02292016_Lisa-JoBaker_boots

The older I get the more I battle fear.

And I know it’s because the older I get the more scary things I see in the world.

The more marriages I’ve watched disintegrate, the more friends who’ve lost kids, the more diagnoses I’ve heard others fight through, the more friendships fractured, the more opportunity for excruciating loss and bitter conflict.

The older I get the more I see clearly around me this fight that we’re in. This desperate fight for our souls, our children, our families, our friendships.

And I can wake up some days and just lie in bed and watch the ceiling and feel like I’m not sure I have it in me to keep fighting. But every morning my four-year-old pads down the hallway from her room to ours and climbs into bed with me. I tuck her into my side and wrap the comforter around both of us and fold her small hands inside my palms.

She fits like a prayer.

Her hair smells of my perfume because she wears it more than I do and her toes are always cold.

And I don’t want to miss any of it. Not her first days at Kindergarten, not high school or first crushes or her tender, white wedding dress one day or all those babies she likes to name now. I want to be there for all of it like my mom wasn’t for me.

And so the fear climbs like a rising tide in my lungs and I lie in bed next to her and whisper to the ceiling: Dear God, please don’t let me miss it.

Don’t let me miss out on my daughter. Don’t let me make the mistake of running out of energy for my sons. Don’t let me give up on the people around me, the friends who shape me, the work that calls me.

Dear God don’t let this fear choke out all the life that You promised when You said,

“I have come so that [you] may have life and have it in abundance.” {John 10:10 HCSB}

So it came as a sort of weird relief to me to read Priscilla Shirer’s words in her book, Fervent, that, “These areas of greatest fear and anxiety in your life are clues to some important spiritual formation. They reveal . . . that a personalized strategy has been insidiously put in place to destroy your vibrancy and render you defeated” {Fervent, page 6}.

That thought shocked me. To think that as deliberately as Jesus is planning for my, “welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope” {Jeremiah 29:11} the enemy is trying to, “exploit everyone one of them.”

He is as deliberate as Jesus and when I forget that I become easy prey.

There have been too many days I’ve accepted my doubts and my fears as if there was nothing I could do about them. Too many days I’ve felt defeated before I even open my mouth to try and pray. Too many days I’ve been too busy, too tired, too overwhelmed, too afraid to pray.

Maybe you can relate?

Maybe you’ve given up hope?

Maybe you don’t believe any more that prayer is anything more than positive thinking?

Open up the first strategy for prayer outlined in Priscilla’s book, Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan for Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer. Open up and read with me that maybe, all too likely, what you don’t feel, hope, or believe anymore is as a direct result of an enemy who knows if he can rob us of our passion, he can rob us of the weapon guaranteed to, “punch Satan in the face” as my eight-year-old describes it.

“Because praying — reaching outward and upward to Him — is the way His passion comes down” {Fervent, page 35}.

This is the passion I want. Because this is the passion that flips the enemy’s plan on his head and launches, “prayers that are as personalized and devastating as the enemy’s attacks against you” {Fervent, page 35}.

This I must have. I must.

Because the passion of prayer drowns out the shouts of fear.

The passion of prayer is the promise that Jesus hears.

The passion of prayer is the opportunity to bear witness to change. To promises fulfilled.

02292016_LisaJoBaker_IWantToPray

The passion of prayer is not about my feelings, my mood, or my ability to change God’s mind. No, the passion of prayer is about me simply stepping into God’s own passion and asking Him to give me what He already has planned for me.

And then standing with a face raised expectantly to the sky, like someone waiting for rain, and watching Him provide it.

Like my kids waiting for their dad to come home — never doubting for a minute that he’ll arrive. Like my eight-year-old folding his hands in the front seat of our truck as we drive through the neighborhood on our way to pick up lunch. And when I ask him what he’s doing, he says simply and with certainty, “I’m praying. Because I want to punch Satan.”

Me too.

At 41 I want the faith of my eight-year-old so that I can channel the passion of a God who wants to answer before I even ask. I want prayers that are louder than fear. So I’m practicing. Like I teach my kids. I’m practicing to pray with expectation. Some days face down on the carpet and others while I’m driving home from dropping off the kids at school.

I want to pray like I believe it makes a difference.

I want to pray until it does make a difference.

Share on Twitter:

I want to pray like I believe it makes a difference. I want to pray until it does make a difference. {Tweet This!}

comments:
share:
  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Lisa-Jo,
    “I’m praying because I want to punch Satan!” Out of the mouths of babes…but, I’m going to remember this phrase! I’ve also been learning to meet fear with prayers of expectation. I’ve also found it helpful to thank God, in advance, for how He is going to answer my prayers instead of only thanking Him on the tail end. So thankful that Jesus is always listening and we can call on Him to rebuke the creep because at Jesus’ name the enemy must flee. I’m finding more victory in claiming the power that Jesus promises me if I call upon Him. It IS a battle out there, but we can take heart because He has overcome this world. Awesome post!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  • Holly

    So much yes to everything you wrote. Thank you for sharing.

