The Kimberly Joy Blog

Know Yourself…Be Yourself…Love Yourself – THE KIMBERLY JOY SHOW Fridays at 4:15PM & Saturdays at 6PM on Inspiration 1050 AM & 103.1 FM WGRI (Cincinnati)

Category: Prayer (Page 1 of 2)

Be Thankful

(THE KIMBERLY JOY SHOW: The Thanksgiving Prayer Challenge)

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE THANKFUL
My personal motto is Know Yourself, Be Yourself, Love Yourself. Knowing who you are in God, being who you are with no apologies and loving who you are wholeheartedly includes being THANKFUL to God! When we’re thankful to God, we don’t take what He has done for us lightly or take Him for granted. We are just as thankful for the small blessings as we are for the big ones. For instance, if my dad gives me a brand new car that I don’t have to pay one dime for and that is, in fact, completely paid for with my name on the title, then that is a big blessing.

In my eyes, it’s a big blessing because currently I don’t have the money to pay for a brand new car in full.

On the other hand, if I’m standing in line at Kroger when I realize I’m $4 short, and if the woman standing behind me offers to cover the rest of my bill, then I would call that a small blessing. I consider it a small blessing because I CAN afford $4. As a matter of fact, that actually happened to me. In that particular incident, I miscalculated how much money I had in my purse. Nevertheless, I didn’t worry about it because I wasn’t in dire need of everything I had placed in my cart. However, the woman still offered to pay for the remaining items.

Although it was only $4, I recognized it was still a blessing from God. Let’s be honest, most people wouldn’t do what she did for me. So, when I got to the car and sat behind the steering wheel, I took a moment to thank the Lord for that unexpected blessing.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD WE THANK GOD?
I Thessalonians 5:18 (King James Version) says:

“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

As the verse states, we are to be thankful in every situation. Yes, EVERY situation! I’ve come to realize we can be thankful even in difficult, uncomfortable situations. For example, about 20 years ago my brother, who was a recent high school graduate at the time, was given permission one night to take our dad’s Cadillac, so he could go out with his friends. Later as he was driving home, he fell asleep at the wheel. When he woke up, he realized the car was crashing into a guardrail. In that moment, he decided to open the car door and jump out. Why did he jump out? I don’t think he even knew at the time. Some might say it was instinct, but I say it was an angel of the Lord protecting him because that same Cadillac wound up getting TOTALED!

When he got to a phone, he called our dad. I remember my brother saying how terrified he was of making that phone call because of the condition of the car. Although he was 18 years old and about to go off to college, he just knew he was in serious trouble. When our dad got the call, he was very angry at first. Needless to say, once he saw how bad the car had been wrecked, his anger was suddenly replaced with relief and thankfulness. He no longer cared about that Cadillac. He was just glad his son was able to walk away from that accident with only a bump on the knee. A fancy car could never compare to the life of his son!

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, the time of year when we get together with family and friends to love on each other and EAT, to laugh and EAT, to play and EAT, to watch football and EAT, to shop and EAT, and then to EAT some more. You get my drift, right?

In addition, this particular holiday serves as a reminder that we are to be thankful for our blessings. Naturally, as believers in Christ, every day should be Thanksgiving for us. However, if we were to be honest, that’s not always the case. Sometimes we get caught up in everyday happenings and neglect to thank God.

WHAT IS THE THANKSGIVING PRAYER CHALLENGE?
I want to present you with The Thanksgiving Prayer Challenge. For one week during your daily prayer time, instead of presenting God with a list of things for Him to do, I challenge you to present God with a list of reasons why you’re thankful. In other words, spend time in prayer just THANKING Him. Although Philippians 4:6 tells us to make our petitions known to God, it also tells us to be thankful. Don’t you like it when those around you just appreciate you? God’s the same way! Let me give you an example.

When I was younger, even in my early 20s, I typically only called my father when I needed something, whether it was money or his help. So, whenever I called, he would say something like, “What’s wrong daughter?” or “What do you need?” And that was the norm for us! It wasn’t until I got older, when I realized that, although our dad is always willing to be there for my brother and me, he still wants to feel loved and appreciated. Sometimes, he wants us to call him just to (as he likes to say) “shoot the breeze”. So, now I make it a point to call my dad JUST BECAUSE, and he absolutely loves it!


So, again I CHALLENGE you! Instead of presenting a To-Do list to God, just spend time thanking Him.

Lord I thank You for saving me!
Lord I thank You for waking me up this morning healthy and in my right mind!
Lord I thank you for loving me, for keeping me, for encouraging me, for guiding my footsteps!

Lord I thank you for my family!
Lord I thank You for saving my loved ones!
I thank You for blessing my parents with long lives and healthy bodies and minds!

I thank You for my nieces and nephews, for being a hedge of protection around them every day, for keeping them from being abused and violated in any way and for them growing up to be successful men and women of God!

Lord I thank You for my job, for my home, for my clothes, for my shoes, for my food, for my car!
I thank You God for not giving up on me when I wanted to give up!
I thank You God for loving me when I didn’t know how to love myself!

Lord I thank You for those who are reading this article right now! Thank You Lord for drawing them closer to You and for meeting every need in their lives!
Lord, I thank You!
Lord, I love You!

THE PRAYER OF SALVATION
If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, you can do so right now. I then encourage you to find a good Bible-believing church that will help you grow in your relationship with the Lord.

Romans 10:9 (NIV) says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Please pray the following prayer:

Dear Jesus, I come to You confessing I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe You shed Your blood on the cross and died for my sins, were buried and rose again so I could be free! Please forgive me for my sins and the life I have lived. I confess You Jesus as Lord and accept You as my own personal Savior. According to the Word of God, I am now saved! Hallelujah! I AM FREE!

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF GOD!!!!!

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Reaping the Consequences of What You Speak

HOW MIGHT YOU REAP THE CONSEQUENCES OF WHAT YOU SPEAK?
As I shared in my previous article “A Flame of Fire: The Power of Words,” God designed words to carry power or authority. When we read the first chapter of Genesis, we see that God spoke things into existence. He then gave Adam authority to speak when He instructed him to name all the animals. Therefore, just like Adam was given authority to speak, we too have been given authority. Proverbs 18:21 (New Living Translation) says:

“The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.”

