Bible, God’s Word, meditation, prayer, scripture, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Tools: Reading, Meditating On, and Praying God’s Word

Have you ever opened up about something to a fellow Jesus follower, and without skipping a beat they ask, “Are you reading your Bible? Have you been praying?” The thing is, they’re not wrong to ask that. But there is so much more to it. What tools do we have? 



We were on our way to pick up a friend when my son asked, “How do I stop myself from being so angry when people make fun of me? I break pencils to calm down, but I know that’s not the best thing to do. And really, I don’t want to get to the place where I’m so mad that…” He trailed off and I inserted, “…that you want to start breaking other things.” He hung his head and said sadly, “Yeah. Pretty much.” I immediately told him I was proud of him for being bold enough to ask me that question. And I told him it is brave to be vulnerable, and it is wise to ask for help.

Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.

Proverbs 11:14, NASB

Confided in a fellow Jesus follower and they immediately ask if you are reading your Bible and praying? They're not wrong but there is so much more to it... Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #prayer #meditation #Bible

Gathering Tools

I told my son, “The church will say ‘read your Bible and pray’ as an answer to every single one of your problems. And that is the answer, my love. But it goes beyond; there are more layers.”

What if we are reading the Bible? What if we are praying, but we still face the same giants every day with no victory in sight? I went on to tell him, “It sounds like good advice to read your Bible and pray because it is good! But it’s helpful to know how to read it to where you’re able to understand it. It’s also helpful to know how to pray! I’ll share with you some of the tools I’ve been learning so you can dig a little deeper and find some peace.”

Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.

Psalm 4:4, NKJV

Meditate on What?

Meditation is totally trending these days. Perhaps you’ve seen these hashtags in your Instagram feed…

  • #meditate
  • #mindright
  • #reflection

Meditation has been described as thoughtlessness for the purpose of achieving calmness over mind and body. Thoughtlessness. Emptying the mind. I admit I spent some time in the past, practicing this concept. I can report to you that I was unsuccessful. Honestly, thoughtlessness doesn’t even happen in my sleep! My goal was to de-stress; but Sis, the only truly proven stress relief in my life is meditating on the words of God.

How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked, or stand in the pathway with sinners, or sit in the company of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night.

Psalm 1:1-2, CSB

Here’s the Tea

Dr. Donald S. Whitney likened reading Scripture to the process of steeping tea (another trending topic!). The more a verse or passage is poured over and soaked in, the richer its color and flavor. Dr. Whitney was using the analogy in relation to Bible reading, but I believe it applies to meditating on Scripture as well. You may be asking the same thing I was: What’s the difference between reading and meditating on what you read from the Bible?

Biblical meditation is the process of taking time to reflect and dwell on passages in God’s Word. There are many ways to do this, but my favorite is to read it out loud with as much inflection as I can muster. I’ve found meditating on the truths of Scripture leads to a better understanding of the Bible and what God is communicating to His people. It’s created an opportunity for me to retain what I read and has enabled a deeper knowing—much more so than merely reading and moving on with my day. Consequently, it has amped the way I talk to God.

Praying on Purpose

There have been times in the past when my communication with God seemed selfish. The only time I would go to Him was when I needed something. I started to feel guilty for treating God like a magic genie. Sadly, instead of allowing the conviction to incite change, I stopped going to Him for anything at all. I told myself the lie that if His will was going to be done eventually anyway, He certainly didn’t need me bombarding Him with requests all the time.

I have also experienced the feeling of having mediocre prayers. They had all the right churchy phrases in them like “thank You for Your grace,” “pour out Your Spirit on us,” and “be glorified.” And those are not bad things to say in prayer; yet when I spoke them, they lacked an intimate knowing of my Maker. Nor did they mirror an understanding of being known by my Father.

I felt the disconnect. It was like having a piece of the puzzle, but no finished picture for direction. I didn’t recognize the Bible as sufficient guidance for rich communion with God. Now, by His amazing grace, I am learning to utilize specific verses from the Bible as a basis for prayer. When I don’t have words, Scripture provides them.

