Explore This New Way to Deepen Your Walk With Christ

Mentor Mama:

Today we are going to be talking about prayers of rest. In my last interview with Asheritah Ciuciu, which I will have linked here, we talked about overcoming the struggles of prayer. Well, today we’re going to delve a little bit deeper and look more specifically at a method of praying using the acronym R.E.S.T.

(Sponsor – Alabaster Co.):

Mentor Mama:

Our guest today, Asheritah Ciuciu, author of a brand new book called, “Prayers of REST,” will be sharing with us the importance of not letting distractions pull us away from God. When the duties of life begin to weigh on your mind, that’s exactly the time that you need to REST in the Lord. Please welcome Asheritah.

Asheritah Ciuciu:

Thanks so much for having me again.

Mentor Mama:

What a joy to have you with us and to expand and go a little bit deeper. I’m so excited today to talk to you about the REST prayer format, R.E.S.T. and I’d love for you just to start by telling us how does it differ from the ACTS prayer model, which A.C.T.S. for those of you who may or may not be familiar with that, a lot of people actually are, so help us understand how the REST prayer format differs.

Asheritah Ciuciu:

Sure, as I shared in our previous conversation, I’d grown up in a Christian family and I grew up learning to pray the ACTS way, which is adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. That was kind of the framework for my prayers for years and years and years, and I’ll still sometimes pray that way. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, so please hear me, I’m not saying discard that in order to pray the REST way. What I did find in my life though, is that I had a sense of prayer feeling like something I was doing for God, like something on my checklist. I would read the Bible; check, I would pray; check, I can move on with my day. There was also a sense of me and prayer, just talking, talking, talking, talking, and then, okay, God good chat, moving on with my day, let’s continue. I was just compelled by reading Scripture and reading stories of other Godly women and men throughout history who talk about a sense of God’s presence with them, who talk about really feeling the Holy Spirit, prompting them in conversations to do something or say something or leading them in a certain direction, and I was wondering God, why don’t I feel that like? I believe your spirit is in me, but why do I feel like I don’t hear your voice? I also was again, reading through Scripture and just noticed how many times God invites his people to be still, to be silent, to just sit with God. And again, I think one of the challenges of our generation is not just distraction and noise, but busyness, there’s always something to do and this is where prayer can feel like something we’re just adding to the list, and so with all of this coming together, and again, going back to that prayer that I keep praying, Lord teach me to pray. Would you teach me how to be in conversation with you? He gradually, kind of, wooed me toward this sense of incorporating stillness and silence and a time of just being with him, not performing for him, not interceding for others, not searching my heart for what I wanted to say to God, there’s room for all of that in prayer, but a time of just, I think Zephaniah says that the Lord God is among you like a warrior who rejoices over you with singing and gladness, and he’s just thrilled that you are his child and he wants to be with you. He wants you to be aware of his presence in your life. And so that’s where this acronym REST really came out of, and Matthew 11:28 through 30, that we also talked about in our last episode, Jesus’ invitation – come to me, all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest – and it caused me to ponder what might that look like in prayer? Because there were times when I had prayed about things when I had adored God for who he was, and I confessed my sins, and I thanked him for ways that he’d provided, and then I spent time in supplication and asking him for things, and yet, I didn’t feel any more rested than when I’d started praying, and so that led me to say, maybe there’s something else that can be incorporated in my rhythm of prayer that would introduce this stillness and that’s where REST is what helps guide me into that space of not just talking to God, not just praying to check it off my list, but becoming aware of this is a conversation with a Creator of the Universe and he invites me to bring everything and leave it there and rest with him. So do you want to go through the acronym?

Mentor Mama:

Yes.

Asheritah Ciuciu:

