Jesus is Perfect – NOT a Perfectionist

I smiled as I fondly looked at the happy pictures of my family from this past week. These little clips are beautiful memories that will stay in my heart for years to come.

One would think, by looking at them, that it was a perfectly happy week. But the pictures don’t tell the whole story…

Camping with little ones isn’t easy. Hard mattresses, hot tempertures and unfamiliar settings make for long and restless nights. Despite our few snapshots of the best moments, not everything was as relaxing and peaceful as it would appear.  Doing without the comforts and convieneces we normally have can be exhausting.

I am reminded this week that life isn’t perfect, nor can we expect it to be. That’s the fallen state of our world. It’s broken; incomplete.

I have also realized that life is neither about waiting for those golden “picture” moments (for they are far too short and few) nor about making the right decision at every opportunity.

It’s about overcoming. Never giving up. Learning and then relearning. All the while, finding joy in the ups, downs, and curves of life.

My dear auntie shared something with me a couple weeks ago that I absolutely loved. She said, “If all is well only when we frail humans finally come to our senses and make wrong things right (even though this is very important) what do we do when things can never be made right? Where we can’t go back, where permanent damage has occurred; or where people simply see things differently and don’t apologize…it HAS to be possible to overcome in all circumstances or we will constantly loose our joy.”

This is key. We often think it’s the big things that we need to overcome. The huge tests and trials. But for me, especially struggling with depression, I find it’s all too often the little things that I need to relinquish my control over.

This week I “failed” in my specific prayer challenges. My prayer times were short, interrupted and scattered throughout the day. I slept in because the camping nights weren’t great. I had little alone time in a little camper with five kids, no room to go to have peace and quiet. And I was really stressed about it! Because I said I was going to pray this week and I want to always keep my word. But then I stumbled upon this painted rock, hidden one morning:

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And it hit me: Jesus isn’t interested in my perfection or my legalistic prayer agendas.

He’s interested in my heart.

Now I’m not saying that the prayer challenge itself is legalistic, but as always, I needed to get back to the heart of it. The heart of prayer is ALWAYS to connect with Jesus, not to “accomplish” this or that.

So I let go of the weekly agenda and practised “being still.”

Oh how sweet it was to connect with Jesus when the pressure was off! While kayaking, I suddenly was full of joy at the beauty around me and sang praises to God. While running or biking the trails, I was free to worship. While lying in the sun I would pray for loved ones. During meltdowns and temper tantrums I would grit my teeth and ask for grace, patience and wisdom.

There is no formula to a “good prayer”. All you really need is a sincere heart that desires God.

I am continuing the Summer Prayer Challenge, for I still desire to grow in prayer. Yet after this week, I am more sure of one thing then ever before: Jesus is absolutely perfect, but he’s not a perfectionist. Holiness/Perfection is NOT the same as perfectionism. To be holy means to be pure or set apart. Perfectionism says nothing is ever good enough. Jesus is perfect, that is, he is without fault or flaw, blemish or sin or stain…But he has chosen to work outside of perfection; in chaos, really. He is consistent, but knows very well that we are not. Yet, he has chosen the weak, the broken, and the unimpressive as vessels to work through. He’s not interested in our perfectly thought-out rountines, our well-structured lists or cleverly worded prayers.

He’s interested in YOU…in ME! Even though we could never be good enough on our own. He’s interested in relationship. He is able to work through us, if only we will listen to his heart. So for those of you this week, burdened by the “lists”, let go of them and “just be”…

Be still in his presence.

Be thankful in his blessings.

Be touched by his goodness.

Be filled with his love. Allow yourself to feel his love for you. He made only one special you!! Irreplaceable, unique, beautiful and totally LOVED. Feel his smile of delight, enjoying you “be” who he made you to be. Don’t bind yourself to a list. This week, make connection – not completion, your goal.

Summer Prayer Challenge- Week 4:

Pray each day with joy and thanksgiving, for your family. As each precious person comes to mind, lift them up to God. Picture them as you pray for them.

Monday: Pray for bible camps going on this summer. For staff and children to encounter Jesus and to be healed by him. For lasting change and lifelong commitments to be made.

