Fearfully Wonderfully Me

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Category: Purity

3 Myths About Prayer (And How to Pray Authentically)

Jesus, I need You right now. How many times have I whispered these words–or sobbed them–in desperation.

When nothing else works, and all of my strength is used up, I finally let down my defenses and say the simple words. I let God in.

But that’s the thing about prayer that most people don’t understand. Even I didn’t understand for the longest time. Prayer is not a one-way request line to heaven, but an intimate conversation with God.

Sometimes it’s messy. Sometimes it’s silly. But it’s always real and always raw.

Of course, we must unlearn a lot of what culture and other Christians have taught us about prayer in order to fully dive into these real conversations with Jesus. Read on to learn 3 myths about prayer, and how you can pray boldly and authentically.

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3 Myths About Prayer and How to Pray Authentically

Myth #1: Prayer Needs to Sound Holy

You know holy prayers. The ones that sound all reverent, tip-toeing around raw human emotions that are a little undignified or ugly.

The one thing we must understand to combat the lie of holy prayers is that holiness is not something we can attain by ourselves. If we could, then Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross would be a wasted effort.

And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. (Hebrews 10:10 NIV)

Let me tell you this, lovely one. The death of our beautiful Savior was not in vain. And when we choose to give our lives to Christ, we are giving up our own false sense of holiness for His true holiness.

So if our prayers don’t need to sound holy, what should they sound like?

The opposite of a holy front is vulnerability. God doesn’t want what sounds good or proper, He wants what’s in your heart. The pain, the fear, the anger, the joy. All of it. Of course we should still view God with reverence, but we can worship God’s holiness and still be vulnerable.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. (Psalm 73:21-23 NIV)

The author of this Psalm isn’t pretending, nor is he holding back. Real vulnerability is humility. It’s trusting God enough to surrender our feelings, and in return, let Him fill us with His Holy Spirit.

Myth #2: Prayer Needs to Be Long

Have you ever been in a prayer circle with someone who takes forever to pray? Of course, they might just have a lot on their heart, and that’s cool. But I’ve noticed that when someone around me prays long and intricate prayers, I want to copy them.

God isn’t impressed by the length of our prayers. Longer prayers aren’t more attention getting, nor do they grant us more favor.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14 NIV)

Our prayers do not need to be loud and showy in order to get God’s attention. When it comes to prayer, we as Christians can boldly approach God and ask Him anything. He hears us, and He knows just what we need.

Instead of longer prayers, we need bolder prayers. If we have the confidence that God is listening and is always there to help us, then we are empowered to pray boldly and simply. 

Myth #3: Prayer Needs to Be Repetitive

I know I’ve been here. My anxiety-prone mind loves repeating prayers–just to be sure God hears me. As if repeating a specific prayer will make things go my way.

But we know prayer doesn’t work like that. God already knows our thoughts (Psalm 139:2) and is not impressed by a lot of fancy words.

And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:7-8 NKJV)

God is a good Father whom we can trust. Our repetitive prayers can be a sign that we don’t trust Him to do what is right in our lives.

This doesn’t mean we can’t ever repeat a prayer. In fact, the Bible tells us to be persistent in prayer. The difference is in our level of trust.

When we don’t have faith that God will come through for us, we repeat our prayers out of fear. However, persistent prayer can be a reminder of how faithful our Heavenly Father is.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)

Prayer looks different for everyone, and there is no correct length or specific words to say in order for God to hear us. True prayer is a conversation with Jesus. It is pouring your heart out and then waiting in God’s presence. It is vulnerable, bold, and persistent.

Authentic prayer is when our heart’s desire is to connect with the heart of God.


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Check out my 3 Myths About Purity post here! 

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3 Myths About Purity (And the Freeing Truth)

There’s a girl driving by a church, shaking her head because she knows she’ll never fit in. She’s slept with more than just one guy, and is now too dirty to enter heaven. How could God ever want her when all she was good for was her body?

There’s a girl in youth group, pretending to have it all together. No one needs to know that she went just a little too far with her boyfriend. It was no big deal anyway. It was just a passionate make out session, right?

There’s a girl listening to a sermon on Sunday morning, nodding her head to the line about purity. She has been saving herself for marriage for over two decades now. She takes great pride in her purity, and knows it will bring her the reward of a good husband one day.

Do any of these girls resonate with you, lovely one? I know I can relate. The thing is, all three of these girls are buying into the myths about purity that have pervaded our culture.

It’s time to find the truth in God’s Word and be set free. It’s time to expose the 3 myths about purity, and discover what true purity really is.

Myth #1: Purity is Achievable 

Perhaps the biggest lie surrounding purity is that it comes from our own actions. That somehow, we can make ourselves pure if we act a certain way or abstain from certain things.

If this were true, then we wouldn’t need a Savior. The truth is, all of us give into issues with lust or sexual boundaries in some way–even if it’s just in our minds.

