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Ash Wednesday 2016

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Ash Wednesday 2016

 

 

 

Rise & Pray breakfastIt is Ash Wednesday, the first day of lent and hopefully the day you start with your "Rise and Pray" journal, starting the habit of more intentional prayer and thanksgiving.

Last year I read Luke 22:46 "and he said to them, "Why are you sleeping? Rise and pray..." Again, I couldn't believe the disciples kept falling asleep rather than praying with their best friend who was about to be betrayed and arrested - didn't they know he was about to die, he'd been telling them the last however many pages!? Why couldn't they just keep their eyes open and pray for their best friend, his life depended on it!? Then I felt like God was speaking directly to me in these verses. "Why are you sleeping Rebecca? Rise and pray!" At that time I was frustrated with my own situation, adjusting to life as a Mum, no longer regularly active in ministry at church because I couldn't get out to events with a small babe and a husband who worked ridiculously long hours. I felt a bit useless, what could I possibly do for the kingdom now I had been "reduced to" changing nappies and merely existing rather than impacting the world around me. Then this verse really challenged me and opened by eyes. Actually, I was in a very privilege position of not having my mind taken up by stretching/taxing activities, no serious responsibilities or stress [like my previous job as a secondary school teacher making sure 25 teenagers don't injure themselves or each other in a workshop] which meant it was freed up - which meant I could pray!! Throughout my day I was free to pray, not just little quick prayers but huge long ones if I wanted to. I felt cross the disciples were sleeping rather than praying for their best friend who's life depended on it - but actually was I praying for my closest girl friends who don't know Jesus? Was I praying for their salvation - because their life depends on that! Or was I just 'sleeping' through my days not making the most of the opportunities afforded to me in this season. And I realised - I was sleeping, and it was most definitely time to rise and pray! Pray for my friends, family, pray for work situations, pray for healing, salvation, world leaders even [I'm not very political, but it's in the Bible]! This is the point I started to be more intentional, think about who I was going to pray for each day – and make it known to friends and family [Christians and non] I would love to pray for them, if they have anything on going or if they get into situations and need prayers all they need do is text and I would start praying. This was the start of the Rise & Pray journal.

I also realised through this I needed to be more thankful. A LOT more thankful. Rather than feel sorry for myself being 'reduced' to nappies I really should be appreciating the amazing daughter I have and this precious time together. God was opening a new ministry for me – one where I could share the word and pray for people all around the world, via my instagram. This was so exciting and bought me such joy. I shouldn’t underestimate the impact I was having for the kingdom via this ministry. So I started to be more thankful for what I had, for what God had given me. The amazing provision I’ve seen. The HUGE prayers I’ve prayed and He answered with incredible accuracy down to the very last tiny details. The ‘small’ prayers I pray every day that get answered – like car parking spaces when town is heaving. [Psalm 92:1 "It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;"]

And do you know what, I became a lot happier, I prayed more, felt closer to God, saw more prayers answered [you pray more, it’s more chances for God to answer]. I’m not saying it’s the answer to everything – your life will be perfect if you follow this formula. I highly doubt that, my life is far from perfect. But my prayer is that it will help. It will help you pray about things rather than panic about things. Be thankful about things rather than bogged down in things.

This is the back-story for the Rise and Pray journal. Writing these things down helped me to be more intentional – both in my prayers and thanksgiving. If you’re intentional about things, you’re more likely to succeed. It helps form the positive habit, and once the positive habit is formed it becomes second nature.

So let’s be intentional and lets rise up, wherever we might be in our lives right now and lets pray more, lets be more thankful and lets share testimony to encourage each other along this journey!!

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