Here's The Rub With Prayer Strategies

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comOkay, how is this prayer series feeling for you? Are you walking in belief today? I know so many of you are on this amazing journey to become prayer warriors that scare the crap out of the demonic. Wahooooo! So, let’s work on another component of effective prayer.

Confidence.

Yep, this is a public and private thing. Confidence is crucial for effective prayer.

Confidence follows right on the heels of belief. But it’s a BIG jump off the cliff to believe and then follow through in confidence. But our Father greatly desires that we develop into people of Godly confidence.

Let me give you an example of what I think this looks like in real life.

My local church offers a once a month “Overflow Worship” night. We come together on a Sunday night and the service is all worship. I LOVE these. My most intimate moments with the Lord occur in worship. About a year ago during one of these sessions, the worship leader got up and said this, “Anyone who wants an extra touch tonight from the Lord, come on down to the front.”

At first no one moved. No one wanted to be the first. No one wanted all eyes on them. The people in the audience were more fearful of the opinions of people than to receive a touch from God. I can tell you there were people in the audience that REALLY wanted to go forward. They ached to go up front on the chance God would see them and help them, but fear kept them pinned to their seat.

NOT this girl. I decided in a moment I didn’t care what people thought, I wanted God more. I moved out of the seats and walked straight up to the very front. Finally, a few more people also went up front. But many remained seated.

This is what I believe God is looking at. He is waiting on the edge of His seat, hoping, cheering and urging our spirit to respond to Him. And it’s often in the public square that God does this. He wants you to take a step of faith to receive His blessing, healing and more. He’s speaking over you, “Come on baby girl. You can do this. Take one confident step out of the shadows, out of the fear. Show me you are willing to take a step for me and I will throw the floodgates of heaven open over you.”

Love is a choice. Much of our life is decided as we choose between love and fear. Choose love. God is calling His children to choose love. Choose to believe. Choose to be confident in what we know is true.

Confidence is a compelling attribute in a believer.

BTW, do you know what I received because I stepped out of the shadows and went down front? I’m convinced I saw an angle that night. It’s an astonishing story but alas I’m way over word count. I will have to share it another time.

Okay, now here is the rub. Because you just read this post, God is going to place before you a moment to step out in faith with confidence and choose Him, choose love. It’s gonna happen and likely in the next few days and probably it will require a public display of faith. So pray now to be ready and respond when He does. Then come back here and tell all of us about it.

Let me leave today’s post by reiterating four essential components of effective prayer.

  1. Create a time and space devoted to Bible reading and prayer.
  2. Use the Word of God in your prayers.
  3. Believe – Hebrews 11:6
  4. Confidence

Have an amazing encounter with our King. I Love you. Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

Both books


Guest Post: The Mismatched Family by Dee Rusnak

Dear friends, I'm traveling this week and will be in Nashville for the ACFW conference. I'm thrilled to share this most encouraging post by SUMite, Dee Rusnak. How amazing to think our Lord and Savior Jesus understands our mismatched places because He lived it too. 

Thank you, Dee, for once again sharing your beautiful heart and encouraging words with us! Love you!
See you next week, SUMites!
Dineen

The Mismatched Family 
By Dee Rusnak

JesusTestedHow often have we learned that God is never in a hurry, or at least within our time frame? Or better, never in the way we expect? We read in Joshua how ripe Jericho was for the taking, but God said not so fast with the Israelites who were hungry to take the land. And, when they did, it was in such an unorthodox way (Joshua 6 - marching around the city). Why do we want to rush things and do it in our own way? For me it's so I can rest knowing my ducks are all in a row. If my entire family were saved, then peace would be upon me, or so I think. But God is drawing them in His time and according to His ways. I struggle with that.

In reading through God's Word we find that the family of Jesus didn't believe while He was among them, even to the point of sarcasm. "But when the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was near, Jesus' brothers said to Him, 'You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that Your disciples may see the miracles You do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since You are doing these things, show Yourself to the world' For even His own brothers did not believe in Him." (John 7:3-5)

Mark (3:21) recounts that His family thought "He is out of His mind!" How did Jesus handle the fact that His own family didn't believe? Matthew 13 lists them as James, Joseph, Simon and Jude, and some unnamed sisters. Jesus certainly had the power to change their hearts. After all, time was ticking and He wasn't going to be on earth much longer. Time to get Your ducks in a row here, Lord! Did Mary teach them and groom them as they were growing up, especially nearing adulthood, about their older brother as Savior? Did His true identity come as a total shock to His younger siblings? Where were they during His crucifixion? Didn't they love Him or try to defend Him? Interestingly, none of this is mentioned in God's Word.

