7 prayers that got me through 2015

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

This will be my last post for the year as I’m taking a bit of a break from writing devotionals or posting over the Christmas season to spend time with family. 

I’ll be back to my normal writing routine in the New Year from around 7th of January. 
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As we head towards the end of year I’m beginning to reflect on the places God has taken me through.

I am not the biggest prayer. I don’t wake up at 5am to pray. And I don’t have a set time for prayer either.

I’m more of a pray as I go person. I pray little, short prayers way more than I pray long ones. 

I pray what Anne Lamott would call “Help, Thanks, Wow” prayers a lot. 

I love walking and talking to God. But I’m not really good at running and praying at the same time.   

I am more likely to pray when I’m outside then when I’m locked up in a small room.

And I’m a person who loves borrowing other people’s words when I pray (you’ll see that in the prayers I link to below). 

On the other hand I like just making prayers up as I go. I know I can say whatever I want to God. And I do. In fact, last night while I prayed out loud for some people my husband and I love my husband interrupted me and said, “You know you’re rambling right?”

I’ve seen that prayer changes things. I don’t know how and it doesn’t make sense to me why some prayers are answered and others aren’t but somehow prayer works. Even when it feels like I’m talking to the ceiling. I think that might be because there is no formula to prayer

As I looked back on 2015 I realised that these 9 prayers that I have shared on this blog have set the tone for much of my prayer life. If you’re looking for words to begin chatting to God I hope they help. 

How to pray – lessons for anyone who struggles to find the right words 
This last week I was asked to write a series of prayers. I answered quickly, “Sure. I’ll do that.” Then I sat down to write them and I froze. I didn’t know what to write. I didn’t know how to pray. My words seemed inadequate. Not pretty enough. Not spiritual enough. So I did what any blocked writer does, I googled: “How to pray” and “Formula’s for prayer.”

How to pray when you’re feeling reckless about the future
Last year I chose the word, "enough" as my #oneword365. It was a safe word. Much like the word my parents made us memorise as kids so we could let them know if something was wrong without having to come right out and say it.
The word I've chosen this year scares me. It feels like a challenge to God. But the worst kind of challenge. It feels like a gasping for breath when you're submerged under water. It feels like a prayer.

How to pray when you want God to change your life
Recently I bought a book by Claire Diaz-Ortiz called Hope Runs*. I'm only about half way through but I’ve realised it is book about how God disturbs the life she thought she would have for the life he wanted her to have. 

How to pray when you’re going through hard times
A friend of ours has fought cancer twice. Recently he got a cold and went to the doctor. To cut a long story short they sent him for chest x-ray’s. Those x-rays have shown up a white spot. 
I was away when Xylon heard from his friend and so he texted me to let me know. Ending the message with, “please pray!”
How do you pray when your heart is breaking?

When you feel unloved by God, pray this
Brennan Manning tells a story of 78 year-old nun who was sexually abused by her father from the age of 5. This nun comes to Manning one night at tells him of all the hatred she has felt in her heart for a long, long time. She spoke about going through the motions of religion to keep up appearances. But her heart was so very, very broken. 
After listening to her story, and praying for healing, Manning asked her to find a quiet place and pray this prayer every day for the next 30 days

How to pray when you can't change your circumstances
I find myself praying constantly, "Lord, let it be clear." Part of me thinks I should be praying, “Lord, take me to the place of your greatest blessing” but I can’t find it in me to do that. So instead I’m just praying my heart out and trusting that will be enough.  





How to pray when you are anxious
When I first read about this prayer in in a book by Brennan Manning called “The Furious Longing of God” I thought it sounds too simple but I’ll try it anyway. 
I can’t remember the exact words Manning wrote but I remember reading something along the lines of, 'if you pray this prayer every day for one month it will change you.' This prayer has changed me.

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5 devotionals to help you through hopeless situations

2:46 pm Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

I write most of the devotionals on this site myself however I love sharing the voices of others who have found Jesus is with them and likes them in the midst of something hard. 

