Tag Archives: Praying for the fruit of the Spirit

The Prayer That Is Changing Me

There’s a book on my living room shelves called The Prayer that Changes Everything.

Author Stormie Omartian uses this attention-grabbing title to describe a type of prayer (praise). But the name always reminds me of one specific petition that changed everything in my own life—praying “not my will, but yours be done” during my years of infertility (see here and here for the rest of that story).


My One Word for 2017

I knew what my OneWord for 2017 was going to be early last fall. I normally wouldn’t even think about such things until December, but when I started hearing a new song on the radio by a group called Jesus Culture, I just knew.

At the time, choosing this particular collection of letters as my word for the year didn’t make sense. It didn’t seem to fit me at all—quite the opposite, in fact. Honestly, I had no idea why it struck me so.

But it did.


The Secret to a More Peaceful Holiday Season

If I saw one article or blog post about how to have a stress-free, joy-filled, slowed-down, quiet-hearted holiday season this year, I saw at least two dozen.

fruit update

In addition to providing useful tips and encouragement, these kinds of pieces are helpful because they give us hope that such results actually are possible, even as the glittering, decorating, purchasing and consuming accelerates around us.


“One Word” 2015: Results or Not, Prayers Continue

For more than two months, I’ve been praying for the fruit of the Spirit to grow in the life of each person in my home.

Every day, every piece: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control—all wrapped up in my One Word for 2015—fruit.

fruit 3

You may wonder how it’s going, if praying through Galatians 5:22-23 so regularly has made any difference. The short answer is yes, it has. But exactly how? I’m not sure I can answer that one.

People seem happier around here. There are more smiles, more hugs, more laughter. It’s noticeable to me, but I’m not about to take credit for it.

You see, I’ve lived with myself long enough to know that sometimes, when certain individuals in my house seem crabby or hard to get along with, they’re not necessarily the ones with the problem.

I am.

Other people aren’t really being difficult, it just seems like they are because I am the one who’s lacking patience that day. I’m the one who needs to be kind, or gentle, or more loving.

So when I think about if, and how, my prayers are being answered, all I can say is this. I notice a difference, but I’m perfectly willing to admit that the difference might mostly be in me.

Yes, before I started praying for the fruit, I sensed areas in my children’s lives where they had room for improvement. But I also sensed that same thing in my own life.

Is this starting to sound like a chicken-or-egg scenario? Are things going better because the fruit is taking root in me, or them? Or maybe in all of us?

It’s hard to say, so I’ll just enjoy it while it lasts. Because around here, when it comes to moods and phases and all things attitudinal, the weather can change in an instant.

But when it does, my prayers for the fruit will continue. And not just because I committed to praying this way at the beginning of the year.

You see, writing about my One Word for 2015 made me think about another season of my life when my prayers took on a similar vein, with seemingly different results.

During my years in the wilderness, when I was often anxious, irritable, overwhelmed and exhausted, I prayed for the fruit of the Spirit daily and desperately. Then I’d leave the comfort of my basement office, go upstairs and blow it two seconds after the first little person entered the kitchen.

I don’t know how much of my struggle was apparent to those who weren’t extremely close to me. But when I looked at myself in the mirror of my heart, I didn’t like what I saw one bit.

At the time, I didn’t fully realize that what I was experiencing was symptomatic of the season of life I was struggling through. That doesn’t excuse all my actions and reactions, but it certainly explains the feelings behind them.

I wish I could go back and unspeak every frustrated, irritated word. I wish I would have gone slower, enjoyed people around me more, not gotten so upset when one thing was out of place.

At times, it seemed to me that my prayers for the fruit of the Spirit were having no effect. But in retrospect, I’m pretty sure I was wrong about that.

I’ve come to think, What if I hadn’t been praying that verse? How bad might it have been then?

Those might seem like negative questions, but to me, they are actually quite redemptive. They remind me that God is always present and working, that His efforts often are undetectable (at the time, at least), that His sanctification schedule usually doesn’t match mine.

