Week 1: Days 1,2,3,4
We are underway!
As of today, we have completed 4 days out of 40. I pray that your prayer challenge experience falls into the “so far so good” category. Hopefully, you are getting the hang of the technology that is stretching some of you. (Clicking links, accidentally deleting my email or thinking that is is spam and kicking yourself out. etc.)
I’ve heard from many of you personally. THANK YOU. Here are just a few nuggets…
- One pray-er asked for prayers for her daughter Anna. She just arrived in South Korea to teach English and due to the coronavirus the schools have closed. Anna knows no one.
- One man shared that God has been speaking to him alot through stillness. He appreciates my personal experiences that help to illustrate my points.
- Several pray-ers shared that the scripture that day was just what was needed at the time they needed it.
- One pray-er is marveling at God’s timing of Lent as she just began a tough season of chemo. And He feels especially near.
One pray-er shared this fabulous tattered peanuts comic she has tucked away in her devotional. Too wonderful not to pass along to all of you.
I loved Paula’s question who asked about my suggestion of silence on day 3… When you are still, what is your mind doing or thinking? Is it blank (thinking nothing) or are you talking to Jesus? Is there a right way to be still?
First, with all sincerity, I am NO EXPERT when it comes to stillness. But I have made baby step progress. And I’m quite certain there is no “right way” to be still. But here are a few comments that may help.
When I begin my time, I remove all distractions. I don’t look at my phone, don’t pet the cat, don’t have my computer open, I pray very simply, Come Holy Spirit and I’m quiet. I attempt to JUST BE. At first, this feels impossible. But in my experience you do get better at emptying your mind. Inevitably what weighs heavily comes to my mind. When it does, I don’t rush to ask or solve or do. Instead, I DON’T pray to Jesus, rather just focus on Him and His character, opening my mind to hearing from Him. In the silence, I attempt to have Him direct my thoughts. When He does speak to me, it isn’t audible. It is usually just a sense. I hope that helps.
For extra practice I often attempt mindful silence when I’m driving. Turn off all the noise and attempt to empty my mind. When a thought invades, or my to do list, or someone I need to call, I discipline myself to not allow my mind to travel with it. Instead I let it go and refocus on the being still.
If anyone else can share their silence experience, please do.
Here is your chance to share with our prayer community. How is your prayer experience going? Any light bulb moment or word from the Lord? Any affirmation, insight or new understanding. I’d especially like to hear from any repeat participants? With only minor changes to last years content, is the daily devotional still useful?
To leave your comment…. simply scroll to the very bottom, beyond any other comments, and you will see a white box labeled… leave a reply. You write what you’d like in the box then hit the gold tab (this color) that says POST COMMENT.
Together let’s approach week two with the same enthusiasm we started with. May the Lord richly bless your obedience to keep your divine appointment.
For His Glory, Debbie Hucke
This week has been tough, our sweet doggy died suddenly of liver cancer only 10 days ago. We were crazy enough to adopt another little mutt so be disruptions that come along with another little furry Critter in the house go without saying. Nonetheless, I always look forward to your blog, and am happily settling in to this second Lenten series. The latest one about truly believing how much God loves us was such a delight for me. I intuitively believe this wholeheartedly, probably because of a very rough upbringing that resulted in my belief only God could have gotten me through half sane. My sweet husband, on the other hand, simply cannot believe God has the time to love us so much. I shared the blog with him and asked that he please, as a big favor for me, read it and ponder it and possibly get out the duct tape. As a project guy, he can relate to duct tape. That was only yesterday and I haven’t asked him yet today if he read it and or pondered it. I also passed along the Peanuts cartoon just now, send it to his computer, because he is a huge peanuts fan. I have a feeling that Peanuts cartoon was meant just for him! I have prayed for him for well over 25 years that he come to feel the tremendous love of God and accept that he is totally worthy of that love. While he doesn’t have an issue with feeling special, as a matter of fact he thinks he is pretty special, deep down it must be a sense of some unworthiness that God could possibly love him that much. Also, Debbie, your thoughts today about how to silence our mind were wonderful and I thank you so much for those.
Thank you for taking the time for this lengthy report. I will pray that your husband witnesses the calm and peace that invades your heart and mind this Lenten season and his curiosity is piqued. No pressure… but you are Jesus’ living example to him. 🙂
Marilyn Lehning says
Have not heard yet………..
Truly enjoying this time.
Karen S says
As a repeater, your devotionals are still wonderful, because God is fresh every morning! Every time I learn a little bit more of His character, it stills and settles me. I received two amazing answers to prayer on Friday. They are first steps in important processes, but I’m confident He will finish what’s been started. My heart is full of joy and wonder at God’s kindness and mercies–and yes, that He listens to little ‘ol me.
Wonderful. Bit, by bit. God is never in a hurry and yet always on time. Thanks for weighing in.
Anne Kole says
Thank you Debbie. My challenge isn’t physical stillness . An unexpected illness that requires rest keeps my body quiet. But my mind is busy. I am trying to focus on the person of Jesus and keep being mentally interrupted. Plus I am praying for a beloved family member who needs help and those needs intrude. Yet through this struggle, I am continually reminded that Jesus loves me. The Peanuts cartoon says it perfectly!
Victoria Bytwerk says
You are in my thoughts and prayers Anne.
Yes… mental stillness is sometimes the toughest part. That’s what keeps me awake some nights. So the discipline for that is no small thing. You are such a loyal encouragement to me, Anne.
Victoria Bytwerk says
I have a hard time quieting my mind too.
Thanks for weighing in Victoria.