Purity encompasses more than just sex anyway. Sin is what makes us impure. And guess what? We’re all affected by it. Since the fall of man in the book of Genesis, we have all suffered from the stain of sin.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7 NIV)

When Jesus died on the cross, He sacrificed Himself to free us from all of our sins. We are cleansed only by the power of His blood, not by our own actions.

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Myth #2: Sex is Not Sacred

Another myth about sex is the idea that sex itself is impure or dirty. Just the mention of the word makes us blush, right?

But the  truth is that sex is pure, beautiful, and sacred–in the covenant of marriage.

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 NIV)

God ordained marriage so that a man and a woman could become one in every way, including physically. Sex is for more than just procreation, although that is miraculous in itself. Sex is an expression of powerful love and bonding reserved exclusively for marriage.

God isn’t withholding sex from us because He wants to ruin our fun. He is a good Father who loves His children, and He wants what’s best for us. It can definitely be hard to wait, especially in modern culture. But it’s worth it. 

The world wants to sell us a cheap counterfeit of sex with no limits, but this is damaging. We all know of the consequences of premarital sex. Saving yourself for a loving, Godly marriage will be way more fulfilling than the counterfeit the world has to offer.

Myth #3: Sexual Sin is Unforgivable 

The final myth about purity that needs to be exposed is that once you’ve had sex, or lusted in any way, that you’re beyond redemption.

We tend to treat sexual sin as if it were the worst sin to commit, when in reality, sin is sin. Yes, sexual sin does have earthly consequences that are painful, such as emotional trauma or damaged marriages.

But no matter what you’ve done, you are never beyond God’s salvation. Jesus doesn’t want your perfection. He wants you to submit your life to Him and let His love transform you.

…while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. (Titus 2:13-14 NIV)

Remember those three girls you first read about? It doesn’t matter which one you’ve identified yourself with.  As a daughter of God, you have been called to find yourself in in His Son. The world can never take your purity away when it’s rooted in Jesus.

purity rooted in Jesus

Purity isn’t a chore, and it isn’t something than can be achieved. It does not bring us the reward of a future spouse, nor does it condemn us forever. When we choose to fully give our lives to Christ, we then discover what purity really is–a life surrendered to God.


For more on purity, check out this awesome post by blogger, Ashleigh Rich! 

Thanks for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

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My Problem with Christian Dating

Okay, normally I try not to rant on here, but I’ve recently read something that made me lose it.

It was midnight, and I was looking online for devotions for dating couples. And then somehow I stumbled upon some forum post from a Christian girl saying she refused to do devotionals with a boyfriend because she wanted to guard her heart.

Yup. She said even praying together was too intimate–more than sex!

I’m not trying to judge this person, as we all have different convictions. And she did have some good points about making sure people are solid in their faith personally before entering a relationship.

The real problem I’m having is that I see this type of thinking in a lot of Christian relationships.

Guard your heart. Protect yourself. No intimacy of any kind.

No vulnerability.

Why Are We Guarding? 

Sometimes as Christians, we can take scripture and twist it in ways that seem harmless, but are actually out of balance.

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (Proverbs 4:23 NIV)

When Jesus tells us to guard our hearts, it’s not so we can shut people out. We need to guard our hearts from sin so we can love others better–so love can flow from us.

I used to be afraid because when I was younger and not a serious Christian, I was in relationships that I gave my heart into–foolishly.

That’s my nature. I’m caring, and I’m not afraid to love. I did make mistakes, but I’ve also learned a lot and how to do things better.

Because of what I read online from Christian articles, I honestly feared I would never find love again. That I had given too much of my emotions or self away. That God would deny me a future with someone to love.

But as always, Jesus proved me wrong. And right now I’m in a relationship with someone amazing (although imperfect–just like me) who loves Jesus too.

The Risk of Love

Lovely one, please remember that you are the daughter of a God of redemption. A God of grace.

A God of love.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16 NIV)

Jesus didn’t die for us to shut ourselves away from love or to think we are unworthy of love. He died because He saw us–in our sin and mess–and said we were worth the cost.

Love isn’t safe. It’s risky. But love isn’t something to guard yourself from.

After all, the cross was pretty risky, right? Why on earth would we be commanded to love one another if it was easy?

Finding Freedom

Don't be afraid of love dating quote

Of course, we shouldn’t throw caution to the wind with dating. Love and marriage are important commitments. We should pray and read the Word while asking for wisdom.

But let’s stop dating like scared little girls who won’t let anyone in and calling it Biblical, okay?

Date with purity and reverence for God. Take things slow. Pray and read the Word together. As you grow closer, you will develop a spiritual intimacy that will show whether or not you can ever have a healthy marriage.

This advice isn’t just for dating relationships either. Learning to love with honesty and vulnerability is the key to having thriving relationships in all areas of our lives. Of course it doesn’t always come easily, but God walks with us one step at a time.

Don’t be afraid to love. It’s the very thing that sets us free.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)

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Friends With Benefits, Jesus, and Love

I was in in the middle of eating lunch and thumbing through my friends’ Snap Chat stories when an article from Cosmopolitan about how to pull off having friends with benefits caught my eye. What I didn’t know is that God was going to use this article to remind me of what love really is all about.

