for you as you ready for the weekend
One of the memorable things that helped me prepare for marriage was an older lady in my community who mentored me for a short season. In that time, she taught me that you don’t just have to pine away, twiddling your thumbs until “he (or she)” shows up. There are very practical ways to receive God’s grace to prepare for marriage.
In the next few weeks I’m going to be posting more on how to practically prepare for marriage and also more on what the Lord has taught me during my first year of marriage. I hope it will bless all my precious brothers and sisters who are currently single and have a desire to prepare for marriage. If you have questions and ideas for what you would like for me to post, please feel free to email me (email@example.com). I would REALLY appreciate the extra input! It also gives me an opportunity to hear from you! My precious readers. 🙂
So to start off, I wanted to share a prayer. My spiritual mom and mentor Becky recently started a prayer group for single women in our community to pray together for their future spouse.
Prayer is a great way to prepare your heart for marriage. Not only does prayer draw you closer to the Lord but it will also softens your heart towards men (women). Many singles, especially those who are a bit older tend to carry a lot of wounds which oftentimes results in bitterness from previous relationships. This was true for me.
Though not hopeless (far from it!), these wounds easily fester and cause us to despise the other sex. Prayer, especially to bless our brothers (sisters) will not only tenderizes our hearts to receive God’s goodness, presence and help which we need but also His love for our brothers (sisters)!
Below is the prayer Becky drafted with the ladies in the group to pray over the men in our community. I encourage you to take time every day to pray for the men in your life and in your own community using the prayer below. Feel free to dialogue with the Lord and script this prayer to your liking or however the Lord leads you. I would also encourage you to write your own prayer to encourage your heart to trust in God’s goodness. Oftentimes it’s a struggle to believe He does have someone for you and to wait with faith, that’s why it’s SO important to call our hearts to the TRUTH through prayer.
Men, take time to adjust this prayer to bless the women in your community to prepare your heart as well! You can even pray this over yourself!
GIVEAWAY: my very first! so pay attention! email me the prayer you write up for yourself whether that be for greater trust in God’s goodness or even your prayer for the women in your community. I will pick one prayer and post it to share it with others. The prayer I pick will receive a free Jesus Calling devotional. So get writing and praying! (deadline will be next Friday at midnight)
Lord, bless the men in this community and keep them. Make Your face to shine upon them and be gracious to them. Lift up Your countenance upon them and give them peace. Bless them with wisdom, courage and strength in their inner man. Bless them with favor and provision. Bless them with godly counsel and fellowship. Cause them to mature in the knowledge of Your love as their father, enabling them to be godly men and sons of God. Free them from fear of failure and fear of men and women. Free them from any and every bondage. May they abide in Your truth. Heal them from all wounds. Protect them from wrong relationships. Remove the veil in Your perfect timing and let them pursue in confidence. Give them dreams and speak to them. Anoint them to pursue the wife that You desire for them.
for your little heart from mine with love. my current fav.
I’ve had such a difficult time reading the Bible this past year. Where in previous season the Bible was my food and drink, it became so boring. There were many days that I just didn’t even read it. I started to feel defeated and received the accusations from the enemy who poked and prodded me with his usual chants of “you sinner” and “you don’t really love God. If you truly did you would LOVE to read the Word.”
(photo courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/basibanget/3741606352/sizes/m/in/photostream/)
My first morning in Nicaragua, as I stared at the ocean bordering the mountains that surrounded where we were staying, God spoke and softened my heart again whispering His love and acceptance of me. He told me that I had so much expectation of what my quiet time should look like that I don’t even enjoy the time because I’m so preoccupied by my list of todos and shoulds. Instead of waiting, listening and receiving the right that is now mine because of Christ’s sacrifice and blood, the right to draw near, the truth of my acceptance. I stood in the outer courts looking longingly towards the Holy of Holies. I agreed with the law that demanded a perfect sacrifice and payment for my sins as if Christ has not already hung on the Cross and died for our sins. And because I was living in agreement with the requirements and demands of the law, I knew, I had no clean animal to offer, I was no priest, but a mere human…broken, poor and wanting.
Yet that morning, with tenderness, Christ drew me back yet again into His embrace. Reminding me the love that is in His eyes when He looks into mine. The love I can now receive, the love that is now mine because of His suffering and sacrifice. He helped me open my arms wide to welcome His embrace yet again and let Him hold the depths of my brokenness….the hunger that aches always for Him.
Then I began to read…line upon line of His precious Word. I did not grow weary or tiresome of reading, instead I kept reading. Joy was being restored in my time with God. The Word, it entered through my eyes, touching my mind, my heart, feeding my spirit.
