prayer experiment notebook

Mum on a Mission Reviews “The Prayer Experiment Notebook”


prayer experiment notebook

I won a copy of “The Prayer Experiment Notebook”, and after asking my followers if they would like a review of it, the overwhelming answer was YES!!!  So here is my honest opinion as to what the book is like.

first impressions

prayer experiment notebookMy first impression of the book from the cover was that it looked fun and engaging for kids.  Even the title is quite engaging, with the idea that prayer can be experimental.  The designers have done a great job on this and it certainly made me want to read more.

Who’s It by then?

Inside the front cover is a section that probably only parents will read – the “about the authors” section!  But I wanted to read it to see what experience and background the authors were coming from as they wrote this book.  It was fascinating to read part of the story of it coming together, and the co-authors have a wealth of knowledge that they have put together, both in their full time jobs and in their blogging and writing. All in all, I felt in very safe hands reading the rest of the book and knew it would come from a great place of wanting to help children connect with God more.

what’s good about it?

After the “about the author” section there is also a little section explaining how the book works.  Following on from that are 14 prayer experiments to try out, as well a 6 group prayer experiments.  What’s good about it is:

  • the variety of prayer experiments that are included.  There are some that will appeal to boys, girls, different types of learners and different age groups too.  With such a variety you are sure to find something that your child will connect with that you can carry forward into their normal devotional time.
  • the book provides space for your kids to make their own notes about that experiment.inside the book  I really like the way that this book lets the kids take ownership of their own relationship with God.  Far too often we as parents buy resources and we use them, but never let the kids touch them or be involved in the planning.  This has the kids involved from the beginning, and lets them decide how to do it and have space to write about how it went.
  • children have been used in the creation of it. At the end of every prayer experiment are some reviews from other kids who have tried it out.  I think this is really great, as it shows the authors have really done their research, and the reviews are all very mixed, which gives your own kids permission to love or hate different experiments.
what’s not so good

As a mother of a five year old and a two year old, my children aren’t quite at the age where they can own their relationship with God completely.  This book is ideally aimed at 8-11 year olds, those who can write independently and want a bit more freedom to do their own thing.  I will definitely be stashing this away for when mine are a bit bigger.

inside the bookI honestly can’t think of anything else bad to say about this book!  The design of the pages inside is engaging and interesting.  There are drawing and pictures of how to do the experiments so they are easy to follow.  Everything about it is brilliant!

You can buy the book here.
prompt 28

What is #Prompt28 all about?

prompt 28

I am sucker for a digital campaign that aims to try to connect me with God or the community more (you will already know how much I love 40 acts each lent!).  So when I heard about Prompt 28 I was very intrigued.  I signed up straight away with only a few days before it started the first Sunday in June.

What is the concept?

The idea behind Prompt 28 is that for 28 days you will ask the Spirit a question.  Being aware of what we are asking the Spirit (and taking our prompts from the daily text/email from Share Jesus International) will hopefully make us more open to opportunities and aware of the Spirit moving in our daily lives.  Some of the prompts are “Who can I pray for today?” or “Who could I eat lunch with today?”.  Some are practical and some are more spiritual, but all are eye opening if you let the Spirit use them.

has it helped me?

Yes and no.  The prompts haven’t been especially imaginative so far, and I have found some of them hard to fit into my lifestyle (I work from home on my own so have no-one to invite to lunch!).  But some of them have been very powerful and pushed me to pray things I might never have.  I have spotted opportunities to reach out that I may have ignored.  I have offered prayer to those on my facebook feed, I have been inspired to write notes of encouragement to those in power above me, and I have jumped at the chance to feed a family in need.  I prayed that I would have the chance to say sorry in person to someone who I never see, and then the next day their car was outside my house and I was able to clear the air and apologise.  I spent one whole day praying peace over my estate and I made an extra effort to be cheerful to all those I interact with during my day.

What has the spirit answered with?

