Monday, August 5, 2019

How to make a Prayer Battle Plan with God

for the last few years, i've created Prayer Battle Plans for situations in my life.

things i was in the middle of and things that were to come.

our oldest son going off to college, our youngest son starting high school, a friend's daughter with a mystery illness, sudden financial pressures. you name it and i made a battle plan for it.

these battle plans have changed my faith life.

and i'm praying they change yours too.

i've always been someone who prays daily, but it started to feel like my prayers weren't focused. that they were all over the place. it felt like i was taking my prayers, throwing them up in the air and hoping they'd stick.

praying had become a habit, and like most habits i did it without even thinking about it.

and God had become to me, who He has become to a lot of people.

a genie in a bottle.

i rubbed the side when i had a wish...and expected it to come true.

and i was disappointed when He didn't do what i asked Him to do.

if anyone needed to change their prayer life, it was me. 

i've written letters to God in prayer journals over the years. but i would write them and forget them. i've occasionally gone back and re-read a past entry but most of them were written and never looked at again. i have BOXES of prayer journals THAT HAVE NEVER BEEN LOOKED AT AGAIN. that's embarrassing to admit. God very well may have answered my prayers but i wouldn't know it. i never went back to acknowledge it. i never said thank you. i never saw if He did something better. i never looked for a bigger message.

i never looked for a greater miracle.

that's so awful it makes me cringe.

"hey God, it's me. if you could just keep filling my requests that would be great. i'm not going to bother to keep up with it. or thank you for it. but i'll be expecting you to figure it out. sound good? you're the best."

selfish much?

Psalm 102:17-18 says "He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; He will not despise their plea. Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord."

God gently reminded my prayers weren't meant just for me. because the world wasn't just about me. they're meant to offer hope and inspire faith to a future generation.

and nothing inspires people more than to see the outcome.

everyone wants to know how the story ends.

and i have boxes of books that don't tell anyone about the ending.

in my desire to change my prayer life, God kept bringing this scripture to mind. "Then the Lord replied; "Write down the revelation and it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay." Habakkuk 2:2-3

"write down the revelation and make it plain. though it linger, wait for it. it will certainly come."

so much direction. so much promise in that statement.

that was the start of my first battle plan. and that's what the Prayer Battle Plans became. writing down a plea before God. looking in His Word and finding what He says. believing what He says He will do, HE WILL DO. acknowledging what He's already done.

and not just praying it once. but praying THROUGH. all the way. waiting for it. as long as it takes.

these battle plans give me hope. tangible hope. a hope so real that i can feel it. a hope that makes me want to shout. a hope that i want to tell others about.

a wonderful, glorious, amazing hope.

2 Chronicles 20:15 reminds: "For the battle is not yours, but God's."

that's another promise this expectant heart clings to. it's not my battle, it's God's.

it's God's Prayer Battle.


not mine.

He's got this.

there's my hope.

there's your hope.

grab it. cling to it. believe it.

and by all means, write it down, so that the next generation may find it too.

and give praise to a God that keeps His Word now and forevermore.

If you want to make your own battle plan, click on the link below to print out a template I made to get you started. Once you see the basic premise you can make your own. As you can see from the picture below, I've made mine on whatever paper I had at hand. And while they're all different, they all follow the basic format that has developed over the years.

Here's a glimpse of what I do:

1) I name the battle. Naming it forces me to focus on what I am asking God to do. For example one of the battle plans I have for my oldest son going off to college is "Adam is surrounded by Godly influences and keeps God first in his life." I could have written "Adam has a good college experience and goes to Church" but that wasn't/isn't my goal. My prayer is that he is SURROUNDED by people who love the Lord and make Him their priority and that He keeps God his priority too. When you're naming your battle, think of what you're asking God to do. Be specific.

2) I write my prayer. I always include thanking God for what He's already done, telling Him what I'm concerned about, acknowledging any of my sins that may have added to the concern, and bringing to mind His promises. Writing things down makes them feel more real somehow. When things are written down situations become clearer. And when you write down your prayers it becomes easier to see what you're praying for and asking God to do in your life. There's no right or wrong way for you to write down this prayer. It's YOUR conversation with God. This is another place to be specific in your request. For the battle plan example about college, I ask God in my prayer to surround Adam specifically with Godly roommates, teammates, classmates, friends, coaches, teachers, administrators and influences. He's still in college so this is an ongoing prayer and I add to it as God brings people/situations to mind. Over the last 3 years I've prayed for the people in his dorm, apartment, fraternity, races/hotel rooms (when he traveled as a runner), and job. Sometimes this has led to creating a whole new battle plan for an area of concern. I continue to pray, thanking God along the way, and believing that He will continue to show up strongly on Adam's behalf. 

3) I find scripture promises that relate to my battle. I look in the Bible, I might find them in Christian books or magazines. I might hear it on a Christian show or song. I even do an internet search. And I write down the scriptures that speak to me. The ones I know apply to my concern the most. It gives me peace to find promises in scripture to go along with what I am praying for each day. I pick one and put it at the top of my plan. That's the one I keep my eye on and if I only have a few minutes to pray I can pray that scripture and remind myself that God's Word is true. I continue to add scripture as the battle goes along, always searching the Bible. There's no better way to fill myself up with faith then to see what God has promised. 

4) I pray the Battle Plan daily. I try to do this in the morning so it stays in my mind all day. Some days I write down any additional scriptures I've found and add any updates to how the situation is going. It's an ongoing conversation. That's the important part. That it's a conversation between God and I. He talks. I talk. He listens. I listen. And I continuously ask Him for wisdom to see the situation how He needs me to see it and to change what He needs me to change. Praying the battle plan daily helps me to see where God is working, not just in my life, but in my heart. 