However, we know that some were saved. In 1 Corinthians 15:5-7 Paul writes "He appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, He appeared to more than five hundred of His followers at the same time...Then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all He appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born." Mary and His brothers waited in the upper room for the Holy Spirit following His ascension, "They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers." (Acts 1:14) But, which brothers, if not all? Two brothers that we know of, James and Jude, were converted and wrote books in the New Testament. James later became a leader in the Jerusalem church. What about His sisters? Did He pray for His Father to draw them? Were there still family members who did not believe? Aunts? Uncles? Cousins?

If Jesus was tempted in every way just as we are, was He as concerned for the souls of His family, just as we are for those in our lives? "For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin." (Hebrews 4:15) Jesus was quite familiar with God's ways and His timing. Never do we see Him fretting throughout His life. As Psalm 37 says "Do not fret - fretting only brings harm." Yet He entrusted God with all things, including Himself, and the salvation of His earthly family…and us!

Jesus prayed…

“I do not pray for these alone (disciples), but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” (John 17:20-23)

SUMs, Jesus had a mismatched family! We are literally walking in His shoes (sandals)! When we read that He has experienced everything we go through, did you ever consider this situation? We’ve never been alone, SUMs, nor will we ever be! He’s been where we are! He gets it! In His great compassion and love for us, He has given us an example to follow of what we’re to do while we wait: Pray. Trust. Obey. Look what happened with James and Jude! Not only did they believe, but were used by God as Bible authors! Forget the ducks. Instead, together let’s listen intently to God’s very heartbeat: "who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4), and let us watch Him do what's impossible for us but is so very possible for Him!

Dee and JerryDee Rusnak and her husband of 44 years, Jerry, both retired, live in Westerville, Ohio. They have three grown sons and three adorable grandchildren, with one more on the way due Christmas Day!

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

Both books


Prayer Strategies

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comOf late, the Holy Spirit is shouting to my soul, two words: Prayer Strategies. Truly, just ask Dineen. Every time I’m on the phone with her, this comes up. And wow wee, am I ever receiving some powerful prayer strategies for this season.

My friends, so many of us aren’t experiencing the answers to our prayers and I’m grieved by this fact. Well, NO LONGER… We the SUMites are going to learn how to pray and pray with fierceness that sets captives free and releases the prisoners. What say you? Ready to learn more?

Belief!

Simple really. But utterly so complicated.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. —Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

A key component to effective prayer is belief. Really, this is at the core of most issues of faith. We simply MUST believe. What does that mean and what does that really look like? Good questions.

In the early years of our mismatched marriage, I struggled for a long time in my faith because I had a relationship with church and not with Jesus. What I mean by that is, the primary focus of my time, learning, and prayer life was centered in church. I didn’t study the Word on my own, I only believed what I heard from the pulpit. I didn’t pray much. I only remember uttering crisis prayers from that time in my life. You know, the kind of prayers you beg God to intervene when you have totally screwed up your life? Yep, I was a crisis praying kinda girl. Good grief, so embarrassing to admit. But I’m not alone, am I?

Because my faith was built on sand, I lacked the depth of relationship and Bible wisdom I needed to cease doubting and truly believe what God said in His word. Praise be to God because for those people, like me, who are truly hungry for more of God, the Lord will go to great lengths to bring you into full faith…

We MUST believe in God, His Word, His plan and His purposes for us, our family, our community, nation and the world. When you take that step over that line in the sand and vow to never look back in doubt, a whole new realm of answered prayer begins to unfold.

Example: Recently, I have come to fully believe what the Word teaches about healing. I have experienced supernatural healing. Read my story here: Does Jesus Heal Today?  

But I have also prayed for others for their healing and have watched Jesus, Holy Spirit and the angels move and bring emotional healing and healing of physical ailments. I have prayed healing over myself many times and it happens. Say what? I’m still mystified about how this all works but I have belief that God heals, thus He does.

So here is a recent story: A few weeks ago, two weird, red and ugly and swollen sores showed up on my face and they were something other than acne. They were mean looking and had been on my face for a couple of weeks and showed no sign of healing or leaving. I pointed them out to a friend whom I was praying and said to her, “I believe God will remove these sores from my face. They are illegal and the demonic is not going to mar my face because I am a Child of God.”

