Author Archives: Jen Cudmore

#UTCOP – How We Can Pray When We are Weary

How We Can Pray When We are Weary

by Jen Cudmore

How-Can-we-pray-when-we-are-weary

Photo from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The first half of this year, even though I prayed about all my commitments, I took on too much. Between working full time, writing a novel, keeping up on my blog, and writing blogs for 4 other sites, I struggled to take care of my home, husband, and children. To say the least, I was exhausted.

My only hope was to rely on the strength of my God.

The Bible says that we should not grow weary of doing good (Gal 6:9) and that His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9).

I was so overwhelmed, I wasn’t sure how I could carry on.

Here is a prayer I wrote for myself during that tough season.

“God, You said I could cast all my cares on you (1 Pet 5:7) because You do not grow weary – I can rely on You for strength. I cannot do this on my own, but You are able to keep me from falling (Jude v24). You will sustain me.

Help me not to fear or become dismayed, for You are my God & You will strengthen me. You uphold me with Your righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10). Remind me to lift my eyes up because my help comes from You, Maker of Heaven & Earth. You will not let my foot slip; You are ever vigilant. (Psalm 121:1-3)

Help me remember that my troubles are only for this moment & if I believe in faith & persevere, I will achieve an eternal glory. I don’t want to focus on the temporary things in life. Help me to fix my eyes on what is not seen because that is eternal. (2 Cor 4:17-18).

 “O God, Hear my prayer! I cry to You for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety, for You are my safe refuge…Let me live forever in Your sanctuary, safe beneath the shelter of Your wings!” – Psalm 61:1-4

Tweetable:

A prayer to uplift weary hearts by Jen Cudmore. (tweet this)

He carries us when we are tired and weak – pray this prayer. (tweet this)

Jen Cudmore

Jen Creek small

Jen grew up on the Columbia River Gorge and currently lives in Alaska with her husband, two children, two boxers, and two cats. Her goal is to write novels that encourage women to look for positive qualities in a life partner, and to foster an environment of real romance, rather than fantasy, as they grow old with their spouse. For more, visit her website at http://www.jencudmore.com/. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads.

 

#UTCOP – Should We Pray by the Clock?

Should We Pray by the Clock?

by Jen Cudmore

 

Should-we-pray-by-the-clock

Have you ever set a time limit on your prayer life?

Some people believe praying by the clock is the proper way to talk with God. They watch the clock and pray until the time is up. A friend told me that her childhood worship service consisted of 30 minutes of continuous prayer, and they got in trouble if they stopped.

She found that during those times she never felt God’s presence.

Several years ago I scheduled 15 minutes each day for my quiet time with God. I crammed Bible reading and prayer into that allotment, sometimes stretching it to 30 minutes. I was constantly rushing through my prayer list. Eventually I realized it was foolish –

God didn’t want to be limited by my schedule.

He wanted to be my priority. Now I rise much earlier than I used to, which takes the pressure off my prayer time. I can take it slow, listening for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and just enjoying myself.

Here are four reasons why praying by the clock is actually a hindrance.

1) It places a limitation on God.

Sticking to a specific time limit is too restricting. What if He has more to say to you, or more He wants you to focus on? Some days He may require more of your attention than others. We must pray until we’re done, until God releases us to go on to another task.

2) It’s typically stale and forced.

Obligatory communication is uncomfortable and unproductive. Have you ever been to a dinner party where you didn’t have anything in common with the other guests and found it hard to converse? It’s similar with God.

Prayer is about connecting. We must seek God with all our hearts.

3) It causes us to become proud or shamed.

If we have to measure our prayer life to feel good about ourselves, then we have a heart problem. God doesn’t love us any more if we pray three hours a day than if we only prayed 3 minutes. He just wants us to communicate with Him. Praying a long time doesn’t make us a better Christian. It’s all about where you are on your faith journey.

Want to know how long you should pray? Ask God what He wants from you each day.

4) Praying by the clock means we are focused on the time, not God.

We become distracted, always watching the clock. Our thought process is interrupted continually, making it harder to hear when God tries to speak. He wants our full attention.

How would you feel if you were spending time with a person who kept looking at their watch?

