Prayers vs. Good Thoughts

Pet peeves.  We all have them.  Most of us have a long list of them.  I know I do.  Incorrect grammar drives me crazy.  Younger people being disrespectful always makes me want to correct them on the spot.  One of the biggies for me though is people saying “I am sending good (or positive) thoughts.”  What is that?  Explain it to me.

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How does one send a thought?  Do you put it in a box and send it?  No, that wouldn’t work.   I suppose in lieu of praying people believe this is the next best thing.  Perhaps for them it even is the best thing, but it is not for me.  I would much rather have and offer prayer.  In fact, scripture tells us to “Pray without ceasing.” in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.

Do you believe a person’s thoughts are powerful enough to change someone else’s life?  I don’t.  Do I believe prayer is that powerful?  Pull up a chair and let me tell you some first hand experiences.  Yes, prayer is absolutely that powerful and effective.  Why, because God is powerful.

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Several years ago I had a stroke.  The doctors said there was damage done to my eyes and I would always see bright flashing lights, like strobe lights.  Always meaning every minute of every day for the rest of my life.  To the doctors’ baffling surprise my eyesight improved almost back to normal.  I had an army of faithful prayer warriors praying for me.  God heard and answered our prayers.  No positive thoughts or vibes sent my way could have healed me.

Family members have had cancer literally disappear thanks to our healing Heavenly Father answering our prayers.  Lives have been saved, jobs secured, and babies added to our family all because we prayed and God answered.   Money miraculously became available to pay for food or important bills, all because of answered prayers.  Accidents were avoided, injuries not as severe, and diagnoses not fatal where first thought, all due to faithful praying family and friends.  God heard and answered.  Prayer makes a difference, a big difference.

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I encourage you to pray for one another instead of merely saying you are sending thoughts.  It is not difficult.  There is no special way to pray.  It is a conversation between you and your Creator.  He knows everything about you already, even what you are going to say.  Open your heart and just talk to God.  The more you pray, the more you will want to pray and the easier it will become.

Don’t get me wrong.  Positive thinking is important.  It makes a huge difference in a person’s day.  We all awake each day with the choice to be happy and see life with the glass half full or we could be grumpy and negatively say the glass is half empty.  I do believe in positive thinking, but I just don’t believe in sending positive thoughts.

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Speaking of thoughts, I hope this has given you something to ponder if you ask for or offer good or positive thoughts.  Honestly, I would rather not have someone say that to me except for the fact that I can pray for them.   If they aren’t praying, they are missing such a blessing.  We all need blessings and prayers.  We all need God.

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Strike the Mark Book Tour & Giveaway by Celebrate Lit

Today on my blog is a stop on the book tour for Strike the Mark by James W. Gill.  There is information on him, his book, the other stops, and his giveaway.  Don’t forget to enter so you might win.

My Thoughts

Strike The Mark is a no nonsense book on prayer.  Its subtitle says “Powerfully targeted prayers for victory and breakthrough.”  This nonfiction book says “prayers that strike the mark are specific prayers authorized by the Holy Spirit and endowed with divine power to accomplish the will of God in your life and for the needs of the world.”  Wow, heavy reading here.

The author included scripture as well as person stories to make his point.  I particularly liked that each chapter was closed with a prayer.  His writing was concise and for the most part easy to understand.  However, at times I felt like I was in a theology class and my mind wandered.

There are twelve chapter in this book.  Dealing with a wide variety of topics such as confessing our sins and praying for others there are some chapters that touched me more than others.  I did learn a lot but sometimes I did not personally agree with his line of thinking.

I would recommend this book on prayer.  It would be perfect for a small group on prayer.  There is much to ponder and discuss after reading Strike the Mark.  I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but I was under no obligation to write a review.

About the Book

Book: Strike The Mark

Author: James W. Goll

Genre: Christian non-fiction, prayer, spiritual warfare

Release Date: May 7, 2019

Strike the Mark CoverPrayers that strike the mark are specific prayers authorized by the Holy Spirit and endowed with divine power to accomplish the will of God in your life and for the needs of the world. On the cross, Jesus fulfilled the ultimate answer to all of our prayers, but He awaits our invitation to come into our situations and circumstances. When people of prayer intercede, they create a meeting place between the heavenly Father and His children. God comes upon the person who is praying and moves them from the natural to the supernatural. Empowered by God, the intercessor has the authority to cut down enemy forces and pick out “targets” for God’s lightning bolts of glory, bringing victory and breakthrough.

