And Then He Prayed for Me

Yesterday morning, my husband and I were sitting on the porch like we do every morning, rocking and talking and drinking coffee. Small talk, mostly.

I didn’t tell him everything running through my mind.

He couldn’t handle all the chatter.

I’m not sure, but maybe this only happens to writers~~

Your thoughts are swirling like you’re swimming through dark water.

You want to take a step, but you can’t figure out where to go.

There’s a foggy path ahead of you.

One minute, you think one direction is the right way. The next minute, you convince yourself it’s the opposite way.

Should I take a leap of faith?
Or baby-steps?
Or stand still and wait?

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing, but I’ve obsessed over other things~~

Relationships. Money. How to serve at church. Even whether to speak up or listen.

It’s an uncomfortable pressure.

You want to do the right thing, and you would, if you knew what it was.

My writing idea~~

I have 20 pages of notes, but I’m not sure if it’ll work. The only thing I know for sure is it would be a lot of work.

Thinking about it feels like peering through the woods on a foggy day.

I need a sign. A compass. A map. Something! 

“It’s getting lighter earlier in the mornings,” Rick said.

“Um-hmm.” I tried to return to my spider web of thoughts, but the roosters crowed.

Life is short, I thought. If I give this idea a try, it could mean time and energy. And no guarantees. 

I glanced through the woods at our neighbor’s taillights as she left for work.

“Well, I guess it’s about that time,” Rick said. “I gotta go. Who’s turn is it to pray?”

We take turns. I prayed Monday.

I nodded at him, feeling relieved.

He started out by praying for family situations and a few close friends. Then he said~~

“Lord, help Julie with her writing. Show her what to write next.”

I couldn’t believe it! He read my mind. I hadn’t mentioned writing. Well, not yesterday.

My thoughts slowed down, and I remembered a book I started reading during the Super Bowl. 🙂

Whisper–How to Hear the Voice of God, by Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson believes everything begins with a whisper.

EVERYTHING.  

He says “finding our voice begins with hearing His voice.” page 2

I think Mark’s right. 

I’m going to do a lot more listening.

Sometimes God speaks through a prayer, a phrase in a book, or even crowing roosters. click to tweet

When you don’t know what to do next, shush. Don’t talk. Listen for God’s whisper. Click to tweet

Are you listening for God’s voice about something in particular? Tell us about it! 

Any hints on hearing His whispers?

Love,

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Anna Haney says:

    Oh Julie. I love this. I love that Rick knows you so well And he prayed about your writing. I also love learning to listen to God’s voice. I needed this.
    Love you
    Anna

    • I’m so glad it meant something to you, Anna. Thank you–you were the first commenter today! I have a feeling Don prays for you too!

      I love you.

  2. Carm Russell says:

    Been feeling like this for almost 4 yrs. And except for going back to work (after an early retirement) I’m still listening for God’s direction. And I’m okay with that. Does it stop the Ferris Wheel of thought? No, but one thing I learned especially in the past 4 yrs is that opposing thought, emotions, etc can and do exist within us at the same time. Working on it the be peaceful more than it’s a Ferris Wheel. Prayer where I listen for God has been my saving grace!

    Blessings,
    Carm

  3. Right on, as usual, Julie. Thanks so much for sharing your writer’s heart! You added a spark to my day!

  4. Debra-Diane McDonnell (Chaplain DD) says:

    Remember 1 Kings 19:12, Julie. Sometimes God isn’t loud; sometimes it IS that whisper!

    ” After the earthquake a fire passed; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. GOD’S WORD® Translation After the earthquake there was a fire. But the LORD wasn’t in the fire. And after the fire there was a quiet, whispering voice.”

    Sometimes we must really quiet our hearts and our soul so we can hear His whisper. He will tell you what to do and which direction He wants you to take. Praying you will hear Him clearly and joyfully!

    • I saw your name pop up and couldn’t wait to see what you wrote, Chaplain DD. 🙂

      Ohhh, how I love this Scripture.

      Yes, it’s the getting quiet part–it’s a new skill I’m working on.

      Still and quiet.

      Thank you for your precious prayer, my friend.