Two years ago my close friend asked me to join your sight with her. My husband was very ill and I was needing a quiet place to focus and be still. I was so stressed that I could not read my Bible and stay focused on my lesson. Your fresh words began to fill me and bring me back the focus I need for five minutes a day. My husband has gone to be with Our Father now and through it all your blog as walked with me. I still have a very hard time emoting my mind and hearing God. I relate to the comment you shared from the man not knowing where to start. God has lead me to a sight called Encounter. It is a 15 minute daily meditation sight and the man leaded me through with breathing and quieting my mind. It has helped me to find that still place that I couldn’t get to before. I share this because your sight is a healing balm that refreshes and encourages me weekly and now daily during Lent. It amazes me the way He works and how He uses everything created to bring Him glory. Thank you for being an Angel and responding when Our Father called you.
Peace and Joy Karen
Karen I applaud you for your courage to post this. Thank you! I also pray that the Lord’s presence will continue to invade your life as you dutifully mourn and move on and do your best this side of heaven. Thank you for your Encounter recommendation for the benefit of our prayer community.
Victoria Bytwerk says
I really enjoy your writing and insights. I very much enjoyed the Lenten Prayer Challenge Last year and am excited to do it again this year. I really like the Peanuts Comic you shared. “Yes, Jesus Loves Me,” it is a profound statement.
For a month I have been following the wisdom of the book 2 Chairs by Mike Beaudine. Recognizing that the God of the universe, the Maker of Heaven and earth meets with me daily and wants to communicate with me is blessing me. I’ve known these truths for decades but this book has some refreshing insights on listening, not talking so much. I look forward to this special time each morning.
Thank you for the recommendation. I do love the image of 2 chairs. I wrote about that in a devotional on Psalm 23:5. When we are seated at the table, “in the presence of enemies”. I will check out this book. thanks.
The times I have heard God’s voice have been when I’ve been alone in nature – a backpacking retreat or a retreat at a place off the beaten path with time built in to be still and alone. I brought a journal and went off by myself to write about questions I have – one time I was especially unsure about whether I was on the path God wanted me to be on. I was filled with an overwhelming sense of the answer. But these experiences have been rare and I wish I could figure out how to duplicate them in my everyday world.
I think thats the dilemma… we want to duplicate. And maybe, that is not always what He wants. It’s a dance indeed. But unless He leads and we follow we’ll always be stepping on toes. I agree though… the overwhelming sense of the answer is how he speaks to me when He does. Thanks for weighing in.
Emmy Browning says
I have a hard time clearing my mind and just being still. It seems my mind is always racing. Will work hard on just being still and listening for God to speak to me in whichever way he chooses.
Love the Peanuts cartoon.
Be kind to yourself Emmy. This is not a race. Spending time with Him whether you hear from Him or not is never ever ever wasted. Stay the course.
Debbie, as always you have such a way with words and your guidance is so helpful. I have always felt I don’t know how to really pray, but am learning and growing. I truly look forward to each day to see what you share with us.
Thank you Cathy. I think…. no I know…. the Lord is absolutely delighted by your earnest effort.
I’m a repeater for your Lenten challenge Debbie and I thank you for the special scriptures you and the Lord have chosen. Those are what I focus on in my silent time with God. I’m no expert because my thoughts jump around too like monkeys swinging through the trees. But I keep at it… repeating the words of the scripture silently and waiting for God to show me whatever He wants to. It helps to keep my eyes shut, because anything I see can distract me. Just the process of waiting for Him sometimes brings deep peace. Some days are better than others but it’s like a journey without a road map, just keep following the shepherd. We really don’t know what work He’s doing in our hearts in our time with Him, but trust Him that it is never a waste of time because we’ve been with Him.
I LOVE your perspective. We don’t know the work God is doing in us. Just because we may not hear Him,doesn’t mean He isn’t already at work. And… deep peace what an awesome benefit. So pleased you’re with us again Susan.
Berta Pitzer says
I, too struggle to be still and quiet my mind. I practice it daily, as you do–putting everything out of sight and simply sitting still and clearing my mind so I can listen for God, or see His face. There’s so much chaos going on in our family. How can all 4 adult children be in crisis at the same time? I don’t know, but I DO KNOW who has all the chaos under control and it’s NOT ME! So the quiet place is my refuge. Proverbs 18:10 says, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and they are safe.” I run up the stairs into the strong tower and I’m safe there. I can be completely quiet surrounded by Papa God, Holy Spirit and Jesus just hanging out in a lovely relaxed, living area with a big fire and lots of windows. I’m safe and quiet and I can rest there and leave everything to him. At the end I pray “Your will, Your way, in Your time”. I do my best to carry that quiet peace with me.
Thank you for sharing that powerful image of the Lord being our strong tower. I LOVE that. Safety, refuge, protected. Your will, your way, your time. NOW… that exemplifies trust. Amen.
sheri french says
Thank you for these daily emails. Each year, I gain a greater appreciation for the Lenten season. Your “Jesus Loves you” reminded me of a children’s sermon I gave. I talked about God’s love, and pointed at each child, one-by-one, and said ‘Jesus loves YOU’. Had them point at themselves and say ‘Jesus loves me’, and repeat it, and repeat it. Then, during our sharing of the peace, encouraged the congregation to greet each other with ‘Jesus loves YOU’. Interesting watching faces during this. Also, yesterday my three-year-old grandson was excited about his Sunday School painting and the words ‘Jesus loves me’ printed on the paper.
Debbie, Jesus loves YOU!
Amen. He does. And it still causes me to pause. Thank you Sheri!
Connie Brandow says
I really enjoy your devotionals and the prayer challenge. I am definitely a “Martha” and have a hard time just sitting, but I like your idea of starting small–30 seconds. I appreciated your response to one of the questions about having a blank mind or focusing on Jesus. Thanks for sharing your gift.
So pleased Connie. Thanks for your message. From one Martha to another… baby steps.