What if I hadn’t been praying for the fruit back then? I’ll never know, of course. But I do know this. “He who began a good work in (me) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

That’s the truth I hold on to, when my prayers seem like they’re being answered, and especially when they don’t.

Lois Flowers

P.S. I’m linking up today with Holley Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart and Jennifer Dukes Lee at #TellHisStory. Come join us for more encouragement.

Photo credit:Muy Yum via photopin cc

“One Word” for 2015 Inspires Daily Prayer

I woke up the morning of Christmas Eve with one word on my mind.

In a rare moment of clarity during the December rush, I knew exactly what the word meant and why it was there.


Maybe you’re familiar with the practice of choosing one word for the new year—a word that describes who you want to be or how you want to live for the next 365 days. I like this idea—it somehow feels better than making a list of resolutions that always seem to get broken before January is half over.

The thing that has always thrown me about the one-word thing, though, is choosing just one. As one of my favorite bloggers wrote recently, “I like ALL the words.”

So I wasn’t planning to choose a word for 2015.

Then, that morning, a word chose me.

The word? Fruit.

I didn’t wake up with an idea for a new eating plan that emphasizes bananas, grapes and strawberries. Rather, the sweet produce on my mind was of the biblical variety.

You know—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (also known as the “fruit of the Spirit,” according to Galatians 5:22-23).

Honestly? It required absolutely no reflection on my part to see that several of these lovely traits had been in somewhat short supply around our house during the busy holiday season (probably longer). And while I can get pretty frustrated about what I perceive as lack of growth in my children, they are not the only ones with room for improvement here.

It has to start with me.

When I sense that one of my daughters has a heart issue she needs to work on, my tendency is to talk. On and on, as if the more I repeat myself, the better chance I have of getting through. But I’m beginning to realize that lecturing like a college professor is not all that effective, especially when my audience is a teenager.

I need to model more and talk less.

It’s not rocket science, I know. But it is hard. When it comes to modeling each element of the fruit of the Spirit, it is very hard. And depending on how long it’s been since I’ve eaten, the amount of sleep I didn’t get the night before or the side effects of the medication I’ve taken that day, it can seem nearly impossible.

I can try, in my own strength, to demonstrate these nine attributes in 2015. But without God’s grace filling my mind (and guarding my mouth), I might as well give up before I start.

So I’m going to pray, every day that I remember, for the fruit to grow in my heart, and in the hearts of the people in my house.

This is not some legalistic chore, mind you. I don’t have a chart or a box to check every day. But the more I do it, the more I want to do it.

As I pray, these nine godly traits are becoming richer and fuller to me. I’m starting to see how they pretty much cover anything that any of us might be dealing with at any given time.

I pray, not just for the people in my house to be loving, but for them to feel loved. Not just for goodness in general, but for all four of us to notice some bit of good in all the people and situations around us, especially those we might find annoying or irritating. Not just for Lilly and Molly to be faithful in their schoolwork, but for me to be faithful with my time. And so on.

So far, I can’t point to vast improvements—in myself or anyone else. I wonder at times if the cliche about not praying for patience unless you want God to give you something to be patient about applies, but quickly replace that notion with the knowledge that this is a right and necessary practice for me today.

A few weeks in, I can say this with certainty: I am definitely more aware of the opportunities I have to model love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I’m more aware of the better choice I could make, before I react or snap or huff. I don’t always make the better choice, but I am thinking about it more often.

I haven’t stopped talking, by the way. I still point out necessary course corrections. I still remind people of how their words and actions affect others, and what they need to do about it.

But, through prayer, I’m trying—sometimes successfully, sometimes not—to leave conviction up to the Holy Spirit. It’s not my job to make sure everyone feels how I want them to feel or responds how I want them to respond.

It takes the pressure off me, actually. And in this new year—with all its expectations, obligations and uncertainties—less pressure is just what I need.

Less pressure—and more fruit.

My one word for 2015.

Lois Flowers

Photo credit:s2photo via photopin cc