Wow! That’s a strong statement. We reap the consequences of what we speak! For instance, people either achieve greatness or fail to ever achieve because of words. Some children excel in school, and then later flunk out of high school because of words. Many choose to live their lives to the fullest, while some see suicide as their only option because of WORDS!

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is a quote I heard often as a child and even quoted myself. Although I understand the message the originator was trying to convey, simply reciting what seemed to be a catchy phrase didn’t stop the pain certain words caused me.

I wrote an article last year for my blog entitled “Why Can’t I Be Beautiful?” In the article I discuss how certain words caused me to feel ugly as a teenager. The boy who called me ugly didn’t throw sticks and stones to break my bones or put his hands on me at all. I remained physically intact, but mentally and emotionally I was a mess! I was humiliated and felt alone because no one sitting with us in the school cafeteria on that particular day came to my aid. Even though nobody laughed at his hurtful comments, they didn’t try to defend me either. So, I assumed they agreed with everything he said, which only made me feel worse. Although that was the only time he ever insulted me, his words stayed with me for years to come.

HOW CAN YOU MOVE PAST HURTFUL WORDS?
That young man’s words were powerful enough to knock me down, but his words couldn’t destroy me! Why not? I have family and friends who have always loved and encouraged me. Most importantly, I have a relationship with God, and my Heavenly Father loves me with an everlasting love! While I was still in high school, God began directing me to His Word and teaching me how to cast down the words of hate and embrace His words of love! So, I now know that God’s Word and the words of life I choose to speak can overpower and annihilate all lies of the enemy!

As a matter of fact, God wants us to speak His Word in every area of our lives and in every situation. God’s Word gives us life, hope, encouragement, instruction, guidance, and so much more.
Do you realize that you believe what you speak and you live what you believe? If I believe I am a failure then I’m going to talk like a failure and throughout my life I will continue to fail. On the other hand, if I believe I am a success, then I will speak like a person who is successful and will encounter successes along the way. However, it doesn’t mean everything will always go well. Facing disappointments from time to time is part of the human experience. Nevertheless, how and how soon we move past the disappointments are contingent on the words we speak. In the midst of trouble, heartache, and pain, we should still speak God’s Word! We should still speak words of life!

WHAT IS THE BEST USE OF OUR WORDS?
As children of God, not only should we be mindful of how we speak concerning ourselves, we must be mindful of how we speak concerning others. In my article “A Flame of Fire: The Power of Words,” I mentioned how a number of Christians were insulting a particular pastor all over social media because they didn’t agree with how he handled the hurricane situation in Houston. Personally speaking, I don’t believe God was pleased with what was being said about this gentleman. James 3:9-10 (NLT) say:

“9 Sometimes [the tongue] praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes [the tongue] curses those who have been made in the image of God.

10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”

Whether you and I agree with a particular individual, we must remember that he or she is still God’s child. Even if we’re complaining and criticizing about something that is true, God STILL holds us accountable for our words. If we don’t like what we see or hear, what is the best use of our words? Yep, that’s right…..PRAYER!
Otherwise, we’re only adding fuel to the fire, and God is not getting the glory. Consider the children of Israel in the book of Exodus. As Moses was leading them to the promised land of Canaan, they often complained because things weren’t going their way. As a result of their complaining and disobedience, it took them forty years to reach their destination. Their choice of words delayed the promise!

So, beginning today, I encourage you to really think before you speak. You don’t want YOUR choice of words to delay God’s promises for YOUR life!

THE PRAYER OF SALVATION
If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can do so right now. I then encourage you to find a good Bible-believing church that will help you grow in your relationship with the Lord.

Romans 10:9 (NIV) says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Please pray the following prayer:

Dear Jesus, I come to You confessing I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe You shed Your blood on the cross and died for my sins, were buried and rose again so I could be free! Please forgive me for my sins and the life I have lived. I confess You Jesus as Lord and accept You as my own personal Savior. According to the Word of God, I am now saved! Hallelujah! I AM FREE!

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF GOD!!!!!

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A Flame of Fire: The Power of Words

WHY IS THE HUMAN TONGUE COMPARED TO A FLAME OF FIRE?
Words have power! Did you know that? As a matter of fact, in the third chapter of James, the writer compares the tongue to a flame of fire. Now, why would he compare that tiny organ, which God so carefully placed inside your mouth to assist with eating and speaking, to fire?

It’s safe to assume we all know what fire is. So, what does fire do? For one, a fire can provide light. Now, we are living in the 21st century where we use light bulbs to see. But, what if the power goes out for whatever reason? You use your cell phone, you say? But, what if your phone dies and you have no way of charging it because there’s no power? You use a flashlight? Yeah, but what if you don’t have any batteries for the flashlight? What do you do then? You can use a match or a lighter and light some candles, and the little flames that appear will provide you with the light you need.

Besides providing light, a fire can also provide heat for keeping you warm and for cooking your food. However, if something goes wrong with that fire, those same flames that were giving you light and heat can get out of control and cause considerable damage, even destruction. People have lost homes, businesses, cars, valuable items, and, unfortunately, loved ones, due to an out of control fire.

James 3:6 (New Living Translation) says:

“And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body…..”

Although very small, the human tongue is capable of doing some serious damage, even total destruction. Why?! Words have POWER!

WHAT IS POWER?
When an individual has power, he or she has the ability to make things happen or to get something done. A person with power has authority or even control over an individual or a group of people. Power can also refer to having might or strength. Therefore, God designed words to have power! How do I know? Let’s go back to the beginning. In Genesis chapter one, the sun, moon, stars, sky, ocean, grass, trees, flowers, and animals were all formed by God. HOW??? God simply spoke WORDS. Genesis 1:3 (King James Version) says:

“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”

Then verse 11 says:

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.”

In other words, it HAPPENED…..it happened just as God said it would.

Verses 26 and 27 say:

“26 And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them.”

As the verses state, we are created in God’s image and likeness. Thus, the words we speak are also designed to carry authority or weight. Consider the first man Adam. According to Genesis 2:19, God gave Adam authority to name all the animals. Although God created them, He allowed Adam to determine what each animal would be called. Whatever Adam named each animal, God approved it. So, just like Adam, our words have power. Therefore, God teaches us in His Word to be mindful of what we speak. Ephesians 4:29 (New International Version) says:

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

HOW DOES GOD WANT US TO SPEAK?
God doesn’t want His children speaking words which are corrupt or unhealthy to those who hear them. Rather, He wants us using words that will help someone. For example, a few weeks ago, a well-known pastor received a lot of backlash during the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. Because he has a very large ministry, he was accused of not coming to the aid of flood victims as quickly as he should have. Even after he opened the doors of his church, many people still attacked him.

