3 Things Prayer Can Do For You

One of my favorite Old Testament books is Nehemiah. This book has so much to glean, from rebuilding your life, your faith, your church, your community, your leadership skills…the list goes on and on. 

Today, let’s talk about prayer. Prayer is essential in your daily life. Key word: Daily. Prayer can do many things. When I pray it builds my faith and dependence on God. It feels good to dump all the things I’m concerned about on Someone who can actually fix me…and the issues. I don’t always see immediate results to my prayers. I don’t always get the answers I want. But God is listening and answering. His way. His time. And if I sit still long enough, I’ll hear Him talk back. Through Scripture. Through ideas that come to mind. Many different ways.

Nehemiah was the king’s cupbearer. He was a trusted servant to the king. And at this time, many were going back to Jerusalem to rebuild what had been torn and burned when God’s people went into captivity. 

Chapter 1 is a prayer over the situation. Nehemiah confesses his sin, the sin of his people, and humbly submits his requests to God. Here’s just a portion: 

 “O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.”” Nehemiah 1:11

Nehemiah needs success. He’s about to speak to the king and ask to go back to Jerusalem to help rebuild. 

Because of prayer three things happened for Nehemiah:

1. Permission: Nehemiah was granted access, permission to accomplish God’s will and to be used by God. 

 Then the king said to me, “What do you request?”
“So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it.”
Then the king said to me (the queen also sitting beside him), “How long will your journey be? And when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time.” Nehemiah 2:4-6 NKJV
When we come humbly before God with His glory and purposes in mind, we’ll find permission from Him and He will grant us access. But it doesn’t stop there! 
2. Provision: God didn’t just give Nehemiah favor with the king to grant him earthly permission, but He saw to it that Nehemiah had all the provision he needed to set out and accomplish the God-glorifying task at hand.
“Furthermore I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the River,[a] that they must permit me to pass through till I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph the keeper of the king’s forest, that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains to the temple,[b] for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy.” And the king granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me.” Nehemiah 2:7-8 NKJV
You never need to doubt provision and resources when God gives you permission to move forward. Whether it’s a new job, ministry, move…if God allows it, He won’t set you up to fail but always to succeed! Also a side note: remember to ask for anything! “You have not because you ask not” (James) Who knows what God will grant you, but you can be sure you’ll never receive it if you don’t at least ask!
And the 3rd thing we see is…
3. Protection: God made sure to protect Nehemiah on his journey. Now let me make a note to state this, I am not saying that if God calls you to something that you won’t ever get sick, or struggle, or your car break down. Sometimes that’s part of the faith-journey–trusting God through it all. Even Nehemiah faced serious adversity and opposition, to the point they were building with one hand and holding swords with the other. But there is a measure of supernatural protection. Those men never killed them or defeated God’s purposes, even when they threatened it. 
“Then I went to the governors in the region beyond the River, and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent captains of the army and horsemen with me.” Nehemiah 2:9
Whatever God is asking you to do, know that if He’s calling you to it, He’ll see you through it. 
“… The effective, fervent prayerof a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16 NKJV

“I know that You can do anything and no plan of Yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2 HCSB

“Behold, I make a covenant. Before all your people I will do marvels such as have notbeen done in all the earth, nor in any nation; and all the people among whom you are shall see the work of the Lord. For it is an awesome thing that I will do with you.” Exodus 34:10 NKJV
Have you signed up for my newsletter? A new novella is coming to subscribers on April 2nd for a limited time. Grab the chance and sign up by clicking on the Sign Up page above. 
If you haven’t read Hope Under Mistletoe, it’s available on Amazon for only $2.99! It centers around Christmas but can be read anytime! 
If you’re not part of my FACEBOOK page, I’d love for you to join me for daily inspiration and plain old fun conversation.  CLICK HERE! 

