article

The 24.7 Prayer Movement: What it is and how it affected me

Posted on Updated on

From February 14 through the 28, a 24.7 prayer movement was held in a building on my campus. In 2013, two University of Oklahoma sophomores started the movement after discovering the importance of prayer, especially for their school. In its first year, the movement lasted three weeks. Its founders rented office space off campus where students could go and pray all day and all night. Since I’m only a freshman, I didn’t hear about the movement until January through a campus ministry that I’m involved in. I was intrigued by the idea and wanted to give it a try. I signed up for a one-hour timeslot after class one day and used Maps walking directions to get to the building where the prayer room was. When I opened the door, I was wonderfully surprised by what I saw. Brown paper lined the walls and people had written lyrics, verses, and encouragement all over them. There were some bean bags, chairs, and rugs around the room for people to sit on. There was even a speaker in the corner where you could plug in your phone and listen to music. The atmosphere was very calming, homey, and conducive to prayer. Near the door, there was a large chalkboard that said what day it was of the two weeks and what the theme of the day was. That day’s theme was unity. I spent the hour praying, and I learned a lot about prayer. I learned that I often pray selfishly, as evidenced by the difficulty I had praying for others and for unity on our campus. I also learned that the right environment can really impact how I pray. I was reminded of the movie War Room and the closet the lady used as a prayer room. It’s like the prayer room I was in, but on a smaller, more individual scale. As much as I would like to have my own little prayer room, my dorm doesn’t have that kind of space. I have this problem where I want my relationship with God to be super formal. I set aside a certain time for prayer, I pray in a certain way and place, and my quiet times don’t go as well unless I’m sitting at my desk with a cup of coffee. I’m working on it. My point in writing this is to give you some context for the pictures. All these things were written on the paper on the walls. They stood out to me. I’ll explain why for some of them. “Come near to God & He will come near to you.” Maybe it’s the way it’s written or the Bible verse it brings to mind, but it’s just such a beautiful phrase. It’s especially fitting in this room dedicated to drawing near to God in prayer. “Praise Him who relentlessly pursues our hearts!” I love the way it is written, but I also love what it says. God relentlessly pursues our hearts. He doesn’t stop or give up or take a break; He is relentless. “I can see the ivy growing through the wall, ‘cuz you would stop at nothing to heal my broken soul.” This, combined with the ivy vine next to it, sends a strong message: God heals even when it seems impossible. “In my deepest wound, I saw your glory and it astounded me.” It took me a moment to figure out what this said, but once I did I loved it. Astounding is a strong word that is perfect for describing God’s glory. My favorite one, the one that my eye was constantly drawn to amongst everything else, is “Lord, take me to Ninevah.” I’ve never heard anything quite like that before. I’ve heard of people being willing to go wherever God leads them but referring to Ninevah, the place where Jonah was terrified to go, reveals a strong desire in that person to follow God’s will no matter where it leads them. They didn’t just say, “I’ll go to Ninevah.” They took it a step further. They said, “Take me there. I want to go. I want to bring your glory to this unreached place. I don’t care about all the bad things I’ve heard about it, that’s where I want to be. I don’t care that it’s unlikely that anybody will listen to me because I have faith in your power and your influence.” It made me think of how I’m going to Israel this fall (more on that later) and how it is my Ninevah. I’m scared but I’m also excited. I know it might feel like I’m talking to a wall (no pun intended), but I trust in God’s power to use me for His glory while I’m there. I say all this to remind you of the importance of prayer, and to inspire you to take a look at your prayer life and think about how you can improve it. Feel free to comment on what these pictures mean to you and how prayer is important in your life. To learn more about the 24.7 Prayer Movement, you can read the article I wrote for my school newspaper here.

collage-2collage

Advertisements

God Believes in You

Posted on

I came across an article a while back that I’d like to share with you. Here is the link. For convenience’s sake, I’ll also paste the article below. It’s a bit long, but it’s definitely worth the read. Perhaps read this article during the time you would typically check Facebook or Instagram. I hope God speaks to you in some way through this. 

Last night I caught my five-year-old son reading in bed when he should’ve been sleeping. I asked him to give me the book and he did, albeit reluctantly. I reminded him that it was late and he needed to go to sleep because he had school in the morning. Then I put his book at the end of his bed and turned to leave. Luke couldn’t believe his luck. “Haha – I can get that book when you go!” he said with a wicked grin. “I know you can, but I hope you won’t. It’s time to sleep. Good night, son.” I closed the door and waited outside for a minute. Then I opened the door a crack to see if he had caved into temptation. He hadn’t. His head was still on the pillow and the book was untouched. “Attaboy,” I said to myself. The single most astonishing discovery in the gospel is that Almighty God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, has faith in us. He trusts us. He gives us the freedom to choose, encourages us to “Choose life,” and then lets us decide. This explains the tree. Faith and love in the Garden of Eden. The forbidden tree was not an obedience test, as in, fail the test and God will punish you. The forbidden tree was an opportunity to trust God. Tragically, we didn’t and we paid a price. But God, good Father that he is, didn’t wash his hands of us. He didn’t say, “What a bunch of screw-ups. They’re no kids of mine.” Instead, he made things right, indeed, even better than before, because he still believes in us, he still thinks the best of us, and he longs for us to trust him back. Is this not the greatest untold story of human history? Think about it. In the beginning God makes a planet – perfect in every way – and then he gives his beautiful, shiny planet to us to look after: The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to man. (Psalms 115:16) You might say it was a reckless gamble, but I say it was an audacious act of love and trust, like when a father hands his daughter the keys to his Shelby Mustang and says, “Go have some fun!” What is man that you are mindful of him? … You made him ruler over the works of your hands. (Psalms 8:4,6) God gave us the car-keys to planet earth and said, “Go have fun!” True, we responded by crashing the car. But don’t miss the bigger point, which is this: Knowing what we would do, and knowing how much it would cost him to repair the damage, God went ahead and did it anyway. Why? Because he loves us and believes in us and hopes that one day we will stop running and come home.

