Developing a Creative Prayer Life: Part 9

Prayer-Part 9

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. ~Ephesians 5:15-17~

Missed parts 1-8? Get started here.


‘Tis the Season NOT to Lose Your Religion. What an appropriate title, if I do say so myself! To say this was the week I almost lost MY religion, would be an understatement! I already had the topic in mind, so when real life actually played out, well, I knew I had to write it, even if it is a few days late. And stick with me, it really does have something to do with Creative Prayer!


My apologies for the late post this week, but between having my computer tied up migrating to my “new” computer last weekend (48+ hours and it did NOT work!), the computers were out of commission with IT another 24+ hours this week, getting behind on grading because of failed migration (needed to let students know their current grades by Thursday before they left for the holiday break), burning the midnight oil grading all that stuff, trying to work part-time every night over the weekend to meet financial obligations, starting to pack to move, getting condo ready to sell, and preparing for a yard sale (another post, another time!), and just functioning, well, I was exhausted!


See why the topic is so timely?!?!?


Guess I should have written this about a month ago so I, too, would be ready for “the season”!




So, this one will be sort of short, compared to my others, but hopefully with some good, “conscious” tips you can use as you enter into the busy holiday season. I read that word, conscious, in an American Psychological Association (APA) post about Making the Most of the Holiday Season and it struck me as “odd”. Odd because we are constantly reading tips, advice, etc. about how to survive this thing or that, but when are we told to be conscious about it?


I realized when we are making conscious decisions and choices about anything, life seems to go so much better. I made the conscious decision to pray first (before I do ANYTHING) a few years back after hearing a compelling sermon on how to put God first in everything we do and it changed my life.

When we take our days to God before we do anything and we consciously make decisions about how we lead our lives, change can ACTUALLY happen!




1-Unattainable Expectations

I think the number one reason why we are so stressed during this time of the year is due to OUR unattainable expectations. We expect things to be perfect. We expect everyone to be happy. We want all the food, gifts, decorations, etc. to be Pinterest perfect. And we usually expect that WE will be the ones to make it all happen. Am I right? I know I’ve thought that way before.


2-More Obligations

Whether it’s parties, church services, etc. there is MORE stuff added to our schedules during November and December. More things to juggle in the same 24 hours we have during January-October. There simply is not enough time to do it ALL!


3-Forgetting the Reason for the Season

If we really stop and think about what this season is “suppose” to be about, we realize it’s about the birth of our King and Savior Jesus Christ, and then we feel guilty. Or at least I’ve done that before. Realizing WHY we are celebrating and doing all these crazy things was not what God had in mind for us when He asked us to celebrate the birth of His Son…..we did that! But, then we feel guilty for NOT putting Him first and the crazy cycle starts all over!




Okay, so we know WHY we’re stressed, how do we stop and NOT get so stressed this year? I’ve combined a few suggestions from the APA and the Mayo Clinic, plus some of my own, so I truly hope they help you KEEP your religion and consciously get through the holidays with joy this year!


1-Stop Moving

This may sound counterproductive in this crazy, busy season and with the other things I’m about to tell you, but if you can’t first stop for a few minutes, you WILL lose your religion!


Find a few minutes to stop, breathe, pray, listen….listen to what God is telling you to do (we have to stop talking in order to hear Him!). Write things down. Make lists. Get a plan. RELAX. Just stop moving for a few minutes!


2-Pray First

I know you’re thinking, “why didn’t she put this one FIRST?”, but, again, if you can’t stop long enough to listen, you’re not going to be able to pray first!




Pray for the season we are entering into. Pray for the people on your mind and heart right now. Pray for those who do not have the luxury of doing all that you’re doing during this season and that they and YOU will truly remember the reason for the season.


3-Do Something for You

You know how the airlines ask you to put the oxygen mask over your mouth FIRST before you put it over your child’s, well, this is the same concept. If you don’t take care of YOU before you try to entertain and take care of everyone else, you will stress yourself out and lose your religion, and your mind, all at the same time.


You could go for a walk/run, read a book, take a nap, do a craft, listen to music, etc. ANYTHING that rejuvenates YOU. Do it so you can then do for others.


Part 9 Quote


4-Make a Plan

When I say make a plan, I mean make a plan for EVERYTHING. Make a plan for your time, your money, your family, your work obligations, your kids’ schedules, your church obligations, etc.


Think through everything that you think NEEDS to happen.

Strike out what you can live without.

Leave what SHOULD happen.


If you schedule it and are conscious of it, it should get done.


5-Work the Plan

Now that you have taken everything to God, taken time for you, and consciously made a plan, it’s time to work the plan. By that I mean, look at it every day and see what is actually doable. Revise the plan if it can’t all happen on any given day and then forgive yourself. Let yourself off the hook because the world will not end if you do not get it all done…..REMEMBER THE REASON FOR THE SEASON!


6-Rinse and Repeat as Needed

I don’t think doing the preceding five things will magically make this season completely stress-free, but I do think if you are conscious of what’s important and you set the standard NOW, rather when you’re in the middle of the craziness, your season will be so much more enjoyable.


STOP whenever you feel yourself stressing. I did this the other day when I felt like my head was going to explode from grading. I went for a run/walk. No pressure of how far or how fast. Just long enough to feel the stress level subside.


PRAY whenever and often! I send up small, “Please God!” prayers ALL day long and He gets me through the next phase of my day until I am finished.


