How To Pray In Times Of Stress


becca This is me with a few of the kids from our church’s Cathedral Kid ministry getting ready to worship and pray at camp.

This Prayer technique developed for me during the season of pregnancy, labor, and lack-of-home-ness. In the past 3 years we’ve had 2 kids. We’ve had roofs over our heads, but not a home of our own for the last year. In other words, this has been a season where prayer has been essential. I thought I’d share how I like to pray and how I teach the kids in my ministry to pray too.

Think of this practice as a chiastic structure, where each step is essential.

Part 1: “The second commandment is equally important, love your neighbor as your love yourself”

1. Listen to yourself

a. Set a timer for 60 seconds. Take one full minute to sit still in silence. Try to breathe.

2. Understand yourself

a. Write down on a piece of paper the main thoughts that occupied your mind during that time of silence. What worried you? What felt out of your control? What feelings were alive in you?

3. Respond to yourself

a. Take a moment to care for your body. Stretch, breathe deeply, reflect on what you’ve eaten, how you’ve slept, and if you can, take a short walk outside.

Don’t stop here. Step one only prepares yourself to listen.


Part 2: “Love the lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength…”

1. Say thank you.

a. Write down as long a list as you can of what you are thankful for.

b. Now go deeper, write a paragraph on why you are so grateful for one of the things from your list.

2. Remember who you are talking to.

a. Listen to the noises in the room, how it smells, how your seat feels under you. Think of where you are located in your building, then your street, then your city, then your state, then the country, then the continent, then the world then the universe. You are in the presence of the creator of the universe.

b. Picture Jesus with you. How is he sitting or standing? What expression is on his face?

3. Turn from Sin. Turn to God.

a. In light of the greatness of God and His intentions for humanity, is there anything in your life, in your heart, in your relationships, in your workplace, the way you vote, the wat you’re spending your money, where your thoughts have been that are out of line with God’s best intended life for you?

b. Ask God’s forgiveness. Trust that God is powerful enough to forgive you. Set your heart back on Jesus.

4. Trust God; Ask for help.

a. Based on the worries that most occupied you in part 1, ask God for help, knowing that he loves you, he wants to help you, and he is capable of helping you.

5. Listen.

a. Set aside time just to listen to God. Listen in the way that is most helpful for you. Listen while walking, listen while playing a worship song, listen with a pen in hand and blank sheet of paper in front of you.

Don’t stop here. Step two only prepares yourself to obey, change, and grow.


Part 3: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself”

1. Act on what God has told you to do

2. Keep Listening and involve your community- you are not alone!

a. The 10 commandments are not a suggestion, be involved in your church community, honoring the Sabbath day so you have the support you need to follow God.


-Pastor Becca

How to be ready for anything


Written by Chelsea Zappone When Pastor Tim first asked me to write the blog post this week, I was a little thrown off. I am not a writer, I often struggle over finding my words, and more often than not I have at least one pesky typo hiding in my final drafts. But under that hesitance I found that I was also excited. I have really been enjoying the “5 things…” sermon series. I have been challenged and forced to reevaluate my spiritual health.


It is so easy to fall into bad habits and keep putting off addressing saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow. Surely I’ll have more time then.” However, I find myself never finding that time unless I purposefully set it aside.

That is why I am so thankful that God doesn’t wait for us to get our act straight. He works through the circumstances in our lives. The surprising opportunities, the scary uncertainties, the tough times, even the mundane routines. He is not limited by us.

The times I have found myself most open to God’s guidance is when I am in the valleys, when there is crisis, when I am no longer in control. I turn to him because I know he loves unconditionally, his is omnipresent and omnipotent. No one and nothing can make your problems seem smaller than God can.

Crisis can be like a fire in our life, it can burn away the impurities that have slowly snuck into our daily routines. Pastor Tim has often quoted, “there are no atheist in the foxhole.” A foxholes can take the form of hospital rooms, depths of depression, isolation and loneliness, desperate hopelessness. We all have a time when there is nothing else we can do but turn to God.

