Many have found that having a prayer/accountability partner is a huge help on their Thin Within journey. And it only makes scriptural sense: .
Of course, we want the “third party” in that triple-braided cord to be the Lord Himself. As we all know, if He’s not in this with us, undergirding us, transforming us, drawing us to Himself, motivating us (with His motivations, not ours), and empowering us, then we may as well not even embark on this journey.
The Ecclesiastes author was speaking in general principles, but we can be more specific now that we have Jesus who has opened the way to the Father! So, before connecting with a prayer/accountability partner, we need to take care of that – as in get our hearts connected and our lives submitted to Him.
A prayer/accountability partner helps us stay connected to the Lord and encourages us to keep remembering that our help comes from Him, nudging (or maybe downright pushing) us toward Him!
And there are many ways we can do this! There are no rules; you can do it any way you like!
I prefer to do this thinking in terms of not receiving anything back; just in how to bless them. But see the very end of this article for a thought on that!
Here are a dozen quick, easy, and simple ideas to help you connect with your prayer/accountability partner. I share lots of pictures, each of which speaks 1,000 words! – making this a 22,000-plus-word article with very little actual reading!
1) Share a Scripture that blessed you.
Here are three options:
Type it out on your phone or computer.
Go to a Bible app and copy and paste it from there.
Take a picture of the highlighted verse in your Bible…
2) Share a victory.
Big, little ~ doesn’t matter! And maybe add why it was so significant ~ or so challenging ~ for you.
3) Share an accountability form you completed.
This is one of Emily’s, used with her permission. (These forms are at the back of the Thin Within Rebuilding the Temple workbook.)
4) Share an overhead slide that spoke to you.
These can be from a sermon at church or a workshop or conference you attended.
5) Share a devotional that ministered to you.
This one’s in one of my favorite devotional books, Jesus Calling.
6) Share a plaque or wall hanging you saw at a store that spoke to you.
7) Share a link to a blog article…
…or share a podcast that you know will encourage and bless your prayer/accountability partner…
8) Share a truth card you made or found.
I made all of these… (Even though you and I are not prayer partners, I hope they encourage you today anyway!)
(Bonus points if you use a photo they took and sent you ~ which this is! Debbie sent me this picture of the snowy scenery on her trip home!)
Here’s an article called Truth Cards 101 for more on how to make your own! It’s actually FUN! And there are LOTS of ways to do them and many sources for ideas – all of which I share in this blog article!
9) Ask: “How can I pray for you today?”
Another way to word this is: “Do you have any challenging situations coming up that you’d like to have me pray for you about?” I like that because I may not think of any prayer needs, per say, but, when asked if I have any challenges coming up, of course I do!
10) Share a challenging situation that you have coming up today.
I know I said this is all about blessing them, but most people enjoy knowing they are helping and blessing someone else. “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”
11) Share a truth you wrote in your journal.
It might seem simple and unprofound to you, but it could encourage and inspire your prayer partner – like Emily’s blessed me…
12) Share an audio recording of yourself talking.
…about any of the above things… a scripture, an excerpt out of a book you’re reading, a truth card that impacted you, a prayer need or a situation you have coming up, etc.
Most people don’t like hearing their own voice, but remember that you’re not doing this for you; you’re doing it for your prayer partner!
You will need to find the audio recording – or maybe it’s called voice memo – feature on your phone. If you don’t know where it is, ask a friend who has a phone like yours if they can help you find it.
(This is just a picture of the prompt to access the one Emily sent me. I have not figured out how to get her recording into this article. If anyone knows, please let me know! Emily gave me permission to share hers!)
You can do as many of the above ideas as you want – or even just one – on any given day! Again, no rules. Just jump in and do something. And “any and all the above” give you a place to start.
Don’t get hung up or slowed down on doing it perfectly! Or on how much or how little you’re doing. Or on how consistently you’re connecting. Just DO it! And have FUN!!!