Intercession could be called “extreme prayer” because it links extreme needs with the extraordinary power of God. Inserting ourselves into the gap between God and a need, we call upon the Holy Spirit, our Helper, who is ready to move us from finite ability to infinite ability, take hold of difficult situations, and help accomplish the will of God. We have the great honor of being called to “paint targets” on cities, churches, ministries, family members, contemporary “Sauls” (those who persecute or cause difficulty), and even ourselves. Our believing, persistent prayers will Strike the Mark!

He covers His hands with the lightning, and commands it to strike the mark” (Job 36:32 NASB).

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

James GollJAMES W. GOLL is the president of God Encounters Ministries and has traveled around the world sharing the love of Jesus, imparting the power of intercession, prophetic ministry, and life in the Spirit. He has recorded numerous classes with corresponding study guides and is the author of more than forty books, including The Seer, The Discerner, Releasing Spiritual Gifts Today, Passionate Pursuit, The Lost Art of Intercession, and The Lifestyle of a Prophet. James is the father of four wonderful children with a growing number of grandchildren, and makes his home in Franklin, TN.

 

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, James is giving away a grand prize of a $20 Starbucks gift card!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/e2ac/strike-the-mark-celebration-tour-giveaway

But, Who is Praying for Me?

Prayer Warriors are constantly praying for someone.  There is so much to lift up to God and it seems so little time.  We intercede for the sick, lost, hurting, and needy.  For the mother whose baby is desperately trying to stay in her womb to grow strong.  For the father trying to work overtime or a second job just to make ends meet.  For the teenager caught in the middle of making some life changing decisions.  For our President and government leaders.  Let’s not forget our family and friends.

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See what I mean?  We have so many people depending and deserving of our prayers.  Years ago my niece, Phoebe, and I were talking about praying.  She was little and not even in school.  A friend had called me and asked if I could pray for her granddaughter.    One thing led to another and I told Phoebe if she listened with her heart instead of her ears she could hear who needed her prayers.  Many times God will tell us.

A couple of weeks later she was excited to tell me she felt her first prayer request.  After dinner the night before she heard her Daddy say that a lady he worked with was going to be out because of surgery.  “I don’t even know her name, Aunt Sissy, but my heart heard for me to pray for her.”  Wonderful!  She did understand what we were discussing.  Right then we stopped everything and prayed for the woman.  Now in her mid-twenties, Phoebe is still a Prayer Warrior.

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On the flip side, I have someone that has been mad at me for over two decades.  I can’t say exactly why, buy I have apologized and shouldered the blame in hopes of reconciling with this friend.  A few times I have tried to have a “peace talk” with her, but it always goes no where.  This last time, I asked how things had been going in her life and told her that I had been praying daily for her and our relationship.  Then I asked if she prayed for me and our relationship, too.  She looked at me as if my hair had just turned turquoise and laughingly said “no, why would I?”

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Out of all the vicious remarks this friend has made, none hurt even a fraction as much as this one did.  I thought everyone prayed for the people they loved.  Maybe that was it, she had stopped loving me.  All I know is that in that moment I felt so lost and alone.  No one was praying for me?  Prayer is the biggest blessing to give someone.

E4F86CFD-BFC0-42DC-9D3B-A222EC73FEB7.pngEver feel like you are lost and alone with no one to lift you up in prayer?  I have great news.  You may pray for yourself.  Yep, it is allowed.  Also, the Holy Spirit will lift you up, too.  You might be surprised to find some little Phoebes that have been listening with their hears and are praying for you.

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There are no special words needed.  No super formula.  Just have a heart to heart with your maker.  The Bible tells us in Romans 8:26“…but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

We always have someone praying for us.  No need to fret.  Easy your mind and rest in the Lord.  Oh, and keep praying!

