“God is great and God is good, and we thank Him for our food. By His hands, we all are fed. Give us, Lord, our daily bread. Amen.”

This little prayer was one of the first dinner prayers I learned growing up (along with the Superman prayer, of course). Along with my parents praying with us before bed, this became the small beginning to my prayer life.

It took me a while to be comfortable praying my own words in front of my family without feeling like I was doing wrong. It took much longer to pray in front of other, and even longer to pray OVER others. Today, my challenge is working towards the confidence to ask others if I can pray for them without being prompted.

I used to see prayer as something that just happened before meals with my family and before I slept to keep away bad dreams or comfort me when I did have them. For a while it seemed boring. I understood that I was talking to God, but I didn’t understand the importance of that. Closing my eyes, bowing my head, and droning on just didn’t seem so interesting to me.

To be completely honest, I still have a hard time sitting through prayers sometimes. I can’t keep my eyes shut, because I get distracted and zone out. But I think I understand a good bit more now how significant it is that I get to talk to our Father whenever I want.

My favorite memories of prayer are the times I sit and journal, talk to God, and write down our conversations. Next to those are the times I don’t know what to say, but I can just sit with Him, knowing He hears my heart. Singing, worship, and playing guitar are another one of my favorite ways when my heart is heavy and I need a reminder that He is orchestrating everything. And for those times I sit with my head bowed and pray (with my eyes open), I know now that it doesn’t have to be perfect and I can stumble as much as I need to over my words. He appreciates when we are real and genuine with Him, and that’s beautiful.

I have been so blessed to see the Lord’s provision and faithfulness to my prayers repeatedly. I can easily name off multiple times whereHe has absolutely floored me with His blessing. I have proof in my life that He hears me. Admittedly, I still have a hard time with some prayers. Despite the fact that I have seen the Father listens to me and continuously provides, I still allow doubt to creep in when I receive prayer for healing. I know how beautiful it is to see the result of prayers being answered, but I also understand the pain of going for prayer dozens of times and wondering why.

Prayer is significant. It’s incredible. It can be simple. It can be mind-boggling. It can be difficult. But it is a conversation with our Father no matter what. That. is. so. cool.

The last few weeks, God has really been highlighting the importance of this specific part of my relationship with Him. He’s been reminding me what a unique thing it is to be able to communicate with Him in such an intimate way. Not only that, He’s showing me the value of a community where I am surrounded by others that are so willing to stop and join in conversation with Him.

To be honest, it scared me a little at first when I saw in our Receptionist manual “pray with the oncoming Receptionist”. When it didn’t seem to be a common occurrence, I was a bit relieved. But my relief was short-lived. I’m so glad. Honestly, I don’t know if there’s a better way to start an end an 8-hour shift than just talking with God.

Our first day of surgeries, all meetings on the ship were interrupted as one of our surgeons began the day with a prayer over the PA system. How cool, yeah??

As I checked one of our crew members out before their flight home, he stopped (despite the limited time to make it to the airport), called over his wife, and asked if they could pray over a minor injury I have. This was such a significant moment for me, as simple as it was. It meant so much to have someone take important time out of their day just to stop and come before the Lord. I think that helped me understand how much more valuable our time is when we spend it with the Lord.

He is so good.

I love more than anything that we can just sit where we are and thank Him for everything. We can thank Him, cry out to Him, draw close to Him, be brutally honest with Him, and just talk… and we can do it anytime, anywhere, with anyone, and He hears. What an incredible privilege that is.

Father, help me to learn more and more each day the power, beauty, importance, and significance of talking to you.

The Name of Jesus

Hey there 🙂 It’s been a while.

Quick update (because you know how much I love those): Since I last posted, I have been in three different places. Las Palmas, Gran Canaria; Santa Cruz, Tenerife; and now, Dakar, Senegal! Dakar is where I will be for the remainder of my time on board the Africa Mercy (probably). During our time in Las Palmas and Santa Cruz, the ship was under repair and there were a TON of major projects going on. Because God is good, every single one of the 60+ projects were completed successfully in time for us to sail.

We are now safely in Dakar! In just a few short weeks, our first patients will be on board receiving care. In the meantime, there is a lot of work going into the hospital, Hope Center, and Dental Clinic in preparation for our arriving patients.

I also have a bit of exciting news! After a lot of thought and prayer, I have extended my time on board the ship an additional two months. I will now be staying with the Africa Mercy for twelve months in total, which means I will have the opportunity to see an entire field service in action. I am so so SO excited about this and I cannot wait to see how God uses this time and what blessings and experiences will come through this.

With all of the changes and adjustments, life has been really crazy and busy here for me as well. It’s been a bit taxing physically, emotionally, and spiritually for me the last few weeks. I’ve been drained and exhausted in every way, but God is good. Every day, despite how weak I felt, He has continued to bless me and remind me that He is with me no matter what.

I think sometimes I limit myself to learning about God on the days I have a clear mind and lots of energy. On the days I feel tired, it often feels like it takes everything I have just to say a quick prayer for help. But God has been showing me that taking time to get to know him isn’t as exhausting as I make it out to be. Sometimes, yes, it means resting and just talking to Him, but it doesn’t take much energy to pick up my Bible and spend time listening to Him, either.

I learned this week that even when I don’t feel like doing anything- when I want to give up, taking the time to listen to and get to know my Father is worth it. I may feel empty. I may feel like I have nothing to say or offer Him. I may not feel like picking up my Bible or praying. But by spending time with Him, He is providing energy for me. He is giving me exactly what I need each day. He is filling my cup. And not only that, I’m getting to know Him in a deeper and more intimate way than I knew Him before.

This week, He has been teaching me about the power of His Name. We have been reading through Genesis as a community, and this week, many of the chapters also mentioned some of the different Names of the Lord. Discovering these Names and learning about the significance and power behind each one has been incredible.

When I felt overwhelmed, I learned that He is El-Roi, the God who sees me (Genesis 16:13). Even when different things cloud my vision and different things cause stress and anxiety, He sees it all. He sees me, He hears me, and He is with me.

When I felt weak, I learned that He is El-Shaddai – the God Almighty (Genesis 17:1). Every trouble, weakness, and fear is subject to the authority of my Father in heaven. He is more powerful than it all. His love conquers all.

When I felt powerless and like I had no voice, I learned that He is the King of Kings. Not only that, He reminded me that I am a daughter of the King. I am a princess: “A woman having sovereign power” and “a member of the royal family”. I am His.

When I didn’t know what to expect, I learned that He is my Provider. I may not know what’s coming next, but I can trust that He will provide for every one of my needs as it comes. He has a desire to bless me.

I learned this week about the many powerful Names of my Father. I learned that when I am exhausted, I can call on the Name of El-Roi, El-Shaddai, the King of Kings, and my Provider. No matter what, He will always be there.

I’m so grateful that even in the times life doesn’t seem to go the way I want it to, that God is so faithful. Not only that, but that He also wants so badly to bless me. He is so good, so loving, and so faithful. I can look towards tomorrow knowing that no matter what happens, I can trust Him. Maybe tomorrow will be stressful, maybe it will bring difficult challenges, maybe it will be the best day of my life – regardless, my Father is walking with me through it all.