Bible Verses and a Prayer for When You Need to Breathe

  • Job 33:4 ESV
    The Spirit of God has made me,
        and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
  • Psalm  31:6-7 MSG
    I hate all this silly religion, but you, God, I trust. I’m leaping and singing in the circle of your love; you saw my pain, you disarmed my tormentors, You didn’t leave me in their clutches but gave me room to breathe.
  • Psalm 34:1-4 MSG

    I bless God every chance I get;
    my lungs expand with his praise.

    2 I live and breathe God;
    if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy:

    Join me in spreading the news;
    together let’s get the word out.

    God met me more than halfway,
    he freed me from my anxious fears.

  • Psalm 61:3-5 MSG
    You’ve always given me breathing room,
        a place to get away from it all,
    A lifetime pass to your safe-house,
        an open invitation as your guest.
    You’ve always taken me seriously, God,
        made me welcome among those who know and love you.
  • Psalm 62:1-2 MSG
    1-2 God, the one and only—
        I’ll wait as long as he says.
    Everything I need comes from him,
        so why not?
    He’s solid rock under my feet,
        breathing room for my soul,
    An impregnable castle:
        I’m set for life.
  • Psalm 119:73 MSG
    With your very own hands you formed me;
        now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you.
  • Psalm 150:6 ESV
    Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
    Praise the Lord!
  • Ezekiel 37:5 ESV
    Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live.
  • Acts 17:25 ESV
    nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.
  • Ephesians 4:30 MSG
    Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.


Sabbath in the Busy Season

My husband shoos me away from the kitchen.

A teething baby had me up and down most of the night, so my husband tells me to go get some rest.

In a bit….

When I finish….

I still have stuff on my to-do list…..and then maybe….psalm 116

The problem is the to-do list keeps growing because I have eyes that see mess and clutter and projects everywhere I look.  I’m trying to clean while my kids are home and we all know how that goes.

He says it simple: You’ll always have things on your to-do list.

That’s life-changing wisdom that bounces around in my head all this week and settles in my heart as I prepare for the holiday rush of an overstuffed calendar.

This busy life, this busy season and yet still I try to live a lie: that at some point I’ll finish the list, the busyness on the calendar will end, and then I can rest because every single project and chore is done, done, done.

And since that never happens, rest never happens.

I learn from Priscilla Shirer’s book, Breathe, that the word for Sabbath (Shabbat) means:  “to come to an end, to cease, to stop, to pause” (Priscilla Shirer, p. 42)

Sometimes that pausing and ceasing and stopping is a choice that you have to make.  I don’t have to finish what I’m doing.  I just need to press pause and rest anyway.

Leviticus 23:32 says:

“It will be a Sabbath of complete rest for you, and you must practice self-denial


That’s what Sabbath requires.

But not the kind we law-loving humans tend to push down on each other’s shoulders.

We make self-denial about do’s and don’ts.  We make regulations.  We make rules.  This is what Sabbath should look like.  This is what rest has to look like.  This is what you can do.  This is what you can’t do.

We wring the joy right out of the Sabbath with our Pharisaical attempts to make holier what God has already made holy.

Not, it’s this: Rest is self-denial.

It denies that compulsion to work and work and do and do.  It declines to base our identity on performance and accomplishment and forces us to rest in His love for us.

Adrenaline is my addiction.  The rush and stress of it all pushes me along and when it’s removed, I’m a nervous, jittery, restless soul not sure of what to do or how to be.

Sabbath is the rehab my soul needs.

Sabbath sets me into the rhythm of rest and re-sets my life on the foundation of grace instead of the shaky ground of works and law and self.

In my 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, I’ve spent this month Practicing Sabbath Keeping and I’ve met Him here in this holy space.

Just like Moses did on that sacred mountain:

“The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days.  And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud” (Ex. 24:16, ESV).

God called to Moses on the seventh day….

That glory lingered in preparation for six days, but on the seventh day, God’s voice boomed out of that cloud and called Moses close for intimacy and revelation.