Take some Me Time. ALLOW yourself do something for YOU. I sat down and made some artist trading cards the other day. Okay, I was trying to catch up from last week, but it was also just to relax for a little while and it worked!


Make a Plan and Work it. If you think through what’s suppose to happen during the next six weeks and you work with what you’ve got and what you physically can accomplish, you will feel a lot less stressed and keep your religion all at the same time.


Some of this may sound too EASY or too HARD, but either way, it’s doable and it does help. Our obligation is to be the best us we can possibly be. If we’re stressed out, no one enjoys themselves. Take time this holiday season to consciously get through it, enjoy friends and family, and keep God’s Son as your top priority!


Until next week (okay, in just a few days) I pray you take some time to sit with our Lord and hear His plan for you as you celebrate the birth of His Son this season!


Please pass this post along to someone you think could benefit from not losing their religion this season and please leave any comments about how you handle holiday stress in the comments below.


In His Grace,

Kelly B.

Developing a Creative Prayer Life: Part 8

Prayer Pt 8

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people ~1 Timothy 2:1~

Wow! I wasn’t sure I could write two posts about prayer and here we are on Part 8!!!!! Prayer has taken on a much more important role in my life over the past 9 weeks, and I truly hope it has for you too. I’ve got two, maybe three, more posts about prayer before I take a break for the holidays, so if you want to catch up on parts 1-7, check them out here:


Part 7: Praying Through

Part 6: Fear Not

Part 5: Audacious Prayers

Part 4: Personalized Prayers

Part 3: Praying Scripture – Lectio Divina

Part 2: Praying Independently

Part 1: Getting Started




I thought intercessory prayer simply meant to pray for someone else, and in its simplest form, that is what it means, but it means more than just praying. Intercessory prayer is taking the place of another, standing in the gap (hence the pic of someone jumping a “gap”….get it?), and standing firm for them expecting an answer. In other words, it’s an audacious prayer for another!


Remember audacious prayers a few weeks ago? They are the type of prayers that God wants us to pray and looks forward to answering because they are the type of prayers that only HE can answer. The same holds true with intercessory prayers.




The intercessors of the Old Testament were the Levitical priests who went before God serving Him with sacrifices and offerings and between God and man offering blood sacrifices on behalf of sinful man.


Thank goodness we do not have to offer sacrificial lambs anymore! Because God sacrificed His first born, His blood was shed for all our sins and that opened the gap for us to come to Him ourselves. Jesus is our intercessor standing before and between God and us on our behalf.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. ~Hebrews 4:14-16~




Intercessory prayer is also a form of warfare. Often people have prayed and prayed and prayed and they get to a point they feel like God isn’t listening or they are never going to receive an answer to their prayers. As believers, we know God hears us, but His timing is sometimes SO different from ours we can’t understand the reason why, so we stop praying. We give up!


That’s when the enemy finds his “gap” and jumps in with both feet! Doubt sets in, we stop praying, and the enemy gets in our heads and we think we are just doomed to be in a situation forever. If, on the other hand, we had PRAYED THROUGH (last week’s topic!) we would see God’s answer was SO much better than anything the enemy could dream up!


This is where intercessory prayer partners come in! As I was thinking about this week’s topic and what personal story I was going to share, I thought about being an intercessor for my church’s LIFE Retreats each semester. I had never been an appointed “intercessor” for a large group of people. I had always prayed for people when they asked me to, but never for hundreds of people I didn’t know. This was a challenge!


Praying for 10+ hours was first of all, THE most draining thing I’ve ever done. And it was THE most exhilarating thing I’ve ever done! I could literally feel the enemy in the room, but I could also feel the enemy flee when the Holy Spirit took over! It was amazing!


Some intercessors danced. Some swayed. Some paced. Some sat. I doodled. When I was in the auditorium, I sang, danced, praised God, lifted my hands, and let the Holy Spirit lead me wherever He wanted me. In our designated “upper room” (we had so many intercessors, we had to be split into two prayer groups!) I sat and doodled. I found scripture that spoke to me, so prayed and doodled (pen & paper in hand) those scriptures until it was our group’s time to head back down to the auditorium. It was an amazing experience!




I wanted to tell you that story, but I honestly have no personal testimony of how any of those intercessory prayers turned out. I prayed for complete strangers, so I have no verbal confirmation of answered prayers other than ones relayed to the church about how the retreat changed their lives. I’m assuming many, many prayers were answered!


Then, I received an email this week that I knew was the perfect testament to what intercessory prayer is all about.


One of my small group participants shared with us that a friend who had been diagnosed with cancer was going in for tests to see how things were going. She had asked me to pray for the friend as well. I gladly agreed, because I LOVE praying for others! Let me put this prayer request into perspective….this girl had already lost two close friends to cancer over the past few years, so she was convinced that “cancer always takes its victims” and that the news would not be good, but she, and I, prayed anyway.


To everyone’s surprise, the friend was given a clean bill of health and her cancer is in remission! Praise God!


What she shared next was the amazing part to me and such a testimony to the power of prayer. She had been praying for two and a half years! She had prayed, begging and pleading, for two other friends to be spared from the death of cancer only to not have those prayers answered (or at least not the way she had hoped). Although she openly prayed for good results, she was beginning to doubt her prayers were being heard or if they were, they were going to have the same outcome as her other two friends.