He was accused of being selfish, money hungry and a false prophet. He was basically called everything but a child of God——even a demon!

Honestly, the things people said about this particular man disturbed me. I wasn’t so much bothered by non-believers, but by those who profess to be believers in Christ. Why? Instead of just using their words to uplift and pray for this man and for the flood victims, they spent valuable time using their words to try to tear him down, especially on social media.

Whether a person is right or wrong, God still holds us responsible for what we say. So, I encourage you to be mindful of your words. Recognize that the words you speak carry much power or weight. Do you want God to hear you using your words for evil or for good?

THE PRAYER OF SALVATION
If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you can do so right now. I then encourage you to find a good Bible-believing church that will help you grow in your relationship with the Lord.

Romans 10:9 (NIV) says, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Please pray the following prayer:

Dear Jesus, I come to You confessing I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe You shed Your blood on the cross and died for my sins, were buried and rose again so I could be free! Please forgive me for my sins and the life I have lived. I confess You Jesus as Lord and accept You as my own personal Savior. According to the Word of God, I am now saved! Hallelujah! I AM FREE!

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY OF GOD!!!!!

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Rest in God

(The Kimberly Joy Show: Rest in God…Pray)

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DON’T REST IN GOD?
In the previous article, I discussed the importance of “Resting in God”. God expects us to rest in Him. He expects us to depend on Him, to trust in Him, and to give Him all our concerns. When we don’t rest in God, we open ourselves up to stress and anxiety, which can cause us to become ill. We may also find ourselves making choices that are outside His will.

I know firsthand that when I don’t rest in God, I only make the situation worse, and I wind up regretting it. Then I have to, in a sense, start all over and do it right the next time around. Like a child who is in school, I can’t move to the next grade or to the next level until I pass the test, until I learn everything I’m supposed to learn…..until I do it GOD’s way! Doing it God’s way is having faith in Him! That’s all resting in God is….having complete faith in God! Hebrews 11:6 (King James Version) says:

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him [God]: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is [God], and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

Having faith in God is what pleases Him. If we have total faith in God, then we’re going to live our lives submitted to Him. If we lack faith in God in any areas of our lives, then we’re not going to submit to God in those areas. For example, perhaps you are a smoker, and God has instructed you to give up smoking. You KNOW God spoke to you. Even though you crave cigarettes, God is telling you to stop smoking.

However, you haven’t stopped smoking because you have more faith in how you FEEL, than you do in the POWER of God. God didn’t say it was going to be easy. He just said to have faith in Him and quit!

Now, by using smoking as an example, I am in no way saying that smoking cigarettes is going to send you to hell. Nevertheless, if we say we trust God with our lives, then we have to really trust Him and stop using unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with every day life circumstances. Smoking, alcohol, overeating, or sex outside of marriage are common examples of what people use to COPE with life. But, we’re not supposed to COPE. We’re supposed to REST or have FAITH in God!

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE DO REST IN GOD?
When we rest or have faith in God, as Hebrews 11:6 says, God will reward us. In other words, God will bless us. He will give us what we need and desire, as long as it’s in His will. So, if you’re struggling in a particular area in your life, you have to have faith in God. Understand that faith is not about how you feel, but faith is about what you KNOW! You have to know that God is your deliverer, your healer, your provider, your protector, your keeper! You have to KNOW that God has your back and will always take care of you. When you truly KNOW, then you won’t be led astray by your emotions, by ungodly thoughts that try to enter your mind, or by the suggestions of others. You will rest in God and wait for Him to move on your behalf.

As I shared in the previous article, I am still learning how to CONSISTENTLY rest in God. It’s a decision I have to make on a daily basis. One way in which I find rest in God is by taking time to worship Him.

Did you realize that God loves it when we worship Him? Don’t you too appreciate receiving genuine love from others? When someone sincerely loves me, I’m motivated to return the love. Likewise, when we choose to love on God by worshiping Him, despite what may or may not be going on in our lives, He is motivated to shower us with more of His love and blessings! Yes, God loves us, but there’s more He has for us. He willingly gives us more when He sees our faith in Him.

BESIDES WORSHIP, IS THERE ANOTHER WAY TO FIND REST IN GOD?
Another way in which I find rest in God is through prayer. According to Philippians 4:6, God doesn’t want us to worry about anything, but to pray about everything. No problem is too big for God! Therefore, when we pray we must trust that God hears us and will answer our prayers. If we trust that God honors His children’s prayers, anxiety should not be present. Prayer and worry do NOT go hand in hand. James 1:6-7 (New International Version) say:

“But when you ask [God], you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.”

Does God want us to enjoy our lives? Does He want us to relax, take vacations, and enjoy time with our families? I believe He does! In fact, a couple of years ago, our family had a reunion in Florida. Although I really wanted to go, I knew my money was tight at the time. I kept telling family members I was going, but in the back of my mind I knew I didn’t really have the money. However, instead of making the decision to not go, I prayed about it. Once I prayed about it, I didn’t stress and worry. I didn’t concern myself with HOW I was going to get to Florida. I just asked God to help me and then left it up to Him.

I’m happy to say that God answered my prayer, and in a way I would have never imagined! One night during a revival at our church, one of the local bishops came to the service. Although he didn’t preach that night, our pastor allowed him to minister to a few of us. This same bishop informed me that God had instructed him to sow money into me! As a matter of fact, he said the purpose of the money was for me to go on vacation!

GOD ANSWERED MY PRAYER! No one knew what I had asked God for, except God Himself! God used this man of God to bless me so I could travel to Florida!

And not only that, but my brother invited me to spend time with his family in Georgia following the Florida trip. I didn’t have to pay to get to Georgia or to get back home to Cincinnati. So, God gave me even more than what I originally asked for. Why did God do that for me? He did it because He loves me and because I chose to REST in Him.

