Monday, August 4, 2014

Prayer Circles

I am a really big goal setter.  I always have been.  I love to-do lists because I love that feeling of crossing a line through an item that is completed; checking it off with satisfaction.  It could be partly because I come from a long line of organized ladies or partly because I have a tendency to have an over-achieving personality but either way, reaching goals is something I've always liked to do to measure growth.

That being said, it wasn't until about a year ago that I started to set and write down long term goals instead of just my weekly to-dos. You know, thinking beyond accomplishing the laundry pile, grocery store and menu planning! {Although accomplishing those goals should be celebrated with a glass of wine some weeks!!} I had never thought to be proactive in where I went in life versus just doing my best and seeing where I ended up.  I still don't think I would have adopted this practice without journeying down a completely different career road than I had ever imagined but that is a different story altogether.

So, when the new year rolled around, I made a list of 10 BIG goals.  The list was a marriage of goals of all types: relational, business, financial and spiritual.

I have always gone to church; I grew up in church! But I haven't always been very good about carrying my relationship with Christ on my own.  That quiet time that is spoken about so often in youth group and during sermons.  I was very hit and miss with it. It just wasn't a constant and it certainly wasn't a practice as I made out my goals.

So I wrote down a goal to pursue my relationship with God more actively.  I further defined that by having daily quiet time of prayer and reading the Bible.

Well, seven months later, although I am not perfect, I am really thankful that I wrote that goal down.  Seeing it listed among my other goals has pushed me to make it a reality.  I wanted to share with you all a little bit about my routine in case you are like me and sometimes have days where you can barely find time to go to the bathroom, let alone time for some "quiet"

{Bible Reading Plan}
I know for me, the Bible is overwhelming.  I don't know where to start reading, how much to read.  I always feel like I read the same parts of the Bible over and over.  I didn't want that.  And, for someone who grew up in church, there was so much of God's word that I hadn't read. {Kind of embarrassing to admit that} I wanted to read it with fresh eyes.  I had forever heard of the YouVersion app so I downloaded that and searched through the partial Bible plans.  I found a plan that actually has 12 parts.  Over the course of the year, I will read the Bible in its entirety.  I like it because it jumps around.  I have read books in both the New and Old Testaments.  I also like the plan I chose because it is only a few chapters each day.  It isn't overwhelming and if I do miss it isn't hard to make a couple of days reading up. Just in the few months I've been doing it, I have read so much that I hadn't read before. If you are like me and don't know where to start

{Jesus Calling}
My grandma got me this devotional for Christmas last year.  I simply love it.  It is written as if Jesus is speaking to you. It has encouragement and reminders in the short daily writing. The book also lists a few verses at the end of each day that prompted the writing of the day. I can't tell you the number of occasions I have opened this devotional and the days message really felt as if God were speaking right to me.  It is such a simple and quick devotional but also so powerful.

{Praying Circles}
This is something that I started doing a couple of months ago.  Last summer our home church in Decatur gifted each family with the book, Praying Circles Around Your Children.  I read it last summer and it stuck with me but I hadn't put it into practice.  The idea, in short, is that as parents, we can take scripture and literally use it to prayer for our children specifically.  I had never thought to look at scripture that way!! So, what I do as I am doing my reading, is I have a little notebook by my side.  I date it for the day, and anything that speaks to me, particularly about myself, my kids, or my husband, I circle in my Bible. Then I right that scripture down to use as a prayer when praying for my kids.  Isn't that so neat??

An example of how I've used this: Just this past week I was reading in Job and read Job 1:1 "...This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil."

I circled it and wrote the verse down.  I can now recall the verse and use it to pray for my boys:
~God, help Hudson and Beau to grow to honor you.  Help them to make choices that glorify you; that hold them blameless and upright, in your eyes.  I pray that they know you God, that they fear you with a godly dear and that they turn from evil.~

I have really loved doing this. I feel like my prayers are so much more intentional.

{Power of a Praying..}
I also read a prayer a day from the Power of a Praying Wife/Parent books. I don't always fit this in with my quiet time but can do it before bed.  The prayers in each book are specific ways for me to pray for my husband and kids.  Like I mentioned above, I love having an intentional way to pray.  There are so many areas in their lives that I miss when praying and this book prompts me to cover that area.  I read a different prayer each day (there are 30) and restart the book at the beginning of the month. Another way to use the book is if there is a specific area in your husband or child's life, you could continually pray that topics prayer until you see it resolved or God releases you from it.

Do you have a quiet time? What do you do? I'd love to hear.

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Hi! Welcome to this crazy life! Thanks for stopping by! I love hearing from my readers and connecting with you all! Xoxo~Bekah