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Empty Your Cup

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

I was talking with a friend the other day about doing something special for a co-worker. As we talked, I was reminded of a session at a recent event given by North Point Community Church Lead Pastor, Andy Stanley. He called it, “Do for one, what you wish you could do for everyone,” because doing for no one what you wish you could do for everyone is detrimental to ministry.

Have you turned on the news lately? It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so much need in the world. And as Christians we feel called to help. Between being overwhelmed and the busyness of life that gets in our way, we find ourselves falling into two extremes: burnout – we’re so busy doing everything for everyone we are spread too thin, or checkout – we shut it all out and do nothing for no one. Burnout tends to leave us bitter and checkout tends leave us cynical.

Sometimes we try to be fair and do a little here and there for many. Never be fair. It’s about doing the right thing. God wasn’t fair. Life isn’t fair. Fair isn’t a fruit of the Spirit. Don’t be fair, be engaged!

The Apostle Paul’s letter, written to a group of Christians in Galatians 6:9, talks about how he understands the weariness that comes with caring. Don’t disengage. We can’t be overwhelmed, do it the easy way, or we will miss the opportunity or time God has given us to do something for someone. Over time there is a payoff.

Andy Stanley states:
* go deep rather than wide
* long-term rather than short-term
* go time and not just money

The beauty of “doing for one” will allow you to be engaged rather than disengaged. And when you do for one, you will often do for more than one.

It may not change the world but it will change someone’s world!

I pray you will empty your cup with your one.

Blessings,
Paige

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Congratulations!

You have completed the 40 Day Prayer Challenge from Mark Batterson’s book, Draw the Circle! I hope this daily devotion over the last 40 days has been helpful to get you into the habit of prayer. More importantly, I hope you are developing a relationship with our awesome God as this is the beginning of a lifetime of watching God at work in your life.

I speak from personal experience when I say, He will answer your prayers! Never give up. Never stop praying as you may only be one day away from your dream, or miracle. Our God is an amazing and mighty God who can and will do more than we could ever ask or imagine.

100% of the prayers you don’t pray won’t get answered. -Mark Batterson

Keep circling!

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 40 Prayer Alphabet

“Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1

Have you ever prayed with someone who prayed with such familiarity and authority with God that it made you feel like you barely knew God? I wonder if that’s how the disciples felt every time they heard Jesus pray? I wonder if that’s why they asked him to teach them to pray? They clearly didn’t ask Jesus to teach them to preach, lead, or even disciple. The only asked him to teach them to pray.

Based on my own experiences through prayer, I concur with Mark Batterson when he states, “If we change the way we pray, everything changes. It changes the way we work, the way we parent, the way we lead. It changes the way we prioritize and strategize. It changes the way we think, the way we feel, and the way we speak. Prayer changes everything from the inside out.

“The word prayer often induces feelings of guilt simply because we don’t do enough of it or because we feel inept when we don’t know what to say. For the record, I’ve never met anyone who felt that they pray too much or too effectively! All of us fall short. But instead of feelings of guilt, the thought of prayer should induce unbridled excitement because nothing is more potent than kneeling before God Almighty.

“While my prayer batting average is no better than anyone else’s, I’m determined to get back into the batter’s box because I can’t get a hit if I don’t take a swing. And if I swing enough times, I’ll hit a few homers and accumulate a lot of RBIs. So quit worrying about striking out, and swing for the fences!

“Don’t beat yourself up over past failures or present struggles. Simply do what the disciples did. Ask Jesus to help you, to teach you. Let their simple request become your modus operandi: ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’

“It doesn’t matter how much you know. Do you have a teachable heart? Are you hungry to learn? Are you open to change? Wisdom is knowing how much you don’t know. So you have to start there and ask God to teach you.”

Have you ever gotten to a point where you were praying the same words over and over? Or maybe your worship time felt small or cliched? The lyrics on the screens were like greeting cards? When this happens, we start saying words that someone else wrote but never expressing love to God in our own words. This kind of relationship with God isn’t enough. We must find new ways to worship; our own words to sing. God wants to hear our voices, our words, and our praise.

Batterson writes about, “the story about the grandfather who walked by his granddaughter’s bedroom one night and overheard her praying the alphabet, literally. ‘Dear God, a, b, c, d, e, f, g.’ She prayed all the way to ‘z’ and said, ‘Amen.’ The grandfather said, ‘Sweetie, why were you praying that way?’ The granddaughter replied, ‘I didn’t know what to say so I figured I’d let God put the letters together however He saw fit.’

