Yesterday’s prayer J.A.R. challenge was to praise God for who He is and what He has done.
This was interesting because it went deeper than just thanking Him for things that went well during my day. It was quite an experience to think about who He is, and praise Him by all of the names that describe His character: Rock, Provider, Merciful One, Lover of My Soul.
When I got to the “what He has done” part, I didn’t think just about the things He has done for me recently, but also the things He has done for me since the beginning of time. Creating me, sending His Son to die for my sins, forgiving me, loving me unconditionally, blessing me when I don’t deserve it.
I started thinking about all the little things He does for me everyday. As an example, I thought about if I was crossing the steeet and didn’t see a car coming, but God intervened and got the driver’s attention so they saw me and stopped. I would probably never know that even happened, but God was there, watching over me.
There’s a quote (there always is, right?) about how God is always working in our lives.
God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of 3 of them.
I find that so encouraging! Even when I feel like God isn’t doing anything, He is working behind-the-scenes to make everything work together for my good.
Sorry I’m a little behind on posting these. The thing is that I usually do them at night, so I can’t post until at least the next morning.
My challenge for day 4, which was 2 days ago, was to pray for the world.
That sounds like a pretty heavy challenge, doesn’t it? There’s a lot of tragedies happening in the world right now, which means there’s a lot to pray about.
As I was praying, I found myself becoming irritated with the world. I obviously wasn’t going to blame God for what was happening, so who was left to blame?
People. Us. You. Me.
It’s so easy for us to point the finger at God and say, “If He is a merciful God who controls everything, then why is He letting bad things happen?” I know, trust me I do, how difficult of a question that is to answer, and how caught up on it people get.
The simple answer is, it’s not His fault. It’s because of evil. If you want to blame someone, blame Satan!
You might think, “Why can’t God just abolish evil?” Well, eventually He will. It says so in Romans 16:20-“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
Until then, it goes back to the matter of free will, which I posted a quote about not long ago. Though free will makes evil possible, it also makes possible any joy or goodness worth having.
Maybe you’ve seen the movie Bruce Almighty, where a man played by Jim Carrey is given the powers of God, and told he can do anything but mess with free will.
He tries to use his powers to get his ex-girlfriend to love him, but it doesn’t work. But isn’t that a good thing? Because would love even be love if it were forced? Doesn’t it feel good when someone loves you not because they have to, but because they want to?
Sure, there is a lot of evil in the world, but there is also a lot of good. I’m not suggesting we ignore the evil. I’m suggesting we overcome it with the good. Romans 12:21 puts it beautifully: “Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.”
Conquer. That’s such a powerful word. Conquer evil! Be so good that evil just can’t stand it!
I would like to close with a quote that was on my mind while I was praying for the world.
People deny the existence of God, and then blame Him for the chaos that ensues.
Today’s challenge was to pray for myself. I understand that sounds selfish, but it’s really not. See, I have trouble praying for myself. I feel like I don’t deserve to ask God for anything. After all, I’m a sinner who doesn’t deserve anything He does for me.
The reason I made this a challenge is because I want to learn that it is not bad to pray for myself. I want to feel comfortable bringing my worries, requests, and feelings to him. I want to believe that He cares.
Usually when I pray, I put myself last. I thank God, I confess my sins, I pray for others, and then I pray for myself. Since I do my biggest prayer at night, sometimes I fall asleep before I get to myself.
Today was a great day to have this challenge because it was the first day of my semester. I had a lot to pray about! One of the biggest things is adjusting to school starting, and being in a different country where things are so much different than in America. Also, there are some things weighing on me emotionally, that it felt good to bring to God.
There’s a quote that I really like that I often need to remind myself of. It goes like this:
God is not bothered by our constant coming and asking. The way to trouble God is not to come at all.
I was going to post this yesterday, but I ended up not doing the challenge until I went to bed.
Yesterday’s challenge was to pray for opportunities to share my faith. That was fitting because I started my semester today, which should give me plenty of opportunities to share my faith.
I took it a step further, and asked God to help me to see the opportunities He gives me, and to give me the courage to start spiritual conversations.
A lot of the friends I’ve made here claim to be Christians, but I intend to have conversations with them so I can discover what being a Christian means to them. Then I can tell them what it means to me. That’s another way to share my faith.
This challenge reminded me of the importance of seeking out opportunities to share my faith.
I know I just posted the Prayer J.A.R. post, but I actually wrote it a couple days ago. I was just having some technical difficulties.
Like I said in that post, I’m going to share how my challenge went each day. Since I’m on my second day, I’ll be posting twice today to catch up.
My challenge the first day was to pray in the morning instead of at night.
The reason I wrote that one is because I am a stickler for praying at night, and I thought it could be good to switch up my routine.
I drew that slip in the morning, and since I had prayed the night before, I decided to not pray that night and then pray the next morning.
When it came time for me to go to bed last night, I felt like I really needed to talk to God. I realized that’s it’s never a bad thing to pray, so I’d pray both at night and in the morning. However, when I prayed last night it wasn’t how I usually pray. It was more like venting to God. This morning, I prayed how I usually pray at night. It felt weird.
I did it while lying in bed because that’s what I’m used to, but I couldn’t focus. I kept wanting to get up and start my day. Plus, it was confusing to pray about yesterday and today at the same time. Usually when I pray at night, I talk about the day I just had.
I probably won’t switch my prayer time from night to morning, but I will definitely try to pray more consistently throughout the day.
The other day, I was thinking about how last semester my friend would challenge me to pray differently than I usually do. I remember that being a really interesting experience and I thought I’d try it again. One night, when I was praying, God gave me the idea for a prayer jar. You probably think of a prayer jar as a place where you keep your prayer requests. Mine, however, is not like that. Mine is where I keep prayer challenges. It could be a challenge to pray in a certain way, or about a certain thing. When I sat down to write out the challenges, I only had a few in mind. I ended up with 16! I am both excited and nervous to take on these challenges. Tomorrow morning, I will pick my first slip of paper. As I’m writing this, it occurs to me that I could post about each challenge and what I do. I might just do that. For now, here’s a picture of the slips of paper with the challenges, and my Prayer J.A.R. It’s an acronym because I decided that J.A.R. stands for Jesus Accepts Requests. Let me know what you think of this idea, and if you do something similar. Also, feel free to send me new challenges!
P.S. excuse the white boxes-I wasn’t able to remove them