Alright, so REST, R.E.S.T. The “R” stands for reciting God’s goodness. This is such a good place to start because oftentimes I forget who God is. I call it soul- amnesia. We forget who God is and what he’s done from one day to the next. We can look at the Israelites in the desert and be like, how can you be so shortsighted? Like, God just parted the Red Sea, he just provided manna, like, will he not give you water? And yet we also suffer from soul-amnesia. God has been faithful to us and good to us day after day, year after year, but we forget. And so, we start by reciting God’s goodness, by remembering who he is, and what he’s done. I love to use Scripture to guide my prayers. And so, I’ll look at a verse and say, what does this tell me about God’s character? What can I praise him for? How can I worship him for that? And so I’ll do that in the abstract, like, God, you are sovereign, but then I’ll also apply it to my life and I’ll think about, God, when is a time when you were sovereign in my life? Can I think back and praise you, recite your goodness in specific ways toward me? So, it becomes so personal. It’s not just praise and worship for the Almighty God, who’s somewhere distant and listening to prayers from the Heavens. It’s saying, God, you are good and you are good to me, and starting there really reframes the conversation to follow, because then we move into the “E” of R.E.S.T, expressing our neediness. In light of who God is and what he’s done. He is now safe. He’s a safe place for me to bring my needs, to look at that Scripture and say, what does this say about my heart? Is there a sin that I need to confess? Is there something that I’m in need of, and yet there’s pride, like, I don’t want to admit to God that I need him. I don’t want to have a laundry list of things that I’m just asking God to do, X, Y, and Z. I kind of want to spare him the hassle and do it all myself, and yet, God invites us to cast your cares upon him, he says in 1 Peter, for he cares about you. Jesus says to his disciples if you who are human and still wrestle with your sinful selfish nature. If your kid asks you for a loaf of bread, you’re not going to give him a stone. If he asks for fish, you’re not going to give him a snake. So how much more your heavenly father who loves you will give you the good things that you ask for? And another version of that, I think it’s in Mark, says how much more will your heavenly Father give his own spirit to those who ask? He holds nothing back. And so we can express our neediness with confidence, knowing that he welcomes us in his presence. He wants to hear what’s on our hearts. He wants to hear about that text message that kept us up last night. He wants to hear about that relationship that leaves us empty. He wants to hear about our hopes that are dashed. He wants to hear about that job interview and our hope for a new position. He wants to hear all of it. And so reciting God’s goodness, we express our neediness and we lay it all out for him. This is where, you know, we talked in our last episode about distracting thoughts and how we might get a little bit into our prayers and then we think about that one friend, or we think about that one thing on our to-do list, and yes, you can write it down on a sticky note, but this is the perfect place to make that distraction a prompt for prayer. And so pray for whatever comes to mind, don’t feel guilty about other things that might interrupt your prayer time. Just look at it as the Holy Spirit, prompting you to pray for that thing and as you pray for it, you entrust it into God’s hands. We then move to the “S” in R.E.S.T. which is to seek God’s stillness. So in my previous way of praying, I would tell God all the things, I would give him all the burdens, and then I would move on with the next thing on my list without pausing to consider; God, is there anything you want to say to me about this? That relationship? That hurt? I’ve told you what’s on my heart, now I’m going to be still and listen, is there anything that’s on your heart? Jesus says, I am the good shepherd and my sheep know my voice, they follow my voice. God will not hide His will from you and James says, if anyone lacks wisdom, let him ask God and God who gives generously will answer that prayer. But too often, we’re so busy, and our world is so noisy, and our brains are so distracted, that we can’t