When We Want To See God Move Like He Does in the Bible (with Jodi Ashcraft Episode #16)

In this episode Jodi is sharing how God showed up in her life when she started asking Him to move like He did in Scripture. This conversation is for anyone with an “orphan spirit”, as Jodi describes— battling loneliness, insecurity, or the pressure to manufacture the doors they are waiting to walk through. She continues to see Jesus show up in her everyday life and this conversation is filled with hope, wisdom and the possibility of what can happen when we invite God into our lives to do what He does best!

An Easter Message for Real Life Today (Episode #15)

In this episode, I'm sharing how the message of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection literally changes EVERY DAY of my life. We are talking about how the implications of what happened that day on the cross over 2000 years ago affect our families, our marriages, our work and every other area of our life today--IF we really believe it.

The Gospel Collective Podcast: How Making a Difference in the World Starts at Home with Lynsey Gabert, Founder of Kids Faith Krate (Episode #12)

This week we are talking with Kids Faith Krate founder Lynsey Gabert about her heart for family discipleship and how she has been experiencing God in her our life over the last few years. We are talking about parenting, personal faith, anxiety, and lots more! She is sharing some tools that have helped her applicably put her hands to the work her heart has been called to, and how we can do the same in our own lives. And she was so kind to give OUR Gospel Collective community a special discount code! Check them out and be praying that God would use them mightily in the lives of families in our community and beyond!

The Gospel Collective Podcast with Rachel Sweatt





Gospel Collective podcast

The Gospel Collecting Podcast: What Jesus Says When People Mess Up (Episode #11)

Hi friends!

On today’s episode I’m sharing something a little raw that God has been teaching me over the past few months. I try to be as transparent as possible, and I just knew that this was the time to share a little bit more of the “struggle bus” side of what I do. Ha! If you’ve ever stepped out to do something God put in your heart and things got a little bumpy along the way, this one’s for you! Never forget that He is after our heart, not our perfection. Have a great week!

-R.

If You're Feeling Unseen (Episode #09)

On today's episode of The Gospel Collective Podcast, I am sharing something God showed me that I haven't been able to get over. In a world where it's common to feel called to hard places and then left alone in the struggle, God makes it known that not only He sees us, but He also is encamped around us. While we are in His keeping, He takes the desert and transforms it into a training field for what He might call us to in the future. If you are in a wilderness, I want you to be encouraged that you have the Lord’s undivided attention. You are being equipped to do what you were made to do and you’re going to do it with full confidence of the God who sees you. 

The Gospel Collective Podcast: Where God is Calling Me in 2019 (Season Three Launch!)

Rachel Sweatt Podcast

Hi friends!

I can’t believe we are in our THIRD season of the podcast! It has been one of the greatest joys in my ministry, and I am SO looking forward to all that God has in store for us this year!

On today’s episode, I am talking about where God is calling me in 2019, and it might surprise you! I am sharing my heart about what God has been teaching me— that how God calls us to live is strikingly very different than the culture around us, and our responsibility and privilege to operative in joyful obedience amidst the tension between it all.

I hope you enjoy this episode from my heart to yours! I’d LOVE to hear what God has called you to in 2019! It is so encouraging to hear what He is stirring up in other believers, and pray each other on in this journey!

Grace and peace,

Rachel Sweatt

The Gospel Collective Podcast: The Significance of Slowing Down with Judy Lynch (Episode 06)

This week on the podcast we are introducing a discussion on spiritual disciplines and how intentional time with God can influence the way we experience Him in our lives on a daily basis. Our guest, Judy Lynch is sharing how big moments with God often come in the small moments in our lives when we simple slow down and make room for Him to move.

A special thank you to Bryan Talbott for producing the music on this weeks episode!

how to slow down

The Gospel Collective Podcast: Why Submission is Necessary for Compassion with Kali Peddy (Episode 04)

How to Pray for Anyone

Today we are talking with Kali Peddy, who is sharing how God has transformed her perspective on goodness and self-control and how this work God has done in her has been the catalyst for a new lifestyle of compassion and humility. We are talking about the “mistruths” from our pasts and how redefining what we know to be true about God can altar the way we love and pray for others.