In Breathe, Priscilla Shirer writes again:

“I’m praying that the Lord brings all of the glory held in the arms of the ‘seventh day’ to you and me. I’m asking, of course, that we’ll see His presence and sense His favor in our every activity, every day of the week.  But in those spaces and margins–those ‘seventh day’ borders–that our ‘no’s’ create, may we hear the voice of God and experience nearness of fellowship with Him like never before.

The holiday season presses in and threatens to overwhelm us with expectations and perfection and activity.

But isn’t Christ what we want in the midst of it all?  Don’t we want His glory more than tinsel and lights and His voice more than presents with ribbons and bows?

And if I want Christ more than this, more than it all, then I begin right here.  I deny self.  I press pause on the to-do list.  I cease the activity.

I find room to breathe.

And I ask Him to show me His glory here in the seventh-day spaces I create in my life.  That’s His invitation to invade my life with His presence.

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I Practice Sabbath-Keeping’?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

Learning to Linger

I’m tempted to rush.

On a rare day when I have this time, the temptation is there to fill it right up with more activity, more going and more doing.

Most days, I don’t have this luxury, of course.  It’s the mad morning scramble of toothbrushes, hair brushes, ribbons, bows, socks, shoes, lunches and backpacks to send children out to the bus stop.

Then, zoom into the day with the baby and the errands or meetings or Bible studies or appointments or whatever busyness has etched itself onto the schedule.psalm 27-14

But this day.  This one day.

After I watch my girls step onto that school bus, I return to my home and breathe in and out this uncertain freedom.  I don’t have to run out the door.  I don’t have to meet an external agenda or deadline until the afternoon.

So what to do?

Rush through my home, stuffing laundry into the washing machine and another load in the dryer?  Frantically move cereal bowls from sink to dishwasher and then grab the broom (maybe the mop if I’m inspired).  Respond to messages.  Catch up on the to-do list.  Fill out the forms.

So it goes, me filling up this one little space of time with too much, cramming in activity and sitting on the lid in hopes it will fit.

My tea, poured hot this morning turns cold.

My morning devotions, rushed through just to be done, leave me unfilled, uninspired, unopened to what God wants to say.

Too busy…too busy…just always too busy.

But today I consider Joshua.

Moses met with God face-to-face in a tent.  A pillar of cloud covered the entrance while the Israelites looked on from the flaps of their own tent dwellings, bowing in worship in the doorways.

When Moses finished talking with God, he returned to the camp to share the message with others.

Not Joshua, though.

“his assistant, the young man Joshua son of Nun, would not leave the inside of the tent” (Exodus 33:11 HCSB).

He wouldn’t budge from the glory and the presence, lingering there stubbornly while others moved along.

What if I chose to linger here….chose to be Joshua refusing to leave the tent as long as God’s glory electrified the air….chose for this one day to be Mary at the feet of Jesus rather than Martha slamming pots in the kitchen?

Because serving perpetually means serving empty and that means dying of spiritual starvation and dehydration.

We need the Mary moments so we can re-enter the kitchen as Martha and care for others cheerfully and ably until we have that opportunity once again to lay down the dish towel and sit at Jesus’ feet.

It’s not practical, of course.

That crowd of more than 5000 who sat on the hillside listening to Jesus hour upon hour should have been watching the clock.  They should have known what time it was and how long they had to travel back for food.  They should have abandoned the sermon and packed up their blankets and lawn chairs at a reasonable time so they could eat dinner at a reasonable hour.

Yet, Jesus rewarded their time in His presence.

Had they left early, they would have missed the miracle.

In order to witness God’s glory, they had to wait, they had to sit patiently and linger there until they received.

This is what I consider as I spend this month Sabbath-Keeping during my year-long pursuit of the presence of Christ.

