100 Days to Brave: Pray

Pray

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. — 1 John 5:14 NIV

I’ve had a long (and maybe complicated) relationship with prayer. I know it is real; I know it is powerful; I know God hears us. However, that doesn’t mean I have always gotten what I wanted. But the first time I remember God absolutely answering one of my prayers was when I was nine years old. In the spring of my third-grade year, I starred in our church’s children’s musical. Okay, to say I was “THE STAR” is a bit of an exaggeration because, while it was true in my heart, I’m pretty sure I was just one of the stars. Fine, one of the cast members.

I was Little Psalty. (For those who don’t know, Psalty is a singing hymnal who teaches children about God.) I strapped on this huge blue cardboard costume shaped like a hymnal and threw a baseball bat over my shoulder. I then walked through the crowd, singing the beautiful old hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be.”

Oh, did I mention I was a male character? So that’s a special part of the story.

When I got home from school the day of the musical, my mom was in her bed, all the lights off in her room, with a migraine. My life is filled with memories of migraines. When I was a kid, we took my mother to the hospital for them or left the house with my dad so she would have peace and quiet. That day when I saw my mom in bed, I knew immediately that it was bad.

She whispered to me in her headache voice that she was sorry, but she wasn’t going to be able to make it to the performance that night.

Well, my tender little third-grade heart was broken. I ran up the stairs to my room, threw my book bag on the floor, knelt down beside my bed, clasped my hands together, and prayed as hard as my heart knew how to pray.

I don’t recall every word spoken during that fervent-kid prayer; I know I prayed God would heal Mama’s headache so she could come to the performance. I begged like only a nine-year-old knows how, with eyes squeezed tight and repeating the same few phrases over and over again.

Later that night at the church, with just minutes until the curtain went up, someone whispered my name. I was standing on the risers, ready to sing, and there was my mom, on the side of the stage, telling me she had made it.

I know. It’s like a Hallmark movie moment. And that’s when I learned that prayer is powerful.

Since then, I’ve had prayers answered just like that, in the exact way I thought, and I’ve had prayers seemingly never answered. I’ve had other situations I prayed about that went so differently that I wondered if God and I spoke the same language.

I think that’s where the courage comes in.

Are you brave enough to pray and believe that God hears you and changes things?

Are you brave enough to believe with your whole heart that God will do something miraculous? Are you brave enough to say the first words to Him after you’ve been silent for a while? Prayer isn’t about us, really. Prayer is this amazing opportunity to connect directly with the greatest Being who has always been. And it takes courage to know that for yourself.

So pray. God is absolutely real. And He is listening.

Be Brave: Pray today, whether it is a short sentence muttered under your breath or a few paragraphs written out in your journal. Talk to God. He is listening.

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Have Faith

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. — Hebrews 11:1 NIV

What does it mean to actually believe God? What is faith?

Faith is being sure. And convinced.

Sometimes it’s hard to feel sure. So what do you do if you want to have faith or you want more faith and you’re not sure how to get it? Ask God to fill you with faith — faith in Him, faith in His promises, faith in His ways. And then use the assurance welling up in your heart to fight off the lies of the enemy.

The enemy is so good at lying, isn’t he? (You know you have an enemy, right? A legit enemy who has no good thoughts toward you or for you.) He’s been lying since the garden of Eden when he convinced Eve that God wasn’t really true or trustworthy. And that’s the same lie he whispers to us. Lies like, “You can’t trust God… Your faith is weak… Do you even have faith?”

When Satan pushes your buttons or makes you doubt God’s Word or God’s love for you, what’s your first brave move? Hold up the shield of faith that you hold over your heart, meant to protect you from the arrows of the enemy. Just believe. It isn’t always easy — in fact it rarely is, but the good stuff is never cheap. And what happens to your soul on the other side of a fight for faith is the good stuff.

Your next brave move? Fix your eyes on Jesus, who is the “pioneer and perfecter” of your faith (Hebrews 12:2 NIV). When
doubts cloud your mind and faith doesn’t come easily, remember that He considered it a joy to endure the cross because of His great love for you. And He will help you grow in faith.

Be sure of this: when you ask God to increase your faith, He will.

Be Brave: Download Matt Wertz’s song “Keep Faith” and put it on repeat for a bit today. Maybe journal some of the lyrics that stick out to you.

Excerpted with permission from 100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs, copyright Annie F. Downs.

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Your Turn

Are you brave enough to believe that God the Father hears your prayers and acts on your behalf? Are you brave enough to have faith that the Holy Spirit intercedes for you and fight back against the enemy’s lies? Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you about praying and holding up the shield of faith!

We hope you join us for our Summer Book Club — 100 Days to Brave! Sign up now!

Annie F. Downs

Annie Downs is an author and speaker based in Nashville, Tennessee. Flawed but funny, she uses her writing to highlight the everyday goodness of a real and present God. By weaving together personal stories, humor, and Scripture, she invites the young women reading to experience fulfilled lives with a God who made them on purpose and loves them deeply. When she’s not writing books or traveling for speaking events, Annie spends her days writing all over the internet---blogging at AnnieBlogs.com and incourage.me.

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