She was almost giddy sharing her excitement of her friend’s good news and about the perfect timing of last week’s post on praying through. As she said, “Gosh, He is so good!” I couldn’t have said it any better!


Her story reminded me that when I think my prayers are not being heard, they truly are, and when I don’t get the answer I hope for when I hope, that it’s not for me to answer. It’s HIS perfect timing and HIS perfect answer that always comes to pass. My part in all of this is to dig in, persist, and expectantly wait for Him to answer. As my precious small group girl put it, “He delights in showing himself to us. He has such sweet, amazing plans for us.”

Part 8.a



Praying for others can:

  • Offer support – When others are tired and weary, just having the support of other prayer warriors may help them to persevere and pray through.
  • Offer more prayers – The more prayers God hears for a person or a situation, the more He looks for ways to answer them in a grand, audacious way!
  • Offer another perspectives – Having others praying for a situation can offer another perspective and possibly even “different” types of prayers that the primary person may not have thought about. I recently prayed for a new teacher who couldn’t see the spiritual warfare going on in her life and classroom (she just saw “bad kids”) and so we prayed for her to bind her classroom, not just herself, in the name of Jesus and let God take control of the situation.




Praying for others can:

  • Take our minds off of our issues – Thinking about others and praying for their issues can take our minds off what we’ve been praying for, even if just for a little while, putting others above ourselves.
  • Put our issues in perspective – Once we see the gravity of other, more pressing issues, it can make our struggles seem small so we can focus on more important issues.
  • Give us hope – Maybe we haven’t seen an answer to one of our prayers, but if we see prayers answered in others’ lives, it will give us hope to keep praying through our own situations.


HOW TO INTERCEDE FOR OTHERS (adapted from The Quickened Word)

  1. Be willing to risk and defend – be willing to risk relationships with some to intercede and help others
  2. Volunteer – be willing to step up and pray, whether you are asked to or not
  3. Pray for mercy, not judgment – be willing to pray in the gap for another person – you are not the judge and jury – pray for mercy and discernment
  4. Humility and Service – be willing to humble yourself and serve the person you are interceding for
  5. Favor – keep yourself in favor with the Lord, seeking His wisdom for yourself and those you intercede for
  6. Blessed – be prepared to be blessed – the Lord multiplies the fields of those who lay themselves down for others by following Him


So, how have you interceded for another person? We would love to hear your inspirational story as well. Please share below in the comments.


Also, please share this post, with anyone you think would like to read about Developing a Creative Prayer Life! And, join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Until next week, keep praying, keep expecting, and keep seeking Him first!

***I do not have a new Art Stuff lesson to share (I was home yesterday for Veterans’ Day, so no small group), but I will post pictures when I see the girls next week. Promise!***


Developing a Creative Prayer Life – Part 7

Prayer-Pt 7

You must pray at all times as the Holy Spirit leads you to pray. Pray for the things that are needed. You must watch and keep on praying. Remember to pray for all Christians. ~Ephesians 6:18 (NLV)~


Part 7: Pray Through



Did you miss parts 1-6? Catch up here. Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.




“If I can just get through this, then things will be okay.”


Ever said that? I know I have! In fact, I recently caught myself saying this to my daughter for two totally separate things. The first was our money situation and talks of moving to where I teach, which means selling my condo, buying a house, leaving everything behind, etc. I told her to just let us get through this and things would be better. I promised!


On a less serious note, she is about to visit the OB/GYN for the first time and is mortified even by the “thought” of going. I again told her, “just get through it the first time and then it will be a little easier.” I couldn’t totally lie on that one! I guess it gets a bit “easier”, but Lord knows no woman looks forward to those visits!


The point is, we all, at one time or another, have said that statement (out loud or silently) thinking if we get through a tough situation, things will be better. We think this only to find ourselves, somewhere in the future, thinking it once again.




So how do you know if the situation you’re going through is truly a situation worth digging in and praying though until you get an answer? Truth is, it’s hard to know. For me, going to the Ob/GYN is not something I put much thought into any longer. My daughter, on the other hand, well, she probably thinks this is the worst thing EVER and is willing to pray long and hard for God to take her out of the situation. In other words, it depends on your perspective. What matters to me, may not be of much concern to you.


No matter your perspective, when it’s huge to you, it’s HUGE! Here are a few questions to help you determine if your situation is worth seeking God’s intervention:


1-Has the situation had a negative affect on your mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual health? Do you think about it ALL the time? Are you not eating or sleeping? Are you eating or sleeping too much? Does the topic come up often in your conversations?

2-Has the situation lingered for a period of time? (Maybe 3 months or more) Does the situation keep reoccurring? Do things die down for a while only to bubble back up again a few weeks/months later?


3-Do you find yourself asking your close friends, family, and/or prayer partners to pray for your situation? Or are you too ashamed or afraid to ask them to pray for you?

Answer yes to any of those? Okie, dokie, then it is time to PRAY THROUGH!




When researching different ways of praying through and to define exactly what it means, I ran across several great resources. It seems “praying through” and “waiting to hear God’s voice/answer” have a lot in common. One resource is from one of my earlier posts about What To Do When You’re Waiting to Hear God’s Voice.