Tuesday: Pray that God would unite his bride, the church. That we would set aside our differences and LOVE as he has called us to love.

Wednesday: Pray for those struggling with mental health. That God would bring break through and healing in this area. That he would bring miraculous healings. That God would give wisdom and tools to the church, to help those suffering to find victory, to overcome!

Thursday: For us as a church to realize our desperate need and hopelessness without God. For the church to call out to God, to wake up and PRAY. For our eyes to be opened to the idols around us.

Friday: For our country, our government, our leaders. Bless them and pray in faith that God is in complete control over our leaders! Pray for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

I’ll post again on Saturday with the prayers for the day and the weekly challenge!

Bless you this week, as you meet with Jesus. Always remember that this is really about him 💕

 

 

 

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Summer Prayer Challenge – Week 3

Hey Everybody!! It’s week three of my Summer Prayer Challenge!

Last week, I read a biography about George Muller, and I was so encouraged to keep praying! George Muller lived in the 1800s, when disease and poor living conditions had killed many on the streets of Bristol. Many children were orphaned and left homeless. God gave George a burden for these poor, helpless children and he built five large orphanages BY FAITH. Literally. He prayed, he believed God to provide and God did. Never once in his ministry did he ask anyone other than God for money.

Here’s an example of just one of the hundreds of miracles God did for the orphans under George’s care (taken from the book “Christain Heroes: Then and Now – George Muller” written by Janet & Geoff Benge):

“The children are dressed and ready for school. But there is no food for them to eat,” the housemother of the orphanage informed George Mueller. George asked her to take the 300 children into the dining room and have them sit at the tables. He thanked God for the food and waited. George knew God would provide food for the children as he always did. Within minutes, a baker knocked on the door. “Mr. Mueller,” he said, “last night I could not sleep. Somehow I knew that you would need bread this morning. I got up and baked three batches for you. I will bring it in.” Soon, there was another knock at the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. The milk would spoil by the time the wheel was fixed. He asked George if he could use some free milk. George smiled as the milkman brought in ten large cans of milk. It was just enough for the 300 thirsty children.”

George prayed, and there was always enough.

This week, I also happen to be camping with my family so, although I will continue to pray each day, this post will be it for the week, so you’ll get a nice break from me, LOL 😀

If you would like to continue following along with me, these are the topics I will be praying for this week:

Today (Monday): We’ll be praying for our home churches. Pray for the leaders and specific members of your church that come to mind. Pray for any difficulties your church is now facing. Pray for God to move in the hearts of his people, to renew their love for him. Pray a blessing over your church, thank God for the things he is doing!

Tuesday: We’ll pray for unity in local churches. They will know we are Christians by our LOVE!!! Pray the the churches in our community would not feel in competition, but work as a team for God’s purposes. May we pray together, forgive each other, work alongside each other in brotherly/sisterly love. Pray for specific churches around you that come to mind. Pray blessing over them, that God would increase their number. That God would be present among them. That they would experience his good gifts.

Wednesday: Mental Health issues are greater than ever before. We will pray for all those who have lost a loved one to suicide. Pray that God would be near them and comfort them, that he would take away feelings of false guilt and self-blame. That he would bring hope, in a very dark situation. That his peace would bring these family members/friends through the pain. That God would protect their lives against following a similar path/hopelessness. Pray for them to be able to comfort others who have gone through something similar. Pray for those around them to reach out and show them much compassion and tender care. Pray that we would know how to make a difference in the lives of those affected. Pray that God would give the church the right words to say, words to bring healing to a hurting world.

Thursday: For many centuries, Christians around the world have been persecuted, imprisoned, beaten and even killed for their beliefs. Still today their are many willing to die for Jesus. They would rather be mistreated in this lifetime in this life and gain Christ, than live in comfort and lose him. That is what love and desperation for Christ looks like. Yet in the west, we live in one of the rare places and times that we are able to choose comfort AND Christ. Although we rejoice in this freedom, this hasn’t always done us good. Often I believe we forget what we are really here for we when are living in comfort. Often our lives are so good, we forget all about God, except for one day a week, when we show up to a service. And if that becomes to inconvenient, we stay home and maybe watch a sermon on youtube. Where is the love? Where is the hunger? Where is the joy in his presence? Where is the excitement to meet with other believers? Today pray for us to choose to follow him in comfort and in distress, in riches and in poverty, in strength and in weakness. Pray that God would truly become our everything. Pray for desperation for God. Pray for him to FILL us with immeasurable joy in his presence, so that we yearn to spend time with him, to know HIM.