hear his still small voice until we turn down the volume on everything else. To be completely honest here, the reason stillness, the “S” is in the middle of the acronym was not primarily because I had to make the acronym work, although the English major in me loves that. It works out that way because if I tacked on stillness at the end of the prayer, knowing myself, I would skip it. I’d be like, I’m too busy to be still today, God, yes, thanks for the conversation up to this point now we’re just going to move on. But because it’s in the middle of the prayer, even if it’s just 30 seconds of just being still with God, the God of the Universe who created you, who knows you, who knows every white hair that’s popping up and knows every day of your life. He wants you to just be with him. Be loved by him, and become aware of his presence. And we see this in the Psalms, there’s this word, Salah that means slow down, ponder, just be still. Psalm 46 we referenced in our previous conversation about God being our refuge and strength, and yet, verse 11 of that says be still and know that I am God, this is a time for you to just be. We are human beings, not human doings, and so this is God’s invitation that you would find rest with him. And if in this time worries pop up again, that’s alright. Just take them, bring them back to the Lord, say, God, this is coming back to mind, I’m putting it back in your hands. Is there anything you want to tell me about this? And oftentimes, he will respond with Scripture that I’ve memorized throughout my childhood and teenage years. There’ll be a verse that comes to mind that is just so applicable to the situation or I’ll be in a time of stillness and suddenly out of nowhere, I get this thought that maybe I should text this person. Maybe I should take some time to pray for her and then text her to let her know that I prayed for her. Just out of the blue, but God will prompt our hearts in the stillness that way. That’s where we can slow down and hear the voice of a good shepherd. He longs to guide us. He wants us to be aware of his presence, not just during that time of prayer, but throughout the day. But when we slow down, when we quiet the noise, we learn to recognize his voice in a prayer of rest so that throughout the day, when it is busier and noisier, our hearts are attuned to his presence because he’s present with us because of the Holy Spirit. Emmanuel, he’s with us all the time. We just become more aware of it when we slow down. So, reciting God’s goodness is the “R.” Expressing our neediness is the “E.” Seeking his stillness is the “S,” and then finally, “T” Trusting God’s faithfulness. Now that we’ve told him all the things, we’ve spent time in His presence as long as time permits, or as long as your heart needs to be still with him. I love ending my prayers with the reminder that God will be faithful to complete the good work that he started in the world and in my life too. And so, whatever it is that I brought to him and entrusted to him, I will sometimes say out loud, even if the rest of my prayer, I wrote it down, or I prayed silently, I will literally say out loud, “God, I trust you, I choose to trust you.” And throughout the day, if I start worrying about that thing again, I will slow down. I will remember. I will recite God’s goodness, God, you’re faithful, you’re true, you got this, I gave it to you. I’ll express my need, here I am worrying about it again, and yet there’s compassion and tenderness because you know that I’m weak. You know why this is so worrisome for me and yet I give it to you again. I’ll take a shorter time to just be still with him to say, “God, is there a course correction, am I going in the wrong direction? Then please redirect me? Or just give me the perfect peace of Jesus that passes all understanding. I’m just going to rest with you for a moment.” And then I’m going to end again by saying, “God, I trust you, I was tempted to worry, but no, you got this, you’re going to be faithful. You have always been faithful. You’ve never disappointed me. And so I choose to trust you.” So the prayer of REST can be as long as you need, it can be as short as required as just a way of reminding our hearts to slow down from the hustle of even good religious things that we do and just become aware of God’s presence with us and in us, through his spirit that he longs to give us rest.