One last bit of encouragement… Even if you have a prayer partner who’s not able to bless you back as much as you would like, you’ll still be blessed because….
I had a pretty good day today. I’m just working to get my head back into the game. It seems like emotionally I’m a little off, like I got kicked in the gut and I’m trying to recover.
I guess that comes with forgiving myself once again, which I have to say I haven’t done yet.
It might be a good time to just write a letter to myself and then burn it up. I have to get this out.
I feel a lot of regret from my actions simply because I didn’t know that they were going to affect me this way. It is a huge price to pay and I am paying it and, of course, asking God to help me with reversing the decisions or consequences I made by choosing to do different actions now.
I know that doing different actions now will affect my future, so even though I cannot see change, changes are being made.
An example of this: A husband plays a video game for three hours straight, and the wife doesn’t leave him, but if he does that every night? Now there is a problem and it will definitely hurt that relationship.
That’s like eating at night, every night after dinner; eventually it will catch up to you, just like it did me. And the sad part is that you don’t see it happening because it happens moment by moment. That’s how things become strongholds ~ moment by moment.
The good news is it will happen to the good the same way. As we make godly choices moment by moment, we reverse the process and get good results, as well!
The principle works both ways. You cannot see the change either but by doing it consistently, eventually the change will began to take place. You begin to reap what you sow in a good way. The spiritual law is still working, but positively. And then good results will happen.
I kept saying that it’s not happening fast enough. I had to ask myself: Well how long have you been doing godly actions? It will take time to turn it around, and I cannot get weary at the process. It is still a process and will still take time to get the godly results.
That’s where Galatians 6:9 comes into play.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
I know all this in my head, but now I’m asking God to help me get it in my heart. That is where it counts. Listening to others explain it makes perfect sense. It is a difficult concept to grasp.
We all want quick fixes, but this is not the way it works. It’s so easy to get into, and slowly we are crawling out. Moment by moment, little by little.
The best thing to do is embrace the process because you cannot rush this no matter how hard we want it to happen. It happens when it happens! … Just keep moving forward!
Who would’ve thought that my mind needed to be renewed about apples?!?! But God has been speaking to me about them and I am so glad! What started this string of related events was that my grandson, Jonah, came up to me one day with an apple in hand and, because I was actually at a zero, the apple actually looked appealing!
That was a bit surprising to me, because I have never been an apple fan. I might eat a few pieces when Dave slices up an apple, but I’ve just never been wild about them.
So I was pleasantly surprised to find Jonah’s apple looked good to me. I hoped it had nothing to do with Eve’s apple looking good to Adam back in the Garden. No way to know that, so I knocked that off the list as being a possibility.
What it did have to do with was the fact that I was all the way down to a zero ~ the perpetual challenge for me.
When I’m truly hungry, pretty much anything looks good to me at that point. But that’s okay; I’ll take it!
Jonah graciously let me have a few bites, and as I enthusiastically gobbled them down, I thought “Wow! What have I been missing?!?”
Jonah told me I should have one a day. To make sure I didn’t forget (he knows I have occasional memory issues), he fixed up this little set-up on the kitchen counter:
In case you can’t read the sign, it says: “Don’t forget to eat one apple every day, gramma. ~ Jonah.” This was a sweet confirmation ~ and reminder ~ that the apple is something good for me that the Lord had in mind since ~ well, it would appear since He first created Man and Woman, and put them in the Garden. I loved that God was redeeming the apple for me! But He wasn’t done yet!