Friday: For God to raise up godly leaders in our government, who won’t be afraid to stand up for truth. For God to bring about the “Esther’s and Daniels” for our day and age, with wisdom, insight and influence to bring our nation back to God. Pray for leaders who stand up for godly values, who protect life, who fight for the poor, the alien, the widows. Pray for leaders who remember the elderly and fight to provide good care for them in their final year. Pray for these leaders to not get caught up in the “hot topics” of the day, or endless debates that go nowhere, but to be filled with God’s authority when they speak, which would silence the enemy.

Saturday: For us to remember the forgotten generation – If there is ever a culture that has forgotten about seniors it is ours. I am also guilty of being too busy to remember that thousands of elderly people are bedridden or shut in a care home, as hour after lonely hour ticks by. Pray for them!! That they would see their incredible value to God and to our society. That they would realize that God has them here for a reason, we NEED them. Pray that we the church would find the lonely ones, that we would reach out and care for them, reminding them of their beauty and their purpose. Thank God for these men and women, who have gone before us. Pray that our generation would learn to honour them and respect them.

CHALLENGE: Visit a lonely senior this week. This can be a grandparent, a friend of the family, or an older relative. If you don’t know a senior who’s lonely, try asking your Pastor or church office if there are any who would appreciate a visit. Stop by a seniors home, or hospital and ask if there would be anyone who would welcome a visitor. Look into any local volunteer services for caring for the elderly.

Sunday: For authenticity in our services. Pray for us to leave the “masks” at home. To come as we are. Pray that we wouldn’t try to look perfectly put together, but that our desire would be to meet with each other and with Jesus. Pray that we would open our hearts to one another and be real and vulnerable.

As always, thanks for joining me in prayer! If you have a neat experience or story to share about prayer/this prayer challenge, I’d LOVE to hear from you! Feel free to either tell it in the comments or share it with me! Let’s encourage each other and build one another up as we continue to follow the unique plan God has for each one of us.

God bless you! See you next week.

-Heather

Summer Prayer Challenge- Praying for Our Countries

Week 2- Thursday- True North Strong and Free

I love my country. 

When I go outside and feel the fresh air and see endless fields before my eyes, I am reminded how beautiful and clean Canada is. There’s SO much land untouched by civilization.

I love the diversity in Canada. I think it’s so neat that we have two national languages and I love hearing different languages spoken all around me. I rarely even notice differences in skin tone.

I love how it’s not weird to smile at a stranger and how when I bump into someone in a store, we both pause and say “sorry”. I love that I can worship God, speak freely and walk down the streets without fear. I love the different seasons: The way the colors change in the fall, the beauty of the first snowfall, the excitement when the long winter gives way to warmer, sunnier weather, the real appreciation for summer, because it only lasts a little while.

Also, poutine is kind of amazing…and it’s CANADIAN!!

I do sometimes fear for where were headed. It saddens me that many who are set against God seem to yell the loudest and get their voice heard in court rooms, in public school systems, in the legislative buildings. Things are changing. People are slowly seeming less friendly. Our eyes are on our phones. Tempers flare on the busy streets.

I think that in some way or another, we all love our countries. They’re different. They’re unique. They are HOME to us. We want the best for our people, our home lands.

Prayer Challenge:

-Thank God for your country. Spend time thinking of specific things to thank him for!

-Pray for your family members. Is there something difficult they are facing? Is there healing that needs to take place? Pray for each one, thanking God for his deep love for them.

-Pray for your own country: Confess to God the ways that it has pushed him out. Confess laws made against him. Ask God to bring your people back to him.

-Ask God to bless your country by opening up hearts to the gospel to prepare the way for many to come to know him.

-Pray for churches in your country to reach out in their communities, to make a positive difference around them.

