Whispers of Hope Online Gathering- Week 1

bethmoorestudypic1

Here we are after a week’s travel into our journey. Here is the place we meet up, touch base and catch our breath the week to come. We have been been putting into practice Beth Moore’s devotional book Whispers of Hope on a (hopefully) daily basis. In this practical guide for a devotional time of prayer she suggests an Acronym to follow: PRAISE. I look at this little acronym as a “workout” spiritually. We are growing spiritually strong and healthy by following the “program”. When one begins an exercise program for the body, it is not always a comfortable transition. The training protocol challenges our mental discipline as well as our physical stamina and ability. So it is when one is looking to grow spiritually. But heed this truth:

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”  1 Timpothy 4:8

What I love so much about the format is it prioritizes Praise, and also does not neglect interceding for ourselves. I also appreciate that thanksgiving is “sprinkeled” throughout all. One of the most significant lessons I learned when I became involved with Moms in Prayer, was prioritizing my prayer time by praising God first, for who He is, alone. My faith life took a giant leap forward as I learned to magnify Him, first. The beauty and power of magnifying God first in our personal, and community prayer time is, that it transforms and strengthens our wee little mustard seed faith into a God-sized, giant tree of hope. This is an act of worship and a spiritual discipline that, I believe, truly transforms the mind and faith life. When we focus on God and who He is, instead of our overwhelming circumstances, our perspective changes. Period.

One of the challenges I had was merging a couple of the prayer areas, such as supplication for self and equipping . For instance, I noticed that I tend to intercede for myself topically, so if I am praying for my husband or daughter, I also add intercessory prayer for myself most naturally in these areas. By the time I prayed for my own equipping, sometimes it seemed I had already covred it elsewhere. I also noiced that some mornings were harder to focus than others which coincided with a busy day. At least one of the days was interrupted and I didn’t make it through my whole quiet time (Such is life, we press on). Another day I made it through Intercession but ran out of time for the last two prayer topics. One of the mornings, I actually fell asleep in prayer! Don ‘t judge. Life is busy, that’s what grace is for, friends!

Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Matthew 26:41

For the days ahead, I will continue to ask the Holy Spirit to grow me in faithfulness, and I will “keep watch” by not having quiet time on the couch, but instead the kitchen table, when I am sleepy! I am not to worried, about the merging of the prayer topics, but will continue to follow the format and ask God to use it to fine tune any areas He would like with regard to my prayer life.

I want to share some free resources that have blessed me in the area of Praising God:

*Attributes of God  (Moms in Prayer)

*31 Days to Praise: Creating a Vocabulary of Praise ( Bob Hostetler)

*31 Days of Praise (Prayer Closet Ministries)

For those who have been participating, please check in and comment:

What are you enjoying about the journey thusfar? What are you finding to be challenging? How can you  modify to overcome your prayer/quitet time “obstacle” in the week ahead?

If you are not currently participating but have used the book, please feel free to share your thoughts here with us!

I will pop in later today!

Aside

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. melissac
    Feb 09, 2014 @ 11:05:16

    I apologize in advance if this seems to be rambling and disorganized. I am writing as I am thinking and it could be a bit jumbled.

    I found this week to be a wonderful experience. i have never followed such a structured prayer devotional and I find it very insightful. I also kept with it each day except one which lately has been quite a struggle. The past few months my time with the Lord has been very hit or miss. I think my commitment and accountability to the group really helped me with my follow through. I struggle with self discipline and accountability helps me in that area.

    I struggled with some of the categories as well. I felt like acknowledging and equipping. I found myself combining the 2. While Dawn found it a good experience to be thankful throughout, I found that difficult for some reason. I am going to keep working on that this week.

    I loved the fact that the topics all seemed to speak directly to areas of my life that needed to be addressed! I was really struck by Day 7 where she discussed eternal “life” starting the moment we accept Christ. I spent quite a bit of time considering that and what I need to do to live like that. I came up with a list of actions that I am going to turn into a wall hanging that I can see everyday.

    I am so glad that i decided to do this study. I look forward to sharing my thoughts again next week.

    Blessings and Hugs,
    Melissa

    Reply

    • enthusiasticallydawn
      Feb 09, 2014 @ 19:45:08

      No apologies , needed. This is a Grace Zone. So glad to see you checking in, Melissa! Take it one day at atime. I actually just read today’s devotional after church and think it is such a great message for our first Sunday of the journey. Pefect timing, a reminder for SOul Rest! I am really glad you are in on this one, too. Look forward to staying the course with you – all the way through.

      Reply

  2. annb48
    Feb 09, 2014 @ 13:38:09

    It has been quite an experience this week. In spite of how excited I was to finally start the study, I found myself getting a very late start — like on the third instead of the first. I don’t know if it was procrastination or fear or just life getting in the way or maybe it was satan trying to block my efforts.
    Let me explain the idea of fear — it seems that often when I am closest to the Lord is when horrendous things happen in my life. That could be because I turn to Him when I’m troubled more than when life is easy. Or it could be when I’m not close satan doesn’t worry about blocking me from my communion with the Lord so much; maybe the Lord is trying to get my attention when I don’t commune with Him. Whatever, I don’t need to know, I just need to do all I can to keep my eyes on Him!
    I can totally identify with both of you about feeling like my journaling blends together in the categories. I would write in one & when I went on to the next it seemed that I had already done it. One of the things that I found myself doing in the Praise category was remembering the words to praise hymns — I finally broke down & started writing out the words while singing them in my heart. And I also have worked them into my scrapbook (faith-book) pages. I’ve been terrible about doing any posting in my blog, but I will get them up there eventually.
    Happy journaling! May God bless you mightily this week!
    Ann

    Reply

    • enthusiasticallydawn
      Feb 09, 2014 @ 15:19:59

      I think Praising and ACknowledging God are to things the enemy does not want us to purpose to do- as well as praying in general. But when we pray this way, it is glorifying to God. You bet there’s gobnna be some resistance. But God , as yo know, will use this to dtrengthen us and keep us on our toes. Ephesians Chapter 6 comes into my mind! To Armour up, during the Equipping time, is a thought that comes to me, now! Praying that we be Jesus be “conspicuous” in us, is like putting waving a red flag in the Bull’s arena! Let’s pray that we be victorious over the enemy (as Beth suggests, on Pg. 3 under Equipping). Praying for you for the journey!

      Reply

      • annb48
        Feb 09, 2014 @ 17:06:25

        We must be on the same page — yesterday that’s exactly what I referenced in my equipping section! Having trouble journaling today, but I have read what Beth had to say. Have you ever used Sarah Young’s “Jesus Calling” devotional? I usually do that one before I do Beth’s — if you have it, read the one for today…God is terrific in His glorious timing & today was no different!

  3. dawnmaurice
    Feb 09, 2014 @ 16:06:28

    I’ve really enjoyed this first week. I’ve also never used such a structured format for prayer and that’s definitely helped me stay focused throughout quiet time. I too try to sprinkle thanksgiving throughout but have difficulty with supplicating for myself–will keep at it! Happy week two! 🙂

    Reply

    • enthusiasticallydawn
      Feb 09, 2014 @ 22:59:39

      I loved seeing your pages, Dawn! Will be praying and I do agree it is good to have the structure, especially to look back on after! ANyway, praying and looking forward to week 2 with you!

      Reply

  4. Barbie
    Feb 09, 2014 @ 21:00:06

    Well, first of all, I didn’t complete week one, but I hope to catch up tomorrow! 🙂 What I am loving is that it is forcing me to journal, something I’ve never been really disciplined at doing. I love the format as well and overall, I am really enjoying it. I guess the challenge for me continues to be not allowing myself to fall behind.

    Reply

    • enthusiasticallydawn
      Feb 09, 2014 @ 22:53:58

      Barbie, take it one day at a time AND I will not let you out of this- I like having you around! That being said- here is what I want to say, and for all of us. We are in it for the long haul. We all have a lot on our plates. Let’s make sure to give ourselves grace by adjusting as we go. SOme days you might find you have more time and it goes well, another day you miss…just take each day as it is, with it’s new God given mercies, and roll with it. Purpose to put Him first, and let His SPirit guide you- I think there may be days, where ther journaling/prayers flow and others where we might write less, speak prayer a bit more, I know you know this already, just let it be a blessing not a burden. Hugs and praying !

      Reply

  5. Lauree
    Feb 09, 2014 @ 22:11:33

    Well I started ofically on day four, but read days 1-3 all at once prior to journaling day four. I use to journal most of my prayers but then that can to just about a complete stand still for the past 7 months. It is good to be back to writing them down again. I find that my journaling as week went on has gotten longer and longer each day. Todays verse was especially fitting, simplify. Ihave always considered myself a jack of all trades yet a master of none. In reality this type of non focus just leads to to much business and confusion. An ultimate waste of time. “Do all things to the glory of the Lord” Well I guess that means well, and that should be focused. Time to make some changes in my stinkin thinkin..

    Reply

  6. Kathleen
    Feb 09, 2014 @ 22:20:07

    Week one…done! Maybe not exactly the way it was suppose to be done, but that’s not really the point, is it? I still don’t have this journaling thing down. I found myself doing just like annb48 and writing praise song lyrics in the praise section. This seems very natural to me. Sometimes the prayer structure helped and sometimes I found myself distracted, thinking “wait, I’m not supposed to be praying that yet”. Not the idea, i know, but hopefully it will start to be easier. I do think it is good to be reminded what we really need to be including in our prayers. Btw, did anyone else have a problem with day 3? I know what she was trying to say, but I’m not sure she succeeded. I found myself arguing with some of her points and that really doesn’t lead to great devotion time 😦 I have to fight this urge to overanalyze everything I read and then dwell on it. Oh, well, on to week two!

    Reply

    • enthusiasticallydawn
      Feb 09, 2014 @ 22:46:33

      Oh, gosh Kathleen, day three reminds me so much of Pastor’s message today! I especially liked the last paragraphs. And “Those who reject God unify over one thing- every person’s right to make a name for themselves.” Also today (Day 9) just resonates with this as well. I think it is so important to allow the Holy SPirit to guide us through the format. God will honor our desire to seek Him and be disciplined but the desire and outcome is intimacy with Him, not distraction from it! That being said, grace and more grace please! I think that the key and fruit bearing will be in the sticking to the journey…OH, and loved the first song for worship this morning. Grateful for your presence here!

      Reply

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