Tag Archives: prayer

Blessings for the Evening by Susie Larson

One Way to Relax in the Evenings {Book Review – Blessings for the Evening by Susie Larson}

I’m a worrier.

And in the evenings, one of the few times it’s quiet enough for me to hear my thoughts, I can easily slip into overthinking scenarios, events, and to-dos…which can lead to worry.

One of the best anecdotes to worry? Prayer. Specifically, prayer in faith.

If you’re like me, Susie Larson has written a devotional very suitable for those evenings when your mind slides way too easily to worry.

Blessings for the Evening by Susie Larson Blessings for the Evening by Susie Larson (Bethany House, 2013) is a rather lovely looking gift book-sized devotional. With just a simple one-page introduction, the author leads the reader directly into Scripture and calm, soothing devotions.

With about 90 devotions, each two-page spread includes a Scripture excerpt on the left side and a brief devotion on the right side. These devotions read like prayers and have a blend of simplicity with attention-getting truths. The author ends almost every devotion with a phrase that includes “rest” or “sleep well” or “blessed sleep,” and the reader can almost hear the prayers spoken in a soothing voice. Some of the devotion titles include “Tomorrow’s Promise,” “Through God’s Eyes,” and “Glimpses of Glory,” along with specific devotions for special circumstances like Christmas, spiritual warfare, disappointment, and more. While these devotions don’t pose deep theological questions, they do bring attention to inner reflection and, even more, reflection on God and His ever-present care.

The book’s design adds to the gift appeal of this book because each page’s background boasts a beautiful evening landscape photo (rather than just plain paper). These gorgeous photos add to the relaxing personality of the book.

Not intended to take the place of your Bible study, this devotion provides a good supplement to your personal study and a way to wrap up the day returning your focus to God.

How do you refresh your mind to God’s promises when you worry?

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free from the publisher (Bethany House) in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

When You Don’t Know What to Pray

Has a friend or acquaintance ever presented a situation to you and you didn’t know exactly how to pray for it?When You Don't Know What to Pray

Perhaps the situation is nothing like you’ve ever experienced yourself.

Or, none of the seemingly possible outcomes seem “good,” so what exactly do you ask for in prayer?

Join me at Do Not Depart today where I’m sharing three tips I’ve learned about what to do when I don’t know how to pray in a situation, plus five verses to pray anytime.

While you’re there, share what verses you pray in unfamiliar situations or what tips you have on praying when you’re not sure what to pray. Check out the other posts in this month’s Cultivating Prayer series, too.

When You're Scared to Pray for the Future {plus 9 resources on praying for and with your kids} via Under God's Mighty Hand

When You’re Scared to Pray for the Future

I used to be a planner. And, really, I do still plan. The day, for sure. Activities for the week, yes. But rarely farther out than a month anymore. (A drastic change for the girl who always had a five-year plan.)

But in this change, and with the circumstances we live regarding my son’s special needs, I realized I nearly stopped praying for my kids’ future.

I pray regularly for the day, for medical appointments, for an upcoming test, a stressful event. I pray for the near future.

I even pray for other people’s futures. But, my children… it’s as if I was afraid to pray for their long-term future because I’m afraid of not having that future.

I want to pray for their (hopeful) marriages, their possible careers, and, most importantly, their hearts and their desire for faith.

But, realistically, we’ve learned from other special needs families and doctors that our son will likely live with us the rest of his life. Will he get to experience marriage? I honestly don’t know. (I realize none of us know the future, but you can probably imagine how this differs slightly.)

When You're Scared to Pray for the Future {plus 9 resources on praying for and with your kids} via Under God's Mighty Hand

How does a mom (or dad) of a child with special needs pray for the future?