Keeping it Humble Part 4: Don’t Stop Believing

Hey everyone, today we’re breaking down a tough verse, not
that they haven’t all been tough. Let’s recap what we’ve worked through so far:
“Let love be without
hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly
affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to
one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit,
serving the Lord;” Romans 12:9-11 NKJV
If you’re just joining our series on keeping it humble you
can catch up here:
We’re tacking on verse 12 to our passage.
in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;”
Let’s dig into each phrase, breaking it down in the Greek for
a richer meaning, then apply it to ourselves in the context of humility.
Rejoicing means to be exceedingly glad and to thrive or do
In hope…what is the hope that we are to be exceedingly glad
about and thrive in?
The Greek word for hope is elpis and it means joyful
and confident expectation of eternal salvation; the author of hope, or he who
is its foundation
You and I have a reason to thrive and do well, we have a reason
to be exceedingly glad. The author of our hope has defeated death, hell, and
the grave. He has rescued us from eternal damnation. Our hope is forever
salvation and all the freedom that it brings. We have a firm foundation to rejoice
upon, it’s Jesus Christ!
And the reason this phrase comes first, I believe, is because
we need to remember first and foremost that we have something and Someone to
hope in.
Tribulations are coming. 
And it will require patience. It’s
during these times we need to remind ourselves to rejoice, to be glad, because
hope is not lost.
The word patient in
the Greek is hypomenō and it means to preserve: under misfortunes and trials
hold fast to one’s faith in Christ; to endure, bear bravely and calmly: ill
I’m reminded of David. He’d been anointed king in private
but instead of ascending to the throne, he served, humbly, a king who came to
despise him through jealous eyes. Many years David ran from Saul. He hid in caves.
He had no rest. And many of his Psalms were written during this time.
In Psalm
25 David pours out his heart: “Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me,
For I am
desolate and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have enlarged; Bring me out of
my distresses! Look on my affliction and my pain, And forgive all my sins. Consider
my enemies, for they are many; And they hate me with cruel hatred. Keep my
soul, and deliver me; Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You. Let
integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.” Verses 16-21
I see
tribulation. And I also see while he shares his trouble with the Lord, he
trusts Him and ends here with the fact he will wait for God.
Will you?
The phrase
continuing steadfastly in prayer in the Greek is proskartereō and it means, to
persevere and not to faint;
to show one’s self courageous for; to be steadfastly
attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing
takes courage, doesn’t it? It means you believe you’re being heard by the
Almighty. It shows vulnerability and trust. Sometimes, we don’t see our prayers
answered right away. Sometimes after five, ten, fifteen years, we have yet to
see the pain taken away, the dreams fulfilled fill-in-the-blank.
And we get
tired. We grow faint. We stop praying. Maybe, just maybe, we stop believing.
Cue Don’t Stop Believing by Journey here. Susan Tuttle, my iTunes hit was just for
We have to
travel back to that first phrase. Rejoice in hope. And you and I both know at
times, rejoicing has to be a choice. Especially when we’re experiencing
We can’t
give up praying.
Again, I’m
reminded of David. After he and Bathsheba committed adultery, their child died.
God had already told David this was going to happen. Yet, David fasted and wept
and prayed because he said in 2 Samuel 12:22, ‘Who can tell whether the Lord will
be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ “
It isn’t
over until it’s over. 
Yes, David’s son still died. And that’s a hard pill to
swallow, but God had just told David after he repented, that his sins would be
inked out. Forgiven. But with sin comes consequences (I am not saying that
children’s deaths are linked to sin. I’m talking about David’s personal case
here) and I like to see this as a picture of grace and mercy. Because that is
Who God is.
For one
man to live, a son had to die.
For you
and I to have the hope we do, a Son had to die.
prayed to the Lord when he was sick. And God gave him fifteen years more on his
We can’t
give up praying. We must persevere and be brave. Stay calm and trust God to do
the right thing, to allow the right things, even when they feel wrong to you and
Prayer is
humbling. Especially when we’re in situations we can’t control. And I think it’s
fair to say we can’t control tribulations. When we rejoice in hope and meditate
on that hope, it is humbling. We can’t save ourselves. We can’t control every
single thing. We must be dependent on Someone else. And we have to be
vulnerable and trust.
continually keeps us low and brings God high. Rightfully where He belongs.
Rightfully where we belong.
beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a
thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack
concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward
us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
2 Peter 3:8-9
“If you
are trying hard to do good, no one can really hurt you. But even if you suffer
for doing right, you are blessed.
“Don’t be
afraid of what they fear;
    do not dread those things.” (reference: Isaiah
respect Christ as the holy Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to answer
everyone who asks you to explain about the hope you have, but answer in a
gentle way and with respect. Keep a clear conscience so that those who speak
evil of your good life in Christ will be made ashamed.  It is better to suffer for doing good than for
doing wrong if that is what God wants.  Christ himself suffered for sins once. He was
not guilty, but he suffered for those who are guilty to bring you to God. His
body was killed, but he was made alive in the spirit.” 1 Peter 3:13-18 NCV


