5 Prayers When You Don’t Know What to Pray

Prayer does not have to always be about you. It isn’t a laundry list of the things you want and need. It isn’t a meaningless mantra you say so you can check it off on the to-do list. It’s a time of unleashing, surrendering, fellowshipping, processing, and renewing with God; taking the time to do all that is such a precious act of faith.

If you feel like your prayer life is getting dry and your mind is left wandering or you’re not sure where to go with your words, you can refocus with these fundamental types of prayers.

1.Prayers of Praise (1 Chronicles 16:28)

It’s not hard to focus on God and His greatness. Worship Him for what He’s done for you. Thank him for His love, grace, mercy, and faithfulness. Remember His history. If you still can’t find the words to praise, no worries. Just open your Bible. Psalms is a great place to start. Here are some other examples that are perfectly fine for you to pray:

-Exodus 15

-Nehemiah 9

2. Prayers of Thankfulness (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Spend time in prayer just practicing gratitude. Be thankful for both the exciting and the mundane. Be thankful for the things you take for granted like your house, your car, your phone, and your clothes. Be thankful for the people who bring you joy. Our blessings are gifts from God no matter how insignificant they may seem. Imagine a life without those blessings. Their presence can be worth more to your life the more you recognize them in prayer.

3. Prayers of Silence (Psalm 46:10)

You may think, well aren’t most of our prayers silent? Perhaps, but I’m talking about silence as your prayer. Our inner selves are so busy with thoughts, questions and worries. Praying about those things is great, nonetheless, we need a breather. Practice quieting your mind and letting God dwell and minister to you in His way.

4. Prayers for Others (John 13:34)

When you don’t have the words to pray for yourself, make good use of your prayers by focusing on others. Pray for our nation, our leaders, the persecuted church, your coworkers, your family, and your friends. Anyone that comes to your mind that has even the slightest impact on your life could be blessed by your faithful act of prayer.

5.Prayers in Tongues (Romans 8:26-27)

For those of you who practice praying in tongues, this may be a good time to do so. From what I’ve learned, ‘tongues’ is a very personal connection to God, allowing the Holy Spirit to pray on your behalf, even if you’re not sure what exactly you’re praying for.

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Remember that prayer sets things into motion. Prayer invites God to move, to minister, and to grow you as a person. Don’t limit your prayers. Remember the One Who deserves them the most. Make your time with God full and meaningful.

The next time you’re alone with God and you don’t know what to say, remember these basics and your prayers might just become richer with purpose.

 

God bless!

LJM

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Post Grad Life: Two Years of Purposeful Living

A lot can happen in two years. Life can change both on a dime and on 20,000 dollars. That’s roughly how much my student loans cost me, but I dedicated these two years living at home to paying them off. Now, debt freedom is on the horizon. It was such a blessing, even if it felt like I wasn’t doing much with my life.

Though I went through periods when I felt stagnant, God was busy. He still used me. He still showed me pieces of His plan for me. He treated me to accomplishments and opportunities all the while nurturing me in my weaknesses.

The lessons I’ve learned these past two years are treasures I will carry with me for the rest of my life, no matter where I go or what I do.

While working in a job that wasn’t anywhere near my desired field, God taught me a lot. Here are a few helpful tidbits to apply in the working world.

  • Leadership is knowing when to be tough and when to be encouraging—a balance between getting the job done and being there for the people.
  • Integrity is demonstrated.
  • Respect is given before it is earned.
  • Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay.
  • God loves all your bosses and coworkers just as much as you.

I could go on, but you get the point. You may not be thrilled with where you’re at right now, but always look at what God is teaching you. Suddenly, everything becomes deeper.

“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

∼Colossians 3:17∼

Some of the hardest days at work were the days I leaned on God the most and I praised Him for getting me through. I know that wherever I’m placed, if I choose to look at it in a way that will make me a better human and a better light for God, I’m acting out my purpose.

You mean I only have to glorify God to fulfill my purpose?

That’s right!

Assuming you’re a Christian, you should have at least a general understanding of what Jesus talks about in the Bible.

Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. Care for those who need you. Pray always. Give thanks in everything. Forgive. Encourage. Trust. Be careful of what you say. Stay away from what you know is wrong.

Don’t make excuses. Don’t overcomplicate the freedom Jesus has given us to live as His followers.

If we are following the Word of God, we’re following the calling God has for our lives. Not only will we be pleasing God, but we will also make a lasting impact on the people around us. And you don’t have to be famous to do that. You don’t have to have all the money in the world to do that. You don’t even have to be doing something you love in order to do that.

Don’t confuse your passion with your purpose. Hear me out—your mission isn’t limited to accomplishing your dreams. Sometimes your passion must take a back seat to responsibility. But while your dreams are stirring and growing behind the scenes, your every day life can still make a lasting impression.