  5. Cathy Mayfield says:

    Ah, Julie, we are soooo alike! My mother-in-law pegged me early in our marriage. “Cathy,” she said, “you think too much.” I often ponder her statement when I’m digging too far into a passage of Scripture or a comment on Facebook. Yep, she was spot on!

    On January 22, 2018, I was immersed in my early morning writing time when the Holy Spirit whispered something to me. My newly-found “listener’s ear,” more attuned to these divine messages, knew it was He, and not only that, but He had news of major import to me, news that would…and did…rock my world. Ten years ago, I felt God’s leading toward a “big project,” the details of which I begged for…and did not receive until last month. I opened my heart, my mind, my will, and my emotions to whatever God wants me to do. It IS big…bigger than anything I’ve ever tackled…bigger than my insecurities, bigger than my fears…but not bigger than my trust in the Holy Spirit’s work through me.

    Each day, as He asked me to do, I take baby steps forward: a bit of freewriting, considering a table of contents, seeking prayer from friends, sharing a tiny bit of this wonder this morning with our eldest daughter, who instead of cringing at what our family considers my never-ending ideas, simply said (and I’m tearing up thinking about it), “That’s really exciting, mama!”

    I absolutely CANNOT spend too much time thinking on it. If I did, I would cave and never proceed. It’s terrifying, exciting, riveting, life-changing. With a new grandson due any moment, a wedding to pull together by June, several other writing projects on the go, how can I possibly have time for a project of this magnitude, this importance? It will require complete vulnerability, complete trust in God taking over my need for perfection.

    This is my NOW! My word-of-the-year has taken on a new dimension. Am I enough for it? No…but I will be as I let God’s take me by the hand and help me to walk…and run…and fly! And that I “think” is what He intends for me to do.

    So, Julie, I will pray for your new project as I know you will be praying for mine. Love you!

    • Cathy,

      I’m feeling holy goosebumps. And just look! It’s been ten years–ten years of waiting and trusting ad praying. Your daughter’s response is so sweet!

      I never considered something you said. You “absolutely CANNOT spend too much time thinking on it.” Wow–what a different approach, and I like it! It sounds full of faith and trust.

      Yep, your word is NOW. And it sounds like NOW is the appointed time.

      Yes, I’m praying for you, my friend. Thank you for your prayers.

      xoxoxoxoxoxoxox

  6. Since choosing not to continue my daily writing of meditations, I am like a fish out of water in my writing. For five years I wrote and posted. I know that God was telling me it was time to hang it up and get on with writing the book I promised I would write about moving forward after grief and the loss of my husband. I think I am still too emotionally involved to adequately write the book, and I am now needing to listen to God and the quiet voice to know how to move forward. Thank you for this meaningful post.

    • Cathy Mayfield says:

      Linda, so sorry for your grief. I lost my dad 10 years ago, and sometimes, my grief is so deep it cuts into my heart and leaves me gasping to breathe. Books helping others deal with this grief are always needed. I have one in me which I believe God gave me a few years after my dad passed. I’ve done some freewriting on it and will probably write it…someday. My suggestion would be to use your writing times to simply write about your emotions. Share them as though in a letter to God. Just write it all out, not focusing on “book material,” but rather “heart material.” No planning, no editing, just sharing your connecting your heart to God’s. Eventually, the Holy Spirit will whisper that it’s time to take those writings and find the nuggets He can use through you to help the hurting people in this world. Praying for you and your project. Blessings!

    • Linda, you’ve been faithful to blog through your grief–which must’ve been incredibly tough. I kept blogging in 2012 through a clinical depression. Looking back, it never occurred to me to take a break. I’m not sure what that means.

      And now you have this sense that He’s calling you to something new. Whew….boy, do I understand.

      Being quiet mentally and listening to God–this is new for me. Maybe I’m just now beginning to understand how to keep a quiet mind and heart. Maybe it’s part of the Surrender process.

      Whatever it is, I think you’re at the same place.

      I’m praying for you. I believe you and I will know when it’s time.

      Right now for me, typing notes about my idea feels really good.

      I’m praying God will show us how and when to write.