“Sometimes I feel that way too. I have no idea what to say when I pray. And that’s OK. The first objective of prayer is prayer about what to pray about. Prayer isn’t about outlining our agenda to God; it’s about getting into God’s presence and getting God’s agenda for us.

“If you don’t know where to start, or if you get stuck, go back to the Bible. Start reading, and God will start speaking. That’s when you need to stop reading and start praying. Words, phrases, or verses will jump off the page and into your spirit. You need to circle them in prayer. And don’t be in such a hurry to get through the Bible that you don’t get the Bible through you.

“Prayer is the difference between appointments and divine appointments. Prayer is the difference between good ideas and God-ideas. Prayer is the difference between the favor of God and the luck of the draw. Prayer is the difference between possible and impossible.

Prayer is the different between the best we can do and the best God can do. -Mark Batterson

Begin where you are!

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 39 Holy Ground

“Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Exodus 3:5

I just watched the first episode of “The Bible” mini-series today. How perfect God’s timing is, yet again, to see Moses’ life-story and then be reminded of it in today’s devotion from Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle

“Tending sheep.

“Can you imagine a more monotonous existence? And Moses did it for forty years. He must have felt that God had put him out to pasture. He once dreamed of delivering the people of Israel out of captivity, but that dream died when he killed an Egyptian taskmaster and fled the country as a fugitive. Moses spent the next forty years in spiritual exile on the backside of the desert.

“Then God appeared to him in a burning bush.

“I have a feeling that Moses got up that morning, put on his sandals, and picked up his staff, figuring it would be an ordinary day just like the day before, and the day before the day before, and the day before that. But you never know when or where or how God will invade the routine of your life.

“Jewish scholars used to debate why God appeared to Moses in a burning bush. A thunderclap or lightening bolt would have been more impressive. And why the far side of the desert? Why not the palace or a pyramid in Egypt?

“They concluded that God appeared to Moses in a burning bush for one simple reason: to show that no place is devoid of God’s presence, not even a bush on the backside of the desert. So they gave God a name I’ve learned to love: The Place. God is here, there and everywhere. So it doesn’t matter where you are; God can meet you anywhere.

“There are two moments in Scripture when God gives the same curious command: take off your sandals. The first one happens on the backside of the desert with Moses before God delivers Israel out of Egypt. The second one happens just before God delivers Jericho to Joshua. As Moses’ assistant, Joshua had heard the story of the burning bush a thousand times. But no one can live off someone else’s experience, someone else’s story. We need our own epiphany, our own testimony.

“So why did God ask them to take off their sandals?

“I think it was an act of humility, an act of worship. It was a way of acknowledging absolute dependence on God. It was a way of removing any obstacle that could get in the way of God and Moses, God and Joshua.

“One last observation, because sometimes the obvious eludes us. The holy ground wasn’t the Promised Land. It was right where Moses was standing. Don’t wait to worship God until you get to the Promised Land; you’ve got to worship along the way.

“This is holy ground. This is a holy moment.

“Right here. Right now.

“Take off your sandals.”

The purpose of prayer is not to give orders to God; the purpose is to get orders from God. -Mark Batterson

Are your sandals off?

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 38 Climb the Watchtower

“I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guardpost.” Habakkuk 2:1

In Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle, he writes, “Watchtowers served a variety of purposes in ancient culture – as built-in defense systems in the walls of ancient cities, as built-in pastures so shepherds could protect their flocks from wild animals, and as built-in vineyards for protection form thieves. Watchmen would climb into their watchtower, station themselves at their guardpost, and scan the horizon for enemy armies or trading caravans. The watchmen were the first to see, and they saw the farthest. So it is with those who pray. Intercessors are watchmen and watchwomen. They see sooner and see farther in the spiritual realm. Why? Because prayer gives us a unique vantage point.

“I wonder if that’s how Elijah felt as he prayed for rain on top of Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:42). God has just answered an impossible prayer on that very mountain. Elijah defeated the 450 prophets (1 Kings 18:16-39) of Baal in a sudden-death showdown on Mount Carmel. The God who sent fire can certainly send rain, right? That miracle gave Elijah the faith he needed to pray hard. And that is one of the by-products of answered prayer. It gives us the faith to believe God for bigger and better miracles. With each answered prayer, we draw bigger prayer circles. With each act of faithfulness, it increases our faith. With each promise kept, it increases our persistence quotient.