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Listen to What I Mean and Not What I Say

My Mammaw used to tell us often, “you need to listen to what I mean and not what I say.”  To a kid that sounded ridiculously funny.  As an adult, I get it.  How many times have I lost a word when speaking or switched one for another?  Anyone else ever do that?

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My husband laughed at me as I asked him recently to put something in the dishwasher in the garage.  At the time I was doing dishes and needed something put in the outside refrigerator.  My daughter would have chuckled and complied.  Not my comedian of a hubby.  “Want me to put in dishwasher soap, too, honey?” he asked trying to maintain a straight face.    Then I realized what I had actually said.  (Watch for him in a comedy club near you – hahaha!)

Words are meant as a means of communications.  Sometimes they work smoothly and others they just don’t.  We share them with others.  Sometimes when life gets tough and trials come, words fail me.  They want to stay bottled up inside.  Friends are always ready to lend a shoulder and ear, but it isn’t always that easy.

Abba hears us and knows exactly what we mean even before He hears the words.  His Word assures us of that.  Isaiah 65:24 says “…before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”  Our God is so powerful He know our prayers before we pray them.  He always listens to what we mean.

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Sometimes my soul is weary or hurts and words leave it.  I want to pray but I can’t seem to form the words.  Tears fall with no problem.   Things in my life or the world seem insurmountable.  There is a lot going on that should not be.  In Romans 8:26 scripture tells me that “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”  So God hears me even when I cannot form the words.  The Holy Spirit knows.

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I hope you take comfort as I do in knowing that our prayers are always heard even when we are so down hearted we can only “be silent” with God in prayer and let the Holy Spirit intercede for us.  If you misspeak, like I often do, God hears what you mean. He sees us through the eyes of a Loving Father.

Unsolicited Advice

Since my husband has retired we spend almost all of our time together.  Good thing we still love each other very much!  Honestly, it is what I have been anticipating for many years, our time.

He never was one to do anything in the kitchen except lick the spoons or steal some cookie door off of the sheet right before I popped it into the oven.  It made me ponder how my friends had gotten so lucky to have husbands that cooked.  Not mine.  He is a self proclaimed “eater”.  Without eaters the world would not need cooks is his logic. (lol)

Last week I was preparing dinner.  A simple beef roast with vegetables in my Rockcrok, a slow cooker.  All of a sudden I had a supervisor.  “Those potatoes need to be cut in quarters instead of halves.” my husband gingerly stated.  Having gotten away with that a minute later he stopped me and said “Whoa, you have enough carrots in there.”  Now I was getting a bit irritated.  The final straw was when he asked “Do you always use that many herbs and keep the celery leaves on?  Maybe that’s too much.”

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I don’t tell him how to run things in the yard or take care of the vehicles, because I have no experience.  He knows so much more than I do in those areas.  Just like I know so much more about cooking than he does.

As soon as that comparison came to my mind, so did something else.  How many times have I done the same thing with God?  Ouch!  Have I really tried to give advice or tell the Creator of the Universe what to do?  Well, yes, I guess I have.

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There have been times I have taken things to Him in prayer, and instead of asking that His will be done or for His help, I have listed what needed to be done.  Have you ever done that?  I would pray asking Him to do specific things so that the end result would be what I thought I needed.  How ridiculous is that?  The child giving instructions to the all knowing Father? Unsolicited advice being given to the One that directs us?

Scripture tells us in Philippians 4:6-7:  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Abba doesn’t need a work order from me.  His way is perfect.  He already knows what needs done and what will happen.  All I need to do is lift my request to Him.  God knows exactly what needs to be done.  He is not waiting for my suggestions on how to solve a crisis.

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My prayers now take a different tone.   I know God knows and does what is best.  When I pray I take my concerns to Him, thank Him for being bigger than any issue I have, and leave it with Him.  Believe me, it isn’t always easy.  Sure I would love to include my suggestions but that would be silly.  Jehovah is our powerful God.  He isn’t our God that needs help.

Think about this the next time you pray for something.  Don’t make the same mistake I did.  Ask Him for help not if He needs any.