In Living Beyond Yourself , Beth Moore writes:

“He placed them in a posture to rest in His provision.  He commanded them to “sit down” and fed only those who were “seated” (vv. 10-11) . . .”Are you ‘sitting down’ in a posture of trust and sitting quietly to receive it?  If so, prepare the baskets!”

For me, it’s just this one day a week to take my morning slow before the afternoon and evening wave of stress and busyness crashes down again.livingbeyond

For you, it may be a morning, a day….even a season of sitting and waiting on that hillside so you can see His glory, or a season at Jesus’ feet instead of in the kitchen, or a season of lingering in the tent.

Whatever the length of the wait and the stillness, it’s a discipline to rest rather than rush.

When we remain there, though, insistent on lingering where His presence is, we see His glory displayed and He fills us up with the sustenance of His presence and His Word.

But only when we wait until He says it’s time to move on.

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I Practice Sabbath-Keeping’?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

If I sit down for 15 minutes, will there be a cosmic meltdown?

I made a Mom-speech in the minivan to my kids as we headed home long past bedtime the other night:

These two weeks are going to be crazy busy.  You will be tired. And that means you’ll probably be grumpy.  When we get this tired, the ugly comes out.  So, for the next two weeks we have to show each other extra grace and patience and we need to rest whenever we can….

As soon as my speech ended, they continued bickering over prime-seating in the minivan and when we got home, they fought over prime seating during nighttime prayers and who knows what else.

I made the speech again.

I do this for my kids: I prepare their hearts and minds for busy seasons.  I remind them about grace.prayerrest

I ease the burden some, removing some expectations, allowing them to slack off in some areas so they can focus on what’s important right now.

I give them this breathing room.

But I don’t often do it for myself.

In my 12-month pursuit of the presence of Christ, I’ve reached November—the month when I’ll study and focus on the Sabbath.

And interestingly enough, I’m entrenched in two of the busiest weeks I’ve had since school ended last year.

Isn’t God funny that way?

I’m slowly reading Priscilla Shirer’s study: Breathe: Making Room for Sabbath and she teaches me about building Sabbath Margin into my life.  How to leave space for God to work.  How busyness can crowd out His will.

How there’s only so much time and if I’ve packed in the activity too tightly, I’ll run out of room to breathe.

But rest takes great effort for me.

It’s a spiritual discipline that I struggle with.  I’m better at keeping up with my yearly Bible reading plan and juggling multiple Bible studies and devotionals, memorizing Scripture, praying, and journaling than I am about obeying this Biblical command:  Rest.

I’m physically incapable of napping.  Instead of sleeping, I lie awake thinking about all the things I should be doing instead of sleeping.  By the time I finally give up and throw back the covers in defeat, I’m frantic about the wasted time and move faster through my to-do list to make up for it.

I feel guilty for leisure, embarrassed by free time, and apologetic for fun.

Taking a break feels like laziness.

There’s something else at work here beyond just an addiction to adrenaline.  Oh, how I hate for it to be true, and yet digging down deeply enough reveals its ugly presence—-pride.  Truly, it feels good to be needed.  It feels important to be so busy.

When I run around in a breathless pace, doing, doing, doing all the time, I act as if the world depends on me to function, as if me sitting down for 15 minutes would create cosmic meltdown.

And that’s why God, from the very first week of creation, instituted a Sabbath rest.  It wasn’t for His benefit, as if the Almighty God who created a sun, moon, and planet with the power of His words grew weary and needed to sleep.

No, the Sabbath was not for God.  Instead, Jesus “said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27).

The Sabbath is for us.

It’s a reminder that the universe can exist without our involvement and labor.  It’s a re-ordering of our perspective, so that we remember it is God who is essential and not us.

So often, we forget that our jobs, our families, our ministries, our relationships, our everything depend not on our ability, but on God’s power.

We stress about meetings because we think everything relies on how well we present ourselves.  We plot out conversations because we think the outcome depends on the words we choose.  We think.  We plan.  We do.  We fix.  We busy ourselves.  We worry.  We analyze.  We lose sleep.

