Creating a Prayer Strategy

Welcome to Positive Life Principles with Karol Ladd. I’m so glad you have joined me here for a healthy dose of encouragement and wisdom. During the month of January, I’ve asked my friend Candace Gray to be my guest blogger and share her insights on starting the new year in a positive and productive way. Enjoy and be strengthened!

– Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

  Matthew 7:7

Do you have a strategic approach to your prayers? Being strategic is about being consistent and intentional. Making progress on meaningful goals can be a fight, so you need a battle strategy for the year.  Here are some things to consider:  how & when will you pray? What and who will you pray for? What are your go-to Scriptures that encourage you and remind you of truth? Who are the people who will encourage you, pray with you and challenge you?  Finally, does your prayer strategy include bold requests?  

There are many benefits and specific promises tied to prayer. James 5:16 tells us that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  Here are some suggestions for being strategic in prayer:

  1. Ask, Seek, Knock continuously.  Matthew 7:7-10. This passage is an encouragement to be persistent and consistent in prayer and you will be rewarded with a response. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (7:7)” Furthermore, the passage explains the heart of God and His willingness to respond to  His children. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for fish, will give Him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him. (7:9-10)”
  • Be bold. In Matthew 14:29, Peter asked Jesus to allow him to walk on water. Jesus’s response to him was, “Come.”  He allowed Peter to walk on water just because Peter was bold enough to ask.  Not one to waste an opportunity, Jesus used the experience to show His power and increase Peter’s faith.
  • Ask with confidence. 1 John 5:14-15 says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God:  that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of Him.”  Don’t over-analyze your prayers and hold back in what you ask of God. If you pray for something that is not in alignment with God’s will, know that He is good and He will sort it out. He does not punish you for asking.  Instead, He teaches you so that you grow in understanding His will.  Therefore, present the desires of your heart to God and let Him guide you in His will. If I pray for something that’s not good for me and is not born out of the right motives, God, in His kindness, will help me to come to that realization. In His mercy, He will not give me something that He knows will be harmful to me.

In the spirit of confidence in God and pursuing a focused, purposeful and bold new year, pray and seek:

  • God’s vision for you for this year; 
  • Ability to do more than you think is possible this year;
  • Wisdom, creativity and practical ideas for accomplishing your goals this year. 

About Candace: Candace Gray is a seasoned leader with a track record of living a life of purpose and helping others to do the same. She is a Senior Director for Buckner Children and Family Services and a longtime member of Concord Church in Dallas. 

If you’d like to follow her full 21-day devotional series, go to www.candacegray.com 

Photo by Diana Simumpande on Unsplash

Look Up!

Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can.

Genesis 15:5

Guest Blogger Candace Gray

Do you ever feel weighed down by the daily grind of life? Have you suffered some disappointment in the last year that caused you to lose hope? Perhaps you’re in a long season of waiting and not seeing any change.  Going through a hard season can make you lose vision and shrink your view of what’s possible. As you start this year, stir up your hope by remembering there are tremendous possibilities with God. 

Abraham found himself in a discouraging place. He wanted much more than what he saw in his life at the time.  He wanted a child and he had none; he wanted a home and he’d been uprooted from his home and told to go to an unknown place. Furthermore, God had promised to bless him with not just one child, but with numerous descendants and God had promised not just a home but a nation that would have its own land. Yet there was a big gap between what Abraham was experiencing and what God had promised. So, God told Abraham to “look up at the stars and count them if you can.” It was an encouragement to look beyond what he could see around him and understand that God has as many ways as there are stars to fulfill His promises.  The same is true for you and me. Looking up represents seeing the vast power of God and His ability to bring about amazing things in your life.  As you approach the new year, fix your gaze on Him. He is I AM (Exodus 3:14), meaning He is able to do more than you can ask or imagine.   

Don’t stop believing in God’s good plans for you.  Life is better when you focus on the wide sky of possibilities rather than the narrow view created by your disappointments. When you play small, there is no energy, no vision and no confidence to make bold moves. When you think and look toward the sky, there are infinite possibilities and a great and powerful God working for your good.  Even through adversity and delays, He’s growing you and preparing you to be blessed and to be a blessing. Turn your gaze from your disappointments to the sky and remember I AM. 

Questions for Reflection:

  • What disappointments did you encounter last year?  Did they cause you to lose hope? 
  • Where is your focus now – on you and your circumstances or on God? 

My guest blogger this month is Candace Gray. She is a seasoned leader with a track record of living a life of purpose and helping others to do the same. Candace is a Senior Director for Buckner Children and Family Services and a longtime member of Concord Church in Dallas. 

If you’d like to follow her full 21-day devotional series, go to www.candacegray.com 

Photo by Klemen Vrankar on Unsplash

Take New Ground

Guest Blogger Candace Gray

Numbers 13:30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

Happy New Year!  Everyone is thinking about what the new year will bring.  Some people make resolutions and some people set goals and create detailed plans.  Some people just wing it, having been disappointed by previous failures in the past.  But if you are a person with a strong desire to live a purpose-driven life, you can’t afford to wing it.  You must set goals, make plans and try again, because it’s not just about you.  There are others who will be blessed because of what you do.  You desire to be a change-agent, problem-solver, healer, peace-maker, leader, creator, giver, do-gooder and anything else that glorifies God, helps others and makes the world a better place. 

In Numbers 13, God was preparing the Israelites to possess the land of Canaan.  Twelve people were sent to examine the lay of the land.  As they explored the land, they saw both the bountiful resources of the land and the potential obstacles to possessing the land.  When they returned from seeing the same set of facts, they came to two different conclusions:   Caleb and Joshua concluded, “We should go up and take the land, for we can certainly do it.”  The other ten concluded, “We can’t attack these people:  they are stronger than we are.(13:31)”  They observed, “we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes and we looked the same to them.(13:33)”  One group focused on the power of God and the other group focused on their own limitations.          

This devotional series is written to encourage you to keep moving forward with making a difference.  You will face obstacles along the way, that tempt you to view yourself as a grasshopper.  But do not underestimate the significance of living a life of purpose.  The desire in your heart is there for a reason. The ideas you have are there for a reason. I encourage you to do the thing on your heart to do. I am praying for you and me to be focused, purposeful and bold in 2023.  Someone’s life is depending on it.  When we step out with the bold faith of Caleb, God is faithful to show up and help us. 

Questions for Reflection:

  • What ideas would you like to implement in 2023?
  • What’s holding you back from taking new ground in 2023?
  • Are you more focused on your own limited ability or God’s unlimited power? 

For the month of January, I have invited my friend Candace Gray to share a weekly devotional. Candace is a seasoned leader with a track record of living a life of purpose and helping others to do the same.  She is a Senior Director for Buckner Children and Family Services and a longtime member of Concord Church in Dallas. 

If you’d like to follow her full 21-day devotional series, go to www.candacegray.com