Listen to the episode below or find us in iTunes! Don’t forget to subscribe while you’re there so future episodes land in your podcast library as soon as they are released!

The Gospel Collective Podcast

How to Pray for Anyone: Faithfulness (Part Five)

Friends, 

We are on our FIFTH week of this study, can you believe it?! We are FIVE weeks into digging into God's Word and inviting it to change our lives, and the lives of OTHERS through our petitions on their behalf. I want to hug every one of you and send you at least 4 cupcakes. Because heart work is HARD work, amen?! 

Before we seek out what God has to say about faithfulness, take a moment and reflect on all that God has showed you over the past few weeks. Ask Him to bring to memory all that He has taught you about these fruits of the Spirit, and evaluate the places you have invited the Spirit to cultivate those things in your life. 

Just tell Him "THANK YOU." 

Ok. Take a deep breath, grab your Bible and your journal and LET'S GO. 

Faithfulness. 

LOOK AT HOW DICTIONARY.COM defined faithful: 
adjective

  1. strict or thorough in the performance of duty:a faithful worker.

  2. true to one's word, promises, vows, etc.

  3. steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant: faithful friends.

Does that make anyone else just want to cry?! Not only do we see this to be true time and time again of God in the Bible, but I am willing to bet every one of you can immediately think of a time you have experienced God as "faithful" in your life. True to His word. Steady in His friendship towards you. A faithful friend. 

Stunning. 

What's equally as stunning, is that we get the opportunity to be faithful BACK to Him. Because our God is a God of relationship, we get the privilege to either reciprocate our faithfulness, or not. We get the choice to be a faithful worker for the God of the universe. A faithful friend to our Maker.

Whoa. 

A faithful friend to the Lord. I can think of five people right now that are a faithful friend to the Lord. No matter what they have been through, they have been steadfast in their loyalty to God. In their service to Christ this side of heaven. They are ALL IN. Despite circumstances. they are committed. And I think it is safe to say hands down that they are so committed to God because they have seen His commitment to them. When you know someone is willing to do everything for you, its easy to lay it all down in return. 

That is exactly what Jesus did for us. 

And these faithful few, they have seen the hands of God move mountains for them in their lives. They have sensed His nearness in such a stunning, tangible way that all the trials didn't compare to the joy they found in His friendship. In his steadfastness. Because of His sacrifice. 

But what about when you don't know that someone would give it all for you? Have you ever realized that this is what God sees in us every day? Since the exile from Eden, our faithfulness has been uncertain. He knows what He desires us to choose, but in the moment, the choice to be faithful is entirely up to us. And yet...He is unchanged in His love for us. He'll still show up...even when we don't. 

Even when we don't show up to make things right, He shows up to convict and correct and redeem.
Even when our hearts hurt, He shows up for our marriages.
Even when our kids are wandering, He shows up to pursue them with kindness. 
Even when our jobs are unsteady, His providence never waivers. 
Even when our selfishness takes us out of the game, He still shows up to watch and see what we will do next. Faithfulness is hopeful. No matter what. And you know what is encouraging to me today, friend? 

Our unfaithfulness does not deter God's faithfulness.

AMEN?!

Our choices do not change who He is, but they do change us. And these faithful few have seen Him be steadfast in their lives in every way imaginable. Healer. Redeemer. Provider. Friend. Savior. Maybe you've seen Him in similar ways. Do your choices reflect your thankfulness for what He's done for you? 

Because of the faithfulness of God these men and women have seen and experienced, they have been changed. They are all in with God because, like similarly to when the disciples answer Jesus' question when He asks if they are going to leave too, they have answered, "Where else would we go?" (John 6:68) There is no other for them.

There is no other for me. 

What about you?  

Faithfulness
Deuteronomy 32:4
John 24:14
Psalm 91:4
Psalm 91:14-16
Proverbs 3:3
Isaiah 11:5
Lamentation 3:21-25
Romans 3:34

Even when our faith fails, He never does. Yet it is His faithfulness that opens our eyes to see there really is no other. Everything pales in comparison. Our issues. Other people's issues. Where do we need to invite the Spirit in to cultivate some more faithfulness in our lives? Who in your life needs to be reminded that God is faithful no matter what? Ask God to show His faithfulness to them, once more. Ask Him to show you. Then be ready to show Him what that means to you. Are you willing to lay it all down? What is faithfulness looking like in your life right now? Where are you "all in", no matter what the cost?

