The Prayer of my Heart

O Lord, my God, my Yahweh

May I always be humble enough to seek You first and foremost in all things pertaining to life. May I desire Your ways and will You show me Your righteous ways. May I always have a teachable spirit so that I can walk with confidence on the paths that You show me. I know You will always guide me in Your truth, for You are truth. You are my God, my one and only. You are my Savior, for you have rescued me and set my feet upon the right path. You are my hope, my only hope, in this life here on earth. All day long, I want to walk with You, in hope and in confidence, in faith and in trust. May I always stay upon Your path. May I always trust Your leading and guiding me through life. May I always cling to Your truth. Thank you, O Lord, my God. You will always be my Yahweh. Forever and ever. Amen!

I Choose to Praise God

Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty firmament! Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent goodness! … Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! —Psalm 150:1-2 (NKJV).

Sharing with my blog readers an excerpt from my newly published book, Praises, Promises, and Provisions.

“The psalmist David knew all about praising his God… Throughout his lifetime, David had a heart that was not afraid to burst forth in bold praise to his great God. David chose to praise God!

“It did not matter whether David was tending his father’s sheep in the field, relaxing at home with his family, facing the giant that no one else wanted to fight, singing before King Saul, running for his life from someone who wanted to kill him, fighting the enemy on the battlefield, encouraging his soldiers as they returned tired from war, feasting at the fully loaded banqueting table, or pursing his kingly duties from the regal palace. One would often find David offering up his praise to God. David chose to praise God! …

“Praise should never be influenced by those around us. It should be instrumentally instructed by the contents of our hearts. Praise should never be dependent on our current circumstances being good or right or even fair. Praise is not based on our feelings at a certain moment of time. We can feel perfectly lousy and still choose to open our hearts, lift up our voices, and burst forth with praise to the God who loves and cares about us.

“Praising God is a choice. It is our privilege. It is our way of acknowledging that our great God is present with us (never to leave us or forsake us!). He is there, right in the midst of our circumstances. Praising God is a means of giving thanks for all the great things God has done for us, has given to us, and has answered on our behalf. Praising God is boldly declaring His faithfulness, His greatness, His power, and His majesty to the world around us. It is an honor to lift up our hearts, our voices, our hands, and our very beings in praise and worship to a God whose heart we seek after.

“Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6).

“I choose to praise God today!”

If you are reading this blog today, and have a reason to praise God, I would love to join you in that “praise party.” Consider sharing your praise in the comment section and let others raise their voices with you in praise to our great God.

Lord God, every day You give me reason to praise You. You are a God worthy of all praise, including mine, especially mine. I just want to praise you in awe and wonder at Your great faithfulness to me!

New Book Release

The challenge is on! A challenge between student and teacher has them searching through the Book of Psalms for the praises, promises, and provisions contained within. Little did this teacher know that God had some specific lessons for her to learn during her search.

In Praises, Promises, and Provisions, author Kathy O’Brien shares a journey through Psalms and what she discovered. She seeks to answer some of the following questions?

  • Does the psalmist praise God in any way?
  • What is he praising God for?
  • Is there a promise from God shared in the psalm?
  • Is it a promise we can claim too?
  • Does God provide something for the psalmist?
  • Does God provide food, shelter, help, strength, wisdom, or any other thing for the psalmist?

Through a scavenger hunt of sorts, Praises, Promises, and Provisions helps Christians discover the blessings God provided for the psalmist in the Book of Psalms and thus for all those who believe.

This newly released book is available now in hardcover, softcover and e-book formats through WestBow Press Bookstore (www.westbowpress.com). It is also available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

It is my heart-felt prayer that my book gets into the hands of people who need a little encouragement and inspiration. May it be a blessing to all who read it. May God use it to minister to hearts in an awesome way that is so far beyond my imagination.

To God be all praise for His promises and provisions upon the lives of His children!

The Challenge Was On!

“Hey, teacher! Do you want to do a Bible challenge with me?” said one of my eleven-year-old students, with a smile on his face. He was shifting his body from one foot to another, anxiously awaiting my answer. I could not help but chuckle a little. Usually it was I who was presenting the challenges to my students. It did this teacher’s heart good to see the roles reversed for a change.

“Hmm,” I replied as I gave him a quizzical glance, “what do you have in mind?”