  • Kristy

    I desperately needed this. I’ve been battling the same thing. I started the book you mentioned and I look forward to all God will reveal. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • http://livingcenter.me/ Nancy Wolfe @ livingcenter.me

    Like Bev, “I want to punch Satan” is the standout line. Can’t you just hear that sweet ferocious voice? We should all be so determined … xoxox

  • Karmen

    Love this! I want to punch Satan in the face too! Tell your son I’m going to be quoting him. A lot.

  • Karen

    I’m really struggling with praying – I don’t even know how to say all that’s on my mind. I guess the simplest way is to say that it’s hard to continue praying when you feel like God’s not listening or protecting. Any one have words to help with this?

    • Annie Petteys

      Hi Karen, I know this feeling as well! Sometimes I’ll turn on some praise and worship music and use those words as my prayers. At other times when I’m struggling, all I can muster the strength to pray is “Jesus”, and I just pray it over and over again, trusting that God knows the “words” that are in my heart that can’t even be formed into words at that time. In these times it’s a great comfort to know that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans too deep for words (Romans 8:26). He surely knows our needs and is praying them to the Father on our behalf. Praying for you this morning, that you would sense the Father’s presence, feel His love and grace, and receive answers regarding your concerns, and be fortified to continue in prayer.

      Blessings,
      Annie

      • Karen

        Thank you!! those are good ideas. I appreciate you!

    • http://www.jennihh.blogspot.sg Jenni Ho-Huan

      what i have found helps is just being still and remembering God has the details. jsut letting my heart and mind rest in His presence… we dont have to tell God what to do. but we sure can tell him all we feel and hope and are seeking to believe. that’s mustard sized faith and Jesus had said it’s enough. take care!

      • Karen

        Thank you!! I appreciate you taking the time to write.

    • Emmeline

      I had a friend suggest that when I lack the words or wisdom in how to pray (or even when I don’t know what I feel / think / desire), to just picture an image in my mind that represents the thing or situation that I want to pray about, and then knowingly rest in the truth of his word that Jesus intercedes for me in all my life and nothing and no one can separate me from his love : Romans 8:34-39 —
      Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
      Romans 8:34-39 NIV

      Praying for you to know HOW MUCH he loves you, sister! He is listening!

    • Beth Williams

      Karen,
      I use praise and worship music and for a few minutes just close my eyes and let His words soak in. Then I praise Him for who He is and what He has and is going to do. Requests come next mingled with scripture!
      Blessings :)

  • Judi

    Lisa-Jo,
    So good to read what you have shared this morning. I was especially enlightened with the quote from the book Fervent, “These areas of greatest fear and anxiety in your life are clues to some important spiritual formation. They reveal . . . that a personalized strategy has been insidiously put in place to destroy your vibrancy and render you defeated” {Fervent, page 6}.”
    I am just stepping out on my own after a 29 year marriage has ended. (Not of my choice.) I do have fears and I do know that God has gone before me and is with me, (Deut. 31:8). But to know that these fears will be used by Satan to deter me from God’s passion for me is good to know. Another barrier to be prayed away.
    Thank you, Bless you.
    Now, to go do me some Satan punching.

    • Beth Williams

      Judi,
      Praying for you sweet sister! May God guide you every step of this journey! I pray He alleviates all fears and anxiety!! Know that He is with you always! May He give you the peace and contentment you need!!
      Blessings :)

  • Lynn Warren

    “I have come so that [you] may have life and have it in abundance.” {John 10:10 HCSB} This, of course, meaning in heaven. We are warned to hold onto the things of earth loosely; that they are gifts from the Giver, not truly ours. We oft times forget what the apostle James admonishes; “You do not have, because you do not ask, and when you ask, you ask amiss.” Our prayers must always end with ‘His Will be done’, otherwise we will, most often than not, be totally disappointed in His reply. But, as the Good Book also promises in Romans 8:28 ~~
    “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” He must be first; we must be last, and “getting what He has already planned for me” may indeed be something we were not planning for. In any event, may He be glorified in all, for prayer must always be in His dear Son, our Lord and Savior’s Name, through the Holy Spirit, and to His glory now and forever, amen.