God knows the pride that burrows itself into our hearts; the tentacles it wraps around us as we seek fulfillment in accomplishments, in tasks completed, in people depending on us.

Sabbath isn’t about Pharisaical hypocrisy and legalism.  It’s not about do’s and don’ts.

It’s about Rest. 

And Rest is about humbly stepping aside. 

It’s about the placing and continual re-placing of God in control of our lives.

So, I’m going to take some rest time.  At least for next week, I’ll stay quiet on the blog….spending time reading, creating, being with God, being with my family, instead of writing and posting on my regular days.

I’ll be back the following week and I’ll announce the winners of the big giveaway, so keep entering!!

And I’ll hopefully remind my soul that it’s all about Him, always Him, never me.

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I Practice Sabbath-Keeping’?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

A birthday giveaway: $25 Amazon gift card

It’s the one-year birthday of my book, Ask Me Anything, Lord, and I’m throwing a party of sorts!  To say many thanks for your part in this journey, I’m hosting a giveaway!!

The prizes:

  • One first prize of a $25 gift card to
  • Three prizes for ‘runners up:’ one autographed copy each of Ask Me Anything, Lord to keep for yourself or to give away to a friend.ask-me-anything-lord_kd

How to enter:

  • Subscribe to get my devotionals sent to your email by following this blog.  If you already subscribe, that counts, too!  Then post a comment on this page saying, “I follow the blog” in order for it to count as an entry.
  • Like my Facebook Author page:  If you already follow me on Facebook, then that counts.  Be sure to post a comment here on this blog page saying, “I’m a Facebook fan” so that you get entered in the giveaway.
  • Comment on this post with the answer to the question: “When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?”

Please make sure you comment here on this page—not just on Facebook.  It only counts as an entry if it shows up here!

I’ll close the contest on Sunday, November 16th at 11:59 p.m. and announce the winner Monday, November 17th.

Many thanks to you my friends for your support of Ask Me Anything, Lord this past year!


He had a scraggly brownish gray beard and glasses and wore a faded t-shirt with worn-out jeans.

I was about 17 at the time, and I had stopped into the tiny used book shop not far from my home.  It was a regular haunt of mine because I could pick up classic treasures for a dollar or so.

It’s been so long ago now.  I can’t remember how the conversation started or even why.  Knowing me, I certainly wasn’t the one to initiate a chat with a stranger, especially as a teenage girl with a unknown guy in a store.

But I do remember that he asked me what I wanted to do.

And I said, “I want to write,” in a whispered confession kind of way, the kind of admission you make in embarrassment because you know what you just said was crazy, impractical and surely impossible.

After all, I’m a practical person.  I may have majored in English in college, but I wasn’t silly enough to think that meant writing.  I told people maybe I could edit, or work in publishing, or go to law school, or teach…..all more logical options than dreaming the impossible dream.

But for some reason, I said, “I want to write,” and I didn’t know how to take it back.018

He didn’t even blink.  He just said, “Well, what you have to do is read the best and just write and write and keep on writing.”  Then he handed me a book called Seize the Day, which I still have on my bookshelf now, and walked away.

I get emails now a few times a month from ladies asking me how to get published and could they do what I do, and I give them all the practical information I possibly can.  Unfortunately I can’t give them “Ten Steps to Publishing Success” or “The Five Things You Need to Know About Christian Publishing” and I wish I could—really and truly.

After all, I’m just a humble girl still plugging away at writing myself.

All I can say is just obey and trust God and start small.  Don’t dream about bestsellers or fame or personal glory or royalty checks.

Ten years after a chance meeting in a book shop, I was a mom with two kids and a job working from home, a job at the church, and ministry responsibilities, and I felt like God was telling me I needed to be writing….in my “free time.”

I started as that tired out mama typing away devotionals and articles in a word processor after my kids went to bed at night.  I didn’t think anyone in the world would ever read them.  Maybe one day I could print them off my own printer and slip them into a three-ring binder for my daughters to enjoy.