I can't wait to hear what God is stirring up in your hearts and see what this looks like in the lives of others. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below! 
 

Praying for each of you this week. Be encouraged friends, He is so for you. 
Grace and peace,
Rachel Sweatt 

Faithfulness

 

How to Pray for Anyone: Kindness and Goodness (Part Four)

In these last few years of my life, it is the kindness of God that has been one of my favorite things about Him. Reading these scriptures just affirmed that I have testimony after testimony of the Lord's kindness and goodness in my life. 

I don't say that it's my favorite because of the favor that has come from situations (both good and bad). The reason when I think of the Lord's kindness and goodness my breath catches in my chest is because it is a pure gift. Not just a gift, like from a friend. It's a completely undeserved gift. Not one single day comes to a close with me having earned one ounce of His kindness. His goodness wrecks me in the best way. He had every right to allow my sin to make me his enemy. But instead, he calls me Beloved? 
 

Straight. to. the. heart. 

When the Bible says it is His kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4), I know exactly what that means. I have experienced this Scripture in my life the last year more than ever before. His love is so great and unconditional that it makes me want to weep over my sin. My offenses. Knowing full well if someone did things like that to me, we would be DONE. No more chances. But God? 

No. That's not who He is. 

A new chance is gifted with each moment of repentance. New mercies as abundant as the sea. Imagine waking up every morning to a gift on your front porch wrapped up with a note reminding you of just how loved you are that simply says, "Unconditionally."
Love, your Father. 

The kindness and goodness of Jesus is all over the pages of Scripture. Below you'll find verses about God's love for us and how that should radically change the way we treat others and pray for them. 

Have you ever been shown kindness by someone? Have you ever experienced undeserved goodness from a stranger? Maybe someone covered your tab at a restaurant unbeknownst to you. Maybe a friend anonymously delivered flowers to your doorstep. Maybe someone's saved a seat for you at the table or at church or school. 

Jesus has saved a seat for us. It is our choice whether we take it. He not only saved us and raised us--He literally has saved a seat for us. Despite our offenses. Despite our selfishness. THIS is kindness. Immeasurable kindness is saving a seat for those that fail, because His love never will. And when we show kindness to someone else, we are showing them that because God loves us no matter what, we can too. 

God's kindness + goodness is undeserved abundance. It means there's always room for love to be greater. Always a seat at the table. 

We've received it. 
It should be our JOY to give it. 

Kindness
Proverbs 21:21
Hosea 11:4
Zechariah 7:9
Ephesians 2:4-7
Titus 3:3-7

Goodness
Exodus 33:18-19
Ps. 23:6
Zechariah 9:16-17
Titus 3:4

Moses asked to see God's glory and God chose to show him His goodness. God reveals His glory in His goodness. If we want to see His glory, we've got to look for His goodness. If we are not seeing His glory--we are missing His goodness. If we are not seeing His goodness, we are missing His glory. God's goodness is His glory. Where is His goodness being revealed in your life? Share your answer in the comments! Tell your story for His glory. Talk about how the Lord has been kind and good to you. And ask Him to let you know how you can pray for others to experience the same. 

Who in your life needs to know that there is still a seat for them at your table? How can you show the Lord's goodness to your neighbors? Those that serve your community and your church maybe? Maybe someone in your life needs to be reminded of that God loves them unconditionally, no matter what. Ask God to send someone to tell them that they are loved TODAY. The ways to pray for God to cultivate this in the lives of others (and our own) is endless.
 

A Seat at the table

The Gospel Collective Podcast: Remembering what God has Done In the Past While You Wait for Him to Move in Your Future with Lissa Anglin (Episode 03)

IMG_5205.JPG

This weeks guest is Lissa Anglin, a West Texas Professional Photographer and she is dropping some major wisdom on what patience means to her and her perspective gives us a front row seat to watch someone who loves God be asked to walk a long road, and her perspective gives us great insight on what people in hard situations really need us to pray over them (or for ourselves while we wait!). She is sharing what her experiences taught her about embracing the raw journey of a faith filled life and how it changed her relationship with God for the better, forever. 