At first, my hope was that this article was only click bait sarcasm on why being friends with benefits is a terrible idea.

And of course, I was wrong.

So wrong in fact, that the article actually had some celebrity psychologist spewing advice on how to have casual sex with a friend and not get hurt–or fall in love. The irony is that the author kept warning about the risks and pain that often come from these causal relationships.

Listen lovely reader, if you’ve ever been in a friends with benefits relationship or know someone who has, I’m not trying to point a judgmental finger. I get it. I may never have been in this kind of a “relationship” before, but I know what it’s like to use someone (even if unintentionally) for the sake of your own benefit.

Because that’s what being friends with benefits is. It’s using someone–a guy or girl who’s a friend–for pleasure without the sacrificial commitment of a relationship.

I see this a lot in all kinds of relationships–whether it be family, friends, or romantic relationships. We, as sinful human beings, would rather gain a reward and minimize our risks of getting hurt. We date people for years and even move in with them–as long as we don’t have to commit ourselves for life.

Only that’s not the way we were designed, and that’s exactly why we keep getting hurt. Using people isn’t respectful or kind–and it certainly isn’t love, which is the force God wants to encompass our lives.

So what is love?

 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15:13 NIV)

True love means sacrifice. Jesus didn’t just walk around Earth saying that He loved us. He proved it.

He showed us by touching a man with leprosy, who was shunned by the community (Luke 5:12-13).

He showed us by kneeling down like a servant to wash His disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17).

Jesus’ ultimate act of love was laying His life down on the cross for sinners–for you and me–so we could have an eternal relationship with God.

True love isn’t about what you can get, it’s about what you can give. It’s an action, not a feeling. It’s the power that can truly make a difference in someone’s life. True love is living less like the world around us and becoming more like Jesus.

We don’t need to fill the aching desires of our hearts with empty casual relationships. We need to fill our hearts with the compassionate love of God, which is a love that never fails–even when we do.

Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (1 John 3:18 NIV)


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Real Talk~What the Bible Says About Sex

This is a guest post by the creative and fun blogger, Dainty M. I think it’s awesome how boldly she wrote on such a complicated topic. I hope you all enjoy!


So this a topic most people shy away from, especially me. I’m a conservative, and I can come up with a thousand other topics to write about before this one. But this remains a core part of every young adult’s life, and God has led me to write on it. I’m no pro when it comes to stuff like this, but I believe in His guidance.

So yes, young adults are said to be sexually active. Generally, youths are hot blooded, so it’s no surprise we are active in almost everything. This post is particularly geared at becoming Godly young people. A lot of youths struggle with the issue of sexual immorality. For some it’s a temptation while for others, there’s no  conviction for sexual abstinence at all.

Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.  Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

 

You Don’t Own Yourself.

Okay, M…last time I checked, no one else owned me.

Wrong! God bought you with His blood. You belong to Him. Your body houses the Holy Spirit inside you. The Bible says your body is a temple. That makes it so sacred. It’s meant to be holy and acceptable to God at all times, fit for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. So before you go around having sex outside of marriage, remember this.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1).

Sex Outside of Marriage is Sin.

That’s the hard truth, but the truth sets us free. 1 Corinthians says every other sin one does is outside the body, but sexual sin is against one’s own body. That’s like an armor tank shooting everything outside and then shooting itself. Simply put, you’d be shooting yourself in the foot if you get entangled in sexual immortality.

You are not as strong as you think.

Believe me, I know this. Personally, I paraded in the cloak of being invincible when it comes to sexual immorality… until I fell face down. And that’s when God got my attention and explained what flee actually means.

You can’t negotiate clearly when sex is on the table. No wise decision has been made in the sexual ‘heat of the moment’. Why do you think people say ‘it was a mistake?’ That’s because it happens so fast. Suddenly, your fast working brain shuts down and logic is thrown right out the window. That’s why the Bible says ‘Flee!’ To flee is to run away from a place or situation of danger. No waiting to talk or negotiate–run away!

Sex is a Blessing

I’ll admit it, I’ve been of the school of thought that sex is bad. But that’s a misconception. Sex, in the right context of marriage, is a beautiful gift from God. Paul admonished:

It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. (1 Corinthians 7:1-2)

I know some of us may have gotten mixed up with sexual immorality already, but these truths will help you as you move forward. And hey, if you are still struggling with this sin right now, I implore that you repent.

It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done it or with who–you can still be redeemed. God loves you but hates the sin. He loves you so much that He wants you to return to Him in repentance. That’s the best deal there is dear.

Check this out:

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

Thank God we have an advocate who gets us. He knows what it means to be weighed down by the flesh, but He was able to live above sin and so can we!

Repent, and enter boldly to the throne of grace and obtain the mercy and grace to help you overcome sexual immorality.

With love,

M. 


I hope you like this post! For more writing by Dainty M, check out her blog here.

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