  • A

    Oh, Lisa Jo, this is such an answer to a prayer. How good our Lord is to each of us :) The enemy comes only to steal, lie, and kill. As God’s children, He has given us what we need to stand firm and see His deliverance-prayer. I have been struggling to pray lately, to trust that He answers. But I see how He uses this to build faith and prayer. Praise be to our Father in heaven for His work through you to honestly share your struggles. Praying that each of us prays well and fully today with the Holy Spirit :)

  • Nancy Gladwin

    “Prayer battles fear, prayer is how Jesus’ passion comes down” – Your words touched my heart today and resonated with my soul. The closer I get to Jesus the more I battle fear. Thank you for the reminder that are warfare isn’t against flesh and blood but principalities. I want to live like Elisha and be an Inside Woman. I want to see an army against me and pray and see the multitudes of angels fighting for me!

  • Jennifer Hess

    Lisa-Jo,
    How did you know? How could you know? I am drowning in fear, in the pits of my own mind. Satan knows just where to hit where it counts, and it has been right on target for me in the past months.
    So I ask how did you know your words would touch that part of my soul this morning? I think because we serve an awesome God that I am sure put your sweet words right in front of me. Thank you for being his vessel this morning.
    Jennifer

  • Ruthie Burnett

    Very seldom I have a comment but today’s messsge hits home. I have always been fearful (praying to overcome), now older (71) I fear everything. Sirens, weather, family and friends safety, even the news. Father help me! I pray daily God didnt give me a spirit of fear and ask that He give me a sound mind.

  • Rebecca Jones

    Kudos to your son, punch him one for me. I’ve spent a lot of my life teaching children about Jesus. I have to tell you that the only thing stronger than fear is love, not our natural human love but that agape love of God. Oh yes, the devil’s plans are insidious, fortunately, Jesus makes our fears seem ridiculous. I want to read that book! Let the Holy Spirit empower you Lisa, you sound like a great mother!

  • Paige Estes

    I’ve been having such a tough time with this lately. But I keep choosing to turn toward God over and over and over. This weekend he put on my heart to stop worrying about the fruit and just make sure I stay connected to the vine. So that’s what I’m going to do. He MUST have a purpose for me, even if I can’t see it. I’m going to stop worrying about the fruit and just stay connected to the vine. He doesn’t need me to help him further the Kingdom. But he does want me with him. And I just can’t believe he continues to pursue me. Amazing.

  • https://heartmatterssite.wordpress.com Beth Blamick

    What a beautiful post and what a beautiful heart for pleasing your Savior and fighting for the amazing life he has laid out before you…you’re children are truly blessed to have you for a mama! Keep on punching that Satan in the face!

  • http://in-the-battle.blogspot.com/ kwpastorwife

    oh wow. I am overwhelmed. I have had the most horrid anxiety over the past few weeks. It is debilitating. I would never harm myself, but have prayed more than once, “God, if you are done with me, please just take me home.” I wake up each morning and think, “Well, I’m still here.” I have Fervent on my nightstand. I should read it. I feel so weak. So defeated. So…afraid. I feel like the slightest bump will send my entire world crashing down around me…and I don’t know why. I needed your words today. Thank you.

    • Paula

      I have anxiety and fear too and sometimes it’s so awful that I’ve had same thoughts as you. . It’s something that comes and goes and recently with illness it seams to peak up .I have been growing in faith- I’ve finished reading Fervent and it has helped me in my prayer life and with my fears. I’ve have gotten more into the scripture, and praising God and Rebuking evil. I know in my heart God doesn’t want us to have fear, he wants us to be happy. It’s an emotion that creeps in to steal our joy. For me it mostly stems from worry and things that I really have no control over. This is where I have found prayer helpful , to lay those things At the footr of our Father. Good bless you and keep you.

      • Paula

        Also, I put on worship music and start praising God. Even when I feel the fear. I do it. And think of things to thank him for.

    • HARRIET

      KW,
      IT MUST BE IN THE AIR ! So many of us
      ( God’s Children) are feeling this HEAVINESS iN OUR HEARTS & lives in general.
      This word has truly reinforced my Spirit .
      YOU ARE NOT ALONE.Psalm 55:22, says;
      Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you….ISAIAH 46:4 IS LOADED WITH WISDOM AS WE AGE EMOTIONALLY OR PHYSICALLY .
      TO GOD BE THE GLORY !

  • Paula

    I’m touched by your post and have had the same feelings of fear. I’ve grown closer to God and longing for him more and more. Trusting God when there seems to be no way, listening to God and looking at what I can do , in fervent prayer, then trusting God . this is a journey of spiritual growth. When I praise God something happens to fear, it seems to get smaller and less frightful.

  • http://sarahcoleman.com.au/ Sarah Coleman

    Wow! Great post. You’ve inspired me to read the book. I want to punch the devil in the face! I want what God has planned for me.

