Bored with your prayer life? (2)

If you pray a couple times a day then you may feel like you are using the same prayers over and over. I know I do and I feel bad. I don’t want God to get annoyed because my prayers are routine and flat. I read online a few years ago that one way to add some variety to your prayer time was to use worship songs. It is much easier for me to remember the words to worship songs sometimes than it is to remember scripture. Lots of worship songs have scripture in them anyway. I went back and started copying the lyrics of my favorite worship songs and it has vastly improved my prayer life. I am not as bored doing it and I feel better giving God a little more as well. Sometimes when I am stressed and can’t recall a scripture I think back to those songs and those lyrics help calm me down.

I listen to a lot of worship music so there isn’t any one song or artist that I go too but I do try to find songs that describe how God is and talking about his character. I want God to know I recognize how awesome he is, even though I can’t always find the words to convey that.

These are just some examples if you click on the link the lyrics are scrolling across the screen.

 How Great is our God -Jonathan Nelson
Because of who you are-Vicki Yohe
Nobody Greater-Vashawn Mitchell
Holy is our God- James Fortune

Total Praise-Richard Smallwood

Oh Lord, How Excellent-New Jersey Mass Choir

 

 

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What should a Christian do?

I’m an enigma. I can’t be put in a box. I know at some point I may need to make a choice but right now I’m just living the best way I can. I may listen to a Joyce Meyer podcast on the way to work, gospel on my Pandora during work and ride home to Cardi B. I am going on vacation with my girls next weekend. I will be probably go to a few night clubs and have a few adult beverages. Some would say that isn’t appropriate. I disagree. I won’t be scantily clad, grinding on strangers, or overly intoxicated. I like going to parties every now and again. I also think you can relate to other people when you understand the things they like. My bible study group went to see Jumanji and were able to point out the way God moved in the movie. I didn’t notice any of that when I was watching but I don’t think they were reaching. When your mind is always on God you see him in everything.

I can identify with people because I have been where they been. Jesus ate with tax collectors, and all kind of non conventional people. I know you we are supposed to be separated from the world but it’s just not something I can do 100%. Not right now anyway. If I can tell a college kid I went to the club on Saturday night and then went to church and Sunday school the next day they will know they can too.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.
1 Corinthians 6:12 NIV
http://bible.com/111/1co.6.12.NIV

I wrote the words above Before I went on vacation. Now that I’m back I’m not sure how I feel. I know I will probably go to the club again and drink alcohol. I think I’m at the end of an era. I was at a women’s retreat this weekend and I asked should Christians go out and most of the women there said yes that it was perfectly ok. They said be cautious because you don’t want to be a stumbling block but the souls you could be saving are more important. I don’t disagree. One woman said she has lost the taste to go out. I think I’m losing my taste for it as well. I don’t know. Part of me feels like it’s a cop out because I’m over 30, I should be partying less. Another part of me doesn’t want to leave my old life behind. The entire basis of spiritual growth is being transformed. I’m more like slowly weaning myself off. I have to ask the question am I still holding on because of other people or is it because of me? I don’t want to shut the door completely, more like cut back some more. Like birthdays and special occasions only. Maybe it’s just this season in my life. It’s about to be summer so party season will soon be upon us.

I am going to take it one event at a time. The other ladies felt pretty casual about the entire thing. I didn’t feel convicted, so this isn’t a strong pull but maybe like I didn’t belong there. I don’t know. I will probably go to a few more parties just to be sure I didn’t misunderstand my feelings.

Meditation

Meditation is combination of reviewing, repeating, thinking and analyzing. It’s a physical, intellectual and emotional activity, it involves our whole being.

For some reason people seem to have issues with mediation. I’m not sure why. Jesus mediated. We also are told over and over in the bible to meditate so I’m not sure what the big deal is. I guess when people think of meditating they think of someone sitting cross-legged, with incense lit, going hummmm…I’m not sure where this misconception comes from but it doesn’t have to be that way. I feel like meditation is just slowing down your mind and clearing out the junk to let God in.

One of my biggest problems is that I think to much, so mediating before I go to sleep helps me relax and I often wake up more refreshed when I do it. The most common way I meditate is to repeat a verse over and over depending on what was going on that day. Another thing I like to do is put on soft music while I do my devotional or journal. The music doesn’t have words typically. Its not jazz or classical but soft sounds or waves, things that will slow my thoughts down and allow me to drill down more into God, not into myself. I can block out what happened at work or what I saw on tv and just focus on what I’m trying to do. You know how sometimes when you are trying to pray and or read your bible and your mind keeps wandering to everywhere else than where its supposed to be? Listening to this soft music definitely helps. One album I like is Kim Clement Sweet Moments, another is Dreamy Vibes by Spotify. Meditation is way to add some spice to your prayer life and variety. God doesn’t care how you to spend time with him He just wants you to do it.

In doing research online these are some things that I saw about meditation. I do most of these activities on a regular basis but there are few that I would like to do more often such as memorizing verses. I have them written on notecards already but I fall short on the memorization side.

-read a verse over and over

-memorize all or part of it

-personalize it by putting it in first person

-write the verse on a notecard and memorize throughout the day

Do you have misconceptions about meditating? Think about what is stopping you. Meditating could vastly improve your prayer life, your sleep, your overall deposition. When you get a spare 10 minutes try it, I think you will like it.

I just discovered this Abide app through the YouVersion Bible App and I really like it. You have to pay for the longer meditation but I found them on Youtube for free! The guys voice is nice and relaxing and he asks insightful questions to really get you thinking about God, the verse and yourself. I am trying to incorporate these into my quiet time every week. Let me know if you try it.

Congregate

Congregate-gather into a crowd or mass

What a great word for Sunday! Did you congregate at someone’s church today? Not online, a podcast or tv, but were you physically in the House of God? There is something to be said about the worship experience. It is designed in the way that it is for a reason. I am typically late to church every week because my husband doesn’t like praise and worship, so our compromise is that we get there in enough time to hear one song and the preacher start his sermon. This works well for the both of us. This Sunday however, he couldn’t attend with me, he wasn’t feeling well, so I actually got to church relatively on time.

I had been feeling an unrest in my spirit and I really didn’t understand why. I prayed about it yesterday but I didn’t feel like I got any clear answers. I wanted to stay home with my husband this morning, but something was telling me, get up and go.  I am so glad that I did. The dance team came out first and the song was “How much longer Lord,” boy did I feel that! It was exactly what I had been asking God the other day. How much longer? What else do you want me to do? When the dancers left, the choir came up and sang, “Hold on just a little while longer”. What?! Now my logical brain tells me that I’m the choir director and praise team got together to decide this line up, it wasn’t just coincidence. However, the spiritual person in me knows that God knew I needed to hear those songs in that order, in that way. If I would have gotten to church at my normal time, I would have missed all of that. If I would have stayed home and listened to the sermon online tomorrow at work, I wouldn’t have gotten any of that, just the sermon. I needed to hear the sermon, but hearing the music, feeling like God wanted me to hear that, settled me in a way that sermon did not.

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I talked before about going to church and I know a lot of people have issues with church. I look at church like going to the gym. When you go to the gym even when you don’t feel like it, you always feel better after the experience. I believe church is the same way. In all the times I have been to church, I never left thinking, wow, this was a waste of time. Don’t worry so much about the people who are there. It’s not about them. Its about you, growing your relationship, being obedient to God, getting everything He has planned for you.

Question: If you don’t go to church, why not? How long has it been? Could this be the year that you start going again?

Action: Try to go to church next weekend and the weekend after and just see how you feel. Let me know if you notice a difference between listening at home and being in the building.

Congregate