Lent, Prayer

Can I Just Get a Little Space?

Have you ever had a situation with a friend or family member in which you hit a point in the conversation where one or both of you just needs to hit “pause” and get some space. You need to go to another room and continue the chat at another time. This could be in good situations, but often these things pop up in conflict or hard seasons.

The hope is not to walk away forever, but just for a moment, to take a break, maybe to calm down, to regroup your thoughts before engaging again.

A couple weeks ago I had one of these situations, except it was with God. I had a conversation with a mentor that afternoon that involved some conversations about and with God that were good, but hard. Then, I went to church in the evening and the conversations with God continued as His Word was spoken and we responded in prayer as a group. Individually, the dialogue continued as a I wrestled with what God was up to in a few areas of my life.

As I walked to my car to drive the 40 minutes home, I have to admit, I was at a point like I described above where I just needed to “go to another room” and revisit the conversation with God at another time. We’d been talking for hours at this point and I felt my soul just needed a break. Yet, as soon as that thought crossed my mind, some other words came to mind as well… words from Psalm 139… a psalm filled with words that I’ve been working all year to memorize, to hide in my heart. In this moment though, I stubbornly wished they would have stayed hidden…

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in the depths, you are there!

Psalm 139:7-8

Not quite what I wanted to hear in that moment.

You can’t really “go to another room” with the God of the Universe. While I do think God is gracious to give us space when we need it, the other truth is He’s always there whether we like it or not. He can’t not be there. He’s God.

Just like in the situations I described in the first paragraph, even with God I think there are times when some space is good and healthy. Time away can provide opportunity to come back to a conversation refreshed, it calms emotions, and helps us think and communicate more clearly. But in this situation with God, and in some conversations with humans, the desire for space may also be us running away at the first sign of discomfort.

I fully believe God would have been okay with me finding some completely unrelated podcast, distracting myself, and ignoring Him for a while. And later on that night I did give myself some space, but in that moment as I started my drive, I also sensed an invitation before me.

I didn’t like what I was hearing or what my heart was feeling. I didn’t like seeing my sin and struggle. I didn’t like hearing myself name the ways I was feeling disappointed or hurt by God. Even the good parts I just didn’t want to talk about anymore.

Again, I think God would have graciously let me return to the conversation later, but His Spirit also brought those verses to mind as a way of inviting me to stay in that messy hard place. It was a reminder that I didn’t have to get myself together or have my thoughts all figured out before I journeyed further in the conversation with Him.

He was offering to sit with me as I drove home and listen to it all.

He gave a different kind of space. Instead of distance, He provided a safe space to be real and honest and vulnerable. He brought other psalms to mind where the authors were way more confused and scared and upset than I was in that night. He showed me, that even in moments when I wanted to walk away, even if just for a moment, He never would.

In a world where we are quick to dismiss others when the slightest hint of conflict appears…

In a culture where any slight misstep gets you cancelled…

In environments where tension is avoided at all costs and we’d rather write off relationships instead of staying in the hard conversations and sticking in it through to the other side…

In those places, we realize the stark contrast of a God who stays and says, “I will never leave you. I’m not afraid of conflict. I’m not afraid of your anger. I’m not worried by tension. I’m with you. Always. I will see you through to the other side.”

He’ll never push Himself on us, yet, He also won’t give up easily. He’ll show up, again and again.

Whether the fact that God is ever-present feels like a gift or an annoyance today, may it lead your heart into a place of peace. In that space, may you know His hand is leading you, holding you. Always. Forever.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
(Psalm 139:7-10)

College Ministry, Lent, Prayer

“Surround Me” – Lent Week 2 Prayer and Scripture Reflection Guide

Series Note: This year I got to write some prayer guides/reflections to be used in Lenten prayer stations in the chapel for the students, faculty, and staff at the university where I work. They are based on sections of Psalm 139 connected with scenes from Jesus’ passion week journey to the cross. I hope to share some of them here.

READ: Psalm 139:5-6


After supper, Jesus shared some thoughts with his disciples. We hear these final words with his friends throughout John 14-16. See the pictures below to read through some of the things He said. Imagine what it was like for the disciples to be there hearing these words on that night before Jesus’ death.

What thoughts come to mind as you read those things that Jesus said?

After spending some time with those thoughts, read John 17, a final prayer Jesus has with and for his disciples.

In the Psalm, we hear the declaration that God “hems” us in. It gives this image of surrounding us, going before and behind us, protecting us. It seems Jesus is doing that for his disciples as well in His final words of John 17 too.

