How To Trust God’s Goodness When Your Circumstances Aren’t Working Out (Guest Post)

How To Trust God’s Goodness When Your Circumstances Aren’t Working Out (Guest Post)

It might have been because we had just had our third miscarrage that the post I read on Facebook caused me so much discomfort.

My friend had just had a baby, and it was cause for much celebration on Facebook. I would never begrudge anyone a new baby post, and I too have celebrated my kids births with joyous Facebook posts. But the words my friend wrote were something like this: “Things were a little touch and go after the birth, and the baby struggled a bit, but God was good and he is doing well now!”

You see, my heart was anchored on to the truth that God is in fact good, but we lost our unborn baby.

Read More

6 Ways to Pray for Your Prodigal

6 Ways to Pray for Your Prodigal

Years ago, a close friend of mine abandoned her faith, her family, and her friends…including me. It hurt deeply that she could so easily cast aside all that she once held dear. I missed her terribly - or, at least, I missed the person she once had been. I prayed daily for for a very long time afterward, hoping that the Lord would draw her back to Himself.

But I have to admit that, over time, I got more lax with how frequently I prayed for her. I don’t know if I finally lost all hope or just got busy, but I found myself only praying for her only occasionally instead of multiple times each day.

Last week, however, I ran across online photos of her current life, and all the frustration and anguish came rushing back. I was heartbroken all over again at her lifestyle choices. I had to wonder if she really was as happy as those photos seemed to indicate. Having an online presence myself, I know how incomplete a handful of social media images is when depicting someone’s life.

I sighed and was about to close my computer tab when I felt the Holy Spirit gently whisper to my aching heart.

“Her story isn’t finished yet,” He reminded me.

Read More

4 Ways to Spur On One Another to Love and Good Works

4 Ways to Spur On One Another to Love and Good Works

“How do I motivate myself to fall in love with God’s Word? And how to I inspire other believers to do the same?”

These are the questions that have been swirling around in my brain lately. Because I’m realizing a few things:

I don’t wake up with a passion for studying Scripture. Sure, I dutifully sit down most mornings for Bible study, and by the time I’m done, I’ve learned so much and am very grateful that I jumped in even though I didn’t wake up hungering for God’s Word. But how do I motivate myself to desire Bible study before I begin? And how do I encourage others to experience the same?

When I was talking with a friend about this very issue, she gently reminded me, “We need to spur on one another to love and good works.” (Don’t you just love how Scripture answers all of our questions like that? I do!)

So, how do we go about spurring on one another to those good works? After studying for a bit, I’ve found at least 4 ways to do just that.

Read More

4 Truths You Need to Know When God Breaks Your Heart

4 Truths You Need to Know When God Breaks Your Heart

It comes out of the blue. We’ll be merrily floating along, school in a good rhythm, excitement on the horizon, and…BAM. Diabetes rears its ugly head. Most days, it’s barely a blip on the radar (a true testament to God’s goodness, because in those early days just after diagnosis, I wasn’t at all sure things would ever feel “normal” again). Most days, diabetes is just a few blood sugar checks, possibly hunting for a misplaced blood sugar meter, and counting carbs for meals.

But then a virus will hit and send my diabetic spark plug into a tailspin, or his insulin pump will stop working, or things will get wildly out of control for no apparent reason.

And in those hard moments, I’m reminded all over again that God has chosen not to heal. That He’s found more glory in leaving Turbo as he is instead of healing him. That living with diabetes instead of being healed from it is what’s currently best for all of us.

At times, it even feels like God is breaking my heart.

Read More

The FASTEST Way To Uproot Discontentment

The FASTEST Way To Uproot Discontentment

While there’s nothing wrong with dreaming by itself, inevitably, I get carried away with my wishful thinking, and I begin to covet that which I don’t have. When I start to develop discontentment with my current situation, that’s when sin sets in.

Truthfully, there are moments when I’d rather wallow in my pity instead of chasing discontentment to the curb. It almost feels nice to fuss about my lack of space! And that’s exactly why I need to root out the seeds of dissatisfaction immediately: so that they don’t take deeper root and grow into resentment or bitterness.

I’ve found the absolute FASTEST way to uproot discontentment:

Read More

Wash His Feet, Day 2: Pray for Him Faithfully

Wash His Feet, Day 2:  Pray for Him Faithfully

Welcome back to the Wash His Feet challenge! Yesterday’s post was all about being thankful for your husband. Today’s is similar: pray for him faithfully!

While we’re developing the habit of thanking God for our husbands, we also need to cultivate the custom of praying for them every day. The Lord has laid a tremendous task on our husbands’ shoulders. They are to love their wives as Christ loves His bride (if you’ve ever been tempted to think that husbands have it easy compared to wives’ command to submit, I encourage you to re-evaluate your thinking!); provide for their families; and raise their children in the admonition of the Lord without exasperating them. Those are some very tall orders, and they need prayer to accomplish them!

Read More

Wash His Feet, Day 1: Thank God for Him

Wash His Feet, Day 1:  Thank God for Him

Truth time: how often do you thank the Lord for your husband? For some of us, thanking God for our spouses comes easily. We’re married to a great guy, who, for the most part, is lovable and easy to get along with. For others, being thankful is a bit more of a challenge. Sadly, it’s often easier to focus on what we don’t appreciate in our spouses than to dwell on the things that we do. But my hope is that this Wash His Feet challenge will help all of us learn to appreciate more the men that God has given us.

Read More

How to Preach Truth to Yourself During A Hallway

How to Preach Truth to Yourself During A Hallway

“How are things going?” I asked a friend who was walking through a very dark hallway.

“I’m surviving because I’m preaching truth to myself during this valley,” she replied.

Her response both encouraged and challenged me. I was thrilled to hear that she was taking measures to find her hope in the Lord, but I was also convicted about the way I handle my own struggles. When I’m hurting, how often do I forget to remind myself of the truths in God’s Word? Do I even know how to preach truth to myself?

Maybe you’ve wondered the same things. You know you should be dwelling on God’s faithfulness and preaching truth to yourself, but how do you go about doing it?

Read More

4 Ways to Pour from An Empty Vessel

4 Ways to Pour from An Empty Vessel

Everywhere I look these days, I see people promoting this thing called self care.  And I don't disagree that taking care of our bodies - which comprise the temple of the Holy Spirit, after all! - is a bad thing.

But we're also commanded to be selfless, to put others first, and to be giving.  So, while I think that self care (or temple maintenance, as I prefer to view it) can be a good thing if not overdone, there are going to be times when we have nothing left of ourselves to give, and yet giving of ourselves is exactly what we need to do. 

Read More

10 Ways to Pray When You Don't Know What to Pray For

10 Ways to Pray When You Don't Know What to Pray For

Last week, a friend shared with me about a very difficult situation she was facing, so I asked, "how would you like me to pray?" 

"I'm not exactly sure," she responded.  "It's hard to know what would be best."

After my friend left, I thought about her situation and others like it.  Sometimes, it's not clear how we should be praying.  We know we need to pray, but what do we do when we don't know what we should pray for?

It's in those times that I have to go back to God's Word to learn what to do.  The Bible offers at least 10 ways to pray when we don't know what to pray for.

Read More

3 Ways to Remember to Pray for Someone

3 Ways to Remember to Pray for Someone

If you're like me, you welcome the opportunity to pray for people.  But perhaps, also like me, you need a few built-in reminders to keep others' prayer requests at the front of your mind.

Whenever someone asks me to pray, I try to lift him or her up in prayer before I let them know that I'll be praying.  That way, I know I've prayed for them at least once.  But my heart really is to pray for them multiple times.  And I've found three fairly easy ways to remember to pray for them over and over.

Read More

Are Christians Looking at the "Rocks in A Jar" Analogy All Wrong?

Are Christians Looking at the "Rocks in A Jar" Analogy All Wrong?

The first time I heard the "rocks in a jar" analogy, I was intrigued.  The idea of prioritizing my goals and obligations made complete sense.  It was certainly true that unless I put my "big rocks" in my life's jar first, I would never be able to fit in the pebbles, sand, and water as well.  And so, for a long time, I was quite content with the standard "rocks in a jar" analogy.

As I've grown older and my spiritual walk has deepened, however, I've begun to wonder if we as believers are looking at our rocks in the wrong light. 

Read More

Should Christians Approach Goal-Setting With A Different Motivation?

Should Christians Approach Goal-Setting With A Different Motivation?

Toward December, I was almost dreading the start of another year.  It wasn't that the closing year had been bad; in fact, it had been a really good one.  But I was worried about goal-setting, or, more accurately, goal-failing.

It happened every year:  I would heroically set goals in January - new habits I wanted to develop, besetting sins I hoped to conquer - only to have reality set in around the end of February when I hadn't made any progress.  Ultimately, with feelings of frustration and failure, I'd throw up my hands and give up on accomplishing any of my goals for that particular year.

Read More

3 Ways to Pray When Your Mama Heart Hurts

"When Your Mama Heart Hurts" was one of the most-loved posts on the blog last year.  And you know what?  It was one of my favorites to write, too, because it's something that's often on my heart.

From physical infirmity to spiritual struggle, there's no shortage of heartache that we as parents go through as we watch our children suffer.  That's simply life in our broken, fallen state.

But for the believing parent, there is always hope.  And I've come to realize that there are three very specific ways we can pray when our mama hearts hurt.


Read More

Are You Nagging God with Your Prayers?

are you nagging God with your prayers? Do you struggle to pray while in a season of waiting?  Do you ever feel as though you're nagging God with your requests?  If so, today's post is for you!

I am so blessed to be able to introduce you to guest poster Katie Beth from Our Seasons of Grace!  Katie has graciously agreed to write today's post, and I am so glad to have her here at the Hallway Initiative.

While You Are Waiting - Katie Beth

When I was much younger waiting for something, I learned to not nag to my parents. Instead of annoying my mother with persistent questions or requests, I was quick to be quiet and instead, wait. I clearly remember a time when my mother became very annoyed with my requests and lost patience with me. I was quick to please so I soon resolved I would not annoy her again with questions or requests. Nowadays, I am sure I take that to the extreme and don’t ask at all because I don’t want to be seen as a nag.

This behaviour often tends to seep into my prayer life. I have found I will pray a prayer once, and that’s it. I don’t want God to think I’m being a nag with my prayers. Even when I want something so badly, I often feel like I'd just be annoying God with my requests.

But guess what?  Guess what I am slowly learning when praying to our Heavenly Father?

When we approach our Heavenly Father, we are not nagging or annoying. When we have prayer needs, we are not nags.

God wants to hear our requests

God wants to hear our requests.  And He wants us to keep asking.

A couple of months ago, I was privileged with the opportunity to attend the True Woman conference. Talk about being convicted and encouraged! The overall theme was Crying Out to God. In one particular session, Janet Parshall talked about the widow in the book of Luke who approached a judge everyday while waiting for his answer.  Since then, prayer has been on my mind more than usual.

The widow is an example for us: she always asks and she never gives up. Every day she approaches the judge. And every one of those days, she pleads for mercy. She doesn’t hesitate to go to the judge. She doesn't go to him one day and then stop because she's concerned that she'll be a nagger.  She persists.

God still hears our prayers even if we pray them once. But we can look to the widow and be encouraged to approach God every day without being a nag.

The beginning of this passage in Luke 18 even says, ‘Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and never give up’ (NIV). Jesus may have been talking to his disciples at that time, but I am confident we can use this advice as well:

We should always pray and never give up praying.

The apostle Paul is another example on how we should pray. On numerous occasions Paul talks about praying continuously. In almost every letter he wrote to a church, he said he was praying ‘always’, and 'continuously' for them.

Other verses by Paul tell us to ‘be constant in prayer’ (Romans 12:12); ‘in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known’ (Philippians 4:6) and ‘pray without ceasing’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

These verses give me assurance that I am not a ‘nag’ to God. And I hope they give you assurance as well. We can take these verses and pray confidently every day knowing God wants to hear from us. God doesn't see me as a nag, nor does He see you as a nag.

Just like we all should be, I need God’s direction in my life. Each day I am asking God to reveal His plan, to lead me in His direction. While I am waiting, I am going to keep asking. While you are waiting, know you can keep coming to God.

Katie Beth is a daughter of the King, writer, housekeeper, and student in Australia.  She is learning to find contentment in her singleness by leaning on the Lord's strength and trusting Him with His plan for her life.  She blogs at Our Seasons of Grace, where she shares about recognizing God's grace in our lives.  You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Related:  Are you waiting well?

are you nagging God with your prayers?

Day 1: Pray Without Ceasing

Day 1: pray without ceasing Welcome to Day 1 of the 31 Days to Hallway Praise challenge!  I'm so thankful you're here.

If you've been around my blog for very long at all, you know that prayer is my number one recommended action when it comes to handling hardship.  So it should come as no surprise that it's the first step in our challenge.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 we're commanded to "pray without ceasing."  That seems like a huge undertaking, and it is.  And when put into the context of praying without ceasing during a time of crisis, well, it seems insurmountable.

But my goal is to encourage you, not to overwhelm you.

If you're new to prayer, start small.  Pray first thing in the morning when you wake up; before your meals; and before bed.  Those are pretty standard routines for almost everyone, so they're easy places to start adding in prayer.

If you have an active prayer life already, you can always go deeper.  If you need some ideas, there are some excellent pins on my prayer Pinterest board.  Or you can read about my new discovery on prayer right here.  I pray a lot throughout the day, but for this challenge, I want to commit to purposeful prayer every morning instead of my usual way of praying haphazardly as prayer requests come to mind.

I would also challenge you to start your prayers with praise and thanksgiving to God for Who He is and what He's done for you (sending His Son to die in your place, giving you life, caring for you) before asking Him to remove the trial at hand.  Or, if He's already brought you through your most recent trial, praise Him for sustaining you and for what He taught you during the hard season.

Even though the commandment to pray without ceasing may seem impossible, we can cultivate a constant attitude of prayer where we're willing to pray at a moment's notice.  We can develop the habit of turning to the Lord in prayer for any and every circumstance.

If you need more inspiration, be sure to visit  Arabah encourages Christians to pray through the promises of God's Word.  A pop-up should appear on her page where you can sign up for her next Praying the Promises challenge.

Prayer is an amazing gift that the Lord has given to us as believers.  Because of Christ's work on the cross, we have direct access to the Father through Jesus!  We no longer need a priest to intercede on our behalf, because Christ has done it all.  That right there is cause for celebration, and it's the first step toward praising God during a hallway.

Today's action steps:  Choose a time to spend in prayer.  This could be in the morning when you first get up, in the afternoon when your little ones are asleep, or whenever it fits into your schedule.  Remember to thank the Lord for His blessings!

Don't forget to check in tomorrow, when we'll talk about the benefits of memorizing Scripture.

Day 1: pray without ceasing





Is Your Prayer Life Missing this KEY Ingredient?

Is your prayer life missing this key ingredient? Prayer is my number-one go-to for everything.  When my marriage is suffering, I prayWhen financial crisis hits, I prayWhen I'm struggling in my parenting, I pray.  When I offer a list of suggestions to my readers, you can bet that the first item is prayer.

I would consider myself somewhat of a prayer warrior, not because I pray well or long (so-called 'Nehemiah prayers' my usual style), but because I have an active prayer life.  I'm willing to pray about anything, any time, and anywhere.  And I know that many other Christians are right there with me in their eagerness and willingness to pray.

But even though I've prayed frequently for many years now, it wasn't until very recently that the Lord opened my eyes to the fact that my prayers were missing a key ingredient.  Honestly, I was shocked to learn that I was neglecting something so important!

You see, when people asked me to pray, whether it was for healing from an illness, for respite from a financial squeeze, or for something that they needed, I was only too happy to rush into prayer and as that God would heal/provide/supply.  And I would try to pray frequently for those same needs until the Lord took care of the situation.

But there was something clearly missing from my prayers.

I had neglected to pray that, until the Lord chose to remove the hardship, He would deepen their faith in the waiting.  Maybe you've been faithful to pray for people's spiritual growth in addition to asking the Lord to remove their thorns, but I never thought to do so until just a few months ago.

If God allows us to go through trials to refine us (and He does - see Zechariah 13:9), and I don't pray that the trials at hand would work in us the refinement He has planned, I'm missing a crucial part of prayer.  Hardships are, by far, the biggest cause of spiritual growth in my own life, and I've heard others say the same.

So, I've started praying differently.  While I still ask that the Lord would bring relief from hardship, I first ask that He would bring about increased faith, spiritual growth, and a closer relationship with Him before I ask for Him to remove the trial. 

I pray this way both for myself and for others.  And you know what?  It's transformed both my prayer life and my entire spiritual walk.  I now look forward to seeing how the Lord will increase my faith and the faith of those I'm praying for.  That doesn't mean I enjoy trials, but there's a new sweetness to trials when they come that helps to cover the bitterness of hardship.

Maybe you've been praying only for the removal of difficulty, just like I was.  Will you be bold with me and ask for the Lord to bring about spiritual growth while He allows your hardship to last?  It's not an easy way to pray, but I've been amazed at how the Lord has grown me as a result of this way of praying!

Your turn:  How do you normally pray?  Are you like I was - just asking for the removal of a hardship - or are you already going deeper and praying for spiritual growth while the trial lasts?

Is your prayer life missing this key ingredient?