by Melanie Davis Porter on November 19th, 2020

It’s a sweet welcome when my young adult sons send texts asking for prayer. It feels good to know they place an importance on prayer since they’re no longer on the family payroll or living under the same roof as old mom and dad.

Growing up, our three boys came to our bedroom every night before bed to have a family altar and pray. We did this regularly until they all left home. I still miss all those hairy legs, and smelly feet strung out across our bed in random positions.

Looking back, I can recall many times we celebrated God’s Goodness. When He answered our
prayers, many spiritual markers grew our family's faith.

I remember the year that Matt needed a computer. He was only 12, but he was starting middle school, and each year, research for study and projects were becoming more demanding while requiring extra trips to the library.

In preparation for school, we were shopping when Matt found a big sign in the aisleway of our favorite department store advertising a back to school giveaway. The prize was a brand new, state-of-the-art computer with a printer. It was a significant prize package.

We prayed every morning and evening for that computer. I remember asking God to use that
contest to open Matt’s eyes to His faithfulness. We gave up hope when the date of notification passed. But then one day, a letter addressed to Matt showed up in the mailbox, notifying him that he won the computer.

That was a significant spiritual moment between Matt and God. He realized God heard his prayers.

Many times, we focus on God’s no’s or slow answers. Often, we turn to Him in desperation as
a last hail Mary effort. Unfortunately, there have been times when my self-sufficiency robbed me of trusting God and letting Him work out my problems in prayer.

But failing to connect the dots to how prayer can grow and enhance our faith will limit our intimacy with the Father.

Establishing a fervent prayer life is hard,
but it’s so worth it to know the character of God and His ways.


So how does prayer cultivate our faith and intimacy with God?

Prayer changes our hearts and invites us into a sacred place of trust and divine expectation.
In Colossians, Paul told us to: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16)

We learn what God’s will is by reading His Word. When we pray for His will to be done, our hearts are aligned with what He wants. (Luke 22:42, 1 John 5:14-15) Knowing that God is for us and wants what is best in our lives, we can trust Him to bring about the very best outcome to all our prayers. (Romans 8:31)

Prayer increases our faith and builds our testimony.
God has promised to supply all our needs; therefore, we can trust Him for provision daily. (Philippians 4:19) When our prayers are answered, we see tangible proof that our unseen God hears our prayers. Not only does this bolster our faith but it builds our testimony to encourage others to pray and trust God. (Psalm 22:22, 66:16) Even when God chooses to answer a request and not necessarily a need just because He loves us, we learn that it pleases Him to bless us just because He can. (Matthew 7:11)

Prayer provides divine guidance when we can’t or don’t know what to pray.
“Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26) Sometimes we are so grieved or broken that we can’t find the words to say to God. But the Holy Spirit is our helper, and He will divinely give us the words to say. Why? Because He knows the profound utterances of our spirits, and He longs to help us articulate our hurts and needs to the Father.

Prayer keeps us from sin.
”Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Matthew 26:41) At the first inkling of temptation to sin, we must fall to our knees for help. When we take our temptations to the Father in prayer, 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that: “He will provide a way of escape that we will be able to endure.” God will faithfully keep us from being tempted beyond our ability to say no. It’s His will that we not sin; therefore, He will answer our pleas to help us escape when we ask for help.

Prayer brings about repentance and peace.
There’s no sweeter moment than when we confess our sin to God. For those precious few seconds, we can rest in the freedom of forgiveness and perfect peace. The Bible tells us: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

Not only does He forgive us, but He forgets our sin also. "As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:12)

There are no greater benefits to cultivating a relationship with God through prayer. But most importantly, you’ll grow to know, trust, and wait for His reply ever when circumstances are hard. Also, you’ll always find peace even when there are no earthly answers. In fact, you'll find healing, guidance, wisdom, the Holy Spirit's presence, and more.
Author Max Lucado sums up prayer perfectly:
"Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference."
Max Lucado

Father, thank You that we can talk directly to You in prayer. Thank You that we need no
mediator, that You provided complete access to the throne through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Help us to learn to sit in Your presence and listen. Give us insight into Your Word to find Your Will. Make us wiser to see Your hand at work in our lives and prayers. Thank You for hearing us when we call. Make us faithful to see You everyday. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Blessings Soul Friends,