      Learning to listen,
      Julie

      • Thanks again. Sometimes I want to be in the driver’s seat and drive right past God!

        • Linda, I know what you mean! And it the time we’re speeding right past Him, somehow it seems like the right thing to do!

          Whew…..

          Wrong.

  7. Pam Kulczar says:

    Thank you, Julie!

    You always know just what to write that speaks to my heart and usually to my situation!

    My thoughts also race and churn! So many ideas! So many plans! So many directions! I, too, am learning to LISTEN to the ‘still, small voice’ of our Father!

    The WHISPERS of GOD!

    • You and me both, Pam! I guess I assumed that as long as I wasn’t talking, I was being quiet and listening.

      Nope.

      He wants my mind, my thoughts, all of my heart. Thank you for reading and for your precious comment. It means to much to find out other people feel this way!!!!

      xo

  8. Beautiful writing, Julie. I see whispers of love in Rick’s praying for you. He knows what your writing means to you and he he wants you to feel peace about it. How wonderful is that! xxoo

    • You know…. that’s a beautiful point, Eileen. Thank you. I guess I’ve been avoiding those feelings–b/c he works so hard to provide, sometimes the guilt rises up inside me. But he prays for me from such a giving heart.

      Thank you. I needed your words.

      xoxoxoxoxo

  9. Julie, the first thing I thought about when I read this is we often have to get still to hear that whisper. But of course, you’ve already alluded to that here in the comments. God is always speaking, but I am not always listening. Oh, to hear him more clearly. Blessings, Bev

    • Beverly,

      Here’s the crazy part. I’m just figuring out that stillness doesn’t just mean to sit still. It means to keep a quiet mind and heart.

      Big difference.

      Lord, teach me….

      Thank you so much, my friend.

  10. Marcia Bargo says:

    Even though I do not respond with each post, does not mean I am not reading–so not true. Julie, your posts are as though we are sitting at that Starbucks talking and sharing as we did that one afternoon. Not only di I read each one, I often go back and reread, gleaning a new thought or application to my life personally. I related to the loss of your dear friend–I have lost two and their lives still have an impact on me. The last post was so true–I too, made food gifts and gave this past Christmas. It brought such joy not only to me, but the recipients. Not many people make homemade anymore. Your post affirmed that it is not the “bigness” of our gifts. It is what is in our hearts and our yieldedness before Him. I went and bought Ann VosKamp’s book–what an impact it is having on me. And, this week’s post has truly spoken to me. It is in those quiet moments we hear His voice. How often do we set aside quietness. Even in today’s loud surroundings, it is so important to be quiet and listen….He will speak when we yield to him–whether through His Word, a Pastor’s message, a friend’s geortation, a book (The Broken Way), a sweet bird’s song during the morning sunrise or a blog post such as yours. As always, thank you for sharing. May the Lord continue to bless as you write.

    • Marcia,

      Wow. Wow….your words.

      They went all the way to the bottom of my heart. I don’t know how to thank you. I had no idea anyone would ever return to a post and read it a second time.

      The food gifts–I’m telling you, this is doing something to me. I’ve sent six boxes of cookies so far.

      You and I are doing small things with great Love–I just never knew how my heart would be so filled up with love as I’m baking. And I’m learning to listen when He whispers and says, “She needs a little encouragement. Send cookies.”

      Hugging you from here. YOU UNDERSTAND!

      Your comment–and all the others does something to me. The Lord speaks to you all through me. He whispers, “Keep writing, I’m with you.”

      The Broken Way. We could probably talk for years about this book! I’m loving Whisper too.

      All my love,
      Julie

  11. Patricia Martin says:

    Julie, I have been thinking about your writing!! (-: I know how you feel as I have to write almost two academic APA papers every week. Writing is never easy, but the finished product is always worth it. I get so discouraged about writing sometimes and I have been graded very hard this class. God moves mountains and he moves my writing and has worked miracles with it. So glad Rick prayed for you. How is Katie? How are you?xoxo xoxo xoxo

  12. Patricia,

    I have zero doubt in my mind that you’ll do an amazing job with your papers. How do I know? Because you’re a hard worker who goes to the Lord for her strength. You’re going to ace them!!! I just know it.

