Stone Soup for Five: Prayer Binder Q&A {part two} and a GIVEAWAY!

Prayer Binder Q&A {part two} and a GIVEAWAY!




There were so many questions asked for the Q&A!  If you missed it, part one is here.  Today we'll move on to the next round of questions and answers.  Once again, I asked prayer binder veterans Dawne and Michele to give their input too, so you can see a variety of different ways to enjoy and use your prayer binder.

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to enter the fabulous giveaway courtesy of Kelly O'Stanley!  It's only for three days, so enter before it ends!

Q5:  Is just reading through a prayer enough? What turns casual reading into an actual prayer?

Kari:  I'll start by asking you another question.  Have you ever prayed with someone else?  When I do that, I listen to their prayer, and echo that same prayer... just like when singing praise and worship songs, sometimes a line or word or thought causes me to thank or praise God and turn that into a prayer.  I do the same thing with prayers written by others, for example, the amazing prayer book A Method for Prayer by Matthew Henry.  I often read through just part of his prayers, then repeat it in my own words as a prayer or take a thought or sentence and continue down that road of prayer.  I also do the same thing as I read and pray through scripture.  I'll usually read a sentence and then pray though that for myself, others, or turn it into praise.  So in answer to your question, I think it depends on where your head is, right? If you're just reading words and calling it good, then I wouldn't think that would be a prayer.  But, if you're using those words to spur you on to pray, then it can be beautiful and helpful!

Dawne:  That’s a great question!  I used to struggle with that, too.  So, for starters, I don’t pray a prayer unless I’ve read it through first.  How could I pray in agreement when I don’t yet know what this prayer is saying?  Once I’ve read it, if I agree with it, I have no problem reading it again as a prayer from me.  I think it boils down to where my heart is.  Am I just reading words?  Or am I sincerely praying this from my heart?  If the prayers I have written in my binder are starting to get stale, and I find myself reading/praying them more by rote than from my heart, it’s time to archive those and find something new. 
Lately, though, I’ve been steering away from the written-out prayers (unless they are REALLY good ones that I can enthusiastically pray with my whole heart) and just have more “prompts” on my binder pages.  That way, I can pray from my heart and it feels more sincere.


Michele:  Not sure if you're talking about a devotional but I would say no. The reason I say this is because even though reading through prayers can enhance your prayers they are still someone else's thoughts to God. I don't think they should be substituted for our own communication with God. We wouldn't talk to our husbands and children through a scripted reading to communicate, right? God wants our hearts not our words.

Q6:  We are to pray for our enemies and those who have hurt us.  How do I do this?  I pray for them, but in my heart I don't mean it.  Horrible things were done to me and my family.

Kari:  It's hard in a situation like this to actually pray for the person who has hurt you and others.  I have to remember that apart from a work of God, nothing I can do will change my heart.  I've learned to just start praying the honest, ugly truth to God and tell him exactly how I feel.  I pour out my bitterness, unforgiveness, and hatred toward the person and that I do not want to pray for them.  Sometimes, in all honesty when it is raw and still hurts, I've just left it there.  But as time moves on and things aren't so painful, I eventually start asking Him to change my heart.  I've prayed Psalm 139:23 asking God to search my heart and change me to be more like Christ in my prayers about this person.  Sometimes it takes weeks, months, or years, but keep being honest, keep meditating on Him and His love for you, and keep asking Him to change your heart.  He is absolutely faithful and still works miracles in the hearts of His children.  


Dawne:  I think this is one of the hardest kinds of prayer!  What helps me the most is to reflect on the huge amount that God has forgiven ME, then ask myself how I could show any less to someone else.  Then I recall the story in Matthew 18 of the man who was forgiven much by his master, but who didn’t, in turn, forgive his servant of a small amount.  He was thrown in jail until he could pay back his large debt.  Also, these verses from Matt. 6:14,15 are a huge motivator for me:  “If you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive you.”  I don’t mean to trivialize your pain.  Forgiveness is hard for me, too!  But going to God and asking for the grace to forgive someone can be a good place to start.  


Michele:  From this stand point, I would start with being honest with God and how hard it is to forgive the offender and how you truly want to forgive but it might take time to get there. God knows our hearts and He knows our hurts and it can take time for God to work to change attitudes in order to truly and honestly forgive. This is why communicating with God about everything we go through is important and ask Him for help in those areas that seem impossible to over come and do. 

Q7:  I have boxes and bags and baskets full of planners, journals, and Bibles, all with the intention  of starting a consistent spiritual ritual... but have yet to succeed.  How do I get consistent habits with prayer and Bible study?

