A month of gifts—and Talking to Jesus

If you read my post last week, you know that I decided to give away something each week during December. Last week it was a book called Over It! by Kristine Brown. Read to the end of this post for info about a giveaway of a copy of this new book, Talking to Jesus: A Fresh Perspective on Prayer, by Jeannie Blackmer.

I’ve written two books (and countless blog posts) about prayer, but it had been a while since I spent any focused time in prayer. So the other morning I searched high and low for my journal, which had gotten put away weeks ago and forgotten. After I found it and sat down in the quiet, I felt heavenly light shining down on me, and I just knew the Holy Spirit was there with me, and my eloquent, holy words tumbled over themselves as they poured onto the pages…

Except that wasn’t how it went at all.

I had nothing. NOTHING. I don’t feel like I’m in a “crisis of faith,” and I’m not mad at God, and I do believe prayer is important. But I sat there and my mind was a complete blank.

That day, my 17-year-old son was home with another headache. Three days in a row of missed school. I got the emailed updates of his grades, and he’s falling behind. When I try to remind him to do something, or—heaven forbid—inquire in the slightest way into his life, he snaps, “I’ve got it, Mom.” The truth is, I know he doesn’t have it together as much as he thinks he does. I do think he is capable, and I believe he has the best of intentions, and he is a really awesome kid. But I also know he gets stressed when he gets behind, and the stress triggers more migraines, and he misses more school, and gets farther behind, and so on. We went through this last semester (not a good experience) and his older sister has been battling migraines since she was 15, so even though my worries are for him (and her), they come with a bunch of residual stress for me. I’m the one who has to call in to school, get homework, negotiate doctors appointments and prescription refills and have my son take out his frustration on me.

On top of that, he had a bad wreck a couple weeks ago. Thank God he was OK—just some burns from the air bags—but he totaled the car. We had to find time to drive an hour to sign over the title and then find a replacement vehicle. The past few weeks have been busy and stressful, with a sale of the paintings my dad, a professional artist, left behind when he passed away this summer. Work deadlines. Lack of writing time. Financial decisions to be made. Several speaking engagements. Some travel.

It’s not all BAD stuff, just a LOT of stuff. I’m emotionally exhausted. Physically worn out.

And I sat there in the quiet feeling like a failure. Have I learned nothing? Am I a hypocrite? Why couldn’t I pray?

I looked at the pile of devotional-type books on the table beside me, and I picked up a brand new one, Talking to Jesus. Have you ever noticed that sometimes it’s easier to read about prayer than to actually pray? Maybe it’s just me.

Anyway, I started reading. As you might imagine, I love the topic of this book, so when I was given the chance to write a review, I jumped at it. However, I wondered if it would truly be a fresh perspective on prayer—after all, that’s how my books have been described, too. But I immediately discovered this is a different approach from mine in several ways:

  1. This is centered around the idea that prayer is nothing more than a conversation with Jesus—and because of that, any of the conversations people in the Bible had with Jesus qualify as prayer—and can be the basis for your own prayers.
  2. As Jeannie tells the stories (which all come from the book of Matthew), she fictionalizes each as a way to help the reader put herself in the story.
  3. Each short chapter (about 6 pages) ends with a few related scriptures for reflection as well as a few observation questions to help you apply the concept to your own life. The book is not long and intimidating; it’s a good size for a personal study or devotional workbook.

Jeannie’s motivation for this book was trying to find ways to pray on behalf of her teenage children. As she searched the Bible for tips, she realized some of the New Testament stories were about parents approaching Jesus on behalf of their children. As the parent of three children who are now 24, 21, and 17, believe me—I can relate to Jeannie’s desire to come to God on behalf of my kids (can’t you?). And I began reading right when I was faced with doing just that. But the approach isn’t limited to praying for your kids. It applies to all kinds of situations—facing doubt, praying for friends, feeling burnt out, having trouble forgetting… It’s comforting to be reminded that these same problems were faced by people in the time that Jesus was walking the earth. And to remember that just as Jesus answered them, He will answer us.

So that morning, I let these conversations others had with Jesus serve as a stand-in for my own prayers. And I felt a little less empty. A little more sure.

Because I was reminded that I don’t have to bring the faith to my relationship with Jesus. He has enough for both of us. All I have to do is show up.

So let’s pray together. My prayers are for my son (because that’s what’s been on my heart lately), but your prayer requests can be about anything.

Leave a comment below with the basic info about a prayer request you have, and you’ll be entered in a drawing for a copy of this book. Keep your comments vague to protect the privacy of those you’re praying for, but let’s go together to God and lift up these needs. Also, would you take a moment to pray for the comment before yours? It’s easy—all we have to do is talk to Jesus. Because it is in those interactions that we get to see who He really is. And we come to believe that He will do all He says He will do.

I’ll announce the winner next week… and tell you all about the sparkly bauble I’ll be giving away instead of a book!


Jeannie Blackmer was the publishing manager for MOPS International where she helped create more than 20 books for moms. Now she writes full-time and runs the blog for her church, Flatirons Community Church outside Denver, CO. She has spent the last 3 decades professionally writing everything from articles to press releases, and ads to several books. She has a passion for storytelling and spending time with her husband and three sons who are in their 20s.