In spite of any difficulties you’re facing at the present time, I encourage you to REST in God and give the situations to Him. How is worrying and stressing about it helping you? It’s not, is it? Like award-winning Gospel artists Anthony Brown and Group Therapy sing, God did not create you to worry. God did not create you to fear. But God created you to worship Him daily. So, give it all to God! The Creator always knows what’s best!

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A Tribute to Mom

A TRIBUTE TO MOM
Let me begin by wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to ALL mothers, including those who are like mothers to someone! I honor YOU today, as well! I believe it takes a heart of selflessness to take someone else’s child under your wing to encourage them, teach them, coach them, help them and, especially, love them. I want to also honor the women who have chosen to raise someone else’s child…..or children. Your act of love is so greatly appreciated!

I want to now pay tribute to my own mother Pastor Geraldine Banks, also known as “Gerri”.

Over the years, I’ve seen my mom endure some difficult situations. However, through it all and in spite of it all, she has maintained her integrity and relationship with the Lord.

THE YOUNG BELIEVER
The youngest of seven children, my mom was born to Jeremiah and Eunice Ealey in Collins, Georgia, where she was also raised. If you’ve never heard of Collins, it’s a small town located in Southern Georgia, not that far from the city of Savannah. My grandparents were prayer warriors and ministers, and they taught their children to live for God. Mom accepted Jesus as her personal Lord and Savior and was filled with the Holy Spirit at the tender age of 16.

Because of the teachings my mother received at a young age, she learned the importance and necessity of being devoted to God.

Do you realize that it’s NECESSARY to be devoted to God—-God, our Creator, the one who knows all and sees all? In the midst of a corrupt world, it is NECESSARY to know Him. It is NECESSARY to know Jesus because through Him our lives are made right! My mom and her siblings were taught those valuable, life-changing lessons, and I thank God every day that they instilled those lessons in us—-their children. I am who I am because of my mother’s teachings. I am who I am because of my mother’s prayers. I am who I am because of my mother’s LIFE!

THE SCHOLASTIC ACHIEVER
As a child, my mother excelled in school. She was even honored as the salutatorian of her senior class and graduated from high school at the age of 16. Soon after, she relocated with her mother and siblings to Cincinnati. Mom went on to receive her Business Management education from Southern Ohio College. She then received certified Accounting training from Cincinnati Technical College (now Cincinnati State). Moreover, she received computer training from Scarlet Oaks.

While a student at Southern Ohio, Mom was hired by General Electric Company, where she worked for 34 years before retiring. During her time at GE, she witnessed co-workers and close friends lose their jobs due to layoffs and cutbacks. However, instead of losing her job too, God always blessed her to get moved to a different position. In John 15:7 Jesus says:

“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”

Although Mom has been retired from GE for a number of years now, she still works seasonally as a Tax Professional for H&R Block. As one of her devoted clients, I can say that she is excellent at what she does!

THE PRAYER WARRIOR
As I stated before, my mother has endured some difficult situations. One incident was when my brother BJ almost died when he was just a baby. Although his health seemed to be failing, my mother didn’t give up! She called on my grandmother, aunts and people at the church to pray for his healing. Today, she even talks about the time she sat up with him all night rocking him and praying for him. James 5:16 assures us that:

“…the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man (woman) availeth much.”

Because of the constant prayers of the believers, God healed my baby brother! Now at the age of 39, he is a successful husband, father, teacher and varsity basketball coach.


(Mom, BJ, Me)

THE OVERCOMER
Another difficult time in my mother’s life was when her marriage to our father ended in divorce. I love my dad very much, but as a woman myself, I can acknowledge that my mom was devastated by the break up. Her marriage was supposed to last forever! NEVERTHELESS, she never walked away from God or the church. Through the pain and, even the embarrassment, each day she continued to get up! She put on her good clothes, high heeled shoes, and make up, and she pressed forward!

Mom continued being a devoted mother, sister, cousin, niece, and friend. She continued shopping at the mall, getting her hair done at the beauty salon, going out to eat with family and friends, and taking trips to places, like Florida and the Bahamas. My mother continued living her life! Most importantly, she maintained her relationship with Jesus Christ. She continued lending her beautiful voice to the choir, ministering the Gospel at church and on the radio, and winning souls for the kingdom of God.

THE EVANGELIST
Mom has some awesome testimonies of how God has used her throughout the years. For example, during the late 1980’s while working at GE, she led one of the CEOs to the Lord while sitting in his office. This particular man was secretly dying from the AIDS virus, and through Mom, he came to know Jesus Christ. On another occasion while at work, she noticed her manager slipping away at his desk. In other words, he was dying right before her very eyes, and she called LIFE back into his body! Some years later, she also called LIFE back into the body of a complete stranger while we were at Kings Island Amusement Park. In John 11:25 Jesus says:

“…I am the RESURRECTION, and the LIFE: he that BELIEVETH in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he LIVE…”

Had life totally turned out the way my mother planned? No, not at all! Nevertheless, she was determined to persevere anyway! In fact, she looked past her disappointments and her pain and pursued God even more!

She completed a two-year course in Theology with a focus in Evangelism at Cincinnati Christian College and received certificates in Catechism and other Christian courses. Mom wasn’t going to allow anything or anyone to deter her from her God-given purpose!

THE FAITHFUL
In my previous blog post “Relax! God Is Doing It Now For You! Just Continue in His Work!”, I share the story of Ruth from the Bible. Ruth didn’t worry about what or whom she had lost. She didn’t concern herself with the family and country she had left behind. Instead, she focused on the mission God had assigned her—to take care of her mother-in-law Naomi. As a result of her obedience and faithfulness, God blessed her abundantly.

Just like Ruth, Mom stayed focused. While she was busy working, taking care of my brother and me, and ministering to others, God blessed her with another husband. My mother married Apostle Ron Banks on June 25, 1994. Three years later they founded Power and Faith Ministries.

Through Power and Faith Ministries, many souls have been saved, bodies have been healed from life-threatening diseases like cancer and AIDS, and people have been delivered from the bondage of satan. As they adhere to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, it is their mission to touch and change the world one family at a time.

Ladies…..my sisters…..women of God, I know that everything has not turned out the way you had hoped or planned. But, don’t give up on God and don’t give up on you! People, including your own relatives, will let you down. They’re not perfect. Only God is perfect, and He will NEVER let you down! So, just like my mother Pastor Geraldine Banks, stay FAITHFUL to God and TRUST that He has an even BETTER plan for your life.

