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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #65: Missing the "OOMPH!"

Dear God, (April 29th, 2009)
Lord, temper my zeal. I get so passionate about the hungry, the hurting and the lost that I’m afraid I’m running over people. I just don’t want to hold this "soft, cushy, warm and fuzzy gospel" that believers around me cling so tightly to. But neither do I want to run over people in my zeal, for that would turn them away from You. Help me to proclaim Your truth in humility and love without compromising its message or watering it down.
Father, I want so much for those around me to see! To really realize that they are missing the "OOMPH!" that comes with the true, undiluted gospel. The Christians around me have so much theology and knowledge, yet they have climbed in bed with the materialistic, comfort-mindset of this American culture. Pure theology is good, yes, but it is meant to be lived out! The apostle’s belief in God translated into action in their lives! Ours is a passive Christianity. We claim to believe in God, yet we do not help deliver the orphan, the poor, the afflicted, the widow, the hungry, and those in bondage. How then can we claim to follow Christ, who did all of the above, and called us to walk just as he walked? We lie on our beds in our own virtual world with our iPods turned up full blast so that we cannot hear the cries of the afflicted and the screams of the lost as they plunge into hell.
O Lord, I want so much to wake us Christians from our slumber! But how? Father, do not let me get in Your way. Please use me. Make me more like You. I love You so much.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #64: Sign Your Name to the End of this Day

Dear God, (March 30th, 2009)
What a day this has been! I started it off at 5am by spending time with You. I spent 30 minutes in Your Word, and another 30 minutes on my knees, praying to You. Starting my day by meeting with You definetly got me off to a good start. It set the right tone for my whole day.
I spent a good portion of my day reading 2 Samuel and 2 Kings and the first half of 1 Chronicles. I also spent a half hour listening to Ezekiel on my MP3 player while I exercised. Through all of those Old Testament passages, I saw myself in the Israelites. I too often reject or ignore God and turn to idols instead.
O Lord, give me an undivided heart for You! I want to serve You and love You with everything that I am. I want to love You with my whole heart. I want to love You with all my mind. I want to love You with every bit of my soul. I want to love You with every ounce of my strength. Help my mind and its every thought to be wholly devoted to You. May every word that I speak not bring glory or applause to me, but may it bring glory and praise to You alone. May my every deed and action be out of service and devotion to You. This is the day that You have made—I want to give every moment of it back to You. I want to live for You alone. I want to be able to sign Your name at the end of this day, knowing that my heart was true.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #63: "In me nothing good dwells..."

Dear God, (March 24th, 2009)
Forgive me. I am so full of myself. I always think that I know what I am doing. I am so stuck on myself, even my relationship with You has been so self-centered. It’s all about me, what I feel or don’t feel like doing; it’s about my needs, my wants, what I can get out of it. Look at me—I’m such a wonderful, spiritual Christian because I get up at 5 in the morning to have my quiet time! But even then, it’s still all about me, how I’m so tired, exhausted, discouraged, etc. When it should be about You!
(continued 3/26/09) Lord, I am sick and tired of living life with my own agenda foremost in mind. I want to live this life with Your priorities at heart. I want You and Your kingdom to come first. O help me, Father! My spirit is indeed willing, but my flesh is weak.
I want to see my sin the way You see it. I want to hate it the way You hate it. I want to hunger and thirst for Your righteousness. I’m sick of this world’s junk food that I keep feeding myself. I want to desire You more than anything else. I want to be able to worship You in Spirit and in truth. I want to give myself to You, but I know that in me nothing good dwells. I am corrupt; I am so depraved and utterly sinful. I am an idolater; I have worshipped other things more than You, in fact, at times, I completely ignore You and do not give You the honor, glory, praise, adoration or worship that You deserve. I’m sorry. Please forgive me.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #62: Losing Focus

Dear God, (March 16th, 2009)
I feel like being mad at You, but I know that that wouldn’t solve anything. I can’t let how I feel dictate what I believe about You or how I live my life. I know that all You have allowed in my life is for my good and Your glory.
I’m so exhausted, Father, and I don’t know why. My mind feels so foggy and my thoughts are muddled and confused. Please give me peaceful rest, my Abba. Help me to still be able to rise early and spend time with You, even when I am so tired.
Rekindle the fire in my heart, O God. I am losing my focus. I am finding myself thinking that maybe I shouldn’t go into missions, that it doesn’t really matter how I spend my time or my life. I just feel like having fun and staying here in KC (where I know people) forever. I don’t feel like getting uncomfortable and moving somewhere new. Oh God, what is wrong with me?!? I say that I trust You, yet I doubt that You’ll provide a missions-minded husband for me. I doubt that You’ll provide the money for me to make it through NTBI without going into debt. I want to trust You, Lord; please help my unbelief.
I am not showing Your love to others; I am showing way too much selfish, proud, stubborn Rachel. Help me to show You and Your love to those around me. I must decrease; O Father, please increase!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #61: Smashing Idols

Dear God, (March 11th, 2009)
I am failing to meet my personal goals. I am battling apathy in my heart. God, I want to care about You. I want to be truly passionate about You.
We listened to a tape last night in which the speaker said that if there is a distinct lack of passion for God in our lives, then something is seriously wrong. It means that we have idols in our hearts that are getting the attention and devotion that You deserve. I think that is very true. In fact, I think that that’s what the problem is in my life. I have idols that I need to identify, repent of and then SMASH and replace with You. I think my biggest idol is probably the fear of man. I care too much what others think of me. I do a lot of things just so that other people will notice me. I get upset when people ignore me or talk to/spend time with others instead. How can I put You as #1 and still spend time with people? I want to be satisfied with You, and not go to others for my comfort and security.
Oh, God, I am not loving You with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. I am giving my time, focus, and attention to things and not to You. I am loving others and their attention more than I am loving You. I am giving things and projects more focus and time than I am giving You. I am proud, vain and self-centered. I am trying to get, get, get in relationships instead of giving. I am such a hypocrite! I profess to know You and love You, yet I serve my idols more than I serve You! I do not love You with an undivided heart! Oh ABBA, FORGIVE ME!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #60: Idolatry

Dear God, (March 10th, 2009)
I have been reading the book of Jeremiah, where it talks about God’s judgement on Israel for their idolatry. Oh Lord, I am just as guilty of idolatry as they were. I look for comfort and security in things other than You. I devote my time and affection to others and let other things take #1 priority in my life. O God, forgive me! Give me an undivided heart. Help me to love You with ALL of my heart, with ALL of my soul, with ALL of my mind and with ALL of my strength. Only You deserve my undivided devotion, for You have made me and You have saved me. Help me to seek first Your kingdom and Your righteousness.
This is the day that You have made; help me to not only rejoice in it, but also to live it for You and You alone. You have given me this day to live; help the way I live it to give it back to You.
I want to follow You; I want to obey You, but sometimes it is so hard to know what You would have me do. There are so many other voices in my life trying to tell me what to do. So many Christians are full of advice and how-to’s about how to know Your will, what You want me to do with my life, etc. I want to tune them out if they are not telling me the truth. I want to know what You have to say about life, not what pop culture Christianity says. Help me to stay tuned in to Your voice, Abba. Help me to focus on You. You are amazing. I love You!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #59: Just Don't Care

Dear God, (March 5th, 2009)
I need You so much. There is so much going on in my life, and I don’t know how to deal with it all. I don’t know which way to turn. I am overwhelmed by all the tension and struggles I am facing in my life. Help me to trust that You are indeed here, with me, ready and waiting to help me and mold me.
Abba, I’m frustrated with our family’s financial situation. It seems so unfair that someone would hack into our family’s bank account and drain it when we barely scrape by every month, trying to pay our bills. Help me to trust You to provide for us.
Lord, help me to be passionate about You. Sometimes I feel so on fire for You; I just want to spread the Gospel, make You known everywhere, and spend time with You, getting to know You better. But other times, my flesh just plain doesn’t want to. My body rebels against rising at 5am to spend time with You, and against sleeping on the floor to prepare for the mission field. My mind tells me, "what does it really matter if you get up and spend time in the Word...?" I just plain out DON’T CARE! And it scares me. It scares me that I feel this apathy towards You, Your Word, praying, etc. Oh God, help me! I want to care about You in my heart, regardless of what my mind and body feel or don’t feel like doing. I want to truly love You! I want to truly know You! Help me, Abba! I need You!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #58: My Prayer

Dear God, (March 2nd, 2009)
You are so good to me. How often I forget to thank You for being so good to me. I want to take the time right now to tell You that You mean so much to me, more than life itself. I love You so much, Jesus! May Your name be praised forever and ever! I want You to get all the glory for all that happens in my life.
Lord, help me to always be thinking of what is honorable, true, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and praiseworthy. Help me to meditate on Your Word and to constantly keep my mind filled with Your Word. Help me to pray without ceasing. Help me to rejoice at all times, even in the annoying little things that happen in life. Help me to give thanks to You for the things that happen in life. Help me to give thanks to You for the things You bring into my life that make me more like You, Abba. I want to please You! Help me!
Help me to not quench the work of the Spirit in my life. Help me to fully yield myself to the Holy Spirit. O fill me, I pray! Have Your way in me! Guard my mouth, that only that which will honor You and bring grace to the hearer may come out. Help me to love others with Your kind of love, a love that gives no matter if the other person does or not. Help me to be patient, kind, forgiving and compassionate. Give me the grace to be humble and put others first. I want You to shine through in everything I do, Jesus. I want to show You to the world. Work Your way in my heart and life.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #57: Just Plain Dull

