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I am so incredibly excited tonight to have the privilege of sharing with all of you, an incredible new friend, an amazing woman, and an inspiring author.

A few months ago, Shannon and I had a mutual friend going through the unimaginable pain of losing her dad. We met on facebook while praying and pleading for God to carry our friend through this time of life. There is something about sharing grief and pain that binds people together and so through this experience Shannon and I ‘met’ and became a bit bound together. From there, we started reading each other’s blogs and encouraging one another. Now I consider her my friend – not just my friend’s friend.

So it is with honor and goosebumps that I introduce all of you to Shannon and her story. Tonight she will share with you a bit of the backstory that led to her book: ‘How to Pray – when you can’t sit still’. It was just released this week and it is wonderful!

I will do a more in depth review of the book next week but let me say that it is a very inspiring look at how you can deepen your prayer life in creative and new ways.

Or as Shannon put it in her book:

“Whether you have a nagging feeling that talking to God should come more naturally or a deep longing for life-changing communication with your Creator, the book you are holding was written with you in mind.”

Without further ado here is ‘the rest of the story…’ by Shannon:

My husband and I met in our late twenties. He was stunningly handsome, and our personalities quickly clicked. We had both traveled and had experienced some personal success, and we both had pretty intense, goal-centered personalities.

He quickly fanned the flames of my interest by showering me with attention, sending roses, and calling me -just to chat- several times a day. As we got to know each other better, I noticed he had some annoying habits like: frequently being late, forgetting important appointments, and drifting off in the middle of a conversation.

But I wasn’t perfect either, and like most young people in love, we dove into marriage headfirst. But during that first year together, the little things I’d noticed while dating became major conflicts. We experienced so many ups and downs that I began to feel the person I’d dated and the man I married were different people.

Two things held us together- our mutual stubbornness and the fact that we had nowhere else to go. Neither of us wanted to live with our parents and neither of us wanted to be the “quitter”. Our strategy was to make the other person so miserable that they would be the first to leave. Not a very fun way to live.

But things weren’t always tough and we managed to have fun moments together, despite the stream of tension that lay just beneath the surface. Kids came along, and for quite awhile our relationship floated on the excitement and adventure of being parents.

As our kids grew and became more self-sufficient however, the spotlight returned to our rocky marriage. We looked for advice and relationship help in the latest books, seminars, and I even turned to friends for guidance, which took a lot of courage.

The strategies that worked so well for others ended in one failure after another for us. We had the best intentions and would set out to change, but my husband would usually forget to follow up on the new plan and his forgetfulness would send me into a downward spiral of bitterness, anger, and defeat. While we loved each other very much, there seemed to be a mysterious part of our life together that kept us constantly at odds.

Fifteen years into the marriage, I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I began to pray like I had never prayed before. Honest, raw, angry prayers to a God I was pretty sure had given up on me. The “church girl” façade I’d worn so long wasn’t working anymore, and I dared God to love the real me; the me who had absolutely nothing left to give Him.

We kept attending church, mainly for the benefit of our kids. I usually hid out in the bookstore between services as a convenient way to avoid probing conversations from well-meaning friends. One Sunday, I happened upon a very interesting book titled, ADD: Welcome to Our World. Leafing through the book, I immediately felt the author had read my mail. It took about three Sundays before I gathered the courage to buy the book, but when I did take it home and read it, I felt like someone had turned the lights on in a very dark room.

In the book, author Cynthia Calvert-Phillips describes her husband’s struggle with Attention Deficit, or AD/HD, and her journey to find answers. She explains the physiology of Attention Deficit and why communication can be so challenging in marriages where one or both partners have this diagnosis. For the first time in years, I had hope for our marriage.

I continued praying, but now, instead of ranting at God, I found myself quietly listening for answers. For the first time, I learned what it meant just to sit in the presence of God without an agenda or list of requests. He began to show me the role my husband’s Attention Deficit played in our marriage and He also began gently revealing where I had work to do.

One day at a time, God led me to resources and tools that gave us practical help. He also helped me realize that my husband’s Attention Deficit was often magnified by fears and insecurities from my past. One action from him could trigger an avalanche of unfinished business from me.

We are, most definitely, in process. We still have bad days together- sometimes several in a row! The difference is that now, even when things get tough, we attack the problem instead of attacking each other.

My marriage was saved by prayer; my past is being healed by prayer. I have watched God use prayer to give answers when there was no way out and to bring wholeness when situations were beyond repair.

Whatever struggle or question you are dealing with today, I encourage you to talk with God about it, whatever form that may take. The power behind prayer is not in using a new method or idea, but in awakening a dialog with your Creator. Here’s His idea of prayer: an invitation to join in the most honest conversation you’ve ever had. He’ll pick it up from there.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him. And he will eat with me.”
Revelation 3:20

You can read more of Shannon’s incredible story and be inspired in your spiritual journey by following her blog, Distracted by Prayer, here:

Distracted By Prayer

Please click the links below to get a copy of Shannon’s awesome book:
‘How to Pray – when you can’t sit still’

Barnes & Noble Nook

Amazon Kindle

If you don’t use a nook or a kindle device – you can still get a copy from Shannon’s blog to download and read on real old school paper – from a tree!

Just click here for a link to the PDF download: PDF

  • barb a

    Thanks for introducing us to this precious woman. I look forward to reading her blog and getting to know her better! I love what she said “The power behind prayer is not using a new method or idea, but in awakening a dialog with your Creator”. AMEN!!!!! “The most honest conversation you’ve ever had”. Bless her!!!!

  • Shannon

    Julie,
    You are such a sweetie! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with your peeps. I treasure your friendship and I’m so glad we are on the writing path together.

  • Dolores

    Thank you, Julie, for introducing us to Shannon Hale. And thank you, Shannon, for your honest and inspiring back story that led you to where you now are in your journey. I will be following you on your blog and look forward to reading your book. (for all that are interested in the book it is ONLY $3.99 for the Kindle version and $2.99 for the pdf!)

  • Rose Boulware

    I so enjoyed reading the blog this evening and look forward to reading her book. Many people don’t realize that ADD can affect adults as well as children.

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