No matter where you are or what you’re dealing with, God can still use you.

Embrace the infancy of your purpose. Take the necessary steps to figure it out. It might feel like you’re going nowhere sometimes, especially when you compare yourself to others who are “farther along” or are “doing more.”

Your path is what you make it, and the best thing you could do is trust God with where it leads. If you feel like this is your nomad season, remember, God still provided for His people while they wandered in the wilderness.

Whether you’re sweeping floors or building rocket ships, let the Word of God motivate your work so that you can do everything for the glory of God.

 

God bless!

LJM

The Feast of Tabernacles: A Home in the Wilderness

One summer Saturday, I looked at my backyard and I envisioned it. I saw the wood frame of my very own sukkah.

*A sukkah is a temporary dwelling place made with natural materials*

It took me a month, but I used tree stumps as the foundation, scrap wood for the frame, and greenery to decorate the outside. Why did I do this? Because I was getting ready for the Feast of Tabernacles!

What is the Feast of Tabernacles?

This feast is also referred to as Sukkot in Hebrew. The Bible translates it as the Feast of Ingathering or the Feast of Booths. Five days after The Day of Atonement, this feast is one that is more focused on a celebration than a sobering observance. It’s instructed to be a festival for seven days.

Why are we celebrating?

The Jewish people celebrate this conclusion of the fall feasts to commemorate the fall harvest as well as the power of God, who sheltered them in the wilderness after fleeing Egypt. Not only did God protect them, but He also dwelt in their midst as a cloud of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night (Exodus 13:21-22). Finally, when they built the first tabernacle, He dwelt in the Holy of Holies.

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My first Sukkah! 2018

Scripture References

Leviticus 23:33

Leviticus 23:39-43

Nehemiah 8:17-18

Numbers 29:12-16

1 Kings 8:1-2

Zechariah 14

 

How do we observe?

The people build small, temporary shelters called sukkahs. Out of natural elements, they build their sukkah to commemorate the beauty and fragility of an earthly shelter. For seven days they treat it like a typical living space, eating just about every meal inside, and some even sleeping in it at night.

This is one of three feasts where God commanded all males ages 13 and older to travel to Jerusalem to observe it. As a result, present day Jews and Gentiles alike go to Jerusalem to worship together with singing and dancing. Like I said, this is one of the most joyous festivals, and it warms my heart with the reminder of how God will always provide for His people.

How does Jesus fit in?

“Every good and perfect gift is from God” (James 1:17). Nothing could be truer than when God sent His Son to dwell among us. No other moment in history demonstrated such empathy, and as a result, we can be more connected with Him than ever before. Jesus said He was the light of the world and the living water, in other words, He was the guidance and protection of His people (John 7:37-39).

I loved my sukkah. My morning devotions, my meals, and my prayer time was spent inside. I felt like Jesus and I had a space to connect more. And the process–I would almost describe as holy as building an alter to God, and that’s what made it special for me. It was disappointing having to take it apart at the end of the week.

But the good news is, Jesus dwells with us even now, through both the everyday moments and the life altering ones. And one day, He will welcome us into eternity with open arms where we can tabernacle with Him forever.

Enjoy a collage of different styles of sukkahs!

Read Fall Feast Intro

Read about Fall Feast no. 1

Read about Fall Feast no. 2

God bless!

-LJM

 

Behold, the Coming of the Lord!

Do you ever wonder what it’ll be like when Jesus returns?

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

-Revelation 22:12-13 (NASB)

Blowing trumpets, fasting, praying, camping, dancing, laughing, crying. If you want to understand about what these actions have in common, you must first understand the season. August to October is a busy time of the year for one group specifically.

Jews, Jewish people, or God’s people.

This time of year is more than just Autumn, with leaves turning and people donning warmer clothes. It is a time of preparation.

For what? The Fall feasts of the Lord!

  1. The Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah)
  2. The Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur)
  3. The Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot)

Three separate feasts–one common theme: the final coming of the Lord, our Savior.

“These are the feasts of the Lord, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.” -Leviticus 23:4 (KJV)

As Christ followers, I feel like these feasts are just as important to us as we await the second coming of Jesus (Yeshua). This season, my family got a little taste of the spiritual applications of these special days and I know I will never live the same.

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I want to take you along to discover why the God of the universe declared these holy days and how Jesus has a vital role in them. For the next few weeks, I’ll be going into more detail of the history, the culture, and the spiritual application of these feasts.

I’d love for you to join me!

By the end, I hope you’ll gain a better understanding of the holy days God personally gave to Moses to teach His people, and how we, as Christians, can still apply those truths today.

Shalom and God bless!

LJM

Tower of God

The name of the Lord is a strong and mighty tower where the righteous can run and be safe…but sometimes Life tries to shake that tower and we watch as brick after brick falls to the ground. Overcome with dread, you wonder how much longer this tower will stand.