Melanie

MELANIE DAVIS PORTER is a simple girl who loves Jesus, the Arts, and good books. She is an experienced playwright for the church and writes for Proverbs 31 Ministries First 5 App.
Melanie has been married to a proud Vietnam Combat Vet for over 35 years and loves to play with her grandchildren.
To connect with Melanie, visit www.melaniedavisporter.com or email her directly at melanieporter45@gmail.com.
You can also find her on Twitter at @MelMel27, on Facebook at
facebook.com/MelanieDavisPorter/
Read Melanie’s, and others, teachings through the First 5 App at First5.org

Today's blog post is from our Soul Inspired Prayer Journal "Praying For Revival".
To access all of our Revival resources, click the image below.


by Mitzi Neely on November 10th, 2020


Do not be anxious about anything. Sounds impossible doesn’t it? We all have worries at home, work, and school, but the Apostle Paul advises us to turn our worries into prayer.

One of my favorite verses is Philippians 4:6 NIV. Paul tells us, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

It’s a good thing our God is a God of strength and grace because I can lay a lot of baggage at His feet each day. Some days it seems the prayer list is a mile long, but I know I can give every concern, prayer, or praise to Him and come away knowing “He’s got me covered.”

I am thankful that the Lord who is near is the almighty God revealed in scripture. As believers we know we should be ‘anxious for nothing.’ But with the growing demands and challenges present in our daily lives, there’s plenty of room in our hearts and minds to become bogged down in the negatives and forget the positives.

There have been times over the years that I allowed my concerns to become worries. I didn’t mean for it to happen, but it did. When my daughter left for college there were unknowns. Who would her friends be? Would she be cautious when she was out after dark? Would she spend enough time studying in order to maintain grades and scholarships? Would she be safe driving home? The list could on and on.


Instead of focusing on what could happen,
I realized I should be worrying less and
praying more to God.

I couldn’t continue to worry about these future unknowns because they hampered my efforts to enjoy each new day. Without knowing it, I was taking the joy out of the present by worrying about tomorrow. And my words and thoughts could have impacted my daughter and stolen her joy.

Scripture reminds us to take one day at a time so we won’t be consumed by worry.

All the worrying about her simply meant I wasn’t trusting God to take care of her. At least that was the message I was sending to my Heavenly Father. When I realized my actions were more intentional than my words I was embarrassed and ashamed. As if my worrying about her could take care of her or protect her.

In His powerful message in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke out against the sinful foolishness of anxiety. He was very clear in Matthew 6:25 (NASB) when He said, “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life….”

Jesus tells us not to worry about those needs that God promises to supply.

As Christians we are expected to react to trials with thankful prayer but it’s not always easy.
When problems arise we tend to want to ‘fix things’ instead of turning to prayer which is the cure for worry and anxiety.

Proverbs 20:24 (NIV) tells us, “A man’s steps are directed by the Lord.” This proverb counsels us not to worry even if we don’t understand everything that happens. Instead we should trust God to do what He says.

There will always be concerns as we look to the future. Some of those include caring for aging
parents, recently, the direction our country is headed. But I am comforted in knowing that God is the supreme ruler. He knows every detail, every worry, every concern, and every problem that crops up. There is no place that we will go that He hasn’t already been.

His plans are perfect and He promises us that nothing we face will be more than we can handle with His help. He is our most trusted Caretaker and as Christians we can be thankful for His power, His perfecting work in us, and His mercy forever.


Dear Lord, thank You for being our Almighty God, Giver of life, and the Supreme Ruler of the universe. Your love is perfect and we are forever grateful to be ‘Daughters of the King.’ Thank You for hearing our praises and our cries, and for taking care of every burden we lay at Your feet. Your defeat of the enemy assures us that we will break free of worry and anxiety, and bask in the glory of Your name. In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Blessings Soul Friends,