Dear God, (February 26th, 2009)
I’m so confused and messed-up. I feel like I don’t have any talents. More than that, I have so many faults and weaknessess. I am so slow! I am too slow in the kitchen, too slow in the dishroom, and too slow as a janitor. I am not gifted, like my siblings, nor am I someone whom others want to be around, like people at Calvary. I’m just plain dull.
God, how can You use me? I don’t know if my body can handle being a missionary in the jungle, and I’m too dull to do anything else in the world. What do I do? Help me, Abba.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #56: Compassion

Dear God, (February 24th, 2009)
I am so tired. I think day after day of going to bed late and getting up at 5 have worn me out. Please give me the strength to keep going until I get a chance to take a nap.
Lord, give me compassion. Though I have been through so much pain, I still get impatient with people who are sick. I tell them to suck it up and tough it out. I open my mouth and try to fix things, but end up hurting people and making things worse. Help me to look at others the way You see them; help me to treat others the way You would treat them. Give me a heart of compassion for the hurting people in this messed-up world.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #55: I Don't Want to Get Ahead of You

Dear God, (February 23rd, 2009)
Here I sit at the beginning of a new day. I don’t know what today holds, but You do, and You can handle it. I simply ask that no matter what happens in my life, that You would keep me on the straight and narrow way. Help me to keep trusting You and following, no matter what happens.
Father, I need You wisdom for the future. I’m not sure what I should do this summer. I want to serve You and prepare for life down the road, but how? Should I go to Jungle Jump Off? Should I go on some sort of missions trip? Should I get a job? Should I work at a camp? Should I go to CYIA? I want to go where You want me to go...I want to do what You want me to do. I trust that You will lead me where You want me to go. I’m not asking for the big picture; I just trust that You will guide me, one step at a time.
Lord, I don’t want to get ahead of You. Help me to not get caught up in what I think You want me to do, but to simply trust You to lead me where You want me to go. I just want to do Your will, Abba. I want to serve You with each moment of each day of my life. I thank You for each breath You give me. I thank You for making my heart beat. I thank You for the body You have given me. May I always use it for Your praise, honor and glory. May Your name be praised forever!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #54: HEALED!!

Dear God, (February 19th, 2009)
What else is there to say, but "WOW!" You are amazing. You have healed my body from whatever ailments I had. I praise You for what You have done. But even if I had discovered that there was something terribly wrong with me and that I could never be cured, I still would praise You, for You are God; You are on the throne. You direct my life however You please, and Your way is perfect. So who am I to question it?
Thank You for making me go through this time. Through it, I have learned about relying on You for strength, giving You the glory no matter what, and to not take my breath and heartbeat for granted. You have also used this time away from work to teach me not to find my sense of self-worth in the work that I do. While off work, I started believing the lie that since I wasn’t working or being productive, I was worthless. However, You told me, "You are a child of mine. I value you because I have made you and I have adopted you into my family. There is nothing you have done to earn your value, and there is nothing you can do to lose your value. I have called you, I have chosen you, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t work for the rest of your life—I still love you and I still have a plan for you." Your Voice of Truth has drowned out the lies. I believe You. Thank You for loving me. I give my life back to You as an offering. I love You!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #53: "I can't force them..."

Dear God, (February 16th, 2009)
The Youth Group Girls’ Bible Study didn’t go so well yesterday. They wouldn’t stop goofing off long enough to pay attention or read Scripture or answer questions seriously. Do they not care about having a relationship with You? Or are they just uncomfortable talking about spiritual things?
I’m praying my heart out over this group. I love the girls, and I really care about the way they live their lives. I don’t want them to waste them! I want so much for them to know what it’s like to have a relationship with You, to truly know You and love You. But I can’t make them passionate about You! I can’t force them to want to know You in a personal relationship. I know that You will have to work in their hearts. Give me the words to teach them. Help me not get in the way of the work of Your Spirit.
Father, I ask that You would grant these girls to be strengthened with power through Your Spirit in their inner beings, that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith; that they may be rooted and grounded in love. O Abba, give them the strength to comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth, that they may know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge; and that they may be filled with all the fullness of God. Thank You for hearing me.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #53: "Mold My Broken Heart"

Dear God, (February 14th, 2009)
This past week I have fainted, gotten suspended from work because of my health condition, spent 8 hours in the ER, and now here I am. Physically, I am beyond worn-out. Emotionally, I am a basket case. But I know and believe this to be true: YOU ARE GOOD!!
You are in complete control of my life and nothing that has happened to me has caught You by surprise. You have planned each day of my life. You have ordered my steps. Blessed be Your name! Though You take my very life, I will continue to praise You with every breath You give. Though I struggle and doubt through this time of going thru deep waters, I know You are faithful. Even in my pain, I want You to know: I love You! I hold fast to Your promises; Your joy gives me strength. In this time of uncertainty and rest from my job, I want to sit at Your feet and learn from You. I have been like Martha—busy serving You. But now, teach me to be Mary—quietly sitting at Your feet. Teach me, Abba. Mold my broken heart. Hold me close and wipe my tears. I need You. Calm my anxious heart. Help me to be still and know that You are God. "From the ends of the earth I cry out to You, when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I." Psalm 61:2
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #52: Deep Waters

Dear God, (February 11th, 2009)
Many times since the onset of these chest pains, numbness and difficulty breathing I have thought of how this pertains to going through deep waters. I feel like every day is a struggle to keep my head above water. I feel like I’m drowning because I am fighting so hard to stay concious and alive. And then my chest has that ‘being squeezed’ feeling and I get dizzy and my arm goes numb, it feels like I’m going under water, and I have to struggle to come back up. I am so exhausted. My body is worn out.
I have found a passage in Your Word that talks about going through deep waters that really encouraged me today. It says, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through deep waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you." (Is 43:1-2) Not only am I not alone in this struggle through deep waters, but he says, "when you pass..." —I am not in these deep waters to stay. I am just passing through them. There will be an end to my struggles with this. Maybe it will end because God heals me, or maybe because God calls me home. Whichever way he chooses is fine with me. Abba, however long You keep me in these deep waters is fine with me. I know You are in control of this, it is part of Your plan. You are using this to help me grow, and for that I praise You. May You get all the glory. I know that You are with me in this struggle.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Monday, June 15, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #51: "I'm scared."

Dear God, (February 10th, 2009)
Lord, Your Word promises that You will supply all of my needs. Abba, right now I need Your strength. I don’t have any at all. I need Your strength so much. I don’t want to be famous, rich or popular. I just want to know You and make You known. Help me to give You glory with each breath You give me. I just want to finish well. I feel like I am nearing the end of my time here, and I just want to finish the race well. God, I know I’m supposed to run this race with endurance, but I just don’t have anything left to give. Help me to endure, help me to persevere and keep looking to You, the Author and Finisher of my faith.
I’m scared. I feel so vulnerable. If this were just my knee or something like that, I would be okay. But Father, this is my heart!! If it doesn’t work right, I can’t life!
I know many people are praying that You would heal me. But I don’t know if that’s Your will. Whatever Your will is, I want it. If it is Your will to heal me, I praise You. If it is not Your will to heal me, I praise You. If You choose to take me home to be with You, I praise You. If You choose to let this go on for a long time, I praise You. You are GOOD, You know BEST, You DO ALL THINGS WELL. I love You! I trust You!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #50: I'll live for You as long as You give me breath

Dear God, (February 9th, 2009)
"Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint. Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in Your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of Your wings!" Psalm 61:1-4
I am so weary...so exhausted. I have run out of strength. I feel like I am swimming in deep waters; struggling just to keep my head above water. Each day I awaken with less strength than the day before. I don’t have the strength to keep taking 4 hours of Greek 2, to keep working 20-25 hours a week, to keep ministering in my church, to keep training myself for missionary work. So this has to be You...’cuz I totally can’t do this. My strength ran out about 4 weeks ago.
God, however long You keep giving me strength, I’ll keep living for You. I am here to know You and to make You known, and as long as You give me breath, I want to give You glory. May Your strength be made perfect through my weakness. I have given You my life, so however You wish to use me is fine with me. I offer myself to You, I surrender every part, to be a living sacrifice for You, O Abba take my heart. I am Yours...I pour all I have at Your feet. Use me Lord...may You get all the glory.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #49: "This may be my last day on earth."

Dear God, (February 5th, 2009)
I finally got an appointment with the cardiologist—but not until March 2nd (25 days away). I’m grateful that I actually got an appointment, but I honestly don’t know if I can last that long. The symptoms are getting worse. I just don’t want to wait too long and have something serious happen.
Lord, help me to trust You no matter how bad this gets or how uncertain the future seems. I know that You are in control—help me to live like it. God, I thank You for the many godly friends you have brought into my life who encourage me, share Scripture with me, pray for me and more. Though they don’t understand why I live the way I do, they are at least trying to encourage me through this rough time. Lord, help me to be a good example to them.
Father, here I go, out into another day. This may be my last day on earth. I want to know You, Abba, I want to make You known far and wide. I want to serve You with every breath that You give me. I want my thoughts to be pleasing to You. May the words of my mouth give grace to the hearer. Lord, I want to please You, I want to bring You glory. I lay my life at Your feet. I offer myself to You as a living sacrifice, to be poured out as a drink offering in service to You.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #48: Alone and Out of Strength

Dear God, (February 3rd, 2009)
I’m exhausted and I feel like giving up. My body is in so much pain and it feels like I can’t get my energy back. My body is wearing out and I just keep getting more and more exhausted. Give me Your strength. Help me to keep going. I don’t want to give up, but I don’t have the strength to keep going. I want to live for You; I want to know You and make You known. Help me to press on in the strength that You supply.
Though I feel so alone in this striving to make You known here on earth, help me to keep going. I’m getting discouraged because I feel like I’m the only one who is really trying to follow You and get ready for life on the mission field. People here think I’m crazy because I don’t waste my time "being a teenager;" instead, I spend it preparing for life down the road. Help me to keep going, even though I feel so alone.
Give me wisdom and guidance, O my Abba; I do not know how to live as I ought. Help me to not make a big deal of me here on earth, but help me to proclaim You to the world. May You get the glory for all that happens in my life. Guard my lips, that only that which will bring grace to the hearers will pass through them. Lord, Your Word says, "when I am weak, then I am strong." (Your strength is made perfect in weakness). I am so weak. Be strong in me, Jehovah.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #47: Girls' Bible Study

Dear God, (February 2nd, 2009)
Yesterday we officially started our Youth Group girls’ Bible Study. I had written out some tough questions about having a relationship with God and I asked them...they seemed somewhat uncomfortable, but we ended up talking about the need to be transparent with each other, and the need to stay on track with You in order to grow spiritually. Father, how do I instill in them a passion for You? How can I help them grow spiritually? I can see so much of myself (a few years ago) in them. They aren’t "bad" kids; in fact, they’re "good" Christians. They just kinda ride along, not really passionate about You, but knowing that they’re supposed to read/study their Bibles and pray. I just think they don’t know how. I don’t even know how to study Your Word...but I’m trying to learn. Lord, help me. These girls have so much potential—imagine what it would be like if they truly knew You; if they had a growing, vibrant relationship with You and they were passionate about You.
God, bring a revival in our Bible Study group, in our Youth Group, in our church. Begin in me. Draw me close to You. Help me to rely on Your strength to get through these deep waters (Ps 69). May You get all the glory for all the pain and struggles in my life. Use this trial to draw me and others to You. Relight our fires, O GOD! Help me to live for YOU!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #46: "My time is running out."

Dear God, (January 29th, 2009)
I found out yesterday that there’s something wrong with my heart. It’s not beating right. We don’t know for sure what’s wrong (have to wait ‘til we get the EKG results back); all the doctor told me was that it was beating irregularly. I have chest pain every so often and I get out of breath really easily, but I thought maybe that was just me—I didn’t realize there was actually something wrong. All of a sudden, I feel like I have a short wick. Like my time is running out. Abba, I want to LIVE! Yes, I am ready to go to heaven to be with You, but I also want to know You and make You known down here.
Help me to keep going and to not give up even though I am in a lot of pain and I get so discouraged because I feel so alone.
"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him...for the LORD will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love..." Lamentations 3:21-25, 31-32
Lord, my hope is in You...I know You are GOOD and YOU DO ALL THINGS WELL. I rest in You.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #45: Increase my faith...

Dear God, (January 27th, 2009)
Though I often feel like I am alone in wanting to truly live for You and caring about Your kingdom, last night I went to Missions Encounter and found that there are like-minded people at Calvary. It was so encouraging to sit there and talk about God and to pray for each other and for Your work around the world. Just seeing others’ love for You and concern for Kingdom things encouraged me to keep going and to keep seeking to more like You. Thank You for that encouragement.
Lord, increase my faith. Help me to truly believe that You can do great things around the world, right here in my home and church, and in and through me. Help me to not rely on my own strength, but to completely rest on You for the strength to keep going and to keep serving You. Like Mary, I want to be at Your feet, taking in Your every word.
Continue to give me boldness to live for You unapologetically. Help me to not be afraid of what others will think of me, but to only care about Your opinion of me, for that’s what truly matters. Help me to not get discouraged by my pain. Help me to keep going. Whatever lies ahead (with this doctor’s appointment and all) I know that YOU ARE GOOD and You do all things well. I rest in You. I love You.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #44: "Let the chips fall where they may..."

Dear God, (January 27th, 2009)
Yesterday I say just how quickly I can get a bad attitude and how hard it is for me to get rid of it. O Father, I don’t want to keep living in my flesh; I want to live by Your Spirit! I want You to live through me, but I keep getting in the way. Create in me a clean heart, O God, so that the thoughts, attitudes, words and actions coming out are pleasing to You.
I’m afraid I offended someone yesterday by telling them that it bothered me that they don’t show respect to our boss and some of our coworkers. Oh well. Let the chips fall where they may. A few months ago (if this had happened) I would fall all over myself to make sure that they didn’t get offended or anything. But I’ve come to realize that I have to stand for what I believe is right, whether that bothers someone else or not. I answer to God, not to them. Lord, help me to truly and boldly live out what I really believe. Help me to not make excuses for hypocrisy and double standards, whether in my life or someone else’s. Help my words to give grace to the hearer. Help my heart attitude to be pleasing to You—no matter what the circumstances. Give me Your pure, peaceable, gentle, merciful, impartial wisdom. Renew a right spirit in me! I need You! I love You!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #43: "I don't want to settle for mediocre Christianity..."

Dear God, (January 26th, 2009)
I’m going to the doctor today to start my intensive scoliosis treatment. I’m also going to a doctor this week to have them check out my heart and do lab tests. This is going to be a tough week. I need Your strength to make it through. I trust You and I know that You’re in complete control of the situation, so I have no reason to fear. But I sure need Your help. May Your strength be revealed in my weakness. I want my frailty and pain to bring glory to You and You alone, for You are the One who sustains me.
Help me to keep going. Help me to keep serving You, to keep boldly living for You, no matter what the cost to my popularity. Right now, kids at Calvary like me because of my music and because I make them laugh. But I am not living boldly for You, and that has to change. But I get so lonely without people to talk to! Oh help me, Abba! I want Your will above all else. I don’t want to settle for mediocre Christianity like everyone else. I want to truly follow You and spend my life for You, not the pleasures of this world. I don’t want to stick You in a compartment in my life—I want You to show Your life through me. I don’t want to serve the idols of self and pleasure. I want my life to be a constant worship of You. I want to be poured out as a drink offering for You. Help me!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #42: Being Different

Dear God, (January 22nd, 2009)
You know how I really don’t have much to speak of, as far as friends go. There’s not really a human here that I can talk to and say, "I’m really struggling with knowing God’s will for my summer, could you pray?" Or, "I’m scared about going to the doctor..." There is no one who understands this "being different" business. There’s no one else on this "let’s be a God follower instead of a do-good Christian" path. No one who understands why I sleep on the floor, get up early and study Your Word, spend $90 a month mailing Bibles into China, walk 2 miles a day, memorize chapters of the Bible, and try to be faithful in all my tasks and chores. I am very alone, as far as human companionship goes.
But I have You. If I didn’t have You, I would die. I can talk to You anytime, about anything, even if my prayers seem child-like, "God help me! Help me breathe deeply! Help my heart to beat correctly! Help me to get the feeling back in my arms and legs!" I know that You’re there and that You care. Though none go with me, I will still follow You. You will never let me down. You will be with me, no matter what. I trust You and I know that You’re in control of whatever happens in my life. I love You!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #41: Sarcasm

Dear God, (January 21st, 2009)
Help me to trust You. I feel like I’m dying because my body is wearing out and I’m scared of what lies ahead. Help me to cling to Your promise that You will never leave me or forsake me. I know in my head that You only do what is best for me—help me believe it in my heart and live it out in my life.
Speaking of living things out, I’m struggling with knowing how to act. Around the cafeteria, we’re all very sarcastic with each other. I’m not sure if we should be, though. Even though we’re joking, they aren’t very nice things to say that will give grace to the hearers.
How would You live, Jesus? I’m supposed to show You to the world around me, but I’m not sure how. I don’t want to come across as judgemental or super-spiritual, but neither do I want to be a coward and not live blamelessly for You.
It seems everywhere I go (Youth Group, work, etc), sarcastic humor is considered funny and practiced by Christians. But I’m not so sure it’s right. What kind of humor is right? How can we have fun without putting others down? How can I say things that will give grace to the hearers? Should I talk about spiritual things all the time? Or should I just not talk about bad things? I need Your wisdom, Abba.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #40: Preparation

Dear God, (January 20th, 2009)
I think that I care too much what other people think of me. I let what others will think, or say, or do dictate the way I think, or speak, or act. Help me to care only about pleasing You. Help me to get rid of this sarcastic tongue. It may be considered funny, but it hurts others, and everything that comes out of my mouth is supposed to be that which will bring grace to the hearer. O Father, I have so much to learn about being like You!
I’m scared at this apathy I see in my heart. There are times when I just honestly don’t care about living for You—I just don’t feel like reading Your Word, or spending time in prayer. Save me from a cold heart! Help me not to lose sight of my goal—knowing You and making You known. I have a nice big chart full of so many things to do—things I need to do to prepare to be a missionary. But I can’t do this on my own. Father, give me Your strength to change! Help me tackle my flesh and bring it into submission to Your perfect will. Help me to discipline my body so that it does not get in the way of serving You with all that I have. Abba, work Your will in me! Make me like You! I need Your help so much!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #39: A New Year!

Dear God, (January 1st, 2009)
Here I am again, at the threshold of a new year. I know that last year at this time I said that I wanted 2008 to be a year where I grew closer to You. I think that I did grow; but I still have so much room for more growth. I want 2009 to be a year where I get to know Your heart, O God. I want my heart to be like Yours, Abba. Give me a gradual transplant. I want Your heart for those around me—for the world. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, O Lord; take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and renew a right spirit within me. May the words of my mouth and meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
You are teaching me to give You my money...please teach me to give up my life, my reputation, my time, and everything that I have—for You. I want to pour myself out as an offering at Your feet. May I be as Mary, who chose to sit at Your feet, while others are rushing around, busy for You.
Cautivame, SeƱor, y libre en ti sere; anhelo ser un vencedor, rindiendome a tus pies. No puedo ya confiar tan solo en mi poder; en ti yo quiero descansar, y fuerte abre de ser.
This is my prayer, this is my plea: guide me, mold me, consecrate me. Make me like You, that others may see You in me.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #38: How Do I Invest...?

Dear God, (December 1st, 2008)
I am overwhelmed. I just can’t seem to figure out how to live. I know that what I do with my life now impacts my future. I don’t want to waste any bit of this short life! How do I know if You want me to go to NTBI next fall? How am I going to be able to handle moving 9 hours from home to a world where I don’t know anyone? How am I going to find a job with my arthritis and my back problems? (not to mention my knack for overheating) Should I keep taking Greek here at Calvary, or is this a waste of Your time and money? How do I find a job (while I’m still here in KC) to earn money for NTBI? Should I stay on at Calvary? Am I going to mess up Your plan if I make the wrong decision?
God, how do I become passionate about You? How can I show You, the real You (not our sugar-coated version of You) to the people around me—to the world? What is the best way for me to spend Your money? Should I just save it up for college; how do I invest it in eternity? How do I invest my talents in eternity? How do I invest my spiritual gifts in eternity? How do I invest everything that I have—all that I am—in eternity? You said, "Any of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple." (Lk 14:33) How do I do that? Show me! Help me! I need You!
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #37: What My Life Would Be Like

Dear God, (November 28th, 2008)
Where to start...so much has happened, and yet it just feels like I have slept for a long time and I now awaken to find myself in limbo, living life at a fast pace and yet somehow not going anywhere. I do not sense that I am far from You, but yet I am not as close to You as I need to be. Draw me back, Father. I have been questioning why You allowed tough things in my life...but now I realize that those things show just how much You love me...that You would love me enough to allow certain things in my life (even though they would hurt me so much) because they were what was best for me—that is an amazing love.
God, I am fairly convinced that You want me to serve as a Bible translator for at least a portion of my life. But how can I serve You, how can I make You known here? Now? I don’t want to be the only one who has caught a glimpse of what the Christian life is supposed to be like...I want others to realize that living for You is much more than having a Study Bible, a Christian bumper sticker, a once-a-week observance, and a do-good cult. Being a Christian is SO much more than that—even I am not completely sure what all it entails. Can You show me, so that I can help them see it, too? What would my life be like if I really believed that what I really believe is really true? How would my town change if I, just I, were truly passionate about You? Help me, Father. Change me, mold me, use me for Your glory. Point me in the right direction and give me Your holy fire!
Yours and only Yours forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #36: Awaken my Taste Buds...

Dear God, (June 6th, 2008)
I just read something interesting and quite comforting in the book Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. He said, "Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists...If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." He goes on to say that our earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy this un-earthly desire, but merely to arouse or suggest it. It is so true! I am glad to be able to think of it like that, because I was beginning to think that I was a terrible, ungrateful wretch for feeling that no matter what I pursue in this life, it will never satisfy me. But now I realize that since You have set eternity in my heart, I cannot find satisfaction in the temporal. So I will press on in this life, seeking to do what gives pleasure and brings glory to You; at the same time, I will continue to look forward (with great anticipation) to the time when I shall join You in Heaven, and find satisfaction and joy that knows no bounds. When Your Word says, "In Your presence there is fullness of joy," I have always interpreted it to mean that if I spend time in Your Word and time with You in prayer, I will be happy. True, but also, when I finally get to see You face-to-face, to experience Your presence in its completeness, its awesomeness, its immensity (as it will be in Heaven), that will be fulness of joy. Because You created me as an eternal creature (in Your image), I cannot be satisfied with these earthly pleasures that are here simply to awaken my taste buds and cause me to salivate for the joy and glory of Heaven.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Friday, June 5, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #35: Broken and Contrite

My dearest Abba, (June 7th, 2008)
I’m sorry. I have neglected You, You who are my only Hope, You who are my shelter and refuge...I have left You for foolish, empty pursuits. I have lied, exaggerated, stolen, spoken unkind words, been disrespectful, cheated, and placed other things in my life as more important than You, so that means I have committed idolatry. What I have done is dispicable in Your sight. I am unclean, O Holy Father! I wallow in my filth, unwilling to give up the empty bubbles that I have made my gods. O Abba, forgive me! I know I don’t deserve Your forgiveness, but I beg You for mercy. I am not worthy to receive this gift, but in the power of Your grace, I accept Your free offer of forgiveness.
I am clean! :) It’s all gone! As far as the east is from the west, so far You have removed my terrible, filthy deeds from me. I don’t have to live in bondage anymore! I am free indeed! Help me to walk in the newness of life, Abba. Help me to find all that I need in You, for You are Enough.
Grant me the grace to change now, into the likeness of Jesus Christ, the One who paid the ultimate price to pay for my rebellion against God. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Help me to draw ever nearer to You. Help me to seek You with all my heart. Help me to abide in You. I want to love You, Abba. Fill my heart up with Your agapeo love so that I may pour it all out at Your feet as an offering. Help me to walk with You in the here and now, not just dream about serving You someday in the future. Help me know You and love You more and more each day.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #34: Living Until You Die

Dear God, (May 30th, 2008)
I watched a video last night about a young woman (Rachel Scott) who was killed when she was just 17 years old. It got me thinking about how much life I have left to live. I don’t know if this is from You or not, but I have a sense that I may not live past the age of 20. Like I said, I could be totally wrong about this...but I sense somehow that I don’t have long to live. I feel an urgency in me somehow, to make a difference...to spread the Gospel and I feel like I don’t have much time to do so.
So, if I start living like I’m dying, [with my priorities being: glorifying You in all that I think, say and do; spreading the Gospel; helping those in need; and motivating Christians to take up their cross and follow You] but then I end up living a long time, what do I do? Does living like you’re dying prepare you for living until you die?
Or, if I just keep on living like I have lots of time left to live, but then I die soon, what do I do? I think it would be a waste!
(next day...)
Father, I sense that You are asking me to surrender this comfortable life of ease that I am living to go and serve You overseas. You have burdened me with a longing to reach prostitutes and other hurting women in another country...maybe in Europe. Is this from You, or is this from me? If I were to get ready and just go over there to minister, would I find that I am not equipped to do the work? Would I be a failure, like Mom and Dad? I don’t want to fail. Not that I resist the idea of failing; no, I don’t mind it at all. I just would hate to waste others’ time and money on my ministry if it’s not what I’m supposed to be doing. Lord, if this is really of You, please let Mom and Dad not be opposed to it. God, I want to listen to, and follow, You. Guide me...strengthen my faith.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #33: Weary

Dear God, (May 18th, 2008)
I am so weary, so tired of rushing around "accomplishing" things. Play guitar for church. Finish schoolwork. Get good grades so that you can get scholarships, etc. It’s a never-ending rat race and I’m tired of running it. I want to minister, I want to make You known. But I can’t, because I’m so burnt-out from simply trying to stay alive. I want to know You and Your rest, Abba.
I don’t want to be bound anymore by other people’s expectations of me...I want to be free to pursue what You’ve called me to do. Give me the grace to step out of the cell of my doubt and my comfort zone. Give me Your rest. I am quiet before You, confident that as I abide in You, You will make it clear to me what it is that I was made to do. And Father, help me to not get so busy doing the work of the Lord that I forget the Lord of the work. I want to make You known, but in order to do that, I must know You.
I rest in the knowledge that You will lead me wherever I need to go, whether it be life in the fast lane or quiet repose by the still waters. You know what is best for me...I trust You to lead me. Give me the grace...help me to surrender and not fight Your will. I love You, my Abba.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #32: Struggling...