-Pray for leaders to recognize the GOOD the churches are doing and to bless them.

– Pray for freedom of conscience. That our religious rights and freedoms would be protected, so we can continue to live peaceful lives, freely obeying and worshipping God without fear.

-Pray that it will remain (or become) free. That it will stay clean, beautiful and unpolluted. That it would be a safe place for the next generation to grow up.

-Pray for the leaders, that they would make wise choices to build up the country, to build unity within the people.

-Lastly pray that God’s will would be done in your country as it is in heaven.

As always, don’t limit yourself to my lists. If other thoughts come to mind. Pray!

On a personal note, I thought I’d share something really positive that God has been doing in my life through this. I don’t know who’s all reading these posts. I don’t know if you’re praying along or if your just curious and stopping by for the first time. I know I use lots of “churchy terms” or “Christianese” as some people call it. But I can honestly say that God is changing me. I feel it and I believe my kids feel it too. My mind has been more “present”. I am becoming aware of just how busy I have been most of my Mothering days and how negatively it affected my children. I am seeing things I haven’t noticed before.

Yesterday, one of my children made a huge mess. And I didn’t feel like dealing tenderly with him at that moment. But because of my prayers for him that morning, I saw the event in a new light. My eyes were opened to the SWEET, CARING HEART behind the act. He wasn’t just “making a mess”, he was trying his best to help. And God was pleased with him, because what he was doing was coming from a tender heart of trying to show love. Instead of getting angry, I was able to THANK him, hug him and appreciate him. Then I was gently able to show him a better way to do it next time.

This was exactly the kind of thing I was hoping for when I started this challenge: New eyes to see what God sees.

Keep on praying. It’ll be worth it.

Is There Hope for Me?

It was near the end of my counselling session, by now I knew the routine. The counsellor looked up and asked me one final question:

“Is there anything else that you wanted me to address or talk to you about?”

In other words…was I hoping for more? Most of the time I shrug, not really knowing how to voice all the strong feelings inside. But this time I knew what to ask. I knew because I had been thinking about the question for a whole month, ever since the last time we had talked.

“Is there hope for me?”

He looks at me and sort of chuckles…”Hope?”

“No, I mean it. Is there hope that I’ll ever be the same again? Will I ever feel joy like I once did? Will I ever view the world with optimism instead of dreading the worst?? Is there hope?”

His face turns serious.

“Heather, I have seen hundreds of people. Many, many people, from all kinds of backgrounds and situations. Some haven’t had a shower in months by the time they come to me, and in some situations it is very, very hard for me to have hope. But you, Heather, have a firm foundation. That means even if the whole house has been burnt down, you have something to start on. Many people have nothing, their foundation is cracked and broken. What I’m saying is, YOU have tremendous hope. You will get through this. You will make it. I am confident of that.”

Hope.

Without it, there’s not much to live for. Hope keeps us going.

I left that day with a much lighter heart. I had a firm foundation.

Now my heart is burdened for those who don’t. Would you pray with me today for the hopeless? For those without a firm foundation? For those considering suicide because they honestly believe it will never get better?

Pray for those who have firm foundations to reach out in compassion, in honesty. Not pretending to have it all together (because no one actually does) but being REAL with each other.

– There is ALWAYS hope, pray that we would ALWAYS have our speech seasoned with the message of HOPE. This is NOT saying to give simple answers to complicated situations or to act annoyingly positive when someone is sharing their burdens. This means that even in our understanding and relating to others, that we ALWAYS offer an olive branch.

– PRAY for those with suicidal thoughts to find a reason to keep going, a reason to hold on to HOPE.

-For us to recognize the signs of loved ones that are struggling with suicidal thoughts and offer assistance, get them help. Often those struggling the deepest CANNOT do this for themselves!

– For us to realize the great importance of providing our families with a firm foundation to stand on.

-For those without a firm foundation to find HimOn Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

Summer Prayer Challenge: Week 2

Well it’s week 2 of the Summer Prayer Challenge. One thought that keeps reoccurring to me is that it’s one thing to say, “I’m gonna do this!” It’s completely another to follow through.