“Well, I really want to read through the entire book of Psalms. Do you know that it has the most chapters of any book in the Bible? I was wondering if you would like to do it with me. You could make sure that I read it from the beginning to the end, all one hundred and fifty chapters.”

While I was delighted at seeing his enthusiasm to read a portion of the Bible, as his teacher, I was just a little curious as to what led this young student to want to read the entire book of Psalms. He normally was not a keen reader at all. In fact, I had noticed the struggle he often had just to find his way around the various pages of his Bible. I clearly saw a teaching moment standing right here in front of me.

“You know what? I would love to accept your challenge!” Instantly I saw a smile break out on his face that rocked my heart as a teacher. “But, if it is okay with you, I would like to add something extra to your challenge to help make reading God’s Word a little more exciting for both of us.”

“Okay!” he said. His feet were practically dancing as his level of excitement went up a few notches. “What? What do you want to add?”

“Do you know what a scavenger hunt is?” I asked.

“Oh, yes, I love doing scavenger hunts!” His excitement level went up a few more notches. “With scavenger hunts you have a list of objects to find, and if you find them all, then you win the hunt and you get a prize.”

I gave a thumbs-up to his explanation. And before I could say anything, he quickly piped in.

“But I don’t know how to play a scavenger hunt using the Bible. I’ve never done that before.”

“Well…

…To be continued…in my soon-to-be-released published book!

And, my dear blog readers, I have to let you in on a little secret!

Some of my new book you have already read in my blog!

Over the past two years, I have already been sharing some of my “teacher discoveries” from the scavenger hunt that I shared with my eleven-year-old student. Perhaps you’ve already read some of them.

When my student and I finished our “scavenger hunt” through the book of Psalms, I began writing a blog, sharing with readers, from around the world, various things that I had learned through this challenge with one of my students. I have to tell you that both student and teacher are still learning from our fun way of reading the book of Psalms.

Then my student challenged me even further. “Ms. Kathy, I have been reading all your blog entries. Now I want to challenge you again. I want to see you turn your blog into a book. Can you do that?”

Hmm, a blog into a book? Can I do that? The challenge was on! Again!

What is that old saying, “Where there is a will, there is a way!”

For the past year and a bit, I have been working with WestBow Press to turn the will into a way! They are helping me turn my blog into a book! I picked out twenty-one of my favorite blog entries to include in my published edition. Don’t you wonder which ones I might have picked? Would you like to know if, perhaps, I picked one of your favorite blog entries? I invite you to tell me what your favorite blog entry is that I wrote, and then I will tell you if it’s included in my soon-to-be-released book. Feel free to leave me a comment in the appropriate section; I would love to hear from you!

Need I tell you just how excited I am over this challenge?

I can hardly keep my dancing feet still as the excitement level just went up a few more notches!

A newly written, soon-to-be-released book, by Kathy O’Brien, will be coming your way!

Watch my blog for further details!

The Paths of Life

One of the first blogs I ever wrote. I’m still walking on my path of life that God has ordained for me. I’m still hanging onto the promise of God found in Psalm 16:11. I’m still finding JOY in the journey!

Word of Truth Ministries

“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fulness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)

Paths of Life. We all walk them every day. Every one of us has a different path of life that we are called to walk upon. Sometimes we walk that pathway alone and at some seasons of the journey, others will come and join us for a time upon our pathway. Have you ever considered the path of life that you are now walking?

Paths can be smooth; when everything seems to be going just right. There doesn’t seem to be any problems or stresses, no signs of trouble anywhere in sight, no arguments or disagreements with others on the pathway. Everything is calm, peaceful, happy and even joyful. The walking on such a path is so easy and comfortable; your step is light and…

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Lord, Help Me!

Lord, help me to pray!

Even when I’m feeling tired,

Even when my patience is thin,

Even when the words won’t come,

Even when the hard circumstances are present,

Even when I feel lost!

Lord, help me know that You are there!

Even when I think You are not,

Even when I feel distant from You,

Even when I walk right past You,

Even when I assume You are not listening,

Even when I question Your will and plans!

Lord, help me to turn to You!

In my brokenness,

In complete surrender,

In total trust,

In faith believing,

In acceptance of Your love!

Lord, help me!

Amen.

“Help me, O Lord my God! Oh, save me according to Your mercy”

Psalm 109:26 (NKJV)

Sleepless Nights

How many times have you been here and done this?