Praying by the clock does have merit. There are times in a group situation where setting a time limit is appropriate. In college when we prayed for something important, the staff set up 30 minute time slots for students to use so there would be 72 hours of straight prayer. In your personal journey, God may require a specific commitment from you, a decision completely between you and Him.

Yet no where does the scripture state we are to set a time limit on our communication with God. We are instructed to pray without ceasing. (1 Thess. 5:17)

How can that be measured?

Tweetables:

Does God want us to pray by the clock? (tweet this)

Should we set a time limit on prayer? (tweet this)

4 reasons timed prayer may actually be a hindrance (tweet this)

 

Jen Cudmore

Jen Creek small

Jen grew up on the Columbia River Gorge and currently lives in Alaska with her husband, two children, two boxers, and two cats. Her goal is to write novels that encourage women to look for positive qualities in a life partner, and to foster an environment of real romance, rather than fantasy, as they grow old with their spouse. For more, visit her website at http://www.jencudmore.com/. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads.

 

3 Methods for Praying Over Your Family

3 Methods for Praying Over Your Family

by Jen Cudmore

3-Methods-for-praying-for-our-families-Jen-cudmore

From Free Digital Photos

The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing, and it’s important to lift up our family consistently to the Lord. When it comes to praying for our spouse and children, there are three methods we can use.

1) Short, Spur-of-the-moment prayers:

These occur during our day and often in the midst of what we’re doing in the moment. When a concern comes to mind, we lift it up to the Lord in a sentence or two and more on. These are prayers such as “God, help my daughter to ignore that girl who annoys her, the one she now has to sit next to at school.” or “God, help my son to do well on that math test that he studied so hard for.” or “God, give my husband an extra boost of strength today while he works on this new project.”

2) Specific trials/lesson prayers:

These are when your family faces a particular issue that’s difficult. The prayers are focused and specific to that struggle, and typically we pray these multiple times over a week, month, or year. For example, when my daughter became friends with a girl that often manipulated her, I took it to the Lord on many occasions, praying I would be patient and that my daughter wouldn’t be hurt too badly during this learning process. When my son struggled to turn in his homework for a couple years, I prayed often that he would understand and accept responsibility. And when my husband was working two jobs, one of which was a graveyard shift, I prayed every day for extra strength and endurance.

3) Intentional blessing prayers:

These are for planning ahead. If we wait until each negative situation comes along, then we tend to focus more on “God, help!” We need to be intentional and pray for protection, wisdom, and grace before our family encounters a difficult situation. We must pray for the schools our children attend, the staff they interact with, their peers and friends. We need to pray for their relationship with Christ and that they stay grounded in their faith so they are strong when they face daily temptations. All three methods have their purpose and must be utilized.

But no matter what method you prefer or use the most, be sure you’re praying over your family!

Unleash God’s power in your family by seeking Him in every aspect of their lives. And your own as well!

Prayer:

Father, thank you so much for my family. I wish to be a good steward of my home. Make me into the wife and mother You wish me to be. Show me how to pray for my family, and may I always be open to Your prompting for each individual. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Tweetables: 3 Methods for Praying Over Your Family. (click to Tweet)

Do you lift up your family to the Lord in prayer. (click to Tweet)

Unleash God’s power in your family by seeking Him in every aspect of their lives. (click to Tweet).

Jen Creek small

Jen grew up on the Columbia River Gorge and currently lives in Alaska with her husband, two children, two boxers, and two cats. Her goal is to write novels that encourage women to look for positive qualities in a life partner, and to foster an environment of real romance, rather than fantasy, as they grow old with their spouse. For more, visit her website at http://www.jencudmore.com/. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads.

 

You Want Me to Pray for Whom, Lord?

You Want Me to Pray for Whom, Lord?

by Jen Cudmore

pray-for-each-other

Recently a person very close to me began to make some ungodly choices in her life, which grieved me greatly. One day she sat beside me in church, and while it was a bit uncomfortable, I did my best to focus on the lesson. Then, as the pastor prayed to end the service, I felt the Lord tap me on the shoulder.

“You feel this negative energy right here beside you? You can fix that.”

“What?” I said. “It’s not my problem. It’s hers.”

“Yes, but I’ve been telling you for months to get on your knees for her and you haven’t done it. Remember that verse:

I found no one to stand in the gap (Ez 22:30)?

