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i pray, take a step

iprayi pray

short podcasts to bring the sacred into your everyday

Do you only have a few minutes for prayer today? You’re in the right place! Try one of our new i pray podcasts. A few minutes is all you need to pray God’s word into any situation by interceding for friends, family, and yourself. 

Show Notes

At times in life, God lays on our  hearts a new thing He wants us to do. It might be a calling, a passion, a new job, a business to start—something big and out of the ordinary.

So we pray, and pray, and pray some more. Two years pass by and we’ve still done nothing about it.

It’s time to take a step.

Click on the sideways arrow below to pray with us through James 2:17:

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Let’s pray.

And, yes, I’d love it if you’d take a minute to write down what your next step is in the comment section.

Pray on!

*Special thanks to Mary’s son, my nephew Scott Kane, for recording the guitar riff for us!




3 Steps to Partnering with God for Your Dream

 

3 StepsI sat on the couch sick again from vertigo, an unending cycle of debilitating illness the doctors could not control. My health had literally been progressively spinning out of control for the last few years. I was sick and sinking into depression over how this disease was changing my life.

It was during this unlikely time that God birthed a dream in me, a dream to start a website. I remember thinking “But I know NOTHING about technical things, Lord, and am barely able to use my own computer.”

To which He replied “You have plenty of time on your hands to learn.”

I’ve learned a few things since that day nine years ago—one lesson in particular I am still growing into: God  wants to do much bigger things in our lives than we imagine, and when we work in tandem with Him, He shows up in big and little ways that always exceeds our expectations.

How about you? Have you ever felt totally inadequate to a dream or calling God has placed on your life? Then you’re in a good place, a place where God can move.

So let’s dive in and look at this process of partnering with God in your dream or calling. To be clear, this blog post is for the person who has already gone through the initial steps of establishing that dream or calling. If you’re not there yet, first work through this post 4 Steps to Starting Something New. Then come back here.

What Was I Thinking?!

But once you’ve started and are into the process, it is an exhilarating, scary place. The enemy will try to fill your head with doubts and at some point you’ll probably wonder “What was I thinking?!” God, however, is more than equal to the the task.

When doubts assail you, here’s an anchor to secure your floundering self to God: “The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple,” Psalm 19:7.

Now don’t be deceived; this one tiny verse is packed with power that can help you overcome hurdles and break through confusion as your pursue your God-given dream. Let’s look at it, two words in particular: making wise.

Making Wise

When I looked up the meaning of the phrase in the Hebrew (Hakam), I was astounded at all that it includes. According to my Keyword Study Bible, Hakam means “to be wise, act wisely, be intelligent, be prudent, become wise, to teach, to be skillful.” Do you already see some ways God is going to equip you for what He has called you to? But it doesn’t end there. I especially love the insight the author shares in the keyword dictionary about Hakam.

Denotes an intelligent attitude toward the experiences of life, including matters of general interest, basic morality, prudence in secular affairs, skills in the arts, moral sensitivity, and spiritual matters. The Hebrew concept of wisdom was very different from other ancient world views. Israelites believed in a personal God who is holy and just, who expected man to live according to His principles. They emphasized the human will rather than just mere intellect. The Hebrew concept of wisdom was therefore very practical, being based on what God had revealed concerning right and wrong.

This is huge for us. God shares His wisdom with us in all areas of life: our work, whether it’s secular or spiritual; our creativity in the arts; our moral compass and minds; and of course, spiritually. God wants us to consult him about every area of our lives, work, family, calling, dreams, relationships, and spiritual matters.

So how can you apply this when you are feeling overwhelmed in the birthing process of your dream or calling?

  1. Pray specifically. Set aside time each day to pray and ask God detailed questions about your situation. Whether you’re trying to meet a certain financial goal, you need new customers, or  you want wisdom on how to best serve your small group, God is in the details. And He wants to be your partner in what you are doing. So treat Him like a partner. Ask questions. Discuss perplexing problems. “Prayerstorm,” as Mark Batterson calls it. The excellent book Starting Something New by Beth Booram (see resource below) will help you work through the details of birthing your dream.
  2. Listen and write down what you feel like He is saying back to you. I really caught on to this from a free teaching iBloom recently shared. It’s called How to Create a Prayer Strategy for Your Business, but the core principles apply to any area of life. I highly recommend it. It’s changed my life and the way I approach my dreams.
  3. Follow through on what the Holy Spirit shows you. Obedience is key when partnering with God. He may give you some ideas on whom to contact, a class to take, someone to pray for, a blog post to write, a resource to study, and so on. As you are obedient, He will continue to bless you and entrust you with more ideas and things to do.

When you realize that God is your source of help and strength and you follow His leading, He’ll take you on an exciting dream journey that will far exceed what you would have ever been able to do yourself

He did that with me. My website has grown into a ministry called Only By Prayer that my sister Mary Kane and I manage together. God continues to bring new things to our journey and He “makes wise the simple” on a daily basis.

How about you? Where are you in the process? Share your thoughts below.

Dream on!

835973: Starting Something New: Spiritual Direction for Your God-Given Dream Starting Something New: Spiritual Direction for Your God-Given Dream
By Beth A. Booram / InterVarsity PressSpiritual director Beth Booram has written this book to guide you through the spiritual process of defining and acting on the idea stirring within you. Interviews from people who have courageously embraced a God-prompted idea are included with each chapter to add further vision and insight. Carefully designed exercises at the end of each chapter will guide those in the beginning stages as well as provide practical help and support for those who are actively tending a God-given dream.



