Teach Me to Speak– Teach Me to Listen

Our lives have to show a real love for our Savior so that Christianity doesn’t become just something that we do because it seems good. We must hold tight to their hand and lead them home. We’ve got the roadmap, remember? 


This year, I’ve realized how the world is so much bigger than just my generation. My grandfather passed away. This was the first time I’ve experienced the grief of death. A new baby was born from my generation and it just doesn’t seem like we’ve been here long enough for such. We were the new kids on the block and now they’re saying we’re the experienced ones who have to show the other kids the way around. We have the roadmap in our head and we’ve got to walk them home. No-ones holding our hand guiding us anymore. But they are holding our hand following us.




Nearly the most important thing a person learns is a language to communicate with their surroundings. When one begins to teach a language, the student must already have experienced that language in some way. Children pick up a language by watching and listening to someone else use that language. They need the basics before they can communicate enough to excel in speaking and listening effectively.

. . .

Why is it hard to learn spiritual communication? Why is it, often times, difficult to pray? Why does talking to God seem foreign to us, like a language we’ve never learned to speak? I think it is because the basis of our language learning is observing others communicate in that language, and we don’t always get that initial introduction. We skip straight to the grammar and spelling books when we haven’t yet learned the alphabet. We fumble through digging deeper into understanding great volumes of theology before we learn to speak to God in fragments and simple sentences.

But why are we so compelled to launch into those harder things first? Maybe the observing stage goes undone because it’s awfully hard to observe anymore. 


I’ve been studying Spanish, but I’ve only read the textbook and I’ve done it by myself. I haven’t listened to how people annunciate their words in Spanish. I never watch their body language in approaching a situation. I’ve never picked up on how to communicate in a real setting. As a result, I cannot communicate, in Spanish past a little bit of head knowledge that is probably used incorrectly anyway. 

This happens in the language of prayer. While we should not pray to be seen, we should be seen praying. This is such an important factor in the spiritual education of our children. This is the first steps in learning how to communicate. Observation. 

How does one know how to worship if they’ve never seen what worship looks like? We must position ourselves for a miracle so that those who don’t know how to kneel at the feet of Jesus will learn. We have to set disciplines in our prayer life or they will never know that discipline is a necessary factor in consistent prayer. Reading the Bible, listening to God speak, has to be in our daily routine as their example. Our lives have to show a real love for our Savior so that Christianity doesn’t become just something that we do because it seems good. We must hold tight to their hand and lead them home. We’ve got the roadmap, remember? 

Remind them it’s ok to speak in broken sentences when the meaning behind them is communicated real and raw. It’s alright if we don’t have every detail figured out. Let them know it takes trust and hard work, but it is worthwhile. 

We have to teach them the lingua franca of God. We must show them how to listen to and speak with Him. It’s a language all it’s own.


. . . 

“In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,” –Titus 2:7

. . . 

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” –1 Timothy 4:12

. . . 

” Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” –Matthew 5:14-16

. . . 

” …being examples to the flock.” -1 Peter 5:3


Leading beside you, 

Olivia Fortner

“Wobbly Leg” Prayers


Let us pray. Let us come to God and pour our mind out to Him, so He can fill it up with Him.

Let us give all of ourselves to Jesus, so He can turn us into something useful-

and better-

and lovely-

and spectacular-

and loving-

and giving-

and make us adventurous.

Let us pray. Let God guide us down the trail and show us how to explore. Let us stack the fire wood, while God helps us light the campfire. 

Let the motivation come. Let us be inspired. Let us be active and put all of this to work. Let us create. Let us build something utterly beautiful. Let us build a prayer life.

That’s why prayer is spectacular. Prayer is life. When we pray, it’s like drinking from the fountain of life. Our body is refreshed and our soul becomes alive. We feel healthy in our mind and we’re ready to face the future. With fearless eyes, we look at the unknown and know that we are able to overcome the fear that comes with it.

