Praying through Uncertainty


My husband and I have recently faced quite a bit of uncertainty. Right at the time we were praying fervently about greater financial freedom, several opportunities were thrown our way. It had been the desire of our heart to be more generous with our finances because when we looked at our monthly income and expenses, it seemed all we were able to do was provide for ourselves. With a kingdom mindset we knew this is not God’s call for our lives. He wants us to give and to give abundantly.

So month after month we gave from little, trusting that God would break the cycle of worry over our finances and provide greater opportunity for giving to others in need.

Around this time of faithfulness , my husband Anthony interviewed for a new job, and we had several random interests in buying our home. One of these opportunities would increase our income and the other would decrease our financial commitment to provide for ourselves. It seemed that God was answering our prayers. With great excitement we began to make plans because we knew we were praying within God’s will, therefore, we clung to his promise of 1 John 5: 14.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him.”

However, as plans began to take uncertain turns, Anthony being called through another round of interviews and our home appraising for less than the buyer’s offer, we faced doubts. We became uncertain that God would provide what we desperately asked for. Was God going to arrange everything perfectly as we hoped? Was he going to miraculously show up and allow us to free ourselves financially, so that we might bless others? We know it is God’s will for us to do so, so why isn’t he providing it? We weren’t quite sure. Things weren’t panning out as we hoped.

As uncertainly swarmed around our minds and hearts, and disappointment and confusion strangled our joy, I became comforted by the Spirit through God’s Word. How great is our God to do that? To reveal new truths through his precious word?

Paul writes in Romans about God’s faithfulness in Abraham’s life. Abraham, an old man, was promised by God to be the father of many nations with numerous offspring. But as he and his wife approached old age, it would seem that perhaps God wasn’t going to fulfill this promise the way Abraham thought. I know my thought process during this time would have been, “Well, maybe God is going to have us adopt. Maybe God wasn’t being literal when he promised to give me offspring. What else could he have meant?”

But that’s not what Abraham did. He didn’t doubt God’s goodness, his promises, or his faithfulness. God said what he meant, and he meant what he said. He promised offspring, and Abraham clung to it, even when it seemed the opportunity for God to fulfill the promise had passed.

“Yet he did not waiver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.” Roman 4:20-21

You see, God didn’t fulfill his promise to Abraham in the way Abraham probably thought he would. No, God showed up in a big way, in a way that brought the most glory to him. He gave Abraham and Sarah a baby when physically it shouldn’t have been possible. And even though God didn’t fulfill his promise to Abraham in what human minds might have thought was reasonable, Abraham remained in belief, “fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.”

We are in a place of uncertainly today. We aren’t sure how God is going fulfill his promises to us, but I choose to remain prayful that He will, and that he will in a way that brings him the most glory. It may not be on my time table or in the way that makes most sense to me, but I am praying through the uncertainty for God to show up in big and mighty way. And I am praying that I remain faithful in my belief that I might be strengthened in my faith.

Hoping today that if you know you have been given a promise-a promise from God for release from sin, a promise from God for his will, a promise from God for provision-that you won’t be bogged down by disappointment and uncertainty. As Abraham, may we remain faithful and trusting of God’s power, that he will provide and he will come through in a way that brings him the most glory.

Back To School: Teaching Our Children to Pray

How do I intentionally train these precious girls how to talk to Christ through prayer?

How do I intentionally train these precious girls how to talk to Christ through prayer?

It’s back to school week in Arkansas, and I know there are Mommas out there thinking about how to establish new routines for their families. As a former teacher I know how exciting this time of year is. There’s nothing like the hope of a fresh start. In between scheduling practices, gymnastics, piano lessons, and church activities, though, I hope many of you with school aged children are looking to work quiet times into your children’s day. I know we are so busy as families, but may we not forget that we have been charged to “Train up a child in the way he should go, so that when he’s old he might not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6). May this be a year when we train our children to find time to commune with Christ.

When I was 8-years-old my mom bought my first personalized prayer journal for me. It’s certainly the beginning of my love for prayer journaling. That small 3-ring binder with a shiny brass nameplate adhered to the front became the record of my learning to converse with God.

