A few months ago, Life Church 360 invited me to speak for their women’s retreat on the topic of living a life of prayer. Our theme verse was:
Have you ever felt a little intimidated by these verses? Always be joyful? Never stop praying? Be thankful in all circumstances? I don’t know about you, but I don’t live in a bubble. I actually interact with people; people who sometimes rub me the wrong way and get under my skin.
Speaking of people, have you met my family? I won’t point any fingers, but we’re not perfect. In fact, the title of my book is: How to Love Your Crazy Family. It’s not figurative! This is real life for me, and I’m guessing it’s probably real life for you too, if you’re being honest.
So how can we love our families, God, and others when life is hard, when circumstances are challenging, and when struggles take our breath away? A big piece to that puzzle is living a life of prayer, living our lives connected to God.
As I prepared for this retreat on prayer, I realized that although I have been connecting with God in prayer since I was a little girl, there is so much more for me to experience. I can develop a deeper relationship with God every year. I can surrender more of my heart. I can learn more about my creator. I can spend more time sitting quietly in His presence and being reassured of His love.
It reminded me of my husband. We’ve been married for almost 21 years now. When discussing our relationship with our daughter Emily the other day, I actually got teared up. She smiled and said, “Oh, you’re so cute! You really love him, don’t you? Look at how you just light up when you talk about him.”
It’s true. I can’t help it. We’ve been through so much together, and every day we get the opportunity to grow in our love. Sometimes it’s simply through the gift of presence, and sometimes it’s a gift of sacrifice. Other times it’s a verbal declaration of love and physical embrace. With intentionality we choose to live a life of love.
It is much the same with God. Living a life of prayer is a purposeful choice. We do so in community, as we gather together in prayer. We do so intentionally, pouring our hearts out to our Father in journals, in worship, and even through artistic expression. We do so privately, through surrendering our will for God’s will, and through repentance and forgiveness. We are living a life of prayer in countless ways.
There’s no need to be intimidated by the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.
We can embrace the imperfect life with God, saying yes to Him, and reaching out for Him as He has reached out for us. Living a life of prayer is our lifeline, our foundation, our first defense—not our last resort.Living a life of prayer is our lifeline, our foundation, our first defense—not our last resort. – Angela Howard Click To Tweet
Is there anything—any activity, any thought, any action, any feeling—that is drawing you away from living a life of prayer? Please comment below.
Can I ask you a quick favor? If today’s post has impacted you would you share it on your social media sites? When you do, it helps me get my blog in front of more wonderful people just like you! I’d be very grateful.
For More Reading on Prayer and Intimacy with God:
A special thank you to Life Church 360 who graciously invited me to speak for their women’s retreat this past weekend. We had an incredible time! They’re an amazing group of women.
If your church or organization would like to host an event, I am taking bookings for 2016 and 2017. Check out my speaking page for details and references, or submit a speaking request HERE for more information.