Author Archives: Kimberley Payne

WHY WORRY WHEN WE CAN PRAY?

Why Worry When We Can Pray?

by Kimberley Payne  

Quite a climb!

The hill in the distance looked daunting. “You want to climb that?” I stopped walking to re-lace my shoes.

Helen giggled. “Yes, of course. I do it almost every day. The dogs love it.” Her two dogs ran ahead, eager to get going.

“Well, I suppose. But I’m not sure if I’ll make it.” I shifted my water bottle to my hip. The hill loomed ahead, a 5 kilometre walk upwards.  I wasn’t a stranger to a good hike; I loved to tromp through the woods and along the trails. But a walk straight up a steep hill was not my usual repertoire.

To pass the time and keep my mind off the pain in my calves, we talked. Enjoying a good chat is one of my favourite things to do in combination with a walk. Helen explained how she normally walks alone and she agreed that having a partner makes the upwards strain that much easier.

She shared with me a story of how she had been walking the same road the day before and suffered from blasts of dust from cars that raced by with no consideration for her and her dogs. Her frustration was compounded by the heat. She threw her arms up in irritation as cars sped past. “Why are you not slowing down? Have you no consideration?” she called after them.

But as her anger and indignation rose, she felt convicted in her spirit. Why worry when you could pray? So as the next car came into vision, instead of complaining and getting agitated waiting for the dust to swirl around her, she chose to pray instead. “Dear Lord, please make this driver slow down.” As she watched the vehicle approach, it slowed to such a degree that she expected the driver to pull over and ask directions. Instead he gave a wave and continued on. “Thank You, Jesus!” Helen exclaimed. As each car came into view, Helen prayed to God and He came through every time. The walk became enjoyable and a real testament to the fact that God cares about our every need.

As Helen finished her story, a farm vehicle, large and spewing dust all around came over the hill. “Let’s pray!” Helen enthusiastically challenged. We prayed and the truck passed without a flicker of dust. “God is good. Why worry when we can pray?”

I agreed with Helen and with an exhausted groan asked my own prayer, “Lord, please give me the strength to finish this walk!”

“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ?” (Matthew 6:27 NIV)

Kimberley Payne

Kimberley is a motivational speaker and author. Her writings relate raising a family, pursuing a healthy lifestyle, and everyday experiences to building a relationship with God. Through her work, Kimberley hopes to inspire people to live lives that glorify God. You can visit her website at www.kimberleypayne.com

WHAT IS A PRAYER PARTNER?

Prayer Partner

by Kimberley Payne (reprinted with permission)

When I was a teenager, I read Dale Carnegie’s book, How to win friends and Influence People. I was intrigued by his simple advice that to win friends all you needed to do was to become genuinely interested in them. To show interest, all you needed to do was to ask questions and listen to their responses.

But for me, even better than being listened to is being prayed for. I am delighted to have formal prayer partners and be a member of prayer groups.

One such partner is JoAnn. We met briefly at a 3-day women’s conference in the States. When we first arrived at this conference, the organizers took our photos. On the last day, we were given the picture of another woman – our prayer partner. I keep a picture of her beside my computer. She is posed in front of a stone fireplace with a shy smile. On the back of the photo, I have written her name and address with the names of her husband and two grown children. Although I have not talked to JoAnn in over a year, I pray for her regularly and I am confident that she prays for me.

I am also a member of a Christian writers’ group, The Word Guild. I have joined a smaller team within this group, aptly called the Prayer Team. Members of the Guild submit their prayer requests via email, and we pray for these people. On top of that, the organizer picks four specific members to pray for each week. Many of these people I may never meet and may know nothing more than their names. But I pray for them regularly and I am confident that they pray for me.

Lastly, at my church, a programme called Secret Sisters has been introduced. I filled out an information form, including my favourite scripture verse, and submitted it to the organizer. In return, I received the name of a church “sister” to pray for over the next year. At the end of the year, we will reveal ourselves to our secret sisters. I pray for my sister regularly and am confident that she prays for me.

I hold these partners in high esteem and count them as some of my best friends. There is power in prayer. If you are not already praying for someone specific, I challenge you to seek out a partner.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18 NIV).

