Thank You

As we near the end of 2014, I want to say thank you to the people who read what I write and post here.  I started blogging in 2009 but my inspiration and motivation waned.  After a few posts the blog sat idle for some time. Then early in 2013 the desire to share my thoughts returned, and I started writing again. It seems this time around that my interest as well as that of readers like you has increased rather than diminished.  I hope that what I share is helpful and at times enjoyable.

Here are some facts:

Since the blog started, it has had 83,948 visits and views.

There are currently 71 followers (people who subscribe to receive a message about new posts).

The posts with the top number of views, other than three that had wide interest due to the personal nature of them, are:

– Are You A Legalist?
– What Flowers Won’t Fix
– Revival Meeting? Evangelistic Services? Gospel Conference??
– 10 Facts about Divine Election
– The Music that Moves Me
– Butterflies Aren’t In the Bible. Wait. . .
– I need help praying.
– I am weak therefore I am strong
– Questions about Patriotism in Church
– Seeing Through Suffering and Pain

Thank you for reading what I write.  I look forward to sharing more with you in the year ahead.  Have a blessed Christmas season and happy beginning to the new year.

I need help praying.

I want to commune with my Heavenly Father consistently and meaningfully.  I spend time first thing in the morning reading the Word nearly every day.  Then I begin to praise God and make requests to Him in prayer.  And my mind races.  Some of the thoughts that fill my mind are related to praying, but many are not – they are distractions.  I start thinking about all kinds of things that are totally unrelated to what I am thanking God for and asking of my Heavenly Father.  After some time I realize – I’m no longer praying, I’m thinking about something or someone else.

A couple of months ago the speaker at our church men’s retreat stated that the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:2-4) is the model for how we should pray.  I started opening my Bible to it and using what Jesus said to prompt and guide my own prayers.  And then I realized something very helpful.  When I find myself distracted by unrelated thoughts racing through my mind, I can easily turn my attention back to the words of the prayer in front of my face and get my thoughts and heart back on track.  It really helped!

So I decided to try something.  There are other prayers in Scripture.  Some are in Old Testament narratives, many are in the Psalms, there’s of course the Lord’s Prayer, and there are several in the Apostles’ writings, especially Paul’s letters.  One morning I turned to Colossians 1:9-12 and wrote it out in my journal.  Then I held the open journal in my lap and used Paul’s requests to guide my own.  And it worked. When I realized my mind was far afield, I glanced back at the page and picked up where I had left off.  And I knew that what I was praying followed a biblical pattern.  I used this scriptural prayer for a few days, then I wrote out another one, Ephesians 1:15-21.

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In recent weeks I have also used 2 Timothy 2:25, Psalm 23, and the first and last sentences from Deborah and Barak’s song in Judges 5, which I paraphrased as, Help me to lead, and the people to willingly offer themselves, and we will bless the Lord.  Let those who love you be like the sun when it comes out in full strength. These prayers have helped me know how to pray, to keep from being distracted, and when I do find my mind elsewhere, to bring my thoughts back to my communion with the Lord. Because I have them in my journal, I can go back to them whenever I want, and can continually add new ones as I come across them or search them out in Scripture.

I experience other hindrances to prayer, but distraction is a big one, and this simple practice has helped. Maybe it will benefit you too.  We all need help praying.