Dear God, (March 26th, 2008)
Help me change. I’m just as stagnant as any believer, so who am I to try to tell them how to live the Christian life? I still struggle so much...with depression. Can you help me fight this? I want to reach out...I want to shine Your light...but how can I, when I still have darkness in me? Give me a hunger for Your Word, help me turn to You in times of trouble, instead of trying to deal with things my own way. Help me to know which step to take next in life. Some are pressuring me to go to college, but is that the wisest use of Your money? I only have so many possessions, so much "talent" (if any), so much health and strength, so much life. I only have 1 lifetime to give it all away so that others will give You all the glory, Father.
I ask that You show Yourself strong in my life, God. You have made me weak so that You will get more glory. Thank you for this. I ask that I would not receive any glory for what You do in, through, and in spite of, me. Use me however You wish, but please, take all the glory. Don’t let me get in the way.
I know that You specialize in doing what seems impossible, God, and I have some situations in my life right now that seem impossible. For instance, if You do want me to go to college, I don’t know where I’ll get the money to pay for it. And, as it is, I don’t know where I’ll be able to get a job to support myself for life. How can I find a job (especially if I don’t go to college) to support myself and still have enough time to reach those in need? I’m not old enough to leave home, God, so how can I reach those in need? Show me what You want me to do...help me to be brave enough to take leaps of faith. But God, what do I do when my parents say "no"? Is it a sign from You? Or do they just not have enough faith? I don’t know what to do, Abba. Please guide me. I want to follow You, serve You and give You all the glory.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #31: Riding the Fence

Dear God, (March 22nd, 2008)
I’m still searching for answers about what the Christian life is all about. All the Christians around me say (or live) that all we have to do is glorify You with our lives. I agree...but is it glorifying to You if we don’t reach out to the lost around us? We give You lip service on Sunday...but why won’t we give our lives for You the rest of the week? We may sacrifice some of our money for You, but what about giving our lives to You? What happened to losing our lives for Your sake?
We can’t keep riding the fence on this issue—it’s a matter of life-and-death...the death of millions of souls. If the Christian life is indeed about living a good life, using our talents and being happy, then let’s do it. But if it’s about taking up our cross, dying daily, renouncing all that we have...then let’s do it. But we’d better hurry up and decide...we can either cast our lot with materialistic Christians or with Jesus, but remember, no looking back. We must choose now and follow wholeheartedly.
What does following Jesus mean? Does it require throwing out some of our traditions? I know that it requires sacrifice, but how much? Does it mean spending the rest of our lives feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, comforting the hurting and sharing Jesus with the lost, or is it using our talents to support ourselves (or as a career) and then just reaching out to needy and lost people as we happen to run into them?
Whatever following Jesus means, I stake my lot, my life, my all with him. Whatever the cost, from this day on, until forever...I’m a follower of Jesus. No looking back...no turning back. Whatever will matter most when I see him face-to-face is what will matter most in my life.
I’m Yours, Abba. Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #30: Why won't WE???

Dear God, (February 26th, 2008)
What do You want me to do with my life? People around me think that they have figured out what You want me to do with this life You have me, but I’m not sure that they’re right. You made me for a purpose, but what? Why is this heart beating? I want to show the world You, but how? How can I make Christians realize that the Christian life is all about sacrifice? How can I get them to see that they shouldn’t waste the short life they’ve been given on themselves, but they should give it all to You? How can I reach the unreached; how can I love the unloved? As Christians, we will occasionally reach some lost people, but we won’t go out of our way (or make sacrifices) so that we can spread the gospel. And we completely avoid reaching out to those who need You so much, simply because we don’t want to get our hands dirty or tarnish our reputations. We don’t (or won’t) minister to prostitutes, homosexuals, drug addicts, convicts, homeless people. Occasionally, we will send a check to some organization or missionary for them to help the poor and afflicted. Why won’t WE go? Why won’t WE get our hands dirty, reaching out to the lost? Whatever happened to Matthew 25:31-46? Why won’t we reach out to the least of these? Whatever happened to taking up our cross and following You without looking back? Luke 14:27 says, "Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE." And Luke 14:33 says, "So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has CANNOT BE MY DISCIPLE." (emphasis added)
I want to leave it all behind; my money, my time, my reputation, my family and friends, my life. I want to follow You, Jesus, no matter the cost.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Monday, April 27, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #29: Never More Than I Can Handle

Dear God, (January 29th, 2008)
First of all, I want to say that I’m sorry for neglecting You for so long. Why do I keep shoving You out of my life when You’re the only One who can help me through this?
Secondly, I want to say that though I don’t know why You’re letting me go through this, I trust You and Your plan for my life. No matter how hard life gets, You will never give me more than I can handle. Life is really hard right now and I’m feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, but You will get me through this. Help me to remember Your promise in Isaiah when I’m tempted to give up the fight: "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #28: Only ONE LIFE!!!

Dear God, (January 16th, 2008)
How can I use the only life that I have to get other people to stop wasting theirs and start living for You and reaching others with the Gospel? It seems impossible, but that’s the kinds of the things You specialize in. Argh...it’s so frustrating when people around me don’t seem to realize that life is not meant to be lived for ourselves and our pleasures, but offered up in service and dedication to You.
We only get one life! We can’t afford to waste it! There are people all around us, lost and hurting, and we’re supposed to be reaching them, but instead we sit with our backsides bowed to the leather of the couch and flick channels. I realize, of course, that not all of us are called into ministry, but all of us are called to be Your witnesses wherever we are. So why are we so complacent? Why are we so passionately apathetic about serving You? This ought not to be so.
Father, use me please. In any way that You wish, doing whatever You want me to do. Help me to prepare myself now for whatever it is You have planned for me. I want to be a pliable vessel in Your hands, Father. Shape me into who You want me to be. Take my heart and form it, take my mind, transform it, take my will, conform it, to Yours, O Lord.
Teach me to be more servant-minded like You, Jesus. Help me to be loving, joyful, peaceable, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle and self-controlled. I want to become more like You, Abba, each and every day. I love You, Abba.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Monday, April 6, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #27: "I Need You to Change My Heart..."

Dear God, (January 15th, 2008)
Here I am again, after wandering away for a few days. I’m back, wanting to seek You, wanting to be like You. I can’t do it by myself, Father. I need You to change my heart. O Spirit, transform me by the renewing of my mind. Purify me, make me a clean vessel that You can use.
I have so much to get done today, but please help me to not let any of it take priority over my time with You. I want to seek Your kingdom first, God. I want others to be able to see by the way that I live, the way that I spend my time and money that You’re #1 in my life.
My prayer as I start this day is the same as the Psalmist’s in Psalm 19: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." I want everything that I say today to please You. I want everything that I focus my mind on, that I meditate on (or worry about) to please You. I don’t want to spend this day worrying about small, temporary issues when instead, I should be focusing my mind on You and Your Word.
I yield myself to You, O Holy Sprit, transform me today. Make me more and more like You. I want others to see You in me. I want to know You more today, Precious Father. I want to abide in You, that I might bring forth much fruit. I need You, Abba. I love You.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Monday, March 30, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #26: Struggling to Make Him #1...

Dear God, (January 11th, 2008)
What can I say? I was up late last night (I wrote You) so I slept in until 7 and completely missed my chance to meet with You in the early morning. How can I make sure that You’re #1 in my life? I think that for me, it means making sure that I give You my undivided attention in the early part of the day (when it’s quiet) so that I get my heart in the right place at the very start.
But that means I have to make sure to get to bed so that I can get enough sleep before meeting with You, so that I don’t fall asleep. I want to be absolutely sure that You’re #1 priority in my life, Father. Please help me. If I need to cut some things out so that I have more time to spend with You, and serving others, then I will do it. Whatever it takes, I will do it, because I love You and I want to know You more each and every day.
Please, Abba, change my calloused heart. I am so selfish, so unkind. I am not a doer of Your Word, like I should be. I see chances to do right and be kind and help others all the time but I pass them by because "I don’t have time." Well, if I’m too busy to spend time with You; and if I’m too busy to serve others, then I’m too busy. Please, help me get my priorities straight. Please renew my mind, transform me, O Spirit of the Living God. Change my heart. Make me more like Jesus. I need You so much. I love You so much, Father.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #25: Life is SHORT!

Dear God, (January 10th, 2008)
What is my life? I am here, I live, I’m gone. Life is so short. But I want to make my life count. How?
I know that You have a plan and a purpose for my life, but how do I find out what it is? Will I know it when I’m doing it? Will there be some bolt of lightning and all-of-a-sudden I know what Your plan for my life is, or will it gradually dawn on me?
I see so many people around me that waste their lives, living only for themselves and I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to waste my life, living for myself. There are so many lost, lonely and hurting people that need help. But how can I, a stubborn teenager from KC, Missouri help so many of them? How can a drop in the ocean, a vapor, a withering grass make a difference in this world during the short time I’m on it?
I just found this verse in Your Word: "For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." (Matthew 16:25)
Is that the key? I think that it is. My life will only truly have eternal worth if I live it all for You. Not my will, but Yours. Jesus, I hereby take up my cross to follow You. Whatever the cost, I will live for You. It’s not my life, but Yours. I lose my life, but gain Yours. I want to abide in You, every moment of the day, living for You with every breath that I have.
I am Yours forever, Abba,
Rachel

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #24: Keep Me Here...

Dear God, (January 9th, 2008)
Why did we have to resign from the mission? Why did we have to leave Uruguay behind forever? I don’t understand.
But I don’t need to. You know why; You did it for my good, so that’s good enough for me. You had a plan for it (and still do). I trust Your wisdom. Then why do I still question? Please give me more faith, Father. Help me trust You more and more.
But I do trust You...even though I’m going through tough times and I’m barely hanging on, I know that You’re in control of my life and that You will work everything out for my good and Your glory.
Abba, I know that to others this may seem like a strange request, but I just want to ask that You keep me here. Please keep me in this place where I don’t understand, where I am out of control. It is here that I’m learning how very much I need You and how difficult yet rewarding it is to simply have to trust You. For here, in this place of pain, trials, and life full of the unknown that I cannot rely on my own finite wisdom, but on Your own infinite wisdom; here I cannot call on my own feeble strength to get me through the hard times (for I have no strength at all), but I must allow myself to be carried safely into the fire and the unknown by Your Everlasting Arms. Oh, Abba, I need You so much!! Thank You for never leaving me. Please make me a pliable vessel in Your hands. Shape me into who You want me to be. I don’t want these trials to ever end if they will continue to make me more like You, precious Father.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Monday, March 23, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #23: My Family

Dear God, (January 8th, 2008)
I’m having a rough day. Living in the same house as 7 bitter, angry, critical people wears on you after a while. Please don’t let my spirit become infected with the bitter, critical attitudes of my family members. I want to show them Your love, mercy, kindness and forgiveness, but it’s so hard when you feel like you’re fighting a losing battle all by yourself. Please, God, give me the strength to carry on. Help me to keep on loving, giving, showing kindness, forgiving, and praying for my family. I do believe that there are better days ahead for my family, and that by Your grace we will someday see them.
But more than that, I believe that You have a purpose for this time in our lives--to make us more like You. I have complete confidence in Your ability to handle the situations that we are dealing with as a family. You are in control; and You, Most Sovereign God of the Universe know exactly what You are doing and why You are doing it. I rest in the knowledge that though I can’t see the path ahead, You will guide me safely through whatever You have in store for me and You will never, ever leave me. What have I to fear, then? Nothing.
I trust You with my future, Abba. I trust You with my life right now. You are in control, so I have no reason to fear. Come what may, be it death, divorce, separation, illness or any other kind of trial, I know that You only have our best in mind, so I trust Your wisdom. Father, You may give and take away, but still, I will say, "Blessed be the Name of the LORD." I love You so much, Abba.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #22: New Every Morning...