Learn to listen to your heart, analyze your struggles, and learn from lessons and you may find what you need to focus on as you begin to pray through your situation. But, how do you know if you are truly focusing on the right things? (See Steps to Praying Through below)


Others, such as Seth Barnes talk about people who say you should pray until God gives you peace. But, what does that look like? How do you know if what you’re doing is working? (See Steps to Praying Through below)


Tom L. Stuart has a great acronym called the PUSH method. Pray Until Something Happens. The “something” might not be “our” answer, but it is an assurance that we’re being heard.


And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. ~ Hebrews 11:6~


Praying through is NOT praying a sweet, timid, quiet, la-di-da kinda prayer. It is more of a “forceful, loud, emotion filled, physically taxing, a heart wrenching type of praying” (Tom L. Stuart). In other words, get ready sista, cause it’s most likely gonna be a long and bumpy road!



Joyce Meyer also talks about what we can do while we wait to hear God’s voice by being active, expecting things to happen, and being eager to receive His answers, in His timing.


Any of you read the book What to Expect When Your Expecting? I loved that book when I was pregnant 23 years ago (Wow! I’m about to have a 23 year old!). It mapped out everything to “expect” during my pregnancy. Sure, I had a few pains here and there that I could not find in the book, but overall it gave me assurance about what to expect when it was finally time for that bouncing 9 pound 9 ounce baby boy decided to make his way into this world! (Okay, they could not have prepared me for that part!)


During those nine months I did not sit around and think, “Oh, I hope my baby’s healthy”, and then go out drinking, smoking, eating crazy stuff (okay Oreos and grits are NOT crazy!), or just THINKING everything would be okay. No, I did everything I could to eat healthy, I’ve never smoked, but stayed away from people who did, and didn’t drink alcohol or caffeine during the entire nine months. I EXPECTED my baby to be as healthy as he could be because of what I was ACTIVELY doing and because I PRAYED for God to take care of him while he was in my womb. I EAGERLY EXPECTED good results due to my ACTIVE EFFORTS to take care of my baby and myself.



Expecting literally means “to expect, to look for, to serve”. Whoa! Wait a minute, serve? I’ve never thought about “serving” while praying through MY situation. To add to Joyce Meyer’s statement, “how we wait will determine how long”, I also think how WELL we wait will determine how long we wait for answers.

Pray Pt7.2

Many times we start praying hard for something, filled with great intentions, only to lose heart, get discouraged, or eventually abandon our prayers altogether. What should we do instead?




Here are some practical steps (Waiting Well steps) we can do when we decide we have a situation we need to dig in and pray through:


1-Seek Him – Take it ALL to God and let Him know we cannot do this alone! Lay EVERYTHING at His feet. Give it ALL over to Him. Trust Him to find THE answer to our prayers. He will let us know if we are in deed focusing on the correct things.


2-Serve by

a-Actively doing something – serving others is a great place to start! This can be praying for others, leading a small group, helping the elderly, helping the young, etc. The possibilities are endless!

b-Expectantly doing things in preparation for His answer and know we will have an answer soon (His timing). Knowing He will answer us eventually will help us to stay focused and hopeful.

c-Aggressively doing everything in our power to seek His face for an answer – doing what we feel Him leading us to do to get through the situation – seek situations to serve others

*Just shifting our focus to others will lift our spirits and let us see that He is answering others’ prayers at the same time He is working on OUR answer!


3-Sacrifice – What could we give up to produce an answer to our prayers? A food fast. A social media fast. An electronic fast. Time on our phones fast. Think of how many things we would sacrifice if it meant we would hear from God! Again, the possibilities are endless!


*If we’re giving up earthly conveniences and comforts, that’s showing Him we’re seriously expecting an answer! We will see little glimmers of hope that our prayers are truly being heard and He’s working on an answer!


4-ScripturesFind scripture that will help us through our situations. Don’t just find scripture that will justify what we’re thinking or believing, truly seek His Word to teach us what is His will for our lives.


Open Bible is a great resource for just this very thing!


All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness ~2 Timothy 3:16~


Here are some cute When We Listen Praying Through cards for you to write down your four steps. Keep them with you so you can refer to them often. Hang them where you can see them throughout your day. Do anything and everything to seek God with an expectant heart!

Pray Thru Orange Pray Thru Green



Every heard someone say, “I’m beginning see the light at the end of the tunnel!”? I know I’ve said that one too. We get through the roughest part of a situation (the tunnel) just when we think we’re not going to live through it (picture the drama queen throwing her head back with her hand over her forehead!) only to realize we might actually be done with the whole thing (because we see the light). Working our way through the tunnel is often not a straight nor a smooth shot! If we can PRAISE His name through it all we WILL survive and we WILL be stronger because of it!


About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. ~ Acts 25:26~


I wanted to use this tunnel pic for my main title graphic this week, but couldn’t make the wording work out just right, so I decided to use it for something else. This is my visual for our Struggle Tunnel. The tunnel is our situation and the things along the path (steps, handrails, openings, lamps, doorways) represent all the things that help us along the way.

Prayer-Pt 7.2


The path through a tunnel is never a straight shot from start to finish. There are usually twists and turns, steps and stairs, hurdles and obstacles to get over, around, and through.


Every time we make one more step up, we get a little closer to seeing the light and God’s answer to our prayers. Be careful not to take two steps back! We have to hang in there and push through to the next step, expecting to make it to the end!


Steps require energy, effort, persistence, and often a lot of patience.