Then someone asked me to edit for an online Christian women’s magazine.  And then she allowed me to start writing articles.  Then I felt like God wanted me to write devotionals and publish them online, so there was this blog….and then a book idea that took discipline to write in the middle of crazy busy days….

Then there the day last year when I cradled my newborn son in one arm and held the author’s copy of Ask Me Anything, Lord in my other hand.

And I cried.  Of course.

I didn’t think this was ever possible and it certainly wasn’t on my own.

But God.

Maybe we all have “but God…” moments.  They so rarely start with a grand vision of success in any worldly way.  They start with the smallest steps of obedience, humbly just doing the quiet things and being faithful in the here and now, and then one day we look up and wonder how in the world all this happened—-and know it can’t be anything but Him.

That’s the beauty of the “….but God” testimony; He gets the glory.

Like Asaph tells us in the Psalm:

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever (Psalm 73:26 HCSB)

And it’s the testimony of David, who “stayed in the wilderness strongholds and in the hill country of the Wilderness of Ziph. Saul searched for him every day, but God did not hand David over to him” (1 Samuel 23:14 HCSB).

It’s impossible.  We don’t deserve it.  It’s hard and we’re weary. Maybe there are enemies; surely there are obstacles.

But God….He is our Strength, our Hope, our Deliverer.


Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

What My Monday Soul Needs to Know

My resolution for Monday:


Photo by just2shutter;

To breathe in and breathe out, deep taking in of peace and pushing out of contentment.  No catching my breath in anxiety, hyperventilating stress, and rushing to the point of breathless exhaustion.

Just breathe.  Move through the day without giving into the push, push, push of “faster, more, do, accomplish, check off the list, get it done.”  Walk as I vacuum, walk as I put away the clothes.  Make that phone call without simultaneously folding underwear and t-shirts.

And spend time with Jesus for relationship not for task-completion.

The temptation is there, of course.  It’s the curse of Monday.  All of the spillover from last week, the messages to read through and answer after taking a Sabbath from all of that “connection” over the weekend, and the new tasks ahead clamor at me for attention.

What was that email I needed to send?
Wasn’t there someone I needed to call?
Was I behind on my reading, my commitments?
Didn’t I need to print this for the week and pack that for tonight and fill out that form and mail back that letter?

It’s a million tiny things nipping at the heels of my Jesus-focused life, yipping and yapping until I turn my attention from Him.

And then when I do sit down to rest at His feet, dear Father, oh my Father, I am so thankful to be in Your presence ….

Still I fail.  Still I pop up every few minutes for the ding of the laundry and the starting of the meal, and the reminder of something else needing to be done.

My time with Him becomes stilted, becomes stale, becomes necessary without being the fresh oxygen in my soul I need for very survival and beyond that, the abundant life He promises.  Necessary only because it’s an assignment, like homework for school.

It’s more like: Read the assigned Bible reading.  Check.  Read the passage in the study for this week’s group discussion.  Check.  Complete the other Bible study . . . while interrupted and racing against the clock:


I wonder if He’d prefer if I just skipped it all rather than flop down at this kitchen table half-hearted and thinking about 50 things clearly more important than He is to me in that moment.

This isn’t relationship.  This is business.

In his book, Prayer, Richard J. Foster wrote:

“Today the heart of God is an open wound of love.  He aches over our distance and preoccupation.  He mourns that we do not draw near to him.  He grieves that we have forgotten him.  He weeps over our obsession with muchness and manyness.  He longs for our presence…

We do not need to be shy.  He invites us into the living room of his heart, where we can put on old slippers and share freely.  he invites us into the kitchen of his friendship, where chatter and batter mix in good fun.  He invites us into the dining room of his strength, where we can feast to our heart’s delight….” (p. 1)

Maybe that’s my problem.  I’ve been barely acknowledging His presence at times at my kitchen table.  Perhaps I should take up His invitation to hang out in His kitchen.  To eat in His presence and share in good company and the intimacy of friendship, not on my terms, but at His offering.

