relationship

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

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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.

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WORD OF THE DAY: Relationship

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Christianity isn’t just a religion. It’s about a relationship with God. Think of God not only as your Heavenly Father, but also as your best friend! John 15:4-5- “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Sin ALWAYS Destroys

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Devotion for the week of 8/18/14-8/24/14

Sin always destroys. I heard that a while back and it really resonated with me. I got to thinking about it and I realized just how true it was. While you are in your sin it may not seem bad. It may not seem like it’s hurting anyone. But it is. It’s hurting God. Since there are so many different sins there are a lot of different things for sin to destroy. To name a few: trust, marriages, friendships, self-esteem, your body, your innocence, your health, and your soul. Above all, it destroys your relationship with God. Do you think your sin is more important than your relationship with God? You’re probably thinking ‘Of course not!’, but let me tell you that if you continue to do that sin when God is begging you to stop then you do value your sin more. I know it’s hard to hear. It was hard for me to accept. But it’s true. By nature, we sin. We will never be able to stop sinning altogether. However, we all have our weakness. That one sin we keep going back to time after time. You know what yours is. It is that sin that we need to give up. It is that sin, above all others, that is separating us from God the most. It is that sin that is widening the chasm between us and God. That sin will not be easy to give up. You’re used to it by now. It’s normal to you. You may not even truly view it as a sin. Yet it is that sin that is really affecting your relationship with God. All He wants is to mean more to you than that sin does. He wants more love and attention than you give that sin. Think about what that sin offers you. Now think about what God offers you. Do they even compare? No! A strong relationship with God gives you so much more than your sin ever will. God is infinitely more satisfying than your sin! Honestly, can you think of anything more important than your relationship with God? You shouldn’t be able to because there isn’t anything. Sin doesn’t give you hope, it takes away your hope. Sin doesn’t love you, God does. Sin doesn’t protect you, it hurts you. Sin didn’t die for you, Jesus did. Sin is never harmless. Do you ever think about how much it hurts God to see you sin? He watches you sin and He tries to tell you to stop, but He never yells it at you. He speaks in a still, small voice. And your sin drowns out His voice. So you don’t hear Him quietly pleading with you to stop. You are breaking His heart. We have all broken His heart. So next time you are tempted to go back to that sin, stop and listen for God’s voice. Listen to Him quietly asking you to not do it. And if that’s not enough to keep you from doing it, then set aside time each day, as you should already, to just talk to God and strengthen your relationship with Him. Then His words will mean more to you and you’ll finally be able to get rid of that sin that destroys.