God doesn’t bring us suffering but he is right beside us when we are going through it. I love the advice James, Jesus’ brother, gives us in James 1:2-4: “Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy.  For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance's fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”

6595c77e9b282c9430436832259b83baTroubles seem to be a constant presence in our lives either they’re our own, a friend’s, or a stranger’s across the world. God knows our suffering; it is part of living in a broken world. But he gives us a unique opportunity to not give up or even to just endure through it, but to find joy! To grow! To become ready for ANYTHING! That to me is amazing!

When we suffer, we can strengthen our relationship with God, we can encourage others in building community, we can be God’s light in the world. Like I said before, no one and nothing can make your problems smaller than God can. So instead of stressing and worrying, because we know neither of those will do any good (Matthew 6:28-34), turn to God. Find joy. Find the opportunity to grow.

The best is yet to be if God has his way!

Photo CreditPhoto Credit

Faith that Overwhelms Fears

This week, Pastor Rey began Washington Cathedral’s new series: World Reborn. He talked about how not focusing on the fear of problems and challenges can help us to trust and follow God's plan for us.

By Pastor Rey Diaz

Black Friday is for people who love crowds, lines, and chaos.  I prefer Cyber Monday.  From the comfort of my computer desk, I can go to and buy Christmas presents for the whole familoggerly.  I love it.  It’s Dec 1st and I’m already done with all my Christmas shopping.  It’s not just the convenience of shopping but the amazing delivery as a prime member.  All my packages arrive in two days (I promise you I’m not getting a kick back from the people at Amazon, although I should).

Well it turns out that Amazon works with 1,000s of smaller companies.  And although I’m 100 percent satisfied, I have never written a review.  I received a message yesterday that just shocked me.  Here it is:

As a small but passionate American business, we lack the big marketing budgets of larger corporations, and rely on word-of-mouth more than anything. If it is not too much to ask, please help us by writing a short review on Unfortunately, less than 1% of satisfied customers write a review, but 99% of unsatisfied customers do. Your review therefore would be invaluable to us and helps strengthen the Amazon marketplace for all.

I couldn’t believe it.  The numbers are staggering.  The unsatisfied are basically a hundred times more vocal than the satisfied.  We hear complaints, criticisms, and negativity a hundred times more than the good stuff.

It made me think of our spiritual walks with God.  Isn’t the same thing usually true in our personal lives.  We notice and see the bad, the scary, the unfair, the unjust and the darkness.  But the good is sometimes harder to focus on.  Maybe that is why God is constantly telling us, “Don’t be afraid.”  Because our tendency is to focus on the fearful.  The problems.  The challenge.  The difficulty.  Basically, our fears are a hundred times more vocal than our faith.

Matthew 14:22-33 tells the story of Jesus walking on water.  The disciples, who are on the boat, think it’s a ghost and are afraid.  Jesus responds with some of his favorite words, “Don’t be afraid.”  Peter wants proof.  He tells Jesus, “If it is really you, tell me to come out and walk on the water.”

So Peter begins his walk towards Jesus on the water.  He was walking towards Jesus, but instead of gazing at Him, he lets his focus turn towards the waves.  He allows fear to take a hold of him and he begins to sink. Jesus, intervenes and saves him.

With love in his eyes he says “Oh, you of little faith.  Why did you doubt me?”  Jesus takes Peter and leads him to the same place he is trying to lead us to.  A place of fearlessness.  A place of trust.  A place of overwhelming faith.  Jesus wants to grow our faith .  He wants our faith to overwhelm fear.

So that in midst of our problems, in the midst of the storm, in the midst of the waves and chaos, our faith remains steadfast.  Secure and confident in God.


That’s why we follow Jesus.  And as a church, we want the same for your faith. There is a song that speaks of this type of faith.  I have used it as a prayer – “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders.  Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me.  Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander.  And my faith will be made stronger in the presence of my savior.”

Would you take some time to listen to song? Oceans by Hillsongs United -