He’s telling them what to expect.
He’s preparing them.
He’s reminding them of all the things they’ve learned over the last few years together.
Near the end, Jesus turns His attention to His heavenly Father and pleads for Him to protect, unite, and provide for His disciples.

In the final verses of the prayer though, Jesus’ attention turns to “those who will believe in me through their word…” (vs 20)

That’s us!
That’s you!

You are one who now believes in Jesus because of the work of those first disciples!

In those moments, Jesus was already praying for YOU!

To borrow some words from Psalm 139:6, the knowledge of that truly is “too wonderful” for me to comprehend!

Jesus, thank you for going before me, going all the way to the cross.
Today, please go before me in these areas:
(Write down areas where you need God’s protection, provision, or guidance.)
Go before me to lead the way.
Go behind me to protect me.
Sit with me in moments where I can’t even comprehend you.
Surround me.


Exodus 13:21
Hebrews 12:1-3
John 14-16

College Ministry, Lent, Prayer

“Know Me” – Lent Week 1 Prayer and Scripture Reflection Guide

Series Note: This year I got to write some prayer guides/reflections to be used in Lenten prayer stations in the chapel for the students, faculty, and staff at the university where I work. They are based on sections of Psalm 139 connected with scenes from Jesus’ passion week journey to the cross. I hope to share some of them here.

READ: Psalm 139:1-4, John 13


The first few verses of Psalm 139 recount many details of what God knows.
John 13 reminds of many of the things Jesus knew as well.

Jesus knew that his hour had come.
Jesus knew that the Father had given him power.
Jesus knew what was about to happen in the next few days… his suffering… his death.
Jesus knew that the disciples would all flee.
Jesus knew that Peter would deny him three times.
Jesus knew that Judas would betray him.
Jesus knew.

And still…

Jesus knew all of those things
and still, he served them, washing their feet.

Jesus knew how his disciples would get scared & run
and still he took time to teach them.

Jesus knew how his closest friends would hurt him,
and still he had dinner with them.

God know us, too.

He knows what we’re feeling when we sit in our dorm room or office.
He knows when we’re being honest… or not.
He knows what stresses us out when no one else does.
He knows our deepest needs and our greatest joys.
He knows.

It seems we all long to be seen, to be known.
It’s one of our deepest human desires.
How comforting to hear in Psalm 139 that the God of the universe knows everything about us!
He knows what our future holds even if we don’t.
He knows what we think and feel.

Yet, sometimes to be completely known feels overwhelming or even scary.
Maybe there are things you wish God didn’t know.
Maybe you, like the disciples have run away, denied, or betrayed those you love or even Him.
Maybe being known by God brings shame instead of comfort.

Whatever the case may be today, we find hope in the fact that Jesus knew what His disciples would do and still spent time with them anyway.
The same is true for you.

God knows. Everything.
And still… He loves you.
Enough to die for you.

Even though God already knows everything, He still loves to engage in conversation with us. Spend some time in prayer about the scriptures and reflection provided. Here is one potential prayer prompt:

Jesus, you know (fill in the blank) and still, you love me. Amen.


1 Corinthians 13:12
John 10:14, 27
Exodus 33:12-17
1 Corinthians 8:3

Lent, Prayer

Known – Lent 2023

As part of my work at the university where I serve, I get the joy this year of helping plan some aspects of our campus-wide journey through Lent alongside our campus pastor and the students of our campus ministry team.

This year Psalm 139 will be the main reflection for all our students, faculty, and staff for the 40 days (plus Sundays) leading up to Easter, focusing specifically on the word “KNOWN”.

What does it mean to be fully known by God?
How can we know his story on an even deeper level?
How can we make Him known through our lives?

When my teammate informed me of this theme near the beginning of the semester it caught my attention because it was a passage I was already planning to explore a lot and try to memorize in 2023.

I’ve had a lot of time the last few weeks to explore this powerful prayer of David on my own and in the process of creating some weekly prayer stations that will be up in our chapel space. Every time I read it, the words get richer and richer. I hope this is a space where I can share some of what I’m learning on my own as well as some of the prayer prompts and reflections I’ve written for my students and teammates.

Each week with the prayer stations we have include a short two word prayer to frame the week. This week’s prayer is “know me” based on the first 4 verses of Psalm 139:

“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.”

As I’ve prayed this prayer and explored these verses this week, something struck me:

“Know me” is not only the cry of our hearts to God, but also of His to us.

Here’s a little more about that in a prayer I wrote earlier this week:

“Know me.”
It’s a prayer, but kind of an odd one.

