A Way to Praise, Pray, and Ponder

Sometimes it helps to switch up our prayer and praise routine in order to keep us growing and disciplined in our prayer time with God. Click on the links below to download and print my free daily “Praise, Pray, and Ponder Page”. I’ve created two different styles-one for men and one for women. Enjoy!

*These are for personal use only. Permission is not granted to sell my “Praise, Pray, and Ponder Page” printables.

Freedom and Hope In Jesus

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. -2 Corinthians 3:17

Held prisoner to memories, the torment of trauma had been weighing me down for far too long. The abandonment by my father and a nasty divorce from long ago had been surfacing a lot lately, after being triggered right before Christmas. Both last night and tonight, I was right smack dab in the middle of the trauma all over again and this boulder of pain felt like it was crushing my soul. After being stuck in this hopeless cycle of bondage, God moved a mountain.

He has recently been speaking to me about letting my father go, but the truth is, I hadn’t known how to completely do this. While I have done a ton of work on my dad and there have been layers of healing and forgiveness throughout the years, I was still experiencing the effects of this old trauma, and was struggling to fully forgive him. Each time I thought I had left the past behind, another trigger would smack me in the face and the wounds would spew, taking a week or more to move on with my life.

Yesterday, after communicating with my dad and having more hurt dug up, I was hanging by a thread. The trauma and pain were fresh again. Beyond weary, I had run out of steam to keep running the race and I didn’t know if my body could carry on. Looking at all that was on my plate for the evening, I thought I’d crumble, but I made a choice. I could have used a number of distractions to try to cover up the pain, but I reached for my Heavenly Father. Opening up His Word, I asked Him to speak to me and He spoke-Sing to the Lord. Not exactly what I expected hear, but it’s what He’s been telling me this past week-worship me in the wilderness. So, I did just that. I drew myself a bath, cranked my Worship Him in the Wilderness playlist found here and belted out songs, praising Him. That simple obedient act turned my night around. I was in a very dark place that could have spiraled down quickly, but He filled me up and lit me up. Shining hope, He brought light to my darkness. He showed me that He had this-that He had me. My Heavenly Father let me know that I could let go and trust Him with this suitcase of pain I had been lugging around for thirty-two years.

Then, tonight, the thoughts of my father returned and my heart throbbed again. The hopelessness was starting to settle in. Heading down that dark path of depression, the old wounds began crippling me. Knowing my warning signs, I had to act quick. I’ll admit, for years, distraction from the pain was my go-to-whether it be with food, my phone, sleep, work or binge watching shows. Thumbing through Hulu, I knew was the wrong choice, there was no relief there, so again, I drew myself a bath, turned on worship music and abided in Him. Tears streaming down my face, I sang and poured out my heart to Jesus. A few minutes later, I got on my knees and asked Him to break these chains as I handed Him my father and the situation. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. I heard Him say “get up and walk”. Thinking, I’m in a bathtub, what does this mean? Did a miracle just happen? Yes, it sure did. That soul-crushing pain that had been bearing down heavily on my chest was suddenly lifted and I felt freedom.

This evening, He filled me with joy and broke chains that only He could break. I was depressed and had zero motivation to write before this happened, now here I am at my computer, telling my story. I’ve learned a lot about forgiveness in the last two days. What He’s taught me is that forgiveness is making a choice to release my father, then trusting Him to take care of what I can’t. It’s depending on God to carry the pain, resentment, and offenses, so I don’t have to carry it anymore. Forgiveness is choosing to trust that He will take care of the offender in His way, on His time, however He chooses. Do you trust me enough to set you free? This is what I heard Him asking me. Tonight, I made a choice to release my father to Him and I’m choosing trust.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. -John 8:36

**an update after writing this post, He spoke again and confirmed the broken chains. While reading another’s blog, this verse spoke right to my heart:

“Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” -Psalm 116:7

10 Ways to Stay Anchored to Him

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. -James 4:8

Anchored Action Plan

Anchoring yourself to Jesus is about maintaining a connection and trusting Him, even when you don’t understand His ways. And in order to maintain a connection with anyone important to you, you have to make time for that relationship to blossom. A relationship can’t be expected to flourish if you don’t put in the time. Here are 10 ways to anchor yourself to Jesus so when the storms of life hit, you will rise instead of sink:

  1. Spend time with Him first thing in the morning. I have set aside a time each morning when I first wake up to pray, read a daily devotional, and read a section from my Bible. This allows Him to get into my head before anything else does. It focuses my day and helps me keep my eyes on Jesus.
  2. Praise Him by worshiping Him through song or verbal admiration. I do both. During my quiet time in the mornings, I will verbally praise Him. Other times, I will turn on Christian music and worship him, raising my hands to feel closer to Him.
  3. Shoot prayers up to Him often. Whether it’s a simple “help me, Jesus” or a longer prayer, connect with Him throughout each day. I know I cannot truly live without His help, so I do this often. Sometimes, it’s a prayer to help me be more patient with our girls. Sometimes, it’s a prayer asking Him for help letting go of my anger.
  4. Practice gratitude as often as possible during the day by thanking Him for even the smallest of blessings. I’ve tried to make it a habit to thank Him several times each day for things that can easily be taken for granted-such as my family, running water and food in our cupboards.
  5. Take a break from social media. I’m currently “fasting” from Facebook. Facebook was a huge waste of precious time that could have been spent nurturing my relationship with Jesus and my family. Instead, I was showing a sliver of the reality of my life to many people that weren’t nearly as important to me as the relationships I should have been nurturing. It was a complete time suck and a distraction from my priorities. Becoming less distracted and more present in Him, is when I hear God most. It was actually during this “fast” that He put it on my heart to tell my story through this blog.
  6. Meditate on His Word. Choose a verse and meditate on it throughout the day or listen to a Christian meditation app at night before bed.
  7. Serve. Do something for Him. Use your gifts to give to others and do it joyfully. This can be as time consuming as you make it. Sending someone a card or text with an encouraging word and Bible verse can be done in just a few minutes. Serving is an area I am really working on incorporating more into my life. Not only am I doing something for God, but the rewards of peace and joy are a real blessing.
  8. Talk to Jesus about anything and everything, either silently or on paper. If writing is your thing, do it in the form of a letter or journaling. Have conversations like you are having with your best friend, at any time of the day. Tell Him your deepest thoughts, struggles, and feelings. He loves and cares about YOU! It was during my darkest moments lying in bed chronically ill, that I really learned to communicate with Him and came to know how much I need to keep that line of communication open.
  9. Listen. God speaks in many different ways. In order to hear Him though, distractions must be set aside. When I am distracted, checking out on social media or in a Netflix marathon, I’m not able to hear Him. My mind is not focused on Him and I miss the connection. It is in connecting with Him and maintaining that connection that I hear Him most.
  10. Obey. If He says “move,” move. When I hear Him and don’t listen, it never works to my benefit. Not only am I sinning, I miss the blessing He has for me and the consequences are not worth it. Being stubborn and strong-willed, this has been a hard lesson to learn. I am a work in progress. Picking up His cross and dying to myself daily is a constant challenge.

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. -Psalm 145:18