Sometimes I ask people who inspire me to write for me, and other times they ask if they can share something. 

Here are some of the devotionals written by guests on my site that inspired me and challenged me the most in 2015. (If you'd like to see your devotional on this site in 2016 go here to find out how that can happen).

How I learned not to worry about tomorrow
There is a funny story about this post. I was sitting worrying about what to write on the blog tomorrow. I was thinking about how Xylon just arrived back from 2 weeks away, and how I wanted to spend time with him, and not write. Then I thought let me check my mail and I saw a mail from my friend Nelet with a guest post submission. Not any guest post submission but this one about not worrying about tomorrow. Felt like God was speaking write to me, saying, “See, you’re worth more than many sparrows. I will look after you. Here’s a devotional for tomorrow.” I hope it meets you right where you are just like it did me. 
When God breathes life into a hopeless situation
This is another guest post that came to me at just the right time. Xylon and I had just heard that it looked like his cancer had reoccurred. This was bad news with few viable (in our minds) treatment options open to us. I was feeling pretty hopeless and then this devotional by Sandra popped into my inbox. May it breathe life into your hopeless situations too.

What to do when you no longer feel God’s presence
I loved the honesty of this post that Brett wrote for me. I think, if we’re honest, there are times when every person who believes in Jesus wonders where on earth he is. Brett talks about a time in his life where for 18 whole months he couldn’t feel God presence. Definitely, worth reading.

How to know if it is time to leave your past behind
I’m always partial to lending this space to another South African blogger. I hope you’ll enjoy Fran’s story (and feel challenged) about something as every day as a dining room table. I know it got me thinking.
What to do when life isn't going the way you want
Kelly asks hard questions in this post. I know for myself these are questions I have to get real and ask myself time and time again. If you’re in a place in your life where you’re wondering why life isn’t going the way you want, or the way you thought the Bible promised it would than this might be the post you need to read (even if you don’t want to). 

I'm excited to announce the 5 winners of the NIV Bible For Women giveaway that I ran the last few weeks. Congrats to Liesl Amoruso, Tracy Purrington, Desiree van der Merwe, Stacey Betts and Cathy Zodda.
I would have loved to send all my readers Bibles but I'm excited to have more than 5 readers of this blog so I'm not able too! If you didn't win a bible you can either buy one here or download  the book of Matthew as a PDF for free.

SA Blog Awards BadgeI’m taking a bit of a break from writing new devotionals over the Christmas season. But I’ll be back to my normal writing routine in the New Year in the meantime would you consider voting for me in the  SA Blog Awards? Just click on the big red button that says "VOTE" (-->) and fill in your details. Thanks! 

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You can share this devotional on twitter by clicking here. I’d also love for you to connect with me on my Facebook and twitter pages or if you're viewing this via email you can leave a comment by clicking here.


{Get my book}
In my free e-book Life, Life and More Life I share thoughts on how to make every moment count gleaned from my experiences of loving my husband through 18 sessions of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. If you would like a free copy please subscribe below to receive my devotionals every Monday and Friday.

Enter your email 
to receive my free ebook
and a NEW devotional in your inbox every Monday and Thursday
Photo Credits: Creative Commons | Design: Wendy van Eyck

One question that changes everything when you are worried

1:03 pm Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

what can you add by worrying
Which one of you can add a single hour to your life or 18 inches to your height by worrying really hard? Luke 12:25 (VOICE)

I love popcorn. No, really, I. Love. Popcorn. I would choose popcorn over chocolate anytime. 

We have popcorn at home all the time. We’ve even discovered the best way to make it is in a wok with a lid. Tastier and healthier than the microwaved version. 

Last week my husband suggested we go eat popcorn watch a movie with Tom Hanks, called Bridge of Spies. The subject seemed a little heavy for me, but there was popcorn, so I was in. 