Mentor Mama:

I love how you’ve, kind of, changed things up a little bit. Some of the things in the ACTS method of praying are incorporated in this, but I love the stillness and silence part. It is something that can be intimidating or daunting to people, but it’s so important. I have an example that just came from this past Easter weekend, and I had felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to invite our neighbors over for Easter and one part inside of me was like, I should do that, but then I was worried, thinking, this is just a family gathering of some extended family, and a ton of us from my husband’s side of the family, and I’m thinking, they’re not going to know anyone, There’s this battle going back and forth and I kind of let it go, and then again, the Holy Spirit prompting me. So I did invite the neighbors. They came and they were just such a blessing to have as part of our group. In other years, they always had a place to go, and this year, they didn’t and they were so happy to come and be a part of it and I just think there’s so much great value in taking that time for stillness and seeing what the Lord is placing on your heart through the Holy Spirit. So beautiful. As you had mentioned, talked a little bit about brain science in our last talk, but the ”Prayers of REST” format is based not only on the Bible but also on brain science. Help us just a little bit and unpack that for us.

Asheritah Ciuciu:

It’s the method of rest, but it’s also the collection in the book, “Prayers of Rest,” because every prayer, there are 365 of them first of all, so one for every day, if that’s how you want to pray, but there are also collections based on needs. As I said, there are 50 prayers for different emotions, for celebratory emotions, or hard emotions. There are prayers for relationships, for your significant other if you’re in a relationship, or for those who serve, or those who suffer, there are prayers for every room of the house. So if you’re spring cleaning or you have guests over, you want to pray over the dining room and the conversations that will happen there. And then there are prayers that are more theologically formative, so we pray through Jesus’ prayer. We pray through the books of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, looking for God’s love in each book of the Bible, just resting in that assurance, so lots of different prayers, but all of them follow the same format, which is praying Scripture because I think there’s just so much value in just renewing our minds with God’s word and having his Word that’s sharper than a double-edged sword, penetrate our hearts. So every prayer starts with Scripture, but then every prayer is also, besides going through the REST format, is short. We talked about tiny habits about the importance of starting with something that is manageable, which lowers your brain’s perceived resistance to this habit. So if you have a desire to start a habit of prayer, the way I framed the book is short prayers that can take as little as two or three minutes, or they can serve as a springboard for you to express what’s on your heart as well. The collections are also short, anywhere from 10 prayers in a collection to 30 prayers of praying God’s promises, to the longest one is 66, which is praying through every book of the Bible and this is where brain science, kind of, inspired me with this as well, is that we need to celebrate our wins. I think oftentimes when it comes to a habit, I mentioned this before, all or nothing. Like if I pray for four days in a week and I miss three days, I’m going to focus on the three days that I missed, and I feel like a failure. I’ll be like, gosh, Asheritah, can’t you even just pray every day? How hard is that? Jesus did so much for you. And yet here you are, you can’t even give him three minutes. And we get into this downward spiral of condemnation, and what happens in our brains, again, this is on a cellular level. This is how God created us. So, we’re just discovering how God made us already. What happens on a cellular level is that our brains release a hormone, that is the stress hormone, I think it’s serotonin, it’s our brain saying, oh, this is bad news, let’s not do this again. It’s what happens when you go for a run and you haven’t run in the longest time and you get that side stitch and then your muscles get achy and you’re like, forget this, like, why did I think this was a good idea? And so you don’t continue running. God wired our brains to reinforce the good things to make us want to continue the good things and to warn us to stay away from the bad things. So if we are focusing our attention on the ways that we have fallen short, or the ways that we have failed, then we are simply reinforcing the notion that this is too hard and that we can’t do this, and yet, going back to God’s promise in Philippians, he who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus, and so we can look at those four days of prayer out of seven and celebrate and say, “God, last week, I wasn’t praying at all and yet, here I am this week, I prayed four times and I acknowledge that that is your Spirit at work in me. This is not pumping up Asheritah to say, I’m so great, look at me. This is saying I could not have done this without you and I choose to celebrate that you are making me a new creation, that you are renewing my mind, that you are creating new synaptic connections in my brain that will reinforce this habit to be life-giving, and God, I look forward to next week. God, will you help me be consistent?” When we reframe that conversation and we celebrate growth, we celebrate what God is doing, it releases dopamine, which is the same feel-good hormone you get when you eat an Oreo or ice cream. It’s your brain saying, that was a good idea, let’s do that again, and so, this is part of how I framed these collections in the book to be short, to give you that quick win of, I prayed through these 10 prayers of REST. I prayed through this collection of 20 prayers, and it reinforces that you can do this through the power of God’s Spirit in you. You can form a new habit. You can be consistent instead of allowing the voice of the enemy to speak condemnation and guilt and shame, you choose to celebrate the growth that the Holy Spirit is doing in your life, through the power of God who raised Jesus from the dead. Can he not transform us into prayer warriors? Of course, he can! And so we start small, we link it to something we’re already doing, I talk about this in the intro of the book, just some ideas, whether it’s making coffee or, our commute, or washing off makeup, you link it to something you’re doing, you celebrate those wins, and then you just take time to have this conversation with the Lord to say, okay, God, what’s next? Viewing it as an adventure. Can I try creative ways to pray? Maybe it’s prayer journaling, maybe it’s going for a walk, maybe it’s trying to kneel when you pray if you’re usually seated, or maybe you pull the coloring crayons out and you have some time of talking to God as you’re coloring. There’s no right or wrong way to pray. When we come to the Father through the work of Jesus Christ, our High Priest, who has gone before us, it’s because of him that we can approach the throne of grace with confidence, knowing that we will find mercy and help in time of need and be confident that the Holy Spirit is also interceding for us and is also doing a work inside of us. So, as you can tell, I’m a little bit passionate about brain science and Bible habits, but it’s all woven into, “Prayers of REST,” even if you don’t see it, it’s there. It’s the grid work.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, well actually, I can see it. I mentioned earlier that I have this ADHD short-focused brain, and I think the format is brilliant. If someone has a short attention span, not because we want it, it’s just what we have, I love how you’ve set it up. And it does make you feel like you can do this, and even as we mentioned with the time of stillness, that can be scary for people who have short attention spans, because you might feel like you’re a failure at it, but how you’ve explained it and laid it out, provides an opportunity for you to feel like you can do this and be successful at it. I’d like to take just a moment for you to share with our audience how “Prayers of REST” began because it’s just such an interesting story about your live prayer calls at the start of the COVID pandemic. Tell us about that experience.