Inside the little binder held pages printed off our home printer with lines for writing labeled “Adoration”, “Confession”, “Thanksgiving”, and “Supplication”. This “ACTS” method of praying became a powerful scaffold for my life of prayer. My innocent 8-year-old self met Jesus daily with praise for his goodness, admittance of sin, gratitude for blessings, and requests for myself and others. At 8 I didn’t understand why all these pieces of prayer strengthen my walk with Christ, but my mother did, and she wanted to train me to be reminded of my need for Jesus’ guidance and thankful for answers to my requests.

Looking back at this journal from childhood (yes, I still have it), I am inspired at my mother’s wisdom in “raising me up in the way I should go.” In between confessions of wishing my brother would turn into a toad and requesting an A on my spelling test, are glorious nuggets of faith asking for submission to my parents’ authority and thanking Jesus for providing me with strong friendships.

So, for the next couple of weeks, I’m giving free shipping for all parents ordering a PersistentHeart Prayer Journal for their child. If you’d like to gift your child a special journal with pages customized to train your child, teen, or college aged baby (because they’ll always be our babies, right?) just use the coupon code: BACKTOSCHOOL at checkout in the PersistentHeart Etsy Shop for free shipping.  Coupon will expire September 1st.

We have several cover options for children, teens, and college-aged kiddos in the shop. This Sophia cover would be perfect for an elementary daughter.

We have several cover options for children, teens, and college-aged kiddos in the PersistentHeart Etsy Shop  . This Sophia cover would be perfect for an elementary daughter, but there are options for the guys, too.

Of course, you will pick 4 categories daily for your child to teach them to pray. This might be a scaffolding method like the ACTS method my mom used when I was young, or you might include specific topics and people for your child. For example, siblings, parents, grandparents, and cousins would be wonderful topics to teach your children to pray over those they love. You might also include specific fruits of the spirit for your child like patience, love, and gentleness. Teachers, friends, and future spouses might be great categories. Even confidence, self-worth, and boldness in sharing the gospel might be something you want to include for an older child’s journal.
I've got 18 years left with this fresh one. She may not know it, but I'm certainly modeling prayer over her right now. "Jesus, let her sleep. Let us sleep."

I’ve got 18 years left with this fresh one. She may not know it, but I’m certainly modeling prayer over her right now. “Jesus, let her sleep. Let us sleep.”

Praying you start this school year off with Christ as the center of your family. Our days with our children under our training are numbered. I’m reminded of this again as I hold my brand new one-week-old baby girl, while watching my almost four-year-old twirl in her princess dress (wasn’t she just a newborn yesterday?!?). So let’s make this year count! Praying wisdom over you now, and that teaching your child to pray for renewal of mind and strengthening of faith is a priority for the 2014-2015 school year.


And for those of you looking for more ideas for teaching children to pray check out:  Focus on the Family. I love the idea of a Family Prayer Journal mentioned in this article. If you have family devotionals or homeschooling bible study times, maybe a PersistentHeart Family Prayer Journal would be an awesome way to focus your prayer time as a family. Sentence starters would make great categories for the journal, as well. Just some thoughts! My girls aren’t old enough yet to read and write, but I cannot wait to customize a journal for them when they are ready!

Praying for Other Believers: Christ’s Prayer of John 17

Recently my church did a sermon series over the gospel of John. I cannot express to you how the Spirit used the in-depth study of this well-worn book as a tool for fresh renewal for me.

John 17, however, hit me hard. As our equipping pastor BJ Stricklin outlined what has come to be known as “The High Priest of Prayer”, I scribbled desperately every word the Holy Spirit was speaking to me.

What is perhaps so beautiful about John 17 is that in Christ’s final moments on Earth in his fleshly body, he prays. He doesn’t try to preach to the multitudes. He doesn’t give last words to his disciples. He doesn’t heal the masses. He doesn’t study the scriptures.

Jesus stops to pray.

He knows that at any moment priests and guards will charge him with swords and clubs as Judas betrays him with a kiss, and his last action of preparation is prayer.