We’ve all  got those big ideas. Those dreams that we can’t quite put words to, but we know it’s what we must pursue. Robert Frost explained poetry the same way I’d explain a dream; it starts as a lump in your throat. If “poetry is when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words”, then a Dream is when the emotion or conviction has found its thought and the thought has found its action. The action turns it into reality and it all becomes something bigger than ourselves.

Dreams are lifeless without our intentional actions toward them. That’s why we must begin with prayer. Prayer is turning the dream into a goal, and sticking a plan to that goal. It is the biggest step you can possibly take toward your dreams; but prayer is not one big step. It’s a bunch of baby steps that grow you. 

Your “wobbly leg” prayers turn into “strong walking” prayers. With those prayers, your leg span grows and the strength in your muscles becomes greater. Eventually, your praying “quick running” prayers; you get even further with each one. Finally, after much learning and growing in your prayer life, you look back at the little steps. You look at the times it felt like you were dragging yourself across the floor and the times you were sprinting wide open in your prayers. When you look at all of that in the whole of the journey you’ve taken, you see that it was prayer that took you miles farther than you thought you could go in a life time. All of those steps, large and small, stretched across a nation. They pulled you from wondering how this dream could happen to the living your dream. Prayer is what kept you faithful to the work. It’s what will continue to keep you committed and keep you trusting in God. 

Prayer is worth the struggle it takes to begin. It is worth it. Stay faithful. Be committed to prayer and the rest will come. Begin today. 

Praying for you,


I Surrender All

“And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us:” -1 John 5:14 KJV

Nothing lies outside the reach of prayer except what lies outside the will of God. God will only answer the request He inspires. You see, prayer is surrender- surrender to the will of God. It’s cooperation with His will.

We pray because Jesus commanded us to. He wants us to be a part of the process. So, when God puts a burden on our heart for someone or something, we pray. And then we see God do the impossible. We see Him do the things that are answers to those prayers. 

Man is nothing without God; but we serve a powerful God and when our lives become in sync with Him, nothing is impossible (Philippians 4:13). That’s why we should pray for an awakening within ourselves. When we realize the power of ‘impossible’ we can start to see what happens when we apply it. If we have such a power, we can fix the problems of this world. When we wake up ourselves, we can powerfully pray for a Great Awakening in our nation. Prayer can, will, and does really change whatever we apply it to. 

When we pray for the gospel to go out and for people to believe on Jesus, we are praying according to God’s will. And guess what, He really does hear us.


Well here’s why… 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

If we contemplate the awesomeness of God and consider His will and purpose then we can pray this way: 

:: A Prayer ::

Our Father is Heaven, You are holy. Let you kingdom come; let this earth be the place where You dwell. Jesus, let this place be a realm where Your will and Your desires be fulfilled. Make my will to be like Yours; God pour Your will into me. Make my thoughts like Your thoughts. I give You all of  my plans, dreams, and life. I pray that You will order my steps, my thoughts, and my ways according to Your perfect will. In Jesus name, Amen. 

-Lydia Fortner-

Lydia Fortner is a traveling preachers wife. She home schools both of her kids and is always on the search for a new adventure. She follows her husband across the country while he preaches the Gospel of Jesus to any and all.

Her “happy-place” is being snuggled up in fluffy pajamas, a good book in hand, and huddled around the fireplace with her family. 


Thanks for writing the guest post, Mom. Love ya. 

The Crisis of Our Prayer Life…

“The crisis of our prayer life is that our minds may be filled with ideas of God while our hearts remain far from Him.” -Henri Nouwen-


This must be true, because even Jesus speaks of it in His walk on the earth. His words in Matthew 15:8 were, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”


So we must get our hearts to God. 

Let’s build a relationship- a real love relationship with God.


The other day, I was reading though some of the first things I posted on this blog; and this post seemed to fit right in to this month of prayer. So, today, I’m pulling out an old one. 



What’s this life all about anyway?


Maybe to some it’s about success in the world.

“One day I’ll be rich and famous,” or “Someday I’ll live out my dream.” Well life is not about anything in this world. We live this life to purchase our ticket to the next.

