From Plea to Praise // Rachel // ODU

Last year, 2 months after my grandfather passed away, I was sitting in church as they began to play the song “Hosanna” by Hillsong. Immediately I was hooked and could not get the song out of my head. I went home and sat in my room and listened to it on repeat as I began to pull out my guitar and start to learn how to play it. Almost a year later, the song has still been stuck in my head. Most people would be annoyed by his, however, I am glad it has stuck around. The song has brought me relief in the midst of this hard season.

You would think after listening to a specific song for a year that I would know a lot about it, but that wasn’t the case. I blindly sang, played, and listened to the song as it brought me comfort over the past year. Not once did I care to stop and think about what it really meant…until recently. Roughly a month ago, I pulled out my laptop and started to dive into what the word “hosanna” means. I wanted to know what the song was truly saying.

The word hosanna reminds me of the Chinese nesting dolls. You uncover one thing and start to think you are at the end… but not quite, because there is more to it! John Piper explains the word by saying this: “Our English word “hosanna” comes from a Greek word “hosanna” which comes from a Hebrew phrase hoshiya na.” The word itself has been on a journey throughout time!

In the Old Testament the word meant “Save us!” It was a cry for help. Fast forward to the New Testament, something happened along the way and the word began to mean “Salvation has come!” The meaning of the word has gone from plea to praise. Now what happened throughout the journey of the word hosanna for it to drastically change like that? If you said “Jesus” you are correct! Jesus is the reason that people took this word and altered it to be a praise instead of a plea.

Christ has done the same in my life today, he has taken my life from plea to praise. I accepted Christ into my life 2 years ago and everything started to change for the better! It has not been an easy 2 years though, many hard seasons have come my way and I tend to forget that I need Christ everyday, in every moment. Last year my discipler walked me through a book called “Hearing The Music Of The Gospel.” The more I read into the word hosanna, the more I am reminded of this book. The basis of the book is that we know the Gospel and are just going through the motions, we seem to know the choreography to the dance pretty well. Yet, we aren’t hearing the music. We read a passage and start to ask ourselves, “Okay what is this passage saying I need to do to be more like Christ?” Instead we need to read a passage and ask ourselves, “What spiritual brokenness is this passage revealing that only Christ can heal?”

When we first accept Christ we are overjoyed and excited to start making changes in our lives, but over time that feeling can dull down and we can forget to hear the music of the gospel. In moments where we can thank Christ for who he is and ask him for help to heal our spiritual brokenness, we tend to just pray for God to take away all of our problems. This may not be true for all of us, but it has been for me. Last year when I lost my grandpa, I kept praying for God to take away the pain I was feeling or to give me more time with my grandpa. I was crying out “Hosanna!” but I was living in the Old Testament and asking God to save me. Over the past year, I have moved from the Old Testament to the New Testament and learned to praise Christ for entering into my life and refining me during this hard season. Through Christ I have been able to learn to find joy in the midst of the hard seasons that life will bring. My “Hosanna” has turned from a plea to a praise.

Hi friends! My name is Rachel Titus and I am at the tail end of my time at ODU. I will be graduating in December and am excited and nervous to see what the Lord has planned for me next! I like to live by the saying “A little bit of coffee and a whole lot of Jesus.” But I switch it around to “A whole lot of coffee and a whole lot more of Jesus.” Thanks for reading! <3
@racheyrachrachel

Pursuing Prayer // Kendal // ODU

Have you had a concern, a problem, a tough decision, or a rough spot in your life and turned to your friends for advice? Well, that’s not a bad thing, but let me ask you this…Did you ask God? So many times we forget that we have a way to openly communicate with God—prayer. The Bible constantly talks about prayer and its importance in a believer’s life.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 confers two simple words, “Pray constantly.”

Now, I don’t believe that this verse would be able to stand on its own unless it was significant. Every time I read this verse, however, I always think to myself, “How am I going to pray 24/7? I have to eat, sleep, take tests, brush my teeth, etc…” I mean, how many times have you prayed while brushing your teeth? But, the point remains. We have a two way radio that goes between us and God and all we have to do is keep our hand on the button. Just always stay open for God to talk to you and He will always be open to listen to you.

So what do you pray about? Well, you may not always want to be repeating the ‘prayer requests’ you have had on your mind lately until you go crazy. Prayer doesn’t have to be a request. It can be a conversation, a praise, a worship, a question, or anything just as long as its communication. The more you talk to God, the more of a response you will probably be able to hear. (This is only because your part in the communication is more amplified, it’s not because God was ignoring you before—that’s not what He does.)

Since I’ve made my attempt to be more mindful about my own prayer life, I’ve found strange times when I’ll always just be talking to God. For example: I don’t know if any of you get anxious about being in front of people as I do, be it a performance, speech, or really just anything public. If you do, you know what I’m talking about. That feeling were your stomach twists up into knots, the legs get shaky, your mind feels numb, and your heartbeat is throbbing so hard you can’t focus over the pounding. Yeah, well it’s in those moments especially that I find myself just talking to God and just asking Him to take the nerves away. It works every time!

