Tag Archives: prayer

Prayer Makes Pure-fect

We were born in darkness. There is little gain from condemnation over bad choices made in the past. It is wrong to assume we were pure and those choices made us impure. Instead, we must realize that we live in a fallen world where all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). There are none righteous, no not one (Rom. 3:10). When we enter into the world, we are not pure but innocent of bad choices. We start off as selfish beings. When I gave away my first kiss I thought I lost some of my purity. I knew I could never get that back. The loss is so final. And yes, it is true that I’ve lost some of my innocence, but my purity is not wrapped up in a label. Purity begins in the heart. God brings the dead to life (Rom. 4:17). He washes us clean and calls us His redeemed. You and I were called out of darkness while we were still sinners. We didn’t earn good-standing; we weren’t holy enough to just step into His presence. He made us righteous with His blood. Each day we make choices and take steps, hopefully closer to purity. Each day we are being fashioned into His likeness. We have hearts that can ascend to purity through Christ’s redemption. It all starts with prayer.

Prayer has proven to be one of the biggest comforts in my life. I pray to God about everything. It is especially rewarding to talk to Him about guys. After all, He did create those guys and knows their hearts better than anyone. He is not going to give some biased advice or flattering feedback. He is going to shape and transform my heart to resemble His own for a guy: to love with selflessness and share my heart only if the Holy Spirit prompts me. I want to love people with His love. I don’t just love the world with His love because that sounds good. I love with His love because I have experienced it. I know His love is best. I know His love is the most satisfying, beneficial, and sacrificial love of all. There is no hidden agenda, selfish motive, or stipulation to His love. He loves us because He is love.

Many people ask the question “How do I hear His voice?” It is a real question, and of course, there is a real answer. Practice PRAYER.

Prayer: 

The best way to hear this glorious King’s voice is to spend time in His presence. Prayer begins with conversations about our day, our feelings, anything. We acknowledge the opportunity to speak with the Creator of the Universe. Here’s an example of a rudimentary conversation: HI. You’re Jesus. I know a lot about you, but I don’t know YOU too well. I know you are the HOLY Son of God. I know you humbled yourself and became one of us for our sakes. I know you DIED on a cross and then rose again. Your word says you know the number of hairs on my head and your thoughts about me outnumber the grains of sand (Psalm 139). That is pretty crazy to think, but already I like you more.

A great way to start talking to God is by confirming the truth we’ve read about Him. “I know you love me, forgive me, call me your child, etc.” Prostrate-that is a cool word for “lay face down,”-and just soak up the silence. In those silent moments Christ can speak to us. We often forget praying is a two-way conversation. We don’t just ask for things and wait for those things to fall out of the sky. We don’t rub a genie bottle and ask for our second wish. We don’t just talk to Him, forgetting WHO He is. God wants communion with us. He wants to talk to us. It’s hard to understand that in our initial conversations with Him. But prayers are supposed to progressively move deeper and closer to God’s heart. We can pray and hear answers, or we can pour out and just be comforted in His arms. He knows exactly what we need and what is best for us. It’s hard to face that when we really want an answer right now. But the more we talk to Him the more we trust Him and understand His heart for us. He is worth every minute of my day. I adore conversing with my Father in heaven and hearing His responses.

It is not like hearing a person in the next room, it is hearing with our spirits. We must be careful here because our hearts easily get distracted by our fleshly wants and we think we heard Him say “just do it.” The best way to combat and discern answers is the truth of His word. What does the Bible say? If our request stirs up an answer contradictory to the Word of Truth, chances are that answer is not from Him. John 10 talks about Christ as a Shepherd. It says His lambs hear and know His voice. He leaves the gate open for them to roam the fields freely, but when He calls, they know to return. How do we hear His voice and know it’s Him? Abracadabra, the answer is!… We spend time with Him. If we wanted to get to know someone, we wouldn’t just sit across the table from them and stare. That might be awkward and dissatisfying. A lot of people react to God in this manner. When one sits down to “talk with God,” it gets silent and weird. This is too quiet. I don’t like this silence. What do I say to You? What do I ask You? How weird is it that I hope to hear back from You? What if I DON’T hear from You?

