Learn to get in touch with silence within yourself, and know that everything in this life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.— Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
With the current devastating events that occurred in Paris this past week, nearly everyone on social media shared hashtags to #Pray4Paris. I wondered how do I even begin to pray, where do I even start, as my heart was so broken at the loss of so many innocent people, as well as the heartache of my Parisian friends because of this malevolent tragedy. Immediately the movie ‘War Room’ came to mind. I remembered the movie to be an excellent pictorial that speaks to the strength and power of prayer. After viewing it, I was greatly encouraged by it. It taught me how to pray and reminded me to keep pressing in with faith no matter what the circumstances look like!
There were scenes I clearly identified with in the movie that reminded me when I too first started getting serious with God: when the protagonist went into the prayer closet to pray and found herself either falling asleep, eating or becoming distracted. Guilty!
How should you pray?
As a novice Christian there would be times I prepared myself to pray, sat in a room and my mind started wandering, I got bored easily, and lastly, I felt like I did not know how to even start praying. This made me wonder how many others are going through this dilemma today.
When most people think about prayer, they may think about a scheduled time to talk to God, praying within the confines of their home, a house prayer meeting or prayer night at their local church.
In hindsight I too thought I needed to make time for God on a specific day, at a specific hour or pretty much only when I was going through something.
I would hear pastors, family and friends retort, “pray about it!” when trying times came. I Never quite fully grasped if I were praying correctly, was unsure if my prayers would be answered or was uncertain of how long to pray.
After many years of being a Christian I’ve learned a lot, have grown exponentially, and have learned how to perfect my prayer life.
We may think we know how to pray, but are we really utilizing (exploring ) the full magnitude of prayer? Which also includes waiting to hear from God.
Let’s examine the full gamut of a powerful prayer life. Firstly, prayer doesn’t just involve you talking to God and waiting aimlessly for an answer from Him or just waiting for a problem to be solved, but prayer is reciprocal. It’s giving and receiving; giving time to God whilst receiving and doggedly believing His promises found in His word. Receiving, in faith and hope, His leading, direction, and guidance. I have created the following list of what a well-rounded prayer life looks like:
1. Praying doctrinal prayers
That means praying God’s word (the bible) back to Him. Memorizing scripture and reciting aloud the promises God tells us in His word. Doctrinal prayers tells God that you believe His word and are standing firm on it until what you are praying for comes to pass. Moreover, it syncopates in the spirit realm that you know what the word of God says and you have hidden it in your heart. It is your spiritual sword. When the devil attacks you, you pull out your weapon and immediately go to war, as opposed to having to look for a verse while the devil is gaining precious ground. That’s why it is of utmost importance to memorize scripture. In these days and times you never know if you may find yourself in a precarious situation with no access to a Bible.
2. Pray wherever you are, at any time of the day
You don’t have to wait until you get home or set aside a time to pray, or wait a week to pray with your church! No! Seize the hour! Feeling overwhelmed at work? Step into the bathroom and pray! Faced with anxiety or stress on the job? Pray at your desk, take a minute to pray. Instead of taking a lunch break with coworkers which oftentimes entails being an ear to gossip, separate yourself and pray for that hour! Stuck in traffic? It’s a perfect time to pray! Maybe if more people took the time to pray in their cars we’d have less road rage. Treated rudely by a store clerk? Discipline yourself to pray before you react! I love the verse. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). The Father is telling us, be indwelled with my love, peace, security; He’s telling us to shut out worldly chatter and reach in to Him; anytime and in whatever situation we are going through. He’s available around the clock. Amen! No matter how small or how big your need is.
3. Don’t pray in unbelief
As a neophyte, whenever I endured a painful situation I would shut down. I was so weak, distraught, knocked down, I could hardly utter a word out of my mouth. Slowly, I got to where I could pray for 5,10 minutes then eventually as I kept going, I was able to pray a little bit more. I had gone through so many bad things in my life, when I could pray, I prayed out of desperation. Quite frankly, not even believing what I was praying for and demanding God–while feeling helpless–to do this, or to do that. Telling Him He owed me for such a difficult life! Wow! Most sadly, I was praying in anger and unforgiveness. Beloved, we have to release these things and come before God with a pure heart. We have to wait on God’s timing, trust that the situation will work out in the best interest for us, and not judge by what we see. Lastly, forgive anyone who has offended you. Only then can you be assured your prayers are reaching the throne room! Amen!