Kari:  Oh, I'm right there with you!  My best advice is start small and realistically.  Take stock of what your season of life looks like right now.  If you are in college or have little children, you aren't going to have hours for a luxurious quiet time, but you can still be intentional about 5 or 15 minutes if you have a plan.  I really enjoyed these short Bible studies when I had little kids up at the same time as me (no matter how quiet I was!  What is with that?!).  I could do them for 5 minutes a day and get my brain tuned to where it needed to be.  Prayer at that time was very short and honestly, often skipped, but getting time to listen to God, however short was better than nothing.
As my boys got older, and slept in, it was still a struggle to make myself sit down and focus (it still is!).  I had to make my quiet time in a place not by the computer and not with my phone, because I just couldn't help looking up something or going down a rabbit hole online.  I keep a pad of paper right beside me to capture thoughts and work hard (with lots and lots of failures) on training myself that this time is for me and God.  I'd say a key is to be patient with yourself, but keep praying for God to help you excel still more.  It's hard, hard work, but it is so worth the discipline!


Dawne:  This might sound shallow, but for me, I really need to LIKE what I’m working with.  Kari’s style of prayer binder has been huge for me because I’m a visual person.  A typed-up list of requests just doesn’t appeal to me.  It’s the same with my journals.  They need to have covers that draw me, and I need a pen that fits my hand well, and flows nicely on the paper.  Then I can immerse myself in the experience and focus on what I’m doing.  You might be the same way.  Or maybe you are more of a social person.  Would you do better studying the Bible with a group of people?  Or starting a small prayer group in your home?   Find out how to approach your prayer and Bible reading in a format that you love, and then go for it!  Typically we find time to do the things that we love the most.  Find out exactly what it is that is deterring you, and then work to resolve that particular issue.  Oh, and then start small, and work your way up.  Too often we get big ideas and jump in with both feet, only to find that those same ideas are too large to fit with everything else in our life.  Set smaller goals to begin with, then build on those as you experience success, or tweak them until they work.


Michele:  Haha, welcome to my life! It all comes down to what feels comfortable and what works for you. I have tried a bound journal a few times now and thinking I need to switch things up to get me motivated to pray, but its' not the object that will make me pray, it's me asking for the Spirit to help me pray. And after a few attempts with my bound journal I ALWAYS go back to my binder because it's comfortable and works best for me. I believe the biggest part about being consitent in prayer and bible study is ASKING God and His spirit to help with praying and reading. God has never failed me when i have asked for his help in either waking up ealry or finding a moment of peace to converse with Him. It doesn't have to be 30 minutes to an hour. If you can only get 5 -15 minutes than that will be the first step in building the discipline in meeting with God. Try it out for a week or two and if you find that is going well, then you add on to it. You can't  have an "all or nothing" attitude with God. This walk with God is a relationship to build itimacy with and that takes a lifeitme to do, it's about wanting to spend time with Him because of who He is and what He has done for us and not what He can do for me attitutde.


And now... for the giveaway! 


Early on in the prayer challenge posts, I mentioned one of my favorite prayer calendars is put out by Kelly O'Stanley.  Kelly generously reached out to me and wanted to give away an amazing gift set to one of you guys!  One lucky entrant will get one of Kelly's 2019 prayer calendars, two sets of stickers (Prayers for Marriage, and One Word prayer prompts) plus a mini journal and pen set!


To enter, click the link below and follow the entry rules! 

4 comments:

  1. I have loved this series. I got my binder out, which I made 5 or so years ago (I had notes dated 2014 an 2015!), and revamped it and made it more useful. Means I'm using it more! Your encouragement in the Q&As has been wonderful to read, and I don't feel bad just praying 1 or 2 sections. Thank you!

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  2. I am new to your blog and having a desire to revamp my prayer binder I was glad to have stumble upon this site. Thank you for encouraging me in getting back into the word and prayer in a much deeper sense.

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  3. Ha! I've been doing various prayer things over the years (rather inconsistently). I set up a prayer binder styled after the one Kari made--my own spin, of course--when we were having all those snow days in Jan & Feb, but now that we're back to more normal weather--and I have to go to work on a regular basis, so my binder is languishing. I think the MAIN THING a woman has to do is carve out, make, plan for TIME to do it. We can have all the best intentions and the prettiest binders with cute drawings & stickers but if we don't PRIORITIZE our time--pooooof!--our intentions go up in s.m.o.k.e. Then we're miserable because we DID mean to do it, really. We feel like a fraud for unkept promises ("Oh, Lucy, I'll pray for you...."). So, in the same way that we MAKE and SET ASIDE time for Bible reading, we need to be realistic about our time constraints, the season we're in, and the other "priorities" (hobbies, netflix, sosh-media) that eat up the free-time we DO have. Perhaps an accountability partner would be a good thing, too. Anyway.... That's my two-cents (giving my self a good talking-to!).

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  4. I missed who won the giveaway. Been without my computer for a week.

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