Kimberley Payne

Kimberley is a motivational speaker and author. Her writings relate raising a family, pursuing a healthy lifestyle, and everyday experiences to building a relationship with God. Through her work, Kimberley hopes to inspire people to live lives that glorify God. You can visit her website at www.kimberleypayne.com

WHAT PRAYER IS TO ME

What Prayer is to Me

by Kimberley Payne

When I was a child, my dad led each dinner meal with the “Our Father “. The rest of the family would listen to the first half of the prayer and then join in for the second half. At bedtime, my mom would tuck me in, give me a kiss on the cheek and say, “Don’t forget your prayers.” I never did.

My childhood bedtime ritual included brushing my teeth, lying on my back in bed and pulling my stuffed dog, Fonzi, under my arm and saying my prayers. I started with a prayer I’d learned at Brownies. “Oh Lord our God, thy children say, grant us thy peace and bless us all.” Imagine my surprise when years later, my brothers and I bought our parents a grandfather clock as an anniversary gift and the song it played at each hour had the same tune! To this day, I sing the little prayer each time the clock chimes the hour.

As a young adult, I tried to continue my night time ritual but found myself too tired to follow through and usually just flopped into bed exhausted. At dinner time, I would do a quick sign of the cross and an “amen”.

It wasn’t until I gave my heart to Jesus in my thirties that I began to relook at my practice of praying. I desired to offer to God more than my rote and ritualistic prayers. I wanted my prayers to have meaning to myself and my children.  We began saying the Lord’s prayer at dinner, but we added a small devotional to read first. We also began saying prayers at night following the PATH to prayer. (P-praise God, A-admit sins, T-thank God, H-ask God for help).

I read books, blogs, and devotionals about prayer. I took Bible studies on prayer. I learned that it’s not just talking to God, but listening to Him as well. It’s communicating with God, my Father.

It is a privilege to pray. I encourage you to look at your prayer life and ask yourself if it’s all that it can be.

Kimberley Payne

Kimberley is a motivational speaker and author. Her writings relate raising a family, pursuing a healthy lifestyle, and everyday experiences to building a relationship with God. Through her work, Kimberley hopes to inspire people to live lives that glorify God. You can visit her website at www.kimberleypayne.com

THORN IN MY SIDE

Thorn in my Side

by Kimberley Payne

I have a certain person in my life who causes me grief on a regular basis. It seems in order for his day to be complete he must have conflict. If there is not conflict, then he creates it. And I seem to be his favourite target. (No, it’s not my husband!)

I refer to this person as the thorn in my side.  He is a constant reminder to me that fear and anxiety are real feelings. Some days, I think that my life would be absolutely stress free without him and the problems he creates. However, through studying God’s Word, I have been able to see him in a different light. Although I do not enjoy the trials he puts me through, I have realized that because of these things I have come to rely more on God.

I find myself leaning on God’s wisdom and knowledge to help me reply to this man. I find myself praying for the Holy Spirit to fill me with peace when I must confront him. I find myself praying to God for forgiveness – the need to be forgiven for what I think and do, and the need to forgive this man. And recently, I find myself praying for this man. Jesus commanded that we pray for our enemies:

“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44 NIV).

I am truly learning what this means in my life.

Although this man causes me great sorrow and pain, it is through these actions that I have come closer to God. It is through his acts that I have developed a deeper relationship with my Lord. And although I don’t know that I can ever thank him for the anxiety and hurt, I am thankful that through this, I have come to know Jesus closer.

“Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22 NIV).

COMPLAINING

Complaining

by Kimberley Payne

God hates complaining. In the Old Testament, God had rescued the Israelites from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. They had a miraculous escape through the Red Sea and were on their way to the Promised Land. Yet only two of the original group actually arrived at the final destination. The rest perished in the desert. Why? One contributing factor was their complaining.

First, they complained that they had no food so God graciously provided manna. This was food that miraculously appeared each morning for them to collect for their families for the day. However, it was not long before they complained about the manna. They even went so far as to say that they preferred their lives of slavery in Egypt to another day of eating manna. I am disgusted by their ungratefulness. They were a complaining, grumbling bunch that couldn’t see how good they actually had it. They were constantly looking for the bad in their situation instead of focusing on how God had favoured them, heard their cries, saved them from slavery, and provided for them on their way to the Promised Land.