For sure, I desire to be known by You, God, deeply and fully. But it’s odd because it’d be impossible for You not to know me.

As this psalmist recounts You already know me, down to the number of hairs on my head.

You know how I’ve failed You this last week and you know when I’ve faithfully followed.
You know my tears.
You know my joy.
You know things hidden so deep in my heart that I don’t even know them.
You know my fears.
You know my hopes and longings.
You know when my heart explodes with gratitude and celebration.
You know the ways I serve that no one else sees.
You know the ways I sin that no one else sees too.
You know.

And still… you love me.

Perhaps a better prayer this week would be to help me know YOU.

I want to search Your heart and know everything about You!
I want to watch where You sit and rise and know Your thoughts.
I want to travel along where You go and rest when You rest.
I want to know Your word, Your voice, completely, Lord.

Know me this week, Jesus.
Yes I pray that.
But even more, let me know You.
What a wonderful miracle that You allow us to know You.
May we get to the end of this season of Lent able to say we know You more than we do today.

Bekah's Heart, Mental Health, Poetry/Songs, Prayer

Whatever Marks This Season (A Prayer for a Day Away)

At the start of 2021 I marked off 4 days in my calendar, approximately 3 months apart as days to step away, regroup, and reevaluate all aspects of my life. A day to simply rest or play or “go deep” or whatever my soul needs on that day.

The first one was to kick off the year, actually on New Year’s Day, dreaming and listening to what the year ahead may hold. The first days of April took me to a nearby lake where, as I sat down on a picnic table by the water, the words below found their way to paper.

My quarterly retreats will likely look very different but I’m pretty sure this prayer will be a consistent part in any day I desire to set apart. Maybe it’s useful for you as well…

A Prayer for Days Away

Jesus, I commit this day to You.
To the shaping of my life, my soul, my body, my plans.

A day to look back and remember
to recall Your faithfulness
to notice Your presence in each step
to bear witness to friends and celebrations.

A day to be present and rest
to be still and silent
to be loud and move my body
to simply be.

A day to look forward and dream
to make plans with Your Spirit’s help
to pray over what the next few months may hold
to trust for every step ahead.

In these moments may I feel the warm summer sun on my face,
crunchy fall leaves under my feet,
or the comfort of a blanket wrapped around me on a cold snowy day.
Whatever marks this season.

May the laughter be loud or the tears fall hard.
Whatever marks this season.

May I fast and pray
or delight in rich foods
or enjoy a simple picnic.
Whatever marks this season.

May this be a day of plans to follow and lots of words written or consumed
or a day to wander aimlessly where You would lead.
Whatever marks this season.

I release any expectations in this moment except this one:
to meet You here.

Like Mary at her Rabbi’s feet
I choose the one thing needful. (Luke 10:38-42)
Like Jacob wrestling until dawn
I will not let go unless You bless me. (Genesis 32:22:32)
Like Hannah who begged year after year
I pray with perseverance expecting days of joy. (1 Samuel 1-2)
Like Peter, James, and John, lead me up the mountain
to find “only Jesus”. (Mark 9:2-8)
Like David I pray,
“My heart has heard you say,
‘Come and talk with me.’
And my heart responds,
‘Lord, I am coming.’” (Psalm 27:8)

I am coming.
I am here…

This season in pictures…

Bekah's Heart, Poetry/Songs, Prayer

New Morning. New Mercies. – A Morning Prayer

New morning.
New mercies.

The fears and failures of yesterday have past.
The doubts and dreadful moments
The sin and its stain
Washed clean.

Father, at the beginning of this new day,
we dare to hope:
hope for life abundant
hope for joy
hope for connection and community
hope for a chance to play a critical role in the story You’re writing in this world
hope for hope itself.

We cling to this hope as we remember:
Your faithfulness is great.
Your mercies begin afresh each new day and each new day You do not fail.
Your steadfast love never ends:
Love for me.
Love for those around me.
Loved as a child.
Nothing that happens today–
nothing done to us
or nothing we do–
can separate us from that love,
Your love.

When Satan tries to steal, kill, and destroy our lives this day–
if tears flow like rivers or
our souls say “everything I had hoped for is lost”
if the missteps and mistakes lead us astray
if the trials and temptations feel too much—
May we not be consumed by anything but
Your faithful grace.

For no one is abandoned by You, Lord, forever.
You show compassion
Because of the greatness of Your unfailing love.

Let us live loved today.