    You have the heart of a writer. Write-on!

    All is well here. I’m praying for you and your sweet family.

    Let me know after you finish your first paper!

    So much love,
    Julie

  13. Elaine says:

    My husband and I have been thinking alike so much lately that it is eerie,. We changed our church going schedule to going last Saturday instead of Sunday at 11. When we both got into the car after the service, my husband said had you ever noticed that Deacon Ryan the music director too, looked so much like our son Gene who passed away. I just felt the tears coming, I said yes, that is why I couldn’t sing the communion hymn as I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Ryan is at all 3 services but we never saw him like he was the other night. I will have to watch what is on my mind, since my husband Bob is a mind reader now.
    Good luck with your writing, just getting started on a project is sometimes the hardest part, once started things come to you. Praying for you and your writing and of course your hubby.

    • Elaine,

      Holy goosebumps. I’m so sorry about Gene. You and your husband were on the same spiritual wave length. I know what you mean. For us, this didn’t happen early in marriage. It’ll be 40 years for us in December.

      Thank you, my friend. I’m saying a prayer for you now–and will be also on Sunday.

      Much love,
      Julie

      • Elaine says:

        My husband Bob and I will be celebrating 57 years of marriage this month. We dated for 2 1/2 years before that. He is a wonderful caregiver, friend, and keeps me on my toes.

        • Happy Almost 57th!!!! Wow! Wow! Wow!! My heart is full for you and Bob!

          • Elaine says:

            Thank you, you have helped me so much with your emails. I send a lot on to my sister Lynn.

        • Elaine, what you said above–about you sending my blogs to your sister. Thank you.

  14. Oh, Julie, as often happens, I’m in the same place as you. Do I put all my time and energy into a project that could go nowhere? Is it good enough? Am I good enough to write it? Will it be a waste of time? Then I shushed, and listened, and heard Him whisper: “Do it.” I’m still not sure where to start: but I think I have an idea. I’m still not sure if what I have is “meaty” enough for a novel: but I’m going to dive into the deep and see. So if you’ll take my hand, I’ll take yours. Let’s jump in together!

    • Yes, yes, yes, let’s go deep sea diving together!!!!

      Wish we were talking on the phone right this second.

      We’re in it together!!

      I love you,
      Me

  15. Ellen Parrish says:

    Julie,
    It always amazes me how similar our thinking can be and yet knowing our lives are very different in lots of ways. I working with “listen & learn”, especially since most of my life I’ve said the first thing that pops into my mind. Many times I have regretted that decision. The whisper I totally cherish since I’m keeping my 15 month old grandson two days a week and I whisper things to him all day long. He takes it in and then gives me a sweet baby response. The cobweb thought connects with my twirling string of thoughts and yet I’m amazed how often I hear from someone else and it connects back to something I was just wondering about. I think we are all connected by a web of life and the Spirit leads us where we need to be. You and brave for sharing and humble in your honesty. I consider you part of my “web of life”. Thanks friend!

    • Hey Elaine,
      Your thoughts are so amazing. I love everything you said!

      Who’d ever think these barely audible whispers can make such a difference, but now I know they do. And our thoughts matter too.

      When I read what you said about a web connected all of us, I imagined a huge ball of multi-colored yard going through, around, up, and over people everywhere.

      Thank you. One tiny whisper has so much power. And what a Joy, I’m sure, to keep your precious grandson!

      I’m going to focus on Listen and Learn tomorrow. I love how it sounds.

      xoxoxoxox

  16. Marci' a says:

    You always write such God inspired writings- and touch so much that we may be experiencing also.
    And how wonderful when someone knows just the prayer we need! That is a God thing too.
    I love your little “prayer table” that you have on your porch. It seems to say so much. The little cabin, the cups – especially the Joy one! I am just seeing your writing here – on Friday! Did not get on line for a couple of days. The book Whisper, looks like such a good one! Thanks for sharing a bit of it with us. Another book for my wish list. I got the Broken Way book a few days ago. I keep prayers going up for your writings, all of them. They bless us so much. God Bless and Love, xoxox

    • Hey Marci’a!