4. Pray in faith
The Bible says faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen, Hebrews 11:6. It takes a lot of courage to hope for something when you are in the middle of a terrible situation and can’t possibly see a way out that will end good. But the good news is–you ready?–you need to go through some bad things in order to perfect your faith and to stretch your faith. It is not something that can be taught; but practiced. The more things you go through, the more you begin to see how God delivers you out of them all! It is building your warfare muscles! So each forthcoming obstacle becomes a little easier to believe God for deliverance. You won’t be as frightened as you used to be when problems arise. You won’t worry and fear as much as you used to. But, it will definitely be a challenge! That’s why it’s of utmost importance to replace your words with God’s words, replace your thoughts with His thoughts. This will greatly encourage your faith.
5. Command your future
The Bible says that death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).When the devil attacks our mind with fear, worry and lies, we have to learn not to accept it as truth. No, we have to refute the enemies’ lies. We have to speak back to the devil and reiterate to him what God’s word says is true, not the contrary! Moreover, we have to prophesy over our own future! We have to learn to speak into existence the things that we want to happen in our lives and pray for God’s will regarding it! As opposed to speaking negatively, degrading ourselves or our family members or children; no matter how bad we think they are, we must prophesy over their lives with positive words. When you use epithets towards and talk down to your children, spouse or family member when they do something wrong, you are speaking a curse over them that will eventually manifest! Learn to speak life over every situation in your life!
6. Command joy, peace and love
One day after I finished praying, a gloominess came over me. I couldn’t shake the feeling and was really bothered that I had just prayed and felt as if a cloud were hanging over my head. So I started asking God what’s going on, I just prayed why am I feeling like this? So out of frustration I just started speaking over my life and commanding whatever that feeling was to leave! On my way out of the house I kept demanding the feeling to go, singing in the spirit and calling forth joy, peace and tranquillity to surround me! I thought, how many times are we attacked mentally and accept this feeling as we go about our day and tell others, “I’m in a bad mood,” or I’m not feeling my best,” when asked. No! Command your happiness! Don’t let the devil oppress you when you have a Loving Father who has already defeated satan and has passed on to you his inheritance of abundant joy and happiness! His inheritance of victory, power, and the ability to conquer any enemy that attacks you. I’ve learned that when I’m feeling sad or downtrodden, not to settle for that feeling, but change my spiritual atmosphere by simply confessing life out of my mouth! I then saw how God changed my prayer language from desperation to prophesying over my life!
7. Encourage yourself
I hate to say it, but the road on this Christian journey can be very lonely at times. You’re not always gonna have people who are happy for you, happy for your success, cheering you on and excited about your progress. More, there will be times when you need encouragement and no one will be there! Sometimes people will be just busy with their own life. Other times God will use this isolation to teach you to depend totally on Him. Moreover, We have to learn how to stop depending on people when we need to be encouraged, but depend on God to uplift your mood. He will always be there when no one else is.
8. Create and compile a prayer list/vision board
A prayer list entails writing down a list of people to pray for or things that you would like to happen or come to pass in your life, then praying over it daily. Whether it’s people in your inner circle or people you feel led to pray for or pressing situations in your life that you really need to hear from God. Likewise, a vision board goes one step further. The term vision board has become very popular as of late. It is simply creating a visual board of reference, kind of like a powerpoint presentation at an office meeting. It is a visual compilation of words, pictures, and ideas. People cut out quotes, affirmative statements, or pictures out of magazines, news papers etc. and paste it onto a board. It is their visual story board that chronicles their future dreams and goals.
It is of utmost importance to fast in desperate times of need; times when you need an answer, a breakthrough, healing or direction. I have found that when I had a pressing situation or needed direction on which way to go, when I fasted God always gave me the answer via a dream, sermon, person or made it clearly stand out to me in the Bible!