I think it would be SO cool for anyone that listens to leave a prayer for Lissa and her family! I know it would be a HUGE blessing to her so either tag her on social media or leave a comment here to let her know you were encouraged and a leave a little word of encouragement or scripture for her! 

Take a listen below or find us on iTunes! Don't forget to subscribe + leave a review while you're there to help support the ministry and the podcast! 

IMG_5203.JPG
IMG_5204.JPG

Check our Lissa's blog HERE and follow her family and faith adventure! 

How to Pray for Anyone: Patience (Part Three)

Welcome back for week three! I am so hopeful that you are enjoying diving into these scriptures, and that you are feeling God breathe some fresh life into your life in every way. This week we are going to be studying what the Bible has to say about PATIENCE, so we can better know how to cultivate this characteristic in our own life AND be better equipped to pray specific things regarding patience anyone in a season of waiting or trying--whether that is someone else in our life or ourselves. 

When I think of patience, I think of all those older women that warned me (jokingly) growing up: Whatever you do, DON'T PRAY FOR PATIENCE! He'll give you plenty of opportunities to practice! And nothing could prepare me for just how true that was! 😆

But, on a serious level, patience may be one of the most revealing traits about us. About our relationship with the Lord. In our reading this week, I was a little bit sucker punched by the connection between idol worship and patience. It seems like a stretch, but when you dig in you'll soon see that when our trust of God to answer our prayers and keep us begins to fail, our lack of patience leaves from for us to put stock in something else. Someone else. Something else to put on the throne that belongs to God. Our impatience reveals our belief (or lack thereof) that God really is who He says He is. Our impatience dethrones our Maker. 

Over and over in the Bible, we see that patience is cultivated, each time we choose to die to our selves at a time. Our timing. Our plans. The only thing that can change our ability to patient in seasons and with our friends, families, and coworkers is digging our feet down deep in the conviction that God's wisdom is what is best for everyone involved. And friends, that is HARD. 

But it is worth it. Why? Because patience is an essential component to our calling (Eph. 4:1-3). We can't do the things of God with the mind of God on a self-absorbed, intrinsicly motivated time table. Things of God are on eternity's calendar. Oh, the things we don't see right now. The hurts and frustrations that block our view of what is just beyond. We have to remember that just as God is working things out for us, He is working things out for the rest of those that love Him. He's transforming them. We cannot expect people and people's plans to be more perfect than we are. We ALL fall short and our patience (or lack thereof) kindly reminds of that OFTEN. Patience partners with gentleness and humility (which we'll study later) to give us the endurance we need to dig down deep and bear with one another. Patience is pivotal for grace.
 

Think about God's grace for YOU in your life, how many times He has given YOU grace. Undeserved. Think about His patience towards you. Long-suffering compassion. This is the model we have for the peace that we are expected to bear when we invite the Spirit to come in and do His thing in our lives. His patience towards us is an example, a blueprint, so we can be patient and pray patience for others. 

We often get caught up in things we are waiting for and it seems like a thousand years. 1 Peter and 2 Peter both describe God's patience as our deliverance. Can you imagine where we would be if God had thrown in the towel on us? Because we literally CANNOT GET IT TOGETHER, 2000 YEARS LATER? Thank God He said we were worth the wait that day in the garden when humanity chose idolatry in the garden over intimacy with God.

Patience is more than just keeping your cool or waiting until something changes. Patience is gratitude for God not giving up on us revealed in the way we treat our circumstances, our relationships, and our prayers for others. 
 

Take a moment and pray before you dive into these verses. Ask God to make the reality of His love for you real. Ask God to put someone on your heart that needs to be encouraged to be patient because God said they too were worth waiting for. 

PATIENCE
Luke 8:15
Hosea 14:8
Ephesians 4:1-3
1 Timothy 1:16
1 Peter 3:20
2 Peter 3:15

What does patience look like in your life right now? How could you pray patience for someone in your life? Leave us an example of one of your prayers using any of the scripture above in the comments lifting up an (unnamed) person in your life so we can learn from real life examples as well as seek the Lord on your behalf as well for each person. Every willing person here makes an eternal difference! 