Life Application: If you have given up praying for something, start again this week. Today! Make a conscious decision
to rejoice and when those around you ask why you can be exceedingly glad when
your life is falling apart at best and at the very least, you have some
annoyances going on, you can answer them and tell them about your hope. About
Who your foundation is built upon. Take time to pour your heart out to the Lord. Be
honest and vulnerable before Him. Trust Him to know best.
Prayer: Lord, we love you, honor you, trust you,
respect you. We rejoice and give thanks for the amazing rescue of our souls.
For taking our place, for becoming our sin and giving us a eternal hope. Thank
you for never leaving us or forsaking us, even when we feel alone and isolated
and destroyed. We know that we are not. We may be struck down, but never
destroyed. Lord, help us to grasp that things really do work together for good
to those who love you. Let us not grow bitter and see that as a platitude with no
power behind it, but as hope for our future. A good one. One that will indeed
prosper us. Lord, forgive us for dropping the ball in prayer regardless of our
reasons. And strengthen us to continue in it because, Lord, we truly never know
when you will show grace and mercy. And it is not over until it’s over. In Your
precious name, Jesus, Amen.
How can I pray for you
and with you? If you want to email me privately, go to my Connect page. Now, what
is one thing you can rejoice about today?

Must Read Monday: Gray Matter (I’m giving away a copy!)

“The role of prayer in health care is itself a gray matter.”

Dr. David Levy tells his story through the pen of Joel Kilpatrick.

Dr. Levy didn’t start out knowing he wanted to be a neurosurgeon. He started out as a mechanic. He was good at fixing machines, and what machine is as beautiful and complex as the human brain?

He excelled through his classes, the typical overachiever, and was glorified by peers and colleagues. But something changed in Dr. Levy. That “something” was a Someone. God.

So…what if he brought prayer into health care? He grappled with the idea. What if he was rejected? Belittled? Humiliated? Yet he took the chance and started what he knew God wanted him to do–asking patients if he could pray with them before surgeries.

This book describes not only his procedures, which are explained easily for gals like me to understand and are incredibly fascinating, but it details the outcomes physically and spiritually.

Some physical symptoms experienced by patients had no medical cure –but the spiritual cure was forgiveness. Bitterness, hate, and resentment, doesn’t just effect the mind but the heart. These emotions can cause physical ailments and debilitating symptoms. Some of Dr. Levy’s stories are his experiences helping patients find Jesus and experience forgiveness as well as helping lead them to forgive others. It was beautiful!

Don’t expect every single procedure to be miraculous in this book–not all were– and I like that. He doesn’t sugarcoat anything, but what God did in the lives of the patients, families, and Dr. Levy are remarkable. No, not everyone verbally showed that they’d been moved by God, but that’s real life. We don’t always know how we touch others through simple prayers or our behaviors that reflect Christ.

If you question how effective prayer is, read this book. If you’re interested in amazing, complex neurosurgery, read this book, or if you simply need uplifted, encouraged, and hope–read this book. Thanks, Tyndale for giving me this book complimentary for review purposes!

For a limited time, it’s FREE on kindle! Click HERE to get it!
If you don’t have a kindle or just want the feel of a book in your hand, I’m giving away a copy of Gray Matter!
To enter: Answer the following question in the comments section below. “What kind of doctor would you be and why?” You have until Tuesday evening to enter into the random drawing. I will post the winner on Friday.