Matthew 14:23-And after He had dismissed the crowds, He went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone.
The last few weeks as I have been reading chronologically in the New Testament of the Bible it has really stood out to me how much Jesus prayed while He walked on this Earth. This is such a powerful message to us today. Jesus prayed often. He needed prayer and He often talked to the heavenly Father while He was spreading the gospel during his life on earth. The verses in the New Testament about praying remind us how important it is to ask God for our every need. The Bible shows us that Jesus prayed alone like the verse above states. He also prayed for other people. In Matthew 19:13 it says, “Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray.” And Luke 9:28 reads, “Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray.”
These verses illustrate it is important to find our own quiet time to pray so we can focus and give our full attention to God in our heartfelt words. The scripture also shows us we should pray for others and pray together with each other. There are so many ways to pray and it is important to work all types of prayer into our daily life.
Even at times when we don’t know what to pray for or we are too emotional to come up with our own words, Jesus gives us instructions. In Matthew 6:5-15 and Luke 11:1-13 He gives us the words of the Lord’s Prayer. His disciples asked him directly to teach them to pray and Jesus responded with the words of the Lord’s Prayer. The prayer starts out giving praise to the Father.
In Jesus’ final hours on this Earth as He was being crucified He cried out to his Father. He prayed the night before his crucifixion in the Garden of Gethsemane and Luke 22:24 says, “And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Jesus prayed until the very end of his earthly life. Let us learn from Jesus’ example and be reminded that anytime of the day, anywhere is a great time for prayer.
Prayer for the week: Dear God, Your son Jesus gave us a great example of the power of prayer. He faithfully turned to you many times in prayer as He walked on this Earth. As we begin this new year, help us to turn to you more often in prayer. Open our eyes and our hearts so we can see what to pray for and in those times when we have no words, let us turn to the Bible and pray the prayer that Jesus taught to His disciples. In Your Name we pray. Amen.
What ways do you make time for prayer in your daily life?
Have you had any answered prayers recently where you clearly see God at work?
Does anyone else feel like the New Year is quickly passing by? I had so many good intentions right at the beginning of the year but each day passed quickly and already we are half way through the month. Today, I have decided it is time to look at my healthy priorities for this year. The blog posted below was written last year. It is all still so true so I made a few updates and posted it again. When I read through it is had me thinking healthier choices!
I love the month of January because getting healthier is one of the top things people are talking about. I am fortunate because in my business we see people every day who want to get healthier. But I love all of the excitement and interest people have in getting healthier as a New Year rolls around. Now just so you know, I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions because so many times people make resolutions and quickly get discouraged and do not keep with it…But this time of year gets us talking about healthy lifestyle changes. My hope is this interest and longing for a healthier life will last not just through the month of January but all year long.
There are many people who make commitments at the start of the year to get healthier and they do just that one little step at a time. They know the importance of making changes and they take that step and decide to start somewhere. So let 2015 be the year you decide to step it up a notch when it comes to taking care of your body.
So where do we start? Here are some recommendations that can be implemented into your daily life.
- First off, make sure you drink enough water. I know, I know we hear this all of the time but it is a simple way to be healthier. And when I say drink water here I mean straight water. If you need to flavor it use citrus fruits but do not add artificial flavorings or sweetener to the water. And all of those “healthy” flavored waters do not count as a daily serving of water. The harmful additives are far worse than the benefits of the water. Citrus Zinger water bottles are one of my favorite ways to flavor water. Read more about it here. And they just came out with new style bottles for this year. We all know water is important but the reality is most people are dehydrated. A good suggestion is to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces each day! And if you drink soda, you should drink an extra glass of water for each soda you drink.
- Pick one unhealthy food or drink in your diet to cut back on or eliminate from your diet. For example if you are a soda drinker cut back on how much you drink and see if you can get to the point of not drinking any at all. If you love carbs make an effort to cut back on carbs. Do you eat too much processed food? Then cut back on your processed food intake. Remember, this is a process and as you start to change your eating habits you may feel some not so pleasant changes at first. Much of the food we eat today is highly addictive! So changing our eating habits has to be very intentional and it is hard work!
- The beginning of the year and at the change of each season is a great time to complete some sort of a detox. There are full body cleansing products you can purchase to help remove toxins from your body. Fifteen years ago this February, is when I completed my first whole body cleanse and started to get a handle on some of my bad habits including my 6 to 8 cans of diet soda a day and a pot of coffee. Just this simple change of not drinking pop and as much coffee helped me start to feel better almost immediately once the horrible side effects from cutting back on caffeine wore off. Even adding a greens drink to your daily regimen can help the body detoxify. Or you can complete a detox eating program like the 21 Day Sugar Detox or the Whole 30 Challenge. There are many options available. It is so important to give our digestive system a break and a cleanse of some sort can help.
- Start reading food labels. Be aware of what is in the food you are eating. If it has a lot of ingredients and words you cannot pronounce you probably should not be giving it to your body for fuel! Our bodies will only perform as well as the food we give it. We have the choice to fuel our bodies with whole, nutritious food or processed garbage. For me, reading labels gets me pretty fired up and discourages me from buying things I should not eat.
5. Eat more fruits and vegetables! These wonderful, colorful foods are loaded with vitamins and nutrients and they help us feel full.
6. Find time to prepare your own meals. (And preparing a meal does not include throwing a frozen pizza in the oven to bake). We are all very busy but we cannot use being busy as an excuse to not eat well! So throw that excuse out the window and find a little time each week to cook. Remember it is what we give our body that makes it work well. The better we eat, the better we feel and the better we can handle our busy lives. We all have different schedules so you have to find what works best for you. For me, Sundays are a good day to do food prep for the week. I like to make recipes in big batches and then freeze items to use through the week and beyond. Also, when we are preparing meals on the weeknights we make plenty so we have leftovers for lunch the next day.
7. If you are committed to becoming healthier, clean out your cupboards. Gradually use up the unhealthy foods you have hanging around your kitchen. It is much easier to eat healthy and feed your family better when there is not junky food in the house. If you have a lot of groceries stocked up this might take awhile but it is worth it. And for some of you—you might just decide to throw unhealthy items away to get rid of them quicker. Shortly after Christmas I did this. I threw away a few gluten free sugar cookies that were left from my family celebration. By this point, I was so sugared out I knew I could not keep them around. And remember if getting your kitchen loaded with healthy foods is your goal, you have to quit buying the junk each time you go to the store.
Small, consistent changes lead to big, life-long results! You can do this!