How to pray for patience

The Gospel Collective Podcast: Trusting God When You Don't Understand with Bethany Douglas (Episode 02)

Our guest on the podcast today is author, speaker, mother, and retired flight nurse, Bethany Douglas. She is sharing how her experiences with God led her answer the question: do you REALLY believe Jesus is good? Her story of is one of God leading her to own her faith and say yes to trusting God even when it didn't make sense in pursuit of peace. 

Listen to our conversation below or find us in iTunes and subscribe to get the latest episodes straight to your phone! 

Bethany Douglas

Mentioned Links: 
Camp Barnabas
Bethany Douglas
Get Bethany's book here: Helicopter Mom

The Gospel Collective Podcast: Episode One with Shawn Freeby

Podcast guest Shawn Freeby shares his perspective on joy and why that is important continually cultivate a lifestyle of gratitude in our families, our workplaces, and in our faith. 

Listen below or check it out on iTunes and subscribe to get weekly podcast episodes straight to your podcast library. 

Finding Joy

Questions for reflection:

How you cultivate joy in your life? What are some ways you personally create a lifestyle of gratitude in your family, workplace, or hard circumstances? Have you ever prayed for God to cultivate joy in someone's life? What was the result? Let us know your answers in the comment section, we read every comment and can't wait to hear from you! 

How to Pray for Anyone: Love and Joy (Part One)

Hey friends! 

I am so excited to dig into the very first part of our series on the fruit of the Spirit, specifically how we can use Galatians 5:22-23 as a guide to pray boldly and sincerely for anyone in our lives. We are diving this week and we're going to make our way through the various traits, in concordance with the ESV.

Here is the layout for this shin dig 😉:

Every week I'm going to kick off the blog post by sharing the two verses we are building this study around, so we remember where we've been and where we are headed. Since we are only taking this week by week, each post will be composed of two elements at a time. Each week, I will layout specific Scriptures and insights God revealed to me during my own time and study over these topics that I feel are instrumental in our task. My hope is that you spend sometime time over the week, either a little every day or all at once (you do you, boo!). Additionally, my vision for this was that each participant would WRITE down their prayers for their people, using the Scriptures we studied or whatever else God has used in regards to this study. I am going to try to keep my words SHORT (I know--I am just as doubtful as you are, HA!😆 But I am going to TRY) so that the Spirit has room to move and you are equipped to take the material and apply them to your own prayers closets and lives in whatever way the Spirit prompts you to do so. 

Let's dive in! 

 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23

I'm going to take a  second to be real here. When I began this study there were some very tender relationships in my life. (As I am assuming are in yours too! At least one if we are honest ;)  When I got into the Scripture we are going to work through today, it made me want to WEEP. Like, ugly cry in my kitchen. God did some tremendous heart-work through these first few verses to remind me who He is and how He feels towards me. Which, in turn, led me to a time of serious repentance on my part. Which supernaturally cultivated a change of perspective for these people and God's heart towards them. My prayer is that you experience the same. It was LIFE CHANGING. And it was only day one! 

LOVE
The Greek word for this specific type of love is "AGAPE". In Strong's Hebrew and Greek dictionary, it is defined as this: "Spoken especially of good will toward other, the love of our neighbor, brotherly affection, which the Lord commands and inspires."
Love that God commands. 
Love that God inspires.


 Colossians 3:14-15
Matt. 5:43, 19:19, 23:39
Luke 6:32
John 15:13, 17:26
Romans 13:10
1 Corinthians 13:1
2 Corinthians 2:4,8
2 Thess. 1:3
Hebrews 6:10
1 Peter 4:8
1 Jn. 4:7

Questions for reflection: 
Is there evidence of the kind of love inspired by Christ in YOUR life? What does that kind love look like? One a scale of 1-10, how well do you think you are doing on loving people well? 

JOY
Mathew 2:10; 13:20, 44; 28:8
Luke 1:14: 15:7-10
John 16:20
1 Peter 1:7-8

(Here are some places that were discussed as the grounds for joy, the occasion for JOY. I found it FASCINATING.) 
Luke 2:10
Philippians 4:1
1 Thess. 2:19, 20
James 1:2
2 John 4

Here's what blew me away about JOY. 
In the Bible, the most intense joy described is often located near a significant point of despair. It also is the one thing that make all else pale in comparison. JOY is the seemingly the key to eternal perspective--it is HOPE for really matters. I think it because of the hope that we have anchored in Jesus, and His victory that is ours by birthright. In JOY we have a tiny taste of heaven, of what our souls were created to dwell in. 