 

23 Responses to “A month of gifts—and Talking to Jesus”

  1. Brice Rakotomanga says:

    Prayer requested to stop debts.

    • Kelly O'Dell Stanley says:

      Dear Lord, please lift this heavy burden and help him find a way out from under this. Help Brice focus on worshipping You while You take care of the rest. Amen.

  2. Martha says:

    My prayer request is for endurance as I deal with multiple health issues.

    Praying for your request Brice R.

    • Kelly O'Dell Stanley says:

      Dear Lord, I ask You today to renew Martha’s strength and patience. Grant her health and answers and treatments that work. Help her lean on You through it all, knowing that You feel our pain along with us. Amen.

  3. Jenna says:

    Praying for you Martha ❤️
    Asking for prayers for my family and myself. God knows the particulars.

    • Kelly O'Dell Stanley says:

      Lord, You DO know what we need, and Your answers are usually already underway before we even know to ask. I lift up Jenna to You today and ask You to bring peace to strengthen her faith, and to help her hold on to You through it all. Amen.

  4. Valerie says:

    Praying for you and your family Jenna. My prayer is for myself. I too find myself in a season of quiet…unsure of myself and unable to pray for what I’m missing. I don’t know what to pray for. I feel stuck.

    • Kelly O'Dell Stanley says:

      Dear Lord, You’ve got this. I know You are already with Valerie. Help her to feel Your presence, to see Your involvement, and to find her way back to herself. Because we know that You are true, and compassionate, and loving, and kind. You know what we need, and I know You will help her find it. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

  5. Noelle says:

    Prayers request for a job and housing situation.thank you for giving us a chance to win

    • Kelly O'Dell Stanley says:

      Lord, I lift up Noelle to You today. You are Jehovah-Jireh, the provider, and You know how to answer these prayers. I pray that You will put Noelle exactly where she needs to be—to work, to live, to serve You. Trusting in Your miraculous provision… in Jesus’ name I pray.

  6. Sheila Watson says:

    Prayer request:
    I will become more obedient to Him.

    • Kelly O'Dell Stanley says:

      Oh, Lord, this is a prayer we could all pray. I pray for Your blessings on Sheila as she strives to respond to You more obediently. Help her trust that all You ask is good. Help her hear Your voice and know absolutely that she’s hearing from You. Honor her request and help her find all the blessings that come from being obedient to Your will. Amen.

  7. Anita says:

    Finding my purpose

    • Kelly O'Dell Stanley says:

      Heavenly Father, this is such a hard thing for so many of us… to find the ways You want to use us and our gifts, to know that we’re on the right track, to feel as though what we’re doing matters. Be with Anita as she strives to serve You with all that You have made her to be… and along the way, illuminate the next step, and the next… Even if it’s just one step at a time, show her clearly where You are leading her. Amen.

  8. Thezoomama7 says:

    Bodily function, general health, understanding of diagnosis.

    • Kelly O'Dell Stanley says:

      Dear Lord, I lift up this request, knowing that You are the creator and the healer, and that nothing is too hard for you. We’re asking for Your touch in her health and Your wisdom and understanding. And more than anything, Lord, Your presence. Amen.

  9. priscilla w. says:

    Prayer request…wow…where do I start? Many to list, but this one…❤✝
    A big concern I have…is my daughter, has epilepsy(on 2medications), a young adult, 20ish… Needs to start adulting, make sure her salvation is sure…grow in Jesus…be responsible for her health needs, so many other physical and spiritual needs…
    I need God’s strength to pray her thru… She needs so much, she’s not aware of… Her safety thru any seizure she may have is big. She’s a good kid, and also has some struggles…physical and emotionally, and spiritually of course… Just a brief (lol) request…✝ thank you…for the opportunity.
    …WHEW! Thank you Jesus! ✝❤☕✝

    • Kelly O'Dell Stanley says:

      Lord, we’re so thankful that You get the enormity and all the ramifications and layers of any request we bring to You We’re so thankful that You love our kids even more than we do. Speak to this young woman. Let her know who You are and who You want to be for her. Protect her and guide her—and help her mature in the ways You want to teach her. (I pray the same for my own kids.) Thank You, Lord, for the ways You love us. And please lighten the load on this mama’s heart as she watches her daughter grow. Amen!

  10. Missie says:

    Just when I think I’m doing something wrong with my prayer I read your blog and I’m reassured I am not alone nor am I doing things wrong. I, too, pray for my son. He is doing EXACTLY what your son is doing right now! (Prayers for you as well). So often we don’t pray for our immediate family. I know I don’t always. We take for granted that they are taken care of. Your post made me realize that I need to Lift my boy up to Him and give my burdens over. Your blog is such a great treasure to my day…love you, friend. Thank you

    • Kelly O'Dell Stanley says:

      Missie, you are an awesome mom and such an encouraging friend. I’m grateful… and I REALLY need to spend time with you soon!

  11. Brice Rakotomanga says:

    After “praying upside-down” I really would be my great pleasure to read your book “talking to Jesus”

  12. kate says:

    For my almost 17 year old son! Oh, teenagers!

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