You are good to those who depend on you.
May we depend not on ourselves.
When we’re tempted to take things into our own hands
teach us to rest in Your loving hands,
hands that hold the world.
From that place of dependence and love, establish the work of our hands this day.
Let us ever be aware
of where You are at work around us
and joyfully say “Yes!”
to each invitation to join in.

In the morning, O Lord, You hear our voice;
in the morning we lay our requests before You
and wait in expectation.
It is good to declare:
Your steadfast love in the morning
and Your faithfulness at night.
When this day comes to an end,
may Your love still be echoing in our souls
and witness of your faithfulness flowing from our mouths.
Great is your faithfulness!

(Based off of Lamentations 3:18, 21-24, 31-32, Zephaniah 3:5, Romans 8:38-39, John 10:10, Psalm 92:1-2, and Psalm 5:3)

Lent, Prayer

Giving Up Complaining


Forgive me when my words are filled with complaints… to You, to others, to no one in particular. Forgive me when I get focused on the things that aren’t going the way I would like or imagine and get my heart focused instead on the many ways in which you have blessed me.  Forgive me Lord when my words which express desire for more or different get in the way of showing the world your abundant grace and joy.  Forgive me for the ways these complaining words have damaged relationships, hurt people, or given an inaccurate picture of You.

I can’t help but be reminded of the Israelites who grumbled their way through the wilderness, longing to go back to Egypt… forgetting the slavery they endured there. (Exodus 16, Numbers 11) Your provided freedom and they grumbled that it took so long.  You provided food and they grumbled that they wanted something different.  You lead them and gave them guidelines to help them live the best life possible and they grumbled.  Lord, I confess I do the same. Forgive me of my grumbling.

Replace my complaining spirit with a spirit of praise… a heart that longs to bless Your name and the many ways You provide for me, lead me, care about me, and use me.  May I not be conformed to the complaining pattern of this world but may my mind be transformed and renewed (Romans 12:1-2). Like Paul, may I learn contentment and praise in every situation, coming to you with any worry, concern, or fear, presenting requests with thanksgiving to Your glory by your grace (Philippians 4).

In the Mercy and Name of Jesus,

Amen… let it be so!


Lent, Prayer

Giving Up Half-Hearted Prayers

A couple weeks ago I was in the store and decided to buy a baptism card.  That might seem totally normal, except I don’t know anyone being baptized soon.  In short, buying that card was a way to trust that God was going to answer one of my prayers for 2016: that I would get to see the salvation of souls… that I God would make me a disciple that makes disciples. Buying that card was a way for me to tell my heart to trust God that He will answer my prayers for new people to know the love of Jesus this year.

So often we I pray for something to happen, but then don’t actually expect God to come through. Sadly, at times, I pray for things and then find myself shocked when God actually answers.

Today, I give up half-hearted, unexpectant prayers.  When I pray, I’m not checking something off my list… I’m standing in the very presence of the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe!  I’m bringing my praise and my petitions before the One being in all Creation who really can make things happen and LOVES to do it.  I want to learn to pray with persistence and passion, but most of all, with expectation. While God may not come through in the WAYS or the TIMES I might desire or expect, He WILL come through; I can count on that! It’s in His very nature to be faithful to His children even when we’re not.

“…if we are faithless, He remains faithful—
for He cannot deny Himself.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:13

My God will show up and I don’t want to be left surprised. I want to be able to jump up and down, celebrate, saying,
“I knew You’d come through. I knew You’d show up. I knew I could count on You!”

… because we can!


Lent, Prayer

Giving Up … Pride

Jesus, you and I both know how I struggle with pride.  Today, with your help, I give it up! It seems only appropriate way to start this reflective, repentant season of giving up the things that keep me distant from you, to begin with this one.  (And perhaps wearing ashes all day might help in the process.)

How easy it is to shy away from the truth of how often I mess up. We want to believe we are good enough and that the things we do “aren’t really that bad”. Our pride is good at times at hiding our mistakes and failures from others and sometimes even from ourselves. It’s easy to look around our world and see people doing awful things and rather than being grieved at the injustice we are all capable of as human beings, we instead “thank” You that we’re “not like them”. Such an ugly thing–that pride!  John seemed to understand this as he wrote: 

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)

Deceive … that’s a great word for what pride does … And I’m not sure what could be scarier than deceiving myself… unaware of how far I’ve fallen.  Jesus, I’m thankful the passage doesn’t stop there.  

