Praying God's Heart
Interview by V. Michelle Bernard
Through her book, One Thing I Ask, Debbie Luther Howell wants to lead Christians back to knowing God through His Word. “I want them to have a passion for the Bible because when they open its pages they sense His very presence,” says the member of the Chesapeake Conference’s New Hope church in Fulton, Md. Read our interview with Howell below:
Visitor magazine: How has praying through the Bible impacted you personally?
Howell: God began teaching me how to pray His Word back to Him several years ago as I cried out on behalf of our daughter. I was in a place of paralyzing fear for her and God showed me how to battle that fear by growing my faith in what He promises in the Bible. As I began to faithfully speak His Word out in prayer, putting our daughter’s name into the Scriptures, I saw Him reach out to her again and again in ways that were incredible.
Visitor: What inspired you to write the book?
Howell: The more I practiced praying God’s Word the more intimate my relationship with Him became. I feel like I can touch God’s heart in prayer because I’m praying His thoughts, His will. I minister a lot to people and I’ve seen the frustration that Christians can have with their prayer lives. My journey has brought my prayers to life and I want to help others to experience this.
Visitor: What do you hope the book accomplishes for the readers?
Howell: I want to lead Christians back to knowing God through His Word. I want them to have a passion for the Bible because when they open its pages they sense His very presence.
Visitor: What would you say to Christians who've tried regularly reading the Bible, but really don't seem to notice a difference in their lives?
Howell: One of the great opportunities I’ve had since writing my book is to speak to groups of people. I love speaking at break-out sessions for conferences because it gives me a chance to get creative. God has gifted us in different ways and I think it's awesome when we use our creativity in our time with God. Reading the Bible is important, but that’s not the only way to experience it. At the end of each chapter in my book I list creative ways to spend time in the Word of God.
The other thing that’s made a real difference for me is taking time to invite the Holy Spirit to speak God’s Word into my heart. He is the voice behind the Scriptures and without that voice we don’t experience the power in the Word.
Visitor: Since spending more time with God, what has surprised you most about God's answers to prayer or your relationship with Him?
Howell: The biggest surprise has been how much it has changed how I pray. A lot of my prayer time used to be about getting God to act on my behalf, to fix my problems, to make life easier. It would still be great if He did all of that, but the more I pray Scripture the more I experience His presence. It’s His presence that fuels my desire to pray.
Once I’m in that intimate space with Him, worshipping Him, being filled with His love, I know that He will step into my life in the ways that will best glorify Him so I don’t have to worry about how He will answer my prayers. I just want to know Him more.
Read these stories from the June 2018 Visitor:
- Feature: Growth Spurt
- Editorial: Master, Don't You Care?
- Book Release: Praying God's Heart
- Book Release: Walk the Pathway of Prayer