However, it’s easy for me to pass judgment on them as I read about their story in the Bible. It’s obvious to me what they did wrong. But I was recently convicted of my own behaviour. Some days I am no better than those complainers.

I can think specifically of a job I received. This job was a miracle from God in itself. My two co-workers had been waiting over three years to get this job – I had just applied a month before. It was my ideal job. It was only part-time hours so it allowed me to continue to pursue my other interests and hobbies. It was close to my home, within the hours that my children were at school and doing what I love to do – teach.

However, when I was first offered the job I complained about the topic I would be teaching – accounting. It was not my first love. I would have preferred to teach creative writing or marketing – something fun. But accounting? I balked. Then I complained about the cost of parking. Then I complained that I had to share an office. Then I complained that my mailbox was too high, the water was too cold, the photocopier was too far away, the computer was too slow – well, you get the point. Instead of focusing on the answer to prayer, I focused on the little irritants about which to complain.

Finally, I started to complain about the students – one particular student. She would come to class with a snarl and sit in the back of the classroom with her arms crossed, feet up and a scowl that would scare crows away. It seemed to me that she not only hated the topic I was teaching, but she also hated the teacher. Each day, I returned home and complained to my husband about this particular student. Things did not improve. She became more and more despondent and even poisoned the entire class with her sickly attitude. I complained more. I complained to other teachers and my friends; anyone who dared to ask the question, “How do you enjoy teaching?”

I have since realized that my complaining was not doing me any good, but rather it made things worse. I learned that when I complain, I not only hurt this other person, but I hurt myself, and worse still, I hurt God. God hates complaining and grumbling. When I complain, I reject God.

Instead, I need to take action. First, I need to pray about this student, and secondly I need to pray for her. God wants me to take my problems to Him. He wants me to give Him my complaints just as King David did (Psalm 5:9 NIV). If I share my bitterness and hurts with Jesus then He can replace them with love and joy. I need not complain to other people, but rather take my complaints and place them in view of God. Secondly, I need to pray for this student. I need to ask that God will love this person through me. I need to pray that my words will bring healing. I need to pray for her salvation.

I have since asked God for forgiveness for my complaining spirit. Now that I’ve poured out my attitude to God, I can allow Him to pour His love into me.

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (Philippians 4:11 NIV).

COVERED

Covered

by Kimberley Payne

Looking back, I recall the many times that I had done stupid things, yet somehow I didn’t get hurt. Specifically, I remember my university days as being full of stupidity. For instance, one cold November evening I decided to leave a house party and walk home. This wouldn’t have been so bad, however, it was 2:00 in the morning, I hadn’t told anyone I was going, and I had to walk 45 minutes to get home. When I think back, I shudder. Any number of bad things could have happened to me.

I made some poor choices, and although I suffered the consequences I sometimes felt as if the consequences were not as bad as they could have been. It recently occurred to me that I was being watched over and protected. I now know that my family frequently prayed for me. Although I wasn’t serving God at the time, I was being covered in prayer by those who were. I am now led to believe that people I didn’t even know were praying for me. I make this assumption, not because I now know these people, but because I witnessed people praying for complete strangers.

In church and at Bible studies, prayer requests are often made for those we do not know. As part of a Christian writer’s group, I receive prayer requests via email for people I may never meet in my lifetime. Listening to Christian radio stations, prayer requests are voiced for others throughout the country and the world. As a member of many Christian associations, I receive newsletters and phone calls requesting prayer for strangers.

More recently, I witnessed first hand the outpouring of love for strangers through prayer. I was traveling east with a van full of women. We were excited about the conference we were going to together. However, on our drive we saw a slowdown of traffic on the opposite highway. There were police cars, ambulance, and fire truck lights flashing. In the centre of it all was a car, overturned on its roof. Another car was near with a smashed front end. The accident scene looked horrible. We automatically stopped our chatter and took a moment to pray aloud for the victims in the accident. We prayed for complete strangers. Although we may never know who they were, we followed Jesus’ directive to love our neighbours.

It’s comforting to know that my family and I are being prayed for. And I will continue to pray for people I don’t even know.

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18 NIV).