The tag line of the Prompt 28 campaign is “Ask the Spirit a question, see what happens next..” and I love this!  You know what, when you invite the Spirit into your everyday life it is always a little bit scary.  You never know where He is going to lead you or what he is going to prompt you to do.  But it is exciting too!  To know that you could be used to bring someone one step closer to knowing Jesus is exhilarating.  To know that your prayers could change someones world, or your gift of love be influential in someone’s life is so exciting.  I really want to live like this everyday, for it to be Prompt 365 if I’m honest.  Don’t we all need that little kick in the morning to remind us what potential the day has to make an impact for Christ?  No day is a write off.  No day doesn’t hold something unique.  And if Prompt 28 does nothing more than remind us of that, then it is amazing.

But I know that it has done much more than that.  This is only its first year, and Share Jesus International have started off well.  I hope and pray that even more people take part and it becomes more widely known, so that more of us can be prompted to include the Spirit in our everyday lives.

whatsapp with God

Lets start a Whatsapp with God…

whatsapp with God

Technology.  Whether you love it or hate it, it is here to stay.  And I for one chose to embrace it and see how it can improve my walk with God as much as possible.  Recently I was challenged in my prayer life.  I was one of those people who would regularly say “Oh I’ll pray for you” or “I’ll pray for that” and then by the time I got home had completely forgotten.  So many lost prayers, so many opportunities to invite God in to situations lost just because of my poor memory and inability to do it in the moment.

So I start carrying this around:

It is just a notebook (admittedly with an awesome cover that also reminds me to pray – thanks God At My House!) that I document my conversation with God in.  Its hard sometimes to pray, because often it feels like we’re talking to thin air.  But we’re not!  We’re talking to our amazing Father in Heaven.  For me, having the physical book there in front of me to write down my side of the conversation was really helpful.  It was almost like I was whatsapping God.

And then I thought – what if I did start whatsapping God?!  We all have our phones glued to our persons at most times, so why don’t we start texting/whatsapping/facebook messengering (whatever it is that works for you) to ourselves with our prayers?  That way, we have a physical reminder and action to do whilst we are praying.  It takes it from just thoughts in our heads into the real world.   And yes, I know God can hear our thoughts, but prayer is about more than that.  It is developing a relationship.  And nowadays we conduct a lot of our relationships through our phones, so why not do the same with God?  Lets not separate him from modern life, but INCLUDE him in it!  Lets make God the ruler of our phones and the number 1 in our whatsapp list (I was going to say speed dial but who uses that nowadays?!).

 

pray more worry less

Pray More, Worry Less

Pray more, worry less” has kind of become my mantra recently.  Since the stress of HS2 news dropping on me last July, I have been slowly sinking in a sea of anxiety and stress.  I had been feeling overwhelmed to the point that is was physically affecting me.  I had constant headaches, normally dull enough to cope with, but more often than nope escalating as I felt the stresses of each day rising.  Normal painkillers had stopped working, and the doctors couldn’t find anything else wrong with me, so I deduced it must be stress.

I knew why.  I hadn’t been actually giving these worries to God.

pray more worry less

I knew the verses, and could tell you them before well meaning people quoted them at me if I mentioned my stress.  But it wasn’t until I actually accepted that I had a problem that I was able to start dealing with it.  When I went to Captivated Conference I decided enough was enough – I had to get over  this.  I bought a book dealing with anxiety and contentment and started reading.  I am still only a third of the way through, but one story in the first chapter hit me.

It was a story of a night when the author couldn’t sleep.  Something was worrying her.  She knew the verses too – pray about everything and give it over to God.  She prayed.  Got back into bed.  But it still kept bothering her.  I really identified with that.  I knew that there were times when I prayed out of habit but still kept hold of that worry, and so the thing she said next really hit me hard.

She said that she got up and prayed again.  And she repeated the process until she had actually given that worry to God.  That was when it hit me – I needed to keep persevering in prayer, to be praying until the anxiety went.  I had prayed but only briefly.

So now I am trying to pray until the feeling of uncertainty and anxiety leaves me.  I am trying to pray away the worry.  I am praying until I feel God lift the weight off me and take it into his burden.  And I do feel better.

I have had significantly less headaches since then (ask my husband if you don’t believe me!), although driving to unknown places often sets them off no matter how hard I pray!  I have had no more panic attacks or days of overwhelming anxiety.  I am now looking for physical reminders to do this and make it easier for me to remember to “pray more, worry less“.  I am thinking a notebook I can carry around with me might help, where I can write any and all prayers for any and all worries during the day.  We shall see!  Does anyone have any other ideas on how to deal with this?  Do share below….

