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Always Stop And Pray

A story about prayer life from Stacey Kostas:

Prayer! Does this word bring you comfort or does it bring you angst? Do you schedule out a part of your day to talk with God or is your heart so heavy right now you can’t find words to even utter? The answer to these questions might depend on where you are in your spiritual journey or as simple as what season of life you are going through right now.

Growing up, prayer was a big part of our household. I can remember watching my mom and daddy pray throughout their daily lives. I truly did not realize what a precious gift that was until I got married and had my own children. They gave me a prayer legacy that is deeply rooted in my spirit. 

The deep-seeded truth that my parents passed down to me was that no matter what they were going through good or bad, they always covered it in prayer and kept their eyes on Jesus. By doing this, they could pray those powerful words, "Not my will, but Thy will be done." They taught me how to pray and praise God all at the same time. My mom still prays for me daily and I know my daddy is sending prayers down from heaven, too. 

That all being said, I think at times, I have complicated my conversation with God.

Flexing your spiritual muscle can be painful and hard. However, it is important to remember, He is for us not against us!! Jeremiah 29:11-12 says, 

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you."  

I used to think I had to have the perfect words to say or have a perfect prayer to pray.  There were even times where I felt I was not good enough to approach His throne. My faith journey has run the spectrum of emotions from fear, joy, anger, sadness, peace, gratefulness…the list goes on and on.

One of my most powerful prayer experiences was on a retreat I attended 10 years ago, called The Walk to Emmaus. It was a weekend full of love, grace, and was a beautiful reminder of how deep God’s love is for all of us.  One of the pastors that weekend shared Psalm 56:8 with me.  

"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." (NLT) 

This was a light bulb moment for me! To think that God is not absent in my hard times, but is right there holding me and crying with me and that even when I could not find the words to pray, He knew the yearnings of my heart already. He could handle anything I had to say or anything I was going through.  Psalm 139 says, 

"O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!" (NLT) 

The Emmaus weekend also gave me a precious circle of friends that are my prayer warriors. They hold me accountable and lift me up in prayer. What a precious gift! Prayer does not have to be in the perfect place, or a set time. Prayer is a continual conversation with God that has no end. He is always there and ready to listen. He is always accessible. He is with you 24/7!

You can talk to him at any time or any place throughout your day. Ask God to give you eyes to see and ears to hear His blessings for your life. You will be amazed at how your eyes and heart begin to recognize God winks that happen every day.

Prayer is also powerful!!

The enemy is defeated when you take up your shield of faith.  There is a great song by Jeremy Camp called "Same Power." It is a great illustration of the power we have in Jesus. 

The same power that rose Jesus from the grave
 The same power that commands the dead to wake lives in us
The same power that moves mountains when He speaks
The same power that can calm a raging sea Lives in us
He lives in us
We have hope that His promises are true
In His strength There is nothing we can’t do
 Yes, we know There are greater things in store
 We will not be overtaken
 We will not be overcome
 Greater is He that is living in me
 He’s conquered our enemy
 No power of darkness
 No weapon prevails
 We stand here in victory 

Remember, God has already said, "I love you!" He is just waiting to hear you say, "I love you, too!"  I pray that we all will seek Him in our daily lives. Friends, Jesus loves you so much and is patiently waiting with arms held wide for you to fall into his embrace. When you do….take a moment and feel His love, breathe in His Holy Spirit, His perfect peace and just exhale everything else.

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