Handrails are there to help us along the tunnel. Handrails help us pull ourselves up to the next step, then another, and then another. Each step we conquer can help us gain momentum to make it to the end of the tunnel. We see progress, so we grab on with everything we’ve got, and pull ourselves up two or three steps more! Even when we don’t think we’re going to make it, we can hang on to the handrail, steady ourselves, and we can get through one more step.


Help can come in the form of others encouraging us throughout the entire ordeal. When we hit a roadblock, they can redirect us and lead us to the next step. They can guide and direct us based on their own experiences. They can pray for us all along the way. They can be there to lean on when we’re ready to throw in the towel.


Handrails require strength, support, grace, and gratitude.




If we’re lucky, we might see sunlight coming through windows or our tunnel might be lit with lanterns or lamps. These lights guide the path in front of us and give us a bit of hope. If the tunnel seems endless, another lamp can light the path a bit further. If light is coming in from outside, then that surely tells us there is an “outside” and an end to our long tunnel is coming!


Rays of light can be others who have encouraged, prayed, and directed us along our path. It can be small answered prayers along the way that reassure us God is working on a GREATER plan for our lives. One we cannot even image! Lights can come in the form of others living out their faith for us to see. Their lives stand as signals that we too will get through our situation and have an answered prayer one day!


Lights and lamps require illumination, awareness, and hope.




Doorways serve as signs that a beginning or an end is near. Maybe we’ve reached the end of this tunnel and can now open it and move on. Some tunnels open into yet more tunnels and some are finished at the last doorway. Doorways can be the BEGINNING of a tunnel or they can be the END of one. Really depends on which way you’re headed! Doorways are exciting and scary all at the same time, because we’re not sure what is behind it. It could be something great or not so great, but we will never know until we OPEN THE DOOR.


Doorways can be answered prayers that we should be praising and thanking God for! He will answer our prayers, but the answers may not always be what we thought they would be or not in the time we had hoped. It doesn’t matter! We should praise Him all along the way! His plan is greater that ours and, if we think about it, HIS answer is probably better than anything we could have done on our own.


If one door opens, another one will most likely close. And that’s okay. Some doors need to close and never reopen. We need to move through the one He has opened for us, praise Him, and make the best of what lies ahead.


Doorways require willingness, praise, thanksgiving, and trust.



So what are you praying through right now? You may not want to share that big of a situation, but if you would like us to pray with you, please email me a private message at My small group of girls and I would love to pray along with you! Next week we’ll look at Intercessory Prayers, so what better way to start than having us pray for you now!


I know the situation I’m praying through is a bit personal, but I would love for you all to pray for me as well. We can ask God to answer “unspoken requests” too. You may not know my exact prayer, but if you listen to Him (when we listen!) you will usually hear God telling you HOW to pray for me or anyone who asks you to pray for them.


Until next week, I pray you all make time to pray well and pray through whatever situation you are going through right now. May He bless you and leave you with a spirit of peace about what you are going through.


Please share this post with someone you know who may need to dig in and pray through a hard situation right now as well!


Also, jump over to the Art Stuff page to see how to make shadowboxes and windows in your prayer journals.

Developing a Creative Prayer Life – Part 6

Prayer Pt 6

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. ~2 Timothy 1:7~


Part 6: Fear Not



Missed Parts 1-5? Get them all here: Developing a Creative Prayer Life Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5


This week’s post was purposely scheduled around Halloween when some tend to think of scary things. I’m not a Halloween-hater, in fact this is my FAVORITE season of the year and I have great memories of my sis and me trick-or-treating when we were young. I loved dressing my own kids in fun costumes, parading around the neighborhood with friends and family. Heck, I’m even wearing my spider tee shirt as I’m writing!

Spider shirt

I actually have a friend who is so terrified of spiders, that she will not give me a hug or even stand next to me when I’m wearing it. Some fears are real, people!


My point for this post and this week is more about fears that strike in the supernatural. The battles we fight in our heads every day; the ones we need an arsenal of weapons to defeat anytime the enemy strikes.




Have you ever been SO scared you couldn’t move? While thinking about this post topic, I remembered one time I was petrified to the point I was literally frozen.


I was young. I can’t really remember how young, but I was sound asleep one morning before school. All of a sudden I heard the creepiest noise coming from our living room. Like someone was on the lower keys of our piano playing the slowest, creepiest notes ever!


Here’s a little ditty by Peder B. Helland that sort of gives you an idea, but what I heard was MUCH creepier!


Anyway, as my heart began to pound….like out of my chest…I thought, where are my parents? Do they not hear the creepiness that is lurking in the living room? Maybe the creepy thing playing the creepy music has already gotten them! My mind went bezerk! I had imagined my whole family dead and a crazy person playing our piano!


I slowly lowered myself to the floor and crawled, yes, crawled, to the kitchen. To my happy surprise, Mom was there cooking breakfast, without a care in the world. I, on the other hand, could barely mutter the words, “Do-o-o y-o-u hear thhhh-a-t?”


“Yea, I think it’s Samantha”, Mom stated matter-of-factly. Samantha! Oh, my, goodness! Samantha was our CAT! Our cat, for goodness sakes! She had decided to take a walk across the piano at the butt-crack-of-dawn and scare the begeezies out of me! And evidently she really liked the lower keys because she just kept walking across them again and again!

In fact, she looked a lot like Nora, The Piano Cat!



The point to this ridiculous story, is to yes, make you laugh, but to also get you to think about how paralyzing fear can be.