When I take notice of my prayer language, it often sounds like this: God please! God I need! God won’t you! God could you! God, help me! It’s I, I, I, I, I ! It’s like children, not fully grasping the concept of hard work and appreciation, but always asking their parents to buy them things.
One day when I went to pray yet again for that problem, I just felt so guilty of this behavior that I just started worshipping God. Even though my heart was heavy, I had just started thanking Him for what He had already done for me. I think that’s why God doesn’t sometimes immediately answer prayer, oh how forgetful we are and take his blessings for granted. Sometimes as humans we take, take, take. To have a balanced, healthy relationship, it involves giving, thanking and appreciation. We have to begin to thank God for His many blessings and deliverance in our lives. We have to thank Him for our health, strength and mobility, among many other ways He’s blessing us. We have to tell God that we appreciate Him and what He has done and is doing in our lives. Thank Him for being a true and living God whom we have the benefit of being able to talk to on a daily basis! Thank Him for being our friend!
Beloved, to fully grasp this type of prayer life, it may take many years. I’m still trying to discipline myself in some of these areas.
This is an excellent video by pastor Toure Roberts. Whatever your situation: waiting for a mate, in a relationship or divorced; Mr. Roberts offers excellent insight and counsel regarding dating that all singles need to hear before considering if a person is ‘The One.’ please click on the link below.
All the cities which the Philistines had captured between Eckron and Gath were returned to Israel, and so Israel got back all its territory. And there was peace between Israel and the Canaanites. GNB
1 Samuel 7:14
As a Christian, no doubt we will experience peaks and valleys, highs and lows on this journey. More, tantamount to weather seasons, we will go through different spiritual seasons–the summer’s, winter’s, spring’s, and fall’s of our Christian walk. Some people love the change of seasons; personally I would love if it could stay summer all year around! I love summer and everything that comes along with it: feeling the sun on my face, beaches, barbecues, wearing lighter clothing, outdoor events. I hate Winter! I hate being cold and the seclusion that oftentimes comes with it because of frigid temperatures especially in the northern part of the United States.
As my dread of the physical Winter season, as so the Winter season of my Christian walk. I know we have to go through changes as disciples because that’s how we learn and grow. But truthfully, I’d rather my Christian season stay summer: peaceful, joyous, serene, still, and calm. But in life, everything has to have a balance in order to grow. We will face challanges, trials, loss, attacks, persecutions and the like. There will be times of silence, not understanding God’s purpose and times when it seems like you are doing everything right but you aren’t yielding any fruit! It seems like you are not advancing, moving forward; but perhaps going backwards! It seems like the enemy is taking over your territory.
Prosperity gospel will tell you that you’re not favored by God, you need to plant a large financial seed, or perhaps you are not living right. Beloved, I disagree! You can be doing all you know how to do, living righteously and are at a standstill in certian areas of your life. God loves you, you are always favored by Him, but there are several factors why God may allow these seasons:
1. He’s trying to reach you.
Let’s face it! Some of us learn our lessons quickly and some of us are like the mule that Psalms 32:9 mentions:
Don’t be stubborn like a horse or mule. [They need] a bit and bridle in their mouth to restrain them, or they will not come near you.
Translation: God has to sternly guide you to follow His will. I’m perfectly guilty of that. He may be trying to call attention to a certian area of your life that you may not even be aware of that’s not glorifying Him: greed, gossip, complaining, selfishness, negativity, self-righteousness. The longer it takes to get the lesson, the longer you’ll be in this spiritual class.
2. God’s teaching you to trust and wait on Him.
How many of us when a trial comes, we first pick up the phone and call a parent, a loved one, or a friend. Or, how many of us our first reaction to a crisis is panic or fear? Sometimes God has to isolate you so that He is the only one you have to turn to. More, I’ve had to learn to take a deep breath when problems occur, don’t let my thoughts run amuck and grab hold of the Bible and find scriptures of hope, perserverance, and God’s faithfulness and MEDITATE on them.
3. Unrepentant sin or idol worship.
The passage in 1 Samuel speaks of the Israelites’ petition to Samuel to pray that God will save them from the hands of the Philistines, but in the interim they were worshipping man made idols (statues). Are their any idols in your life that you may have placed before God, love it so much that you refuse to give it up? Pornography, fornication, gluttony, adultery, material things, lying, stealing, dishonenest business dealings, just to name a few.