There are many questions to ask, but no idea where to go with the conversation. Just relax; breathe. Yes, He is Holy and yes, He is perfect, so there is a bit of nervousness in our first few conversations with Him. But the more time we spend with Him the easier it gets to talk to Him and absolutely cherish every moment. He is endearing and He listens to every word we speak. Not even one of those words will be lost. He receives them all. When we are at a loss for words, it is fine to just sit in silence. If we don’t know what to ask Him, it’s okay. It is always beneficial to proclaim His Word. The Bible is full of God’s characteristics and His great love. When conversing with Him we should keep those in mind. Wow! It can be gloriously overwhelming to think of how incredible He is and all the things He has done, created, and said. Let alone, all the awesome things He has performed in our individual lives. He isn’t God that created the world, created man, threw that man into the world and said, “The rest is up to you, buddy! You’re on your own to figure this thing out!” Not in the least, He is a loving Father and He continues to work with us on an individual basis. He knows our specific needs and He’s ready to help us get through all our junk to find Him and become more like Him. His Word is our nourishment, our sustenance. With that we move into conversation and dialogue with Him. He wants to share His secrets with us, but that means we have to get close enough to hear His whisper. In order to get closer, we have to spend quality time with Him, undistracted from the busyness of day-to-day responsibilities. Each day in His presence gets better and more invigorating. Each day I fall more in love with this incredible God and Savior. He is everything I need. The more I read His word and converse with Him, the more I understand His heart. Life is dull and meaningless without Him. He’s everything. Putting prayer into practice can only magnify our enjoyment, adventure, and satisfaction in life.


Relationships: Confusion Defused

I was sitting in a coffee shop enjoying the humor of my best guy friend. We were about to get on separate planes and lose each other’s delightful company for the next several months. Our laughter started to dissipate. Suddenly, I felt the temperature of our conversation change. He cleared his throat. I started to get nervous, having seen this scenario play out in previous friendships. I started to chew my wooden coffee stirrer into miniscule pieces. Subconsciously, I must have been chewing this stick into the shape of a weapon, ready to stab him for taking our quality friendship there. As he carried on, my mind was racing. Where was he going with his tirade of madness? I felt like I was in Spanish class and only catching every fifth word that was spoken. He mentioned something of appreciation for my friendship, personality, and relationship with God. I knew I needed to be patient and give him time to finish his thoughts. I also needed to gather my own before blurting out my defense which was coming to my mind in clumps at this point. I began to pray as he summed up his rabbit-hole, ‘round-the-bush escapade. He didn’t quite hit the mark he was going for by the time he finished. Truth be told, I had feelings for him that may have been deeper than friendship as well. I was terrified of messing up something so sublime by coughing up a crush-confession. Throughout the rant, I wondered if it was an ideal time to share. I sensed God say, “Now is not the time. Just wait.” When God and I have these conversations, I gain such a renewed boldness and patience in any situation. I chose to stay quiet. Apparently, he realized things weren’t clear to him either. He shrugged it off and said we would talk when he could think clearly. I teased him about his delivery and how we hadn’t established anything through that conversation, but deep down I was sighing with relief that he didn’t know how to address the relationship and I knew I wasn’t ready to face the music. As we parted ways, the greatest of friends, I felt very bonded to this man. I enjoyed his friendship immensely, but I knew something was changing for us. A few weeks after, I received the ill-fated email of affection and interest. By this point, I was more certain the answer was a negative for a deeper relationship. I sent a loving, but straight-forward response. We were just meant to be friends. Our lives began to drift apart. It was at this point I wondered, how close am I allowed to get in a friendship with guys? It seems to always end badly for one or the other party. Even if it is just a friendship, someone lets their guard down and opens up to emotions that go beyond friendship. I won’t put a black & white on this rule, but deeply personal friendships should probably be reserved for the same gender and one day, the spouse God brings into our lives. Profound friendships with guys, though fulfilling and appealing, can be dangerous. If not for us, then the guy-friend involved. One of the concepts of real love is when we allow the slow sacrifice of selfless love take precedence over the quick fix of emotional release or intimacy-building, opposite-gender friendships. Building close bonds can be unhealthy and distracting.