Prayer doesn’t have to be, “Bless this food we’re about to eat,” or “Help my cousin’s broken toe to heal, help my friend’s aunt find her lost cat, etc.” Although those are completely acceptable and there is definitely time for those prayers! It’s just that sometimes these become our only calls of prayer to God on a daily basis, if even that. Find opportunities to just talk to God.

What do I talk to God about?

Tell Him about how your day is going. “Today was ____”

Ask Him for advice when you need it. “I don’t know what to do about ___”

Take opportunities to glorify Him. “God, thank You so much for ____”

Tell Him your dreams. “God, I really wish that one day I could ____”

Come to Him with your questions. “God, why did ______”

Tell Him your concerns. “God, my friend _________”

Come to Him for your needs. “I need Your help with ____”

Any of these can work and so can many, many others. Sometimes, it’s even important to just listen. Keep the line open if you can’t find words to say.

What if I have nothing I can think of to pray about?

Other than just listening like I previously suggested, the Bible offers a verse for situations like this. In Romans 8:26 it says, “In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings.” Now this verse may make a little more sense when taken in its context—Romans is always a good book to study!—but it still goes to show us that even when we have troubles in our prayer life the Holy Spirit still dwells among us and is spiritually active even when we are not. (Disclaimer: This is not an excuse not to pray! )

Is there anything that can remind me to pray?

Well, I don’t know about you, but I find myself forgetting things all the time! So, I found a helpful prayer app that cannot only remind me of things that need constant prayer, but if you need to get back into the habit of praying it can literally send you a reminder to pray. This app is simple to use and has transformed my prayer life. This way, I have all my basic prayer requests written down and categorized. The app takes your requests and presents a few for you to pray for at a time and the requests change every time you finish a set. Personally, I am constantly adding prayers and reprioritizing them. I only go through sets of ten to fifteen requests each time I pray. That way I get in some time to just talk with God consistently as well. I strongly encourage this app, it is a very helpful tool that is easily accessed on your phone. It’s called PrayerMate. Please consider this app, even if you have a strong prayer life, this could help you organize all the requests you’re juggling.

Prayer is essential in a relationship with God and I encourage you to take time to talk to someone who will always listen and will never let you down.

 

My name is Kendal Adams and I am a sophomore at Old Dominion University studying Mechanical Engineering. I love sunsets, traveling, flying planes, music, movies, and Jesus! My favorite quote, which happens to be a verse of course, is “…be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.”  -Romans 16:19

@kendaltheaviator

Vulnerability. It’s Beautiful.//Rachel//ODU

 

The Lord’s timing is always the best. Before the time I spent in NYC this summer, I had come across references to John 3:30 multiple times. The book of John was the first book  I read right after I started walking with the Lord, I have seen the “HE>I” bumper stickers all around, and have even heard of people wanting to get “HE>I” as a tattoo. Yet, I never asked much about it and never had a desire to know what Bible verse it referred to. Each time I started to want to know more about John 3:30, I could tell that the Lord was telling me, “Not yet.” IMG_4115

A key thing I have struggled with in the past is being open and being vulnerable. However, this summer the Lord was able to use and grow me in the midst of my vulnerability. During my 6 weeks in NYC with Cru for summer missions we started to go through the book of John. One day I sat down and started reading and was determined to focus more on what the Scripture was saying and what the Lord was trying to teach me. That’s when I came across John 3:30: “He must become greater; I must become less.” As you are born again in your walk with the Lord, you start to become less of your old self and grow more in your new identity with Christ. This verse gave me comfort during my time in New York because I was constantly being placed out of my comfort zone.

I have never felt comfortable praying in front of people, singing in front of more than one person, or even just getting up and making a speech. Every single one of those things made me feel extremely uncomfortable and vulnerable. In society’s eyes, vulnerability is a way of becoming less of who you are. If you are vulnerable, then you can not be the strong and guarded individual that you have tried countless years to create. All the walls I have built were quickly torn down and the Lord met me where I was at. I started jumping at the chance to pray first or close the group in prayer; I was one of three who helped lead worship every week during our trainings, for a church service one Sunday morning, and for singing in the subway every week on our free day; finally, during our High School Week I had to give a training on how to prepare a personal testimony in front of everyone. All of that pushed me out of my comfort zone, it made me vulnerable. I started to become less of who I thought I was. While all of that was happening, God became glorified, he was becoming greater, and I was becoming more of who the Lord knows I am.

 

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Hello friends! I am currently going into my fourth year at ODU. I just recently switched my major from Biology to Criminal Justice while I was in NYC as I started to listen more to the Lord’s plan for me. I plan to graduate in two years after this big switch! A couple things I enjoy are being outdoors, rock climbing, playing guitar, and finding any little bit of free time to watch Netflix. Thank you for taking the time to read what the Lord has taught me this summer!