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kitchen help doesn't get much more enthusiastic than this

I’ve been thinking about prayer lately and I am not satisfied with my prayer life.  Sure, I pray all day long as I have needs (which seem constant) or people come to mind.  But that kind of prayer is not sufficient for a mature faith.  I’ve known that for a long time, and I remember a time when I had a prayer life that was sweet and consistent.  I have made multiple starts at a better prayer life, and not been very successful.  Yesterday I listened to an old sermon by John Piper focused on how to pray and I was inspired by something he said – actually lots of things he said – but this one grabbed me.

 God acts when we pray and often does more in seconds than we could do in hours or weeks or sometimes years.

How often do I think I’m just too busy to have a real prayer time, so I shoot up quick prayers and try to concentrate on a list of people, but not all that successfully.  I read the Bible and other books, pray briefly, and then go to my desk, to my work, and begin the frenzy of a day with my kids.  How ridiculous that I neglect the obvious.  The very things that I  am working so hard to do, the things that weigh on my heart or I find myself fretting over, the knots that I am trying to untangle, could all be answered in moments if I truly went to my Father in prayer.  He may not answer them at the moment, but I can trust that He will shine light into my muddy thoughts.

John Piper also shared that he prays in concentric circles beginning with the person whose sin and needs he feels the most keenly – himself.  The next circle is his family, and he works outward, one circle at a time.  I am a visual person, and need structure, so this is very helpful for me.  I pulled out a journal yesterday and wrote down some of his suggestions, made lists of people in need of prayer and wrote some notes.  This morning, in the early morning quiet, I was able to pick it up and begin.

He talked about praying the Bible for people and encouraged his congregation to memorize Ephesians 3:14 – 19 to pray for others.  I love having a place to start. He gave many other suggestions about how to pray that you can read or listen to in the sermon, Be Devoted to Prayer.

This is Day 5 of Spring Break if you count since last Thursday when the girls got out of school – and I am counting because when today ends, I can say that we have made it half way.  Honeybee is doing well with the free days, although she finds my expectations of respect  and helpfulness to be a challenge.  Dimples is pacing, hovering, talking, asking repeated questions about what is for dinner, what she wants for her birthday (in October), what kind of cake she will have, can Happy come over, can another friend come over, what are we doing today, and on and on.  She is highly anxious and hypervigilant.

My plan of the moment is to have her help me make playdough for everyone. That should take up a bit of the morning. Her friend, Happy, is coming over in an hour and she is always a blessing.

The weather stinks – blowing snow is not my favorite.  Even Eby doesn’t want to play outside and he is a hardy soul.

A bright spot is that Sweet Pea will be down this afternoon and will stay for a couple of days.  She’ll infuse our days with some happiness.

Thank you so much for sharing this week with me – it’s a long one and I am glad to have you along with me.

#831 – 840

dramatic wind, rain, and snow – viewed from inside my warm house

Russ successfully and kindly repairing my treadmill

music by Sara Groves

a new friendship for Honeybee

Dimples – and how far she has come

an encouraging conversation last night

waking in the dark quiet morning

Little Man’s big hugs

Dimples reading We All Went on Safari to Little Man right now 

birthday cereal for a happy treat





  1. Jennie (Reply) on Tuesday 13, 2012

    Lisa – praying for you this afternoon.

    We met briefly in Dallas at the Empowered to Connect Conference. My husband and I were the couple that drove down from Nebraska. It wasn't until you got up to speak and showed the photo of your family that I realized I'd visited your blog before. :)

    I've just picked up a book that I read years ago on prayer. It blessed and challenged then and is already (just a few pages in) doing so again. It is called A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers by D.A. Carson.

    I too know there is a lack in my prayer life these days. Your commitment to examine and take steps spurs me on.

    Appreciate you, Lisa


    • Lisa Qualls (Reply) on Tuesday 13, 2012

      Jennie, I remember meeting you and being impressed that you came all the way from Nebraska! Thank you for the book recommendation and for reading my blog!

  2. Dawn Wright (Reply) on Tuesday 13, 2012

    I too wander in my prayers at times…..will be listening to this later…..when I have some quiet…. :)

    • Lisa Qualls (Reply) on Tuesday 13, 2012

      Dawn, I hope you like it! Let me know what you think.

  3. Mountain Momma (Reply) on Tuesday 13, 2012

    Your comments about Dimples sound just like what I deal with in N, one of my boys -relentless is the word that comes to mind. Usually we go to visit my mom for Spring Break, but because of some health issues she is facing, we decided it is best we not bring the crew to visit. It's been 5 or 6 years since we've had "nothing to do" at Spring break and I really need to make a bit of a plan as to how it will go :) Praying that the rest of Spring Break will be a blessing for you and your family.

    • Lisa Qualls (Reply) on Tuesday 13, 2012

      Thank you for commenting; yes relentless sounds just about right. It is always nice to find people who can relate to my life. I hope your spring break plans come together and there are pockets of joy in the midst of it.

  4. Ellen (Reply) on Tuesday 13, 2012

    A Christian my whole life, consistent, mature prayer still comes with difficulty to me. Not because it is hard, but because I am undisciplined. Heart-breaking that I still fail so often. But bless God! His mercy is wide and new every morning.
    The Lord be with you as you love Honeybee and Dimples this week!

    • Lisa Qualls (Reply) on Tuesday 13, 2012

      Thank you, Ellen, for your honest words. And thank God for his generous mercies.

  5. pastormacsann (Reply) on Tuesday 13, 2012

    Praying you through the rest of the week, Lisa.

  6. learningpatience (Reply) on Tuesday 13, 2012

    The weather here is freakishly warm (the kids were playing with water toys and in shorts this afternoon!) – I wish I could blow some warmth your way!

    • Lisa Qualls (Reply) on Tuesday 13, 2012

      It snowed again today! Give it a good try, will you?

  7. Angela (Reply) on Tuesday 13, 2012

    Love this picture….very much looks like a couple of our foster sons….so busy!!