What do you do, at 3 am in the morning, when everyone else in the household sleeps and you are laying there, wide awake, and unable to sleep a wink?

We all have those times when sleep is evasive. Nowhere in sight. We toss and turn. We “count sheep” until we are “Baa-ing” softly in our awakeness. We might get up for that proverbial “hot milk” drink that’s supposed to help us quickly go back to sleep. We try all sorts of things. I am just a little curious, what is your secret to sleepless nights?

I pray!

Yes! It was 3:14 am, according to the alarm clock on the bedside table. I rolled over and groaned. Hubby laid beside me, softly snoring a sleepy melody of zzzz’s. I tried not to be envious of the apparent good sleep that he was getting. From the little bed on the floor beside mine, came sounds of muted barking and growling from our little Maltese dog, Max. I leaned over the side of my bed to have a look. Yep, his little legs were moving as though running after someone or something. I watched Max for a few moments. Yes, I was envious that he was obviously having a fun dream and I was not. I couldn’t help but chuckle a little at my loveable dog. I wondered if I was part of his dream. I rolled back over and pulled the covers up.

I did not want to disturb either hubby or dog, although going to the kitchen to fix a hot cup of tea or a warm cup of hot chocolate was a temptation at this point. Both would have tasted so good, with a few shortbread cookies thrown in to satisfy the growling tummy. Yet, I knew! If I dared to sneak out of the bed and head in the direction of the kitchen, soon the dog and hubby would follow, and my day would start just way too early. So, I snuggled under the covers just a little more.

I opted to do the one thing I love to do the most whenever I cannot sleep.

I began to pray!

“God, what would you like to talk about as I lay here sleepless and awake?”

Almost immediately thoughts of my family and friends came forward. I remembered a couple of promises to pray for them, with certain prayer requests having been shared. So, I prayed! I talked with my God about so many special people in my life, about their needs, and asking Him to do His perfect work in their lives and bless them with showers of blessings.

As I prayed and talked with my God, in the sleepless moments of the wee morning hours, the word WATCH came to my mind. “God, what is this about WATCH? What do You want me to WATCH? Do you want me to pray about WATCH?” I paused in silence before my God. Waiting to understand WATCH.

It wasn’t long before my thoughts tumbled out into words of WATCH-full prayer to my God.

“Dear God,

“I ask that you set a WATCH over my family and friends. Send your angels to WATCH over them and keep them all safe. Draw each one closer to You and WATCH over their individual concerns.

“I pray, God, that You would WATCH over these things for myself, my family, and my friends:

“WATCH over our daily walk with You. May we always desire to walk in Your ways. May we joyfully walk where You lead us and not be tempted to take our own path that would lead us away from You.

“WATCH over our attitudes and actions. May these be pleasing in Your sight always, Lord. When we stumble and fail in our attitudes and actions, may we be quick to confess it as sin and seek Your forgiveness. Give us all the courage to change the attitudes and actions that we need to change.

“WATCH over our thoughts and our talk, dear God. May both be wholesome; may they be kind toward others; and may they bring You glory. May our thoughts bring us into Your presence more often. May our talk reflect that we know and love You. Set a WATCH, God over our minds and our mouths as we contemplate what to say to others. May our thoughts and our talk be kind and encouraging and always full of You.

“WATCH over our circumstances, challenges, and commitments. Help us God not to take on more than we can handle at one time. Give us grace and wisdom in all our decisions. Help us to learn to say “No!” when we need to. Help us to keep that which we commit to; to rise to the challenges of life that enable us to grow as a person; and to accept our circumstances as from You, in that they are for our good and for Your glory.

“WATCH over us all by granting us happiness and hope. We seek happiness in this life; a true happiness that comes from having joy in knowing You, Lord. We have hope through Your Son, Jesus, and the eternal life that awaits us through His death on the cross.

“God, WATCH over me, my family and my friends. WATCH us Father as we WATCH You perform Your perfect work in our lives here on earth. WATCH over us as we WATCH for the soon-coming return of Your dear Son, Jesus! We WATCH and we wait, Lord!

“Now God, would you WATCH over me as I go back to sleep!

“Amen!”

I also asked God to help me remember that prayer in the morning so I could write it down. As you see, He answered that prayer!

I have to tell you, dear readers of this blog, that prayer is the best thing to do at 3 am when you cannot sleep. Pray and Watch!

