Praise–the Closeness of the Father

What if intimate worship with the Father each day altered your interactions with your children and your husband?

What if it adjusted your perspective on moments happening around you? What if it affected how you responded and interacted with others as you moved throughout your day?

A few years ago, God showed me this intimacy I was missing with Him. But it wasn’t until I hit a significant road block. I had known Jesus for over 30 years. I was raised in a godly, missionary home. I’ve memorized chapters of the Bible. I’ve been to the Christian camps and the conferences on biblical character. I’ve gone on the missions trips. I’ve served. I’ve given. You get it. I’ve done all the things.

Then I had babies 15 months apart. My husband started traveling many days out of the year with his work. And, I quit all the things. Well, mostly. Really, I just quit focusing on intimacy with Jesus. And, I quit doing in a lot of ways. I was spent. I was puked on. I was smelly. I was exhausted. And, I was in survival mode. There was no thriving here.

Liam and Lincoln, Moms in Prayer recipients

Before I go on, I want those of you who are in this surviving space to know it’s ok. You are not alone and there IS light at the end of your tunnel. Not just mine. Let go of the stigma that you need to be something specific. You don’t. Father God is crazy about you, right where you are. “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty Savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17

Sometimes, it’s in the darkest places that He is the closest to us. He is calling you by name! “And I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, that you may know that it is I, the Lord, the God of Israel, Who calls you by your name.” Isaiah 45:3 (AMPC)

Back to the road block. Father God in all His gracious kindness began to show me that my priorities had shifted away from pursuing His heart and His thoughts for me. I was too tired, too frustrated, and too overwhelmed to focus on Him and He was drawing me back into relationship, ever so gently. He began whispering to me through messages, through books, through friends suggesting podcasts. Over and over again, He was pouring the truth of His heart deep into the corners of my soul.

“You are created in my image. You are worthy. You are restored. You are healed. You are redeemed. You are chosen. You are holy. You are beloved. Let My words, My scripture define you, not what others speak over you. You have a unique role in the Kingdom of God and I have great works for you to do that I planned before you were born. I desire intimate relationship with you, My child.” I began focusing on what my true identity was as a child of the Creator, as a warrior princess of The King of Kings. Created in His image. Created for His glory. Created for His purpose.

And, I began to praise Him. Deeply. Continually. Despite my exhaustion and despite my circumstances. I praised, I danced, and I worshiped Him with every ounce of strength He gave me.

Praise was indeed the key to closeness with my Father and my weapon against all that tried to steal my attention away from Him!

For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13 (AMP)

I shifted my focus to the secret place, the place of intimacy with the Father, fixing my gaze on His heart and His passion. It was no longer about me and my exhaustion. It was about who He had created me to be. He was securing me. He was fixing me. He was bringing deep rest to my soul. He was taking me into that most intimate relationship with Him. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty [whose power no enemy can withstand].” Psalm 91:1 (AMP)

I believe praise, worship and prayer are all so intricately connected. It is when we choose praise, we choose worship in those quiet, secret places and we choose intercession, that the Father begins to change and shift our hearts. He reveals the deepest secrets of HIS heart and He strengthens us in Him. It is about relationship, not duty. The peace and the confidence that come are unlike any I’ve experienced.

Moms in Prayer group for Liam’s elementary school

As this process began in me and I submitted to the Father in raw honesty, I began to see things shift in my home. My boys began worshipping in beautiful ways. They began pouring out their tender hearts to the Father. They began responding to His heart and His voice to them. Their security began to shift. I believe it is directly related to my posture with the most loving Father.

I now see and believe that the way I do or do not respond to God affects the little hearts that are watching me in my home. I can direct their eyes and their hearts to Jesus, or I can walk in distrust, with an anxious heart, exhaustion and frustration.

The more time I am soaking in the presence of The One, the more peace and grace flows into me. It then becomes an outpouring of whatever my heart is fixed on. Is it isolation, fear, anxiety and stress, or is it soaking in the most intimate presence of Jesus?

At Moms in Prayer, we praise God as the first step of prayer.

Kristine Martin grew up as a missionary kid in Northwestern Ontario, singing and worshiping regularly with her family and in her small indigenous church. One of the deepest passions of Kristine’s heart is to usher people into the intimate place of worship at the feet of Jesus. Kristine is married to Wade and they have two little humans, Liam, age 5, and Lincoln, age 4. She recently launched a Moms in Prayer group at Liam’s elementary school. She also runs her own business as an event and wedding planner in the high country of North Carolina.