• Shelly Blake


Updated: Jan 30

"Prayer doesn't change things - God changes things in answer to prayer." John Calvin

Prayer is probably the most valuable thing we can do in life to increase joy, next to gratitude, yet it is the easiest healthy habit to overlook in our daily routine.

"The joy of the Lord is your strength." Nehemiah 8:10

That scripture inspired me to change my life to find a more lasting joy in God, which in turn, inspired me to create Stir Up Joy, so I could encourage others along the way. Those words remind me that joy is not only a good feeling, but an internal strength and a connection to the Almighty. Life is lived more fully connected to the One who has all the answers and all the love to get us through any challenge.

Anyone who has had a prayer answered knows prayer changes things for the better. Opening the lines of communication with the Creator of heaven and earth opens our hearts to revelations, insights and strength to carry us through hard times with hope.

Feed Love, Not Fear

Love is stronger than fear. Feeding love in our lives will decrease fear. Realizing we have a soul connected to the God of the Universe is a powerful revelation of joy in itself. How can we stay connected to God and grow in love and joy, not fear?

Stay Focused.

Recognize the thoughts we have and actions we take in our everyday lives that make us worry, and turn those thoughts into actions of faith. Knowing that God is the center of our lives and

hears our prayers gives us confidence to put more effort into it. Seeing prayers answered, inspires more faith and more action. It is a positive cycle that moves forward the more fuel you give it.

Trust in God first, before others and ourselves.

Does my life exalt God, or myself? The world isn't spinning around the latest and greatest celebrity, yet there they are in our faces all the time exalting themselves. We are bombarded with a world pulling us every which way it can to get our vote, get our money or get us to believe something. What does God want us to do, believe or support? Truth! God is love, truth and eternal hope. Anything that doesn't stand for those principles is a waste of time and energy for a person of faith. The world is complicated, but finding inspiration and strength doesn't have to be when God is in it.

Meditate on truth, love and eternal hope.

Having a powerful prayer life requires knowing God. Search for truth, and you will find it. What would the world be like if everyone was searching for truth, love and eternal hope? It wouldn't be corrupt, no doubt! The good news is there are millions of people of all faiths who are searching for the same things. Personally, I never want to diminish another person's faith based on my own experiences. I might miss an opportunity to learn from someone else. Something my friend

always says that has stuck with me over the years is, "If God can use an ass, He can use me!" So true! Limiting God is limiting ourselves.

Encourage yourself.

Moses was a murderer, and God used him in a mighty way. We all have imperfections. We need to reach out to God for that reason. Even Jesus said there is only one who is good, and that is God. When we reach out in faith to God for help, we stay humble and open to changes we'll need to make to grow stronger. If we wait until we see the changes we are praying for to be encouraged, we will waste a lot of time. Encourage yourself everyday in the small victories. We can encourage ourselves in those victories and use our failures as life lessons to help us find future success.

Be The Change

I love the quote, "Be the change you want to see in the world." I ran across an interesting blog about that quote you may want to check out, Gandhi didn’t actually ever say “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Here’s the real quote by josephranseth.

Here is the full quote, "We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Changing our focus away from other people and placing it on God in order to change ourselves will bring more lasting joy to life. Having a prayerful life puts faith into action. Walking in that faith on a daily basis keeps that connection to God active and alive. Turning our thoughts into prayers will change our lives. Then, my friend, it is we who will create more joy in the world. It is a lot easier to find joy when it is in your own heart to begin with!

"I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things." Mother Teresa.

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