If you’ve joined me on this blog for my first entry It’s likely that you already know me. What many of you who don’t see me on a daily basis may not know is why I’ve suddenly decided to do this. Well let’s just start with saying it’s been a life-changing year and I’m finally at a point where I feel I can share this story. But I want to share in a way that expresses how life-changing events can help you change your mind on how you cope with fear, depression and anxiety.
On May 16, 2017 while trying to get my 3 year – old son in the van I ruptured my S5 disk in my back. 10 days later I had surgery and have been recovering from that, and nerve damage to my right leg and foot since. I am walking, driving and almost back to normal at this point (I’m still dealing with nerve damage) but It’s been a journey! Some of these blogs will be about that but most of them,I hope, will be more about how I’ve gotten thru this journey and learned more about how to manage my own fear and anxiety that I have struggled with for a very long time.
More importantly if fear, anxiety, depression, stress are things you struggle with I want to encourage you and I hope this blog does just that. So I’m going to start with talking about my biggest tool in my toolbox. Something that encourages me every day and I think it is my number one weapon when it comes to dealing with fear, anxiety, pain, or whatever is ailing.
Yep. Prayer. Now if your not ready for that yet that’s okay but hear me out. There is more to prayer than you telling God what is going on and God supernaturally fixing it. (or not fixing it…) Yes that can happen, does happen but I’m not talking about those prayers. I pray those prayers, a lot, but that’s not the ones I mean. I mean the sitting still meditative prayers. These kinds I didn’t even know how to do do or what they were till 2015 when I stumbled on a link to an amazing app called Abide, and that is actually what I want to introduce you to today. How to pray still, meditative, deep, prayer.
So, if you aren’t really sold on the Jesus, this christianity and prayer thing this might be hard to get but I guarantee it does work. I know there are lots of books and experts on how prayer may work but I honestly believe it’s one of those things we’ll never quite figure out. Here’s my humble take on it. The God of the universe loves what He makes. He made you, He loves you. He wants to have a relationship with you. He gave you the ability to do certain things but he also puts us in situations everyday where we will not get the best possible outcome without His help. If we ask Him for His help we are allowing Him to work that situation for our good whatever happens, see Jeremiah 29:11. I once heard it said that “God is a gentleman and he doesn’t interfere unless given permission to.” Deep meditative prayer takes that to a level of not only does he work to our good but he lets us in on what is going to happen. See Psalm 25:9.
So, I actually knew the morning of my injury that something wasn’t going to go right ( I didn’t know what) but I felt the Holy Spirit tell me that I was going to be disappointed that my plans would not be completed. I felt that message as I prayed using the Abide app and it was thru through those daily Abide prayers that I had hope to keep on going when my plans did not happen day after day. I don’t remember very much about those first few days accept pain but for some crazy reason knowing God knew it was coming gave me hope He was going to get me thru it. I can’t imagine how much harder it would have been had I not prayed that morning or thru the whole ordeal.
The Abide app was created by a start up christian group in Sillicon Valley called Carpenters Code and it’s co-founder Neil Ahlson, who had worked at Google for 7 years prior, said this about the purpose of this App in PR Newswire’s April 11 2017 issue.
“Christian meditation is one of the best ways to fight depression, the world’s leading illness, which often can go untreated. Our guided meditation app is designed to meet the often very private needs of people in the midst of very busy lives. Our users report that Abide helps them find pockets of time to connect with God for peace and stability in their lives.”
Boy do I want peace and stability every day in my life and if you know me you know I’m busy. I have three beautiful children. Two daughters who are involved with dance and band and plays and a son who doesn’t stop. But I have found just 15 to 20 minutes in the morning of sitting still and meditating on these prayers is a DAY CHANGER. The tidal waves of stressful situations I face become so much easier to navigate if I’ve taken the time to pray hours before they hit. It’s amazing how my attitude and outlook change on the days I’ve spent my morning with Jesus and Abide vs the days I don’t.
The App is free. You can become a member and their is more features with the paid version but even the free version is amazing. In 2015 Abide was launched and Carpenters Code partnered with another app I use called Youversion The Bible App. One of the bible studies I was doing at the time had a prayer from abide in the devotional section at the beginning that you could listen too. I loved it. The prayer linked you with the Abide App.
The App itself features a daily prayer, with links to quick prayers on sleep, anxiety and emotions. The free version daily prayer is about 2 minutes in length and a tab of topics. Topics on grief, depression, anxiety, marriage, making decisions, insomnia, anger, kids, love…. there are actually 28 different categories to pick from. You can stream all the prayers or pick one to listen too. The paid version includes all these features as well as longer daily prayers with 5 minute, 10 minute and 15 minute options as well as guides that (much like youversion plans) give you 3, 5 or 7 step prayers. They are most used for (get this) their prayers on anxiety and panic attacks and insomnia! Prayers are guided by a slew of different male and female believers including K-Love Radio and Mandesa!
“Abide gives you guided audio meditations and they vary from about two minutes to about 15 minutes and they’re all focused back on scripture. So we take a verse of the Bible and a topic around that and then really just take you through a time of reflection,” Ahlsten explained to CBN news on 12/19/17.