This begs the question; in the world of singlehood, how are those intimate friendships unhealthy? Even though we do not give our bodies to our guy friends, we still exchange pieces of our hearts with them. As deep friendships drift apart, I feel remorse for losing something so dear to me. I have a permanent reminder filed away in my brain for a rainy, lonely, dark moment when I am potentially at a weak spot in my faith. The reminder can twist the truth and tempt me to think I’m not good at relationships. I break hearts or get too close. “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts” (1 John 5:21). If anything pulls my attention away from God, why would I want to nurture it? I cannot leave any of the doors or windows of my heart open for Satan to sneak in and cause mayhem.

God writes our love stories. We can listen intently as He reads each chapter to us, or we can rush ahead, rip the book from His hands and try to decipher the coded script. This will only bring chaos and unnecessary pain. When I understand this about God, nothing takes too long. I gain a deep sense of peace that allows my heart to be comforted even when I feel I am being misunderstood by the world. There’s a deep sense that God will defend my honor, He will bring all things to light. When I walk in this peace, I am more sensible about relationships and conversations. I know that I need to be still at times and speak up at others. I know I need to comfort and encourage one minute, and possibly confront and admonish the next. We do all things in love when we walk in this peace, a sweet surrender of our lives to God.


Dark Coal To Shimmering Diamond

As important as it is to be attracted to our companion, it is equally important to be leery of the tantalizing lures of attraction. In almost every case where I liked a guy, something stood in the way of a relationship; whether age, religion, or marital status-all barriers I consider deal-breakers. But it is not easy to just turn off the switch of attraction. We have to be very careful of the emotions we allow into our daily thoughts and those with which we toy. An affair, pornography addiction, home-wrecker, and friends with benefits don’t just happen overnight.  The actions are dwelt upon in the mind and heart first. Attraction is only what we allow it to be. I won’t condemn attraction. I think it is important. But not all attraction is healthy and wholesome. We can’t just do whatever feels good. We can’t fall for just anyone our eyes deem worthy of our interest. Our emotions can have a voracious appetite for hapless victims. We must understand the importance of commitment and love so that we don’t allow our attractions to run wild and free for whomever they choose.

What do I do when he is dreamy AND eligible?

Many guys have made my heart skip a beat or two. I’ve learned the most exhilarating way of handling these feelings. Crushes don’t have to be disastrous cases with heart-wrenching endings. They can be fun and wholesome. When I have feelings for someone and catch myself thinking about him often, I have to heed caution: do I think about him more than I do about God? Am I more excited to spend time with him than I am with God? If the answer is yes then my heart is not in the right place. So I do the only thing my humanity can handle; I pray. Any time I start thinking about dreamy guy, I don’t fantasize or role play different scenarios in my head like a plot in a romance movie. Instead, I pray to God for the guy’s character to be strengthened, his future wife to be protected from impurity, his own heart to be protected from impurity, and his life to be a glorious example of God’s kind of man. The more I think of the guy, the more I pray for him. As I pray to the God of all creation, a shift takes place within my heart. It isn’t just giddy feelings when I think of the guy, now it’s excitement for his future. The extraordinary happens when God transforms so much of that crush into a true Christlike love. I am protective of the guy and want to even guard his heart from my own feelings. Any time thereafter when I’m interacting with him, I am mindful of what I say and do so that his heart is not manipulated into liking me. I learn to control the flirtation because I truly care about the guy and his best interest. If it is within God’s plan that the two of us are supposed to be together, it is going to be through a healthy foundation, not flirty actions and tons of teasing. I don’t want to manipulate my way into a relationship. As I’ve seen, those relationships usually don’t last and tend to result in turmoil and heart break.

Take this experiment for a spin. Try praying for your next crush every time you think of the person. Watch in amazement as God transforms a mere crush into pure and selfless love. It is invigorating. If and when the crush disintegrates, you will be so much freer not having experienced the freight train of emotions torturing your heart for the entirety of the crush.

When given the option of following my flighty emotions or my knowing spirit, I will choose spirit every time. I would much rather follow God’s truth in the matter than experience the heart ache of wrong choices due to frivolous feelings.


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