(P.S  the artwork on this post is taken from an amazing notebook that I got sent by God at My House.  You can read my review of it here)

tiny prayer in planner

A tiny little prayer….

Last week I prayed a tiny little prayer.

It was half finished.

It was rushed.

But my heart was in it.  My desire was felt through it.

And God answered.

tiny prayer in planner

This tiny little prayer, when I looked back in my planner, reminded me of how much of prayer is about aligning our hearts with God.  Powerful prayers come from places where we are desperate to see God’s Kingdom worked out here on earth.   Powerful prayers are the ones where God knows we truly mean it.

And I did.  I meant it.  Every last word. I wanted to have the chance to talk to people about God.  I wanted it not to be awkward to talk to people about my love for him.  I wanted it to come up naturally so that people can see that I’m not trying to ram things down their throats, but that it is just a part of me that I can’t contain!  And God came through (with a little help from my little man dressed as a wise man for world book day…).

Why am I sharing this story?  Because I want you to be encouraged to pray the tiny small prayers that are really whats on your heart.  If I’m honest, sometimes I don’t care about the big picture – sometimes I just want to have that one meaningful conversation with someone.  Sometimes I’m too tired to take in all the problems of the world, so my heart focuses on one.  And God hears my heart for that thing.  I love that about God.

the wrong miracle

What if we’re looking for the wrong miracle?

the wrong miracle

Are you looking for a miracle in your life right now?  Are you praying and petitioning for healing or over-turning of a decision or something else completely?

Well what if you’re looking for the wrong miracle?

On my way to a prayer meeting at church last night I was listening to this song by Jesus Culture.  At the beginning of the song the worship leader shares that earlier that year him and his wife had lost a son.  He talks about how they were waiting for a miracle, believing that God would save their son.  But unfortunately it didn’t quite turn out the way they hoped.  In the midst of losing their son, they turned to song writing and wrote this really powerful song.  This song has moved more powerfully and spoken into the lives of more people than if God had done the miracle they asked for.

So maybe the miracle you want isn’t the one that God needs.

Jesus was expected by the Jews to be a warrior.  To be a fighter.  To physically free them from the grips of the Romans.  But that wasn’t the miracle that God needed.  If that is what Jesus had done, then yes the Jews would have been physically free on the earth for a few years.  But then another adversary would have come along at some point I’m sure.  The miracle that God did through Jesus was to spiritually free everyone on earth for eternity.  Now isn’t that just a little bit better!!!

what about my prayers though?

I am not trying to say that God won’t answer your prayers – perhaps the miracle you are asking for IS the right one.  But God knows infinitely more than me, so I am willing to trust that his miracle is the right one.  He always works for a greater purpose – to build up the church and gather more of his children back into his arms.  I am willing to accept that I might not always have those motivations at heart.

I have prayed for HS2 to not come through my estate. But I know that if HS2 coming through my estate means that more people are gathered back to their father and know his love and care that it is not the right miracle.  I am praying for my motivations to be aligned with God’s, so that as I pray for a miracle, I am praying for the right miracle!

 

 

2017 – plans and prayers

I  hope you have all read my highlights and praise points for 2016!  Every year I also like to pray into the next and make some plans and aspirations for what I would like to do and see happen.  Here is what I have planned for 2017:

