Praying and Living with JOY!

photo credit: adwriter via photopin cc

photo credit: adwriter via photopin cc

 “Because prayer happens while we are immersed in the particulars of life, there is no single formula to follow.” Winn Collier

I sat with journal open, seeking to pray but finding that the words were not forthcoming. Praying with my pen has always helped me focus my prayers, clarifying my thoughts and words. But on this morning, I could only sit, quietly staring out the window at the Red Maples in all of their splendor. My thoughts were focused, and on God’s beauty- the wonder of it all. I felt swept up to a heavenly seat, with my Father by my side, but I had no words. I was caught up in the beauty of the morning’s quiet, familiar offerings- transfixed in time. Is this not also prayer? Is this not also worship?

Does He who knows the hairs on my head know not my heart in this moment, where and what it is fixed on? 

I glance at the time, excuse myself from His feet to get on with the day. But I am smiling, because despite the lack of words forthcoming, I am confident of this: He knows my heart. He knows me. I am loved by Him. Better than this still, knowing that though I excuse myself from His feet, yet He is still with me! All through the day, the dirty dishes, the stinky cat litter and as I do the never-ending pile of laundry.

My mind drifts back to my daughter’s days of kindergarten. I was teaching her a little lesson that was included in our Homeschooling curriculum at the time. We had to cut out each of the letters for the lesson, so we could make a little hanging sign that read “Joy”. To this day I carry the lesson with me in my heart. Funny how the teacher often is also the student. I can’t remember if the lesson was about general priorities for Christians, or if it was about prayer but every once in a while when I feel like a lost child, again in my prayer life, I come back to it. I can still see the glittered, colorful, crayon decorated letters hanging in her bedroom, in my memory.

J for Jesus– a reminder to start with Him. When I feel lost, or unsure, for sure- I need to redirect my focus to Him first and foremost. All else will fall  into place when I do.

O for others- as believers we do aim to put others first, and ask for God to guide us to pray for those in need and on our hearts for the day and to seek to live out this priority in real life ways.

Y for yourself– Jesus never neglects us, and we should not neglect ourselves. As women and mothers caring for others, we need to go to Him, the Provider, for all of our needs. He cares for us! We can ask, seek, knock and trust He hears and responds.

 “Prayer shapes us as people invigorated by the power of the Spirit who are learning to freely live and love. It forms us as children of God.” ~ Winn Collier 

So, this little lesson I taught my daughter still provides for me a reminder of the simplicity and order for living, and prayer. I can pray anytime for He is with me always. But also, although I love my “structured” prayer times, worship is an attitude of the heart. Worship happens when we acknowledge rightly our God and His perspective of ourselves and others. It’s more important to have a heart full of grace and truth than a list of checked off prayers. It’s OK to have both, for you list making prayer warriors, but not to miss the mark in the list-making. Our aim is knowing and loving Him! That will bring us JOY and a heart full of grace and truth that will overflow to others.

*This month’s In Touch magazine featured an article called “Sustained by Prayer” by Winn Collier which was one of those perfectly timed reads and where I got the quotes if you want to read for yourself.

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