Asheritah Ciuciu:

Yeah, so I think it was in our previous episode that I shared about my laundry room moment, where two weeks into the COVID-19 lockdown, um, I love my family. I truly adore my kids; they’re spunky kids. I love time with them, but I’m also an introvert and so, it had been two weeks at this point of being together 24/7, of feeding them breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and every snack in between, of picking up after them, of still trying to keep up with my work, working from home, while doing their schooling while my husband was trying to work, and breaking up sibling squabbles like I could go on and on. It was overwhelming especially for my introverted heart that was like, I just need time alone to be a better mama, and yet, there was nowhere to go because we were locked in together. So, I was at the kitchen sink when I felt my heart rate speed up, my breathing became shallow, my hands started shaking, and it felt like I was getting tunnel vision like everything was going black, just a small hole that I could see through, and I was frightened. It felt like my body was betraying me, like what is happening to my body right now? I don’t know. I don’t feel like I’m in control. I tried calming myself; it didn’t work. The kids started arguing over something in the living room, and so I had to escape to the laundry room. I shut the door and I slid to the floor and I started sobbing, just uncontrollable sobs and saying, God, I can’t do this anymore. I just cannot do this anymore. There’s nothing left to give, I can’t do this anymore. And, in that space, the words of Psalm 46 became a lifeline in the midst of what felt like drowning. It was the words, God is our refuge and strength a very present help in time of trouble. So I continued this, it felt like a soundtrack that was scratched that it just kept playing the same thing on loop: I can’t do this anymore. And every time I would say, I can’t do this anymore, God’s word became stronger and I am convinced the Holy Spirit speaking truth over my brain and my mind and my heart and my body. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. And so gradually my, I can’t do this anymore, got quieter and quieter and the reminder that he is my refuge, that he’s present there on the laundry room floor with me, he’s present with me in my trouble, gradually just calmed down, my mind, my heart, my breathing, I felt like I had just, kind of, returned to a space of, what just happened to me? That had never happened to me before, and as I was there, just thinking, okay, something is wrong and the future does not look bright if this is the way that things are going to continue to go. At that point, we had no idea how long this was going to last. We didn’t know how deadly this virus was. There was so much division in our churches, in our families, it just felt like this is the end of the world, as we know it, and also, just praying, God, I don’t want to go through that again. I became aware of God’s gentle invitation in that those words were his invitation to me, “Asheritah, will you make me your refuge? Will you find your strength in me? Will you run to me to be your help? No matter how long this lasts?” That was the only thing that had calmed me down. It wasn’t meditative breathing. It wasn’t going for a walk. It was that quiet assurance in God’s presence that he’s got me. And so I was like, okay, I’m going to wake up before the kids, all my friends are binging Netflix shows and staying up at all hours of the night, and yet I’m going to go to bed early and I’m going to wake up to spend time with Jesus. Not because he expects it of me and not because that’s what good Christian girls do, but because I need it, I need time in God’s presence to anchor me during these uncertain times. So, I shared with my Instagram community just a very abbreviated version of, hey, I had this freak-out moment, I know I need time in prayer, I think you might too, so if you want to join me, I’ll be going live at 7:00 AM tomorrow morning. So, I woke up this next morning and this was me like, why did I think this was a good idea? I could sleep in right now. Why am I in my closet, on the floor with these dress clothes that I haven’t worn in two weeks? Who made me do this? But, you know, with finger shaking, I hit, “go live” and God just did the most beautiful thing. Dozens of women from around the world, all different time zones, joined in and said, “I need this. My heart needs this. I’m so glad you’re doing this. This is an answer to prayer. I need to be spending time with God.” And over the, I can’t remember, six to eight weeks that followed, every single weekday morning, we would gather together at 7:00 AM to spend 30 minutes in prayers of rest. I taught these women the R.E.S.T. acronym of prayer, how to recite God’s goodness and express our neediness and seek his stillness and trust his faithfulness, and how to pray scripture, and we did that. We didn’t talk about praying; we prayed! They learned how to pray by actually praying together, by showing up in the community and saying, this time I am choosing to rest in God, and you know, those replays were only available for 24 hours and we had friends from different time zones saying, hey, you know, I couldn’t watch it, could you do a different time? So that transitioned to a weekly podcast that I’d record these 10-minute prayers of rest and share with our friends and family. And I did it as a short-term experiment over the summer and said, God, I don’t know if this is something that should keep going or not. It was just one step at a time, truly trusting and resting in God’s provision and his direction, and by the end of the summer, the podcast had been downloaded in over a hundred countries, including countries that were closed to the Gospel, places where missionaries could not go, places where churches had been shut down and there was no gathering of believers. So, hearing those stories of how God was meeting people in the midst of their own heartache and their own laundry room moment through “Prayers of REST around the world, was God’s clear sign of saying, “let’s keep going.” So, here we are two years later, and there’s a book that’s saying here, “Prayers of REST: Daily Prompts to Slow Down and Hear God’s Voice.” And that’s because our listeners said, hey, can we have these prayers in written form so that we can go back and pray anytime? And so that book is an answer to that need. And the Prayers of REST podcast has been downloaded close to 300,000 times now in even more countries and places where the Gospel is moving powerfully, and I just look back at that laundry room moment and say, “God, you were so good that you would take the brokenness and the weakness and the, ‘I can’t do this anymore,’ and that through the power of Jesus, you would then use that to point people to you. That is God’s power at work in our weakness.