What do you fear the most? The unknown? Or sometimes worse, what you do know?


Counselors tell us that when we experience things that are unknown, our minds have to quickly run through ALL of our life experiences to see if we’ve ever experienced anything similar. If we have, then we may still be fearful, but we have something to relate to and can usually talk ourselves through it. If we haven’t experienced this sort of fear before, then our minds trigger the “flight or fight” responses and we react, sometimes not in the best of ways.


You can probably relate if you’ve had an experience and the situation is similar to something you’ve lived through before, then you know 1) you’ll probably live through this situation too, and 2) you can set in motion a course of action to get though it this time. It doesn’t mean the situation isn’t scary; it’s just doable this time around.


If on the other hand, you are faced with something TOTALLY new and scary, your mind doesn’t exactly know what to do, so it tells you stupid stuff. (Like crawl on the floor to the kitchen to see if your family has been killed by a piano-playing psycho!)


If you let your mind take over, you’ll probably end up making some goofy decisions, that if you were sure of yourself, you would not make in the first place.


Or, just as scary is the fact that you might not do anything! You become paralyzed and you just stay stuck. Fearful to the point that it keeps you from receiving all that God wants for you. Eeek! Now THAT’S scary!

scared cat




I’m currently going through some stuff that truly scares me to think about. I can’t go into detail YET, but because of my relationship with the Lord, I have confidence that once we do get through this dark time, He WILL use it to glorify Himself. I’ve already prayed AND praised Him for what I know He is GOING to do!


I did a couple of things last week trying to be “pro-active” towards my situation. As good as that sounds, I’m still fearful. If certain things don’t roll out in a particular order, then we could REALLY be in a pickle! But, the fact I MOVED made me feel better. I asked God to direct me to people in the know, and He led me to them. I asked Him to let me speak lovingly to Tom and for us to have a heart-to-heart talk about our situation, and He did.


So, I feel like I’m doing all the “right” things, but our situation is not over, not by any stretch of the imagination! I’m ready to write the follow-up post about how we get to the other side…..stay tuned, it’s gonna be epic!


The reason I’m not telling you everything I’m going through is because right now it’s ugly. U-G-L-Y! If you’re a believer, then I’m preaching to the choir. You know what I mean. And you also know what I mean by “getting to the other side” and glorifying His name because of what He did while you were in the darkness and what you learned when you got to the other side. It WILL be glorious!


If I were to share all of the ugliness to a non-believer, then “poof”, I would have lost them. If they read all the messes we go through, they would NOT be convinced that this is “The Way”. BUT, when they hear about the messes we go through, how we pray and praise Him along the way, and how He grows us through it, THEN they go, “Wow! Tell me more about your God.”

Prayer Pt 6.1

Others need to see that through our struggles, we stay steadfast, we pray and praise Him, and then God FINALLY answers our prayers in His perfect timing. If He immediately answered all of our prayers when we prayed, well, duh, everyone would pray! But, faith and patience have to be grown under trial and that’s the part others don’t really understand.


If we still have faith while going through the darkest times of our lives and praise God while we’re in it, then others will see HIM IN US and realize we have something (peace and joy) they are dying to have!


So, we GET TO GO THROUGH all of this “stuff” in order to SHOW OTHERS HOW TO! We GET TO! It’s a privilege, people! It’s not always fun, but it’s God way of growing our faith.


We’re witnessing to others without saying a word. Oh, others are watching! Believe me, they are watching! And when you come out on the other side with a story to tell, they will be led closer and closer to know what you have.


STEPS TO OVERCOME FEAR (Physical & Biblical Steps)


I found several worldly or physical steps to overcoming fear and they made great sense. I’ve used many of them to stop fear in my own life because they work. But, I wanted to take it a step further and partner the physical steps with some Biblical backing, so here goes.


1-Breathe (Physical step)

  • Counselors recommend physically breathing in a way that tricks our body into calming down. This is called the 7/11 breathing technique. The numbers really don’t matter you just need to breathe OUT longer than you breathe IN. Breathe in for 7 counts. Breathe out for 11 counts and your body HAS to calm down.

1-Remember a Verse (Biblical step)

  • While you’re calming yourself down by breathing slower, remember a verse that tells you God loves you and only wants good things for you. Faith and Health Connection has a list of affirmation scriptures to Tweet, so you know they’re short! These would be some great scriptures to have in your arsenal of scriptures to remember when fear takes hold of you.

Here’s a great one:

When I walk through tough times I don’t have fear because God is with me. ~Psalm 23:4~


2-Picture Yourself Calm (Physical step)

  • Visualize yourself in the situation you are scared about all calm and collected. Do not over-analyze the situation!

2-See yourself the way God sees you. (Biblical step)

  • God sees you as His child and He made each and everyone of us in His image and for His plan, so you know you have been placed here for a reason. Believe this sister! It’s the truth!

God chose me to be in his kingdom so I have tremendous significance. ~1 Peter 2:9~


3-Kick start the “thinking part” of your brain (Physical step)

  • Scale your level of fear – on a scale of 1-10, where are you right now? Because you have to switch your thinking to a mathematical computation, your body begins to calm down because you’re not thinking about your “feelings” at that moment. You’re trying to “rate” your fear. This is a different part of your brain that you are forcing to take over.

