How this beloved, best-selling author maintains her spiritual practice when feeling uncertain
Posted in , May 18, 2020
For more years than she or I would dare to count, she has dedicated her mornings to spiritual growth, especially prayer journaling. I recently called her to see how she was managing during this tough time.
Dedicated Prayer Time
First off, she admitted to waking up a little later than she used to. “Six o’clock,” she said as though that translated into “sleeping in.” I had to laugh. So did she.
Before she sits down to the computer to write, she has her dedicated prayer time. “My kids all knew it when they were growing up,” she said. They’d call out to her before heading off to school. She remembers her son Dale saying, “Mom, I’ve got a big test today.” He knew she’d be praying for him.
She still prays for her kids and grandkids, but she accompanies the prayers with lots of inspirational help. First that means reading a page from each of eight devotional books, including Daily Guideposts (for which both she and I are contributors).
She reads the Bible, of course, and is currently doing a Bible study by Anne Graham Lotz, where each day she writes out five verses from Ephesians. “I usually remove the adjectives,” she says, “just so it doesn’t take up so much space on the page.”
For each passage she asks herself three questions:
1) What does it mean?
2) What is the apostle Paul really saying here?
3) What is it saying to me?
I wasn’t especially surprised by that last question. That sounds just like Debbie. Probing deeply into faith to figure out how it might translate into her day-to-day life.
She is also reading a book by Warren Wiersbe titled 50 People Every Christian Should Know. For instance, a recent reading was about the missionary Hudson Taylor and all the prayers his mother said for him. (Not unlike the prayers Debbie has said for her children.)
“Do you know how long some of these people prayed?” Debbie asked me. “Hours. Sometimes they spent hours on their knees praying.” (A bit of modesty, if you ask me, from a woman who spends equally as much time reading and praying and writing in her prayer journal.)
But back to those journals. There are three of them. One is for her prayers. Written out long hand, not typed. One is her gratitude journal, five things every day for which to thank God. The last is her personal journal.
Every year Debbie picks a word for the year, something to focus on. “This year,” she says, “there have actually been two words.” The first was “Magnify.” The second: “Vision.”
When she says The Lord’s Prayer, as she does every day, the two words come into play. “By getting into the Word,” she says, “I look to magnify the Lord.” But then there is also “Vision,” seeing how the Lord is showing Himself.
“When I pray, ‘Deliver us from evil,’ I think of the virus and what it’s doing to people,” she says, “But then the prayer ends with ‘For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.’ What a reminder of God’s power!”
She also reminded me of something very practical. “If I get an email from someone or a text asking for prayer, I do it right away. I don’t want to forget.” No need to wait.
We said good-bye, and I followed a bit of her advice. Right then and there, before I forgot, I said my own prayer of thanks for Debbie.