  1. Trip to Rome – This has always been something that me and my husband have wanted to do, and so we agreed we would try to save the money to go as a joint 30th Birthday treat.  We already have most of the money stashed away for this so just need to get on and plan it!
  2. Fit back in my wedding dress – 2 kids and almost 9 years have not done my figure much good.  My mum finally gave me back my wedding dress (which had been safely stored at her house until she moved!) this year and I tried it on – very depressing!!  So my aim is to try to fit back into it by our 10th Wedding Anniversary (that’s in 2018 so I have plenty of time).  I will hopefully be motivating myself with a few exercise bike related challenges in the new year so watch this space
  3. Sam starting school – yes I become a mum at the school gate this year.  I am praying loads that I can prepare Sam for this transition and see him start school well.  We have applied to the local Catholic Primary School so praying that he gets in.
  4. House –  Now that the news of HS2 coming through our estate has sunk in, we are praying into what to do next in regards to our house.  Many people have already filed for blight and are planning to move on, so we are really looking for wisdom from God this year into when to move and where to move to.  We probably won’t be moving in 2017, but some guidance is very definitely needed!!
  5. 30th Birthday –  yes this is the year that I turn 30, and far from mourning the passing of my twenties I am celebrating the time that I’ve had so far and looking forward to the next 30.  I still have quite a few tasks to finish on my 30 before 30 list (although very happy to have crossed off “take my blog self-hosted” this month!).
  6. Romesh – As I said in my 2016 highlights post, I have now been working at Teenage Cancer Trust for 5 years.  Every year the charity hosts an amazing series of shows at the Royal Albert Hall with great acts, and every year I say I am going to go and don’t.  Well this year one of Rob’s favourite comedians, Romesh Ranganathan, is hosting the comedy night and WE’RE GOING!!!!  We have been amazingly blessed with a hotel for the night, so just the food to sort out and its paid for!
  7. Blog plans – 2016 has been a year of great growth and planning on my blog after completing my online blogging course in June.  I started Mummy Meditations, and I am hoping to grow this into a supportive community of mums connecting with God guilt-free.  I am praying into ideas to help you all in your daily mission, including creating more free printables and other resources.  There is lots in my head so praying that I can filter out the good ideas from the bad ones!   (to be kept in the loop do sign up to hear more at the bottom of the latest post or this post)
verse for 2017

Last year I also chose a bible verse for the year, which was:

“The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” Psalm 145:8

That verse helped me lots when I was dealing with tantruming toddlers and also with upset and emotional neighbours.  This year I have chosen the following verses:

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?” Matthew 6:25

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

What are you plans for 2017?  Do share below.  And what would you like to see on my blog in the coming year – suggestions welcome!

new years habit for 2017?

If you are still thinking about what resolution to make for the new year, or just contemplating how to make 2017 a better year than 2016, then why not consider joining me and my friend Naomi in doing Mummy Meditations.  There is more info on it here, and we will be creating new and exciting resources for those who commit to taking part in 2017 – just sign up below to be kept in the loop:

[contact-form to=’rachel.ridler@gmail.com’ subject=’MM sign up’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

Mr and Mrs T Plus Three

Mum on a Mission VS the Train – Episode 5

So the update this week is that there is no update.  We are still sat in limbo, waiting for the Secretary of State for transport (Chris Grayling) to make his decision about the route for phase 2 of HS2.  The word on the street is that this will be announced on the 22nd November, but who knows!!  At least the last few weeks our group of campaigners have been able to get out and spread the word in the local community by flyering and doorknocking – it feels good to be doing something practical and helps me to avoid thinking about it all too much (plus have had some great times with my neighbours and friends out doing it!).  There are plans to organise a peaceful protest march through Mexborough where I live, so I am sure I will tell you all about that soon.

This week I was particularly reminded of the following verse:

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  Philippians 4:8

Sometimes our thinking can spiral into downward negative thoughts, especially when we are surrounded by others going through the same awful time as ourselves.  But Paul reminds us in his letter to the Philippians that our thoughts should be on higher things – than we shouldn’t allow ourselves to wallow in pity and gossip and moaning, but that we should be praising and speaking truth and filling our minds with pure things instead.  How great is that!!

I know it is hard (believe me I have bad days when all I want to do is cry, moan and gossip all day long), but it really can change your whole perspective on things.  So this week I have been trying to think positively about the whole thing and praise God for the opportunities it has brought.

I have also been reminded yet again to fight in the right way – yes campaigning is great and we all have our own ideas of what will get results (petitions, protests, letter writing etc), but unless I start with prayer then it is pointless.  So this week I have made a point of praying for Chris Grayling – that God will give him wisdom in reviewing all the options for this route.  I have been praying for Ed Miliband our MP, that he will have the strength and information needed to fight for his constituents in front of Chris Grayling.  I have been praying for all the staff at HS2 who have to face the pressure of dealing with grieving and upset residents from along the route every single day – they are still people who have to go home to their families and I pray that as they try to pay the bills they wouldn’t be persecuted. Would you join me in praying?