It makes circumstances endurable. Trials worth sustaining. Good things better. Joy is the avenue to eternal perspective. Joy is not the same things as happiness. Happiness is fleeting, circumstantial. Joy is contentment despite circumstances, because of the anchor of hope we have in Jesus. Joy is gratitude for what God has done and what He will do. 


It is JOY that shines the brightest in every dark season. Joy is the security in the promises of God and who He is. Joy has the power to change everything for us now, because Jesus changed everything for us on the cross. 
 

Questions for reflection: 
Where in your life have you experienced the most JOY? What is close to season of heartache? 

How do you cultivate JOY in your life, without relying on happiness? Another way to phrase this would be how do you cultivate joy when circumstances are not "happy"? 

How can you pray LOVE and JOY over people in your life? Write these down in your prayer journals. You don't even have to come up with your own words. PRAY THE SCRIPTURES over the people God has laid on your heart. Your friend. Your sister. Your neighbor. Your enemy. But don't forget to ask God to shine light in your own heart where you need Him to grow these things in your life as well. If you don't have that kind of love in your heart, ASK HIM to give it to you, and teach you to give it freely to others. If you can't muster up an ounce of JOY in your own life, ask God why. And ASK HIM to open the floodgates of heaven to rain joy straight into your soul. He's waiting to do it for you and for those He loves. 

I'm praying for you guys! Let me know what verses guided your prayers this week! I would so love to hear what God is speaking to you throughout this journey. Remember, HIS Word will NOT return void! 

Grace and peace, 
Rachel

Love and Joy

From the Outside Looking In: How to Sincerely Pray for Anyone in Your Life (Introduction)

Four years ago, I was part of a mentor group that changed my life. The things God did in that season have been imperative in where I have found myself today. I hope to never get over what God did for me through that group of wise, authentic, God fearing women. I had prayed for about three years for God to send someone to help me navigate this place, and man did he answer that in my friend and mentor, Judy. From the day I met her I knew she anointed with a wisdom that only comes from the Lord, she had a kindness in her eyes that spoke of compassion and lessons learned but wasted no words or moments with things that were not asked of her by God. 

One evening at one of our monthly meetings, we were discussing how often we find it hard to pray for those around us, especially those that have hurt us. We walked through the notion that we have the desire to pray for them, even forgive them, but in our prayer closets those prayers often would feel hypocritical. We didn't mean it. And that meant we were lying to the Holy Spirit while seeking the presence of God. A BIG no-no.

The more we talked, the more we realized that we often would similarly want to pray big things for those we love, but would get stuck in knowing the most effective way to pray for God to do big and beautiful things in their hearts. So then we would find ourselves settling for half-hearted prayers put together with shallow, common words and phrases of well intentioned wishes (rather than prayers), on behalf of those that have our whole hearts because we weren't up for the work that it takes to figure out to how pray boldly and sincerely. Also a BIG no-no. It's like praying for God to bless your friend with a good day, when in the same time you could have petitioned that God would breathe fresh life into her lungs, show her something new, heal something broken. In both situations, it really just came down to a lot of missed opportunities for power-packed prayer on the behalf of others. 

Then, our mentor offered her experience. What she shared has changed my life in such tangible ways that I was never able to shake it. She looked at us and said, "If I have an enemy, there is no way that I am going to ever be able to sincerely pray for God to bless them financially. I'm just not. And if I say that I am, I am lying to the Holy Spirit. BUT, what I can do sincerely, is pray that God would cultivate the fruit of the Spirit in their life. I can pray that would experience love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in their life. And I will mean that with my whole heart, every. time." 

BAM. And just like that, she had equipped me with a Biblical perspective that kept my prayers aligned with God's will for not only my enemies, but for those I love. For anyone that God laid on my heart to pray for, regardless of circumstance or situation, I could make the most of my petition for them. 

