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Retro Challenge Pre-Emails

If you were sent to this page, you probably signed up for the challenge after these two pre-emails were sent and were directed straight to the prep work. The emails below are not required reading 😉 , but we did want you to have them if you’re a little nerdy like us and don’t want to miss out on a single word!

A BOWL OF STRAWBERRIES > A BOWL OF ICE CREAM

Is a thriving prayer life kinda old fashioned in our overly connected world?

Maybe so…but we’re about to reclaim it.

There is nothing harder than trying to sit down to pray when I’ve been spending too much time on my phone. A quiet, seemingly one-sided conversation, where I often feel like I’m carrying things seems dull compared to the flash of the blue lights of memes and gossip, text messages and baby pics, new opportunities, and new fashion.

In my book, Pray Confidently and Consistently, I shared why I think we don’t pray, and it may not be why you think.

What about those moments when we just don’t want to pray? I honestly don’t think we feel that way because we’re too busy or because prayer’s too boring. I think it’s because the idea of choosing prayer in a noisy world is the equivalent of choosing a sweet, natural strawberry over a bowl of ice cream.

The world offers seemingly immediate results while prayer requires patience.

The world offers stimulation at lightning speed while prayer requires that we sit and learn to embrace the quiet needed for listening.

The world offers mind-numbing entertainment while prayer requires our minds.

Highly processed sugar is the easy choice and will always be waiting to tempt us. Fruit, though satisfying, doesn’t have the same chemically addictive qualities as ice cream. So, if we don’t get intentional and actively pursue prayer, we will drift to the ultra-sweet stuff of distractions instead of the satisfying fruit that awaits us. One of my favorite inside jokes with my husband is from a video montage of parents telling their kids that they ate the kids’ Halloween candy. For just a minute, forget the fact that parents are straight-up lying to their kids and kids are flipping out about candy. The part that made us laugh was when one kid matter-of-factly told his mom, “You’re probably gonna get a belly ache.” Now, Tyler and I throw this phrase around when we indulge in those things that never feel good afterward.

The distractions won’t satisfy. They’re too sweet, and you’re probably gonna get a belly ache. Grab the natural, sweet, delicious strawberry. Shut off the TV. Turn off the podcasts in the car. Stop listening to the voice messages from friends when you cook. Instead, pray. It’s sweet, and it won’t leave you with a belly ache.

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve tried to escape prayer by choosing other things, only to finally pray and wish I had come sooner. The temptation to face distractions on our own is real. But when we fall for the lie that we should be able to have these burning bush conversations on the fly or in the midst of constant noise, when we convince ourselves we should have enough self-control to always choose the strawberries over the ice cream, we fool ourselves and are left disappointed with a lackluster prayer life.

We aren’t leaving a lifestyle of prayer up to change anymore. Now that you know why we don’t pray, it’s time to describe a prayer life worth getting excited about, just like a fresh juicy strawberry…and no belly ache.

HIT REPLY

Tell us what your guilty pleasure is when it comes to the internet. Do you hit up the Reddit threads? Twitter? Or have hundreds of dollars sitting in virtual shopping carts?

COMING SOON: We’ve got a big prep email coming with all the practical tips and resources you’ll need to make this happen

Talk soon,

Val

NOSTALGIA IS TRENDING

Has your favorite childhood show gotten the reboot yet? Just wait. It’s likely coming! Nostalgia is trending and apparently, the Millennials and Gen Z kids are even more nostalgic for times they didn’t grow up in!

Nostalgia is trending, but why?

Janelle L. Wilson says, “We ride a wave of nostalgia, seeking solace in those pre-COVID, pre-smartphone times. People and groups often feel nostalgic for the past when current circumstances are deficient, leaving us with a sense that something valuable has been lost, an unsettling discontinuity between past and present.”

I think that’s so true. We get nostalgic for something valuable that has been lost.

Can I just tell y’all, I am so nostalgic for the prayer lives of yesteryear?! As I’ve read books on prayer from authors 40 years ago to hundreds, it’s easy to think we’re missing something. I can’t even say for sure what it is (because I wasn’t around then 🙂), but there’s something beautiful about the prayer world I read about from previous decades.

Have you read about revivals throughout history, like the Great Awakening or the two prayer warrior sisters in the Hebrides? See this IG post to get a taste.

I’m just as impressed with these believers’ time, energy, and devotion to prayer as I am with the actual miracles that resulted.

Have you heard of a prayer chain? It’s not a woo-woo mail chain where you’d mail out superstitious letters hoping for luck to turn around. It was a way that ladies (and gentlemen) would get the word out to pray when a request came through the church. One lady would be notified, she’d pray for the request, and she’d call another. And the chain would go on and on. Prayer with others, and talking about prayer, was a weekly (if not more) thing.

2023, though?

Many of us haven’t prayed out loud with another person, much less on a weekly basis.

Many of us haven’t seen prayer thrive in our churches.

Many of us are struggling just to talk with God, much less add someone else into the mix.

Friends, the retro prayer life is so compelling to me. I know it wasn’t perfect. But from the stories of older generations of prayer warriors, I’m learning that the Lord worked in mighty ways.

Part of me wants to say…

Can you imagine getting together for quick lunch with friends and then praying in your car together after? (My friends have done this several times)

But that nostalgia drive is thick. I want women, in my house. Over tea. On my porch. In prayer. Because the part of prayer in the old days that I love is that it was an event. It wasn’t the last 5 minutes of Bible study. It was the PRAYER MEETING. It may have even been prayer week. There might have been sandwiches and tea and even a card game (ok, let’s be honest, probably not for Baptist women!) but how sweet would it be to purposefully gather together to meet with our Heavenly Father and our closest friends.

Sometimes, we can look back at the past and get nostalgic for a time that is gone. But the treasured things of previous prayer generations aren’t foregone. We’re up against new challenges, but praise the Lord! A thriving and connected prayer life is still possible!!

Now that we’ve looked at the present and the past, come back tomorrow as we learn how to change the future! But first, reply back and tell us–is your favorite childhood show getting the reboot? Or are you still holding out hope it will happen? Mine is finally happening soon! 😉

Talk soon,

Val

follow along @valmariepaper