The Bible speaks the language of the Spirit who originally breathed out all the words of Scripture. Praying the Bible has helped to illuminate God’s intentions, love, purposes, and faithfulness. It has also created an ability to recall God’s Word in times of rejoicing and sorrow, which has ushered in a peace and joy I had not previously known or understood!

That’s Delightful

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4, ESV

This verse completely changed my understanding of what it means to get my heart’s desires. If we are taking delight in the Lord, our motivation will be to bring glory to Him. Then our desires align with His! As we go through our days, whether in seasons of rejoicing or sorrow, I pray we will practice reading, meditating on, and praying the Bible. 

The Bible speaks the language of the Spirit who originally breathed out all the words of Scripture. Praying the Bible helps to illuminate God's intentions, love, purposes, and faithfulness. Click To Tweet

Confided in a fellow Jesus follower and they immediately ask if you are reading your Bible and praying? They're not wrong but there is so much more to it... Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #prayer #meditation #Bible

Neven Krcmarek

silence, meditation, quiet, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Silence: Practicing Solitude to Truly Connect with the Lord

God can truly speak to us through any means necessary. However, the practice of silence and solitude is the most effective way to truly connect and hear from the Lord.  



But the Lord is in his holy Temple. Let all the earth be silent before him.

Habakkuk 2:20, NLT

There’s been a running theme in our devotionals lately: breathe. Deep breath in, deep breath out. In fact, I can count 10 times this week alone that someone has said this to me. Granted, it was during x-rays, doctor visits, and other health scans. But, I also found myself just trying to calm my nerves with this technique.

I take a lot of deep breaths when I find myself in social situations. No matter how much I love those around me, my brain has a hard time with 3 different conversations, the kids playing, the TV going. Noise. There I go, retreating to the restroom for some silence.

It’s not to be taken personally by my friends or family. It’s just a quirk that will, most likely, never change. Even so, I often ask why I need to take so many deep breaths in a day. Why is this my reality?

Life is full of noise and distractions, making us long for silence. Here we discuss the most effective way to connect and hear from the Lord.  Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Noises of Life

Que: knock, knock, knock. “Mommy are you in there? I’m hungry. I want a snack.” 

I’m a wife, a mom, a homemaker, a partner in ministry. All of these labels take up most, if not all, of my daily time and energy. The sounds of the dishwasher running, phone conversations, children’s programs on the TV, instrumental music in my ear-buds all distract my mind and soul from complete silence.

My fellas don’t understand it now, but their noises of life wear me out. I live with a sweet four-year-old boy who makes around 5,987 different sounds in a day. Seriously, as I am trying to write this devotional, a Stormtrooper has been placed beside my keyboard. But, not before the soundtrack of live-action battle. I also have a six-year-old who requires a confidence boost in the morning and reading practice at night. I won’t mention how old my husband is, but he also requires conversation and a loud television (I’m not mad about it, really).

These are not “bad” reasons for the lack of solitude with God. They are my main missions in life and I am thankful every day for these beautiful responsibilities. However, being pulled in so many different directions causes my “deep breath” issue. I feel out of oneness with my Creator…

But if you give yourself to the Lord, you and Christ are joined together as one person.

1 Corinthians 6:17, TLB

Importance of Solitude

As I mentioned before, I’m a partner in ministry. Little did I realize, when starting to write for Oh Lord Help Us, keeping inspiration meant more quiet time with the Lord. And I don’t mean quiet time in reading or studying, I mean it in a way of doing nothing. A meditation of sorts.

It makes sense. Pastors often use solitude and silence to connect and hear from the Lord. It’s important for them. They are teachers of the word of God, thus they need to continually access that direct line to the Father.

It’s no different for Christian writers. We are, in a way, teachers too. We write about God’s truth and it reaches more than just a brick and mortar building of people. People all over the world continue to connect with us. So, when I say even us writers need solitude and silence to hear from the Lord, it’s absolutely true.

Silence Killers

It’s hard to find complete solitude when the world is throwing so much at us. Many distractions kill our silence: watch this, read this, listen to this song. It’s not comfortable to be bored, anymore. When is the last time you sat in a waiting room without looking at your phone? Or drove the car in complete silence? How about just sitting, without anything happening, noise or video?