The next morning, the very first email I opened was from Jeff Reagan who operates Patriot Health Institute (dot com). As one might expect from the name, both patriotic and healthy topics are Jeff’s focus. And I was pleasantly surprised to find an email from him that touted the merits of…
(You’ll never believe it…)
In fact, I will share an excerpt of it with you here…
Apples. They’re just too good for you to pass. Eating apples regularly is associated with a long list of benefits. And it’s a nice combo when something so good for you also tastes good. Apples reduce your risk of diabetes, because they’re chock full of phytonutrients that regulate blood sugar. They’re very rich in antioxidants, and more important they’re tops for “free phenolic compounds.” That means the nutrients aren’t bound to other compounds, so they get into your bloodstream more easily. Apples reduce stroke, fight bad breath, prevent asthma attacks, and can help you maintain your weight. Plus, they drive down C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation that, when elevated, means you’re on the road to heart disease. And not to compare apples and oranges, but they’re full of vitamin C too.
My gooooooodness! That’s ELEVEN wonderful benefits right there!!!
I knew the Lord was blessing me by opening up my interest in this wonderful world of apples and even, since I’m a bit dense, hammering it in a bit ~ though lovingly and gently.
But isn’t it just like Him to add a “cherry on top”?!?! Get this!!! ~ In the very next porch chat that Christina put out, she said at the very end: “And YOU are the APPLE of His eye”!
Thank You, Lord, for redeeming this amazing fruit that You created, and then for even using it to let me know how precious I am ~ we all are ~ to YOU!!!!
I just read a scripture that hit me right between the eyes: Proverbs 22:3:
“A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes on blindly and suffers the consequence.”
I’m sad to say I was the simpleton. I really didn’t care before; I lived too long with reckless abandon. I lost my foot living that way. It cost me too much.
And I am still paying the price of that decision. It is too high a price for most people to pay. And it’s taking too long for me to pay that price. I will have that battle scar for the rest of my natural life because of those decisions I made.
I cannot and will not continue on that path or live that way any longer.
Now I am listening to God and making adjustments with my eating.
For example, I hated water! Diet soda was all I used to drink. But today was the first day I’ve had a diet soda. My first diet soda for the year. I’ve been drinking flavored seltzer water and absolutely love it!
I also like being able to turn food down now because I am valuing my body which is God’s temple. I refuse to live the simpleton lifestyle any longer.
I cannot believe that I am becoming a prudent person who is more cautious about what I am eating. My desires are changing, and that’s OK with me!
Christina and I are prayer partners for the current two-week span and she sent me this picture of the snowlady she and her daughters made in their front yard…
She wrote, “Fun in the snow! ❄️⛄️❄️ Isn’t she just adorable??? We named her Meridith!”
Recognizing that scarf as not only being Christina’s favorite flower, 🌻🌻🌻 but as having seen it ON her person in one of her porch chats…
Screen shot of Christina doing a porch chat
…I said, “Meridith is just toooooo cute!!!!! ⛄️ Did she have permission to use that scarf?!?!?? 😆”
She responded, “Of course! She and I are already becoming good friends! 🌼💕❤️🍃😀😀”
Aware that the warming weather would soon have “diminishing” effects on Meridith, Christina added “I don’t think she will be here long, though…😳☃️🍃.”
So the next morning I asked her, “How is Meridith doing? Is the warming-up weather imposing rapid weight-loss mode onto her?!?! ⛄️😄
(Just so you know, we DO actually talk about spiritual things as well! Right after this I shared my prayer for her from Psalm 22!)
On our Thin Within coaching call (with Heidi and Christina) later than afternoon, Christine told the rest of the girls in our group about Meridith, and sadly added that the sunshine had been shrinking Meridith quite a bit. A few of us shared with delight: “She’s melting down to her God-given size!!”
Christina went on: “Okay! Here comes the good part, girls! All Meridith had to do to shrink down to her God-given size was just be in the light and warmth of the sun! Isn’t that COOL?!?!?”
I said “I feel a blog article coming on!” and asked Christina to send me a picture of Meridith in her current melting state. Christina then asked me to do “before and after” pictures of Meridith, and to “use my magic” to put a face on her since hers had fallen off… which I did using carrot and leaf emoticons, and the “draw” feature of my photo editor. Not the greatest, but better than a blank stare!
