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On Prayer

If you’re like me, you can sit down with every intention to pray and just feel stumped about how or what to say. Or maybe you start well, but your mind begins to wander. There are so many tips, tricks, and guides out there about prayer. They have mostly been overwhelming to me rather than helpful. Without trying to impose another method of prayer, I would like to share what has helped me. The first and foremost has been reorienting my understanding that prayer is ultimately about communing with and responding to a Person. That’s it. God is a person, and He wants to fellowship with me. Second, recording my thoughts and prayers on paper helps me focus on what I’m doing and resist the urge for my mind to wander. Here are a few of the thoughts I consider when I sit down to intentionally pray:


1| Practicing dependence on God

In what or in whom have I placed my faith, my confidence, my security, my hope? Have I placed my security in my career or my financial situation? Have I placed my confidence in my schooling or my status? Have I placed my faith in my spouse or my parents? Have I placed my hope in my children or my health? Or have I placed my faith, my security, my confidence, my hope in my Savior the Lord Jesus Christ? When I choose to take my good days and my bad days and entrust them to Christ, I practice dependence on Him. When I choose to pray about my anxieties and fears before sharing them with a friend, I practice dependence on Him. Does this mean I will always feel confident and secure? Probably not. In the Gospel of Mark, one of Jesus disciples named Thomas cried out to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief,” (Mark 9:24). So, this does not mean that you will always have easy feelings. But it does mean that you will have peace (Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 2:14-18; Philippians 4:6). When I was young, I struggled with anxiety and intrusive thoughts. They were so overcoming that my parents actually took me to a counselor to talk through some of them. My counselor gave me an illustration to put those anxieties and thoughts into a box and then give that box to God. It was helpful to me as a little girl, but it isn’t as tangible for me today. However, similar to the box illustration, when I am feeling anxious or have a terrible thought I now like to write it down. Then, in prayer, I can release those feelings or thoughts to the God who knows all, controls all, and cares deeply for me.

2| Recording prayers to remember God's work in my life

Through what filter do I look at my life and my circumstances? Have you ever heard the phrase rose-colored glasses? It describes the way an optimist might look at the world. This type of perception means always giving the benefit of the doubt, always assuming a sincere and positive motivation. We as believers can look at the world through God-colored glasses. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he tells us that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purposes,” (Romans 8:28). In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul asserts that “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God created beforehand, that we should walk in them,” (Ephesians 2:10). Even when plans and dreams and desires do not turn out the way we would have wished them to, we can trust in Christ because as King Solomon said, “many plans are in a man’s heart, but the counsel of the Lord will stand,” (Proverbs 19:21). And similarly, King David praised, “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands,” (Psalm 138:8). So, when a triumph or trial comes my way, I write it down. And even if I don’t understand what God is doing in the here and now, I can look back upon these days and maybe see a bit clearer that God did in fact know what He was doing even when I didn’t. I challenge you, record your day-to-day happenings and look back upon them weeks, months, even years later…you will see God’s fingerprints everywhere.

3| Copying and memorizing Scripture to recall God's biblical and eternal perspective

From what perspective do I view the world? Is my biggest long-term goal to prepare my bank account for retirement or to leave an inheritance for my children? Do I hope solely to leave this earth in a better state than I found it, contribute to world peace, or discover the next big cure? Or is my vantage point wider, longer, deeper…do I have an eternal and biblical perspective? Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away,” (Matthew 24:35). When his world was crumbling around him, Job affirmed, “I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted,” (Job 42:2). The Lord said through the prophet Isaiah, “Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’” (Isaiah 46:9-10). To familiarize yourself with God’s redemptive story, to memorize Scripture, to hide its words in your heart…will help you to remember what God has done, what He is doing, and what He WILL do. It will remind you who God has been and that He is the SAME, yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). It will prompt your heart to trust in Him and will secure your identity in His Son (Colossians 3:1-4).

4| Communing with and responding to God

There were two men named Enoch in the fourth and fifth chapters of Genesis. The first Enoch, the son of Cain, built a city and called it after his own name, the name of his son (Genesis 4:17). In other words, he manufactured a name for himself. That was his life’s accomplishment. Do you know what is said about the second Enoch, the descendant of Seth? Moses wrote that Enoch #2 walked with God (Genesis 5:21-24). That’s just about all that is recorded about him in Genesis. There are a few words about his children and his lifespan, but the important part is that he walked with God. The author of Hebrews says of Enoch #2 that, “before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God,” (Hebrews 11:5). Does that not lift the weight of the world off your shoulders? If all you ever do is walk with God, He will be pleased. In the Bible, “walking with” generally refers to fellowship. For example, when I go for a walk with my husband and son each night after supper, we talk about our day. We share the things that are on our hearts, the good and bad. We commune and we respond to one another. We fellowship. Now, it pleases God that you walk with Him.


There were also two men named Lamech in the fourth and fifth chapters of Genesis. The first Lamech, a descendant of Cain, took multiple wives to himself and was a murderer of both men and children (Genesis 4:18-24). Again, that’s all Genesis says about him. That was his accomplishment. Moses tells us that Lamech #2, a descendant of Seth, was a man of great faith who named his son Noah which means “rest" (Genesis 5:28-29). Lamech #2 had such faith in the God who promised to send a Second Adam to deliver man from the toil of his hands that he literally named his son “Rest” (Genesis 3:15-19). And for what is Noah known? By faith, Noah “did according to all that the LORD had commanded him,” and built a vessel to deliver God’s people from the flood, creating a beautiful picture of the true Second Adam who would deliver us from sin and death (Genesis 7:5; Hebrews 11:7; 1 Corinthians 15:22, 45). Augustine of Hippo, a fourth century north-African theologian, prayed, “Thou has made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds rest in Thee.” I believe that to be true. Not only is God’s heart pleased when you seek His face, your very heart will find rest and delight in Him (Matthew 11:29; Psalm 37:4). So, when you pray…just delight in Him…rest in Him…walk with Him.

These are all things that God asks us to do in His Word. In Matthew 6:9-13 Jesus teaches His disciples to pray with daily dependence on the Father. In Deuteronomy 8 God commanded through Moses that the Israelites should remember the way in which the Lord led them, humbled them, and fed them in the wilderness. In Deuteronomy 17:18-20 God commanded through Moses that the kings would write for themselves an entire copy of the law and read it daily in order to learn to fear the Lord, to obey the Lord, and to keep his affections placed in the Lord. In Psalm 27:8 King David said that when the Lord asked him to seek His face, he sought the Lord.

You can, of course, practice these alone in your mind. But I personally find it easiest to look back upon God’s hand in my life when I record it. And while any notebook will do, I created what I call “Respondence Albums” for just this purpose (you'll soon be able to find them in the Desert's Sage SHOP). Each album is made with plain white paper with no lines, grids, dots, or words to distract you from your personal time with God. Each is crafted with leather, stitched with nylon, and some are fashioned with brass hardware. All in all, each journal is made to LAST so that you can go back to them years, even decades, later to see how God has worked in and through your life. You might even consider writing a memoire for your children or grandchildren to read and treasure someday.


These are not meant to be diaries or journals, but rather a record of your fellowship with God. That being said, God has created each of us so uniquely and beautifully different. Some of us think linearly, others more abstractly. Some of us enjoy lists, others favor stories, and yet others prefer pictures. So, use your Respondence Album to respond to and fellowship with God in whatever way your heart works. As an artist my journals are filled with all of the above…lists, descriptions, doodles, scribbles, tears, lyrics, verses, post-it notes, and lots of coffee spills! All is welcomed because as C.S. Lewis said, “God doesn’t want something from us, He simply wants us."

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