(The Kimberly Joy Show: A Tribute to Mom)

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P.U.S.H. Chapter Five

P.U.S.H. Pray Until Something Happens. As believers in Christ Jesus, we are to be prayerful, all day, every day. When we pray, it should always be in FAITH. To pray in faith means we know God is going to answer those prayers. We don’t concern ourselves with how He will answer, or even when; we just know He will!

Why is faith so important? Hebrews 11:6 assures us that having faith in God pleases Him and moves Him to action. We see it in the stories we read about Jesus. Jesus healed anyone and everyone because of their faith. Having complete faith in God motivates us to pray UNTIL something happens. That SOMETHING is WHATEVER we’re believing God for.

As we continue to pray and serve God, He will answer. Even if God’s answer is no, He will still answer. In some instances, God may choose to not give us what we’re asking for or at the time we want it. In those situations, we really have to trust that God knows what’s best for us. Isaiah 55:8-9 say:

“8 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord.

9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

IS IT YOUR TIME?
I have prayed and asked God to bless me with some things I wanted right away. However, God said, “No…..Not now….. It’s not time…..You’re not quite ready.”

I’ll give you an example.

All my adult life, I have desired to be married. From the time I was very young, it was instilled in me that every little girl grows up to become a wife and mother. I saw the theme of love and marriage in almost every TV show and movie I watched. I even became a fan of romantic comedies or chick flicks. I assumed that once I graduated from college, I would have my own Cinderella experience: meet my Prince Charming, get married, move into a beautiful house with a white picket fence, have a couple of children and, live happily ever after!

Nonetheless, after living long enough, I now laugh at that idea! I don’t laugh because it’s impossible. I laugh because it wasn’t MY reality. Once upon a time, I thought that was every little girl’s dream and reality. However, I now know better. I now know that not every blessing comes how or when we expect. I also now know that everyone is not meant to take the same path in life. In fact, I’m still waiting to become a wife. It has taken a long time for me to accept the fact that I didn’t get married when I thought I would or when others expected me to. Honestly, there was a time when I questioned if God was even going to answer that particular prayer. I wondered if it was even meant for me to be a wife. I told God that if it wasn’t in the cards for me to be married, then I needed Him to take away the desire. Needless to say, God reassured me that it is still His will for me to be married.

FATHER GOD KNOWS BEST

Second guessing God is a mistake we sometimes make. If He doesn’t answer according to our timeline, then we want to, either give up on the promise, or go outside His will and take matters into our own hands. However, the last thing we need to do is go outside the will of God. He knows what’s best for us. He knows what we don’t know. He sees what we don’t see.

A well-known Gospel singer, whose name I won’t mention, has shared over the years how her first marriage almost resulted in her death. God had told her not to marry her fiance. Even the day of her wedding, God was warning her not to walk down the aisle. She told God, however, that she couldn’t cancel the wedding. “We spent all this money! All the guests are here! How would it look for me to walk away?!”

She, unfortunately, learned the hard way the importance of obeying the voice of God.

Her husband beat her during their marriage. The abuse got so bad that she eventually drove away in her car with only the clothes on her back. She was afraid he was going to kill her!

I am grateful that God didn’t allow me to get into a situation I would have regretted later. I’m also thankful He gave me time to learn and to grow. My time as a single woman has helped build my confidence. More importantly, I’ve learned how to love myself.

Once upon a time, I didn’t truly love me. I depended on relationships and friendships to validate me as a person. In response to my negative thinking, God said, “NO!!! You only need Me to validate you! If no one loves you, you love you!” So, ladies—and gentlemen—we have to love God and ourselves first before we can expect to love anyone else.

WHAT DOES GOD SAY?
Moreover, don’t believe the notion that you have to be married by a certain age. It’s not about what people think or say. It’s about what GOD knows and says. If you’re concerned about having children, remember that with God, nothing is impossible! If He could do it for people in the Bible like Abraham and Sarah and Zachariah and Elizabeth, He can do it for you, too! God can still enable you to have a healthy child.

Also, I want you to consider another possibility. You have a desire to be a parent, right? Have you ever considered that God may have called you to raise children you didn’t birth? Perhaps you’re to be someone’s mentor, godparent, foster parent, or adoptive parent. So many children are in need of love, support, and a home to call their own. You may just be the person to provide that.

I personally know single women of God who have chosen to raise children they didn’t birth. They didn’t give up on their desires to be mothers, but they opened their hearts and minds to the possibility that God had other plans. One of the mothers, whom I’ve known for years, has done an excellent job raising her daughter to be hard-working, kind and respectful. In fact, her daughter is a senior in high school and will be a college freshman in the fall. Although this young lady’s birth parents were unable to raise her, God had a ram in the bush. Perhaps YOU are someone’s ram in the bush.

Whether you’re believing God for marriage, children or something else of great significance, I urge you to not give up praying and believing. God hasn’t forgotten your prayers. You have to trust He knows what He’s doing. Fighting the process will only further delay the blessing. So, allow God to prepare you for the greater that is coming in your life and continue to P.U.S.H.!!!

(“The Kimberly Joy Show: P.U.S.H. Pray Until Something Happens Part 5”)

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P.U.S.H. Chapter Four

P.U.S.H. Pray Until Something Happens. As believers in Jesus Christ, we are to pray continually. To pray is to communicate with God, to make our petitions (needs and desires) known to Him. Although God knows everything about us, including what we need or want before we open our mouths to ask, He still requires that we come to Him in prayer.

To be able to pray to God—the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the Creator of all mankind, the Creator of every living being—and share what’s on my heart and mind, is a privilege! I’m honored to know that God wants to hear from me. I’m even more honored when I hear from Him.

Let me give you an example.

Early one morning back in January, I was driving to work, while having my regular praise and worship session in the car. During any typical morning session, I may pray, sing a worship song or listen to my Gospel music. On this particular morning while I was worshipping God, I heard Him say, “I love you!” I must say I was pleasantly surprised!

Now, don’t get me wrong! I don’t doubt God’s love for me! He shows me every day in so many ways that He loves me! It was just a special moment to have the Father—the Creator, the God of all—tell me He loves me!!! As a result, I immediately began crying tears of joy. Just hearing God say He loves me reminded me of how AMAZING He is! I could then feel His loving presence even more in the car.