      I couldn’t wait to get home and open my comments. Mom and I ran some errands this morning and went to lunch–then more things on my list.

      So good to hear your sweet voice. 🙂

      Whisper–oh yes. It’s soooooooooooo good. Our ladies’ small group is going to start it Feb 21. We cover a chapter or two a week.

      Thank you for praying. I’m praying for you, my friend.

      Love,
      Julie

  17. Julie Gilleand says:

    Hi Julie G 🙂

    It’s so great when someone knows our heart and even better when we know it was just God, that they did. There have been many times I’ve heard those whispers too — through friends, events, scripture, a book, a movie, a dream or any number of things, but there have also been maybe 2 or 3 times in the nearly 4 decades I have known the Lord, when that whisper has not come “through” someone or something else; when I have heard Him speak something directly into my heart and soul. Twice it was specific words I heard and once it was just a knowing of something. Hard to describe. But each of those three times, something happened first. Something quieted my soul like nothing ever does. There was a holy silence that was a quietness not of this world. Hard to describe that too! But I know when that happens, God is about to say something to me and each time it has been something profound and deeply personal. Not really anything I could share. But when I read or hear about that still, small voice, I know what that means. I always loved the GP article John Sherrill wrote a few years ago where he’d sit on his porch with a tablet and pen, quiet his soul, and write down what thoughts came to him. And in them he would also hear God’s messages to him. I always remembered that story.

    God bless, other Julie G 🙂

    –Leafy

    • Kim says:

      Hi Julie G, I remember that article well. When I’ve practiced it, such a good experience. Thank you for the reminder of it. I may try it again to hopefully hear where and when I am supposed to take steps. (see below if interested in those details) Blessings, Kim

      • Kim, what month/year of Guideposts is it in?

        Now….going to read below. 🙂

        • Kim says:

          Lol, I’ve only kept 2 Guideposts magazines in all the years. I give them away. Pass them on. That one I have. 🙂 March 2005. Pencil in Hand. This practice helped me on my long healing journey a few years ago. I can’t believe I forgot. Julie G mentioning is God speaking to me to begin again.

        • Kim says:

          For anyone else interested, the link below is that article on Guideposts website.

          https://www.guideposts.org/faith-and-prayer/prayer-stories/pray-effectively/praying-with-pencil-in-hand

          • Julie Gilleand says:

            Wow, Kim, thanks for the link! I can’t believe it was THAT long ago! I too pass most of my GPs along and only keep a very few. I’m going to enjoy re-reading this one!

          • Kim, THANK YOU!!! And I’m going to send this on to another GP writer. We had a conversation this morning about how to hear from God.

            Huge gratitude!

          • It just thrills me when my bloggy friends become friends. 🙂

    • Leafy–THIS IS BEAUTIFUL. I want to experience what you’re talking about. The deep sense of quiet. That’s what I long for–shutting off my mind so I can get closer to him. I love how you described it. I’m reminding you again, you’re a writer.

      So much love–and I’m going to ask Mother about the John Sherrill article. I don’t remember it. Maybe she has a copy.

      Thank you.

      • Julie Gilleand says:

        It’s more like He shut off my mind. I mean, it was literally like I was mid-thought and dared not think another thought, because He had something to say. The closest thing I can relate it to is the day after 9-1-1. Do you remember how oddly quiet it was outside because every plane was grounded. I remember thinking I’d never heard that much quiet before outside. Must be how quiet the world was back in the day — before machines, cars, motors, and big cities. But even that kind of quiet doesn’t match what I experienced!

        • Yes, I know what you’re talking about with 9-1-1-. And I’m asking Him to let me experience the spiritual stillness you felt.

  18. Kim says:

    Oh Julie, I am afraid this might turn out to be the longest response I’ve ever written. I have been prayerful and listening regarding staying or quitting my job for several months. I work at a church and literally, the past year has been upheavel followed by disaster and then more chaos. Stress, upon stress, upon more stress. I am miserable. This job landed in my lap when I wasn’t looking for a job. And when I was on the verge of quitting this time last year, the mess began and I couldn’t. So why am I there? I am willing to stay if God wants me there. I am still there 6 months later because I do not have the answer to this question. I don’t have a Yes, you may leave, or No, you are to stay. I don’t even have a time frame response. Nothing.