So how might this look in real life? I started pondering what “melting in the light of the sun” might entail, and remembered I had already written about this very thing in a blog article I wrote a couple years ago called “How Does God Redeem Stuff?”
In it, I share five “methods” (actions, ways) God has led me to – and used in me to – redeem many things in my life. Two of those items – “expose” and “soak” – are perfect for our snowlady analogy as they explain what it means to expose ourselves to – and soak in – God’s warm light!
I’m going to share those two sections of that article here! (Well… Assuming I can get permission from the author! I hear she’s quite a stickler!)
Let’s start by thinking of a rock on the ground. It’s been sitting in the sunshine, so it’s nice and dry and warm…
Turn the rock over, and what might you see on the underside of that rock? … Scampering bugs, wiggling worms, dirt, mud.
What’s the best way to get the underside of that rock as warm, dry, smooth, clean and bug-free as the top of it? Should we urge the rock to go to a rock spa and get a make-over and scrub itself off?
Nope! Just turn it over and expose it to the Sun! Given a little time, the wet-turned-dry dirt can just be brushed off, leaving that underside nice ‘n’ clean – with no effort whatsoever on the part of the rock! All it had to do was let itself be exposed tot he warm rays of the sun.
Need a human picture? This guy is perfectly emulating this concept:
Likewise, I have had many bug-infested “rocks” in my life. Rather than try to clean myself up, the Lord has many times led me to just allow Him to gently turn one of my [many] rocks over in His loving hand and expose it to His warming, penetrating, healing, freshening rays! – which do all of the healing, cleansing work! All I had to do was simply lay there with my wound, dirt, or ugliness exposed to Him!
My mother-in-love made the most amazing pickles! But they didn’t start out their pickley lives as winners. They began as dill – or, for the sake of our analogy, we’ll call them sour pickles.
To be transformed into the amazing sweet pickles they became, all they had to do was SOAK in the NEW brine that I put them in!
God’s Word, theBible – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
Worship – Whatever we look at, we become more like it. The more we focus on fashion, the more we want to be fashionable. (And thin!) The more we focus on food, the more we want it. But as we dwell on the Lord, the more we want Him, and the more we actually become like Him! And “As the Spirit of the Lord works in us, we become more and more like Him.”
(In the article I share a bitter, “vinegar-esque” thing we might soak in that actually aids in the transformation process, but we’ll just stay with the sugar aspect here.)
These pickles take a week to be completely transformed into the best pickles I have ever tasted! EVER!!! And they didn’t even have to go on a self-improvement kick! They just soaked in that transforming brine, getting sweeter as the days went by!
Likewise, if we soak in God’s Word, letting His “higher thoughts” soak into us, renewing our minds… If we get our eyes off of our sour selves and worship our mighty, loving God, we will become more and more like Him, and get sweeter as the days, months, and years go by!
So thank you, Christina and girls, for creating Meridith and sharing her with us, thereby inspiring any of us who are struggling to melt down to our natural God-given size to:
• lay down our striving to fix ourselves and…
• simply spend more time exposing ourselves to the Son, soaking in His healing warmth.
I opened up to Joel 2:19 and saw something that I had never noticed before:
“I am sending you grain, new wine, and oil – enough to satisfy you fully.”
If these three things – grain, new (as opposed to old) wine, and oil – were important enough to mention in the Word, I figure I should probably pay attention.
So I started giving these fourteen words some thought (and attention), and want to share my discoveries with you here…
This is what bread is made of. Jesus is the Bread of Life. I need Him to live. To be transformed. To get victory over sin in my life. To grow as He intends for me to grow.
“Give us this day our daily bread.”
How much I eat of the Bread of Life is up to me. The greater my challenges, the greater my need for even more bread.
He is there for the taking. I need to take Him more. “More of Jesus, less of me.” Literally and figuratively.