  • Sue

    Oh how this made me feel as if I was writing it. I have lived in fear most of my life and I am not young any more. Satan is someone we tend to forget when we are just so afraid we can’t even pray yet he is the very one bringing us to this point. I don’t have a strong faith but I pray that as I reach out for mentoring I will find the love of Jesus, His mighty power and He will defeat the power Satan has over me.
    For every person out there I pray the Lord will give you the armor you need to fight this paralyzing fear. Thank you.

  • http://www.jennihh.blogspot.sg Jenni Ho-Huan

    Hey Lisa, this is o spot on today…yes.the many days i just tell God, “but i am so weary of this fight” and thankfully he keeps quiet! i know he will speak somehow to restore my soul..and today he began it with this post which links up with something that he has prompted me about: prayer. thank you!

  • http://www.jennihh.blogspot.sg Jenni Ho-Huan

    hey everyone, perhaps pair this with the movie WAR ROOM? it’s a tad campy but the message is a powerful one about punching satan!

  • Deidra

    God has been speaking to me this morning about fear and trusting His faithfulness. My 38 year old daughter received a diagnosis yesterday of breast cancer. Her desire is to walk through it in faith, not fear. Mine too. I have just begun to read Fervent, and I look forward to learning how to strategize specific prayers. I’ve been a Christ follower for many years, but I have not always done battle in prayer. But God…..

  • Lori N Kevin Weaver

    Wow! I love that! Awesome, that I get to “punch” Satan!!

  • http://21twinyears.wordpress.com Carolyn Carani Cuzzone

    I am blown away once again by your post – – what a perspective on the worry/anxiety I deal with! I’ve never thought of it that way before, and my prayers will be more fervent now that I know this! I have some spiritual formation to work on!

  • Amy Wade Clark

    Sooo needed this today. Thank you!

  • Beth Williams

    Lisa,
    Just like in the movie War Room and in the Bible I have shouted “Get the behind me Satan”. “You are not welcome here”. Kind of like punching Him in the face! :) I can easily tell when Satan has a hold of me & that’s when I get my prayer strategies going and start quoting scripture-just like Jesus!
    Blessings :)

  • http://onceshy.com/ Maggie Sifuentes

    That’s so cute about your son! And so challenging, too. I love how God uses kids to encourage all of us. And this was just my favorite: “…the passion of prayer is about me simply stepping into God’s own passion and asking Him to give me what He already has planned for me.” I needed that reminder today because I’ve been so lacking in it, feeling so guilty and I needed to hear that I can’t do it. But I can step into His passion. Thank you Lisa-Jo.

  • http://ToLiveIsChristBlog.com Elsie @ To Live Is Christ Blog

    Wow, I love this! I’ve been struggling with a mountain of fear lately – mostly fear of failure. I started this year out with so much passion but the bumps and bruises and spills of life have been choking out my passion and energy. To be honest, I finally spent some time yesterday paying attention to where all this fear was coming from and speaking Truth to it. A huge component of that was crying out to my God as my only rock and source of strength. Let’s continue to cry out to our responsive heavenly Father and reject fear in Jesus’ name! Our families, friends, and the world need the passion that God has birthed in us.

  • http://pursuingheart.blogspot.com/ Cherry

    Lisa-Jo, thank you so much for these thoughts. My husband just had a health scare this past Sunday, and I have found myself resorting to “fear” in these past few days. These words jumped out at me from your post: “These areas of greatest fear and anxiety in your life are clues to some important spiritual formation.” God has already been encouraging my heart this morning with faith and trust, and your words here were just perfect for me to read …

  • http://sunnyand80.org/ Meg Bucher

    “Don’t let me give up on the people around me, the friends who shape me, the work that calls me.”
    Amen, sister. I feel the same way. Even though I’m at home with them, I still feel Iike the moments with my daughters are so fleeting. They fly by so fast. I don’t ever want to be too busy to have the sweet conversations I cherish when slow down. It’s truly a gift.
    Happy Monday!
    Megs

  • http://martysmoosetracks.blogspot.com/ Marty

    Yes, yes, YES! Thank you for this!

  • http://thenestednomad.com/ Brittany Bergman

    I have prayed those prayers about a thousand times since my daughter was born a few months ago. I’m terrified of missing a moment of her life, and I beg God to let me be part of it. I know she doesn’t understand yet at just 3 months old, but I want to start setting the example now of what it looks like when a woman turns to and trusts God in her fear.

  • http://careybchristian.com Carey Christian

    I read this in February and cried. I was just beginning to feel, finally, the healing God was doing, the seasons of refreshing in my motherhood. This post is a part of that and today I hunted it down again to remember that the fear of missing out on life isn’t just fear of dying young with young children, but that I can be here and still miss it because I fight everything about it. So I wanted to thank you for this post. It still means a lot to me.