This is my last post in the Word Nerd series using Illustrated Faith’s devotional kit.
For my entry, I used a few items from the kit, a prayer journaling card from my Etsy shop, and the girl is from an Illustrated Faith printable called Heart Work that I’ve used in previous Word Nerd entries. I also used an Illustrated Faith alpha stamp set, as well as the Word Nerd stamp set from last year. And I grabbed the Lauren washi tape as well as another printable from my shop called Life-Giving Words.
The devotionals in this kit encouraged us to meditate on and remember the promises of God. Remembering them renews us and helps us to endure. Following these sessions was a blank page to study a word of our choice. I chose the word Amen and I’m journaling in my disc-bound bible at 2 Corinthians 1:20.
For every one of God’s promises is “Yes” in him. Therefore, through him we also say “Amen” to the glory of God.2 Corinthians 1:20
I’m focused on the word Amen which means so be it, so it is, may it be fulfilled. I actually learned the meaning of this word a few months ago. God has been teaching me so much about prayer over the last couple years. One day, after praying, I said amen, and then realized I didn’t really know what that means. Amen, to me, meant I was in agreement with something; like, “Amen to that!” My understanding now is that Amen is a word of faith; it’s believing that our prayers are heard and answered.
Soon after learning its actual meaning, I came across a song called The Blessing by Kari Jobe, Cody Carnes and Elevation Worship. I looked up the story, or meaning, behind the song and learned that it’s based on the Aaronic blessing in Numbers.
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.Numbers 6:24-26
The song repeats these verses which are then followed by Amens. There’s also a part where Kari sings “may His favour be upon you and a thousand generations, your family and your children, and their children and their children” which I just love!
As a mom, a homeschooling mom, some days can be very challenging. I love listening to this song especially when I’m feeling very down. When I’m in that place where I have a difficult time rejoicing. This song always lifts me up as it reminds me that God intends good for me. He is with me. He is for me. He is for our family. It helps me to keep going knowing that He’s doing something amazing here in our lives. What we’re doing now will have an impact on generations to come. This amazes me and encourages me to keep going.
All of this really resonated with me, so I really wanted to document what I learned. I received this kit soon afterwards and immediately wanted to skip all the sessions and go straight to the end so that I can journal this word.
But God led me to start with session one which was Meditate; to slow down and savour His word as He leads me through it. I wasn’t planning to complete the other sessions either, after the first two, but He again slowed me down. Illustrated Faith released two more kits since Word nerd, so again I was feeling like I should rush through this one so that I could get to them. I’m so glad He took that message from the first session and planted it in my heart, because I needed every single one of those sessions and their messages were delivered at the exact time that I needed them.
The author of the devotionals left us with Psalm 121 which I think echoes the song. It essentially tells us that God is our help. He watches over us and protects us. He sees us where we are right now in the difficulty we’re facing and He is our help. He is for us!
For my entry, I wrote out some steps for effective prayers – what I’m calling Amen Prayers. These are steps that He put on my heart through various scripture readings, articles I read and discussions with friends about prayer over the course of the year.
1. Abide in Christ
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you.John 15:7
It is because of Christ that God even hears our prayers. Through Him we now have direct access to the Father to whom we have been reconciled in relationship. Prayer is relational; it’s communicating with God. Though He knows all, He still wants to hear from us. To abide in Christ is to remain in relationship with God and all that scripture tells us that entails.
2. Keep His commands
As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commands you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love… This is my command: Love one another as I have loved you.John 15:9-12
Following from the first step, to abide in Christ we have to keep His commands. The greatest command is to love God and the second is to love others. Jesus demonstrated that love, it is obedient and sacrificial. It is wholehearted. We cannot do this apart from God. God is Love. We are born of God, so we are children of Love. That is our identity as new creations with a new heart and His Spirit within. We don’t try to love, we cannot do but love.
3. Ask His Will
Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.John 14:13
Asking in His name is to ask for things that He would, according to His character, and for His glory. Quite simply, this step means we ask Him what to pray for. When we pray, we should praise Him, confess our sins and ask for forgiveness. We should tell Him exactly what’s on our hearts and seek His comfort and help. However, before asking Him for something, we should seek His will; ask Him what we really should be praying for. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows the future and what we will need. Doing this will also keep us from waiting aimlessly for something that is not in His will. It will also keep us from asking for selfish desires as warned in James 4:3
When God was teaching me this, He led me through a practical exercise that I found very helpful. I wrote a list of the things on my heart that I wanted then asked God to tell me what I truly needed in those areas. What I found very interesting is that the things He said I needed, I actually already had them. His word in Psalm 37:4 says that He will give us the desires of our heart as we delight in Him. My understanding of this is that He changes what we desire as we abide in Him. So, I believe we can trust those heart desires, but shouldn’t rely on them solely. I feel it is prudent to do a heart check, and still seek Him regarding them, lest we be deceived.
4. Pray and believe it is received
Therefore I tell you, everything you pray and ask for—believe that you have received and it and it will be yours.Mark 11:24
This is where faith comes in to play. In the verse before this one, Jesus tells His disciples to have faith in God and to speak without doubting that it will be. If we ask for what He tells us, then surely we will receive it because it is according to His will.
5. Continue to seek his face in the wait
We may not immediately receive – that is, be realized – what we asked for and will have to endure times of waiting. This in itself is a blessing because we get to learn patience and trust, as well as the growing of our faith. To endure the wait, we should continue to seek His face and continue to abide in Him. When doubt or impatience creeps in, take an example from Abraham in Genesis 15 and be real before God. He will reaffirm His promise and strengthen you to endure.
I hope this encourages you in your prayer life and in times of waiting.
Joy & Peace, Sister!