Little Old Me

Do you ever wish you could do something BIG for the world? I mean something with lasting influence? You may feel as if what you do through your day doesn’t amount to much in the big scheme of things. You look at your friends or family or those in the Christian spotlight who seem to have exciting jobs and callings, while yours pales in comparison. Well, I’d like to suggest that perhaps the problem doesn’t lie with you or your calling.

The problem is how you see yourself.

You’re looking at yourself with your “worldly” eyes, rather than through your spiritual eyes as God sees you.

You see, the Bible tells us that God has given us all spiritual gifts that He wants us to use–not just during special times or events–but everyday (see Romans 12:3-8; 1Corinthians 12:8-10, 28; Ephesians 4:11).  In the ordinary, in the boring, in the busy, in the slow, in the crazy times of our lives, He wants us to use these gifts. But how many of us are really doing that?

Recently, I’ve been challenged to rethink how I look at my days and my gifts.

I’m working through a Bible study called Acts: An Invitation to Courageous Living, written by two women at my church, Corinne Gunter and Julie Meiners. In Week 6, I was asked to think about those people that God has placed in my sphere of influence, and the authors included a diagram (like the one below) in the Bible study. They said to put myself in the place of the green dot in the middle of the circle and then add on the circle the names of people in my life that I may have some influence over.

As I did that, I realized that there were a lot of names on the circle, people of various ages and stages of life, some even of different cultures. Some live close to me, some live farther away.

I then sensed God asking me how I might be able to minister to or influence these people He has put in my life, using the gifts He has given me. For example, I realized I could encourage the first-time mother on my list with a home-baked meal (using the gift of hospitality) to help her after she came home from the hospital. Intercession is another gift of mine, so I could certainly pray for a young person I know who is wandering far from the Lord. Exhortation is another gift, so I could schedule to meet with a teen girl I know to be a sounding board as she struggles with some decisions in her life.

Corinne and Julie challenged me to look at my life and open my eyes to the people God has put there. What have I been missing? Who is God calling me to help, and what is He asking me to do?

I’d like to challenge you to do the same thing. Fill out your circle of influence. Ask God to show you who may be right under your nose that could benefit from some of your time and resources. What are you missing, maybe because you’re looking for the “big” thing?

Well, God does has something big for each of us to do, and often times He has us start right where we are. What’s He putting on your heart today?

Pray on!




The Outcasts: Jesus Calls the Outcasts by Mary Kane

” It wasn’t a coincidence that Jesus walked by the tax office that day; He went there on purpose. Jesus didn’t just happen to call a random stranger to follow Him. Jesus knew all about Matthew; his failings, his flaws…and his heart.” Jesus is calling you to follow Him as well! To do the study “Jesus Calls the Outcasts” just click on the link!




Changes

Jane VanOsdol

Jane VanOsdol

One of the constants in my life over the last two years has been change! That may sound a little funny, but I’ve had changes in my job, my health, my calling and my kids. Each one of these things by themselves is enough to shake you up a bit, but when they all happen relatively close together, it really gets your attention!

About two years ago, I decided to stop teaching at the Christian school that I had been at for eight years and decided to pursue my dream of developing a freelance writing career. I had been praying about it for awhile and by the fall of 2008 the timing seemed right, so I made the plunge. It’s been an interesting time of developing clients and finding projects, and I love it, but it did cause me to make some adjustments.

First of all, I’m the type of personality that doesn’t always take to change happily. My identity was tied up in the school and my position there and the people I knew and in my students. Losing all that was harder than I thought it would be. That was compounded by a change in my health at the same time. I began having frequent bouts of vertigo, which often left me sick and not comfortable leaving my house. So I went from a busy, bustling school as my daily routine to a quiet, empty house.

I struggled with discouragement because of being sick, but God had something in mind with all that time I spent resting. At that time He was also putting in my heart a desire to start a blog about prayer. So for that year, I spent a lot of time reading and studying about blogging and podcasting and researching what resources I would need to do all this. It was a tough year, but God was busy laying the groundwork for future plans.

The BIble verse that became my theme for that year was the following:

“Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” Psalm 37:7a.

Now, I was impatient and just wanted to feel better and get on with things, but I had to learn to WAIT. I had no choice.

During this time, my kids were also going through many changes. My daughter finished college, moved back home for the summer, moved to Argentina for four months and is now back home again starting a job. My son is doing the opposite. He is graduating high school in two months and leaving for a 15 month auto mechanic training program this summer. Kids coming and going, in and out of the house, quiet and chaos. I can sense it’s the end of child rearing and the beginning of new relationships with them.

So, how do we handle all these changes that come into our lives–some from our own decisions, some from Life? It always helps to talk them over with a friend, a spouse,or a parent who has been through it before. I’ve also found that wrestling through them in prayer is the best way for me to handle them. I say wrestling because it ususally is not a quick solution, but a repeated bringing them before the Lord, seeking His will and His solutions and His plans. I like to write this all down in a journal, so I can add any insights the Holy Spirit gives me as I pray through these things. Then as answers start to come, I combine the praying and waiting with action as God shows me what to do.

try journaling your prayers

try journaling your prayers

Over the years, I have learned more of what it means to wait on the Lord when I sense He is calling me to make changes. Mostly I have learned this from my own painful blunders of charging ahead and then having to undo my mistakes because I acted too soon or took on too much and made a mess of things.

What kind of changes is God calling you to make right now? Where are you in the process? LIstening to Him? Not wanting to change the status quo? If you feel like it, share a little bit about your “winds of change.” And, of course, pray on!