Two days later these weird sores were gone. I texted my friend and gave witness that I had been blessing my face and praying over these sores and commanding them to go. They had to go and I believed. I prayed in faith and they were banished. By the way, she had a breakthrough as well! Hallelujah our God, our amazing Father, is soooo good and kind. Thank you Lord!

My friends, we need to step into belief. Did you read the last half of the verse I shared earlier?

He rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Let’s choose to believe. Really believe. How do we do this. Start to pray for supernatural faith. Declare you believe the Word of God. And when a moment in time arrives to choose fear or faith.

CHOOSE FAITH.

Let me leave today’s post by reiterating three essential components of effective prayer.

  1. Create a time and space devoted to Bible reading and prayer.
  2. Use the Word of God in your prayers.
  3. Believe – Hebrews 11:6

Okay, who needs to state clearly and publicly that they want to step into a new level of faith? In the comments pray that you want supernatural faith and belief. Declare it in the comments for all SUMites to read. We ALL will come into agreement with you, you with all of us.

This is your time to activate your faith and begin to walk in your destiny.

I LOVE you all so much. I will be echoing your declarations in the comments. Hugs, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

Both books


What Does God Want From Me?

image from www.spirituallyunequalmarriage.comHello SUMite Nation,

The Holy Spirit is speaking the Word – PRAYER! (Don’t tune out. This is good.)

“Oh man, did she just write – PRAYER.”

Did you just whisper this under your breath?

Let me explain what I feel the Lord is impressing upon me as well as upon most of His church right now.

Prayer.

Some of you may remember that I served on staff in Women’s Ministry at my local church for years. I led Bible study groups, choose studies for our women and directed a lot of the Bible study efforts. I left that position four or five years ago as our online and book ministry began to grow.

What I always found fascinating and utterly disappointing in the years of choosing Bible studies was the fact that if we chose a Bible study about prayer, no one signed up. Yep.

Bummer! But true.

However, what I’m discovering in 2016 is that God’s people are hungry to learn about prayer and learn to pray effectively. It was evident by the online class on prayer this past Tuesday. And it seems that every time I post a prayer on Facebook, it gets shared around. I’m so truly excited about this change in the heart of the Church. Hallelujah.

So over the next few posts I want to pour more into prayer. I want to encourage all of you who attended the class with more information. And for those of you who missed it, now is your time to also gain wisdom, knowledge and anointing to pray with power for REAL results!

Sound good?

A word before we continue: Prayer is NOT a way to arm twist the Lord into doing our will. Prayer is a conversation between a Father and His child. It's learning to listen to God and then obeying His will. 

I want to look at a few keys to vibrant prayer as well as “blocks” that keep us from breakthroughs. Such as:

  • The Word of God
  • Belief
  • Confidence
  • Will
  • Courage

And finally we will discuss the “why.” When prayer remains unanswered, why?

I might throw a few extras in somewhere along the line. Also, I won’t spend too much time on discussion about praying the Word of God because that was covered in the class on Tuesday. (I hope to offer that class again in the future, for those of you who wanted to attend and couldn’t.)

You know maybe we actually need to start at the beginning. How do we create a prayer life? What do we do when we just can’t pray? How do we respond when we feel so beaten that our prayers are full of defeat and tears? Anyone?

I’ve shared many times that all I have in the Kingdom, is the result of my intentional efforts to create time and space to be with God. I know this is often THE most challenging part of prayer but even a few minutes a day will change your life. You can read about that here: Breakthrough Praying for Breakthrough Living. (Skip down to where you see the Bible and start reading there.)

Today, I pray significantly different than I did in 2008 when that post was written. I often pray about the same things but the way I pray, the words I speak and my convictions are what has changed and is also what moves heaven in response.

So, today, I challenge you that if you to create and stick to a time to read the Word and pray everyday.

Let me leave today’s post by reiterating two essential components of effective prayer.

  1. Create a time and space devoted to Bible reading and prayer.
  2. Use the Word of God in your prayers.

Okay, what might be helpful is for all of you to share how you created time and space in your life for prayer. Share in the comments. Someone reading this need to emulate what you did. Especially help mothers of young children with suggestions.