In the movie, Tom Hanks plays an American lawyer, James B. Donovan who is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy, Rudolf Abel, in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

Throughout the movie, Abel never seems concerned about anything. Donovan keeps asking him why he doesn’t seem worried and Abel replies with, “Would it help?”

You can watch this 30 second clip from the film to see this dynamic in action: 



This phrase, “Would it help?” has stuck with me since we finished the film. 

I think Abel’s approach to worrying is one that Jesus would have liked. 

In Luke we read that Jesus once said, “Which one of you can add a single hour to your life or 18 inches to your height by worrying really hard?” (tweet this)

Believe me I’ve tried this, so if it were possible I’ll be the oldest woman on earth or at least the tallest. 

There have been a couple of stressful situations since we watched the movie when worry has tried to take centre stage and I’ve found myself saying, “Would it help?”

When Xylon and I waited anxiously for the results from his blood test for cancer to come back I had to ask myself, “Would worrying help?” (For those who are interested his blood results showed no sign of cancer. Thank you, God!)

Then there is all the questions and worries around South African President Jacob Zuma's actions in the last week, and the impact on our currency, and the future of our country. 

A prayer for when you are worriedThrough all this, I’ve found this simple question so sharply brings into the focus the fact that worry doesn’t add anything to my life. 
Neither does worry change a situation that is out of my control nor does worrying help someone I am concerned about. 

If you keep reading Luke 12:26-28 you will find that Jesus goes onto say that Jesus goes on to talk about how God takes care of small, transient things and can be depended on to take care of all your big worries. 

Next time, you feel worry building, stop and ask this simple question, “Would worrying help?”

Ponder: How do you stop worrying from ruling your life?

Prayer: Jesus, you know how I love to worry. I don’t want worry to rule my life though so today I’m asking for the confidence to believe that when you said you’d take care of me and this situation that you meant it. Amen. 


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Last year thanks to your vote I won the SA Blog Awards Best Spiritual/religious blog for 2014. I am once again in the running for the title however I need your votes in order to win so please click on this red "VOTE" button --> 
You will be directed to the SA Blog Awards website. Your vote for my blog will automatically be entered. You will be sent a confirmation email, which you have to respond to in order to confirm your vote. The process allows you to vote for only one blog per category. Thank you for your support!
Last chance to enter to win a NIV Bible for Women
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How to be a good friend during the holidays

11:53 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

How to be a good friend during the holidays
A guest post by Betsy St. Amant

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33 (NIV)

The holidays can sure be an exhausting mix of joy and despair, can’t they? 

It seems like for every strand of twinkling lights, there’s a tear dripping down a cheek. For every plate of gingerbread cookies, there’s a bill on the table that can’t be paid. And for every Christmas carol sung with gusto, there’s a whispered lie of hopelessness. 

Hard times, heartache, and grief are not prejudice and pay no attention to the calendar month. Pain hits who it will, regardless of it being a bright summer afternoon or a winter Christmas morn. 

Jesus even told us “In this world, you will have trouble.”

Think about the people in your life—so many struggling with: 
Infertility. 
Death. 
Grief. 
Divorce. 
Broken relationships. 
Financial hardship. 
Wayward children. 

People searching for jobs, for freedom from addictions, for significance. People waiting for clear medical reports, for positive pregnancy tests, for their spouse to come home. 

There’s trouble everywhere we look. In our backyards, in our bank accounts, in our relationships. 

I’m so glad Jesus didn’t stop there when He talked about trouble. I love the rest of that verse. “But take heart…I have overcome the world.” 

And that’s what our main goal should be when ministering to friends hurting this holiday season—ushering them to the Overcomer. 

When someone we care about is in pain, we understandably want to fix it. But too often, in the heat of the moment, this attempt at fixing comes across as displeasure, frustration, or impatience toward our loved one. It can also express itself as judgment and actually serves as salt on the wound, rather than the intended Band-aid. 

When I was going through my divorce almost three years ago, I had so many well-meaning people tell me things like “I know it’s hard, but just focus on you and your daughter right now.” 

