Who you are when doubt falls away

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This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.  Hebrews 6:19

Prayer is a habit forming gift that brings the Holy Spirit’s power and the living hope of Christ into our lives. In prayer, your faith is strengthened. Faith is who you are when doubt falls away. 

A drift anchor (sea anchor) is used in rough weather and storms but it doesn’t tether a boat to seabed like a typical anchor. This special anchor provides a brake and prevents the boat from turning and being overwhelmed by waves. In strong winds a boat quickly goes off course and by facing the bow directly into the wind, you can slow the drift. 

Faith is often tested in this same way. Hope becomes an anchor that when put into the waves of doubt and uncertainty, keeps us from being overwhelmed by the storm. Take a minute and think about how you woke up this morning. What emotions were you feeling or maybe which ones weren’t you feeling? I ask this because if we allow our emotions to frame our day, we’re going to have some volatility.

Prayer is about relationship

While social media is an epidemic, in this pandemic, the epidemic becomes a cure. Hear me on this, there is no substitute for the intimacy of face-to-face relationship but when that is limited, we turn to a point of connection in a virtual space. 

Who do you talk to the most? Usually, you agree on a time to speak with someone. Think of  your social media activity that way. Schedule time to be on using a calendar event. When the time is up, get off social media. Be healthy in a virtual space. The last time I spoke with my friends at 3 am, I was in my early 20’s and was probably not engaged in some heavy theology. Keep it daylight hours. Remember, better to pray and prevent than say and repent. 

What you think about yourself will be reflected in your prayers. The strength of our relationships begins with our conviction that we are fragile humans, prone to sin but loved by our Father God. 

Prayer is habit

Make a calendar event and put on a do not disturb. A healthy prayer life is ever evolving. I’ve learned recently that in some areas, I’ve had reactive prayer instead of proactive prayer. I try every morning to spend a few minutes in God’s word. It’s like making an appointment with God and it helps keep me focused on His will for my life. For each situation, I link my prayers to a Bible verse to stay focused and frame my prayers. If not, due to my short attention span, after a minute I’m left with a grocery list and my own opinion.

Review your daily calendar and see how much time and thought goes into each activity. Add it up for the day. Open the settings on your phone and look at the time spent on social media apps. Add that together. Then look at your prayer time with God, quantify it. Two minutes? Five minutes? Add it up for the day. Compare your tally against all your other events.

Prayer is conversation

I can’t remember the first time I prayed out loud. I know I was probably scared to death. I didn’t know what to say because I didn’t want to sound stupid. Which is unlike me because I love people, love to talk, and yes am occasionally uttering something stupid without shame. Your prayers are conversations with God. How you speak to others is how you talk to God. 

When I reach maximum density, I know I need to up my prayer time. By maximum density, I’m not talking about an overindulgence of sugar-laden snacks. That’s what spandex is for. I’m talking about reaching the point when I’m saturated with my own selfishness and relying on my own knowledge. That’s a scary thought because I once put the remnants of a candle with the wick in the microwave to melt the wax because the jar was so pretty. That was three months ago. I’m 51, imagine the headlines for that one. Really?

Where can I pray? 

Prayer powerfully conditions our hearts to hear God’s voice. Whether you are on your knees or your face before God, it’s not the physical posturing, but the spiritual positioning that brings you into relationship with your Heavenly Father.

I have started praying while I wash my hands, repeating a favorite verse or singing (way off key) a chorus to a song. I love praying outside where I read my Bible and am treated to a symphony of birds. I grew up thinking prayer was for bedtime, meals and church. There was a rhythm as I would stand, kneel, genuflect and loved the prayers of the Saints. My prayers are throughout the day and begin in the morning before I open up my phone and computer.

What do I say? 

The word meditate comes from the Latin word meaning to contemplate or measure. Meditation has been twisted in our culture connoting all types of images. As Christians we are called to meditate on His word, confining our thoughts to His will for us.

When we end a prayer, we end with AMEN, right? So finishing the prayer isn’t the problem. It’s from beginning to AMEN that we struggle with. 

Be fully present and pray the word of God. Don’t open your Bible or an app and read what first thing you see. Take a Psalm or verse and own it. It’s there for you.

God, heal everyone affected by this virus. Protect everyone on the front lines. Give wisdom to our leaders and unite our nation again. Holy Spirit, help cast our hope anchors to not be overturned by the waves of doubt and anxiety. Your word guides us like a compass and you will use it all to your glory. We are in uncharted waters but turned face forward with faith. In Jesus’ Name…and all the people said…AMEN

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