Over the last few years, I have tried to focus on building habits, so I don't have to make decisions throughout every single day of my life.
I've worked on building habits in all areas of life: home, health, physical wellness, career, and spiritual growth.
Admittedly, my prayer habit has really changed over the years.
After reading the book Fervent by Priscilla Shirer and watching The War Room, I began to be more intentional in my prayer life, thinking about my prayers as a strategy against the enemy. At that time, I began to write out prayers about specific subjects -- our marriage, our children, our siblings, the rest of our family, our church, our minister & his family, our careers, health needs, struggling friends, and so many other topics. When something came up that someone needed prayer for, I wrote out a prayer for them and began praying it out loud.
This method was very effective. However, it also became difficult to manage when I had hundreds of notecards with prayers written out on them. I wanted to have an effective prayer strategy, but I felt like I was missing important topics and I felt like I was missing out on some of the "relationship" part of my prayer time.
I started to research what other people were doing in their prayer lives.
I talked to friends, surfed the internet, and of course, prayed.
I have learned a few things about myself over the years:
I'm going to be brutally honest here, this month has been extremely overwhelming for me. As a school administrator, dealing with the end of the school year amid COVID-19 concerns and regulations has brought on unprecedented decision-making requirements for school districts. On May 4th, like I talked about in my last blog post, we had straight-line winds that destroyed our barn and damaged our roof & two other buildings. We've been cooped up (like the rest of our country) with almost no outside contact for the girls with friends and family.
So many of my prayers during May have been spontaneous whispers for peace and calm and protection.
I have no doubt that these prayers were effective and heard and appreciated, but I feel like this time we have spent in the valley has been "survival mode".
As the school year has come to an end, I'm ready to get back to growing and thriving in my prayer life, not just surviving alongside Jesus.
So for June, I've created a prayer template for each day of the month. This will hopefully keep me grounded and focused, as well as help me to rebuild my morning prayer habit.
I have created this two-page template for every day of June.
I'm going to take this weekend to add in daily scriptures for each day and to write down my "specific daily prayers" that I pray about each morning.
I've outlined these prayer topics below, if you're interested in doing something similar.
Specific Daily Prayers
Each day, I have specific topics that I cover. This is something I started a few years ago when I was trying to come up with an effective method of covering all of the "regular" topics I wanted to be in prayer about.
Here is my schedule for my daily prayer topics.
So that's what I'm going to do to strengthen my prayer habit this next month.
This might not be the right prayer method for you, and that's okay.
I would encourage you, however, to find a method that works for you. Schedule in some prayer time and be intentional with how you use that time.
Making prayer a priority here at the farmhouse,
There are so many things that I love about spring in the Midwest.
The return of color, as yards turn green again and flowers start to pop out.
New babies on the farm, fresh calves and sweet baby chicks.
Since we bought our previous house, back in 2006, Mr. Farmhouse and I have loved sitting outside watching thunderstorms. We would sit out on the back patio at the previous house and when we moved into the farmhouse, the front porch became a favorite place to watch storms roll in from the west.
When the storm gets close enough that we almost can't handle the rain and wind, we gather up our belongings and rush inside to watch from the safety of the living room windows.
On the morning of May 4th, however, I was at work when the storms started to brew out in eastern Kansas. Mr. Farmhouse was at work, as well. The two younger girls were at my parents' house and our oldest had stayed the night at her cousin's house.
Because we were handing out meals at school in a drive-through fashion, I had been keeping my eye on the radar. There wasn't much happening around school (about 30 miles northwest of where we live), but the forecast was looking kind of scary down at the farmhouse.
When it looked like it should be over with, my sister-in-law had sent some pictures of their backyard. Their chicken coop was flipped over, their swing-set was all but demolished, and let's just say their trampoline had seen better days.
The farmhouse sits about 3/4 of a mile north of their house, so I started to wonder if there might be a chance that the same straight-line winds had hit our place.
I called Mr. Farmhouse and asked him to head out there on his lunch hour and check things over.
I had a virtual meeting coming up, but I couldn't shake the feeling that there might be some damage on our property, so I made arrangements to participate in the meeting from my phone.
I climbed in the car, secured my phone into the cradle on my dash, and headed home.
About 15 minutes into the meeting, as I was visiting with my colleagues about what the fall might look like at our school, I got a notification text message from Mr. Farmhouse. I ignored it, thinking I would check it out after the meeting got over. Then another text came through. Still, I continued through the meeting. Finally, he called.
I clicked out of the meeting to answer and I could immediately tell Mr. Farmhouse was shaken up a bit. "It's not good. I think the house is okay, but you'd better get here soon."
Within ten minutes, I was home.
As I came upon our property, I could see bits of our barn strewn about through the pasture. There were pigs out of the pen, grazing in the yard. The carport looked as if it had been picked up and set back down, and the girls' playhouse and basketball goal were both toppled over. The garden was destroyed and parts of the roof of the house were peeled up.
I knew that the rebuilding process would be a little inconvenient, but that evening when I climbed into bed, I just prayed and thanked God that we were all still here. That the damage had not been worse...and that we had only lost "stuff".
As we have been wrapping up the school year, our last few weeks have also been filled with learning about insurance claims and scheduling contractors to come finish the work we can't do ourselves.
We have started working on rebuilding the girls' play-set and spent a full day cleaning up the debris from the barn.
Thank You for home insurance and friends & family to help with clean up.
And thank You for Mr. Farmhouse and these sweet farm girls.
Thanking God as we put the farm back together here at the farmhouse,
PS. During the same storm that blew the barn away, a tragic storm-related accident happened not very far from our home. Please join me in praying for the friends & family of a sweet, sweet woman who lost her life in this storm. Pray for the children who witnessed the tragedy, the family who is putting the pieces back together after the tragedy, and this woman's granddaughter. Thank you, thank you, thank you.