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The Wise Woman Builds Her House…

January 5, 2009

The best part of my two-week vacation from school was the much-needed time to refocus on Jesus.   I spent hours redoing my prayer notebook, choosing a Bible reading plan, and updating my iPod with new worship playlists. It has been glorious!

Here is a little walk through my current tools that encourage me to spend daily time with my Savior:

1. The Everyday with Jesus Bible. I LOVE this Bible. It has a traditional one-year reading plan (OT, NT, Psalms, Proverbs) but I really like the devotions by British Bible Teacher Selwyn Hughes. They are meaty without being overwhelming.   Also, this Bible is the Holman Christian Standard translation- a nice change from the New Living and NIV. Love, love, love.

2. New Lovely Prayer Notebook. My old Prayer Notebook was very disorganized. (Plus, I had started writing fun recipes in it. Oops.) I spent time decorating a new 3-ring binder and dividing my notebook into four sections:

  • *Good Morning! (I write a short prayer asking God to help me focus on my time with Him. I may also write out a Psalm or listen to worship music while I prepare for my time with the Lord.)
  • *Word (I write notes or thoughts from my daily Bible Reading.)
  • * Praying My Heart (I pray through things in my heart that I need to talk to God about, I pray over my day, and I pray for others.)
  • * Devotional Reading  (I write notes from devotional books I am reading. I usually finish my time with God with one of these books.)

If I complete every section in my notebook, I usually spend about an hour in prayer. However, there is TOTAL freedom for me to spend less time and focus on one or two sections. For example, this morning I only read the Bible and my commentaries during my time with God. That’s what felt joyful to me – so that’s what I did.

3. Commentaries and Devotional Reading. I am currently reading the following books in my prayer time:

Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity by Keri Wyatt Kent

Rick Warrens Bible study Methods:Twelve Ways You Can Unlock God’s Word

The IVP Women’s Commentary by Kroeger and Evans

Women’s Evangelical Commentary: New Testament

4. My New Closet. Last year when I was in counseling for the abuse in my childhood, Hugh set up the extra bedroom as my retreat. I had an entire room to pray and write. Oh, I loved that room! Eventually I no longer needed the room and it became Hugh’s office. Great for Hugh…. Sad for me!   For the last eight months I have not had a place where I can go and be uninterrupted with God – and I noticed how much it impacted my prayer life.

Over the break Hugh and I sat down and figured out a place I could go and pray by myself… our closet. We shoved a chair at one end and I moved everything to one side. The most exciting thing is that my friend Gina  (decorating Queen) is going to decorate my corner! With cute colors! Ribbons! Pillows! Yeah!  (I will post pictures when we finish… possibly with me praying in the closet, asking God to help me not swear anymore!)

5. Great New Worship Music. I spent some serious time fixing my iPod, buying ear buds ( Hugh actually got me some for Christmas… TWO HUNDRED PAIRS!!), and buying some new worship music with an i-Tunes gift card.  I bought “A New Hallelujah” by Michael W. Smith and “Today is the Day” by Lincoln Brewster. Both are wonderful!

Spending this time relaxing in God’s Presence over my vacation was the best thing I could have done for me, my marriage, and my family. I feel like my priorities (which got completely out-of-whack during December) are back in order.  I feel refreshed and ready to go back to teaching this semester!

That was the gift of Christmas to me this year…time to reconnect with the One who tenderly holds my life together.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 5, 2009 10:17 pm

    That sounds completely lovely. I’m so glad for you!

  2. Karen permalink
    January 5, 2009 10:23 pm

    A prayer closet that really is a closet…how cool! 🙂

    Seriously, I am glad you have been able to find the time you needed with God over vacation. I tend not to use the word awesome except in reference to God, but spending time alone with Him and renewing your spirit IS awesome.

  3. January 5, 2009 10:51 pm

    I love to hear you talk about your prayer notebook. I need to make one of those for myself. I have always just used a journal or plain notebook but I love how you personalize yours. Great idea.

  4. January 6, 2009 9:00 am

    I can’t remember how I found your blog. Y’know, you link from one blog to the next to the next. Somehow we know people who know each other. Anyway, thank you for sharing your heart!! It is such a pleasure to read your blog and I am totally stealing your prayer journal idea! FANTASTIC!!!

  5. January 6, 2009 11:11 am

    That’s awesome Jess! Thank you for sharing this…it makes me happy for you and it gave me some inspiration for my own prayer/study time. It looks like a few of us will be stealing your prayer notebook idea. 😉

    Thanks Jess! Have a blessed day!!

  6. January 6, 2009 11:11 am

    sounds heavenly!

  7. taylor k permalink
    January 6, 2009 1:52 pm

    awesome post!i really need to put together a prayer basket. I keep wanting to do it, but never get around to it.

    i WILL set time aside and do it before the end of january. while reading today’s blog i made a list of things i need (a bible, devotions, prayer notebook, etc.)

    thanks again for all you do!

  8. Amanda McEwen permalink
    January 6, 2009 2:42 pm

    I love that we are reading the same Bible, same plan and are both diving into commentaries!! Will be praying that we stay hungry 🙂
    Love you

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