  1. Yes, pray for the future. I’m going to pray for my son’s possible wife, anyway. My son sure knows how to love others, so if he gets the right chance to marry, he will love loving. And, if not, I’m confident he’s going to find people to shower love on.
  2. Pray for my wisdom as their mother (and my husband’s as their father). My most important job as a mother is to impress God’s Word on my children’s hearts (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). I do and will continue to mess up. But, I want my children to see and experience a real, affecting faith. (I’m still learning how to do this.)
  3. Pray for typical-developing children, too. Both of my children know I love them deeply. But, medically, my son needs more attention. In being scared to pray for his future, I halted praying for my daughter’s. (Why? How silly is that? Fear acts strangely, doesn’t it?) When I finally realized this two weeks ago, I began praying for her specifically at night while I get her to sleep, including praying for her future years.
  4. Pray for the future without worrying for it. This is a tough one for me. In my search for now, I’m working to trust and kick fear out. But, I can still pray and plan (reasonably and responsibly) for a future and model such trust to my children. (Click here for a few verses on planning.)
  5. Pray for their hearts. Regardless of the events of their futures, if my kids have hearts seeking Christ, their actions will follow. I want my children to know their worth is not in their looks, their materials, or even their abilities/disabilities, but rather in God.

Want some resources on praying for and with your kids?

I also gather loads of resources from around the web on my Parenting and Marriage board and Family Bible Study board on Pinterest. Check those out if you’re interested.

How do you pray for your children’s futures? What verses are your favorite to pray? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

5 Favorite Picture Books to Start The Day

Here’s how we start nearly every day: both of my children wake up, look for each other, cuddle with Momma, and then read. We didn’t even enforce this routine intentionally, but it was a natural progression from the cuddling and “good mornings.” And I love it. I want to keep it.

I’m also a bit of a picture book fanatic. I love them. My son prefers to learn from a book, and we love the cuddle and quality time together. Good picture books bring new ideas, perspectives, emotions, knowledge, and fun to our children. And the best of these books bring us adults back to our core values, helping us remember what matters to our children.

My kids reach for some of the same books each morning. They’re fun, energetic, sweet books to begin our day.

5 Favorite Picture Books to Start Your Day

5 of Our Favorite Books To Start Our Day

These books are generally for ages 1-6ish. These are just a few of our favorites:

  • Good Morning Bluebird by Parragon Books – This simply-written book features bright, energizing illustrations. Kids under 3 will especially love this book. My daughter especially loves this book, and is learning to count by counting the frogs and ladybugs!
  • In My Barn by Sara Gillingham and Lorena Siminovich – This book is another favorite with the under 3 crowd (although my son still loves it, too). The book features a finger puppet horse who travels around his farm, exploring, munching, and neighing to friends and family. 
  • The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss – Who doesn’t love this classic? This is one of our favorite favorite books. I’m almost positive my son learned left and right from this book. This book introduces opposite, directional words, pronouns, and silly fun. 
  • Polar Bear Morning by Lauren Thompson (picture by Stephen Savage) – We happened upon this book by chance in the library. It’s a sweet friendship story with beautiful descriptions of active morning time. 
  • Good Morning, God by Davis Carman (illustrated by Alice Ratterree) – (Quick disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I’m sharing it because I enjoy it!) This book keeps my preschooler’s attention the whole time. It’s written as if the child is talking to God throughout the book, following each day of his week. We see how we can worship God in all our activities and thoughts each day, as a family. As one of the few picture books highlighting a homeschooling family, it shares a unique setting. I particularly love how the book models simple, yet varied prayers children can pray. The book includes repetition kids generally love and delightful, entertaining illustrations. As a family who loves book-based learning, I love the activities for each day of the week included in the back. Families can reach the book together each day, then follow the activities for that day, which include discussion questions, a simple activity to complete together as a family, and related Scripture reading. Good Morning, God is a great addition to our picture book collection! And, there’s a coloring book, too!

5 Favorite Picture Books to Start Your Day

Stay tuned for some of our favorite “good night” books! I’ll post about those in a few weeks. (Update: That post is up! Click here to read about some of our favorite goodnight books.)