I’m not saying God cannot speak to us through any means necessary. In fact, He has had to in my life, because finding me in a still, quiet state is rare. Think of this, when we are speaking with a friend or spouse about our hearts, we truly want their attention. If they were, say, watching TV or looking at their phone, we would know they are half in it.

The same is true in our relationship with God. He wants to interact with us unattached, disconnected and surrendered. To sit in complete freedom from the world: responsibilities and other devotions, interaction with other people, completely unplugged from technology. Completely.

God wants to interact with us unattached, disconnected and surrendered. To sit in complete freedom from the world. Click To Tweet

The Example of Jesus

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

Luke 5:16, NIV

I often remind myself of Jesus’ example after feeding the 5000. He retreated to the mountain for solitude and prayer (Matthew 14:23). Now granted I’m only feeding 3 other mouths, but some days that’s a small miracle to me and I just want to retreat to the mountain of solitude with Jesus.

He had it right. He knew His work here on earth required a constant connection to the Father. So why would my Kingdom work require a different practice? If Jesus needed it, our humanity DEFINITELY needs a silent audience with God.

Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord’s demands.

Lamentations 3:28, NLT

Everyday Practice

Practice makes a habit. I have a feeling that practicing silence every day, will take care of my “deep breath” issue. Starting my day with solitude before the Lord will create effective, productive and calm Kingdom work. Deep breath in of the Spirit, heavy breath out of God’s truth.

Life is full of noise and distractions, making us long for silence. Here we discuss the most effective way to connect and hear from the Lord.  Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional

Hero, God, glory, Oh Lord Help Us, ministry, women, scripture

Hero: We Are Not the Main Character of this Story

God’s word is applicable to our lives, but this cannot be where we start. We must begin by acknowledging the true Hero of the story.



I grew up in a family that attended church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I heard a lot of preaching. But, it was only until college I began to systematically study the scriptures for myself. It was stunning, what I began to discover. Well-meaning teachers had added information to the Biblical stories. I am not sure of their motives but I want to believe they were wanting to motivate a desire to make the Bible interesting or to promote a character trait they were hoping to emphasize. The hard truth was they made up details.

The one that was perhaps the most shocking to me was the story of Noah. I had heard over and over again about Noah’s impassioned plea to his neighbors to repent and believe and come on the ark. Over and over Noah’s neighbors laughed at him and denied that the rain was coming. Or so I was told. But, that’s not really how the story goes.

And those that entered male and female of all flesh went in as God had commanded him. And the Lord shut him in.

Genesis 7:16

Noah did not try to convince his neighbors. He did not try to defend God or discuss the coming rain. He built the ark and gathered his family and the animals and he waited for God to close the door.

That’s a pretty big difference.

God's word is applicable to our lives, but this cannot be where we start. We must begin by acknowledging the true Hero of the story. #GodsGlory #worship #hero

The Main Character…

And there were lots of other stories just like that. In fact, I even have had a bent for adding emphasis to certain details from the Bible and leaving other details out. My biggest problem however was even more subtle. I was reading the Bible always looking for application. How would this affect me? How would this scripture influence my life? What was God telling me to do and how could I be like the human character mentioned in this story?

The Hero…

While these are all good goals to wrestle with as we study God’s word, if it’s where we start, it’s pretty flawed. Just like those Sunday school teachers I had 30 years ago. The emphasis of every story is a hero. And that hero is God. He begins in the beginning and creates. He comes in the form of Jesus to be crucified and resurrected. And He returns again to come take his bride. Every story is whispering his name. Every story is declaring his glory. This is not new news to us. If we have spent any time in scripture, we know this. But we still don’t look for Him.

We look for us. And we come away from scripture more convinced that we don’t have what it takes (we don’t in the flesh), and we come away more discouraged and defeated. God’s word is active and living – a two edged sword. It is meant to divide us from our thoughts of lies and unbelief. Yet, we can’t be the hero. He has to be the hero of every page. He’s there. I will admit, I forget this. I forget this a lot. And when I remember who I am reading about and what He is capable of and whose I am… Well, I find my heart soaring and my lips praising and praying. I can’t help myself. As I meditate on his truths and on Him, I find peace, I find joy, I find hope. I can’t find hope in myself.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

If this has been an encouragement, please share the love with others…

The emphasis of every story is a hero. And that hero is God... Every story is whispering his name. Every story is declaring his glory. Click To Tweet

God's word is applicable to our lives, but this cannot be where we start. We must begin by acknowledging the true Hero of the story. #GodsGlory #worship #hero

Jon Tyson

Remembered, God cares, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, ministry, encouragement

Remembered: Being Comforted and Held by the God Who Sees

We are told to take care of our heart, because that is where the enemy will attack. In these attacks, we may not be able to trust our feelings, but we can trust the God who sees. We are remembered and cared for.