Mentor Mama:

Without a doubt, that is just an absolutely moving and powerful testimony of God’s faithfulness and how he does use those difficult circumstances in our life for his glory, and look at how you just trusting him and making that shaky moment, hitting that live button and being willing to do that and how impactful that’s been to so many people is just amazing. And I’m just so thankful that you were willing to share your rest prayers with us now in written format. And we will have a link here for both, (the book and the) podcast. I imagine it would just be great to listen to the podcast, even if you’re driving in your car and want to have time for prayer on the way to work or folding your laundry or anytime you can listen to those podcasts and be encouraged through prayer as well and learn more about the R.E.S.T. format for prayer.

(Sponsor – Patreon)

Mentor Mama:

Well, as we wrap up this part of the interview, I just want to have you encourage listeners with how prayer actually changes things and you’ve given your story here. What else have you seen about stories of prayer impacting people and even multiple generations?

Asheritah Ciuciu:

This goes back to the question that we started a while ago. Does prayer actually work? When I feel like my prayers hit the ceiling, like how do I know God is actually listening and that it changes anything? And, this is where we can rest on God’s character, that God is faithful to his promises, that God is good, and that he longs to hear our prayers and to answer our prayers and, Ellen, just a couple of months ago, I shared the story of “Prayers of REST,” but this has been something that God has been working on my heart for a long time, but just a couple months ago I was having coffee with my mom and she said, Asheritah, I don’t know that you know this, but your great grandfather, in communist Romania, he came to know Jesus as an adult and took time with his eight kids around the dinner table every night. He would open the Bible and read God’s Word over them and pray that God would draw their hearts to him. His own wife wasn’t a follower of Jesus and so he just modeled faithful conversation with a father around the dinner table and he prayed that every single one of his children would come to follow Jesus and would build God’s kingdom. And this is at a time when there’s a cost to following Jesus in communist Romania. You were not allowed to make Jesus the one that ruled your life, the communist party rule your life. And then Jesus can kind of come along there somewhere as long as he’s subservient to the party, but to claim your primary allegiance to King Jesus, the one who reigns and proclaim that your life is given in service to building His Kingdom, not the communist party’s agenda, those were trade risk things to pray, and yet, that is what this man prayed over each of his children and his wife, that they would be Jesus followers and Kingdom builders. And, every single one of his children walked away from God and lived a life of rebellion, a life of safety of not wanting to risk what it takes to follow Jesus. And yet, now with the hindsight, those were my grandparents, grandaunts, and uncles, on this side of the story, every single one of them came back to God. Every single one came back in repentance. Every single one was involved in their local church, whether giving to missionaries, teaching Sunday school, smuggling Bibles, being the ones who were building God’s kingdom in Romania, even amid the communist regime they prayed for their children. And so it’s my mom’s generation that is now involved in the church and building it up. My mom was a missionary in Romania to the gypsies for 10 years, just such an incredible harvest of the gospel and that is her grandfather’s prayers being fulfilled. God answering those prayers and here I am the next generation, and what I shared with you through “Prayers of REST,” is not Asheritah’s wisdom. This is not something that I just came up with on my own. This is God answering the prayers of a righteous man in the 1930s saying, “I will hear, I will answer.” Now, are there cousins of mine that are far from the Lord? Yes, but this is why we don’t give up praying. My great-grandfather did not live to see each of his children follow Jesus and yet we can now see that. So your prayers today, whether you are 85 or 15, God promises to listen to your prayers, that if you seek him, you will find him. When you seek him with all of your heart, he will be found by you. He will bless the generations to come because that is the generous heart of our heavenly father. So even if you don’t see answers to your prayers today, do not lose heart and grow weary because you will reap a harvest if you do not give up. As we pray, I don’t know how God does it, yet he promises that we get to partner with him through our prayers, that the prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective. And so, we can rest in God because it’s his power at work. We don’t have to hustle. We don’t have to worry. We don’t have to try harder. We can rest in prayer knowing that God’s power is at work.