Dear God, (January 7th, 2008)
Your Word says that Your mercies are new every morning. Wow. You are so patient with me to give me a chance to start over every single day.
So, here I am at 6:42am, asking for Your wisdom and guidance throughout the day. I cannot live this day the way I should in my own strength, only in Yours. I live today to make You smile. I want You to be intimately involved with every part of my day, Father. I want to spend this day getting to know You better, and becoming more like You. O, Abba, I have so much farther to go in order to be like You. Thank You for not giving up on me, for always gently leading me back to the path You have chosen for me.
Help me to trust You, Abba. I don’t know where You are leading me, or what You have in store, but with Your hand to guide, I can’t ask for anything more. I have nothing to fear when You lead me into the fog, for You know the way, so I know that I am safe. Please help me and my whole family to trust You with our future. Thank You for Your promise that You will never leave me. I cling to that daily when I feel so lonely.
And now, Lord, as I start my day, this is my prayer: "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."
I live, this day, for You alone, Father. I need You so much. With all my love and devotion I seek to serve You today.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Do I really serve the Jesus of the Bible?

I'm taking a break from posting my prayer journal entries here to ask some questions about Christianity that have been on my mind for quite some time...
Is the Christianity we're living each day the Christianity worth dying for? Did Jesus die so that we could have a once a week "go-to-church" ritual? (How does he feel about being stuffed in the Sunday morning 10-11am slot each week?) Did he die so that we could be moral people? Or, as 2 Corinthians 5 says, could it be that "he died for all, that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who for their sake died and was raised..."?
As I ask myself these questions, I can't help wondering how many Christians in other countries are being tortured, kicked out of their houses, beaten, and even killed...all for the Jesus that I often ignore, take for granted, and don't have time for, because I have "more important things to do." How can they die for Jesus Christ, when I can't even live for him? Do we really share the same faith? If so, then how come I am apathetic about the gospel, while they go to their deaths for proclaiming it? How can they endure suffering and torture, while I won't even get out of my comfort zone to share Jesus with a hurting world? What kind of faith do they have? What kind of faith do I have? Do I really believe what I say I believe? If so, then why doesn't it show in my life? Is my faith really built on Jesus, or on the traditions and behaviors that I've always been taught? Do I really serve the Jesus of the Bible?
How can they die for Jesus Christ, when I can't even live for him?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #21: You are #1...

Dear God, (January 4th, 2008)
I missed You yesterday. In the hustle and bustle; in the business of the day, I let my time with You drop to the bottom of my list. Sometimes I just wish that I could go live an extremely simple life out in the middle of nowhere, where I wouldn’t have all the distractions of life pushing You out of the way. But then, I realized that living with my priorities straight is fairly easy when I’m on my own, but the true test is when I have all of these distractions in my life, but I still keep You as my #1 priority. That’s my goal this year: to keep You on the throne of my heart and life. I want my life to reflect the fact that You are #1, You call the shots, You are writing my life story. Not me, You.
If it takes getting up at 4 am to make You #1 in my day, I’ll do it. Whatever steps I need to take to put You as my highest priority, I will take them. I want to live in a way that pleases You, regardless of the consequences to me.
Please show me what You want me to do, Lord. I want to follow You. I want to make my life count, but how? I know that a life lived for You and only You is a life that counts, but what does that mean? How can I live for You, and make my life count?
I know that Your Word says, "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (Micah 6:8) Please, change my heart, God, help me to please You in everything I think, say and do. I need You, Abba.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Friday, March 6, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #20: "I want to know You more..."

Dear God, (January 2nd, 2008)
I blew it today. Not by most people’s terms, but certainly by Yours. I tried to live this day without You. I tried to handle things in my own strength, and (as we both know) I can’t do it. So, finally, I turned to You. I waited until late in the afternoon before I finally came to meet with You. But if I try to meet with You early in the morning, I can’t stay awake. What is to become of me? What is wrong with me? Can I not make You a priority in my life? I must, else I should cease living, for You are all that matters. Oh, Father, help me to seek You all the more diligently each and every day. Give me such a strong desire to be in Your presence as cannot be denied. I want to know You more, but how can I do that if I do not make seeking You my highest goal each day?
Oh, how far I have yet to go in becoming more like You. I cannot attain holiness by disciplining myself to read and study Your Word each day, to talk to You, memorize Your Word, etc. Those are all good things, but that is not what having a personal relationship with You is all about. It is about seeking to become like You out of love, and out of face-down worship of Your awesome majesty.
I yield my heart to You once again, O Holy Spirit. I keep trying to take my heart back and transform it myself, but I can’t do it! So, take my heart, my soul, my mind, my will, all of me and transform it. Renew my mind; Create in me a clean heart, O God, renew a right spirit within me. Make me more like You tomorrow and each day afterward.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #19: A New Year

Dear God, (January 1st, 2008)
Today marks the start of 2008. A whole year stretches out empty before me. What do You have in store for me? How can I make sure that I don’t waste this year?
My only goal for this year is to become more like You. Actually, that is my entire life’s goal, but it is also my goal for each and every day that I have life on this earth. In order to do that, I must get to know You better each and every day.
You know, I have been struggling lately with trying to figure out what You want me to do with my life, but I have realized an important truth: the better I know You, the better I will know what You want me to do. So, I have dedicated this year to learning to know You better. Every day as I wake, let my prayer be, "I want to know You more today." I want to abide in You, Abba. That’s the only way that I can do Your will; only by abiding in You can I bring forth much fruit. (John 15)
So for now, I will trust You as You guide me in paths I do not know; I will seek You. I will get to know You more as I abide in You and only then will I know what You want me to do.
Oh Father, I do not have the strength for this. I cannot be changed into Your image in my own strength or by my own discipline. I need You. Please carry me, Jesus. Daily change me into Your image. Transform me, Holy Spirit. Fill me, use me, renew my mind. I want to be like You, but I can’t do this by myself. I need You, Abba, as I always have and always will. Oh, how I need You.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #18: Learning to Trust

Dear God, (December 31st, 2007)
Please keep me here. I am finding myself (for the thousandth time) in situation after situation in which I am totally out of control. I cannot handle all of this in my own strength. But this is right where I need to be. Please keep me in this place where I’m out of control and You are totally in control. I need to be helpless; completely dependent on Your strength to handle all of this. I never should have even tried to control my life and my circumstances--for they have always been in Your hands.
So, while I’m here, teach me to trust You even more. As life around me makes less and less sense and I feel like I’m flying into a million pieces because I can’t handle these situations, teach me more what it means to "trust in the LORD with all your heart..." I am learning, ever so slowly, that dependence only on You is the way to live. I don’t know what the next moment holds; I don’t know what the year 2008 holds, but I know who holds me--it’s You.
You will never leave me--so what have I to fear? There is absolutely nothing that could happen in my life that You can’t handle. My future is a shadow--but it is secure. Come what may, You are God, You are in complete control of my life. I trust You completely. But I am still learning, still learning. Just when I think that I trust You completely, You send something else into my life to show me that I am just beginning to learn to rely completely on Your strength and wisdom to get me through.
I have promised to follow You anywhere, but it’s so hard to follow in the dark. Help me to trust You more and more each day.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #17: Knowing Him...