In vain? Mummy Meditation Week 18

My Mummy Meditation verse this week has been tinged with sadness – the verse I chose was one that I read when we were buying this house, one that I prayed over my new house in the excitement that this was the house the Lord had built for me and my family (and if you don’t know the full story of my train related drama, do read the latest update here) and so it brings me confusion now.  It also came to me at the start of this week when the builders on our half finished estate have started to take down scaffolding and actually STOP building (when there are still at least 15 half built houses that need finishing).  What does that mean?!  Have they been building in vain?

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain” Psalm 127:1

There are three things that have jumped out to me whilst I have been meditating on this verse this week (and crying slightly as I see my beautiful estate and the hope of it ever being finished slipping away)

Partnership with God is essential – I think the KEY thing this verse tells us (and is not just about building houses or churches or manual labour in general) is that whatever we do, we need to do it in partnership with God.  We need to seek his direction in it and pray over it so that God is with us in our work and in our endeavours.  This may sound really obvious in some things, but think about it for everything.  This week I have just had my sons letter to apply for school and I need to try to remember to partner with God when I make that decision for Sam’s future.
Fighting the right way – your energy and work might be totally wasted if you don’t think to fight in the right way.  It might all be energy used in vain.  We recently watched the film “War Room” as part of our ladies night at church.  It is a great film to encourage and inspire you in your prayer life and also reminded me that it is important to first fight through prayer and to let God do the other stuff.  I am taking this to heart at the moment in a fight where I can’t do that much, but I can lift up the situation in prayer to God.
Be the gatekeeper – this image of the guard over the city has really come back to me this week.  We should prayerfully be the guards and gatekeepers of our estates and streets.  This means that we make sure nothing comes past us as the gatekeepers, that we are praying about everything that happens there and making sure nothing dark enters.   Maybe if we took this role more seriously then our estates would be blessed beyond measure and people would start to ask why!


The builders on my estate had been building in vain, not knowing that this huge impending news of HS2 coming on to bulldoze it would occur.  But we don’t have to live like this.  We can build something worthwhile and important by making sure we partner with God, build and fight in the right way and step up to be Gatekeepers in our local communities.  If we do this then nothing can bulldoze what we build and nothing can plunder what God protects.  

NEXT WEEK:

I want to carry on in Psalm 127 this week and look at this verse, so please do join me!

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him”  Psalm 127:3 

The Answer’s NO!! Mummy Meditation – Week 17

I have a toddler.  If the answer to his question isn’t yes he has a tantrum.  But quite often his answer to my question will be no.  I am sure most parents will have come across this and find it just as frustrating!!  Not every question needs the same answer – as adults we can accept this.  But how come when we pray, we act like toddlers and expect every answer to be yes (just like my toddler does everytime he asks for ice cream and chocolate)? 

This week’s meditation verse (well the last fortnight to be correct as I was on my holidays!) was Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane before his crucifixion.  

Abba, Father,” He said “everything is possible for you.  Take this cup from me.  Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  Mark 14:36

Does it surprise you to realise that actually God didn’t answer Jesus’ prayer with a yes?  Jesus prays here that his Father would take away the suffering of the crucifixion.  Jesus prays it honouring and recognising just what God is capable of.  And yet God still answers him with a NO.  

Why doesn’t Jesus have a big tantrum?   Why doesn’t he kick off when he gets dragged in front of Pilate?  Because of the last sentence in this prayer – Yet not what I will, but what you will.  Jesus acknowledges that God knows better than he does – that God can see the bigger picture, he knows the master plan and he is wiser than he is.  

Toddlers don’t have the mental capacity sometimes to accept that their parents know better than they do – that the 10th chocolate bar will probably make them sick or that they might get hurt doing something, and that is why they tantrum.  They don’t get their own way and they can’t see or accept the bigger picture in things.  

So I guess we have two options when it comes to our own prayer lives. Do we act like toddlers, think we know best and have a tantrum when God doesn’t answer in the way we want (usually a yes to all our nice requests).  Or do we humble ourselves like Jesus, accept that God has a better viewpoint on all this than we do and that he is wiser than us and say “not what I will, but what you will.”

No prayer is unanswered, but are we ready to accept that the answer might be NO?  


NEXT WEEK:

I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands” Psalm 119:131