Joyful~Praying~Thankful Challenge

Who’s up for a challenge?

Read out loud this reflection verse:
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NLT

Now fill in the blanks with your name.
____________, always be joyful. ___________, never stop praying. ____________, be thankful in all circumstances. ____________, this is God’s will for you. _____________ belongs to Christ Jesus.

This is not an easy command. It’s challenging. Today let’s take this challenge. It’s the 48 hour Joyful~Praying~Thankful Challenge. For the next 48 hours be intentional on being joyful (despite your circumstances), praying a lot (even when you don’t feel like it), and remembering to be thankful (despite your circumstances)

{I copied this great idea from Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Study Leader, Melissa Taylor}

In our Hope Moms of Teens group today, we discussed Chapter Eight: Due to Circumstances beyond Our Control in Let.It.Go by Karen Ehman

And It was a prayer theme kind of day! And I love a theme!

(my kids call me a dorky theme dresser and I take it as a compliment. However, I didn’t have a prayer themed outfit today….  confession… I did paint my nails last night since I knew I’d have my hands folded a lot today….  cause God listens more closely to freshly manicured folded hands, right?)

Back to the theme

  • It was our once a semester treat to have Women’s Ministry Prayer Warriors pray individually with us.
  • In this chapter Karen lists several tips we can glean from Queen Esther’s life. And guess what one of them was….appeal to God. Don’t be quick to jump in and control.  To gather courage to approach the King, Esther said

“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do.” Esther 4:16

Wow, fasting, and asking all the Jews in Persia to fast with her. How’s that for calling on Prayer Warriors? Fasting from food is a spiritual discipline that isn’t for everyone. Have you done it as a way to draw nearer to God? (I’d love for you to comment below)

I love the ideas Karen had in this chapter of ways to fast. Perhaps fast from gossip about the situation, or from the internet or TV to make more time for prayer. Personally, I felt God impress the idea of a social media fast. Not because I think it is bad, I love it as a connection tool but it is a distraction to aimlessly scroll. I am going to challenge myself with this fast during my prayer times this week.

  • Sticky-note prayer reminder from God:

This was a cool answer to prayer that I shared today.    As I was preparing the outline of what we would discuss in class, I dug out my bible study book on Esther by Beth Moore. I had done this study at Hope several years and 2 moves ago. I didn’t have a clear memory of who was in my group but I remember Esther … and making the Haman’s Ears cookie recipe in the back of the book.

I am new to leading this year and I have really relied on God to direct me in what to do. And He has been a faithful guide. I have lots of ideas swirling in my head but I try to be patient and flexible. One thing that I knew bible study leaders had done in the past is pass around sticky notes for prayer requests. I put a pack of sticky notes in my BS bag (BS stands for Bible Study in case anyone had other thoughts…like my Mum, Bernadette Shook’s initials or something 😉  but the sticky notes have been in the bag all year, untouched, except for by lint and dust and crumbs stuck on the sticky part of the bottom of the pile!

So as i prepared the handout, I asked God if I should teach anything from the Esther study. I opened the workbook to remind myself of the lessons learned but the first thing I saw …..   a sticky note prayer request from many moons ago. And it has a woman’s full name on it. Shelly Cheng! Who is in our Moms of Teens group. I smiled right up at God. He didn’t want me to teach on my old notes….He wanted me to hand out sticky notes!  And He reminded me of the connection that is made when we pray for one another. I KNEW that was why I remembered Shelly. When I invited her to Moms of Teens a few months ago I realized that she didn’t remember me but I knew I had done a study with her. I didn’t remember which one or when or much else about her but my heart knew that I knew her. And now I know why. Because I prayed for her!!!  God you are awesome!!

So today we paired up and exchanged sticky not prayer requests. I hope it will bless each one of you as you draw closer to God in prayer and maybe fasting this week!

Romans 12:12 prayer screensaver

Here is the handout:

1.) “It takes God’s grace and a good amount of practice to learn the difference between what we can control and what we need to let go of.” p 154    Since starting this book, what is one area of your parenting you are exercising appropriate control and what is one area where you are letting go?

2) “It’s God’s job to determine our circumstances. It’s our job to cooperate with him in the midst of them, adjusting and realigning our attitudes with the truth of Scripture.” p 158   What’s your favorite verse that helps adjust your attitude?

3) In this chapter, Karen lists several tips we can glean from Queen Esther’s life to help us learn to exert control without becoming controlling. Which do you most need to work on with relationship to your teen?

  1. Remember God is God and you are not.
  2. Pray, and if you must, fast
  3. Solicit spiritual help
  4. Do what you can
  5. Don’t do what you can’t
  6. Decide where to glance and where to gaze
  7. Know when to move and when to stay put.

4) Sometimes no matter what we do to try and control a situation…we simply can’t. How has this chapter helped you to discover the difference between what you can and can’t change? OR Can you look back at a time in your life when things were out of your control but you can see how God worked through it all?


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