The Philistines had already slaughtered four thousand men of the Israelite army and had taken the sacred Lord’s Covenant Box. Samuel’s reply to the Israelites in 1 Samuel 7:3 was to turn to God with all of their hearts and get rid of their idols. He told them to dedicate themselves completely to the Lord, worship Him only and He will resue them from the power of the Philistines. Some of you, God is saying if you turn away from willing sin and idols He will deliver you.
1 Samuel 7:10
The Philistines moved forward to attack; but just then the Lord thundered from Heaven against them. They became completely confused and fled in panic.
Beloved, if you let go of anything in your life that is separating you from true fellowship with God, He will chase away any spirit that may be holding you in bondage and preventing you from advancing in other areas of your life. All of the cities in your life that the enemy has captured because of unrepentant sin or idol worship, God will return back to you! He will give you peace, joy, a future and hope! Jeremiah 29:11
Spring was in full bloom this summer at Fashion On The Hudson runway show Saturday, July 11, at Riverbank State Park. The event was sponsored by Fashion News Magazine and hosted by its Editor-in-Chief, the lively Mrs. Sofia Davis.
Hot Fuscha, fire orange, sunny yellow and vivid green were amongst an array of bold shades coloring the runway. The cuts, tailoring and designs of the many up-and-coming fashion designers’ pieces were bold, eccentric and classical enough to hold its own weight in the competitive world of high fashion.
There were over 33 designers letting their fashions speak for itself on the runway, while 100-plus models strutted their stuff–fierce catwalk style–adding to the chatter. The event had a huge turnout with well over 500 people in attendance while the media was in full paparazzi mode!
Amongst designers showcasing their lines were: Kenya Smith, Planet Motor Sports designer and winner of The Beauty Olympics, who took home the coveted $5000 prize. Ms. Smith rocked the runway with haute leather racing couture, replete with helmets and racing boots. DeMoshelle, artistic director of DM Fashions, was personally one of my favorite designers! DM Fashions showcased very elegant, form fitting and body hugging pieces that accentuates the female body of all shapes and sizes.
Classic Royalty’s designer Anita rivers, was by far my favorite designer! It was emotions of pure awe and exhilaration as I anxiously awaited to see what design would strut down the runway next! Trendy, elegant, chic, sophisticated, colorful, and fun were adjectives that describe Classic Royalty’s line! Crissy Crawford’s Runway Couture line catered to the simple, but elegant woman. Feminine, classy, and romanic evening on the town describes this line.
Clarence Black did not disappoint; bold Fuschas, purples, and greens added to his trendy, yet feminine designs with hip models sporting page boy caps and fedoras. Designer Chyvonne’s line highlighted 50’s glamour, with its juxtaposition of patterns, cinched waists, pencil and chiffon skirts. Jacquetta Harvey’s A Bridge To London line, catered to the sensual woman with body hugging catsuits.
Among other designers who showcased lines were: Designer Simms and Thomas Lavon, amongst many others. There were also classical and ballroom dance performances choreographed by dancers representing The Ball New York dance studio and The Broadway Dance Center.
Fashion Avenue Magazine hosts a monthly Open House for fashion Designers, models, make up artists, stylists, etc., for editorial placement in the magazine.
Please apply online to Fashion Avenue News Magazine’s open house at: http://www.fashionavenuenews.com/openhouse.html
For Pictures of the event please head over to my instagram page @healingbalmcafepics
Lord, help me be the person you want me to be. Lord, help me to know that I have a purpose divinely ordered by You! Do not let me succumb to peer pressure or what other’s think of me! Give me boldness and confidence to stand on truth, morality, righteousness and most importantly God!
Take away the need to please people! Help me to know that your voice speaks through me and has spoken through those before me and will speak through generations to come to keep the fire burning for Jesus Christ!
Many are called, but few are chosen! Help me to continue to walk the straight and narrow path because many are distractions along the way; wide is the gate that leads to destruction.
