The 40 Day Prayer Challenge (Update)

It’s hard to be real, but I’m going to give it a go. Being real is something Jesus (the Truth) called me to practice doing a long time ago.

I was recently asked this question with regards to my participation in the 40 Day Prayer Challenge:  What has been your greatest victory?

40 Days Book

This post is my attempt to answer that question, in part. In a sense, the question is still being answered, because I’m not finished with the challenge yet. I’m currently on Day 30.

Our church provided a card for this challenge that had a circle with five numbers on it, so that we could fill in five requests. My first item was our marriage. Here was my prayer:  “Lord, please make our marriage be what You want it to be, and not what we want it to be.”

I prayed that prayer for some time, until one day, I had an “aha” moment. It was as if the Lord said to me that our marriage of nearly four decades already honors Him, as it stands. My heart was warmed by that thought, because although our marriage is by no means perfect, and we’ve both had the divorce thought, lasting this long is definitely what we wanted, too. What a beautiful answer! But as I began to cross that item off my list, I had the thought to change my prayer and continue praying.  I prayed, “Okay, Lord, then please cement us together better…draw us closer and closer to each other.”

Now, I had a definite picture of how that prayer would be answered, and I can tell you that the snapshot showed that desired closeness coming from my husband’s end.  But it didn’t happen that way. God answered that prayer from my end. He pulled my heart closer and closer to my husband. It’s an internal thing, and it is warm and beautiful and it gives me chills and has me in absolute awe of the other “Him” in my life–the God of the universe.

Thank You, Father.



Note:  Items two and three on my card have also been answered, but that’s another blog. :)

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This morning, I accidentally hit repeat on this song, and I don’t think it was an accident.

I’ve been scribbling vision onto white poster boards with Sharpies.  The question I’ve been asking is:

What does ministry look like for me in 2016?

I’m getting a picture.  Phrases from this song intertwine into the snapshot. And in my kitchen this morning, there was a little slice of heaven up in here, as I worshiped like no one was watching.  I’m glad I was alone.

I’ve decided this is a pretty good song for inspiring vision.  It may be my theme song for 2016, the Year of Priorities.

Thank you, God. ♥

“Thou my best thought, by day or by night…”







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Okay, I am getting just a little freaked out.

40 Days Book


Our church started this book today.  I was hesitant to join the challenge, but I signed up.  It really fit with my year focus to pray and seek God as a first thing for the new year.

I read the introduction yesterday, and saw coincidences, but today…

(Oh, my goodness.)

Today was Day 1 of the 40 Day Prayer Challenge.  And I wonder…

Did Mark Batterson read my spiritual journals?  In the past few WEEKS? I literally flipped backwards in the book looking for the copyright date. Did he know what my year focus was?  The things in this book that lined up with my spiritual markers were numerous and word-for-word freaky.

I walked away from the book for a moment because my heart was racing and I was a bit breathless.  And I was looking over my shoulder to make sure I was alone in the room.

Of course, I’m not alone in the room, because Jesus, as the Holy Spirit, is with me.  And what did I think?  That He couldn’t guide Mark Batterson’s pen?




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The Future?

I have questions about the future.

Today, while seeking God in the Year of First-Things-First, He gave me this simple answer:

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

(Matthew 6:34, NKJV)

Thank You, Lord.

(There’s a whole chunk of more goodness on this topic here:  Matthew 6:25-34)



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Job 1

Here is my key verse for the Year of Priorities:

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  (Matthew 6:33, ESV)

Here are some other verses about seeking Him:

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.  (Matthew 7:7-8, ESV)

13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart  (Jeremiah 29:13, ESV)

I’m going to study these verses and their context, and memorize them this year.

I have questions about:

  • ministry
  • theology
  • the true meaning of Christmas

I need direction and clarity about:

  • my roles
  • finances
  • the future

The journals I ordered for 2016 have lines, but I really wish they had blank pages. That better explains what I’m trying to say.

I love God deeply, and He loves me infinitely.  Experiencing His love changed everything.  I’m not the answer to anything.  So…

I’ll be seeking Him in 2016.

Seek First

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First Things First–A Name for 2016

2016 is the Year of Priorities for me.  I need to put some things in order in my life.

Here is the first thing I must do:

33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

(Matthew 6:33, ESV)

Here are some added things I need:

  • clarity
  • direction
  • understanding

I will keep my past year names in mind as I go:

  • simplicity (2011)
  • life (2012)
  • ready (2013)
  • uncluttered (2014)
  • joy (2015)

I’ll be seeking God’s thoughts on all of this is 2016.  If you named your year, I’d love to know.

(May Designs journals are on their way and filled with blank pages for a new year.)

“Watercolor Painted Garden” with lines


“Watercolor Painted Skies” with lines


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One Tiny Basketball Lesson

My son plays basketball.

Basketballl (1)

As a parent, I want him to do well. And I have opinions as to how that should happen. :D

In the past, I prayed specific, self-serving prayers about my children’s sports involvement and other activities. I stopped praying those, because when I did, the very opposite happened. Did I think I could manipulate God?  I think those reversed answers may have been a slap on the wrist that I deserved.

Recently, I read in James that I have not because I ask not, and that I ask and do not receive, because I ask amiss, for selfish reasons. And I realized that I don’t ask much at all these days, because I don’t pray enough.

My son’s team played in a Christmas tournament this week, against some strong opponents. We are new to the team, so I don’t know many people. This gives me quiet times in massive gyms, and I realized I could pray. And I remembered a scripture that says that we need no other teacher but the Holy Spirit. So, I asked Him to teach my son, right then, on the court, whatever he needed to know about basketball. And I let it go at that.

What a concept!  It was freeing.

Looking back, I remember years in sports when I did not access the true Answer. It breaks my heart to think of the wasted time.

But God is so good, and He warps me in his arms and he gives me second chances. I got one of those this week. And I rejoiced.

My son played some of the best minutes he has played in awhile. And all I can say is thank You, God.

(Prayer is an area where I need to grow. Our church is starting off 2016 with a 40 Days of Prayer series. I’m looking forward to it.)

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