Then the Wind stirs from within the walls and sends your face to the ground.

Suddenly, your voice isn’t tight with despair, and the tears streaming from your eyes aren’t heavy with sorrow, they are merely overflow from a well filled with joy.

And on your knees in humility, you can only look up to the sky in awe and cry “Yahweh! You are God! And though I’m not worth it, I am loved by you. And I will spend the rest of my days trying to return your love.”

Just for a moment, that tower stands tall and no amount of fear, doubt, or anger can pierce its walls.

∼Proverbs 18:10∼

 

Stand strong in the Lord. Run to Him and be safe.

God bless!

-LJM

Message in the Stars

I received a message from God in my driveway.

Let me back up. For those of you that may know me, you may know that I adore the night sky. Whenever the moon swells and the stars begin to fill-in their map of the universe, I get captivated. With my neck craned back, I gaze upward in silent admiration at God’s artistry.

Well one night, when evening had settled, I burst out the back door and laid down on the warm asphalt of the driveway. With the midnight curtain spread above me, I prayed and praised God for the vastness of His work. It was such a peaceful moment, but one that didn’t last long.

The tingling against my leg made me think of the bugs that could be crawling about on the driveway, heading toward my skin. The dog barking in the distance reminded me of the coyotes that may be lurking on their nightly prowl.

The seemingly rational fears disrupted my serenity and laying on the driveway was no longer comfortable for me. After a few minutes of trying to relax and focus on the hope of a shooting star, I had to stand up, looking around me with more paranoia than I’d like to admit.

But even while I checked my skin for bugs and shook the gravel out of my hair, God was speaking to me.

“Do you see what happen here?” I felt Him say.

“How I spooked myself?”

“And yet, no bugs under your feet and no coyotes hiding in the bushes.”

“But I am in the mountains, it’s not unheard-of to find coyotes in the area.”

“Don’t you know that I am with you? You were dwelling in so much peace. Quiet–meditating in my presence. Wasn’t it great? But you let your fear take over.”

“I’m sorry, Father, I couldn’t help it.”

“Fear is out to rob you of your peace and joy in Me. It doesn’t take long before its ideas capture your mind.”

“Barely five minutes.”

I chided myself for letting the “what-ifs” creep into my thoughts and not only ruin my prayer time, but also my star-gazing time. I realized just how quick and easy Satan can use something so little to disrupt our connection with God.

I learned that to continue inviting the thoughts of God into my life, I must train myself to push away the thoughts of the Devil: fear, doubt, pride. They will work to steal everything good God has been working in my heart and will stop at nothing until they succeed.

But I have the love of the God of the Universe. I have the hope of His promises. I have the peace of His plan. And I have the blessings of His favor.

So when Satan attacks next time, maybe I’ll be ready to stand firm in victory with my eyes pointed toward the stars.

God Bless!

LJM

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Honing Your Spiritual Craft

Two best friends grew up playing instruments. One did right by her craft and the other let it fall by the wayside.

Hannah has been playing the viola religiously for over ten years. She understands the importance of discipline when it comes to her instrument. For her undergrad and masters she spent endless hours in practice rooms, sitting in the middle of orchestras and quartets, and standing in front of a crowd performing with the skill God gave her.

Even on vacation she sets aside time to practice, because she knows how easy it is for the discipline to slip away. And when the discipline goes, the skill follows and everything she worked for falls apart.

Take me as an example.

I took piano lessons for nine years. After high-school I went to college, free from the drudgery of practicing. I kept telling myself I would keep up the skill, and every once in awhile I would find a piano to plink out some tunes.

But over the years my memory of the songs dwindled, my coordination faded, and the natural talent my teacher said I had felt more like a rusty piece of machinery.

Hannah’s dedication is inspiring to me. She is a picture of the drive every Christian should have in their walk with Christ. Following our loving Savior takes just as much discipline as any other trade.

Why do you think His followers were called disciples? They grew to understand the difficult training in their journey with Jesus. The moment they stepped away from their world, they entered a life of developing and practicing through their faith in Jesus and their knowledge of Scripture. And they strove to live life as an iron spear, in constant sharpening.

The Apostle Paul writes in Colossians that we “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God…joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” Colossians 1:9-12

God has given us the power to be steadfast, to keep going on this journey with Him. Our faithfulness is evidence of the discipline that we walk in. The way of a disciple is guided by the promise of an eternal inheritance from our Father, our ultimate end goal.

If you want to hone your craft of discipleship, you must put in the time, fueling the dedication with the end goal in mind, just as you would with any talent or career. If you don’t, your spirituality will fray and become sparse just like my piano playing skills.

Don’t fret though, you can get it back, but it will take hours of hard work and true persistence. In the end, your perseverance will be evident as you shine with the glory and the love of God to the world.

Happy practicing!

-LJM