Moments like that particular morning only make my faith in God even stronger. Moreover, I can now hear God’s voice more clearly because I’ve learned the importance of, not only talking to God in prayer, but LISTENING to God!

HOW LONG SHOULD WE PRAY?
As people of God, we understand that we must pray, that we need to pray, that God expects and desires to hear from us. However…..how LONG should we pray? How long should we pray about a particular situation or for a particular person?

UNTIL!!!!!

According to the dictionary, until is defined as “up to (a particular time); used as a function word to indicate continuance (as of an action or condition) to a specified time.” In other words, I Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV) says:

“Pray without ceasing.”

To pray without ceasing doesn’t mean we’re to pray continually for 24 hours. We still have to go to work and take care of our families. We still have to live our lives! Nevertheless, while we’re living, we should consistently keep God number one.

God should always be the first one we consult with any situations we face. In addition, when we go to God in prayer, we must do so in faith, trusting and knowing He’s going to work His PERFECT plan in our lives and in the lives of those around us. I describe God’s plans as PERFECT because GOD is perfect and makes no mistakes. Jeremiah 29:11(NLT) says:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

When God works His perfect plan in our lives, He does it in His own timing. He knows WHEN we’re ready to receive what we’re praying for. For example, consider the youth, particularly teenagers. Some teenagers want to be grown before their time. They want to hurry up and get out of high school. They want their own homes and vehicles. They want to be able to come and go as they please. They want to live like adults because they THINK they’re ready. Since they can now wear adult clothes, grow facial hair or even have a baby, they think they know everything.

However, the truth is they don’t know everything, and they’re not ready for adulthood. So, if they’re pushed out into the real world before they’re prepared, it may be detrimental, even costing them their very lives. Runaway teenagers, for instance, are easily targeted and persuaded into engaging in criminal activities, like drug dealing and prostitution, because they don’t have enough knowledge, understanding, training or strength to make rational, mature, adult decisions.

PREPARE YOURSELF
Therefore, just like a teenager is not ready to be an adult, there are some things you may not be ready to receive from God. Just because the desire is strong doesn’t mean you’re ready. God may show you in a vision what He’s going to do in your life or send one of His prophets to give you a word, but it still doesn’t mean you’re ready. God just wants you to be aware of what lies ahead and to prepare yourself. A huge part of preparing yourself is continuing to pray!

I know it seems like certain prayers aren’t being answered. However, truthfully, the prayers ARE being answered! They’re just being answered according to your readiness. God knows you better than you know yourself! Therefore, He knows if and when you’re ready for certain things to manifest in your life.

Just because some prayers aren’t answered as quickly as others doesn’t mean you and I should stop praying. God still expects us to pray because while we’re praying fervently and consistently, He is working His PERFECT plan. He’s taking us through a process to get us ready spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially to receive those blessings. The beauty of it all is God does that for us simply because He loves us!

Personally speaking, I appreciate God making me wait for some things. I never thought I would get to a point in my life where I would make such a bold statement. However, I now have a greater understanding. In my waiting, I mature and gain more knowledge. I become stronger, wiser, and better prepared for what I’m about to receive. Plus, I have a greater appreciation for what I receive! In fact, I find that we, as human beings, tend to appreciate some things more when we have to wait and work for those things. Whenever a person isn’t ready for a particular blessing, he or she may very well lose it as quickly as it was received.

So, I encourage you to keep praying, praising, worshipping, fasting, attending church, studying God’s Word and obeying God! Allow God to mold you, shape you and make you into the person He has created and called you to be. Don’t fight the process of prayer, but work through it and continue to P.U.S.H!

(“The Kimberly Joy Show: P.U.S.H. Pray Until Something Happens Part 4”)

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P.U.S.H. Chapter Three

P.U.S.H. PRAY UNTIL SOMETHING HAPPENS
As Christians, we are to P.U.S.H. or pray until something happens. We are to pray to God continually. Ephesians 6 tells us that prayer is one of our weapons against the enemy. Notice what I said….ONE of our weapons! So, we have more than one weapon, and they each play a significant role in our lives as believers in Christ.

I shared in my previous blog post “P.U.S.H. Chapter Two,” how God had to show me the importance of approaching Him the right way. I was in the habit of sometimes praying out of my emotions instead of praying in faith. The prayers I prayed out of fear, worry or frustration were not being very effective. For instance, there were times when I would just complain or vent to God, rather than really praying. In those moments I didn’t feel like praying. I only felt like complaining. And for years, God allowed that behavior from me. However, recently, God has revealed to me that it’s time for me to mature. Why? I now know God well enough to know that He will always come through for me. Regardless of how the situation looks, God ALWAYS comes through.

It reminds me one of my favorite Tye Tribbett songs. In the song he says:

“Please be encouraged. This is not the first storm you’ve been through. You’ve been through worse. You didn’t come this far just to lose. He knows your needs, so take no thoughts on what you lost.
God will restore, and this is how I’m sure. If He did it before, He can do it again. Same God right now, same God back then.”

James 1:17 says:

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows.”

So, God our Father, our Creator, never changes. He is our Deliverer, Healer, Restorer, Teacher, Protector, Provider! God is EVERYTHING we need! Because we are human, sometimes we have to remind ourselves of that truth! I know I do!

QUESTION:
Have you ever been in a situation where it looked like it was never going to get better? I know I have! But, guess what? It eventually got better! I got what I needed…..my healing…..my breakthrough…..my deliverance…..my answers…..my instructions!

MY WEAPON OF PRAYER
As I was saying before, recently God told me that whenever I’m faced with a difficult situation, that’s not the time to get in my feelings. Rather, that’s the time to pick up my weapon of prayer!

God instructs me to pray HIS way. What does that mean? I am to pray His Word and His will, not my opinion or someone else’s opinion. To pray God’s way also means to pray in the Holy Spirit. For those who have been empowered to speak in tongues, that gift should be used as often as possible during prayer. Ephesians 6:11-12 say:

“11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.
12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”

In other words, we are faced with Satan and his demons. I Peter 5:8 lets us know that the enemy is always on the prowl trying to destroy everyone he can. So, it’s a must that we stay prayed up.