At the Last Supper, the apostle John leaned against Jesus, drew in close and rested against the Savior, even while realizing that Jesus was about to be betrayed (John 13:25).

Why be more like Peter, who in shame and frustration, perhaps even anger at the destruction of his plans and agenda, certainly in fear…”followed him (Jesus) at a distance” (Matthew 26:58) after Christ’s arrest.

Sure, I’m always following, I’m a faithful kind of girl, trailing after God always.  But sometimes I’m just stepping into the imprint of His footsteps rather than walking by His side, following out of obedience only, mostly out of distracted busyness and duty.

This year, I’m pursuing the presence of Christ In August, that means I’m learning to say, ‘no.’  I’m saying it today: “No” to the stress of do and do.  “No” to hyperventilating heaviness of breathless rush.

Today I resolve to breathe in and breathe out, to linger here at the table with Jesus and lean into His presence.  No rushing up from the meal to pursue my own agenda.  No skimming through the page of Scripture to get to the end of the assigned reading.

Leaning into Jesus.  Breathing in and breathing out.  Then walking side by side with Him into my day, not tripping along behind: holding His hand and chatting along the journey.

Originally published October 15, 2012

We are Staycation Failures

A few years ago, my husband and I realized we had to take a few days off of work.  Both of us.  At the same time.

This probably doesn’t sound exciting, but to us this was revolutionary.

We didn’t go away.  We didn’t take vacations.  We didn’t take time off other than for dental appointments or to have a baby.matthew11, photo from picjumbo

But since a vacation away wasn’t in the budget, we decided to try the wonderful trend of stay-cationing.

We know plenty of friends who staycation successfully.  They have a fabulous time visiting all the places within an hour of home that no one local ever takes the time to visit.

We, however, had a whopping failure of a week.  By Friday, we had both ended up working.  We had answered the phone and ended up in ministry meetings.  We still went to all the normal activities at church and in the community. We did all the normal chores with all the normal responsibilities and hadn’t even slept in because we had young kids and they don’t know how to do that.

We need to get away, really away.  We need to retreat, to shake off the daily and reconnect with each other and with beauty and rest and with the eternal.

Oswald Chambers wrote:

“Whenever anything begins to disintegrate your life with Jesus Christ, turn to Him at once, asking Him to re-establish your rest.”

It’s all of the daily life choices and battles that chip away at our faith.  We’re distracted.  We’re annoyed.  We’re confused.  We’re tired.

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).   Over time, I feel it, the weariness, the burdens.  They accumulate over days and months.

Daily quiet times help.  I temporarily rest at His feet and toss the bundles I’m carrying to the side.  But, I leap up from the table after time in the Word and it’s back to phone calls and emails, carpooling, activities, planning and laundry.

And the thing about daily life is that it is  . . . daily.

Shocking revelation, I know.  But it’s not just the motion that tires me over time; it’s the perpetual motion.

It’s rising every morning to empty the dishwasher and reload it . . . . again.
Making beds, packing lunches, toasting bread and pouring milk  . . . again.
Tossing clothes into the washer and grabbing towels out of the dryer . . . again.
Cleaning dried-on toothpaste off the bathroom walls . . . again.

Eventually I need more than a temporary refresher.  I need to retreat from it all to re-establish rest. In Mark 6:31, it says,

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
This month, I’m pursuing the presence of God by learning to Retreat and Refresh, and it’s then I re-align my focus.

The thing about being bogged down in the daily is that our definition of crisis begins to distort.

In the past few months, I’ve lain awake for hours in the middle of the night over minor worries that have turned into a crisis of anxiety.

Patsy Clairmont wrote, “At times, trusting God in the minutiae of life is as difficult as trusting him for a walking-on-water miracle.” 

I’m tossing and turning at night because I’ve gripped my hand around each of these issues so tight God can’t pry my fingers off with a crowbar.  My knuckles are white.