I’ve had a lot of hard moments and also some really good moments with God this past week. One such experience was when I was praying on my deck. I was really discouraged that day and I asked God if I was just trying to do something that he really didn’t want me to do. I asked him if there was any point in continuing this challenge. If people were annoyed of me. If friends and family were secretly rolling their eyes at my posts.

You know what he answered? Satan sure hates it when people begin to pray.

My eyes filled with tears, because I knew he was right! Often in life, the right path is filled with the darkest battles. God knew that I needed to start praying again, he also knows that I often feel self-conscious or judged by others. This challenge was his way of getting me to keep my eyes off of the likes on my blog, and on to him.

Getting “likes” doesn’t mean anything. I mean, I could post a before and after shot of myself from a few months ago and rave about how eating healthier and walking/jogging has helped my depression, about how much weight I’ve lost and you know what? I’d get tons of likes!

This challenge isn’t about popularity or gaining followers. It’s not about entertaining the masses with cleverly worded anecdotes. It’s about prayer, and God’s call right now on my life: It’s time to wake up and pray.

Beginning my prayer time with thanksgiving is key. Psalm 100:4 says: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.”

I don’t want to pray off a list. I want to enter His gates. That’s what captured my heart so deeply in David Wilkerson’s biography. My goal is to meet with Jesus instead of just rushing into a one-sided dialogue. A sure way to dry up your prayer time is to never actually enter into relationship with him. This is why I continue to encourage whoever is following the challenge to first set your eyes on Jesus before jumping into your prayer list.

Today ask yourself what Jesus means to you. Where would you be without his word, without his hand of provision, without the people he has put in your life? Spend time praising him for these things.

Do you sometimes doubt that there is a God? Ask yourself what causes your doubts. Then admire the complexity of the simplest things in the world around you:

A flower. When I study a simple flower, I am completely in awe of how much time and thought would be put into just one kind. And there are hundreds of thousands of them!! Our best art is all just a copy of His!

A bird soaring in the skies above.

The wind. It can be gentle enough to rustle the leaves in a tree or powerful enough to uproot it! Incredible!

Food! How we can eat it and TASTE it. How it brings satisfaction and energy to our bodies. How our digestive systems work to remove what we don’t need, and keep the vitamins and minerals we do need. AMAZING!

Think about how wonderfully he has made YOU.

How could these things happen by accident? Would it not take intelligence far above any human being to design such remarkable works?

Pray for experiences with God that will bring certainty in moments of doubt. Pray that God will bring to mind the miracles and experiences you’ve already seen from him. Thank him for these God-given moments which we can hold onto in our darkest times of trial.

Next pray for your family. This is something I’ve neglected in my life for WAY too long. If you, who love them more than anything, won’t pray for them, WHO WILL? Pray blessings over them, for help in specific problems, for breakthrough in area of struggle. Pray for them to have meaningful friendships, to grow in a desire for God, etc.

Lastly pray for all the summer bible camps taking place this summer: This month many children head off to a week or a couple weeks of bible camp. It is here that many testify to significant growth or even the beginning of their walk with God. However hard we try to set up a fun/meaningful week of camp, ultimately, we need God to move in the hearts of the campers!

-Pray for safety for the campers and staff.

-Pray for a strong sense of love/belonging for the children.

– Pray for God to soften hearts that are hard, to heal wounds that are deep. Some children come from such HARD places! It’s difficult to imagine that one week will make any difference in their lives. Pray that their experience with God and God’s people will become a firm foundation in their lives.

– For lasting experiences with the living God, powerful encounters that change the path of lives.

-For JOY to be found from within and not outward circumstances.

-For unity and character growth among the staff.

-Pray for lasting fruit!

Thanks again for praying with me! If you missed the initial challenge, visit my blog post: Summer Prayer Challenge .

What’s Happening to Me?

 About two months ago, I went to the doctor thinking that there was something seriously wrong with me. Most days it was a struggle just to get out of bed. Exercise was out of the question. I could not last the day without taking a nap. And the pain…EVERYTHING hurt. These were just a few of my symptoms. In short, I was functioning way below my normal capacity level and I knew it. The things I used to enjoy became things that caused me stress. I dreaded them. Social outings felt meaningless. I wished I could just go to sleep one day and never wake up again. No matter how hard I tried to be joyful, the sadness was so deep in my soul I could feel it in my chest.

