Every Saturday morning at 7am we have a church-wide prayer meeting. I had my prayer journal out at the first one of 2018 and one of the things I wrote down as a prayer request was “agenda for Monday [leadership team] meeting.”

Right away I sensed the Lord giving me direction for the meeting: that 2018 had to be a year of focus on becoming women of the Word and women of prayer.

Now that is a pretty obvious statement. Of course we should be women of the Word and prayer! But you and I both know how easy it is to get sidetracked in the busyness of life. How easy it can be to focus on ministry stuff and justify why we have so little time for prayer.

As I sat there surrounded by the prayer of our intercessors, I quickly wrote down a list of 10 things that happen when we are not women of the Word and women of prayer.

If We Are Not Women of the Word and of Prayer . . .

1. We will settle for less than.  We will become comfortable with the mundane routine of our Christian life and ministry and stop pursuing who God has called us to be and what He has called us to do. We will procrastinate in taking steps of faith and wait for a more appropriate time or situation to come along.

2. We are vulnerable to attack. The enemy is always looking for ways to derail us. He knows how to be subtle and that’s why he loves to use discouragement, doubt, and distraction. They are small attacks that we often overlook because they seem like a normal part of our lives. It’s easy to fall into these traps when we are not women of the Word and prayer.

3. We have no ammunition.  When Jesus was confronted by the enemy in the wilderness, He showed us the quickest, simplest, and most effective way to deal with attacks. He simply declared the truth of God’s Word in response. We need to be women of the Word so that when the attacks come, the Holy Spirit can bring to remembrance the words that Jesus has spoken to us. We have to be proactive in getting the Word into us so that it’s there when we need it!

4. We don’t recognize His presence. When we spend time in the Word and in prayer, our spiritual senses are sharpened. We are able to recognize the presence of God in every situation. He is always near but when we our senses are clouded by the cares of this world, the voices that are crying out for our attention, we don’t always recognize His presence.

5. We don’t recognize the enemy’s presence. The enemy never tires of pursuing us. He specializes in lies and so often we allow those lies to become the filter through which we see ourselves and others. The Word brings clarity with its truth. The enemy has nothing to hide behind when everything is lit by the light of God’s Word. He cannot deceive us when our hearts are tuned to the voice of God and we allow Him to speak to us as we cultivate lives of prayer.

6. We stay self-centered and self-absorbed. We live in a self-obsessed world. Everywhere we look we are encouraged to follow our dreams, stay true to ourselves, and look out for number 1. But that’s not what the Word says! When we are women of the Word and women of prayer, we see things from God’s point of view. We see ourselves differently through His Word. We understand our identity and value comes from knowing Him and living out His plan and purpose for our lives.

7. We speak in the language of justification and excuses. Without the Word and prayer, it is easy to fall into the trap of “but”, we can begin a sentence of declaration of God’s truth and then quickly negate it by adding a “but” at the end. Or we live in a world of “I can’t” and “I just” – we make excuses for why we aren’t pursuing spiritual or character growth or why we are not walking out the calling of God.

8. We look for affirmation and answers from unreliable sources. In the Instaperfect world we live in, so many people have based their value on how many likes and comments their posts bring. Social media can be a wonderful tool – but it can also have a very damaging effect on how we see ourselves.  Through the Word of God and our ongoing relationship with Him, we can find every answer we need. The unfailing wisdom of the Word will never change according to popular opinion, current culture, or the latest TV psychologist’s offerings. When we are so satisfied by the Word and God’s view of us, we won’t be tempted to find our identity in other sources.

9. We waste our calling. God created us in His image to bring glory to Him and to fulfill a mission. Each one of us was born with a calling. When we are not women of the Word and of prayer, we waste the calling. We waste the sacrifice that God made for us to walk in freedom and purpose. Our calling is unique and God has put so much thought and care into empowering us to do great things.  I think most of us have not truly realized the impact we can have in this life. But staying filled with the Word ensures that we are equipped and able to recognize the opportunities He gives us.

10. We cannot call ourselves leaders. Acts 2:42 describes the life of a New Testament believer. They were DEVOTED to the Word and prayer. Without their perseverance in the Word and in prayer, the body of Christ may have become extinct. They took spiritual discipline seriously. True leaders – and you are a leader – are dedicated to the Word and to prayer. It is a primary focus in their lives and it is what will sustain them for the long-run.

Being women of the Word and of prayer is not just a responsibility – it’s a privilege! It’s an invitation to intimacy with the Father and the secret of living a life that has eternal impact.

I want to challenge each of you listening, to commit to becoming women of the Word and women of prayer more than ever before. Let 2018 be a line in the sand that you can look back on and know that THIS was when everything changed.

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