What are some of your favorite morning picture books? Share your recommendations in the comments!

Disclosure: I received Good Morning, God and the accompanying coloring book free from Apologia in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. I have no material connection with the other books listed or links used in this post.)

This post is also linked up with The Homeschool Village’s Ultimate Homeschool Link-UpHomeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten Corner, Tuesday Tots (at In Lieu of Preschool), UpsideDown Homeschooling’s Hearts for Home linkup, and the Weekly Kids Co-op at B-Inspired Mama.

The Homeschool Village



Prayers for a Woman's Soul by Julie Gillies

When It’s Okay to Pray For Myself {Book Review – Prayers for a Woman’s Soul by Julie K. Gillies}

“We’re front-burner prayer women, praying for whatever is boiling over at that moment (and there’s always something boiling over!). We can’t afford not to cover ourselves with prayer on a regular basis. Like an oxygen mask in an airplane cabin that’s lost its pressure, praying for ourselves fortifies and equips us so we can soar.” – p. 13, Prayers for a Woman’s Soul

Does the description above sound like you? It absolutely sounds like me. I often feel guilty asking for prayers for myself or selfish for praying for myself. Just in the four-page introduction of Prayers for a Woman’s Soul, Julie Gillies just about convinces me to pray for myself daily. Reading her relatable, open (not at all stuffy), real devotions further encouraged me. Prayers for a Woman's Soul by Julie Gillies

As Julie says, “…if Jesus needed to pray for Himself, then so should we” (p. 14).

Packaged beautifully in gift book size, Prayers for a Woman’s Soul by Julie Gillies offers insightful encouragement from this mother, grandmother, wife, and reliable writer. Set up into weekly topics, each week of this devotional offers a 2-page devotion to initiate the topic, a 2-3 paragraph daily prayer to repeat during the week, and 5-7 related verses to ponder and study during the week. Julie modifies the verses slightly to include personal pronouns, motivating the reader to apply the truths wholly to her own life.

This format providing a unique weekly devotion (rather than daily) allows the reader to reread the devotion each day, use it spur on her own study, or supplement another devotional/study. One of the author’s main points is to remain mindful of praying for one’s self in the weekly topical areas.

Julie begins even the first devotion tremendously personal. We not only learn more about this kind, approachable writer, but we also quickly feel her emotions, relate to her thoughts, and reflect on our own experiences in each area. While keeping her writing real and associable, she also includes eloquent tone, employing unique descriptive phrases, like “gooey, slow-motion waterfall” (p. 24).Prayers for a Woman's Soul book review

Some of my favorite devotions include: “My Willingness to Forgive” (Week 4), “My Hope” (Week 7), “God’s Timing in My Life” (Week 20), and “My Calling” (Week 50).

Need some faith encouragement and riveting, honest prayers to pray? Check out Prayers for a Woman’s Soul by Julie Gillies. (Check out Julie’s blog for more relevant devotions, too.)

Do you struggle with praying for yourself? Which verses do you pray over your own heart most often?


*Extra note: I love sharing resources, especially bible study resources. The Bundle of the Week site offers ebook bundle specials each week on different topics. This week’s bundle includes 5 ebooks all about bible study!

BundleoftheWeek.com, 5 eBooks for $7.40!

One of the books (by Katie Orr) teaches one of my favorite reflective bible study methods. I highly recommend this ebook bundle because of Savoring Living Water and Focused15 alone. All five of the included ebooks are written by strong, focused bloggers.

Five ebooks for just $7.40 is a really great deal. (Most of these ebooks run from $3.99 to $9 or more separately.) The ebook bundle is only available until 8am EST on Monday, April 1st. If you’re looking for bible study resources, check out the bible study ebook bundle here.

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Some affiliate links are present. If you choose to purchase the ebook bundle through this post’s links, I will receive a small commission at no added cost to you. Thank you for supporting this ministry and my family!