Ephesians 6:18 says:

“Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”

As the verse says, we are to always pray in the Holy Spirit and to pray for each other as believers in Christ. To take it a step further, we are to pray for ourselves, our families, our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers, our leaders (inside and outside of the church), our communities, our country, the WORLD!

WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY
According to I Timothy 2:1-4, we are to pray for all people because God wants everyone to know the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be saved. That’s right! God wants to see EVERYONE saved! So, as people of God, we have a responsibility to tell others about Jesus and to share our testimonies of what He’s done for us personally. Testimonies can be very impactful. In some instances, sharing your personal testimony is more effective than just telling a Bible story. Your testimony helps those to whom you’re witnessing to really connect with the message.

We, as believers, also have a responsibility to let our lights shine and, again, to pray! When we don’t know what else to do, we can always pray. A perfect example is my own mother Geraldine Banks. Although I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior at a young age, I haven’t always gotten things right. However, what has helped me in my spiritual walk has been my mother. It wasn’t because she always got everything right. She wasn’t supermom (if there’s even such a thing). She didn’t have a manual for “How To Be the Perfect Parent”. What she did have was her relationship with God, the Bible, and a strong prayer life. My mother prayed (and still prays) for my brother and me.

And when I say she prayed for us, I’m not referring to her silent, private prayers. Rather, I’m talking about the prayers I was blessed to hear in the middle of the night. There’s nothing like hearing my mom pray for me. Hearing her walk up and down the hallway, calling out our names, speaking in tongues and interceding for us just reaffirmed her love for us. Her prayers helped me to want to do better and live right.

Again, God is commissioning us to pray, not complain, not worry, but PRAY! I know from personal experience that satan does everything he possibly can to try to convince us not to pray. Why is that? Even he knows that prayer still works! Therefore, we can’t allow ourselves to be fooled by him anymore.

I want to urge you to really use your weapon of prayer, even when you don’t feel like it. That’s why I appreciate being able to pray in the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:26 says that, even when we don’t know what to pray for, the Holy Spirit knows.

If you don’t currently speak in tongues, that’s okay! God still hears your prayers! However, I encourage you to ask the Holy Spirit to empower you to speak in tongues, and He will! Again, praying in the Holy Spirit is a powerful weapon against the enemy. Besides, when we speak in tongues, Satan and his demons have no idea what we’re saying. Remember, unlike God, Satan is not omnipresent or all-knowing.

I believe God is ready to do greater things in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Therefore, children of God, we must continue to P.U.S.H!

(“The Kimberly Joy Show: P.U.S.H Pray Until Something Happens Part 3”)

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P.U.S.H. Chapter Two

P.U.S.H.! Pray Until Something Happens! As believers in Christ Jesus, God expects us to always pray.
I Thessalonians 5:17 says:

“Pray without ceasing.”

Now, does that mean we are to pray nonstop for 24 hours?

No, of course not! Even Jesus, while He was here on earth, didn’t kneel with his head bowed praying for 24 hours. But, what it means is that we are to keep God at the forefront of our lives. Any situation we may face should always be presented to God. Yes, God knows all and sees all, but it is our choice to take all our issues to Him. God assures us in His Word that we don’t have to worry. Philippians 4:6 says:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.”

God always wants to be the FIRST one we consult, not the last resort.

PRAY IN FAITH
According to Luke 18:1, we are to always pray and not faint. In other words, we must never give up on praying to God. When we choose to stop praying, then we are either telling God we don’t need Him or that we don’t believe Him. However, the last thing we want to do is imply that we have no faith in God. Therefore, when we pray we must pray in FAITH. James 5:13-16 say:

“13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

So, whether we’re going through bad times or good times, we are to present EVERYTHING to God. Not only are we to pray, but we are to praise God, as well.

In addition, if you’re sick, you don’t have to stay sick, but you can call for the elders or God’s leaders to pray for you to be healed. Because of the prayer of faith, you will indeed be healed. God will also forgive you of your sins when you ask Him in faith. Moreover, we are made righteous, or we are made right with God, when we confess our sins and ask for His forgiveness. Then when we pray earnestly, with no doubt, we see results.

HOW DO YOU APPROACH GOD?
In the past year or so, God has been dealing with me about how I pray. He has shown me that my prayers are more effective when I approach Him the right way. In fact, God would say, “Pray My way. Pray in Me.” At first, I didn’t quite understand what He meant. However, over time I got a clearer understanding.

Depending on the circumstance and my emotions, I didn’t always go to God with a prayer of faith. Instead, it might be a prayer of worry, a prayer of fear, a prayer of sadness, a prayer of frustration, or a prayer of anger. In fact, there were times when I would approach God with the attitude that He owed me something! Nevertheless, God doesn’t owe me anything! I owe Him everything—–my submission, my worship, my prayer, my faith, MY LIFE!

God had to reveal to me that, on occasion, my prayers were just emotional. In other words, I prayed according to how I felt, and not according to God’s Word. For instance, if Isaiah 53:5 says that with the stripes of Jesus I am healed, then I need to believe nothing less than that. Once I pray for God to heal me, then the only thing God needs to hear from me is my praise and declaration of who He is. God shouldn’t hear me say, “God, You haven’t healed me yet! I’m sooo tired God! When are you going to heal me?!!” That’s not a prayer of faith. Rather, it’s a prayer of frustration and worry.

Approaching God the wrong way doesn’t accomplish anything in the spiritual realm. When I choose to pray emotionally, I’m not demonstrating my faith in God. I’m just appeasing my flesh. However, it’s not about moving my flesh. It’s about moving God! When I offer up emotional prayers, I’m not honoring God or inviting Him into my situation. I’m exalting my emotions and thoughts, instead of exalting God and His Word.

Let me tell you a story (Luke 18:10-14):

One day, two men went into the Temple or church to pray. One man was a Pharisee. Pharisees were religious and political leaders who were highly respected by the Jewish community. The other man was a publican or tax collector. Unlike Pharisees, tax collectors were hated because they collected taxes for the Romans. To make matters worse, tax collectors were also known for charging extra money and keeping it for themselves.

The Pharisee stood by himself to pray. He said, “I thank You, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give You a tenth of my income.”

Now, the tax collector stood at a distance and wouldn’t even look up to heaven because he felt so ashamed. He said, “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.”

Do you know what happened after the two men prayed? The tax collector’s prayer was accepted, and he was made right with God. On the other hand, God did not receive the Pharisee’s prayer.