Also, share in the comments if you learned news tips from the class, Praying the Word, and how you will now pray the Word in your prayer life. Someone reading this also needs to read how you pray the Word.

SUMites, God intends to set His praying people upon a broken, dark and evil world. He expects His kids to pray and bring His Kingdom to earth. Are you ready? It’s gonna be fantastic.

I’m traveling the next couple of weeks. I will be checking in here as I am able and pop in to be part of our astounding community.

Okay, PLEASE take a minute to write what you have learned to help a SUMite on the road behind you. Love you a ton, Lynn

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

Both books


Seeing the “Gold” in Our Spouse

NowenQuoteI went through my old files today and found a post I’d written about my husband’s positive qualities. The list made me think about a verse in Ecclesiastes that I absolutely love. Why? Because it’s a picture of God’s heart and how He sees us.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. — Ecc. 3:11

There are three little words in this verse—made, put and heart. But the Hebrew translation of these words holds a list of meanings that would fill a page. I’m just listing a few of them to give you a taste:

Made—to do or make in the broadest sense, become, bear, bestow, fashion

Put — give with greatest latitude, restore

Heart — feelings, will, even intellect, inner man, soul

And to think He did this with everything—everything—kind of blows my mind. He’s fashioned us with beauty and bestowed beauty upon us to grow in beauty as we resemble Jesus more and more. He’s given us eternity with the greatest latitude and restored us to Him, to His kingdom through Jesus. And He put all of this promise in our hearts, wills and souls—the very essence of who we are. 

Now take a look at this truth:

As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not. — Romans 4:17

How amazing to think that the same way God called into being this “gold” He placed in us, He’d doing the very same thing with our spouses, our family members, our friends—every single person He places on our heart to pray for. In fact, that nudge should tell us He’s already in action and He’s asking us to partner with Him with our prayers.

So as we look at our spouses, think about the eternity that God has already placed into them. Ask God to show you what it looks like, to see your spouse through the eyes of God. 

Deep friendship is a calling forth of each other’s chosenness and a natural affirmation of being precious in God’s eyes. — Henri Nowen

Then as we see and treat them according to that chosenness (and pray), they begin to walk in that truth. I’m witnessing this right now with my husband.

That old post I found? Here’s part of what I wrote about him in 2007:

He’s the kindest, most loving man I have ever met. I’ve always felt cherished in our marriage. He’s a great dad, provider, and all around great guy. He’s affectionate, loves his girls to pieces, enjoys hanging out with his family, and actually saved a binky (a pacifier) from each of our girls as a memento.

He’s generous, quick to give of his resources, and wants only the best for not only us but for his extended family as well. Part of the reason I fell in love with this guy was because of his big and wonderful family. 

He’s patient, even-keeled, passionate about his interests, loves his work, and is constantly stretching his mind.

Shortly after I read this, he brought me a yellowed piece of paper with big child-like letters, written by our oldest daughter when she was about five years old. He’s still a big softy...and more. I love watching what God is doing all around my husband and how he responds without even realizing it. I see the calling on his life now and the love of God already flows through him in ways that surprise me.

My friends, I want to challenge you today to make a list about your spouse. Write down all the positive qualities you see in him or her. Then hold this before God and praise Him for creating your spouse to be that person. And ask God to show you more of what He’s placed in him or her to add to your list. Don’t be surprised if this becomes new inspiration in how to pray for him or her. 

And feel free to share in the comments. We can have a little “brag-fest” and inspire one another with our hopes and prayers for our loved ones.

SUMites, we hold great hope for ourselves in our growing intimacy with God. We can hold that same hope for our spouses as well and trust God to bring them into that hope of Jesus in His perfect timing.

Lord Jesus, thank You for creating us and holding us together with Your amazing and complete love. Thank You that You do this for our spouses too. I pray for fresh eyes for every SUMite to see his or her spouse through Your lens of love and grace. Reveal the “gold” you’ve placed in them so that we can be part of calling it forth. In the name of Jesus, amen!

Love you, my friends! My prayers are joining with yours.
Dineen

(P.S. I will be in Nashville next week for the annual American Christian Fiction Writes conference. Woohoo! I get to spend the week hanging out with fun people who have characters talking in their heads (just kidding...well mostly...). See you on the 30th!)

*****

Share your voice, heart and love in the comments. 

THRIVE in your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and raise your children to faith. Our books are filled with practical experience and Biblical advice. 

Both books