3-Take your thoughts captive (Biblical step)

  • Take your thoughts of fear and flip them upside down. This and #4 really go together. If you find yourself saying “Well, what if (insert fear here) happens”, then flip that bad thing and say “Well, what if (insert a blessing here) happens”.

 We break down every thought and proud thing that puts itself up against the wisdom of God. We take hold every thought and make it obey Christ. ~2 Corinthians 10:5~


4-Control your Imagination (Physical step)

  • Instead of imagining what will happen if your fear comes true, which will make you more and more anxious, try thinking about what it will look like if the fear DOESN’T happen.

 4-See your “what ifs” differently (Biblical step)

  • See #3.  And then DO what He wants you to do!

When God calls me to do something, He gives me the strength and resources I need. My response is to obey. ~Judges 6:14~


5-AWARE (Physical step)

 A = Accept your circumstances

 W = Watch – scale – breathe

 A = Act normally

 R = Repeat if necessary

 E = Expect the best

 5-FEAR (Biblical step & this is my acronym )

 F – Face the facts/feelings – Fears & feelings are real, so acknowledge that fact and move on. (Psalm 32:3-5)  When I kept quiet about my sin, my bones wasted away from crying all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me. My strength was dried up as in the hot summer. I told my sin to You. I did not hide my wrong-doing. I said, “I will tell my sins to the Lord.” And You forgave the guilt of my sin.

 E = Expect good things to happen – Knowing He wants only GOOD things for His children will help you face reality and move toward a better place.  (Ephesians 2:10)We are His work. He has made us to belong to Christ Jesus so we can work for Him. He planned that we should do this. (Romans 8:28)And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 A = Act NOW according to God’s will – Don’t wait until something better comes along or you’re in a better place, do something now! (James 4:13-15/MSG)And now I have a word for you who brashly announce, “Today—at the latest, tomorrow—we’re off to such and such a city for the year. We’re going to start a business and make a lot of money.” You don’t know the first thing about tomorrow. You’re nothing but a wisp of fog, catching a brief bit of sun before disappearing. Instead, make it a habit to say, “If the Master wills it and we’re still alive, we’ll do this or that.”

 R = Respectfully ask for God’s help – He is waiting for you to ask Him! (1 Peter 5:6-7) – So put away all pride from yourselves. You are standing under the powerful hand of God. At the right time He will lift you up. Give all your worries to Him because He cares for you. (John 14:14) Yes, if you ask anything in My name, I will do it. (John 16:24) Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you will receive. Then your joy will be full.




Notice ALL of these things (physical and Biblical) require you to have an arsenal of ideas BEFORE trouble hits. Arsenal literally means “an array of resources available for a certain purpose”, so you have to already have these ideas in your mind so that when fear does strike, and it will, you will have weapons at your disposal to squelch the fear thoughts immediately. Don’t wait! Print these out! Save them to your phone or computer! Plaster them on the walls! Whatever you have to do to knock down fear immediately, do it!


Musings of a Minster’s Wife read where “fear not” was used 365 times in the Bible, only to find out after doing her own research, the phrase in the intended context is only used about 80 times. She also found other word pairings (“do not be afraid”, “do not fear”, “be not afraid”) used about 30 times. Still, that’s a lot of times God tells us not to fear worldly things. Also check out her beautiful word graphic here. She used “Fear Not” as the main point and surrounded it with scripture. Very cool!


Now that you are building your arsenal of weapons and are prepared to fight the enemy when he intrudes your mind, you are well on your way to not fear anything. But what about when your weapons don’t seem to be doing the job? Then what? Next week’s post will deal with praying and praising through with tips on how to keep fighting the good fight, so come back for more!


Until then, be sure and share things you are fearful of (psycho cats, spiders, losing someone, losing your job, etc.) in the comments below.


And here are some valuable resources I found that you might enjoy about dealing with fear:

Proverbs 31 Ministries – When Fear Paralyzes Your Faith

Season of Hope – How to Pray Against Anxiety Attacks, Panic, & Fear

Joyce Meyer – Overcoming Fear and Doubt – Part 1; Seven Fears to Avoid – Part 1

Musings of a Minister’s Wife – So How Many Times is Fear Not Actually in the Bible?

Faith and Health Connection – Receive Affirmations Using Scripture by Text Messages

Uncommon Help – 5 Sure-fire Ways to Overcome Fear and Anxiety Today


Also check out the Art Stuff page for a simplified lesson on crayon encaustics!

Developing a Creative Prayer Life – Part 5


But when you ask you must believe & not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown, & tossed by the wind. ~James 1:6~ 

Part 5

Audacious Prayers



My paper sculpture in When We Listen colors!

My paper sculpture in When We Listen colors!

Hey ya’ll! I’m back in town after a week of travel and conferencing. Although I’ve been traveling, seeing some great art, and hangin with some very cool art teachers, I’ve been busy creating social media visuals for scripture and quotes. (See them on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram) And, I’ve been busy preparing this post. I say “preparing” because it’s been brewing for a few weeks.



