Joyful Life

Pray To Live A Joyful Life

I grew up in a Christian house and went to church with numerous relatives because I am related to 5 founding members.

John 3:16 was drilled into my head from a very, very young age.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16
King James Version

And so was prayer.

When I Learned What Prayer Could Do

I did not understand what prayer could do until I was six years old. My parents woke me up early, early one morning (about 2 a.m.) and told me my paternal grandmother had a stroke and they were going to the hospital. My maternal grandfather was sleeping downstairs if my sister and I needed anything. They asked me to pray for grandma.

I did.

God, please don’t let my grandma die, please don’t let my grandma die, please don’t let my grandma die. God please don’t let my grandma die, please don’t let my grandma die, please don’t let my grandma die.

Me, when I was 6

I prayed that prayer over and over and over again until God sent the sandman to put me to sleep. The next morning I raced down the stairs and was informed that grandma had not died but she had a long recovery ahead.

Wow! God answered my prayer! The simple prayer of an innocent six-year-old.

That is when I realized what prayer could do.

However, once I moved away from home, I got lazy. Lazy about going to church and lazy in my prayer life.

Oh, I would occasionally say prayers throughout my life, but it was after Joe’s passing that my prayer life and relationship with God got stronger. It did not get stronger all at once but slowly over the years while dealing with grief, unemployment, and building a new life.

Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
    Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
    And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

Psalm 27: 7-8

Prayer is not for God. Prayer is for you. It is your way to communicate with our heavenly Father, to develop and cement a relationship with Him. He wants to talk with every one of us.

You don’t know what to pray?

Well, if you followed the previous step and read your Bible after exercising, then you have the best prayer book in your hands.

Pray God’s word back to Him.

If you are grieving try the second part of Psalm 30:5

For his anger lasts only a moment,
    but his favor lasts a lifetime!
Weeping may last through the night,
    but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5
New Living Testament

For example: Lord you say weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Would you please let that morning arrive soon? Preferably tomorrow morning? In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.

That’s it. Just a simple little prayer. Nothing fancy, nothing complicated.

Just remember God will answer that prayer – in His time, not yours. I know it is tough to wait for His time but His time will arrive.

So for the next 40+ days, including Sundays, pray about one thing in your life or a loved one’s life. Write it down on a piece of notebook paper or in a journal, draw a circle around it and pray about it daily.

Not sure yet what thing or area in my life I will be drawing a circle around in my notebook. I do know it will either be this blog or my job that will be the recipient of intense pray this Lent.

Pray as if God was your best friend because He is. He will never get tired of hearing your prayer request.

I encourage you to join me in making prayer an area of intense focus this Lenten season to jump start living a joyful life.

Resources: Draw The Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson – The perfect prayer guide for Lent or any 40 day period. Inspiring stories about answers to prayer. Also includes scripture and prayer prompts for your journey.

The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears – Mark Batterson

The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions by Arthur G. Bennett

Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to inspire widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s currently using those skills as a virtual logistics contact center representative for a Fortune 100 company. She’s also managed call center teams, co-facilitated a grief support group, and helped small businesses with various writing assignments. Michele is a bookworm, and a lover of history, music, chocolate, red roses, and golden retrievers. She is also the amateur photographer behind the blog


Some Favorite Quotes – Draw The Circles

Here are some of my favorite quotes from Draw the Circle, the 40 Day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson. Hopefully these quotes will inspire you to get the book and do your own challenge.

I love this book as it is so positive, uplifting and filled with hope. While it reinforces that God is for us, Mark also states that God is not a machine where you input a prayer request and out comes your answer.

So if you are looking to increase your joy, hope, peace and overall reassurance that God has your back – then get this book.

Our biggest problem is our small view of God. 

pg 56

And this is precisely what happens when we pray. We see things no one else sees. 

pg 67 

Christianity was always intended to be a verb-more specifically, an action verb. 

pg 157

God can accomplish more in one day than you can accomplish in a lifetime. 

pg 83


Faith, Uncategorized

40 Days of Drawing Circles – A Lenten Challenge

I am a believer in taking up something for Lent, instead of giving something up. Giving up chocolate, candy, coffee or anything else is only going to make you tired and cranky. The rest of the world will be miserable because you are miserable.

That is not how you

‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Mark 12:31


Instead attend a Bible Study, go volunteer at a non-profit close to your heart, or start an fitness program. (The next round of Faithful Finish Lines starts 2/28.)

Another Option

Now if none of those appeal to you, I triple dog dare you to try Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle; The 40 Day Prayer Challenge.  The book has 40 daily devotions that encourage you to pray big, bold, audacious prayers.

Some of Mark’s lessons are about:

  • our prayers not being bold enough
  • not talking to the mountains about God
  • not praying long enough (think what would have happened at Jericho if the Israelites had stopped circling the city on day 5 or day 6.)

The Challenge

I challenge everyone of my readers to purchase a copy of Mark’s book (non-affiliate link) and participate in the challenge with me starting on February 10th (Ash Wednesday) and ending on Easter. (Sunday’s in Lent do not count – but once you start this challenge you will not want to stop.)


Besides the book you will need a pen, hiliter, and journal or notepad. You will want to write your prayers and circle them. It will be helpful if you have your Bible so you can look up specific verses and read the entire passage, if you so desire.

You will also need to set aside some time everyday to read the devotion and then pray about your requests. Do not be afraid to write down the verses that speak to you, claim them as promises, and circle them. Yes, writing in your Bible is also perfectly acceptable.

God’s Obligation To This Challenge

Oh and by the way – God is under no obligation to answer your prayer requests. However after you are done with this challenge, and quite possibly before, you will see God working in your life – somehow, someway if you just open your eyes.

My Why? 

Why did I pick this to do during lent? It’s simple. I am currently on Day 23 of the challenge and God is working on my bigger, bolder prayers.

You should have heard the lecture I gave my mountains (career, expenses) about God and how He will level them with just a blink of His eye.

I will update you on what is happening in my life during the challenge. This might not be until after 2/19 as I am involved in a project the first part of February that will be time consuming and keep me on my toes. Time to write might be very limited for a little while.

Are You Ready To Draw Circles? 

This challenge is open to all my readers no matter what religion. All you need is a willingness to boldly go where you have not gone before.

Please email me at Michele dot Kearns at JoyReturns dot com as I want to hear how God is working in your life this lenten season.

Today is 1/25 and Lent starts on 2/10 so you have a little over 2 weeks to get the book and your supplies.

Go. Set. Ready.