There is also a place to journal after the prayer and a feature that allows you to share the prayers with someone and mark which ones are your favorite. You have a tab which keeps track of what you’ve prayed and how many times you’ve shared a prayer. I love this feature as there are some short 3 minute prayers I LOVE and listen too often or if I have a friend who needs prayer I can send them one I might feel they need to hear and pray it over and for them. It allows me to feel a little bit less helpless when those I love are sitting in helpless situations. I can’t tell you how many times a friend has texted back to me (that was so what I needed to hear.) I mean honestly how many times have you found yourself in a really hard situation and you don’t know what to pray. Abide has really helped me with that as the different topics often coincided with common concerns.
Christian Guided Meditation PR NEWSWIRE APRIL 11 2017 reported that “Abide’s topic on anxiety and worry is streamed 3 times more than any other topic in their more than 1,500 meditation sessions.” and “In a blind study among hundreds of people praying the Abide guided prayers, four of the top descriptions were: calming, comforting, soothing, and peaceful.”
Ahlsten told Purpose Nation in their second episode that Carpenter’s Code originally designed Abide to be a platform for prayer requests but that these guided prayers is what really took off. And its us women who are mainly using the app. 75% of the users actually are women the Christian Post reported on July 26, 2017.
I used the free version of the app until around March of 2016 when I “purchased” my very first app for my phone on my birthday. (yes it was Abide) I have been a member since and vie to start each day in prayer with it.
There is a lot I could tell you about meditative prayer but its best to experience yourself. When I started, I listened to the app in my car driving for 20 minutes to work. At that time the app was set up a little differently and it gave a daily prayer as well as other short prayers suggested each day. I would play all of them or sometimes one from a specific topic I was struggling with. I was struggling a lot with loneliness and dealing with confrontational situations at that time. Even though I wasn’t still (I was driving a car) it allowed my mind to focus on God’s promises everyday. I would hear the Holy Spirit pour hope into me that got me thru some awful days. Now that I’m not working I either drink my cup of coffee with it in the morning and pet my prayer buddy Chester or make jewelry while listening. Sitting still is hard for me, if it’s hard for you its okay. Start by doing something mindless and don’t feel guilty if your mind wanders while you pray. Sometimes that’s just the Holy Spirit’s way of talking to you. Those things you don’t want to forget will pop into your mind but just say, thank you help me to remember that when I’m done. I know God pours things into you even in those short minute prayers. He heals broken things, some you may not even be aware of needing healing.
Sleep has been one of the things I still struggle with, months after my surgery and Abide has been a place of refuge for that as well. They have many guided meditations that are specifically designed to put you to sleep. These are 20-25 minutes long and I have never heard all of one so yes it works. They have all been lovingly put on youtube as well as in the App so if your not a member you can listen to them on youtube.
” I did not expect when we started this project that we would be a place for people to fall asleep and have some of those kinds of things..but it turns out a lot of people struggle with insomnia and so, you know, even Christians have a hard time falling asleep or they struggle with depression or they struggle with relationships all sorts of things, and so to be able to be guided through, Hey how is God going to be able to help me in this situation. Has been very effective. So every night we put a whole bunch of people to sleep when they click on our insomnia and our rest meditations and they fall asleep.” Ahlsten said on the Purpose Nation Podcast, Episode 2
Abide also sends emails about new prayers and devotions they have posted. This weeks is on finances which I plan to listen to before we head off on our vacation. It amazes me how the Holy Spirit works, If you a listener of KLOVE or AIR1 you’ve probably experienced that moment when just the “right” song pops on the radio which totally addresses your heart. Well, Abide has an amazing way of doing that for me with it’s daily prayers. Yesterday’s was on sleep the one thing I did not get the night before battling a summer cold. I guarantee I didn’t tell them but I totally needed to be reminded how important it was to ask for some good rest and boy do I feel better today!
So I hope you give Abide a try next time you’re feeling overwhelmed. I hope this becomes a big gun in your arsenal as well. If you own an Alexa and just want to hear one after reading this say to her “Alexa, Abide Flash Briefing” and you’ll get today’s two minute prayer. I’m sure you’ll be blessed by it.
My top 10 favorite prayers on Abide (BSU Grad, love Dave Letterman)
10. “Unknown Steps,” prayer on Isaiah 8:12 by Julie Barri
9.“Look up,” prayer on Job 42:1-5 by Shannon Owen
8.“When I feel Hopeless,” prayer on Romans 15:13 by Lindsey Nelson
7.“Gentleness Starts Within,” prayer on Matthew 11:28-29 by Daily Hope
6.“Offer what you have,” Prayer on John 6:9 by Julie Barrios
5.“Rhythms of Grace,” Prayer on Matthew 11:28-30 The Message by Kate Stanway
4.”Jesus is Living Water,” prayer on John 4:9 by Julie Barrios
3.“Learning to Abide,” prayer on Psalm 131.2, Luke 10:38-42 by Kate Stanway
2.“Seeing in our Suffering,” prayer on Isaiah 53:2-4 by Julie Barrios
And the top prayer in my opinion on Abide is….
1. “Never Forgotten,” prayer on Isaiah 49:15-16 by Joanna Quintrell