Once I said, “Amen!” I rolled over and went fast asleep. “… for so He gives His beloved sleep” Psalm 127:1 (NKJV).

I awoke up at 6 am (with Max wanting to go outside!). I felt rested and refreshed as though I had slept right through the entire night. I started my day with a “Good Morning, God! What would you like to talk about now?” I’m ready to see what this day will hold for me as I carry on talking with my God and WATCH-ing His perfect day unfold!

You Are of More Value!

A young hospital patient was facing the most fearful journey of her life. To be told that she had cancer at the mere age of seventeen, shattered her little world!

All of her hopes and dreams were ebbing away from her grasp. She wondered if she would be able to graduate from high school. Would she be able to go on to college, would she ever get married, would she one day get to hold her own child in her arms? All these things, the normal things of growing up, were silently slipping through her hands as she watched her body become something she didn’t even recognize. The chemo treatments took away her golden locks and covered her body with rashes and hives. She was sick all the time. Loneliness and sleeplessness consumed her night-times; while day-times were taken up with pain and agony and yet another doctor waiting to do yet another test. She fought her way through many tests and procedures, multiple surgeries, and treatment plans, only to be told that the cancer was getting worse. The treatments simply were not working for her.

Disappointed and frustrated, she lay on her hospital bed one night, thinking about her life. The questions started to swirl through her mind. What’s the point of living? What value is there to my life? I’m young and I’ve hardly accomplished a thing in life; will I ever get to do anything of value? Will anyone ever love me now? Will I live to see another birthday? Or will my cancer get the best of me? Oh, so many questions!

She laid back on her bed, exhausted. Sleep evaded her once again.

A few moments later, a hospital chaplain entered her room. At first she was tempted to send him away. But then, she said to herself, “I could ask him my questions and just see what he will say.” She invited him to come in and take a seat in the chair. She sat upright in the bed.

It was not long before her questions started tumbling through her mind and out her lips. There! She said those frustratingly annoying questions out loud.

Then she told the chaplain, “My family is overwhelmed with my cancer. They don’t really know what to do to help me. My friends, well, they are out having a good time and I am left behind. My teachers from school send me homework to do, but I cannot concentrate and besides that, what’s the point. And my God – yes, I believe in God – but, I feel like He too is MIA (missing in action). He does not seem to answer my prayers. He probably isn’t even listening to me half the time. I wonder though if He cares at all. I wonder if my life matters to Him. I have this ever growing fear that He is just going to let me die. Chaplain, I am afraid! I am afraid that there is no value to my life anymore. I wonder, what’s the point of living? I just wonder!”

Silence filled that hospital room for quite a few moments. Tears were streaming down the cheeks of this young cancer patient, while the chaplain looked on, deciding what best to say. Silently he prayed for wisdom from the God who tenderly looked upon His beloved child.

“Life is so full of puzzling questions, isn’t it?” the chaplain finally said.

“Ya think!” came the girl’s reply. “I just want to know what the answers are.”

“I’m not sure I have the answers to all those questions you have just asked me. In fact, I know I do not have the answers at all. And I am sorry about that. But, may I read to you something from the Bible, from the One who does have all of life’s answers – do you mind if I read to you?” he asked as he looked at her with loving concern.

“Sure! Read what you want. I don’t care.”

The chaplain took the Bible that he was holding in his hands, and he opened it. Clearing his throat, he began to read. “Jesus said, ‘Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But even the hairs of your head are numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows'” (Matthew 10:29—31).

The girl started to laugh. Oh, it felt good to laugh, but it also hurt. “The hairs of my head are all numbered! Really? Sir, have you seen my head?” She reached up to take her hat off, only to reveal a very bald head. “How many hairs?” she said as another laugh escaped from within her being. Now the chaplain began to laugh with her. Oh, yes, it feels so good to laugh!

As the laughter began to subside between them, the chaplain said to the young girl, “God has numbered every hair that you cannot see! He knows how many hairs you have on that beautiful head of yours. He also knows the value of your life, of every part of your life! You need not wonder what God thinks of you. You need not fear what God has planned for your life. You need not to fear that your life is over without any accomplishments. Cancer survival is one of the toughest accomplishments of any life. God sees your struggle, my dear young lady! Every moment of every day, He sees what you are going through, and He is right there with you. He feels your pain, and understands the agony of this dreadful disease called cancer. The Lord your God knows just how valuable you are to Him. You are of more value to Him than many sparrows.”