Mitzi
Mitzi Neely is a wife, mom, and grandmother who encourages and inspires women of all ages through her teachings on grace, love, joy, and peace, while thriving in the world we live in.
It is Mitzi’s primary goal to use her gifts and talents as God leads, always waiting patiently before turning to the right or to the left, listening for His voice saying “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
Her heart is to lighten your load, while conveying her message that nobody’s perfect. Her desire when she speaks, sings, creates, or instructs is honesty and transparency, such that God receives glory and honor.
She is the author of A Thankful Heart: 30 Days to the Grateful Life and Joy for Everyday Life: Living Joy Filled Despite Our Circumstances Not Always Being Joyful.
To connect with Mitzi, visit her website at www.peacefullyimperfect.net or email her directly at peacefullyimperfect@gmail.com.
You can also find her on Twitter at @a_joyfulpeace, on Facebook at  facebook.com/peacefullyimperfect1/ and on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/mrneely2/

Today's blog post is from our Soul Inspired Prayer Journal "Praying For Revival".
To access all of our Revival resources, click the image below.

by Jodie Barrett on October 26th, 2020

“Dear Lord, I can’t find the right words. Can you please just listen through my heart.”
Unknown

I saw these words during a google search and I understood completely. I found myself at the
feet of God unable to form words, morning after morning when my son was killed. Grief stole them, but God did not need them.

His responses to my wordless prayers have convinced me time and again that he does not need my words. He only needs to see a heart seeking Him. God formed our hearts, knows our hearts inside out, and He hears and understands the wordless cries of a heart positioned in prayer.

While “such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand (Psalm 139:6 NIV),” I trust. Grief may have taken my words, but it strengthened my trust in the Lord. I trust He hears me as I sit to seek him in prayer with nothing to say.


God sees our heart’s position.
And because He does,
we can trust He knows
the longings of our hearts.

The position of our heart matters. I’m not talking about whether you sit, stand, or lie down,
although we can find evidence of these in the scriptures, I am speaking about the state of our hearts. Do we come with humble hearts? Repentant hearts? Do we come desiring time with God, acknowledging who He is and trusting His will and way? Are we alert, guarding against the enemy? Are we approaching with obedient hearts? Joyful hearts? Hearts ready to praise?

A silent heart filled with a desire to know, trust, and hear God is positioned differently than a silent heart not wanting a relationship with God. God knew that even while grief stole my words that I longed to talk with Him, to hear from Him. I believe a similar heart condition exists in the believer who desires revival in their relationship with God. We have all the components, faith, hope, trust, and love for Jesus, but we have discovered that our flame is dim, where it once was blazing. This may come from grief, as in my case, or it can come from unrepented sin in our lives.
When we long for personal revival we can trust that God recognizes a heart desiring more of
Him. In my grief, morning after morning, I would position myself to meet the Lord. Often with tears and a pen in hand. I planned to ink out my prayers and instead I recorded his beautiful responses to the wordless cries of my heart. As I saw His goodness my repeated prayer throughout the day for the longest time was simply stated, “Lord, rain back the tears you see and refresh my soul.”

Have you been without words to pray? Your heart longs to commune with God in prayer but nothing verbal will emerge. Formless words are laying in your heart. We can trust that God can understand what we cannot express (Romans 8:26). The next time you sit in silence, longing for a spark to ignite a flame, listen. This time without words is an opportunity for you to hear God’s voice.

SILENCE CAN BE A PLACE OF SANCTUARY

A place where God’s word is strong and clear, bringing peace, pouring in joy, developing strength.

Sanctuary. A place of rescue for the brokenhearted. A place where God’s presence consumes and covers. A place of hope. A place where we can hear our Father.

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken.” Psalm 62:5-6

SILENCE IS THE WINDOW FOR SURRENDER

Just as the psalmist prays in Psalm 143:8 NLT, “let me hear your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you,” so can we. Without words we can present our hearts in surrender, allowing the silence of your lips to make a way for the cry of your heart.

The Creator understands.
His Spirit intercedes.
Our amazing God will respond.

Through His word. Through a friend. Through a small gesture or a mighty miracle.

Do you find yourself with no words today, but you long for revival? Wait in silence and listen for God. You may find that your prayers are more meaningful than ever before.