I thought that I must be dying.

After tons of tests and blood work, I was shocked to hear the results: “You’re as healthy as they come! Everything looks good and normal!”

And then the doctor began asking me lots of questions, with deep compassion in his eyes, “How have you been doing emotionally? What do you do for a living? Do you often have feelings of despair/hopelessness? Have you recently gone through something traumatic? How’s your support system? Do you ever have suicidal thoughts? Have you recently stopped enjoying the things you used to love?” Etc…

And suddenly the light went on.

I wasn’t able to just “cheer up” or “snap out of it” because my mind was telling me there was something very, very wrong. Basically, I was in constant fight or flight mode, our bodies way of responding as if we are being attacked. The stress I had been under for so long, was literally causing my brain to begin to act as if I were in constant emergency.

I then realized that although for many years I had told people I understood depression, I really hadn’t.

As a Christain, I have always believed that God is enough. For everything.

But I finally realized why telling someone dealing with mental health issues to just “lean more on God” or that they had to “change something” actually made things worse! You see, those living under depression or other mental health issues already realize quite clearly that something is wrong with them. And most likely they already are loaded down with feelings of inadequacy or shame or guilt because they know that they should be doing more, they should be trying harder…but they just CAN’T. Their brain isn’t functioning at full capacity…neither is their body.

According to the CAMH, 1 in 5 adults are currently struggling with mental health issues. And 1 in 25 adults live with a SERIOUS mental health illness. I bet you can guess which of my blog posts get the most hits: the ones where I share about my struggles with depression, anxiety or pain.

So why am I sharing all this?

Because this issue effects not only the MILLIONS living with it, but their friends and families as well. It affects relationships, the ability to work, parenting, employers, communities.

Just think: if 1 in 5 people are functioning at 25% or less capacity, how much the communities, the businesses, and families are missing out on!

Summer Prayer Challenge Week 1 – Wednesday: For the Church to Understand and Respond Appropriately to Mental Health

So here’s the prayer points for today:

As always start your focus on Jesus. Today thank him for his attributes: Holiness, Love, Kindness, Gentleness, his perfect Justice, etc. This is SO important, don’t rush this!!

Pray for each family member next, starting with your spouse.

And then for Mental health and the churches response:

-For Christians to have godly wisdom as they seek to help those living with mental illness.

-For us as believers to give less well meaning advice and just BE there to support these hurting people, not trying to “fix” them but  listening and praying.

– For the church to have compassion on those living with mental illness and not to lay further burdens/guilt/condemnation on those suffering.

-For us to find ways to practically help those in need, not by just offering a quick fix solution, but realizing that these issues go deep and most likely take months, years or in some severe cases, even decades to work through.

-For miraculous healings for people suffering with mental illness. You bet I believe that God still heals 🙂

-For grace, grace and even MORE grace…and patience – dealing with someone who is unstable is very difficult indeed.

-For eyes to see each soul, each person as GOD sees them and to speak to them with His tender heart.

-Lastly, I have realized that many going through depression or other mental health issues have been extremely accused or hurt by the church. I’ve heard testimonies over and over again that those who have gone to the church for help got turned away, brushed aside, not taken seriously or even rejected altogether. Many of these people have since left the church and gone elsewhere for help.

This makes me so SO sad. Pray for healing from hurts that Christians have caused. Pray that God would find these lost sheep and gently bring them back to himself. Pray that they would learn to trust the church again and be able to connect once more to the body.

Once again, if anymore thoughts pop into your mind, pray these as well. Thank you for partnering with me in this.

-Heather

Summer Prayer Challenge: Week One

Ok time to be honest about this ten week Summer Prayer Challenge: I couldn’t be more unsure of what I’m doing.

I’m actually terrified of what I got myself into.