The life we are living right now is determining our future. Our goal is to know God. Without knowing Him and Him knowing us, without a mutual love relationship with God, how can we enter into the Kingdom of Heaven?

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”                                                                                                                   Matthew 7:21-23

So, if knowing God and God knowing us is what it takes to get to Heaven, how do we accomplish this? How do we get God to know us?

What do we do when we want to get to know someone?

First, we introduce ourselves. A short chat might follow introduction and you’ll be on your way. That’s not a deep relationship though. To really become someones friend you’ll talk to them again and again, all the while finding out what they like, common interests, and growing to like the things that they like. If you grow to love them you will want to please them and give them what they desire, their will.


noun \ˈwil\

:  a particular person’s decision or choice <It’s the king’s will that he be jailed.>
Verse 21 says, he who does the will of God shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but a prayer or just a calling on God is not enough.

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 7:21)

Now that we know we must have an intimate relationship with God, we know how to get Him to know us, and we know that we must do His will above all else, we need to know what God’s will is for us.

“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.                                                                                                                                       And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:38-40

God wants you to be saved and to know Him. Just fall in love. Don’t be afraid. What if you love it?

1 John 2:3-4 says, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”

Do God’s will.

He is what’s important.

Don’t fall for the tricks of evil.

This thing does matter.

 1 Peter 3:17, “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”


Let’s build relationship with Him through communication of reading the Word of God and through prayer. Our hearts will grow nearer to Him. It takes discipline but we can do it.


Learning to Build Your Own Fire

A few posts back, I talked about learning how to start your own fire. Learning to put that motivation deep in your own soul. We need to learn to gather the twigs and limbs, chop the logs, and carry the weight of the wood, even when it means splintered arms. We must learn to build our own fires. 


I really understood the necessity of prayer a few years ago, when I saw the role it played in my grandmother’s daily routine. She’d committed to it. Prayer was the first thing in her morning. She wouldn’t go a day without it. Even in the busiest of times, she’d turn the alarm clock back even further so her time spent in prayer would not get lost in the rush of things. 

So I wondered; what is prayer? There’s got to be something to it for someone to remain so consistent in it. This wasn’t a short lived New Year resolution. It was a commitment. Sometimes hard to keep up with, not the easy way out, time sacrificed for it, heart poured into it. So I wanted to learn what prayer really was; because my idea of prayer was different and maybe I should be committing to what she had.


This one thing has made the difference in why I pray and motivated me to do so. Prayer is simply this, communication with God. 


That leaves me with a few good reasons to want to pray.


God loves the long conversation.

He so enjoys those mornings on the couch; steaming black cup of coffee in hand, squinted sleepy eyes, and deep conversation. The kind where you pour over that thick leather bound book as He speaks so clearly through it that you can nearly hear the sound of His voice.

We are the children that He created when He felt alone and wanted deeper relationship. He wants us to show Him He is loved by choice, not by force. He longs for relationship with us. 

Those long and clear conversations are not the only thing He loves though. He sits, waiting anxiously everyday to hear your voice. The short and broken prayers- yea, He loves those too. Don’t you see? You are His love and He’s committed to that. No matter what, He loves your prayers.


Prayer is powerful.

My grandmother is committed to prayer because it is powerful. It changes situations and leads us on a different path; a better one. Prayer changes us.

Prayer is our direct connection to God. 

Think about it. What if someone told you that you had the ability to communicate with a God? Not just any man made god, though; you had a chance to talk to the God more powerful than all the rest. 

You and I do have the ability to talk to God and He listens. We get to communicate with Him. We are able to ask Him questions and get to know Him. He listens. He answers.

That is prayer; communication with our Savior.


This is how we build the fire. 

Do you ever have those days where you just don’t accomplish anything because you simply don’t know where to start? I know I do. There have been tons of things I would’ve accomplished sooner if I’d just started.

It’s pretty hard to “begin” when we have no motivation to do something. It’s hard to start when there’s no fire. 


In all of my procrastinating and then finally starting, here’s what I learned. Everything begins with prayer. Even when we don’t know where to start on prayer, we should pray. 