Dear God, (December 30th, 2007)
I’m really serious about having this relationship with You. I don’t have all the answers as to how it is supposed to be done or when it is supposed to be done or all of that, but I do know this--I want to know You. I want to have a deep, intimate, loving relationship with You. I have dedicated this next year of my life, 2008, to getting to know You more, to drawing closer to You, to seeking You with all my heart. And Your Word says that if I seek You with all my heart, I will find You. I love You so much, Abba.
Will You show Yourself to me? Will You help me get to know You better? I rest in the power of Your Holy Spirit which You sent to me (at the moment I placed my faith in You) to guide me into all truth. Please do guide me, teach me, O keep my heart soft to Your touch, Father! Renew my mind daily. Transform my heart by Your power and Your love. Help me yield myself to Your touch. O Spirit of God, fill me, I pray! Take complete control of my life each day. Show me how to live for You, for You are all that’s worth living for. My life, my talents, my gifts, my time, my money, my mind, my strength, my entire being are Yours! Use me, I pray! Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me! Do not cast me away from Your presence! Restore to me the joy of Your salvation! O, renew a right spirit within me. That is my prayer, O God.
Thank You so much for hearing me. I don’t deserve any of this, but in worship and service I lay my life at Your feet, to be used of You, O my Father. Please take me and use me. That is my highest aim...to be used by You for Your glory. I love You so much, Abba.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #16: Relationship with God

Dear God, (December 17th, 2007)
What does it mean to have a personal relationship with You? It seems like everyone around me thinks that it’s getting up early to read their Bible (and a devotional book) and praying so that they can check it off their to-do list. But I don’t think that a relationship with You is supposed to be a habit, or a matter of duty. Is that personal, really loving? I haven’t found a single place in Your Word where it says, "Thou shalt have thy Quiet Time every morning at 6am."
So, what does it mean to really have a close, loving, personal relationship with You? I want to have a relationship like that with You, but I haven’t found it in the stale, dry, "Quiet Time" ritual. I want to really know You. Not some made-up, impersonal God who just wants to be met every morning in the same way. So, how do I find this kind of relationship? I know that Your Word (in Jeremiah 29:13) says that I will find You if I seek You with my whole heart, but how do I do that? How do I find a real, intimate relationship with You, while all those around me just have a duty relationship with You?
I really want to know You, Abba. Please show me how. Please don’t let me keep on talking to You and reading Your precious Word out of habit. I want to really be able to enter Your presence and find fullness of joy. I want my love for You and for Your Word to grow and grow. Right now, my relationship with You is just as shallow as everyone else’s. But I want that to change. I want to really know You. I want to be able to really love You, not some made-up god who requires strict devotion out of habit every morning. Please, Abba, I want to know You.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #15: Hurting and Healing

Dear God, (November 20th, 2007)
It’s me again, Your little wounded lamb. I try to hide my hurt from everyone around me; try to bury it underneath piles and piles of schoolwork, but it won’t go away. To be quite honest, I’m not even sure what all is wrong with me. I’m so confused about everything. I know that it’s a sign that something’s wrong, but I don’t know what. You do. And You have it under control. So I have no need to worry or fear.
What do I need to do? I can’t keep up this stressful school schedule (that’s going to end up driving me insane) much longer. It’s wearing me out. I need You to show me what to do. But even more than that, I just need You. Knowing You’re with me is such a comfort. Please help me to always remember that I’m never in this alone.
I have wounds coming to the surface now that have been buried for a long time. I need Your healing touch in my heart, please. Thank You for setting me free from my fear and from my past. Now please give me the courage to open up and share my hurts and give them a chance to heal once and for all. It’s so hard for me to trust anyone, except for You, of course. Please give me courage; hold my hand and lead me through.
I want to dwell in Your shelter, O Most High. Please hold me in Your Everlasting Arms; hide me in the shadow of Your wings. With You on my side, who (or what) could stand against me? I have nothing to fear. Please help me tear down these walls that I’ve built around my soul. I want to be completely free. I need You...but most of all, I love You.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Monday, March 2, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #14: Going through the motions...

Dear God, (October 18th, 2007)
How did I get so numb? I need to feel Your touch in my heart, O God. It’s gotten all shriveled up and hard inside me, I am so calloused. Please, God, I need You to soften my heart. Make it responsive to Your every touch.
I have been guilty of going through the motions, God. I go to church, I listen to Christian music, I use Christian devotional books. But God, what I need is not more principles from the Bible or anything like that. Right now I just need Your presence. Please be real to me, right here, right now.
Your presence gives me the power to do all things. I need Your power to help me change. Please change my heart O God, make it ever true. Change my heart, O God, may I be like You. You are the Potter and I am the clay; mold me, and make me, this is what I pray. I don’t ever want to be the same. Please don’t let me get complacent. I need Your touch in my heart. Please clean out all that filth and break up the fallow ground in my heart.
Send Your rain to wash me anew. Rekindle the flame that once burned so bright and clear. I have become so calloused, so cold, so numb that I’ve allowed the fire in my soul to die down to a lone ember tucked away in some dusty corner. Please, Abba, give me a clean heart. Rekindle my passion for You. I need You.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Prayer Journal Entry #13: Prodigal

Dear God, (August 20th, 2007)
O Lord! Bring a revival to my heart. O how I have grieved Your Holy Spirit! How I have neglected Your Word! Failed to obey Your commands! I am such a sinner; how can I stand before You, O Most Holy God? How can I enter Your presence, for I have filthy hands and an impure heart that is so wicked and full of deceit. I have wounded You, my One True Friend. My sin has broken the bong that once bound our hearts together. I am so guilty, so ashamed, so unworthy of bearing Your name and disgracing You. A song by Casting Crowns sums up my recent life perfectly:
Living on my own/ thinking for myself/ castles in the sand/ temporary wealth/ walls are falling down/ storms are closing in/ tears have filled my eyes/ here I am again.
And I’ve held out as long as I can/ now I’m letting go and holding out my hand.
Daddy, here I am again/ will You take me back tonight?/ I went and made the world my friend/ and it left me high and dry/ I drag Your name back through the mud that You first found me in/ Not worthy to be called Your son/ is this to be my end?/ Daddy, here I am/ here I am again.
Curse this morning sun/ drags me into one more day/ of reaping what I’ve sown/ of living with my shame/ Welcome to my world/ and the life that I have made/ where one day you’re a prince/ the next day you’re a slave.
And I’ve held out as long as I can/ now I’m letting go and holding out my hand.
Daddy, here I am again/ will You take me back tonight?/ I went and made the world my friend/ and it left me high and dry/ I drag Your name back through the mud that You first found me in/ Not worthy to be called Your son/ is this to be my end?/ Daddy, here I am/ here I am again.
I am beaten/ I am torn/ I’m not running/ I’m not running anymore
Jesus, will You take me back, please? I know I don’t deserve it, but will You forgive me, please?
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #12: Silence

Dear God, (July 24th, 2007)
I hear the silence echo in the depths of my soul. Your silence is more than I can take, God. I cry out to You; my heart is desperate for You--and still, no answer. I call, "Where are You?" and all I hear is the echoes in my soul. How long, O Lord? How long must my soul search for You in vain? Will You not answer? Can You not hear me? I need to know You’re here.
I must trust. Somewhere, somehow, You’ll come through for me. You promise to never leave me--You’ve never broken Your promises. So, You’re still here. I can’t feel Your presence, I can’t see Your face, I can’t hear Your voice. But somehow I must trust that You’re here. I do. I believe that You are with me even when I can’t feel Your presence. I believe that this will not last forever. One day, (soon--I hope) You’ll break into the winter of my heart; shine the Sun of Your presence on me and melt the snow and ice of fear, doubt and despair. You will show Your face to me again.
Until then, I will seek. I will search for You in my pain. I will cry out for You, the Living God. I will seek Your face with all my heart. I want to find You, God. Please show me You.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Friday, February 27, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #11: Refuge

Dear God, (July 17th, 2007)
I need a touch from You. My faith is feeble and frail. I need to know that You are here. I must confess that I have taken my eyes off of You and started looking at the huge waves surrounding me. I’m starting to sink down- I’m holding out my hand- will You reach out and save me? I need to know that You are holding me. Your Word says, "The Eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the Everlasting Arms..." God, I’m hurting right now. I need refuge from the storm in Your Everlasting Arms. Hold me close, Father. I need to cry on Your shoulder, but how can I do that if You’re far away? I need to feel the comfort of Your love.
In the Psalms, David often mentions You saving him from his enemies. Now, they may have been physical enemies, but couldn’t they have also been enemies like fear, despair, doubt, loneliness, etc? I think so.
Right now, I’m battling all of the above. Fear of the future and fear of rejection have nearly paralyzed me. Despair is like waves crashing over my head- if a big enough wave comes along, I could go under for good. I’m doubting that You’re hearing me, God. Please answer!!!! I’m lonely, too. For You. I miss You. Come back, please. Show me Your presence once again. I need You, Abba.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #10: How long?

Dear God, (July 11th, 2007)
Are you there? Can You hear me? I can’t feel Your presence. I need to know You’re with me. Your Word says, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will not fear, for You are with me..." I’m going through the valley, God, but I’m scared because I can’t feel Your presence. How can I know You’re with me?
How long? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long must I cry out, night after night, day after day, while You do not answer me? How long will my soul seek You in turmoil and anguish? How long will You be silent? I need to hear Your voice; I need to see Your face. Just Your presence will give me the strength to carry on. Without You, I am lost and without hope.
In my suffering, my heart cries out to You for answers. How long must my soul search in vain for the comfort of Your presence? Psalm 42:1-3, 5-6, 9-11; Psalm 22:1-2; Psalm 13:1-6; Psalm 63:1; Psalm 71 (esp. verse 9); Psalm 83:1; Psalm 88 (esp. verse 2).
You promise in Psalm 91:15 that when I call to You, You will answer me; You will rescue me from danger. I am crying out to You: but can You hear me? You have not answered. How long??
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #9: Memories and Skeletons...