So I am removing myself from this close-up perspective of my life where the tiniest anomaly blips onto my radar as if it’s the end of the world.  I’m putting aside the to-do list that runs my life like a drill sergeant.  For this week, I’ll stop staring at my life and lift my head up instead to see Jesus.

In Psalm 3, David wrote, “But you, O Lord, are a shield for me; My glory and the one who lifts up my head.”

Instead of going through life shoulders hunched, head down, eyes staring at circumstances, I’m asking that God lift up my head so I can see His face, see His eyes of love and grace, see the reminder in the palm of His hands that He’s going to do everything imaginable and more to take care of me.

In that same Psalm, David also wrote: “Salvation belongs to the Lord” (verse 8).  This “salvation” means “deliverance from the immediate pressure” he was feeling. 

One of the meanings of this Hebrew word for salvation is “room to breathe.”

Sometimes the daily grind is suffocating and busyness knocks the wind out of me.  I need deliverance from the immediate pressures that monopolize my attention and salvation from the stresses that take my breath away.

I’m leaving so I can find room to breathe.

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I Retreat and Refresh?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King


Giving Many Thanks, Giving Much Praise

A little over a week ago, this unexpected envelope arrived in the mailbox.

I had this moment of confusion.  Did I order something I’d forgotten about?001

I had a moment of Christmas morning excitement, wondering: What’s in the package?

Inside, was indeed a gift.

A copy of my own book dropped into my hands with a letter from my publisher.

My own book?  Why?

Then I read those words and gave praise…..Three months after that initial publication, they had done a second printing.

God sure can surprise you with joy  on the most average of average days when you’re just going about the day-to-day routine and then suddenly grace arrives in your mailbox!

So, many thanks to you, my friends, for reading, for buying the book, for the positive reviews on, for spreading the word, for sharing the book with others and studying it in Sunday School classes and small groups at your church.  You bless me so.ephesians3-20

And all praise, honor, and glory to God, who is surely able to do more than all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Thanks so much to the Women’s Bible Cafe, who chose Ask Me Anything, Lord as the March nonfiction book of the month for their WBC Book Club!  If you are on Facebook, you can join me for a fun author’s chat on Friday, March 28th at 9:00 p.m. Eastern DST (8 p.m Central, 6 p.m. Pacific).  You just need to like their page on Facebook and log in on that day and time to participate!  I hope you’ll join in.  I would be so blessed to chat with you!

Many thanks also to Reedswood Christian Church in Gloucester, Virginia, for inviting me to speak at their women’s tea on Saturday, May 3rd at noon.   Please keep me in your prayers as I share!  I’ll have books on hand that day to sign and sell.

As always, thank you, dear friends, for your encouragement.  Thank you for your prayers.

All glory to Him!

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

I Am Not But I Know I AM, Book Review

I Am Not But I Know I Am: Welcome to the Story of God
By Louie Giglio

The message of Louie Giglio’s book, I Am Not But I Know I Am, is both humbling and freeing.  He reminds us from the beginning of the book that this life story we’re living isn’t really about us at all.  It’s God’s story, and we’ve simply been invited to play a small part in His great design.iamnot

This means that we can throw over all that stress we place on ourselves, feeling like this world depends on us or that decisions and outcomes rest so heavily on our lightweight shoulders.  It also means that we can stop treating this life like the story (and the glory) is ours.  It’s about Him, always Him, and never us.

Covering a vast span of Scripture, reminders from astronomy, and personal experiences, Giglio manages to keep every chapter short, easy to read, and both inspiring and challenging.  Louie Giglio is known for his story-telling, humor, and practical teaching to college students at the Passion conferences, and his gift for communication and teaching certainly shines in this book.

My favorite sections include his teaching on the importance of keeping a Sabbath perspective in life, choosing to rest and allow God to be at work, and recognizing that the world doesn’t spin and function because of our intense 24-7-365 involvement.  God doesn’t need us to make His plans succeed; He chooses to include us.