Isn’t that beautiful, y’all? How often do we run into hard circumstances without first arming ourselves in prayer? And yet Jesus, the God of the universe, would never face the cross without conversing with the Father first.

What’s even more profound about Christ’s final moments of prayer are what he prayed for. As the cross loomed in the near future he prays for himself and his ability to accept the Lord’s will for his life, but he doesn’t stop there. I’m pretty sure that if death, torture, and disgrace awaited me, I’d be doing nothing but praying for myself.

Christ calls us to pray for all believers, among all the nations.

Christ calls us to pray for all believers, among all the nations.

But like any good parent, Jesus thinks about those he is leaving behind. Heaven in all its glory will soon welcome him to reign his kingdom, and he concerns himself with the lowly ones still stuck in this world. In those last moments Jesus concerns himself with his disciples and with us.

Can you even comprehend that? Can you imagine facing the unstoppable anguish heading Christ’s way and using your precious prayer time for your closest friends and the entire body of believers?

“I am not praying for the world,” John 17: 9 says, “but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.”

Christ didn’t pray for the lost world here in his last moments. Again, HE PRAYED FOR US! Does that stir something in you? It sure does me.

And why was he praying protection and glory over us? So that we might become unified and show the world His great love.

Just a few of the gorgeous ladies I get to become unified with in the local body.

Just a few of the gorgeous ladies I get to become unified with in the local body.

“May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23).

Christ’s final prayers for his believers were for unity in order to display love to a hurting world. I think about this now when I stare at the “Local Body” and “Global Body” sections in my PersistentHeart Prayer Journal. I remind myself that Christ knew then that one of the greatest obstacles his believers would face after he left the earth was unity. He also knew in his infinite wisdom that this would be the fatal flaw or the mighty revelation in our witness to the world.

Praying weekly for protection, unity, and joy among us believers just as Christ did, so that we might let the world know that God sent Jesus and loved us even as God loves his son. How beautiful is that, believers? Christ prayed for us, so shouldn’t we for one another?

How to Pray for the Lost: Understanding God’s Wrath


I wonder if you’ve ever struggled with the God of the Old Testament, who is “the same yesterday and today and forever.” This God who brought wrath to an entire world during the Great Flood and destruction to the city of Jericho seems in such contrast to the Christ who begged only those “without sin to be the first to throw a stone” at the adulterous woman.

I read recently in Beth Moore’s bible study Children of the Day an explanation for the wrath of God that radically changed my perspective. Beth wrote that the Greek word for wrath as mentioned throughout the Bible is orgé (pronounced or-GAY), meaning according to Aristotle “anger is desire with grief.”

Let that definition sink in for a minute. God’s wrath is truly anger mixed with desire and grief.

I don’t know if that blows your mind like it did mine, but suddenly I find myself grappling with years of misunderstanding God the Father. For most of my life I have viewed God the Father, not as cruel, but as the great judge, the part of the trinity dealing out verdicts and punishments as deserved. My Christ, however, was the one willing to take the “wrath” of the Father that I so desperately earned.

But viewing this wrath of the Father not as anger bursting forth in great vengeance, but as the mixture of anger with desire and grief changes everything for me.

Suddenly I think about times I’ve felt this kind of wrath, times I’ve felt anger because I desired something so badly and grieved that it hadn’t happened that way. Times loved ones destroyed families with affairs, times precious friends choose a life of drunkenness instead of service and fulfillment, times my marriage seemed disconnected and misunderstood.

In those times I did not experience wrath as the way I know it to be; I experienced an “orgé “ wrath, one that was angry because of my deep desire and grief for those people.

If we viewed God the Father as the kind of God who is wrathful towards sinners and the lost because he is filled with anger at their ways, while being stirred with great desire and grief for them, how might it change how we prayed for them?

Even the Old Testament God of Ezekiel said, “’I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked person should turn from his way and live’” (Ezekiel 33:11). God the Father isn’t anxious to give a deserved punishment for our wrongdoings. He is angered by them, but only because of his deep desire and grief for us to experience life in his righteousness.