Father, Creator, we open our hearts to you. We long for revival. Hear the moans of our hearts, the ones we cannot formulate into words. Help us trust that you understand even when we do not. Help us listen as we release our burdens. Silence doesn’t always feel right in prayer, but Lord we trust that you can use silence as an opportunity for surrender. Help us surrender to you, today. In Jesus’s name, Amen
Blessings Soul Friends,

Jodie
Jodie Barrett is a girl who loves Jesus
and sharing His Word. She and her husband, Thomas, reside in Roanoke Rapids, NC and love spending time with family and friends when they aren’t working in their family business or exploring new places and foods.
Jodie is a mom and a new Gigi. Some of her favorite people are her adult children, Ryan, who resides in heaven with Jesus, and Lauren, who resides with her husband, Dylan, and their little man, Kolton.
She’s the author of Jingle and Joy, Praying Beneath the Tree, and a ministry leader with Faithfully Following Ministries where she enjoys teaching alongside her energy filled ministry partner, Donna. Her passion is helping other women discover the treasure of God’s word and encouraging them to move into a close relationship with Jesus.


Today's blog post is from our Soul Inspired Prayer Journal "Praying For Revival".
To access all of our Revival resources, click the image below.

by Jana Kennedy-Spicer on October 4th, 2020

A world in chaos. The Church divided. Families broken. Evil abounding. What we need right now is Jesus. What we need, is revival.

God began burning this in my heart: He has a desire for His people to return to Him. A revival of The Church. For this revival to occur, we must fervently seek God. We are told in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” That seeking comes from spending time in His Word and in prayer.

This seeking has been the catalyst for Praying For Revival.
40 days of reading God’s Word
40 days of meeting with God in Prayer
40 days of listening to God speak
40 days of journaling our prayers and God’s responses
40 Days of Praying for Revival

Today is Day One

If you are joining us online

During October and November 2020 we will be going through Praying For Revival as a group on-line. Here's what to expect during that timeframe.

First, follow us online on Facebook at Sweet To The Soul Ministries and / or Instagram at Praying For Revival. These will be the two main locations for engagement.

Beginning Monday October 5, every weekday you can find the day's scripture based prayer prompt on our facebook Sweet To The Soul Ministries at 5:00 am CST. You do not have to interact with us then, but we want to have the prompts available early enough for our east coast friends who have prayer time in the mornings. About 8:00 am CST you can also find the prayer prompt on our instagram Praying For Revival.

If you do not use social media, you can download the Prayer Prompt Scripture Reading List for the full 40 days by clicking the image below.
As I mentioned above, we will be sharing prayer on-line Monday-Friday, weekdays only. This gives all of us time rest and worship over the weekend. This will extend our 40 Days of Prayer to the end of November.

I would suggest designating a time each week day for prayer. Using the same timeframe day after day will help to create or strengthen the habit of a regular prayer time. Everyone's schedule is different, I am a total night owl, while some of my friends like Mitzi and Jodie are morning people. So select a time for yourself that is most comfortable.
Next, join us on-line during the day. Share with us about your prayer time and what God is teaching you during this time. Interact with others who are committing to this prayer time. Drop in and offer encouragement to another or find a bit for yourself.

Talking with God, which is all prayer really is, can be difficult for some. I was always intimidated by the thought because I was worried I would not say the right thing. Prayer changed for me when a dear friend help me understand that having that prayer time with God was as simple and beautiful and meaningful as our own conversations.

If you miss a day or two or three.. (you get the idea), join us anyway. Whenever you can. Please do not feel left out! And if you are reading this and we've already begun on-line, join us exactly where we are!
Finally - or maybe this should have been first - invite some friends to join us! Let's storm the gates of heaven with all the voices we can gather! Community prayer time is wonderful for building and strengthening bonds between friends and with your church family.

Resources for your prayer time

Let me share with you about some of our resources. Yes, there is a book - Praying For Revival - A Soul Inspired Prayer Journal. Which includes each day's prayer prompt and a short devo with lot's of space to journal your own prayers.
Also included in the Praying For Revival Prayer Journal, are devotions where each of our authors share about their personal experience with prayer. And there are beautiful pages of encouragement with prayers and scriptures and relevant quotes. We created this Prayer Journal just for you! It is available in a soft cover print version or a downloadable ebook format.

You can grab your copy over at PrayingForRevival.com

We also have a journaling kit for you creatives and several free downloads. And watch for additional resources to be mad available all throughout October and November. Visit PrayingForRevival.com for more information on all of our Revival related resources.

With the book or without - please join us!

Whether you have the Prayer Journal or not, please join us! Our hearts desire is for REVIVAL!

