Monday, February 1, 2010

Special Announcement

Happy New Year! Okay, I'm a bit late for a New Year message. But I've been busy! I've been making some adjustments and have an important announcement to make regarding the future of Prayerfully Penned. But first I want to revisit a little history. (If you want to skip to the announcement, just scroll down.)


After several years of prayer, I took a step of faith in January of 2007 to create this blog and announced to just a few people that I intended to begin writing for God. I wasn't quite sure what I'd be writing, but I had prayed for several years about my desire to write for Kingdom purposes, and in the fall of 2006 God had begun to open doors of opportunity. This led to my early retirement from public education at the end of the school year in 2007.

The next year and a half included various ministry experiences, primarily with ProvenWay Ministries, including writing some resources for women. In December 2008, my heart was stirred to seek the Lord for clarification of my call and direction for the coming year. It was during this holiday season last year that God gave me the name "Brighter Walk", the name of my faith story. I've walked down many roads, some of them wonderful and advantageous, but others very difficult. God walked with me, though, and used those roads to help me understand His plan for all of us. While we are on earth, He wants us intentionally seeking Him and His way, and rejoicing in His provision of an ever-brightening path. The verse from which the name came is Proverbs 4:18, "But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day." We in ourselves are not righteous, but are made righteous by the sacrifice of Christ.

Due to some collaborative ministry projects last year, it became necessary that I set up a basic website for Brighter Walk at the beginning of 2009. Now, a year later, the time has come to expand that site to include Prayerfully Penned and my other writings, so that everything is centralized.


Special Announcement!

Prayerfully Penned entries will now be posted to If you are a current subscriber via email, you will automatically be resubscribed to receive the inspirational writings on the new site. However, on this new website, there are additional options. I encourage you to visit the new site. You will see Prayerfully Penned devotional posts, as well as cultural commentaries and book reviews. The site is set up so that you can choose to receive all posts, or the categories of your choice.

Current Prayerfully Penned subscribers via Feedblitz will be automatically resubscribed for the devotionals category only of Other categories can be added to any subscription through the website. Followers through Networked Blogs and Google will need to sign up to receive either the RSS feed or the email subscriptions of your choice by visiting my website.

I would greatly appreciate your prayers for this new endeavor. My goal is not to expand myself, but my reach. By following His lead and promoting the truths of Scripture, I trust God will somehow use this broken microphone to amplify His message. Thank you so much for your continued support over these past three years, and for your patience as we transition into this new phase of communication.

Prayerfully penned,

Monday, November 23, 2009

Rain and Reign

Homonyms – two words that sound the same but have different meanings and spellings. As a second grade teacher, this was one of my favorite lessons to teach. It figures. I’m a writer. I love words.

You probably expected me to talk about thankfulness this week, not homonyms. But this morning’s prayer time led me to discuss a simple truth: sometimes praying is difficult. Let’s be honest. Sometimes we don’t know what to pray or how to pray. Sometimes our gratitude sounds repetitive. Sometimes we lack words. It’s on those days I am especially thankful the Spirit intercedes on our behalf.

We don’t show this side of our prayer lives to others. In fact, we’d rather hide it. I haven’t seen an article lately on prayers that lack passion. Am I the only one who struggles on occasion? I know I’m not. Sometimes we are eager to pray, our mouths bursting forth from the fullness of our heart. Other days our hearts seem half-empty, and our mouths follow suit. But when asked to pray aloud in church, we always find a way to pray, clothing our words with our Sunday best. Kind of like homonyms, such prayers may sound the same as those from a sincere heart, but they are different.

Sometimes our hearts are filled with praise and thanksgiving, and praying comes easy. Other times our hearts are filled with grief and desperation, and our prayers erupt from the depths of our souls. A prayer offered sincerely, whether in joy or anguish, is an honorable one. Jesus said, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24)

But still there are other times when our hearts are simply beating, and sincere prayers are laborious. Truth be told, most days our hearts are not overwhelmed with joy or pain. Most days our hearts read “average” on the barometer of emotion, and so seem our prayers; for from the heart, the mouth speaks. (Matt 12:34) But emotions should not drive our prayers. It is a spiritual love of God that should fill our hearts, not just an emotional one. This love encompasses all of us, transcending both emotion and intellect. It is based on a personal knowledge of God, that because of Jesus, His Spirit lives within us.

So how do I pray from this spiritual love when my joy is waning and my angst minimal? How do I approach the throne of God in spirit and truth with a heart that is simply beating? Today was one of those days. I have many things for which to be thankful, and I have concerns to bring to God in prayer. But my words did not flow readily. I did not wish to pray out of habit, or with pretty Sunday words. I desired to worship, praying in spirit and in truth. God led me to pray just two words: reign and rain.

The two greatest needs I have every day, regardless of my mood or circumstances, are for God to reign in me and to rain in me. Just because God lives in me doesn’t mean I honor Him as ruler of my life. So I must begin each day by bowing my heart and submitting to His lordship. Also each day, I need His Living Water of refreshment to quench my thirsty soul. Especially on days when the emotional barometer isn’t worth reading, I need a shower straight from His heart to enliven mine. I can thank Him in advance, as surely God will answer these two simple and sincere prayers every time I ask.

If we had a heavenly perspective of our salvation, we would overflow with joy every moment of every day, constantly thanking God in prayer for our blessings. But we are humans, still fighting battles of the flesh for a victorious view. Yet while our emotional delight may not spill over 100% of the time, we should be grateful that neither does our emotional strain. God may allow days or even seasons of desperation when it’s easier to be on our knees than on our feet, but thankfully these don’t last a lifetime. Everyone experiences reprieve.

But regardless of our emotional state, our spiritual state is constant. Our relationship with God is secure, and does not depend on the force of our feelings, or the wealth of our words. For this, I am also thankful. So on days like today, when my mouth is barren and my emotions are as still as the fog out my window, I’ll simply pray for rain.