    Sure, the swirling thoughts oftentimes overtook, but stillness was hard won a few times too. The actual result to this experience was answers to questions I wasn’t even asking. My family and I have felt led to leave that church for worship. How do you leave a church you are very much involved in? When? We aren’t moving and I still work there. But the odd thing was where we felt led to go. A rotation of different places and denominations. Each with very different worship experiences. An inner city outdoor church, the local monastery, Quaker Friends Meeting (Simply an hour of silent worship) and our own home worship. This felt questionable and unsustainable. Seriously Lord? Who does that?

    And then I stumbled on a book. Really, God put it in my hands. Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor. She is a former priest in the denomination we were in. And in the introduction: “…I am as likely to spend Sunday mornings with friendly Quakers, Presbyterians, or Congregationalists as I am with the Episcopalians…Sometimes I even keep the Sabbath with a cup of steaming tea on my front porch,…while God watches me.” WOW!!! So, we aren’t an annomily.

    We’ve begun this. We have been obedient, even though there are many who don’t understand. And the latest transition with the leadership at the church, oh. my. goodness. Not fun. Not easy. I am so thankful I am not there on Sunday’s as well. Why in the world did I ever question God knowing what he was doing?

    So, continued prayers from this community are more than welcome.

    • Kim,

      Whew……wish we were sitting at a table talking. Wow. I can tell you’re seeking Him with all your hearts. You’re following His lead. And that’s so difficult when it’s foggy, isn’t it? When you can’t explain it to anyone. You know what thrilled a place in my heart? Reading the phrase–simply an hour of silent worship. That’s so intriguing to me.

      I’m praying for you. Please, please let us know what happens. Remember, blessings follow obedience. Even if those blessings are the deep, quiet ones in our hearts.

      I love you. Hugging you from here this rainy Sunday morning.

    • Julie Gilleand says:

      Hi Kim,

      Thanks again for posting that link to John Sherrill’s article. I so enjoyed reading it again and it inspired me to order a book by David Manuel, who John credits as inspiring him to pray with pencil in hand. The book is on prayer and hearing God in your heart. So good!

      And I want you to know that I will keep you in my prayers. I well understand the church dilemma you described. I’m glad God dropped that book in your lap and it sounds like a good one! Yes, do keep us posted on how things go on this journey you are on. Take care and God bless. Praying for you ♥

      Leafy

      • Kim says:

        Thanks so much Leafy. I call it prayer journaling and I’ve taken it on for my Lenten discipline. Lots of tears shed so far, but very much worth it.

        I’m currently reading An Altar in the World by the same author, Barbara Brown Taylor. Points to daily/hourly God encounters outside of church walls, in our everyday lives and interactions.

        I will let you know how things turn out. Appreciate your prayers!

  19. He prayed for you. Beautiful. I so love you, Julie.

    • I love you too, Shelli. It took so many years for us to start praying together. Thirty, at least. It’s not awkward now, so I don’t know why we couldn’t do it before. Sort of like–too much intimacy. I don’t know. Makes no sense b/c I could pray with my girlfriends.

      xooxoxoxoxoxoxox

  20. A perfect praying partner. Nice, Julie.
    Yeah, I agree. Soooo many things could be swimming in our heads, but when asked we say so little. I don’t think they could handle it if I speak every thought in my head.

    Thanks for sharing this. That looks like a great book to have.

    • I know! They couldn’t handle it–yet if you and I met, I could handle your thoughts. Maybe–just maybe you could handle hearing mine.

      Thank you, my friend.

      P.S. I LOVE your IG pics. Feels like we’ve actually met.

      xoxoxoxo

      • Aw. Thank you. Hope to indeed meet you someday. Maybe come to my wedding. 🙂

        • Julie says:

          Wouldn’t that be awesome? Meeting each other at your wedding!!!!!!! I’m absolutely thrilled for you–love seeing all your pics!

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