Read: Exodus 3:7-9, Psalm 86:1-17, Hebrews 5:7
We live in a world divided.
Daily, I'm reminded of this truth. From the morning news to the evening debates. To my twins fighting over their toys and our family's schedule segmented into hours for work, school, church, friends, and all the extras. Division slices our hearts, causing us to live distracted and disconnected from God and each other.
When this world of division overwhelms my soul, I turn to a Story that has a beginning and an end with words woven together over generations to unite our hearts to Jesus, the Bread of Life. God sent His son Jesus into a broken world with the purpose to be broken and then restored so that we may have life and experience it to the fullest.
Jesus is the bread that was broken so the body may live in unity.
But how do we apply the story of Jesus personally, especially when our insecurities are pulling us away from Him and into the depths of comparison, fear, and unworthiness?
The very definition of prayer is "a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God." Prayer is the glue between God and us, sticking our hearts to His. With prayer, we can join hands in unity, undivided as co-sharers of the uncontainable truth that has completely transformed our lives.
Don't believe me?
I know from personal experience that prayer changes everything. Six years ago on my birthday, I prayed a simple request, "Use me, God." I'd grown up in the "good girl" category of girls through high school and college, living a safe life where I valued achievement over everything else.
I had goals.
I had a plan.
But soon after that prayer, all my plans changed.
I quit my job.
I became pregnant with twins (yes, twins!).
And suddenly, three months before the twins' due date, I went into labor. As I was lying on the exam room bed delivering the twins via cesarian section, all I could do was pray.
The twins were born at two pounds each and spent the next 83 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Those were the longest days of my life, and I spent countless hours petitioning to God to let my babies live. I knew that His will would be done but I also believed that he heard my prayers. Just as the girls' lungs relied on machines to breathe, prayer became my power source to inhale and exhale the promises of God. God used this trial to draw me closer to Him. When the twins were finally healthy enough to leave the NICU, they came home on my birthday, exactly one year after I'd prayed my simple yet life-changing prayer.
I believe God took a girl with a plan and flipped her life to follow His plans.
And now? Even though I still struggle with failure, anxiety, and my performance, I've changed into a girl that believes prayer is a gift that God gives us to know Him in the most intimate and beautiful of ways.
Today is the first day of 2016. I'm sure you've already made plans for this year, resolutions to lose weight, get out of debt, eat right, and to be more organized. Not to give you a spoiler alert but more than likely you aren't going to keep these plans. It won't be intentional. No, it will happen gradually as you slip back into a busy life that pulls you in every direction, begging for a bigger slice of your pie. Instead might I challenge you to begin this year by asking God what His plans are for you?
What if, for 21 days, you focused on what God wants for your life? If you accept this challenge, you will commit to praying with the purpose of learning how to have an undivided heart for God in a very divided world.
Are you in?
I hope you said yes.
In the middle of The Great Story lies a book entitled "Psalms" which means poems of praise. A great author of this book is David, a man who is known as having a heart like God's. In it, he penned these words,
Psalm 86 is titled "A Prayer of David" which indicates that it was a prayer he used for himself often. Commentaries say that David encouraged others to pray this prayer, especially in times of affliction. In this Psalm, the word God is translated Elohim which means "God who listens and answers." How assuring is that promise in the middle of our times of trouble?
Prayer forces us to give our undivided attention to God. It creates a space for us to vent, cry, question, plead, and praise. Prayer isn't magic, nor will God answer our every request but when we focus on God through prayer, everything that seemed so big and important is suddenly made small in comparison to his greatness, power, and love.
Let’s begin 2016 by giving God our undivided attention.
Follow the next steps below to begin the challenge portion of Day 1.
FIRST THINGS FIRST:
Take a moment today to give God your undivided attention. Go on a walk or pray in your closet - it doesn't matter where - but find a way to get with God one-on-one to pray. Pray for 2016 to be a year that God can use you right where you are. Give Him your plans and believe that all of His promises in Jesus are "yes and amen."
Begin your prayer challenge worksheets. We’ve got a short introduction worksheet and one for today.
Join us on Monday, January 11th at 6:00 p.m. for our Undivided Women Launch Party at Covenant United Methodist Church. Invite your friends and learn more about this exciting new ministry for our community!