BUT if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  (1 John 1:9)

I don’t want to be blinded by my pride any more, Jesus. I’m trusting in Your justice and faithfulness as I confess my need to give up pride. Only when we own up to our faults do we experience the freedom of Your forgiveness. As I walk around today with black ashes in the shape of a cross on my forehead, may it be a statement not only of my guilty pride and my confession, but also a declaration of praise to You, the One greater than all my sins. 

Jesus, today, I give up pride. It seems like such a handy tool to pull out whenever I want to think I’m better than someone else or am trying to ignore my sin. But in reality it only keeps me from You. Help me give it up today remembering that from dust I came and to dust I will return, yet always in Your loving arms. 

In Jesus’ Name, 


Bekah's Heart, Prayer, Youth Ministry

Prompted to Pray… A little closer to home

A few days ago I shared of awakening from a nightmare feeling prompted to pray for the persecuted Christians around the world.  As 4:30 this morning rolled around I found myself up once again, with people on my mind.  And, once again, I took the recent advice I overheard from a friend to her son, that if you wake up in the middle of the night with someone on your mind, God probably wants you to pray for them.  But this time, my prayers hit a little closer to home.  This time one after another God began to bring students and families to mind, students and families in someway connected to the mission and ministry God has asked ME to join Him in…

  • A family where the dad has walked out to go live with the girlfriend
  • An only child, who lost her mom to cancer a few years ago and her dad couldn’t take the pain anymore and took his own life a few weeks ago leaving her orphaned and alone
  • A girl unwanted by her mother, emotionally abused by her father, waiting through a long court process as those same people who don’t even pay attention to her for some crazy reason fight to take her from the one person who truly loves her
  • Another young woman with a similar story, only worse
  • Two siblings who just passed the one year mark of an accident that took the life of their father and left one of them fighting for his life as well
  • 10-15 kids (maybe more, I’ve lost count) who have experienced the blessing of adoption, but find themselves at times feeling unwanted, alone, and wondering where they belong, many who know little, if anything, of their biological identity and family history 
  • Students who struggle with trying to figure out what God really thinks about them as they deal with same sex attractions in a Christian culture that often unknowingly communicates that they’re the exception to the “God loves everyone” rule
  • Students battling debilitating depression, trauma, self-esteem problems, and overwhelming anxiety
  • Students crushed by the expectations from parents, teachers, coaches, siblings, or themselves, wondering if they’ll ever be able to live up to impossible standards
  • Students who get everything they want and whose lives seem perfect, yet who are crumbling inside, searching for meaning and purpose and identity
  • Young people who are bullied and belittled as they walk through school each day
  • Kids grieving the loss of friends who couldn’t take that kind of pain and chose to take their life
  • Students who struggle with thoughts of doing the same, seeing no other alternative in the midst of their pain
  • Students whose parents are absent, distant at best, whether by choice or mental illness or work-a-holism or an affair or death
  • Families torn apart by drug addiction and students on a path to do the same thing to their family
  • Families struggling to have enough money to keep the heat on and food on the table
  • Students with family members facing chronic illness or disease
  • Families grieving the death of family members, the death of dreams, the death of innocence

And the list continued on…and on…and on… 

It was in those early morning moments that I found my compassionate, tender, broken-hearted God remind me: 

Bekah, you are far from perfect… and I don’t really need you because, well, because I am GOD, and I am far more than capable of doing my job on my own. 

BUT I want you.  

And these students and families, THEY are why I’ve called you, THESE are the reasons I want you to help Me … They are the ones who need to know that 

I am real.

I am good.

I am faithful.

I bring hope and new life.

And above all, I love them.  

I know it can be overwhelming. I see the temptation to try to do it on you own.  I catch you wondering what you could possibly do to relieve their pain.  I understand your fear of failure.  I watch you try to plan and strategize, to worry and wonder what others may think.  But that’s not your job. All I need, no, all I invite you to do, is to declare the truth about the One who brought YOU out of darkness into light and has the power to do the same for them… To help them experience hope found only in my death and resurrection… To remind them that the pain they’re in is not the end of the story… To SHOW them (not just tell them) that they are loved and they are enough and they can be free … Not because of anything they could do, or you could do, but because of My grace and what I’ve already done.

So do not be afraid, My daughter, and do not give up.  Your work is not in vain. Be strong, in Me.  Work hard, in Me. Rest well, in Me.  My grace IS sufficient, and MY power is perfected in YOUR weaknesses.  Abide in Me, and I will abide in you.   THEN, and ONLY then, will you bear much fruit. Remain in My love. I’ve got this! 


Your Father, The Almighty Father