“Geography and spirituality are not unrelated. That’s why the Israelites built memorials in places of spiritual significance. During seasons of repentance, they would often return to those ancient altars to renew their covenant with God.

“I have to believe that David revisited more than once the battlefield where he defeated Goliath. That Abraham made a pilgrimage back to the thicket where God provided a ram. That Peter rowed out to the place on the Sea of Galilee where he walked on water – and it renewed his faith. That Paul built a personal altar on the road to Damascus where God knocked him off his high horse. And that Zacchaeus let his grandkids climb the sycamore-fig tree where he had gotten his first glimpse of Jesus.

“Where we pray is not insignificant. The Israelites pitched the tent of meeting outside the camp for a reason. Jesus prayed on mountains, by water, and in gardens for a reason. We need to find a place where we are free from distraction, where we get good reception, where we can focus, and where our faith is strong.”

As mentioned in previous posts, there is nothing magical about circling something in prayer, whether literal or figurative, but there is something biblical about it. There are times when we have to mark God’s territory; to take a step of faith and pray a perimeter around a promise that God has put in our heart.

Going back to places of spiritual significance can help us find our way forward again. -Mark Batterson

Do you have a place to pray?

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 19 Memorial Offerings

“Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.” Acts 10:4

There are no guarantees that God will answer your prayers how you want or when you want but know that God will answer because He always answers! And never underestimate God’s ability to answer anytime, anyplace, anyhow as He has infinite answers to our finite prayers. He can answer them multiple times and He can even answer them forever – because our prayers never die!

“Like parents who collect their children’s elementary artwork and display it prominently on a refrigerator door, the heavenly Father loves our prayers. Each one is a keepsake. Each one functions like a memorial that jogs the memory of the Almighty.

“If our prayers are that precious to God, shouldn’t they be more significant to us? Aren’t they worth collecting like snapshots in a family photo album? Shouldn’t they be treated with respect and dignity, like the monuments that grace the nation’s capital?

“Every prayer we utter is like the marble stones used in the building of the Washington Monument or Lincoln Memorial. When we pray, we are building a monument to God, a memorial to Him. And those prayers are not perishable. They aren’t wood, hay, or straw. They are a foundation (1 Corinthians 3:10-12) of gold, silver, and costly stones. They will not be forgotten. They will not go unanswered.” says Mark Batterson in his book, Draw the Circle.

We never know when, where or how God will answer our prayers or when, where or how we might be the answer to someone else’s prayer. But we do know that when we live by faith, our memorial offerings are for God’s glory.

Our prayers don’t die when we do, God answers them forever. -Mark Batterson

What prayers are you offering today?

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 17 Do Not Delay

“O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God.” Daniel 9:19

It is rare to have our prayers answered as quickly and easily as we would like them to be answered. Think about previous prayers you’ve prayed. There are likely some you’ve prayed and wanted to quit praying but those are the ones that have brought the greatest breakthroughs!

“Our most powerful prayers are hyperlinked to the promises of God. When we know we are praying the promises of God, we can pray with holy confidence. We don’t have to second-guess ourselves, because we know that God’s word does not return to Him empty (Isaiah 55:11). This doesn’t mean we can claim the promised of God out of context. But our problem typically isn’t over-claiming the promises of God; it’s under-claiming them. says Mark Batterson in his 40-day prayer challenge, Draw the Circle. If we stand on God’s word, God will stand by His word.”

We often tend to mishandle blessings if they come to quickly or too easily. We take credit for them or take them for granted. We must make sure we pray long and hard enough for God to receive all of the glory! And we have to stop praying ASAP (as soon as possible) prayers and start praying ALAT (as long as it takes) prayers. This doesn’t mean we force God’s hand because we can’t force God to do anything! It just means we’re praying with holy confidence, faith and belief that God will deliver on His promises (but on His timeline!)

God is never early. God is never late. God is always right on time. -Mark Batterson

If you are interested in a book on Bible Promises, they are available at any local or online bookstore. Simply ask for or search for “Bible Promises.”

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 16 Lord, Surprise Me

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going…” John 3:8

Have you ever surrendered your plans to God, truly relinquished all control, put all of your trust in Him, and asked God to surprise you? If you haven’t, I encourage you to do it with a genuine desire to see God do something unprecedented – something that supersedes your plans, something that you cannot take credit for or control. Trust in God’s timing and you will be surprised and humbled beyond words.