1 Thessalonians 2:4
We always speak as God wants us to, because He has judged us worthy to be entrusted with the Good News. We do not try to please men, but to please God, who tests our motives. (GNB)
Lord fill me each morning with your constant love so that I will continuously have a song in my heart and be joyful all my life. Lord you awaken me each morning, you awaken my ear to hear as the learned. Give me as much happiness as the sadness you gave me during all my years of misery.
What is life but a vapor that dissipates and is carried off by the wind! We are like weeds that sprout in the morning, that grow and burst into bloom, then dry up and die in the evening! A few years on this earth is all we have, maybe more if we are strong.Yet they bring trouble and sorrow, then life is soon over then we are gone!
Teach us how short our lives are so we will not waste any time! Direct me in that which I am called to do so that it glorifies and honors your name! Lord my God, let me see your blessing on my life! Give me success in alI I do!
And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. “
Jeremiah 18: 4
Oh how this verse speaks to our human nature! As beings living in this flesh, we are indeed marred! God made us perfect in His own image (Gen. 1:27), but we are marred beloved, by sin, hurt, pain, and rejection. Each entity slowly chipping away at the perfect creation God made us to be! Some of you have been so badly damaged by parents, family, friends, spouses, jobs, that you have become bitter, angry, despondant, broken; even suicidal!
I know, I have been there! It has been a long process to see myself as the beautiful masterpiece that God designed me to be! To achieve that, you need the Peace of the Master — Jesus Christ! The Bible says that Jesus intercedes to the Father for us. (Romans 8:34). I love that! Even though Christ has left this physical earth, He loves us so much that He is still petitioning for us in spirit! So when we know that Beloved, we can be rest assured that God is changing us from glory to glory! (2 Corinthians 3:18).
I love when Jeremiah 18:6 says, “Oh house of Isreal, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel! God wants to use all of your disappointments, anger, frustrations, setbacks and strongholds to make you into a new vessel! Amen! He wants it all — your past, wrong thinking about yourself, a life that you deemed a failure; don’t hold onto it, let it go and put it in God’s hands! He wants to remake you, remold you, clean up your image, and make you new! He wants to give you beauty for ashes. And just like clay after it is formed, it has to dry into its mold; so too this Christian life is a process. You’re still being molded, you are not yet complete.
Picasso’s artwork didn’t become famous by his first painting! If you feel like you are marred and broken, hold on … God is changing you into a new vessel!
Upon having a discussion with a friend this past week, the conversation delved in to the proverbial:Should women pursue men? topic. My friend an advocate, me an adversary. After exchanging opinions back and forth, I decided I needed to research this topic a bit more from a Biblical standpoint and ascertain what God’s word says about it.
He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
You may be reading this right now and and are going through your own personal storm. We go through different seasons in our lives and perhaps at this current moment your season is sickness, joblessness, loneliness, an impending bill that you don’t know how it’s going to get paid, or where the money is going to come from. Perhaps your season is hopelessness, depression and despair; no matter how much you pray or read the Bible, sadness glooms over you. Perhaps your season is a wayward loved one; a rebellious child, a cheating spouse, a backslidden relative, or a cantankerous boss.
Beloved, the verse in Jeremiah admonishes us to be like a tree planted by the water. Water represents peace, stillness and calm. Water is soothing and relaxing. It says it “sends out its roots by the stream.” The steam is Jesus! The verse is saying to grab a hold of God. He is the peace that will still the storm. More so, not only cling to Him, but be rooted and grounded in Him! That no matter what way the wind blows, your faith, trust, and livelihood will be in Jesus Christ! Beloved, even though torrential rain may pour down, your leaves will remain green and intact. If we define green it is stated as:
The color of life, renewal, nature, and energy. It is associated with growth, harmony, freshness, safety, fertility, and environment.
It means that whatever season you go through, God is right there with you! You may face horrendous trials, but God will give you the strength, courage, and boldness to go through it! And the best part, the verse says you won’t cease to bear fruit. While you are going through these trials, God is producing sweet fruit in you: patience, long suffering, forgiveness. Joy! Joy in the midst of your trials! Amen!
James 1:2-4 says, My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.