This is spoken of in the parable of the new wineskins. God wants to give us His new wine, but we need a new wineskin in which to hold the new wine. Why? Because our old wineskin will burst as the new wine He pours into us expands. Here’s a story that still feels like yesterday even though it happened to me back in 1985 ~ 34 years ago as I write…
My fear of public speaking was huge when I first started speaking – like at a microphone, in front of an audience. I was set to speak at a homeschool convention, and it was going to be held at a big fancy-schmancy hotel in Seattle where just one of the room’s chandeliers was larger than three rooms of my house! The very thought of entering that room freaked me out!
It got progressively worse as the convention approached. Every thought of standing in front of that huge room (which really did end up being as big as I’d imagined), sent a horrible churning pang jolting through my guts like lightning. I had no idea how I was physically and emotionally going to survive this!
After getting out of the shower one day and seeing my “eau de natural” face and hair in the foggy mirror, I told the Lord I did not know why He was having me do this; that I was NOT a speaker!!!
The very sight of a microphone sent intimidating chills through my stomach!
As I was literally panicking and freaking out, I felt Him say: “Hmmm, I thought that, when you gave your life to Me, I was going to be the One to decide what you would become.”
“Well… Yes, Lord, HOWEVER! I can’t DO this!!! I’m dying every time I think of standing in front of that microphone ~ so that people can actually hear me ~ and speaking, I just shrivel up and feel SICK!!! I simply can NOT live like this!!!”
I felt Him say: “The problem is that I am filling you with new wine (which I knew was sharing the message He had put on my heart via public speaking), but you still have your old wineskin, so the new wine is bursting your old wineskin.”
Me: “Wow. Well that sure makes sense. So what are we going to do about this?!?!?” ~ by which I actually meant “What are YOU going to do about this, because I knew there was nothing *I* could do, other than turn and run the other direction!
Him: “You need to let Me take your old wineskin (which I just see as being the heart and soul of me that “holds” who I am, including my will and my thinking), and give you a new wineskin!!!”
And that happened that very day! I handed over to Him my old wineskin, which He then redeemed by giving me back a new wineskin that would hold this new wine He was pouring into ~ and through ~ me. I never had another horrible jolt regarding speaking ever again!!! And that was 35 years and hundreds of speaking engagements ago! Butterflies and excitement, but NO jolts!!! In fact, I actually love speaking now!
The Holy Spirit is referred to as oil in the Word, and I desperately need more of Him – the Holy Spirit – flowing in me.
Psalm 23:5 says: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
I have enemies around me all the time, mostly in the form of temptations trying to lure me away from what God has for me. What is it that God has for me? – especially in this area of eating, and my relationship to food? Here are a few things that Christina has shared regarding what it is like to be…
Walking in Freedom:
• It feels right and good to be listening and submitting to the Lord.
• There is a peace between the Lord and me, and I feel more intimate with Him.
• It feels good to know that I am bringing my needs to God instead of to food.
• When I am eating within my boundaries, I have a feeling – which is actually a fact – of HOPE because my hope is in Him.
• I feel lighthearted and buoyant because there isn’t such a weight on my shoulders of guilt, frustration, and hopelessness.
• When I am flying high because I’m eating God’s way, it makes me want to praise Him because it feels so good!
• It feels good to separate my emotions from my eating; to get my feelings untangled up from my eating.
• I enjoy my food within my God-given boundaries, using it to fuel my body; not using it for comfort.
• I love the way I feel physically when I’m eating smaller portions. My body feels good; my stomach feels normal and settled.
“All the above” are my birthright! But how often do I sell my birthright for a mere “bowl of soup”? ~ or whatever other food is in front of my face at the moment that I somehow think is going to satisfy me more than obedience will?
As my birthright, those are ALL things that God intends for me to have! And I can have them right now! This very moment! Just by walking in simple and sweet surrender and obedience to Him and, by and with His mighty power at work within me.