Seriously chastised, I pondered those words for the rest of the day, and in the morning during my prayer time I asked God for help. You see, I had actually said a few prayers for my friend, but I never focused on fighting for her. I was too annoyed by her bad choices. I was so disgusted with her behavior that I didn’t want anything to do with her. And that is a very bad place to be.

Once when I was in high school, I mentioned to my mother a situation with a girl I really didn’t like. Her response was to pray for this girl, to which I’m sure I scowled. Why would I pray for someone I planned to avoid?

Mama told me about the verse that says we are to pray for our enemies (Matt 5:44). When I responded, that technically this girl wasn’t my enemy, Mama was armed with an answer. “You dislike this girl just as much as you would someone who mistreats you. You don’t like to be around her and cringe when she comes near. Same concept.”

So I begrudgingly began to pray for the girl, and to my surprise, it only took a couple months before we became friends!

God changed my heart, but I had to take the first step.

The same thing happened in recent months. As I began to pray for my backslidden friend, God began to soften my heart toward her and helped me see her as He saw her, a lost and confused soul who just needed someone’s support.  Now, she’s growing closer to the Lord, and there is much less weirdness between us. All because I was obedient and prayed.

The Bible tells us to pray for each other (James 5:16).

Don’t hold back because you have negative feelings toward someone!

Your prayers are powerful. No matter who God lays on your heart, be sure to be consistent. Then sit back and watch Him work!

Tweetables:

You want me to pray for whom, Lord? (tweet this)

Don’t hold back because you have negative feelings toward someone! (tweet this)

Why pray for someone you don’t like? (tweet this)

Jen Cudmore

Jen Creek small

Jen grew up on the Columbia River Gorge and currently lives in Alaska with her husband, two children, two boxers, and two cats. Her goal is to write novels that encourage women to look for positive qualities in a life partner, and to foster an environment of real romance, rather than fantasy, as they grow old with their spouse. For more, visit her website at http://www.jencudmore.com/. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads.

What Does ‘Anything Against Anyone’ Mean?

What Does ‘Anything Against Anyone’ Mean?

bevere-quote

by Jen Cudmore

And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins (Mark 11:25 , NIV).

What did Jesus mean when he said, “anything against anyone”?

I believe he wasn’t just talking about big issues like being badmouthed, lied to, stolen from, or physically injured. He also meant those little barbs that annoy us. I heard a preacher say recently that holding onto an offense is the beginning of bitterness and unforgiveness. The small issues will eventually compound into bigger issues that are harder to deal with.

We often tend to look at the little things as no big deal and brush it aside without really letting go.

If we weren’t truly injured, just a bit annoyed, then what is there to forgive?

For example, we may be annoyed that the preacher doesn’t use the King James Bible or that the music leader incorporates too many hymns, so we contemplate leaving the church. We don’t like that a parent snapped at us when picking up their child from Sunday School, so we stop being loving to that child, or even stop teaching the class altogether. A coworker didn’t follow through on a project and we had to pick up the slack, so we avoid them for the next week because they were so rude. We just can’t believe good people would behave in such horrible ways!

But it’s not just about forgiving. It’s about applying grace when others make mistakes and truly letting the issue go. Don’t give it another thought. Or if you do think about it, not feeling a catch of negative emotion in your spirit, such as irritation or hurt.

The Bible is clear that we are to live at peace with those around us.

Accept what happened and honestly move on.

A friend, at the prompting of the Lord, showed me a book last year that changed my life. The author discussed the trap of offense and encouraged the reader to dig deep. Each day I had to do some soul searching and write out a prayer. God showed me several areas where I’d been holding onto little things that I didn’t realize were causing me problems. A neighbor who judged me as being a liberal parent, a boy who said something despicable to my son, a classmate from church who for years hasn’t bothered to acknowledge me – small things I should’ve just let roll off my back.

So how do we keep from being offended, so we have fewer issues of ‘anything against anyone’ that must be forgiven? During this study, God showed me:

    • I was much too quick to be offended and pass judgment on others when they messed up. I asked God to show me how to apply grace and let the small issues go.
    • I had high standards and expectations of others. I asked God to help me realign them with His standards and expectations based on His Word.
    • It is ungodly to assert my rights. I asked God to teach me to choose to be treated badly rather than stir up strife by demanding what I deserve.
    • I complained too much about situations that didn’t go my way. I asked God to teach me to guard my mouth and speak only positive words.

So the challenge is this: Before you pray, search your heart and see if there is anything hiding in there that doesn’t belong. Ask God to show you things you’ve brushed aside but never dealt with. Choose to let the little things go so they don’t grow into bitterness and unforgiveness.

Be sure that when you pray, you no longer hold ‘anything against anyone.’

Tweetables:

What did Jesus mean when he said, “anything against anyone”? (click to tweet)

Be sure that when you pray, you no longer hold ‘anything against anyone.’ (click to tweet)

Jen Cudmore

Jen Creek small

Jen grew up on the Columbia River Gorge and currently lives in Alaska with her husband, two children, two boxers, and two cats. Her goal is to write novels that encourage women to look for positive qualities in a life partner, and to foster an environment of real romance, rather than fantasy, as they grow old with their spouse. For more, visit her website at http://www.jencudmore.com/. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads.

Prayer: Where do I start? 4 Tips for those who feel inadequate

Today we welcome the newest contributor for Under the Cover of Prayer, Jen Cudmore. Jen is an author who lives in Alaska (somewhere my hubby and I want to visit some day). Please make her feel at home with us.

Prayer: Where do I start? 4 Tips for those who feel inadequate

by Jen Cudmore

4 tips for those who feel inadequate with prayer

Have your found the concept of prayer daunting? There are so many people to pray for: immediate family, extended family, friends, acquaintances, neighbors, coworkers, church leaders, government leaders. Not to mention, the individual items to cover for each person; health, trials, financial security, spiritual growth, family matters, leadership skills, parenting skills, marriage skills, and so much more. Then you still have to pray for the issues in your own life.

How on earth is one person to cover it all? Argh!

I remember sitting down to pray in my dorm at college and wondering where to start. Often my mind went blank, and I couldn’t think of what to say: “Lord, please bless this person, keep your hand on them, um, watch over them, oh and guide them in your will . . .”

Or, I’d be overwhelmed with the issues that needed to be covered: “Lord, bless their marriage, home, children, job, ministry, health and” -gasp for air- “make them change this bad habit.” And I wanted to pray for things that were relevant for each situation, not general prayers that sounded lazy or selfish prayers of what I thought the person needed.

Now I see I was making it much too complicated.

Prayer should not be a chore.

Because I felt so lost, I decided to study more about the concept of prayer. When I first married, I bought a couple books on how to pray for my spouse and my children. These resources set a foundation for expansion in my prayer life. Over time I learned more and wasn’t so overwhelmed and confused.

As an author, the written word speaks powerfully to me, and it appears most authors are this way. So I took what I learned, compiled a list for myself, and began to use it as a basis for my daily prayer time. In a year’s time, my list grew to 5 pages. (Starting this month, I’ll be sharing some of them on my blog every Wednesday, just a short post of 4-6 sentences. I’d love for you to stop by and be encouraged!)

So, if you feel inadequate when it comes to prayer, I suggest 4 tips for developing a consistent prayer life:

1)      Study the example of Christian leaders. Buy books on prayer and begin practicing. Talk with leaders in your church. Review prayers from people in the Bible.

2)      Understand  it will take time to grow. We all start off small, and it’s okay to admit if you feel inadequate. God is patient and He knows within time you’ll become a mighty prayer warrior!

3)      Ask God to give you discernment . How you pray for each item/person on your list will be different depending on the various seasons of your life and those you’re lifting up.

4)      Start writing down your prayers. This way you won’t have to jog your memory. After a while the right words/phrases will come naturally. Just don’t let them become rigid and ritualistic – use them as a guide to get you started.

Tweetables:

Prayer should not be a chore. 4 tips for developing a consistent prayer life.

Prayer: Where do I start? 4 tips for those who feel inadequate.

Jen Cudmore

Jen Creek small

Jen grew up on the Columbia River Gorge and currently lives in Alaska with her husband, two children, two boxers, and two cats. Her goal is to write novels that encourage women to look for positive qualities in a life partner, and to foster an environment of real romance, rather than fantasy, as they grow old with their spouse. For more, visit her website at http://www.jencudmore.com/. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads.