Over the past several weeks I’ve been anticipating this turn of the calendar and looking forward to 2018. Around November the Lord really started to move in my heart regarding a few things and I’ve been challenged and convicted and spurred on towards Him and it’s been good. As the Lord has been at work in my life, He’s been at work in the lives of those around me, too. The beginning of December I had several deep conversations with my friend Austin about what the Lord was teaching us, where we were struggling, and how we want to grow in our walks with the Lord. This turned into practical conversations on how we will actively pursue Christ and eventually turned into conversations on how we, as a community of women, can spur each other on in that! We are excited to start a new hashtag on Instagram this year to help us with this. Here are a few thoughts from Austin as we head into 2018 and then we'll wrap up at the end with some practical tips and ways you can join us!
Though we are all different our longing is one in the same- #myprayersonpaper is each of us desiring to encounter Christ by means of scripture memorization and deep rooted prayer in a way that is transformative and produces joy. This sums up Nicole’s and my heart in one statement. Each of our lives are different and each of our lives contain unique challenges and circumstances. But one thing is constant and one thing is the same.
We need more of our Father, we need Jesus.
Just as we need air to breathe, food for nourishment, clothes for warmth, even more so, we need Him. “The way we get to know Him is through his Word. The Bible is God’s autobiography. It is written by God, about God, for us. This is not just any book. It is God-breathed and living and has the power to breathe new life into your soul.” -Donna Gaines, Leaving Ordinary
And our prayers, our prayers hold just as much power and just as much meaning. Our prayers are the conversation we hold with our Creator, the one who gives us grace and has redeemed our souls. As our understanding of scripture cultivates and grows our prayer life is an overflow of that. An understanding of scripture + scripture memorization + fervent prayer is what should be treasured above all else.
But in sharing all of this, I find myself failing. I sleep in because I’m tired, or I allow social media to take hold and distract, or I allow the busyness of my day to day life to get all up in the way of the One who I need most. Often times the excuses overtake my thought process and I absolutely stink at participating in cultivating the relationship with Jesus, the one I know is more important.
When sharing with Nicole a few weeks ago about my past failings in 2017 I also shared with her how much more joyful and hopeful and excited I was to begin 2018. Through my shortcomings and struggles throughout the last year, the faithfulness and steadiness of the Father never wavered. Praise Him. I also shared with Nicole a few of the tools I was planning on utilizing in 2018 and I also wanted to share them with each of you. By no means do our tools have to look the same or be the same, (except for the bible of course, ha!) but Nicole’s and my prayer and hope for #myprayersonpaper is that this will be a place where we can come together and find encouragement while also challenging one another in consistent time in the Word along with pursuing our prayer life by putting our prayers on paper. There is something about journaling our prayers that I feel becomes a tangible place to read the longings of our heart and over time refer back to how Jesus continues to be overwhelmingly faithful.
Would you join us? We truly feel as though for us and for you, by the Holy Spirit working in and through our lives and us striving diligently, 2018 is going to be a sweet and life changing year!
PRACTICAL RESOURCES AND NEXT STEPS
Are you interested in joining us but don't know where to start? Don't feel overwhelmed by the options that are out there or even the few resources I'll be sharing just a few lines down. It can be as simple as you having a bible and a spiral notebook. Use this list and our ideas as just that, ideas! It's our prayer that through our hashtag, #myprayersonpaper that women around the country (and the globe!) will share what they are doing to spend time with Jesus through bible reading and in prayer and that we can ALL get ideas and encouragement from one another. What we're doing might not work for you, but maybe someone else has an idea that will aid in helping you dig deeper into your relationship with Christ!
-We are both using a prayer notebook this year. In the fall of 2016 I did a huge blog post breaking down my prayer notebook (and LOTS of other resources!) so go and read over that for the nitty gritty details of how we are using this notebook. I'll sum it up in a sentence: A prayer notebook is a place to record scripture to pray over the people and situations in your life. With the use of sticky notes and page protectors, you can easily organize your prayers by "category". (My post from last year explains this fully!)
Here's a list of my categories:
-resources (this is where I have space to put some different print outs)
-birth moms (all the cases we learned about- I have their names and babies birthdates so I can continue to pray over their stories)
-our birth mama
-bible study notes
-a place to write out prayers
Here's a list of Austin's categories (connect with her on instagram if you have questions about these!):
-Prayers of exaltation
-a page for each of her 5 kids
-loved ones: family
-loved ones: friends
-birth moms (she's an adoptive and foster mama!)
-a section of notebook paper for writing out prayers
-At the back of our prayer notebooks we both have sections for notebook paper where we can record things as we study scripture and so we can literally write out our prayers. I used to journal my prayers for years and then got out of the habit of REALLY writing out my prayers so I'm excited to get back into recording my deeper prayers with the Lord!
-We are both using a Well Watered Women Give Me Jesus journal this year for sermon notes. This was Austin's idea and I'm SO GLAD I'm adopting this, too. The Give Me Jesus journal is designed to last 90 days as a quiet time journal, but it will be perfect for detailed sermon notes and we will be able to keep an ENTIRE YEAR of notes in one journal. These journals are beautiful and made incredibly well so I have no doubt it'll last until the end of December. And then we'll have one journal for a whole year of sermons ready to reference at any given time!
-We are both starting the year reading Donna Gaines book, Leaving Ordinary. I read it a few years ago and it is AMAZING and she references using a prayer notebook. If you're interested in this concept, this would be a great book to read over the next few months!
-I am using a Val Marie Paper yearly prayer journal I got for Christmas! I won't go into too much detail as to how I'm using both the notebook and the prayer journal as they are already out of stock so you'll have to wait until next year to grab one! However if you have a journal and want to know how I'm working in both the journal or the notebook (or if you're not and just curious! Ha!) leave me a comment below and I'll answer any of your questions!
HOW CAN YOU BE INVOLVED WITH US?
As Austin said earlier, it is our prayer and hope that #myprayersonpaper is a place where we can come together and find encouragement while also challenging one another in consistent time in the Word along with pursuing our prayer life by putting our prayers on paper. It's a place to show how you're memorizing scripture, what you're wresting through in the word, how you're making prayer a priority, or simply a place to be vulnerable and share your struggles in these things. Will you join us? We would love to journey with you in 2018!