The end of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 has proven to be slightly more difficult than I anticipated. My peace has been challenged almost daily, my faith is constantly being tested, and my attitude is proving to be a hard thing to reign in some times.

The simple fact of the matter is that my health issues, plus school, plus motherhood, plus financial stress, and the natural challenges of marriage have piled up in this season, as they do almost every winter. My defenses are low. There is hardly any sunshine, we are cooped up inside for various reasons, it is cold and flu season, and my husband’s slow season at work has just started. But I didn’t start this post with the intent to simply rant about my stressful problems I promise, that’s not where I’m going with this.

Because in the midst of this season of stress, something beautiful has happened. I have found the power of fellow shipping in prayer, and the wonder of intentionally worshiping and praising God whenever my heart starts to hurt or the enemy decides to launch an attack at my faith. The prayer thing didn’t happen overnight; it is the result of countless attempts to find a way to build meaningful relationships centered around God, and the struggle of finding time and energy and motivation.

Prayer is hard. It may come naturally to some, which is purely amazing. But to others, like me, prayer is often the last thing to come up in a conversation and it certainly isn’t one of the easiest ways for me to express myself. I have always prayed, don’t get me wrong, just not to the extent that I have been praying lately. In this season it seems that I have finally been able to break down my own walls of insecurity and unbelief in order to fully experience this deep connection with God. I pray with my husband, with my best friend, with a fellow married friend who I’ve just recently started building a relationship with, and in my own home any chance I get. I’ve finally realized that my prayers don’t have to be perfect, they don’t have to be polished final drafts that I hand in to God for his inspection and critique. They simply have to be honest.

There’s no pressure because I’ve realized that God isn’t grading me on the quality of my prayers or the structure of my sentences or my grammar or how many Bible verses I can incorporate into them. In fact, he’s not grading me at all. He simply desires closeness and openness. Which happens naturally any time a believer willingly lets down their guard and lets God inspire words of adoration, praise, hurt, and even longing to spring forth from their heart and mouth. Yes, it does take work, it may seem awkward at first, and clumsy. But that’s natural too. What I’ve found in this season of challenges especially, is that the more you work on prayer, the more it works in you.

Prayer is great folks, but something else is great too: Worship! Specifically singing songs of praise and adoration to God. Declarations of faith and belief; verses and lyrics that call on God’s promises and grasp tightly to them as personal promises for you specifically. Worship is my thing. Its what makes my heart sing, quite literally if you’ll pardon my cliche. I love to lift up my voice, challenge my range, aim for higher and higher notes, and shout out my love Jesus. Singing comes naturally to me. Its like breathing. I do it even when I’m not thinking, I have songs running through my mind practically every moment of every day.

Worship is powerful guys. Not only does it inspire the one worshiping, but it scares the crap out of Satan. Whenever he hears a believer worshiping God, declaring faith and love for Him, and calling on His promises, Satan starts to tremble in fear. Because how can he grab a hold of a believer who is so joyously reveling in all that God has to offer? How can his whispered lies penetrate a heart that is resonating with notes and chords of love and awe for Jesus? Its simply not possible and Satan knows that. Just as sure as he knows that prayer will knock the wind out of his sails he also knows that the worshiping believer is a believer he can’t break.

After my miscarriage a very close friend sent me a link to the following YouTube video:

Its Bethel Music’s “It is Well” video shared from one of their concerts. Its amazing. Honestly, I have probably watched this video a hundred times and I have listened to the song every day since I found out about the loss of our baby. It makes me cry almost every time. But it has brought so much healing to my heart. Especially when I began to join in and sing it. There’s something powerful in singing these words:

“So let go, my soul, and trust in Him,

The waves and wind still know His name,

It is well, with my soul…because of who You are Lord.”

Its like when I am singing these words, even if tears are streaming down my face and it feels like my heart may rip right out of my ribs, nothing can touch my faith. Nothing can break me. Nothing can take away my peace.

God knows I need that right now. These words, declarations of steadfast faith and honest dependence on God, combined with the powerful act of joining hands with another person to cry out in prayer is such an amazing wondrous thing. It has truly saved my life and saved my relationship with God more times than I can count.

It is true, what the lyrics say, “It is well with me” I have grabbed onto this declaration and every time anxiety, depression, loneliness, or insecurity threaten my peace I sing them to myself.

Because there’s no better way to connect with God than prayer and worship. Corporately or alone in your own home. It simply can’t be touched by anything else.

So even though we are facing a tough season right now, and my attitude is threatening to scald anyone in a 50ft radius with sarcasm and just plain orneriness, I will not stop praying and praising Jesus. Prayer and Praise are simply too powerful to be defeated by my own struggles, by any challenges we are facing right now, or by any attack from Satan. So I will keep on singing and praying, because truly friends, it IS well with me!

Thank God we can approach our Heavenly Father in such a way!