Consider today adding a place for the lost in your PersistentHeart Prayer Journals because while they are still under the wrath of God, knowing that God’s wrath is only one-third anger and two-thirds grief and desire should change our perspective. May we intercede for them with powerful cries before His throne, making our desires for them match His own.

28 Categories? Holy Moly!

With PersistentHeart Prayer Journals you can choose 4 topics for prayer each day of the week. This means, 4 topics you want to pray over on Monday, 4 topics on Tuesday, and so on.

When creating my friend Christi’s PersistentHeart Journal she remarked, “Wow! Not going to lie, choosing 4 topics a day took some strategic thinking!”

PersistentHeart Journals are supposed to help combat overwhelming feelings in our prayer lives, so don’t get flustered trying to pick 28 topics. I’m going to share with you how I decided on my 28 topics, as well as a couple of other people’s suggestions.

First, when I was designing my inner pages, I made a few lists. Yep, I’m a list person. Surprised? I didn’t think so.

I made a list of:

  • People
  • Personal faith struggles
  • Areas in the Bible where we are called to prayer
I might have color-coded these lists, too (Lord, bless my husband).

I might have color-coded these lists, too (Lord, bless my husband).

Creating these lists let me see what my heart most desired to focus on in prayer. Of course in my list of people I had:

  • My three girls, listed by name and individually
  • My husband
  • My parents and brothers and sisters
  • My small group within my church
  • My close friends

For some of you, you may have many more people in your circle who require your prayer. Especially for ministry folks. I know pastors who pray weekly for every other person they serve with in ministry. What a blessing!

A sample from my Thursday. I left an other on this day for what might just arise that particular day.

A sample from my Thursday. I left an other on this day for what might just arise that particular day.

Within my personal faith struggles, I evaluated areas in my faith that I find weakness. For me this included:

  • Wisdom
  • Gentle-spirit
  • My role as a wife in marriage
  • My role as a mother
  • Humility
  • Stewardship
  • Work ethic/career direction

Talk about vulnerability here, people, and ouch! That list isn’t fun to make. Some of you may have similar struggle areas to mine, but I know there are others who are struggling with pornography or addiction or self-esteem or depression. Whatever is impacting your effectiveness in Christ’s ministry, those are areas we need to pray desperately for renewal and change.

My last list was derived from scripture. There are so many areas the Bible calls us to pray over. So I made a list of biblical prayer. My list included a lot of what Paul prays for in his letters to the believers:

  • Justice (for the weak, the persecuted, the vulnerable, the preyed upon)
  • The Global Body of Christ (missionaries, persecuted believers)
  • The Local Body (my community of churches, ministries, and believers)
  • The Lost
  • The nation (political leaders, revival)

When I was done with my lists, I still had a few vacancies that I left as “other” for allowing room for journaling as the Spirit led me or if I needed more room to journal for one of the other categories listed for that day.

Now, you may find this list making helpful, but there are many other ways you can do this.

My mother choose to keep 3 topics the same each day with only one revolving topic. She kept praise, thanks, and spiritual growth for each day, while changing the fourth category only.

My mom only changed one category a day, leaving the first three the same each day.

My mom only changed one category a day, leaving the first three the same each day.

Another friend choose to have her husband listed every day (lucky guy!), so she only needed to pick three categories each day to change.

Whatever your system for deciding, just make sure that it reflects what the Spirit has laid on your personal heart.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Introducing: PersistentHeart Prayer Journals

I have so much to say about the PersistentHeart Prayer Journals and why I want to offer this resource for others to organize their prayer lives, but that’s another post for another day. For now, let’s just introduce the journals and what they are.