It is not the act of reading the Word that saves and redeems or gives us peace. It is the death and resurrection that happened 2000+ years ago. Thank You Jesus, I receive freely from You as you give and give and give.
“Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” Matthew 11:28
to go with your lazy Sunday morning 🙂 enjoy!
I’ve been noticing that the women I admire are all hidden, weak and took God’s invitation to invest in the secret place. And in this place, where it’s just them and God, they dialogued with Him through tears, wrestles, restless nights, offenses….unashamedly, imperfectly sharing their heartaches and pains with Him. They’ve all struggled, bled, wept and grieved with the Lord and though now they have a rich history with the Man Christ Jesus, they still ask and receive His Grace to continually open their hearts to Him.
I reach for these women’s books, songs and friendship when I want to draw near to God. Their words and/or songs move my heart towards the Lord and not towards them as individuals. Though I do google and am fascinated by the depth of their relationship with the Lord, my interest in them is not overpowered by the ache that is left within my heart when I happen upon their work.
These women currently include:
- Sarah Young-author of Jesus Calling
- Ann Voskamp-author of 1000 Gifts
- Sara Groves-singer song-writer
- Becky Falkner-mother of 5, grandmother of 14, spiritual mother of many (my small group leader)
I used to aspire after women who are on stage, preaching, leading thousands in worship, or even those who headed up large ministries. I thought that was success, a sign that one truly loves the Lord and is doing His works. So I ran hard after the stage. But after these past six-going-on-seven years at IHOPKC, not having that type of platform or influence I had to wrestle with the Lord countless times of why I am doing what I was doing. Times when I cried after meeting with potential partners who questioned why IHOPKC doesn’t pay me or why is prayer significant? Those who whispered behind me, “I pray at home too? What is Sunny doing?”
The Lord kept on reminding me, calling me to the truth of riches. The ones that do not tarnish nor fade. The ones that He deems valuable and worthwhile. The ones He calls me to store up day by day with little steps and through little things and weak small ways. Eternal rewards that I will enjoy with Him for all of eternity.
Then I saw these women. Daughters, mothers, wives, grandmothers….potentially failures, weak, broken, useless in the world’s eyes, perhaps even sometimes deemed the same by the Church. Yet, on they went with the Lord. Day by day. Prayer after prayer. Tear following tear, they walked the mountain with Him until they too conquered with Him. Now their words and music, their friendship move me to God instead of greed. To humility rather than pride. To trust rather than control….and I find myself a bit more free than six years ago.
Who knows what the future holds? Only the Lord. Who am I to measure how far I’ve gone. For He is the One who sow and cultivate seeds that take centuries of days and nights to grow. Yet He smiles through the whole process and still does not tire of watching trees grow.
Yes, I will put my trust in Him and invest in true riches.
Thank You, Abba. For opening my eyes and heart.
Oftentimes it isn’t until I’m forced to stop, until silence surrounds my every side, until the internet is down that I catch my breath and take time to look and reflect upon my life. Though my nature and my occupation is to ponder, to meditate and dwell upon God’s Word, to whisper prayers in my heart, funny how easy it is for everything to become a job, something you simply do rather than something you permit to grow and be alive in you.
The last time I stopped and really looked, I mean really really looked at where I’m going and what I’m carrying in my heart was when I was confined to my house for a week due to sickness. This time I’m here in beautiful Nicaragua, in a house built of wood, concrete and paper sliding walls. Where the sunsets steal my breath and the small quiet pool a few steps from our rental home calms my heart that’s accustomed to hurried pitter patters until I finally allow it to lay down late at night.
I find myself asking what are all my hurried plannings for? Why do I allow my todo lists to run and ruin my days? Why do I stare at things I can’t afford and dream of possessing them one day? What is it that I am gazing upon, setting my eyes upon? Worthless or worthy things? Eternity or the momentary that fade, wane and not survive the flames? Why do I allow urges of my flesh to take over, eyes and opinions of man to conquer my heart rather than You Abba?
You who already accept me. Already love the way You’ve made me. Already pleased and proud and delight in me so consistently?
Here in the Nicaraguan nights where the power of mountain whirl winds frighten me at times. But You say through these mighty winds, my child, I am more powerful. I am more powerful. More powerful than all Your weak links and failed attempts to love and serve me. Take my strong hand, look up, gaze and me taken from glory to glory and strength to strength. Victory is not found in lack of mistakes and failings, it is these broken steps that lead you to greater dependence, true victory with me.
So I take Your extended hand yet again. Remembering yet again of Your faithfulness. Taking advantage, using what is mine. Step into this new year looking to You. What is Your dream for me? Something so grand and vast that I can’t accomplish but only You can finish? I’m leaning in, whisper and tell me good good God.