Soon, my son, Evan, and I will get on a plane and fly to Philadelphia. There we will meet with a transplant team that will discuss the possibility of a bone marrow transplant. To say I am beside myself does not seem to give justice to the feelings I have. This is not our first difficult decision where Evan is concerned. He has had something health related going on since birth and we have been faced with tough choices all along the way, but this feels different.

When I share this possibility with people – friends and strangers – they all look at me in wonder. Concerned. Worried. They, just like me, know the gravity of this. It’s not a broken arm. Evan has a broken immune system and its over activity is working havoc all over his body. His joints, his muscles, his pancreas, his colon, and my heart.

We are told to take care of our heart, because that is where the enemy will attack. In these attacks, we may not be able to trust our feelings, but we can trust the God who sees. We are remembered and cared for.

The attack of the heart …

Do you ever wonder why we are told over and over to take care with our heart. To know that our heart is deceitful. To take our thoughts captive. And to guard our heart. Because that is where the enemy strikes. He strikes at my heart and that is, at its very essence, my thoughts.

And where does the enemy want my thoughts to linger? Oh that’s easy. God, but not the good stuff. It’s not thoughts like: God will supply and God will show up. It’s thoughts like: how dare God and why would he, and where is he? Just like Hagar. Do you remember her?

So [Hagar] called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.

Genesis 16:13, ESV

Scripture tells us that Sarai gave Hagar to Abraham as a means to bear an heir. But it all went horribly wrong. Sarai became jealous of Hagar. The scripture says dealt harshly with her and Hagar ran off. And in the midst of all this mess, the angel of the Lord came and gave Hagar a command and a promise. And Hagar knew she was remembered. She knew she had dealt with the God who sees.

The feelings that lie…

Often, I tell my children that my feelings lie. I tell them that to remind them and to remind me. I have choices with what I do with my fear and how I view my feelings. As a believer, I have a hope. It is founded in the cross and resurrection of Jesus and in the very character and nature of God. He never changes and he is always the same yesterday today and forever. Satan’s objective is to cause me to doubt that good character and to doubt that God sees and that He remembers. He also wants me to feel that I am being harshly dealt with, that what I am enduring is not a good Father but one I cannot trust and who does not care.

The God who sees…

So what do I do when my feelings feel like the only truth I can see or my thoughts keep finding their way to despair or doubt? This is actually one of the few things I can control. I cannot control what comes into my thoughts, but I can control what I allow my heart to meditate on. That can be as simple as carrying an index card in my purse with a verse on God’s faithfulness or as complicated as memorizing several passages that remind me of what my heart is prone to forget. There have been times when every wall in my home had a scripture verse attached to it. And not beautiful framed verses but copy paper written with markers.

I am in control of so little. But this I know, I can bounce my thoughts to his word and allow his word to develop in me a heart that flees to him for comfort and truth. I too, like Hagar, may find myself fleeing from harsh situations in dry and desert-like conditions. But, I am not abandoned. God hears me and He sees. I can believe that, trust him, and meditate on his good promises.

I am not abandoned. God hears me and He sees. Click To Tweet

We are told to take care of our heart, because that is where the enemy will attack. In these attacks, we may not be able to trust our feelings, but we can trust the God who sees. We are remembered and cared for.

rest, stillness, meditation, Oh Lord Help Us, women, ministry, encouragement

Stillness: Creating Oneness with God in Quiet Meditation

Stillness can be a daily habit to insure our whole being aligns with God. Creating oneness with God in our busy lives, becomes easier during quiet meditation.



Life is a whirlwind of happenings, appointments, activities, stuff. The world yanks us in many different directions and the multiplication of all of life’s intricacies, create huge “energy stealers”. In busyness, it can be incredibly difficult to focus in on God. At the extreme, it paralyzes our ability to even experience God. So, how can we overcome these pulls?

I recently wrote about rest and how rejuvenating our souls in the Lord gives us true energy. But, what should we do with that energy. Yes, the normal daily things come to mind… cleaning up messes would be a great use of it. However, I want to suggest one more step before we head off into our worlds of schedules and tasks… stillness.

Stillness can be a daily habit to insure our whole being aligns with God. Creating oneness with God in our busy lives, becomes easier during quiet meditation.

Confused Stillness

I’ve touched a bit in previous posts that I tend to be more reserved and introverted. For a long time, I thought stillness and quietness were one in the same. That may be true in the worldly realm, but spiritually, they are quite different. I am quiet and also distracted. Yes, I can pray while I do the dishes, or contemplate God while folding laundry, but that is not stillness. That’s multitasking.

Stillness can also be confused with rest. Stillness uses energy. Whereas, resting causes you to gain energy. When you seek rest in the Almighty, you are trusting Him to fill you with supernatural energy. Oppositely, stillness uses that energy to zoom in on God within us, to provide peace, clarity, and joy.

What Is Stillness?

Not to get all Hippie-Dippie on you, but it’s a tranquil activity which produces serenity and calmness within. Stillness is a complete focus on God inside of us. Our bodies, minds, hearts being completely still before the Lord. Stillness insures we are hearing God’s voice, feeling His presence, and His goodness is filling us. A meditation if you will. In order to truly meditate on something, you must have energy. Just like in any activity, you need the power to do it.

Now, meditation can be a taboo word in the Christian community. It’s usually has association with other religions or practices. However, in my research, I learned that meditation is not linked to any religion, at all. There’s actually science behind what happens. Our bodies physically benefit from this activity, and, ultimately, our souls.

Quiet Meditation

Yes, messes are all around us physically, but our minds are no different. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God didn’t have to push through all that clutter in order to speak with us? To have an unadulterated oneness with the Lord, could you imagine? We are humans, so, this isn’t possible. However, we can create habits that drive us towards oneness.

I’m not a yoga teacher and I have no schooling in the art of meditating. All I can give you is what I have personally learned…

Clean Space

I noticed that when I need meditation most, is when there’s the biggest mess. So, finding an uncluttered, completely clean part of your home may be difficult, but it’s vital. Yes, our eyes are shut, but our minds are not fooled.

Breathe

We all know that a few deep breaths can bring calmness and clarity, but slowed, controlled breathing for periods of time, really brings a nice detox to the blood stream and the mind.

Posture

I am a sloucher. If I don’t change this habit, I see back issues in my future. Sit up straight. Really be mindful of the posture of your body. Sit in a comfortable position that allows for pristine spinal posture.

Shut Out

One part of meditation is the practice of completely shutting out the world. This is really important. As a child of God, I have a calling to not be OF this world, but to allow God to transform me. If I don’t minimize myself in meditative habit, I cannot be changed.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Romans 12:2, NIV

Thinking

This is the hardest for me; to combat human nature… I think all of the time. It’s so important to push out all our thoughts and really focus on God. I try to focus only on one thing about God: the cross, a specific characteristic, God’s work inside of me (physically or spiritually), specific scripture.

Stillness can be a daily habit to insure our whole being aligns with God. Creating oneness with God in our busy lives, becomes easier during quiet meditation.

Hope for Stillness

Again, this oneness in the Lord is something only hoped for. However, stillness thins the line between hope and achievement.

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

John 15:4, NLT

Jesus came to earth, lived as one of us. He saw our struggle then, and sees our struggle now. The world pulls us in so many directions; most dragging us away from our Father. Jesus knew this truth when He spoke those words. We cannot flourish in all we do, aside from God. Making stillness a daily habit insures our actions, attitudes, thoughts are saturated in God.

We cannot flourish in all we do, aside from God. Making stillness a daily habit insures our actions, attitudes, thoughts are saturated in God. Click To Tweet

Stillness can be a daily habit to insure our whole being aligns with God. Creating oneness with God in our busy lives, becomes easier during quiet meditation.