5) If a battle is over, I keep praying it for a few days afterwards. I read back over it and see what God has done. I write down my final updates so I can go back and remember how God showed up on my behalf. And I thank Him for it all. Even when it didn't turn out how I may have asked in the beginning. I keep these old battle plans in a folder and when I'm facing a new battle that seems overwhelming, I go back and read through them and fill myself up with hope. That's the thing about these battle plans, they fill me up with hope. They help me to see clearly what God has done and builds up my faith for the next battle. 

I stand in awe of God. He keeps His Word. 

Even to someone selfish like me. 

If you have an area of your life where you want to see God show up, I encourage you to make a battle plan. Pray and believe that God will show up. That He will keep His Word. That He will do what He says He will do.

God is faithful!!!

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

somebody needs to hear your story

somebody needs to hear your story.

somebody needs to hear what you've been through.

somebody needs to hear that you made it despite the darkness.

somebody needs to hear that your sins didn't overtake you.

they threatened. 

they tempted.

they mocked.

but you came out on the other side. 

you could have given up.

you wanted to give up.

you almost gave up.

but you held on.

you kept pushing.

you kept fighting.

you kept hoping.

and you made it. 

one more minute.

one more hour.

one more day. 

somebody needs to know that.

somebody needs you to be real with them.

somebody needs to know they're not alone.

that there's a God who loves them.

that there's a God who will save them. 

we aren't in this for our glory.

we're in it for His.

tell somebody where your hope comes from. 

tell somebody your story. 

omebody needs to hear it today.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

People say you get over death

We found out today that my husband has the flu.
No big deal except in the 30+ years we've been together he's never had more than a cold. 
It started a couple of weeks ago with a cough. Then he lost his voice. Then his voice came back.
But the cough wanted to linger, especially first thing in the mornings. 
It became one of those aggravating things. 
Never said out loud of course. 
But definitely screamed inside my head.

Two days ago he started to get tired by midday.
I wondered how he could be tired at all since he had been sleeping an unusual 9-10 hours a night.
"He's probably tired from too much sleep," I thought and dismissed it just as quickly. 

Yesterday he was in bed by 3pm. 
We had a bunch of things we needed to do for our business but while he was waiting for me he decided to lie down. He never gets in bed in the middle of the day. That's when I knew he was sick.

I hoped the Elderberry syrup and tea with honey and lemon would help. It did a little. But he woke up this morning and soon felt dizzy and nauseous. I thought I would have to drag him kicking and screaming to the doctor's office. I was wrong. "Let's go," he said right away when I asked him. 

He came home from the doctor and said he was going to sleep on the couch in the living room tonight. We joked about him staying away from us so he didn't get us sick too. And I was fine with that and started stripping our beds to disinfect our house. 

And then he threw up.

And that was the game changer for me.

When I was 6 years old my mom got sick unexpectedly. We took her to the emergency room and they ran some tests and sent her home. My dad wanted her to get some rest so she slept in their room and the rest of us slept in the living room. My mom got up in the middle of the night to take some medicine. She went back to bed and threw up in her sleep. It went down the wrong pipe and she aspirated.

She died in that room all by herself.

Dramatic I know. To somehow be comparing the two. But the problem is when you suffer tragedy it becomes who you are. You try to walk away from it but no matter how far you go it's still there. Lurking. Hiding. Waiting for the right time to time to rear its ugly head. To remind you that it still remembers you.

To taunt you that it will not be forgotten. 

And tonight was that night.

People say you get over death.

As if it's something that eventually goes away. 

But it doesn't. 

You don't get over death.

You never do.

You just get better at blocking out the pain. 

And so I'll be sleeping in the living room tonight.

On a couch across from Chris.

It may seem crazy to some. To risk getting sick when it doesn't seem necessary.

But my heart can't stop the 6-year-old who still lives inside of me from remembering and believing there's no other place I should be.  

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

don't give up

don't give up.
though you're tired of fighting,
tired of falling down,
tired of wondering why life has to be so hard,
don't do it.
don't throw in the towel.
don't surrender to the struggle.

don't let what you think is the worst moment of your life,
become the last moment of your life.

refuse to let today defeat you.
refuse to let today define you.

refuse to let what the world says about you be the only thing you hear. 

don't let the pain be the only thing you see.

today you are alive.
today you are breathing.
today you may be hanging on by a thread,
but you're still hanging on.

that is not an accident.
that is not a coincidence.
that is not by chance.

God has you.

He's got you.
He's not letting go.

so hold on.

hold on tight.
and keep your eyes on Him.

because you may be in for the fight of your life...
but you are not in the fight alone. 

"For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do. But our eyes are on You." 2 Chronicles 20:12

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

be willing to show your scars

people need to hear about your pain.

they need to hear about your flaws.

they need to hear about your heartache. 

deep down they need to know that they can make it. 

they don't need to listen to a fairy tale.

they don't need to see a perfect life.

they need to know that you've failed.

that you've fallen.

that you've been knocked down.

but you got up.

you kept going.

you survived.

they need to know that in the middle of the darkest night there was a light.

that there was a way out. 

that there was a reason to keep trying.

and your scars show all of those things.

your scars leave behind evidence that you went through something.

they leave behind a trace of something you endured.

they leave behind the message of hope.

a message that says if you can do it maybe they can too.

if you ever want to help - really help someone - tell them your story. 

be honest about your past.

roll up your sleeves and show them your scars.

don't cover your wounds completely.

don't hide all the hurt.

find a purpose for your pain.

be willing to show your scars.

because the very worst and most painful part of your story

might be what gives someone else the strength to keep hanging on.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 "Praise be to the God and Father of our LORD Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God."

keep the faith. God is faithful!!!