“God believes in you!” 

You won’t hear this message from manmade religion. Instead you will be asked, “Do you believe in God?” And if you hesitate to answer, religion will try to manipulate you with carrots and sticks. “If you believe, you’ll be blessed. If you don’t, you’ll burn!” But this is not love. Love makes no threats. “Love doesn’t force itself on others” (1 Cor. 13:5, MSG). And this is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. “You did not choose me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). A back-to-front gospel says, “Believe in God or pay the price.” But the gospel of grace declares, “God believes in you.” This is the stunning revelation that sets us free from the prison of loneliness and distrust. Last night it would’ve been the easiest thing for me to take my boy’s book by force and put it where he couldn’t reach it. I could coerce him into doing the right thing because I’m stronger than him. And if he were a strapping teenager I could control him through carrots and sticks. I could make him do what I wanted by making threats and saying things like, “Under my roof, you’ll do what I say!” But what kind of father would I be if I did that? And what kind of son would he be? He wouldn’t be a son but a slave. And since we were not made to be slaves he’d eventually run away. I don’t want to relate to my son through power or the fear of punishment. I want to relate to him through love. And how do I do that? By giving him freedom to resist me, and then loving him no matter what. It’s the same with our heavenly Father. God is stronger than you or I and it would be the easiest thing in the world for him to make us do whatever he liked. It would be no trouble at all. But that’s not how love works. Love doesn’t seek to control or coerce. Love yields, and the greater the Yielder, the greater the love.
“God longs for you!”

This is the surprising announcement of the gospel. Despite all our mistakes and foolishness, our Father holds nothing against us but waits by the gate for us to come home so he can clothe us and throw a party that is so outrageously good fun that religious kill-joys are scandalized by it. Perhaps you’ve heard the old joke about the nun and the atheist. The atheist says, “I don’t believe in God,” and the nun replies, “But God believes in you.” This is no joke! This is the gospel truth that penetrates the unbelieving heart. God isn’t shaking his fist at you. He loves you and wants to be with you. As a parent, my greatest joy comes from experiencing the fearless and trusting love of my children. When Luke gave me his book last night, he was saying, “Daddy, I love reading, but I love you more and I trust your judgment.” It melted my heart! But here’s the thing: Luke would never trust me if I didn’t trust him first. Again, it’s the same with our heavenly Father. We love because he first loved us, and we trust because he first trusted us. See the sequence? God acts; we respond. The reason some people have trouble trusting is because they don’t see God with outstretched arms but with clenched fists. Religion has taught them to fear his punishment. Such folk need to hear the good news of his grace. They need to hear how much their Daddy loves them and wants nothing but the best for them. Everything that God has ever done testifies to his love for us. The Garden, the tree, the cross – he did it all because he loves us and believes in us and is not willing that any of us should perish. His enduring hope is that we will stop doubting his intentions and trust him back. And when that happens – when we stand firm in the confidence of our Father’s love – life will really begin!

A Talk With God

Posted on

An article on why we should have faith in God even on our worst days. God does everything for a reason. And he lets certain things happen to us for a reason. Slept late? Maybe God was just trying to keep you out of a harmful situation. All of us would benefit from considering God’s reasons the next time something happens to us. 

Why Being The Good Girl Isn’t Enough

Posted on

 

So many women have grown up feeling the pressure to be “good.” This article tells us what our true motive behind being “good” should be. 

Ladies, check out the rest of the article here

Why Are So Many Christians Unhappy?

Posted on

 

What a great article reminding Christians to find their joy in God instead of looking for it in the world! 

Check out the rest of the article here

‘No Thanks’ to 50 Shades of Grey

Posted on

The Christian Examiner published an article on Thursday centered around the opinion of a women I go to church with. She is very open about what she believes on the matter, and she knows that her opinion is not widely accepted. But she went ahead and said it anyway. And I’m glad she did, because someone had to.

Check out what she has to say here

Lies Christian Women Will Believe to Justify Watching Fifty Shades of Grey

Posted on

http://www.carmendmiller.com/2015/01/lies-christian-women-will-believe-to.html?m=1

I urge all of you Christian women to read this. Especially if you have any plans of seeing FSOG. The author of this article makes some very valid, Biblically backed points. Ladies, young and old, let me tell you that there is no justification for seeing this movie. It is porn and watching porn is a sin. Not only that, but this particular type of porn shows the woman being treated inhumanely by her husband. If you take your husband with you to see this then you may risk him treating you the way the poor girl in the movie is treated. You deserve to be treated like a princess, not a slave. Also, watching other people have sex if you are married is considered adultery. Looking at someone with lust is the same as committing adultery, according to God. Do you want your husband’s sex drive to be fueled by the couple in the movie, or by you? I hope you chose you. And I hope he does too.