Why?

Let’s consider how they each prayed. The Pharisee’s prayer was full of self-righteousness. It wasn’t about exalting God or praying sincerely for others. It was all about exalting himself.

The tax collector approached God in faith and humility. That, too, is important——HUMILITY——remembering that we are nothing without God. He recognized that he was a sinner in need of forgiveness and restoration. He wasn’t trying to impress anyone. He didn’t care who heard him. All he wanted was for God to hear him. And He did!

WHO IS GOD?
From this moment forward, as you go before God in prayer, I want to encourage you to always consider how you approach God. I understand that as humans we sometimes get discouraged and find ourselves becoming frustrated, but that doesn’t change who God is. And who is God?

God is our Deliverer, Healer, Restorer, Teacher, Protector, Provider! God is EVERYTHING we need!

So, no matter what the situation is, we should always have faith in God. Mark 11:24 says:

“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

(“The Kimberly Joy Show: P.U.S.H. Pray Until Something Happens Part 2”)

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P.U.S.H. Chapter One

As you continue on your journey in 2017, I encourage you to P.U.S.H.!

Yep! That’s right!

P.U.S.H.!

Pray…Until…Something…Happens!
I love that phrase! To some it may seem like a cliche, but to me it’s the truth! The first time I heard that phrase, it truly resonated with me! I find that as children of God sometimes we give up on God AND on ourselves too easily! However, what we must understand is that some blessings take more time to manifest than others. We’re on God’s schedule, not our own.

2 Peter 3:8-9:

“8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.
9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being patient for your sake.”

So, we may think God is taking too long, but He says He’s right on schedule!

PRAY
The first word in the acronym (P.U.S.H.) is pray.
What does prayer mean to you personally? In other words, in your heart, what does it mean for you to be able to pray to God? Personally speaking, to be able to pray to God means I’m not alone. I can always talk to Him, day or night. How do I know?

Psalms 121:4:

“Indeed, He [God] who watches over Israel [God’s people] never slumbers or sleeps.”

So, I don’t have to feel bad about disturbing God’s sleep when I need to talk. He’s already alert, watching over me.

To be able to pray to God also means I have someone with whom I can share my deepest secrets. How important is that?! And when I share my secrets, I don’t have to worry about being judged or ridiculed. More importantly, when I share my secrets with God I know without any doubt that He won’t tell my business. He won’t get angry with me one day and broadcast what I shared with Him to the entire neighborhood! I can trust Him completely. With God I feel safe.

Let’s consider the dictionary definition of the word pray. I think it’s safe to assume that many people know that to pray means “to communicate with God; to make our petitions (our needs and desires) known to Him.” To take it a step further, as Christians, prayer is part of our covenant relationship with God. In the beginning, we see that God created the first man Adam to have open communication with Him.

Genesis 3:7-10 (This scene takes place after Adam and Eve chose to disobey God by eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil):

“7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the VOICE of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard Thy VOICE in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.”

When God created Adam and Eve, they automatically had an intimate connection with God. So, when they disobeyed God, they felt compelled to hide once they heard God’s voice. They recognized God’s voice because of their relationship and because they had spent time talking with Him. I compare it to a mother who knows her baby’s cry in the midst of other crying babies or a husband who recognizes his wife’s voice in the crowd.

When Adam and Eve sinned, it caused a rift between God and man and brought sin and death into the world. Nevertheless, we can be thankful for Jesus coming to this earth to serve as our Mediator and for bringing us back in right relationship with God our Father!

A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP

II Corinthians 5:17-18a:

“17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
18a And all of this is a gift from God, Who brought us back to Himself through Christ.”

For those of us who now have a personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus, we have direct access to God. Therefore, God expects and WANTS to hear from us. In fact, He loves it when we spend time with Him.

John 10:27:

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

In order for any of us to KNOW the voice of God, we must spend considerable time with Him in worship, in studying His Word, and in prayer. If we know God and His voice, then when another voice (like the serpent or Satan ) tries to speak to us, even just through our thoughts, we’ll know it’s not God! That’s why spending time with God in prayer must include LISTENING! Prayer is not a time to present a Christmas list to God as if He’s Santa Claus.

EVEN JESUS PRAYED
Matthew 14:22-23:

“22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away.
23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.”

Just like in the above verses, throughout the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, even JESUS spent time alone praying to God. He always acknowledged His Father and never did anything without His consent. As believers, we should follow His example. We must never get to a place where we think we don’t need to pray all the time or pray at all. Even if everything is going well, we should still honor God in prayer because, again, prayer goes beyond just asking God to bless us. Rather, prayer is a time to also listen to God. I believe Jesus spent time alone with God sometimes just listening. That’s how He stayed connected and in tune with God.

SHARPEN THOSE SPIRITUAL EARS
I know from personal experience that spending time with God in prayer sharpens our spiritual ears. For instance, several years ago I was informed by my doctor that I had to have surgery, which included a six week recovery period. However, there was one problem! I had just started a Statistics course as part of my Masters program. In fact, it was my FINAL class! There was no way I was going to be able to attend class, if I had to be on bed rest! The only logical explanation was to drop the course and pick it up the next quarter which would delay graduation. I didn’t want to delay things, but I couldn’t prolong the surgery. The night before I was going to drop the class, I asked God to tell me what to do. If there was any possible way I could stay in the class, GOD would know! That night as I slept I heard the voice of God say, “Stay in the class. There will be people who will help you.”

When I attended the Statistics class the next day, I informed my professor of my situation. He was extremely understanding and suggested I collect email addresses from some of my classmates, so they could assist me while I was out recovering. Not only were they willing to help me, but the professor decided to allow the class to take the midterm and final exams at home, which meant that I could use my books, notes and receive help from classmates.

I’ll never forget that experience! It blew me away to know that I heard God’s voice that clearly! More importantly, not only did I hear His voice, I obeyed Him. Although I didn’t know how things were going to initially work out, I had to trust Him anyway!

KEEP LEARNING
Furthermore, how do you build solid relationships and friendships? You spend time together engaging in meaningful conversations. That’s how you learn each other.

Just like in human relationships, when we spend time with God, we learn Him! To learn God is to know God, and to know God is to love Him even more!

(“The Kimberly Joy Show: P.U.S.H. Pray Until Something Happens”)

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