? Please share!

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (and Gratitude)

by Cynthia Cavanaugh @CavCynthia

The past several months I’ve been working to cultivate gratitude in my life. There were too many negative thoughts swirling around from situations I couldn’t control. And certainly, I wasn’t the designated fixer! Life can be overwhelming, and sometimes my heart just hurts from all the sadness and brokenness in our planet. I realized that I could turn into a Negative Nelly if I wasn’t careful. Ouch! This is who I really don’t want to be AT ALL!

Months ago, cultivating gratitude turned into a nightly ritual.  Being a visual person, I like creative ways to be intentional especially when God has gently prodded me about something I need to change. As I slip under my feather comforter each night, I posture myself to touch each of my five fingers. Moving over each finger on my hand, I name what I am grateful for that day.

As days have turned into weeks and weeks into months a subtle, slow transformation has taken place in a crevice of my soul. Negative Nelly and her thoughts have been shoved out and replaced by a new resident, bringing thoughts of thankfulness rather than despair. I find myself looking at the world differently. Even on a hard day windows of opportunity to be thankful present themselves and gratitude seeps through.

My new ritual is so ingrained, I can’t go to sleep without naming at least one or two things for which to be grateful. It is like taking vitamins for the soul. It keeps us healthy and changes our perspective.

I’ve read about the effects of gratitude, both in physical and emotional health. A grateful perspective has the potential to transform how we approach life. I’ve personally seen it to be a sweet balm to my broken heart. Embracing gratitude to the fullest is the best pathway to wholeness. There was a time several years back that I believed my heart could never be whole again.  It was too bruised, too wounded, too betrayed, and too weary. As I slowly surrendered, Jesus changed my heart and I looked to Him to be my teaching healer on the journey. His ways are perfect and his timing is impeccable.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, my heart is bursting with gratitude. It is surprising how many times it trickles out into the moments of my day. My ritual of gratitude has transformed me. My heart is healing.

I don’t know what circumstances you might be facing right now. Maybe the thought of being thankful is the farthest from your mind. I’ve been there. I pray that there will be a moment this week in between family gatherings or chaotic Black Friday shopping where thankfulness catches and inspires you to want more gratitude in your life. I challenge you: give it a try for 30 days every night. I guarantee that your tired heart will be different at the end of 30 days. Here is some inspiration to get you started:

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 107:1 NIV

 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:15-17 NIV

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  Philippians 4:6 NIV

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How gratitude is like vitamins for the soul – @CavCynthia on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

cynthia cavanaughAbout the author: Cynthia Cavanaugh is the author of five books, including Anchored, and is a speaker, life coach, and leadership professor at Trinity Western University. She knows nothing about coffee and is a self-proclaimed tea addict who loves connecting with women helping them to flourish. 

Join the conversation: How do you cultivate gratitude in your heart?