I know they were trying to comfort and point out the good I still had in my life, but it made me feel worse. Because not only did it not fix the fact that I was suddenly single after nine years of marriage, it made me feel like I was a bad Mom for not feeling like my daughter was enough. I felt like I was a failure because I missed my marriage. 

I finally, years later, figured out that a wound doesn’t render a blessing null and avoid—and vice versa. (<— Tweet this)

I could love, appreciate, and be grateful for my daughter with every ounce of my heart. But that didn’t change the fact that I was at that time grieving the loss of my marriage and fighting a loneliness gap that I was used to having a spouse fill. 

My daughter wasn’t meant to fill the void of a spouse. Just like being married doesn’t fill the void of infertility. It’s a separate longing. 

Jesus alone fills those needs, in His ways, in His timing, and you know what? The process and the specifics look different for everyone. 

I have overcome the world bible verseThat’s why we have to be careful when we try to fix our friends’ pain. Those people who spoke those things to me didn’t mean to heap guilt and shame on my head. Of course they didn’t. Just like we don’t meant to hurt when we say trite answers such as “It could always be worse” or “God has a plan” or “Just be grateful for what you have”. 

Trite answers certainly hold a merit of truth. But in the whirlwind of pain, they tend to serve as splinters instead—nagging, irritating annoyances that do more harm than good. 

The good news is, we don’t need to have all the answers. All we have to do to be the best friend possible is simply point our friend toward the One Who does have the answers. 
Jesus. 

This holiday season, if you have a friend who is grieving, look for tangible ways to direct them to Jesus. 
  • Invite them to church. 
  • Supply them with a new journal and their favorite color pen to vent their emotions. 
  • Bake their favorite dessert. 
  • Write Scriptures on cards and mail them. 
  • Offer to go for a drive and promise to only listen and not say a word. 
  • Surprise them with a giftcard for their favorite hot drink. 
  • Pray for them. 
  • Offer free babysitting. 
In summary, be the Gospel. Be the hands and feet of Jesus. Be available. 
And be quiet, so He can do the talking.  

Ponder: Who do you know that is grieving this holiday season? How can you be the hands and feet of Jesus to them?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for being the overcomer of our troubles in this world. Help me to keep my mouth shut when I want to give trite answers in response to peoples pain and instead help me to reach out to them and be your hands and feet. Amen.

About the author of this devotional
Betsy St. Amant has a heart for three things – chocolate, new shoes and sharing the amazing news of God’s grace through her novels. She lives in Louisiana with her adorable story-telling young daughter, a collection of Austen novels, and an impressive stash of Pickle Pringles. A freelance journalist and fiction author, Betsy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is multi-published in Contemporary Romance via Love Inspired and Harper Collins (Zondervan). When she’s not reading, writing, or singing along to a Disney soundtrack with her daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing. Find out more about her at betsystamant.com or say hi on Facebook and twitter.


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Please share this devotional on twitter by clicking here.
I’d also love for you to connect with me on my Facebookpinterest and twitter pages. You can also subscribe to my blog here and I'll send you my book, "Life, Life, and More Life" for free or if you reading via email leave a comment on the blog by clicking here.

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PLEASE VOTE FOR ME
SA Blog Awards BadgeLast year thanks to your vote I won the SA Blog Awards Best Spiritual/religious blog for 2014. I am once again in the running for the title however I need your votes in order to win so please click on this red "VOTE" button --> 
You will be directed to the SA Blog Awards website. Your vote for my blog will automatically be entered. You will be sent a confirmation email, which you have to respond to in order to confirm your vote. The process allows you to vote for only one blog per category. Thank you for your support!
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WIN 1 OF 5 NIV BIBLE’S FOR WOMEN
I recently wrote about contributing 5 devotionals to the Zondervan’s latest NIV Bible for Women. Zondervan have very kindly offered my five copies for readers to win. You may enter as many times as you like. Competition ends 15 December.
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Photo Credits (Creative Commons): HubSpot | Design: Wendy van Eyck