“I am?” the young girl’s laughter had now given way to tears. They had silently started to roll down her cheeks as the chaplain spoke to her. He noticed the tears, but didn’t say anything about them. He knew that her tears were healing to her spirit. He was just happy that she listened and heard his words to her. The truth of what the chaplain was saying was touching her heart in a way she never expected.

“I am? I am valuable to God?” the girl asked as she wiped away her own tears.

The chaplain simply nodded at her. He silently prayed as his words began to touch her heart.

“I am!” She laid her head back on the pillow. Pulling the covers up over her shoulders, she said again, “I am!” Allowing that truth to sink in just a little bit further, she closed her eyes, “I am!”

The chaplain sat with her until she had fallen fast asleep. He prayed that the truth she just learned would give her heart peace and her body a good night’s sleep.

______________

I wonder, if anyone reading this post might need to hear that truth today. Your circumstances of life might be different from the girl in this story. Yet, you might just be asking some of the same questions about life. If so, please know, that I would like to pray for you. Please leave me a little comment to let me know.

To all the readers of this post – May this truth bring you peace and rest! Jesus says to you, “Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows!”

Circumstances I Do Not Like!

Do you ever find yourself in the midst of circumstances that you do not like? In situations that feel out of control? Carrying a burden that seems too heavy? Rolling around problems in search of solutions?

I might be able to help you with that!

I wrote this little piece some twenty years ago, when I was going through a period of crisis circumstances, sticky situations, back-breaking burdens, and puzzling problems. It all seemed too much. Too hard to handle. Too problematic to even deal with. It helped to write!

Today I came across this piece again, while I was looking through an old Bible of mine. I had tucked it tight within the pages of this sacred book, obviously not wanting to lose it. Uncanny how familiar those Bible verses seem to my mind, those too tucked away, in the memory of my heart. Oh, how appropriate those words are to my life today as they were twenty years ago.

I remember the day I wrote this piece. It was the day that I brought my circumstances, situations, burdens, and problems to Someone who was able to help me. It was the day I gave everything to God. Again! For what seemed like the millionth time. And yet I knew, beyond all shadow of doubt, that He was the only One who can help with all the impossible things of life.

Allow me to share with you what I wrote. This piece was my prayer, my plea for God to help me. My prayer now, is that this piece will help, encourage and inspire all who might read it. When you come to a _________ , feel free to insert your own circumstance, situation, burden, or problem there. And when you come to the end, if you agree with what I wrote, if the Bible verses were a help to you, if you found yourself a little closer to God – then, please shout out a loud, hearty “Amen!” For in that moment, you will know that God heard the prayer of your heart as well.

___________

“God,

“I am here in the midst of circumstances that I don’t like! Circumstances that I find very difficult and somewhat overwhelming. I know that I am not alone for You are here with me, never to leave me nor forsake me! I recognize that You are the only one who can help me with this particular set of circumstances. I need Your help, God! I need You now more than ever.

“In the midst of my battle with _____________, may I always remember that:

I am here by God’s appointment! This set of circumstances is all part of God’s plan for my life!

“Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

“Jeremiah 29:11 “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 a hope and a future.”

I am here in God’s safe-keeping! I am surrounded by God’s most perfect love! (so no more pity parties!).

“Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.”

“Jeremiah 31:3 “The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with loving kindness.'”

“I am here under God’s training! Good will come out of these circumstances if I just hang on!

“Job 23:10 “…when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”

“James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial because when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”

“I am here for God’s time! And that timing is always perfect!

“Psalm 31:14—15 “But I trust in you O Lord, I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hands…”

“1 Peter 1:6—7 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

“God, please help me to embrace my circumstances of _____________ as a gift from You. Help me to know that You will meet me at my point of need with all the TLC (tender loving care) that I will need. Grant to me the assurance that You will still use me in spite of _______________ , that my life will still have some value to it. Grant me the opportunity to see You at work not only in my life, but through it as well. Oh, God, please embrace me to Yourself. Never let me go. Hold me tight when I cannot hang on. Assure me that together we will be victors over ______________ .

“Today God, I am letting go of my style of pity party in the midst of _______________. Help me God, from this day forward to celebrate Your way with all the style and grace that I can muster.

“I am here God! And I feel Your presence right beside me!”