Fast forward to a few months ago. I was chatting with a close friend and she share that she had found herself not even praying anymore because she was so resistant to praying for this person, she knew that she couldn't do it sincerely so she had been wrestling the temptation to stiff-arm prayer entirely. She told me that she knew that the enemy was the one leveraging this specific relationship, this one hang up, to isolate her from communion with God and others. One of Satan's favorite lies is to tell us is that if we can't do it perfectly, why even try? If we can't do one thing that we know is good for us, or that one thing God is prompting us to do, then we just need to take ourselves out of the game entirely. 

We've all heard it from him. And I would probably be willing to say we've all believed it for a hot minute at least at some point in our lives. 

I can't commit to a full hour of Bible study and prayer in the morning so I'm just not going to do any of it until I can. (LIE--One minute with the Holy Spirit has the power to change more in your life that one million sermons on Sundays.) 

I know I'm not going to be able to serve every single weekend (or I don't want to) so I'm not going to say yes to ANYTHING. (LIE--Serving is not a one size fits all. Just say yes and God will give you opportunities for your availability. ALWAYS.) 

I can't commit to a healthy lifestyle because I have (XYZ) this weekend so I'll just wait until it's a better time. Or a new month. Or a Monday. If it could be the 1st on a Monday that would be GREAT. That's when I'll start. ;)  (LIE--there will never be a better time.)

I can't say yes to pouring into someone else because I don't have time to meet with them every week so I'll just wait until I am RETIRED. (LIE--you don't retire from the Great Commission)

I'll start spending time with God every day when the babies start sleeping, when my shift changes, when life is not so crazy. (LIE--You will never dedicate more time to things that are "optional" than you do now. Even if you are 105 you will fill your time with what is important to you.)  

___________________________________
(Fill in your own excuses here) 

If we can't do it right every single time, why even bother.

That's what he wants us to believe. Thats what he wanted her to believe. She had been wounded. Satan was using her love for this person against her and as a resource for building a wall between her and her intimacy with God. And she was OVER IT. 

So we started talking about how this was actually something SO MANY of us have struggled with at one point or another, if we are honest. The legalistic approach to faith is fatal. Because there is power in just faith every singe way other than legalism. And at the end of the day, if we are not authentic in our faith and in our prayers, we are legalistic. Hypocritical. And we have ALL BEEN THERE. So if you're feeling quilty right now, that isn't from the Lord. But conviction, that feeling that leads us to repentance? That totally is. Lean in. Hear me when I say this: we may be legalistic every once in a while because we are SINNERS. But we are ALWAYS loved by God. And His kindness leads us to repentance. So, like my wise friend shared, that may be the way we are feeling, and maybe for legitimate reasons. But it is not ok to stay there. 

So, how do we get unstuck in our prayers for others? We look inside. We refuse to let the outside symptoms become strongholds in our lives and in our petitions for others. We invite Christ to allow the cross do its work in us and pray for the Spirit to do His thing in all of us. I shared with her what Judy had taught me. and how it had changed my life. We decided together to begin praying and studying through the fruit of the Spirit, and await God's movement. As we were talking, I immediately felt God prompt me to share what we were learning here in this space, as a resource for anyone else looking to take their faith and prayers to the next level.

Over the next 8 weeks we will be walking though a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. We are going to dig deep into God's Word and ask Him to teach us to pray these things over those He puts on our hearts so we can make the most of our prayers and invite Him to cultivate His will in our lives along the way, so as we bear the name of Jesus on our foreheads, we may also bear the fruit of what He has done for us in our lives. 

Are you IN?! Let me know in the comments below so I can be praying for you as we go through this together. ALSO: This is the FIRST EVER group I am inviting to do this specific study with (YAY!) Fun fact: I recently was invited to partner with YouVersion (!!!) and THIS STUDY will be the first Bible plan I offer on the YouVersion app as we conclude! So please, please share what God is showing you, teaching you, and how He is moving in your life throughout this journey. Who knows, maybe your feedback will make it into the study! I think it would be SO COOL to share snippets from you guys that participated this round.  I have a holy anticipation that He is awaiting to hear from us and is ready to do what He does best. 

Here's to powerful prayers, real faith, and changed hearts and lives beginning with US. 

With so much gratitude, 
Rachel

How to Pray for Anyone