POWER OF PRAYER – PART II

Power Of Prayer – Part II

by Kimberley Payne

Previously (Power of Prayer – Part I) , I wrote about my need to witness God’s power in the miracle of healing for my daughter’s illness. I was questioning why God had not instantaneously healed her, although I prayed and I know it is within His power. I reasoned that: a) God didn’t hear my prayer, b) He heard my prayer and ignored it, c) He heard my prayer and answered, Yes later, or d) He heard my prayer and answered, No. I discussed the first two possible reasons last week and concluded that God does hear my prayers and He does not ignore my prayers. Today, I would like to explore the last two possibilities.

A)   He heard my prayer and answered, Yes later

I know that God hears my prayers. I know by His very nature He would not ignore my prayers. (2 Chronicles 7 NIV) So He may be saying, Yes later. God knows the past, the present and the future. He lives in eternity. He knows what is best for me and when. His timing is perfect and I must learn to accept this. I must lift my prayer to Him and then settle back knowing that He is in full control.

It’s just a matter of patience. “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (Hebrews 6:12 NIV). Like the time I had to wait for my house to sell. I knew God heard my prayer to sell. I knew He was not ignoring me. I just had to wait in His perfect timing. And lo and behold, it was perfect as it allowed us time to find the home in which to settle. But what if God’s answer is No?

B)   He heard my prayer and answered, No

This has been my experience in the past. I prayed for a specific outcome, yet when the decision was made, my request was denied. I felt crushed and betrayed. Little did I know at the time that God had a much better plan. God is not a malicious, vengeful God. No, He is loving and kind. “The LORD is faithful to all His promises and loving toward all He has made” (Psalm 145:13 NIV). What ended up happening in that situation was a very different, much better outcome. Something that had not entered my mind. I had limited my prayer to my own finite wisdom and understanding of the situation at that moment in time. God has infinite wisdom. He knows the hearts of people. And although He said No to my prayer, it was only because He had something better in mind.

I am reminded that there are many ways God enriches our lives through trials and suffering; things we could not have learned without going through those troubles.

My prayer for my daughter’s health has been heard. I can rest in the knowledge that God is not ignoring my pleas. I also find peace knowing that God will answer my prayer within His perfect timing, and if He has a better way or more favorable outcome, He will respond accordingly. I can relax knowing that I have laid my prayer at His feet; I can rest knowing that He loves me and is taking care of me. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer (Psalm 6:9 NIV).

Kimberley Payne is a motivational speaker and author. Her writings relate raising a family, pursuing a healthy lifestyle, and everyday experiences to building a relationship with God. Through her work, Kimberley hopes to inspire people to live their life to glorify God. You can visit her website at www.kimberleypayne.com

PARENTING WITH PRAYER

Parenting With Prayer

by Kimberley Payne

Awhile back, I prayed to be a better parent and felt as if I was failing miserably. I had limited energy and could take only so much back talk and negative attitude. The kids were filled with a spirit of rebellion and anger. I put myself to bed before the kids one night because of my frustration with the situation. I was not enjoying my children. My frustration rose as I tried to deal with them in my own strength and not rely on God’s strength.

I lived like that for two whole weeks. First, I prayed to be a good parent. Then chaos erupted. The enemy attacked me and challenged me to be a good parent in the midst of upheaval. Of course I failed.

But had I called on the Lord’s strength instead of my own, I could have better handled those two weeks. The battle is not only between my children and me. It’s a spiritual battle over us between good in us and evil. I am no good in a spiritual battle without God.

I felt beaten, drained and grumpy. I was in my own strength, so instead of praying to be a good parent, I needed to pray to be a praying parent. I needed to realize that each day belongs to the Lord and each battle is His.

It shouldn’t be a struggle for us to raise our children. We need to pray for them to be free of enemy influence. We need to pray to strengthen their character to empower them to deal with enemy influences on their own in our absence. We need to pray for energy and enthusiasm from God everyday. The enemy would like nothing more than for us to be tired and frustrated with our children. He wants to steal our joy, rob us of a wonderful time in our lives, and kill our enthusiasm.

God wants to fill us with peace, joy and love. He tells us to enjoy our children and He will take care of the battle. We need to turn to Him, the Father, to care for our children and do as He instructs us to do as parents.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4 NIV).