Dear God, (July 4th, 2007)
Opening my boxes of stuff from Uruguay is hard, not just because of the memories, but mostly because it forces me to come to grips with the old me. The me who was so stubborn, angry and rebellious. The me who talked back and was disrespectful to my parents. It’s as if I took the old me and tried to lock it in the closet when I got here. Coming to the US was sort of a chance to start over, to try to be someone different, someone better. I’ve been able to keep the skeleton locking the closet for quite some time now. Almost long enough to completely forget about who I used to be.
But now, all the stuff is back here. The pictures, the journals, all of it. Now I can close my eyes and I’m back in Uruguay, talking back to Mom. Being disobedient, disrespectful. It’s as if the closet door is slowly creaking open; after being unlocked by the key I thought I threw away long ago. Any moment now, out will step the skeleton--what’s left of the old me. I’ll have to take it on--head on. There’s no way I can possibly fight the skeleton by myself, God. I need Your help. Help me face my past head on and beat it to the ground; bury it. I don’t ever want to have to face it again. Help me kill it, once and for all.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #8: Homesick...

Dear God, (June 28th, 2007)
I’m really struggling right now with homesickness. I really miss Uruguay. But also, I know that if I were there, I’d miss being here. In truth, though, I don’t really belong anywhere. Except in Heaven. I’m so glad You’re preparing a home for me there. I belong to You, so I’ll feel quite at home there, I think.
I don’t think anyone else who is not a missionary kid can really understand how hard it is to feel so insecure at times; like you don’t really fit in anywhere. They can’t understand how hard it is to keep having to say "good-bye."
But even most missionary kids don’t know how hard it is to resign. They don’t know the pain that comes with seeing your parents fail at their lifelong goal of serving God overseas. They don’t know the fear that comes with seeing your future loom in front of you, taunting and jeering; saying, "you weren’t good enough in the past; what makes you think you can do better in the future?" They don’t know the discouragement and disillusionment that you feel when failure is all you know. They don’t know what it’s like to not succeed.
It hurts, God. I’m hurting. This wound seems like it was just made and like it’ll never heal. I need You.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Monday, February 23, 2009

Prayer Journal Entry #7: Worship

Dear God, (June 27th, 2007)
I found something about the concept of worship. We usually think of it as going to church and singing CCM songs with our eyes closed and our hands raised. But according to Romans 12:1, that’s not at all what it is.
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship."
This verse doesn’t say, "singing praise and worship songs with your hands raised is your spiritual act of worship." No, it says giving your entire life to God, laying everything down on the altar before Him to be used by Him--that is worship. But first, you must be holy and acceptable before God. God can’t use someone who is living in sin. It doesn’t bring honor to You, Father. We must be clean vessels to be used by You--we must have clean hands and a pure heart to enter into Your temple to praise You with our mouths; we must also be pure in heart to be used by You, for our lives to praise and worship You. So often (too often) we forget that You have called us to be holy and we try to live our own life, do our own thing and then go to church and "worship." But unless our lives and hearts worship You, our songs cannot.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Comfort

Dear God, (June 26th, 2007)
I’m doing a study on comfort in Your Word with a friend of mine. I’m learning so much. One thing I’ve found is that Your promises are such a comfort. Promises like, "The Eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the Everlasting Arms" and "I will never leave you or forsake you." It’s so comforting to know that You’ll always be here, no matter what.
Another thing I’ve found is that knowing that You’re in control is very comforting, too. You have never failed me in the past and I know You never will in the future, so what can happen in the present that could change Your plans? Nothing.
I’m learning to trust You. Even though I don’t know what the future holds, it’s in Your hands and there’s no safer place it could be. Give me the faith to step out into the unknown holding tightly to Your hand. You’ll never fail, never leave, never, ever forget me. No matter what happens here at home, even if we have to move, help me trust You to know what’s best for me.
Thank You for being my Heavenly Father, even when my earthly father ignores me or doesn’t have time for me. I know that You’ll always be there and that I can cry on Your shoulder. You are so loving, so caring, so gentle, so tender and so kind. I need You so much. I love You so much.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Saturday, February 21, 2009

In the Valley...

Dear God, (May 19th, 2007)
I feel like my world is spinning out of control. I have so much to do, and so little time to do it. And the problem is, the things that I have to do take precedence over the things I need to do, like spending time with You. And when I miss my time with You, my life becomes even more miserable, for You are the Only One who brings joy and comfort to me when I need it most.
I’ve just been through one of the most difficult times of my life. I went through a deep valley and took the downward spiral of depression. For several months, I was lost in hopelessness and despair. I think that You sent me through the valley so that I could see how much I really need You. Before the valley, I had thought that I could pretty much make it on my own, that I didn’t need You. Boy, was I wrong. When I hit rock bottom, who did I finally call out to? You. You came and got me out of that pit and set me free from that HUGE burden of worry, despair, stress, etc.
The problem is, I feel myself going down again. Down that awful downward spiral of depression. I keep trying to carry that burden again, too. I don’t want to go through the valley again. I’m not sure if I could handle it. Help me, Jesus. I need You.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dreaming Big...

Dear God, (April 17th, 2007)
I don’t know how I’ll ever be like You. It seems like the harder I try, the more I fail. I struggle with being inconsistent. I have bitterness in my heart. I have wounds that I keep picking the scabs off of, so they never heal.
I have hopes, dreams and aspirations that a voice inside me says are too high. My parents say I’ll never be good enough, that there’s no way I can be a home schooling mom of 13 and be a Christian recording artist. What they don’t know is that I also want to be an author and speaker. Mom says that since last year I wanted to be a doctor and now I want to be a recording artist, she’s just waiting for this to pass, too. But I don’t think this’ll pass, ‘cause I think this is a call from You. But I’m not sure.
Anyways, I feel like it’s almost hopeless to try to become like You, ‘cause I can’t do it by myself. So I guess what I’m saying is "I need Your help" ‘cause there’s no way I can do it by myself. Give me Your strength, please, to do Your will in Your way in me. Help me fight (and beat) sin. Help me clean up my life. Please clean my heart, too. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Dear God, (April 9th, 2007)
I’m so lonely. I don’t have many friends and the few friends I do have I only see 2-3 times a week. And the only things they talk about (at those times) are superficial. They’re empty. I feel like I don’t have anyone I can confide in.
We talked about this with my Youth Pastor the other day when we (my older brother and I) went out to lunch with him. We talked about needing to be more transparent in Youth Group. He said it starts with one or two people deciding that it’s time to be real with each other. I want to be transparent. I’m just scared. Scared because when you become transparent with those with whom you are close, you also become very vulnerable. Vulnerable to the point where you could easily get back stabbed. I’ve had that happen before. It hurts. I’m scared that if I become transparent, I’ll get back stabbed again. Anyway, the bottom line is this: I feel like I don’t have anyone I can confide in, but I need to. The pressure inside is intense. I feel like if I don’t open up and let someone in soon, I’ll just EXPLODE. I’m also scared of becoming transparent. Help me, please, God. I don’t know what to do.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another prayer journal entry...

Dear God, (March 19th, 2007)
It’s in times like these that I feel so unworthy of Your love. I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything worthy of Your love. I am a sinner, and You a Holy God. And yet You love me.
My love for You (how I love You!) Could never equal (or even come close to) Your love for me. What an Amazing Love! You sent Your One and Only Firstborn Son to die in my place upon a cruel cross. He died a horrible, agonizing death to pay for my sins--a death and punishment that I fully deserved. O! What Love!
Now, You are at God’s right hand, making intercession for each and every one of Your children. Every day, You teach us to be more like You. What a privilege! To become more like the One who saved us!
My prayer today is simply this: Make me more like You. Help me to love as You love, to give myself sacrificially for others as You gave Yourself. Please, Lord. Make me more like You today. I love You, Precious Savior.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Today I am starting a series of blog posts, consisting of excerpts from a prayer journal I have kept for the past two years. My purpose in posting these prayer journal entries (or, "letters to God," as I like to call them) is to encourage other believers in their walk with God. I want people to see that I am not some sort of "Super Christian"; I have struggles, and I fail. This journal tracks my spiritual growth over the course of 2007, 2008 and into the year 2009. I hope that it encourages you, and I pray that would be inspired to keep a prayer journal, too!

Dear God, (March 17th, 2007)
I’m not really sure what to say. I’ve been going through a lot lately, and for the most part I’ve pretty much ignored You. What a foolish thing to do. You are the Only One who can really help me, and yet I turn You away, time after time; I try to go my own way. And yet, every single time, You are waiting for me with open arms when I finally come to my senses and turn back to You. You clean me up and set me back on the straight and narrow way.
I’ve been reading a book called "When God Writes Your Life Story." It talks about something called "The Great Exchange." The exchange is simply this: I trade my sinful, corrupted human life for Your eternal, holy and righteous life. You work in and through me. As Paul put it: "Not I, but Christ lives in me." All I have to do is crucify me: the old, sinful flesh; and take on the new me. I want to do this. I am tired of being me. I have no way at all to be good: I simply can’t do it. So God, would you please take over? I don’t want to be in charge. You take the wheel. You call the shots. Jesus, be the Lord of my life. Take the pen, please. Write my Life Story however you wish.
Yours Forever,
Rachel

Monday, February 2, 2009

Passionate about Him?

I’ve been wondering...if I were to die today, just all-of-a-sudden, what would people remember me as being passionate about? Would they spend my funeral talking about how I loved teddy bears, Biblical Greek, Gregorian Chant (and Casting Crowns), and peanut butter and salsa sandwiches? I don’t want to be remember for those things. Yes, they are a part of me, but no, they aren’t important. Do people even know that I am passionate about Jesus Christ? If they don’t know, then am I really passionate about him? Because I think that if you’re passionate about something, you can’t help showing it. God, I want to be passionate about you!!! I want to make you known here on earth!! Help me!