“God always has a holy surprise up His sovereign sleeve. And when we pray, He throws surprise parties!” says Mark Batterson. You never know how, when or where God will answer your prayers which adds to the excitement of praying and waiting. And the more you pray, the more you will experience holy surprises.

As Batterson states so well in Draw the Circle, “Every miracle, every blessing, every divine appointment has a genealogy. If we trace them back, we’ll find a genesis prayer that set in motion the sovereign act of God. Am I saying that God cannot do it without us? No, I’m not saying He cannot; I am simply saying He will not.

“In His omniscience and omnipotence, God has determined there are some things He will only do in response to prayer. The Bible puts it bluntly in James 4:2: ‘You do not have because you do not ask God.’ If we don’t ask, God can’t answer. It’s as simple as that. The greatest tragedy in life is the prayers that go unanswered because they go unasked. I don’t pretend to understand where the sovereignty of God and free will of humans meet, but it motivates me to work like it depends on me and pray like it depends on God. And if we do these two things, God will keep surprising us.

“If we follow Jesus, our lives will be anything but boring! He can orchestrate divine appointments with anyone, anytime, anywhere.”

Go ahead, ask Him to surprise you and get ready to celebrate!

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 15 Contend for Me

“Contend for me, my God and Lord.” Psalm 35:23

There have definitely been times in my life when, out of shear need and desperation, I have cried out that scripture with an exclamation point at the end! How about you?

God loves it when we fight for Him but even more when we let Him fight for us! When we hit our knees in prayer, God extends a mighty hand on our behalf and fights our battles for us. Keep fighting the good fight but let God fight for you. When we pray, we are letting go and letting God; taking our hands off and letting God put his hands on.

Remember – if anyone messes with us, they are messing with our God. When our backs are against the wall, God has our backs and when everything is on the line, God steps in.

God is our defender and He is contending for us if our causes are just and our hearts are right. So let God defend and contend on your behalf.

“If you are on God’s side, then God is on your side. God will fight for you as you fight for Him. And you can live with holy confidence, knowing that when God is contending for your cause, your cause is destined to succeed. This doesn’t mean there won’t be setbacks and sacrifices along the way; it just means the war has already been won.” says Mark Batterson.

Prayer is the difference between you fighting for God and God fighting for you. -Mark Batterson

I pray God contends for you today!

Prayerfully, Paige

Day 14 Speak to the Mountain

“Say to the mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.” Matthew 17:20

Wow – Today’s devotion was so powerful for me that I highlighted the whole thing and locked up my iPad! I’ve decided to quote most of it here, directly from Mark Batterson, for those of you who aren’t reading Draw the Circle with us.

Mark says in Draw the Circle, “There comes a moment when you must quit talking to God about the mountain in your life and start talking to the mountain about your God. You proclaim His power. You declare His sovereignty. You affirm His faithfulness. You stand on His word. You cling to His promises.

“Goliath held an entire army captive through fear. His weapon was intimidation. And that is how our enemy operates. He prowls around like a roaring lion. But the important word is like. He’s an impostor. Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. And when He roars, everything is shaken. All authority under heaven and on earth is His. And we are His children. Why don’t we live like it, give like it, serve like it, and pray like it?

If God is for us (Romans 8:31), who can be against us?

The one who is in you (1 John 4:4) is greater than the one who is in the world.

I can do all things (Philippians 4:13) through Christ who strengthens me.

In all things God works (Romans 8:28) for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

“What did Jesus do when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness? He fell back on the word of God. He used it like a skilled swordsman. And He wasn’t just defending Himself; He was delivering blows by citing chapter and verse!

“Maybe we need to quit playing defense and start playing offense. Maybe we need to quit letting our circumstances get between us and God and let God get between us and our circumstances. Maybe we need to stop talking to God about our problem and start talking to our problem about God.”

We are fighting with the enemy every time we hit our knees. And on our knees is where the battle is won or lost because that is where God fights our battles for us.

We must always thank God for the opposition in our lives and know that we don’t have to be afraid of the enemy’s attacks as these attacks are counterproductive when we counteract them with prayer. The more opposition we experience, the harder we need to pray. And the harder we pray, the more mountains God moves.

Quit talking to God about your problem and start talking to your problem about God. -Mark Batterson

Do you have a mountain to talk to today?

Prayerfully, Paige

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