I continue to pray this series on Creative Prayer has been encouraging and has inspired you to get a little creative with your prayers. If you’ve missed any of the other posts, you can catch up here:


Part 1: Getting Ready to Pray

Part 2: Praying Independently/Deomai Prayers

Part 3: Praying Through Scripture/Lectio Divina

Part 4: Praying Through Scripture/Personalizing Scripture





A few years back I read a book that truly changed how I pray. It was The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. In short, the circle maker was a first century B.C. legend about an old sage man named Honi. Jerusalem had been in a long drought and God did not seem to be hearing the people crying out for rain. Honi drew a circle in the dry ground around him and told God he would not move until He sent rain. Slowly rain started to fall, but not nearly enough. Honi continued to stay in his circle and pray for God to relieve the people of their weariness. “Not for such rain have I prayed, but for rain that will fill cisterns, pits, and caverns.” Finally, the Lord sent down rain like the people had never seen before! Honi was remembered for his determination to stand in his circle of faith and believe God would answer his audacious prayers.


Because this is a “legend” no one knows for sure if this is a true story, but Batterson compares the story to that of the miracle at Jericho. God commanded the Israelites to silently march around the walls of Jericho for 6 days. Then on the seventh day they were to march around the city seven times. On the seventh lap around the city, they loudly blew their horns, shouted in unison, and the walls came tumbling down. You know the story. God delivered on His 400-year-old promise to deliver His people to the Promised Land.


His promises do not have expiration dates. If you keep circling the promise, God will ultimately deliver on it. ~Mark Batterson~





These are what Batterson calls “audacious prayers”. Prayers so big, we can’t imagine them coming to fruition. Prayers so big, only divine intervention could make them happen. Prayers so big, we’re afraid to pray them. Prayers so big, God looks forward to making them happen.


If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God. Why? Because they don’t require divine intervention. ~Mark Batterson~


These are not Christmas-wish-list-prayers or ones that will get you what you want, but rather prayers that glorify God by praying for the promises He WANTS for us.

These are the kind of prayers that if you said them out loud people might call you “crazy”! These are the prayers that make you feel overwhelmed and under qualified, but then God has you where He wants you – in raw dependence on Him – and where He can perform His greatest miracles.


How do you find your audacious prayers?

IDENTIFY Your Jericho (knowing WHAT to circle):

  1. Define the promises God wants you to stake claim to.
  • What things have you noticed that keep happening again and again? (Have you heard the same message or words spoken in multiple places lately? Have you seen the same images or words appearing in multiple places lately? Etc.)
  1. Define the miracles God wants you to believe for.
  • What things have you noticed yourself longing for lately? What themes or topics are you feeling led to prayer about/for lately?
  1. Define the dreams God wants you to pursue.
  • What things have you caught yourself thinking about and maybe even saying, “I think I could do that”? What things have you realized you are longing for more and more often lately?

God wants you to verbalize your desires just like He asked the blind men who stopped Him on the road out of Jericho, “What do you want me to do for you?” Matthew 20:29-34 He knew what they needed, He just wanted them to make sure they knew what they wanted. So drawing circles around our desires begins with knowing what to circle.


CIRCLING Your Jericho:


  1. Make a list and Circle the promises
  • Make a list of God-glorifying life goals. Once you’ve identified your promises, miracles, and dreams, write them down. Writing down your goals can make them visible so you can see if they are truly the correct goals to begin with.
  • Literally circle the promises, miracles, and dreams you’ve identified with art media (pencils, pens, markers, paint, etc.). You could do this in your prayer journal or in your Bible.
  • Physically circle the promises, miracles, and dreams you’ve identified by walking, driving, etc. around them. (i.e. driving around a place you hope to land a job, walking around a neighborhood you are wanting to purchase a house, etc.)
  1. Give yourself a visual reminder
  • Visual reminders help keep you focused and to act as “prayer insurance” – It insures you don’t forget what you’re praying for and that God will get the glory when the miracles happen.
  • Write down the promises, miracles, and dreams you’ve identified in a journal, on a card, etc. and place it somewhere you will see it often (i.e. refrigerator door, car, desk, bathroom mirror, etc.)
  • Find something to visually represent what you are circling in prayer (costume jewelry = marriage/spouse, child’s toy = your own children or children you are praying to have, money (fake or real) = finances, etc.)
  1. Make time to pray differently
  • Take a bit of time to go somewhere differently to pray (different room of the house, a park, wherever your promise, miracle, or dream might be happening)
  • Take some time….period!

Change of Pace + Change of Place = Change of Perspective ~Mark Batterson~




Just before I read The Circle Maker back in 2013, I had a breakdown. I had just completed my PhD, which had taken me 7.5 years to finish, and I was D-O-N-E….DONE! I started thinking I had nothing else to dream about, no miracles to look forward to, and no promises to be fulfilled. Boy was I wrong!

God led me to and took me through The Circle Maker in record time, I co-led a small group called Paint and Pray based off of the book and other Biblical principles, and I did my first driving circle around The University of Alabama at Birmingham hoping to land a job there. Little did I know God was working on my audacious dream of teaching at a university, but in His own timing.

It wasn’t UAB I was suppose to circle, but Troy University is where I would ultimately land. I honestly believe I would not be here at Troy if I had not prayed circles around that audacious prayer. God heard the desires of my heart and answered them with His will and purposes for my life.



The Circle Maker (Book)


The Circle Maker website


Jen Hatmaker’s blog post about The Circle Maker


Jericho March



Have you ever circled an audacious prayer? If you have, I would love to hear from you and how you went about identifying your Jericho.


Remember to please pass this blog post on to anyone you think would benefit from getting a little “creative” with their prayer life and don’t forget to sign up for the blog so you won’t miss any new posts.



Jump over to the Art Stuff page to see how to create circles around your prayers.