For revival to happen in our country it must first begin with us! It begins with you and with me. Then it overflows into our homes, our churches, our communities and throughout our nation!

And this time is prayer is not just for America, yes, I imagine most joining us are located in the United States, but our prayer is for revival around the world. So if you are reading from another country - YOU ARE INCLUDED! Join us on-line and let us know where you are living. We want to pray for you and your church, and community and country. 

Join us on the blog

Join us on the blog each Monday to kick off our week and every Friday to wrap it up. You will find all kinds of new and free resources and be hearing directly from our authors Jodie, Mitzi, Melanie and me, Jana. We would love for you to get to know each one of us.

And if you have not yet, join our email list to receive special goodies and stay up to date on things Sweet To The Soul.


Father God, we long for revival in our homes, our churches, our communities and our country! Forgive us for stepping away from You. Forgive us for replacing You with false idols and giving ourselves over to false teachers. Please hear our cries! Break our hearts Lord, to see our sin as You see it. Thank You for the grace You offer and the restoration and healing which can only be found in You. Thank You for hearing our pleas and bringing revival to our souls! Lord, we pray for a wave of revival to sweep our lands and all around the world. Let that revival bein in the hearts of Your children, light that fire within each one of us Lord! In Jesus' name, Amen

Blessings Soul Friends,

by Jana Kennedy-Spicer on March 30th, 2020

Welcome to day one of the "This Time" study. Today we will be reading Jeremiah chapter 11.


"They [the inhabitants of Jerusalem] have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words. They have gone after other gods to serve them. The house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant that I made with their fathers. Therefore, thus says the LORD, Behold I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape.” Jeremiah 11:10-11a

Here is what was going on at the time Jeremiah gave us what would end up being one of the most quoted scriptures in the Bible.

It is almost 600 years before Christ will appear and the people of Israel and Judah have continued to live in rebellion of God; they are worshiping false idols and following false teachers. God called Jeremiah as His prophet to warn the people about the consequences of their actions.

“For 23 years ... the Word of the Lord has come to me, and I have spoken persistently to you, but you have not listened. You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, although the Lord persistently sent to you all his servants the prophets saying, “Turn now, every one of you, from his evil way and evil deeds, and dwell upon the land that the Lord has given you and your fathers from of old and forever. Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, or provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do no harm.” Jeremiah 25:3-7

Flash forward, the Israelites do not heed Jeremiah’s warnings and God does indeed execute his wrath upon the people. Jerusalem is overrun and the people are taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar and relocated out of their homeland and into Babylon. [Read the book of Daniel for insight to what this time was like.]

I cannot even imagine being in that situation, taken from the only home I have ever known to be held captive in a foreign country.

But I have found myself suddenly thrust into unknown and often unfriendly territory as life’s circumstances uprooted me from my familiar, warm and cozy comfort zone. Sometimes as a result of my own choices and rebellion, just like the people of God; but sometimes by no action or fault of my own.


Let’s face it, many of us are there right now. Maybe you’re reading this today because our focus scripture grabbed your attention and you are looking for that hope Jeremiah 29:11 says Gods wants you to have. Let me reassure you friend, God does offer us hope, a hope like none other.

This letter Jeremiah pens in chapter 29, is God’s message to the exiles, meant to provide comfort and the reassurance that God will deliver them.  God was punishing His people, but He was not abandoning them. They would get to come home, eventually.

While they were waiting for this deliverance, God sent them a message of hope.

Today, begin your study time in prayer. Ask God to open your heart to understanding His Word. Spend time talking to Him about your current circumstances and all that is going on. Be genuine, voice your concerns, He knows your heart already! Speak in detail like you were speaking to a friend, because He loves you more than any earthly friend could. 

Then, Journal your prayer time on the backside of todays devo page. 

I would love to hear about what God impressed on your heart today. Share with us in the comments below, you will be an inspiration to others. 

Blessing Soul Friends,

Day One Freebie

Download these 4 Scripture and Prayer based Journaling Cards. They are a great size to add to your Journaling Bible or blank journal. At almost 5" x 4", they also make wonderful postcards of encouragement. Just add a written note to the back side and share with a friend. 

To download your FREE copy of "This Time" click on the book cover below:





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