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The Devoted Life, a Creative Journal by Marjorie Jackson

Nutrition is about what is in something that we put in our body.  Like green beans or cookies.  Everyone is aware of food nutrition, but are we aware of our spiritual needs?  What are we feeding our soul?  What do we give our young women to put into their hearts, minds, and spirits?  I have just the thing.
The Devoted Life, a Creative Journal by Marjorie Jackson is delightful.  It is marketed and labeled as being for teen girls, but any woman could use it.  There are 31 devotions so this is a month of inspiration and encouragement.
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The book itself is rather small and slender.  It would easily slip inside a purse or tote.  The cover is a sleek stylish imitation leather and doesn’t look like a young girl.  There is an attached pink ribbon bookmark to keep reader’s place marked.
At the beginning of each section is the title along with small illustrations to color.   The daily devotion consists of scripture followed by one-page commentary and three additional scriptures for in-depth study.  There is room to journal any thoughts from the lesson or prayers.
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This would make a wonderful small group study for older teens or young adult ladies.  Actually any ladies’ group would enjoy it.  Topics are relevant and timely.  Friendship, family, relationships, God, trust, and prayer are just a sampling of the subjects tackled. Lessons are short enough to get finished in a little amount of time but long enough to teach readers.  It has plenty of free “create your own” spaces.
The coloring and journaling devotional are becoming very popular.  After looking at some others, I can honestly say this is one of the better ones.  Don’t be misled when you thumb through it.  It will look pale and drab.  It is just a plain coloring journal.  Wait until your creative ideas take over and colors bloom on the pages.  It will be a masterpiece to treasure for years to come.
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I highly recommend this lovely, God glorifying Journal.  I have twin granddaughters and look forward to buying each of them a copy when they are a bit older.  In fact, I plan on doing it with them.  It would be a wonderful group project, gift, or something to buy yourself.  I give this a 5 out of 5 stars and hope there are more to come.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own, honest ones.
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Be God’s Vessel

On a rare trip to the inside of the grocery, I noticed most people hurrying past the Salvation Army bellringer.  No eye contact, and especially no hello or Merry Christmas to her was offered.  I supposed people were afraid it would cost them a donation.  My attitude was taking a turn for the worse so I checked it at the door.

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Inside was a flurry of activity.  School is out for Christmas break, and kids were excited just to be at the grocery store.  “Mom, could we get this?  Mom, I really want some of these.  Mom, Mom, Mom!”  Poor mothers were trying to finish shopping while kids were requesting items not on the list or in the budget.  I spied one young mother longingly check the price of a turkey and then ham.  Reluctantly she put both back and went to the reduced section where she picked up some marked down ground meat.  The four kiddos danced around the packaged lunches down a ways that all kids love but were good when she shook her head no.  For a family of six, her cart was surprisingly scant.  I crossed paths with them again as I went down the toy aisle checking for stocking stuffers for my four grands.  The kids were eager to offer opinions even though they were much younger than my grands are.

I was delayed at the pharmacy for a short bit but ended up in line next to the delightful family.  After flagging down a worker, I asked him to hurry and get a ham, turkey, dozen lunchables, and some toys the kids had ogled.  I was ready to check out and the mother was next in line next door so I needed him to hustle.  He did.  With the help of “Ryan” I was able to get these bought and later loaded into her van without her knowing.  He even contributed some items he knew she needed since she shops there often.

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At her checkout time the mama did not have enough food stamps to pay so she started to put things back.  The person in back of her asked “for the privilege of paying for your order” and even added some items from his cart and the candy display.  I heard the woman say through tears she had prayed for a miracle and thanked the man for allowing God to use him.

That day God used me, Ryan, and another man to provide groceries and toys for a faithful, praying woman.  I tell you this not for any glory for myself at all, but for God.  He is Jehovah Jirah, our God that provides.  Answering prayers is just in a His nature.  He will use you if you just make yourself available and ask.

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Friends, I am abundantly blessed and that could have easily been me or one of my children except for the Grace of God.  If you are nudged this season by Abba, please follow through with it.  Let Him use you as the vessel to answer someone’s prayer.  You will end up being blessed.