I’ve always been inspired by people who successfully pray systematically, not in a way that is legalistic or arrogant, but in a way that is focused and intentional. The prayer notecards system is one way many choose to do this. They have certain cards they pray on Mondays, certain ones they pray on Tuesdays, and so on throughout the week. Obviously praying continually without a system is necessary for intimacy, as well. Afterall, the Bible calls us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), so what’s the purpose of these cards? In the words of my pastor, Kyle Reno (holla!) it’s because he can be praying for wisdom one minute when suddenly, “SQUIRREL” and he’s distracted thinking about a million other things awaiting his attention (or maybe what he’s going to wear that day…maybe not, maybe that’s just a struggle of mine.) These cards ensure that scheduled prayer times are well-spent on the many loved ones in our lives, our family, our friends, our struggles, our church body, our nation, whatever lies near and dear to our hearts.


There’s a great blog post on this notecard system over at Prayerineverycity

This system is amazing, but I’ll be honest with you, I’m not a notecards girl. Nope, I’m kind of a big fan of journals, and I’m especially a sucker for pretty journals with flowers or geometric shapes or trendy chevron and Moroccan patterns. I love words and writing, and I need space to play with both, even in my conversations with the Lord.

years of journals

Just a fraction of the prayer journals I have collected through the years. Look at that Point of Grace Journal, y’all. There’s also a homemade journal in there that I started when I was 7. Sweet, sweet innocence.

Prayer journals allow me to write letters to God in the same way I would to a friend, in the same way Paul did to those early believers. In the top shelf of my closet is a box of letters dating back to elementary days. I save every card and letter that lands in my mailbox because who doesn’t love a letter? I have to believe God is no different.

What I wanted, however, was to keep my journal writing, while being more organized.

Thus the birth of the PersistentHeart Prayer Journals. I thought, why couldn’t I create a journal that functioned like notecards? A journal with areas allocated on Mondays to pray for certain topics precious to me, Tuesdays to pray for others, and so on throughout the week. Then rather than being overwhelmed at all I want to bring before God’s throne in intercession, I’ll know each week there is a time I’ll pray for my husband, my children, global missions, members of my small group, the lost. I’ll have an appointment made each week with the Father to seek wisdom in our finances or opportunities in service. Areas that I want to pour over won’t go overlooked because my mind thinks “SQUIRREL” in my prayer time.

photo 3

The daily categories help me to pray intentionally each day, helping me to not become overwhelmed at ALL I want to pray for, but limiting it to just four a day to truly meditate on.


photo 2

So here it is. Here is the product of my desire to create greater focus in my prayer time, while clinging to my love for all things journals, including countless journal covers with personalization areas for names and monograms (can you really ever have enough things with your monogram on it?)

photo 1

There are over 20 designs currently in the shop to choose from, including some for men, teenagers, and children.

 The way the journal works is that you pick 4 topics for each day of the week you would like to pray for. That means 4 for Monday, 4 for Tuesday, and so on. When you place your order in the PersistentHeart Etsy Shop(, you’ll indicate what you want your 4 categories to be each day. I’ll customize the inner pages of the journal to fit those needs.

Your topics are completely up to you and highly personal. They can change each day like mine do (Mondays I pray for my husband, our marriage, my role as a wife, and our finances, while Tuesdays are for my three girls and godly mothering). Or you can keep some the same each day of the week. My mom kept spiritual growth, thanks, and praise the same each day, and the fourth category changing. This way she prays for her extended family on Monday, her husband on Tuesday, and so on.

With those two examples, I pray for 28 different topics each week, and my mom prays for 7 specific topics. Fit the journal to your needs based on how many areas in your life you want to be persistent in praying over.

Of course, for the areas you may not be able to anticipate now (hello, sickness or job interview or conversation with a new believer), there is the “Daily Prayers” page each week. Here you jot down what you need to pray for that week specifically. You also have a page to record your small group prayer requests, memory verses, and answered prayers each week.

I’ve been praying myself about the launch of this shop this week, friends. Praying these journals meet a need you have for more faithful, persistent, intentional prayer times. Praying they are coming to you at a time you need them the most.

Visit the shop. Look around. Pick a cover. But most of all pray carefully about what you want your 4 categories each day to be. What do you want to make an appointment to bring before God’s throne each week? Just like the Persistent Widow found in Luke 18, “Will God not grant justice to his children who cry out to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them.”

Let us be more persistent in our crying out to Him. May this journal serve as a tool to help us.