I don’t mean prayer. I absolutely am 100% sure that I want to grow in my prayer life. I want to know God like a close friend. That is my deepest desire right now. I am desperate to see God work in my life. I hunger to know God in a way I’ve never known him before, to see things and people through HIS eyes and not my own. I’ve quite honestly realized that I’m a very average person, and not even a very good one. If I don’t have the power and love of God behind my words and my actions then they will amount to very little. I’m desperate to wake up and actually make a difference in the world. Prayer is my ONLY hope to make any positive change – of this I have become convinced.

But this social media challenge…it’s not me.

I don’t want to come across as some spiritual superstar, or as if I’m flaunting my prayer life online. That’s literally the furthest thought from my mind.

I’m simply beginning. Which means I’m decades behind many of you.

I’m also flaky on social media at best. I like to be on it for a while and then I turn it off completely and love being away from it. So I honestly don’t know if I can do this…if I can post regularly, if I’ll have the zeal, charisma and passion to keep going…I mean, I’m struggling with depression for crying out loud! How can I encourage others to pray?

Also, being open and honest about my prayer life online, in front of dozens if not hundreds of people whom I may or may not know, some who are probably far more experienced in prayer than I am, it scares me.

And yet, it’s not about me.

It literally comes down to a stirring I had in my heart last week when I decided to pray all summer like I never had before. Something moved my heart to invite others along on this journey. Anyone who has this same desire, really. Because it doesn’t matter whether you’re young or old, whether you’ve been praying for hours a day or if you’re also just beginning: It is time for the church to seek God like never before.

And if this encourages even ONE person to pray, then it’s worth the time spent. 

Today’s prayer items are firstly: THANKSGIVING. Turn your focus off of your list and onto Jesus. Spend a couple minutes thanking Jesus for his provision, his goodness, his forgiveness, his blessings in your life. Don’t just say the words. FEEL them. Where would you be without these things? What would become of you if it hadn’t been for the Cross? Spend time in worship.

Secondly, pray for individual family members…each individual by name, starting with your spouse (if you have one). Thank God for them. Pray about your deepest concerns for them. For example, one of my children is struggling with angry outbursts and I’m seeking God for heavenly wisdom and eyes to see the root of what is going on in his heart. I’m begging for wisdom. Ask God if you are holding any offences against them. Don’t rush this. Spend time listening attentively and write down any thoughts, verses or pictures which come to your mind.

These two things will become your daily prayers before we unite in the third “weekly items.”

Today, as it’s Monday, let’s focus on praying for our home church pastors. Pastors in a way have a never ending job. There is tremendous pressure on them and their families to “have it all together” as they quite literally are like a showcase for the church they lead. This burden, is FAR too heavy a weight for a person to bear. Many leaders feel incredibly lonely because of this, yet at the same time they also feel overwhelmed with the needs of their congregation. I realize some of us have leaders that we look up to, others have leaders that we struggle to respect. But here’s the thing:

We are all human. We ALL mess up. We ALL say stupid things we regret.

Today let’s decide in our hearts to be very gracious towards our pastors. Decide to protect their reputation by refusing to gossip. If you are harbouring any hurt feelings or anger towards your leaders, now is the time to forgive them. Ask God to show you HIS heart towards them. And now pray. Pray for purity in their lives, for hunger for them. For him/her to have a close spiritual walk with God, to spend time with God daily. Pray for protection over your pastor and their family, as the devil would like nothing more than to see your leader fall. Pray for his/her health. Pray for them to speak the truth of God boldly, and to not water the message of the gospel down to gain popularity. Pray for their marriage, for their family time, for their children. Pray for them to have wisdom in each situation, and to keep a heart that is tender/merciful towards their flock.

If you want you can also ask God to show you something you can do this week to bless them. These are just ideas to get you going…keep praying until you feel your heart overflow with love and compassion for your leader. Bless them!

This will most likely be my only prayer blog post for the week. If you want to see the list for the whole week, check out my previous post: Summer Prayer Challenge or get daily updates by following me on Instagram as everysmallvoice or Facebook as Heather Bergen.

Thanks for joining me in this journey! And please! If you see any encouraging changes as a result of these prayers, or have an amazing/uplifting story to share, or even if you are just deciding pray for the first time, let me know in the comments or email me! I’d love to hear from you!

Love always, Heather