I’ve read through it twice and I’ve been challenged both times to examine my perspective on life.  Am I forgetting how great God is?  Am I trusting in my own abilities too much?  Am I focusing too much on myself and becoming too prideful?  Am I living a life that glorifies God?  These are questions worth asking not one in a lifetime, but repeatedly in order to fight against pride and help us be more yielded to God’s purposes and usable in ministry.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Does prayer really have to be that complicated?

I don’t remember the first time I talked to God, but I remember the moment I decided prayer was personal.

It’s funny how you don’t recall most of life when you’re three or four years old, but you can have these few vivid memories that play back like a well-worn movie.

I don’t remember how I knew my father had left us.  I don’t remember how I felt about the whole ordeal of divorce.

But I sat on a swing-set in my backyard one day when I was about four and I said this,

“God, You’ll have to be my Daddy now.”

That I remember.

And prayer’s always been that for me, not some awkward attempt to wax poetic before a stern God.  I’ve never felt like my prayers have to ‘measure up’ or ‘sound holy.’DSCF2151

Because it’s always just been me, a simple girl talking to Dad about life on a swing-set, about making tough decisions, about life as a mom, about life….

I found a prayer journal years ago with categories and lists, a calendar of prayer planning, verses and notes, bookmarks, quotes, all spiral bound for easy writing.

I’m a little surprised that it didn’t light up or play music.

But the thing about that super-duper-deluxe journal is that I never could use it.  All those bells and whistles complicated prayer, made it so cumbersome and bulky.

I’d been chatting with God all day, every day for decades, and I couldn’t cram all that intimacy into a multi-step method in this how-to of prayer.

Maybe formulas and fancy systems work for you.

Or perhaps you’re like me, who simply wants prayer to be communion with God, the recognition of His presence here in this place.

Samuel Chadwick wrote:

“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying.  He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion.  He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray” Samuel Chadwick

There’s such power in this prayer, and yet too often we avoid it and neglect it because we over-complicate it.

We act as if we’re not really praying unless we pray for two hours straight, on our knees, in a prayer closet, with a prayer journal, and maintain an adequate ratio of praise-to-petition.

And, since we can’t do all that, we simply don’t pray at all.

But God doesn’t regulate prayer with some hierarchical system of holiness.

That’s Satan, complicating things so that we give it all up all-together, feeding us the lies:

Prayer is too hard.
Prayer is for the holy.
I get bored.
If only I could pray like her.  I guess I’m just a failure.
Surely God hears her prayers, but not mine because I don’t know how to start or what words to say and what if I get it all wrong?
I don’t have anything to say that’s important enough for God to hear.

Perhaps that’s how the disciples felt, when they overheard the Pharisees praying Shakespeare-quality performances every time they bowed their heads in the synagogue.

So, they asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray….”

Maybe they expected a formula or a long lecture about the process of prayer or a complicated prayer  cataloging system.

But Jesus did the opposite.  The Lord’s Prayer fits into five simple verses, which Jesus prefaced with this:

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him (Matthew 6:5-8 NIV).

Don’t pray to show off. 

Don’t feel like you need to pray for a long time.

Keep it simple.  Pray what’s on your heart, because God already knows what you’re thinking and feeling.

Over the years, I’ve kept prayers on Index cards, prayers in beautiful journals, prayers on my fridge, prayers in a Word Processor on my computer.

And you know what?  All of them were prayer.  All of them helped me rest in the presence of God, learning to trust Him with my needs and learning to listen to His voice.

As I continue this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, I choose this month to linger here:

In the end, what matters about prayer isn’t how we pray, it’s that we actually do it.

That’s what I’m thinking….Now it’s your turn:

Has prayer ever seemed complicated or difficult to you?  What do you want to learn most about prayer?  What’s the best advice about prayer you’ve ever been given?   What have you found that works?

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me next month as I focus on Praying Simply?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King