I keep relating to building your own fire. I like the metaphor of a campfire, but we know that the fire I’m referring to is that desire deep down in our gut. The desire to do something for the good of mankind. That selfless, beyond imaginable, insane idea that we can’t stop pursuing. The feeling that there is something bigger than all of this and how we know we want to be a part of it. The assurance in our minds that we’d do whatever it would take to be a part of such a thing, if it even existed. Well, it does exist (I like to think of it as The Higher Call. More on that later).

We’ve got to keep building that fire. Living like it’s a thought in the back of our mind that we’ll pursue someday, will lead to a thin stream of smoke and pile of ashes. Pursue those wild things racing around in your head. They’re not beyond your reach. “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” -Philippians 4:13.

But what about when we feel like the burning motivation is gone with the breeze and the sparks don’t fly up into the sky any more? What about when the wood we’ve gathered is soaked from the rain and we just don’t know how to start a fire?


We pray.

It’s always time to pray. I Thessalonians 5:17-18 “Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Prayer, communication with our Savior, is how to start the fire. 

Praying is finding the dry leaves to light, gathering the wood and twigs, stacking the logs together, and saying “Yes, I believe I can build a fire now. This looks like a way to catch a flame and keep it glowing.” And then, knowing your box of matches is empty, you remember that you have something better…  a God who answers by fire (1 Kings 18).

You see, we must do the work we can do, and then trust God to send the flaming spark. During the building, in the mean time, and while the fire is burning, we pray. And when we pray with faith, God will consume what we’ve created and we will be left with the brilliant, powerful fire. 


Today our goal is to look up to Heaven and get into a real conversation with our Savior.


I’ll see you around the campfire,





I would LOVE to hear from you!

Comment below, or email me at:       giverofgoodnews@yahoo.com

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Here’s the Plan…

Twenty-sixteen was a blast. So many adventures filled the year. We crossed a mile high swinging bridge, climbed the Rocky stairs, danced through Time Square for the first time, hiked and wandered through the forests, chased down a few waterfalls, had my one year Blogging anniversary, and more than I can name. We’ve had the best time traveling this country (pictures at the bottom of the post) and I’ve enjoyed sharing it on this blog.


But I want to be more focused this year. I don’t want to randomly write whatever I feel like writing. I want to get us to a new place, a place of trust. Places of trust, commitment, worship, balance, prayer, consistence, and understanding in Jesus. 


I want us to pull close to God this year. I want to be intentional; I want my life to be for Him.


So, in all of that, I’ve written a plan- a plan of action for myself and for you. 


A goal for us to grow together, so that when two-thousand and seventeen is peeking in at another new year, we can say we worked hard to get to this place where we’re at, and this is a better place than where we started.  


For every month in 2017, I’m committing to a theme. And for every week of that month, I’ll post a blog under that topic. 

Hopefully I’ll be posting on Tuesdays, and on the third Tuesday of the month I’ll be featuring a guest post. Here we go.



January – Prayer

February – Trust

March – Commitment

April – Consistent // Remain

May – Balance

June – The Church

July – Be Imaginative 

August – Uncharted

September – The Word of God

October – Glory in His Creation

November – War

December – The Higher Call


And that will be how we build in ourselves. I feel like each month will grow off the last and our understanding will grow deeper. One will lead to the next and our hearts will want to seek God more. At least that’s my prayer— that we will be motivated to know God more. 

 A Prayer for 2017 

I pray, God, that I will burry the distractions and that this year will be a year of commitment to You. I pray for a real awakening in my heart. I want to wake up and seek what matters. I want to dig deep until I find You. I pray for an end to the lies I’ve been listening to and I pray for ears flooded with truth. Help me to remember that there are always new beginnings with You, God, and that with you, we are more than conquerors. 



-Olivia Fortner-

I would LOVE to hear from you!

Comment below, or email me at:       giverofgoodnews@yahoo.com

Want to know when a new blog is posted? Email me at:  giverofgoodnews@yahoo.com , or if you have a WordPress account, follow!

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