Kimberley Payne is a motivational speaker and author. Her writings relate raising a family, pursuing a healthy lifestyle, and everyday experiences to building a relationship with God. Through her work, Kimberley hopes to inspire people to live their life to glorify God. You can visit her website at www.kimberleypayne.com

POWER OF PRAYER

Power Of Prayer – Part I –

by Kimberley Payne

I realize the power of prayer and the importance of praying for others. Yet sometimes I have these pesky doubts sprouting up in the garden of my mind, like weeds. Unless I pull out the root of the problem, they will continue to grow and return.

Recently, I prayed for my daughter’s healing. I also used common sense, having her sleep and take it easy all day. But then this morning her cough continued. It got progressively worse on our walk to the bus stop. Later in the day, she even had to break from an aggressive game of hide-n-seek to give her lungs a rest.

I found myself wondering; I know God is a miracle working God, so why is she not healed? I know that God heals the sick, so why is she still coughing? I know that God says, ask and you shall receive (Luke 11 NIV) so why has my prayer not been heard? I want a miracle now. I know it is within God’s power. Her lungs could become instantly made perfect in a simple command. So knowing He can do this, why doesn’t He?

I reason that: a) God didn’t hear my prayer, b) He heard my prayer and ignored it, c) He heard my prayer and answered, Yes later, or d) He heard my prayer and answered, No.

A)   He didn’t hear my prayer

I know God hears my prayers, based on scripture and my own experiences. There are lots of passages in the Bible to back up the fact that God does hear us. “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).

 

My own experiences even include God hearing any inner, unspoken prayers. I have prayed for safety, while driving in dangerous storms, and He answered my prayer. I have prayed for help and He answered immediately. Actually, I could fill this page and the next with prayers answered, both verbally expressed and those silently directed to God, as proof that He does hear my prayers.

B)   He heard my prayer and ignored it

Given that God hears my prayer, He can either respond, Yes or No. Considering that nothing is impossible for God (Luke 18 NIV) and He is a just and loving God, there is no reason for Him to ignore me. He calls to me everyday. Since He wants to communicate with me, it would be against His very nature to ignore me. He is merciful and kind, forgiving and gentle. If anything, He wants a relationship with me and so He would not ignore me. “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer” (1 Peter 3:12 NIV).

Kimberley’s story will continue in a future post. Keep watching.

PATH TO PRAYER

Path to Prayer by Kimberley Payne

Today is the first day that we look at how to pray. Although our goal, I believe, is to make prayer a living, breathing moment we need to start at the beginning. Follow a PATH to prayer.

Our guest blogger today is Kimberley Payne. Kimberley takes a look at one method that can help us focus on our talk with God.

PATH TO PRAYER

Years ago, if I felt that I wanted or needed something I would ask my brother and sister-in-law to pray for me. My brother was a Pastor and I felt he had a “direct line” to God. Of course, I would only ask if it was very important or something I thought worthy of prayer.

My own prayers consisted mostly of reciting words I had memorized as a child, such as the Lord’s Prayer. If I asked for something I wanted, I left it to chance. I believed it was happenstance if my prayer was answered and I thought that it couldn’t hurt to ask.

My prayers today are much different. Today my definition of prayer is not just reciting words or asking for stuff, but rather it is a conversation with a loving Father.

In my book, Fit for Faith, I follow the acronym P-A-T-H to prayer:

P stands for Praise. Prayer is not just about asking for things but it is about telling God about the things you adore about Him. He is praiseworthy. Many times I open my prayer time with praise, letting God know how much I appreciate and love Him.

A stands for Admit. I admit that I am a sinner and confess my sins. Sometimes I admit something obvious like gossiping – other times the Holy Spirit reveals to me where I have sinned. 1 John 1:8 states that if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

T stands for Thanksgiving. I thank God for all that He is and all that He does for me. Some days my prayer time is spent entirely on thanking Him.

H stands for Help. This is the time when I can ask for His help and bring my requests to Him. I can pray for my own needs and the needs of others.

I have no trouble spending fifteen minutes a day in prayer, especially when I consider prayer to be more than reciting memorized words or just asking for things. I challenge you to spend fifteen minutes each day following the PATH to prayer.

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful (Colossians 4:2 NIV).