When you’re rushed–and feel like you don’t have time to play with the kids, exercise or spend time with God, combine all three and try ALPHABET PRAYERS.
I admit it–I don’t like to stop and take my building-better-bones walks. (I just feel like I don’t have time!) Yet once I push myself out the door, I enjoy my God-walk-talks. Sometimes I pray versions of the alphabet prayer. (Busy Mothers and Grandmothers, you might include your children as you walk together or push the stroller to the park.)
1. Alphabet Thanksgiving: Name what you’re grateful for starting with A and proceeding through Z. Example: Father, thank you for the:
A. Air we breathe.
B. Bird I just saw.
D. Ducks in the pond.
2. Alphabet Scripture Prayers: Think of Bible verses, phrases, or even scripture songs you’ve learned lately and turn them into prayers. Example: Lord, your Word says, Abide in me;[i] Believe in the Lord Jesus;[ii] Create in me a clean heart.[iii] (Or, use He Cares for you.[iv] Remember, there’s no perfect way to do this!)
3. Alphabet Praises: My favorite adaptation of this idea is to praise God for his attributes and characteristics. Example: Lord God, I praise you because you are:
No matter what you choose, be gentle with yourself and your children. If you can’t think of anything for a letter, skip it and move on. If you don’t know the verse’s exact wording, paraphrase. Just have fun and let your mind and soul be bathed with God’s words, presence and gifts.
Try it and let me know what happens. Okay?
[i] John 15:4
[ii] Acts 16:31
[iii] Psalm 51:10 NKJV
[iv] 1 Peter 5:7
The phone rang and I answered. “Karen, we have an opening for a third grade teacher at church,” said our Children’s Minister. “You’re so good with the kids. You’d be great. I hope we can count on you.”
I had no strong desire to do this. I was already involved in several other areas. Still I didn’t want to leave her stranded-or the kids without a teacher. In years past, I would have said, “Sure, I’ll do that.” simply because there was a need and I didn’t want to let God or his people down.
This time I said no. I wanted be more intentional and prayerful about my time commitments. Still I felt guilty. After my decision, I prayed that she’d find a willing teacher soon. Soon a woman said “yes.” It fit her gifts, she had time to prepare, created great activities and nurtured the children. My own daughter had fun in her class and learned much.
This was a turning point for me. I’m learning that God is okay with me saying no even when saying yeswould meet an important need. I don’t want to hinder God’s work and plan, yet that’s what can happen if I accept a position based merely on guilt or obligation. I now seek the peace of God over being the perfect-but overworked-servant of God.
Joan here: I so appreciate Karen’s story and her desire to use her gifts to help others and honor God. When have you said “no” and then discovered that your decision allowed you to say “yes” with commitment to another opportunity that brought you joy in serving?
Don’t Give Up On Your New Year’s Goals ‘Cuz You’re Scared
When I decided that God wanted me to buck the status quo and change my over-trying and kowtowing, I felt scared. That’s an understatement—I felt sick to my stomach every morning for months. To help defuse the fear, I would ask myself, In this situation, what’s the worst thing that could happen?
Depending on the circumstances, I responded with answers similar to these: I could make a mistake. I might not succeed. My husband may withdraw. I might not make enough money. I could do something wrong and look ill prepared. (Perish the thought!) Others might disapprove. Somebody might even yell.
Then I asked, Would that be the end of the world? To be honest, it sometimes felt like it would be. Yet I had come too far to give up merely because it seemed difficult, confusing or scary. Eventually my answer became, I guess not. I know God accepts and loves me no matter what.
What made the underlying difference was this belief: Although today I face disappointment, frustration, unmet needs, pain or rejection, I have assurance of better things to come. Life isn’t always fair or fun. I may cry sometimes now, yet one day I’ll know complete satisfaction and joy with Jesus in heaven.
How about you? What New Year’s goal are you about ready to pitch? How can knowing that Jesus is your Ultimate Hope help you keep going through the hard stuff?
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” Luke 6:20-21
Adapted from It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life by Joan C. Webb
I mentioned in my last blog post that I planned to take that I take an “Intentional Woman” relief-break from work, blogging, coaching, speaking, writing, and Facebooking-Twittering Dec. 4 through Jan. 2. I DID IT! It was wonderfully imperfect and refreshing.
On Monday, January 3, I jumped back into the regular routine with seven coaching clients, 2 piano lessons and making to-do lists so I could chip away at the accumulated tasks. So step by step I go into 2011. More blogs later.
In the meantime, it is my delight to show you this slightly imperfect Christmas photo of us (Papa and Grandma Joan) with our seven “fun” grandchildren. Left to right: Annika, Max, Sam (with hands on hips), Kirsten in white shirt, Lesia beside GJ, Luke (far right) AND little Calissa whose “fun” caused her to throw back her head with laughter! (As I look at this photo now, I see lots of missing teeth–and then there’s Grandma with a mouth full of gleaming metal! Yes, I still have braces. Maybe 3-4 more months and this “teeth annoying adventure” will be over.)
How was your Christmas celebration?
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.