Mentor Mama:

Amazing! Amazing Grace and God is just amazing and that’s one of the mysteries and the beautiful thing that God allows us to partner with him and be a part of the process of expanding his Kingdom. There’s just such great joy in that and never, ever give up, just keep praying and trusting that God will fulfill. Well, tell us how people can find out more information about you, your podcast, and your book.

Asheritah Ciuciu:

Everything “Prayers of REST,” is at prayersofrest.com. You can find the book there, you can find the podcast linked there. The podcast is called, “Prayers of REST.” Every week we share a 10-minute guided prayer to help guide you into God’s presence and rest with Him. We also have a challenge that’s happening in May called, Resting in God’s Promises. It’s a five-day invitation to pray God’s promises and to rest in His power when we rest in Him. So you can find information about that also at prayersofrest.com.

Mentor Mama:

Wonderful. Well, before we go, I want to ask you some of our favorite Bible study questions. What Bible do you use and what translation is it?

Asheritah Ciuciu:

I use the, “She Reads Truth,” Bible and it’s the Christian Standard Version. I love that it has wide margins for taking notes. I tried my hand at like, coloring and drawing stuff, and God has just not gifted me that way, so most of the margins are filled with just me taking notes about what I’m learning about God, or what I’m bringing to Him that day. Oftentimes I’ll write the date in the margin and just write a prayer of rest in the margins there, and so it’s become a beautiful journal of God’s faithfulness at work.

Mentor Mama:

Do you have any favorite journaling supplies that you like to use to enhance your Bible study experience?

Asheritah Ciuciu:

I use these pens, they’re called, Pilot G-Tec C4, which makes me sound nerdy, but they’re the type of pen that I love to use, it doesn’t bleed through the page of my Bible and it’s also a very thin line, the .04. And then, I love using mildliners for underlining in my Bible. In fact, I have a chart in the back of my Bible that has a different color for different themes. So I’ll use yellow for God’s character and I’ll use blue for God’s promises. As I’m reading Scripture, it helps me pay attention to have my mildliners and my pen in hand and I’m just underlining, what is this telling me about God? What does it tell about His commitment to His people? It’s just such a beautiful way to engage Scripture.

Mentor Mama:

I love that idea. We will put links to both of those in our notes. And lastly, what is your favorite app or website for Bible study tools?

Asheritah Ciuciu:

This is more of a prayer app. I’ve been using the app called, Pray as You Go, which was an inspiration for, “Prayers of REST.” It’s from our Anglican brothers and sisters. So, a little bit different from my church tradition as I grew up, but God used that in a season when I felt so far from Him and felt like my prayers were hitting the ceiling. It is a daily guided prayer and a time of reflection. And so, I kind of took that and adapted it for, “Prayers of REST,” based on Scripture, bringing us into God’s presence. But the app, Pray as You Go, I’ll still occasionally go back to it and it’s just such a wonderful way to remind myself that God is wherever we go. We can talk to Him all the time.

Mentor Mama:

Excellent. I haven’t heard of that one before, so I’ll have to check that out. Asheritah, thank you so much for being here and for sharing your insights on prayers of rest and all that you’re doing through your various ministries to advance God’s kingdom.

Asheritah Ciuciu:

Thank you so much for having me. It was my joy to be here.

Mentor Mama:

For our listeners, I would just encourage you to pick up a copy of Asheritah’s book called, “Prayers of REST.” You’ll find the link in this blog and while you’re here, please share your comments with us on how you tackle your struggles with prayer and what you do to slow down and make intentional time to rest in God’s presence. Lastly, head over to the Coffee and Bible Time website for our prayer journals that will help guide and document your prayer life at coffeeandbibletime.com. Thank you so much for joining us on our blog today. We love you all and have a blessed day.

Coffee and Bible Time Avatar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *